|Realm||Kingdom of Ashenia|
|Resources||Iron, Adamantine, Great Lizards|
Lacertia is almost entirely a frozen, mountainous wasteland. Most life in the region exists either in burrows within the mountains, or in the relatively mild valleys. Monstrous things are rumored to live at the unbearably cold peaks, but such things are usually dismissed as nothing more than legend.
Also called the Great Burrow, many entrance points throughout the Narrow Peak Mountains lead to the Great Cavern. It is rich with ores, and as such is used as a massive mining facility, but it also serves as a strong defensive point, and has been used accordingly in the past. Strange, glowing crystals form in clusters throughout the cavern, which are commonly believed to grow over the graves of those killed in cold-blood. Some even say the crystals contain the power of these spirits, but none have been able to actually remove them from their clusters.
The Hungry Fissure is an expansive pit that leads into the heart the Raging Mountain. Volcanic activity can be seen in the core, but there haven't been any eruptions in over a hundred years. In ages past, it was used to execute murderers, thieves, and heretics, feeding the fissure to calm the mountain. This practice died out, however, to save the trip whenever executions where to be practiced. Despite this, whenever a mass execution was to be held, sometimes the trek to the fissure is made as an act of remembering and honoring the ancestors.
When the Kingdom of Ashenia established their authority over the region, the practice of mass executions was discontinued. As such events were already very rare, this has had little overall effect.
The Fields of the Elders was once the site of a great battle between two clan leaders. It is said that both armies died to the last, and the field is now a holy place where priests are ordained. Many make pilgrimages to the fields to pray and receive guidance from the ancestors. It is even said that if one can withstand the cold of the night, the spirits themselves rise from death and personally give advice and gifts to those before them.
The Lacertians are the carnivorous cousins to common lizardfolk, adapted to northern environments. Notably, they birth live young instead of eggs. They have black, jagged scales, and are somewhat tall by human standards, typically standing from 6–7 feet tall. They have long tails, some reaching 12 feet. Males are typically larger, and are distinguished by having 4 horns at the back of their skulls and a reddish tone from their throats to their bellies. Females do not have horns, and have a greyish-white tone for their underbellies. Lifespans can reach as much as 150 years, though historically the vast majority died long before this point, either in war, mining, or disease.
Due to the conquest of Lacertia by Ashenia, the percentage of Lacertians dying before the end of their natural life has been reduced due to an overall ban on inter-clan violence and attempts at public health projects, though the latter initiative has not met with much success.
Until very recently, the Lacertians lived as different clans, but in 345 they were unified through conquest by Potentate Kelarth, forming the United Lacertian Dominion. The ULD had very strong gender roles, with males taking roles in military, mining, and animal handling positions, and females taking roles as artisans, craftsmen, and priests.
While the ULD no longer exists, the Ashenite administration has made no attempt to alter the Lacertian view on gender roles stating that it "is not the concern of the Crown to dictate the cultural evolution of its subject peoples."
Male first names end in "th", while female first names end in "thi". A great insult is to add an "i" to a males name or remove it from a females, implying that individual is veering out of his or her strongly regimented cultural and gender role. Instead of surnames, males are given a trial at the age of 12, which they gain a title from if they succeed. At that time, they legally become citizens, and are expected to fight for their clan, though they are still children, and are often still treated as such. Through their life, they may gain different titles from more impressive deeds, which are used instead. Before their trial, males have the title "The Meritless". Females gain last names by their relationship to males. If married, they take their spouse's name with the hyphen -Sha, if his first wife, or -Sho if a later one. If unmarried, they take their father's name with the hyphen -Pa or -Po, depending on their mother's hyphen.
Males reach maturity at the age of 16, and take their first wife at that age. Females develop slower, fully maturing at the age of 20, which is when they take their husband. Marriages are always performed on the summer solstice, and most clans have a specific area that all marriages take place in. At the solstice, those of age gather, and each 16 year old male chooses a 20 year old female (there are almost always many more females, as many males die either in their trials, or in the constant wars between the clans). Males must stay with their wife for life, however, if the female is displeased with her husband, she may leave, taking the children born to her and becoming a priest.
Since the conquest, the wars between the clans have ceased, however the trials still claim the lives of many young Lacertians. No attempt has been made to prohibit the trials or lessen their severity. When confronted on this, the administration points to the blood rituals of the Priests of Carasan in Kyaralath which are just as dangerous.
Despite recent unification, the clans of the Lacertians hold an uneasy peace with each other, with many past generations of fighting still remembered. This reveals itself especially at times of worship, as they must now also praise the dead of different clans, including those that had killed members of their clan. However, worshipping their leader, Potentate Kelarth the Conqueror (who is a god, or living-ancestor, in his people's eyes) typically comes immediately after worshipping their ancestors, and reminds them to keep their unity or risk angering their god-king.
Despite the Kingdom of Ashenia's wish not to involve themselves too heavily in the cultural matters of the Lacertians, the worship of Kelarth has been deemed seditious by the state and has been discouraged.
The mountains of Lacertia are rich in many ores with Iron and Adamantine being particularly abundant.
The most important domesticated animal of the region are the abundant Great Lizards. These are used as a source of meat, leather and eggs as well as being used as mounts and beasts of burden. However, being reptiles, they enter a state of dormancy (brumation) for the coldest two or three months of each year.
The harsh climate of Lacertia reduces the availability of Medicinal Herbs. Few are able to grow there effectively, and those that do are either rare or have very short growing seasons.
The Lacertians worship their ancestors, venerating all past Lacertian people, with a preference for the ancestors of their specific clan. Each clan has a few particular heroes who are venerated above the other spirits, acting as the gods of the Lacertian religion over the common spirits, who function as guides and guardians.
Kelarth the Conqueror, was viewed as a living ancestor during his lifetime. His actions and ability to unify the clans are seen as so great that he is venerated as though he was already a spirit, essentially acting as a god among mortals. He was also believed to be the bridge between mortals and spirits, and may commune with them in a much clearer and straight forward way than others, including the priests who train specifically for this duty.
After the conquest of Lacertia by Ashenia, the worship of Kelarth has been heavily discouraged. The populace is currently disunited in regards to his status with some viewing him as a martyr and others decrying him for his inability to protect the land from foreign invaders. There is even a small movement, deemed heretical by almost all Lacertians, that revere the Monarchs of Ashenia as they were able to triumph over the living god that was Kelarth.
Priests, who are always females, serve to interpret any warnings from the ancestors. They are not allowed to marry and take oaths of celibacy. As well as religious service, they also record history, act as judges, and raise all the children of all the clans until they reach the age of twelve, during which time males undertake their trials and females go and learn their craft. Children spend all their time raised by the priests except for a two-week celebration each year, which they spend with their families. However, families may visit their children any day when the child is not being culturally educated.