|Resources||Stone, Gold, Yaks|
|Religion||Doctrine of Frost|
Issedonia is the capital region of the Voreal Kingdom.
The region is one of the warmest in the Iero Dominion, though that would be scant comfort for most travellers since much of Issedonia is still frozen tundra. The region is divided by a mountain range running from east to west, which separates the vast northern plateau from the southern lowlands.
Compared to the north, the lowlands are temperate, with an abundance of vegetation, although still cold by global standards. The most notable feature is the Zethea river, which forms much of the region's eastern and some of its southern border. It is an unforgiving and icy torrent for much of its length, but a vital source of life for the Voreal and their livestock alike.
Among the Voreal, Mount Kione is widely renowned: a tall mountain which stands above the capital at Abarsis. It is not particularly remarked for its height, however, but what is carved into it, for its size bears the image of the kingdom's divine patron, Yphine, and the legendary founder of the tribe, Vor. Each figure is believed to stand over two hundred feet high, and was carved in time immemorial, some say by Yphine Herself to stand perpetual watch over the city and Her people. The figures are now believed inaccessible: each year a new pilgrimage sets out attempting to reach them, but none are known to have succeeded and many disappear without trace.
The most notable feature of the region, however, is undoubtedly the Great Ice Wall which forms the western border with Estglaz. For years, this was seen by the population as a protection erected by Yphine to shield the people from western incursion, while also dissuading them from travelling out of the region where they were safe, but since the rise of Marmora and the destruction of part of the wall, this attitude is being reconsidered.
The vast majority of the population is of a tribe calling themselves the Voreal. They are Frosten Berapi, and, like the nearby Glazfelli, their skins come in shades from the palest white to teal to a moderate blue, and pale, slightly glowing streaks of white show upon their bodies where veins and arteries come close to the surface. Their flesh is cold to the touch, thicker than that of most other humanoids, and hairless excepting the tops of their heads.
At any rate, their unique traits grant them an unparallelled ability to survive the harsh northern winters. Even compared to other Frosten, the Voreal are a hardy people at home in the cold.
Its status as the capital of the Voreal Kingdom, and, by extension, the Iero Dominion, means that there is also a population from other peoples within the empire, though they remain a minority.
Society is highly stratified, and largely controlled at upper levels by the aristocracy and the church. A substantial bureaucracy exists to support the monarchy, and, although the church operates a near monopoly upon it, this still provides one of the best means for advancement for a Voreal of low station, for successful bureaucrats are often ennobled.
The other principal means of social mobility is through the army. Although aristocrats tend to dominate the officer ranks, a sufficiently skilled soldier can nevertheless rise high, and successful commanders are usually rewarded with titles. A fortune can be made in gold mining, but a man who rises from rags to riches will always be viewed as something of a parvenu unless accorded a title by the king.
The population is roughly evenly-distributed around the region, confounding expectations that the warmer south might be more heavily settled. In fact most of the cities in the region are in the northern reaches: golden Anacharsis, fair Melamis, and the forbidding towers of Phalaris.
The largest city, however, is Abarsis, located in roughly the centre of the region, guarding the main pass from the lowlands towards the tundra in the north. It has long since sprawled beyond its walls, and periodically kings are forced to clear dwellings that threaten to block the mountain pass. No matter how many edicts are passed, or how many times people are expelled from the city, more come flooding in.
There are two reasons for Abarsis's attraction for migrants. As the capital and largest city, it is inevitably viewed as a place of opportunity, where the streets are paved with gold.
The other reason is because the streets are paved with gold.
Abarsis was established on top of one of the most lucrative gold mines in the region, and its location as a trading hub quickly caused it to grow, until it swallowed a number of smaller ones. The vast wealth accumulated by the town led to its pre-eminence among cities in the area, and the nobles of the city (many of whom are descended from early miners) are not shy about flaunting their wealth.
Despite the lofty claims of Abarsis's people, only the central streets within the old city walls are paved at all, and the royal guard and inhabitants both protect the entrances with great jealousy. This has led to two distinct communities developing: Upper Abarsis, within the walls, and Lower Abarsis, spread out across the surrounding slopes. This has led to a curious social relationship between the people in the area, for even the meanest inhabitant of the Upper City will consider himself better off than an otherwise privileged nobleman obliged to live outside the walls.
Most of the people in Lower Abarsis are doomed to live their lives within sight of its magnificent riches while grubbing out an existence in the surrounding slums and suburbs, but for many that promise is enough. It is said a denizen of Lower Abarsis is more likely to visit [region 80] than Upper Abarsis in his lifetime, although this is not quite true. Once every two years are the people of the lower city allowed in for a festival, the most important day of the social calendar and one on which the population of the city is reported to double. The Autokratos may also declare extraordinary occasions when the gates are opened, whether seeking to increase their popularity, prestige, coffers, or out of a genuine sympathy for those usually trapped outside the walls.
The most widespread and popular form of livestock in Issedonia is the trusty yak. They thrive best on the northern plateau, but some breeds have been brought down to the lowlands where they have also prospered. Quarries in the mountains mean the region has a good supply of stone. Also mostly in the mountains are the gold mines, for which the region is well renowned and from which it derives its wealth.
The warmer lowland areas are less comfortable for the Voreal people, and they desire True Ice to preserve a cooler temperature. The substance also has great spiritual importance and large quantities must be imported to meet demand from the church.
The sole religion in Issedonia is that of Our Frozen Lady.