Map of the Kingdom of Hox (click to enlarge).
|Rulers||The Pal Tzeh|
|Estimated Land Mass||722,000 sq mi|
|Race Distribution||40%H, 10%W, 44.9%G, 0.1%P|
|Racial Breakdown||200,000 humans; 50,000 wicks; 224,500 galdori; 500 passives|
|Languages||Estuan, Deftung, Tek|
|Play Status||OPEN for Play|
Hox is a cold and mountainous kingdom to the north of Mugroba, known as the northernmost kingdom of the Six Kingdoms. Mugroba and Hox are collectively known as the Hinterlands. Its capital city is Frecks, and its prime god is Bash, God of the Mountain. Hox is governed by a demarchy called The Pal Tzeh, which is essentially an elected counsel of eligible galdori created to oversee the legislation of the entire Kingdom. Its educational center is simply called the University of Frecks, or Frecksat in Deftung, and is located in the capital of the same name.
The population of Hox is small: only about half a million souls. For more information on what the Hoxian people look like, please see the Genetics and Appearances part of the Compendium.
Climate & Topography
To the west, steppes stretch from Mugroba and gradually climb into plateaus until finally, mountains dominate the land; further east, the deep conifer taigas take over. Northern Hox, when not entirely dominated by mountains, is coated in a frosty tundra. The best way to travel through Hox is by rivers. Several civilizations can be found nestled within the mountains or taiga forests, but a guide is often necessary.
The high altitudes above the Steppes are difficult for visitors who are not adapted like native Hoxians to the lower oxygen levels and differences in the atmosphere. Travel in the mountains for foreigners can be deadly if they aren't prepared for the effects of deprivation or have conditioned their lungs for the exertion.
While the Steppes do not have permafrost soil, the ground is relatively infertile and farming is difficult. Higher in the mountains, tiered landscaping and carefully cultivated farming techniques manage to produce impressive crops during a very meager growing season, and the people of Hox have learned to make do with whatever they have through preserving techniques and underground farming. Wild game and livestock are important, as are fish, and dried meats are a very vital part of the Hoxian diet because of the frigid and inhospitable climate.
There are only two seasons in Hox: winter and summer. The summer months are mostly sunny, distinguished by slightly warmer temperatures and less precipitation as well as a sun that never dips entirely behind the rocky horizon. The winter months are mostly spent in twilight and darkness, the ribbons of the gods (auroras) dancing through the sky and the stars bright when the sun barely reaches anywhere past sunrise. The Hoxian climate is cold year-round, especially in the mountains where snowfall occurs even during the summer months. In the lower forested regions, it snows only for half the year, making travel around Hox difficult during fall and winter when the rivers freeze.
Auroras and other astronomical events make the skies above Hox beautiful and mysterious, a playground of the gods despite the frigid temperatures. The Hoxian observatory in Montack is the most state-of-the-art location for studying the currently known universe.
A volcanic and tumultuous subarctic Kingdom, earthquakes and eruptions are familiar parts of Hoxian geography. More than one city has been destroyed over the centuries, buried beneath volcanic ash or lava or leveled by a strong quake.
Top Cities by Population:
- Frecks (Galdori and Passives Only) 60% = 164,000
- Rroxa (Mixed Race) 10% = 50,000
- Pesxe (Human only) 30% =60,000
- Oer (Galdori Only) 5% = 11,000
- Montack (Galdori Only) 5% = 11,000
- Kzecka (Galdori Only) 2% = 5,000
- Dessteka (Galdori Only) 1% = 2,250
- Xerxe (Galdori Only) .5% =1,000
95% of the wick population lives in the Steppes and migrates through Mugroba, following the seasons, 5% have settled in Rroxa.
Humanity is mostly concentrated in Pesxe, but also scattered throughout Lower Hox and in the valleys and taiga of parts of Upper Hox, completely separate from galdori with the exception of Rroxa. Nearly all of the Hoxian galdori population is huddled in Frecks (and Frecksat), but the rest are spread out through the various cities and townships in Upper Hox and the Spondola Mountains. The population of Xerxe is about 50% (500) Hexxos, with another 250 Hexxos in Kzecka. The majority of the galdori in Kzecka (75%) are Mhoren Basheva or various other religious groups, but intellectuals and academics regularly travel there for research in the ancient libraries or sanctuary among the beautiful Static magic-carved temples.
Hox is divided into three regions: The Steppes that share a border with Mugroba, Lower Hox, and Upper Hox.
Grasslands and gradually rising plateaus that mark Hox's border with Mugroba, the steppes are home to Hox's very limited wick population. Nomadic wicks that probably drifted from other Kingdoms have settled here into a life of following game, raising livestock, and gathering food. They have limited contact with galdori and meet more humans in their villages by river travel.
The valleys and coasts of Hox are known as Lower Hox and these more mild landscapes are occupied mostly by humanity, dotted with farms carved into hills and hardy herds of livestock. Any galdori locations in Lower Hox are nestled in the deep valleys of The Spondola instead of along the coast, usually where waterfalls or rivers begin for trade reasons.
- Pesxe is a human city at the foothills of the Spondola, perhaps the closest to the capital of Frecks. While a few galdori government officials and some wicks travel here during the warmth of Roalis for trade and administrative reasons, the city is otherwise largely human and rather sovereign.
- Rroxa is a village nestled against the mountains between the volcanically active Guaroxa Mountains on the west coast and the Spondola that make up the spine of the Kingdom. It is known for its amazing hot springs of various mineral makeup and is perhaps the only place in all of Hox where races mix freely, and Rroxa has become a hub of equality and peace.
- Yrth a small human village in the taiga
- Dromboth is a very poor and suffering human village, plagued by wild animals, bandits, and disease on one of the lower plateaus near the Steppes.
- Oer is the only galdori village in Lower Hox, located on the river that has its source somewhere beneath Frecks itself.
- Frecks, the capital city of Hox is literally built around Frecksat, the magical university of the Kingdom and the bastion of wisdom and knowledge that Hoxian galdori pride themselves in and define their existence with. Nestled in the middle of the Spondola Mountains, high above the rest of Hox, Frecks is a formidable location to reach as well as cold, breathtaking, and beautiful. The high altitude often effects foreigners who aren't used to the extremes of Hoxian geography.
- Korse Koron is an abandoned galdori city, uninhabited for seven hundred years; it was sacked in a civil war, and is now a subject of curiosity for archaeologists, located at the base of the Guaroxa Mountains, nestled near the most active volcano, Vroh Guar, which makes access and exploration very difficult without magical assistance.
- Dessteka is a secluded galdori city in the mountains.
- Montack is a galdori town, literally the northernmost settlement in the Six Kingdoms known for its impressive observatory and astronomy studies.
- Xerxe is a small galdori village known worldwide for its enormous, ancient grave-caverns.
- Aexx Aora is an otherwise unassuming galdori town renowned for its beautiful women.
- Kzecka is a galdori town in the mountains, home of esoteric temples, very large religious libraries, and several religious orders.
- The Spondola Mountains are the extremely high altitude, rugged mountain range that run like a spine through the small Kingdom of Hox. Many of the peaks have snow all year round and are harsh, unforgiving places that loom over the plateaus and valleys. Many peaks are volcanic, but the only currently active volcano is Vroh Guar, located on the coast and constantly spewing dust and smoke into the frigid northern sky.
Hoxian men and women of all races take pride in their strength and self-reliance. Outward displays of emotion are discouraged. Women are taught to be the head of the household, silently bearing hardship gracefully and ensuring the balance of the family. Men are told that allowing emotion to rule their decision-making is a sign of weakness, but there is no particular focus on one gender being superior to the other in terms of economic or social contribution. Everyone is expected to carry some part of the load in family living and in society as a whole, making Hox one of the most egalitarian cultures of the Six Kingdoms. The foreign perception of Hox is that of a cold and aloof society, but in reality, subtle displays of affection and emotion are more common than one would imagine. Instead of obvious, everyday expressions, such things are instead beautifully shown through beautiful art, poetry and quiet conversations in the privacy and comfort of a close-knit family unit and home.
Hoxian culture prizes traits such as self-composure and intelligence; to be well-spoken and calm at all times is to be a good member of society. Morality in Hox is less about concrete standards that apply to everyone, and more about assessing the situation and making a judgment based on the personalities and "village culture" (saatri) of the people involved. From an outsider perspective, Hoxians are some of the least judgmental people in the Six Kingdoms. They will not condemn someone for behaving in a manner that they find immoral because they are not living that person’s life.
Important cultural concepts include that of rhakor (personal composure), zkratas (the oneness of all things), and hevothen (pure language). See the Deftung Lexicon for more information.
Because of the nature of societies in Hox, there are very few national holidays. Resources are sparse, and celebrations are rare; birthdays and weddings are generally not celebrated at all. The single unifying holiday in Hox is called Spar Rhavat, the Night of the Stars. Bonfires are lit and whole villages come together to tell religious stories about the beginning of the world. The purpose of the night is to put life into perspective and convince people that in comparison to the vast universe, they are tiny and insignificant. To many this would be a disturbing revelation; to a Hoxian it is a freeing sentiment that brings great relief.
For more information on Hoxian Culture, feel free to visit the Culture section of the Compendium as well as follow the links below:
Hox is notable for being one of two kingdoms where galdori do not rule over the humans in a concrete way; the two races are kept separate, living in different areas and generally avoiding interaction whenever possible. The galdori take on traditionally human roles in their class system in order to be self-sufficient, though limited trade does occur between the galdori and lower races of Hox in order to simply share the burden of survival. The younger members of the Hoxian working class traditionally take on the most physically taxing roles, though there is no division of duty based on gender so much as by capability.
Economics in Hox
The Kingdom of Hox does not actively seek to trade with the outside world; there are no major exports or imports. Despite the difficult climate, Hoxians of all races scrape proudly what they can from their land—using the fertile Steppes for crops, hunting, and fishing in the cold forests and fertile frigid seas, and making use of their isolated resourcefulness. The Kingdom culture, as a whole, does not place much value on material things or wealth, even among galdorkind, and thus the lack of a thriving economy does not seem to bother anyone (other than perhaps their Kingdom neighbors).
What little they do trade are a mixture of practical and artisan goods: Hoxians are known for their skills in making and weaving silk, blowing glass, and gemstones. Other than accepting the coins of the other Kingdoms, unless there is a bad harvest or a shorter summer than usual affecting their crops, the people of Hox do not readily accept aid, either.
Working Class and Division of Labor in Hox
While Hox is politically very egalitarian and socially rather even-keeled, the economic landscape of Hox is still very divided. The ancient caste system has long since been abolished, but the delineation of labor roles among galdori family lines echoes even into the present day: it is very difficult to be economically mobile in Hox. Old money is old money. Farming families are farming families. Artisans are artisans. Karmine lineages are lengthy. Academics are often practically tenured based on heritage in Frecksat. There is a sense of duty, a responsibility to one's family, as well as a general acceptance of one's place in the world that leads many Hoxians to simply do what was done before, even if inside of themselves, they are very aware that those careers don't necessarily satisfy or suit them. It is a sacrifice that is usually only deviated from when exceptional skill or exceptional will is present in an individual, spurring them on to make a change in their lives.
All galdori exist in a place of privilege above the lower races, yet their isolation from humanity and wicks, as well as their self-reliance on doing all labor themselves, has led to a strong and self-sufficient economy. Because of their vibrant forms of self-expression in the various arts, artisans of all kinds such as glassblowers and jewelers, sculptors, painters, and musicians find much success in the Kingdom of Hox.
Because of the short growing season, their farming methods are sought after across all of the Six Kingdoms. The raising of livestock in large herds is difficult in Hox due to the environment, and so there is still a very strong reliance on fishing and wild game. If there is a single most point of contact between humanity and galdori in the Hoxian economy, it is hunting—much of galdori meat is traded for from humans in exchange for fabric, luxury goods, and so on.
Politics in Hox
Hox as a Kingdom can best be described as aloof and purposefully politically isolated, not getting involved in international struggles unless absolutely necessary. Far from the turmoil of the midlands, especially Anaxas, Hox has mostly considered Mugroba a close ally while more or less ignoring the rest of the Six Kingdoms. Rumor has it, the Hoxians are especially wary of Gior, as ancient grudges are buried in historical records untouched for decades.
Until this most recent Symvoul when the Kingdom of Anaxas became the seat of the Six Kingdoms’ overarching government, there hadn’t even been any diplomats, envoys or ambassadors sent to other Kingdoms in over a century. While many intellectuals and sorcerers from Hox certainly traveled to other Universities and visited other Kingdoms, it can be said that the northernmost kingdom has, for the most part, kept to itself for as long as history can remember. It is only due to the efforts of Anaxas' Queen Ester that Hox has been persuaded to enter into political discourse.
On the other side of the same coin, many Kingdoms view Hox and its rather extremely egalitarian system of government as alien and strange, unsure of how everyday citizens elected to important legislative positions could ever be effective in running a Kingdom. Hoxians have no parliament, no king or queen, and no political positions whose terms last more than five years in length—any eligible galdor may be elected into any office, with some limitations.
The Pal Tzeh: A Citizen’s Assembly
The Hoxian demarchy is centuries old, though many theorize that the northernmost Kingdom's style of government predates the War of the Book. The Pal Tzeh and all other government positions (including city counsels instead of mayors or governors, court jurors and juries, and even military leadership) are chosen through variations of sortition.
The Pal Tzeh is basically a citizens' assembly of eligible galdori, a body of 101 individuals who serve a single five-year term as a legislative body over the entire Kingdom, elected by the drawing of random names from the registered eligible population. This drawing takes place in Achtus and terms for the chosen begin in Intas of the new year for those serving single-year terms in various other government positions (the Court of the People, the Frecksat Circle of Magisters, or minor municipal offices in any Hoxian city, town, or village, etc.), and different offices have different eligibility requirements. No one may be elected for two different positions at once, which means for the very small Hoxian population, their government is very small and centralized, but also very robust and active because of its wide representation and cognitive diversity.
The Court of the People
The Court of the People consists of 101 chosen citizens and acts as both judge and jury by majority vote for all crimes heard throughout the Kingdom, both among galdorkind and the lower races.
Anyone who has passive children is always banned from government office, without exception. Historically, those belonging to the Hexxos are also almost universally exempt from government service due to their investment in the dead. In recent years, the Mhoren Basheva have stopped asking for the same religious exemption and become more active members of Hoxian government and society.
Religious exemptions from government participation (as well as martial contributions to the Kingdom's defense) can be applied for and are usually granted for those who belong to orders such as the Hexxos and the Mhoren Basheva. Often, students who are continuing into post-graduate studies and other research fields also apply for exemptions from both service and government sortition, though many return to their homeland when finished with their studies in order to apply themselves to the betterment of their Kingdom.
Martial participation in either the Karmine or the Hoxian Armed Forces (of which the naval division is quite famous) is compulsory for all eligible, able-bodied Hoxian galdori for two years, though there are religious exemptions given to the Mhoren Basheva, Hexxos, and other religious organizations as well as extensions of leave granted to students studying abroad or pursuing post-graduate degrees in other Kingdoms. Exemptions to mandatory military participation can be made for religious or educational reasons.