Varantium is a country that is part of the Holy Dominion of Archanicus on the southeast of the Halim Peninsula, ruled by the archon Radiant Lord . It borders three of the Dominion's provinces and Nalbin, and is closely connected overseas to the Faloran Republic and the Plutarian islands. It has a long coastline against both the Sea of Mesegius and Sea of Thalanor, with warm subtropical climate.
Varantium is the largest province in the Dominion by scale and third-largest by population. The province of Varantium was the capital of the Faloran Imperium before it became the seat of Radiant Lord under the Dominion, and has exerted strong cultural, economic, military, and political influence around the world. Classical Varantium's borders corresponds roughly to the regions Camperia, Retilis, and Senium; however, within the Holy Dominion Varantium is taken to be the same as the realm of Radiant Lord. Its capital city Falor - the Old Capital - is regarded as the cradle of Faloran civilization and the "Father" city of the Faloran peoples. It is claimed by both the Faloran Republic and Malvernian Imperium, and is the second largest centre of the Archonian cult in the Holy Dominion (after the Holy City itself).
Varantium is one of the oldest developed countries in the world, and has considerable cultural, financial and religious importance internationally. While it for a long time was the most technologically and socially advanced region in the world, divisions in its society are now creating one of the most unequal regions in the Holy Dominion in terms of wealth and security.
In the fifty years since the Battle of Shatterbridge - which severed, in several ways, the over twenty centuries long Faloran connection between Varantium and Juvinium - the region has met with steady decline. The southern coastal provinces have become ravaged by almost constant warfare while the rest are suffering heavy taxes to fund Radiant Lord's extravagances. There are currently two Palatines of the Radiant Lord; Alexis Kata and Victor Manlia.
Recent events and situationEdit
Unknown, sharing origin with the name of the Varantian people.
Around year 0 the Faloran city-state had only just begun expanding a kingdom across the Camperian plain, fighting and subduing other such minor kingdoms in the process. Bronze Age kind of time. Myths and legends that is left of this time, closely intertwined with the coming of the Spirits.
By the time archons began to form, around year 500, the Faloran Imperium reached its classical "Golden Age". It had spread south over the Inner Sea and across Juvinium, east to the Abissian mountains and steppe peoples of the Kutandan plains, north to the great forests in the centre of the continent, and northwest towards Nalbin. The great bridge is constructed at this time. Iron Age, Ancient Greece kind of time. Legends and recorded history.
As archons begin to carve out their spheres of influence, the expansion of the Imperium is slowed down. Over the centuries the Faloran Imperium frequently wars with archon-led neighbours, until by 1200 a new era of peace and expansion (the "Middle Kingdom") is ushered in by accepting archons into the (much-changed) Imperium's structure. Malvern becomes an integral part of the Imperium. Roman Empire kind of time; recorded history and basis of law.
At the zenith of this resurrected kingdom, around 1500, Radiant Lord takes over the effective control of the capital region, centered across Camperia and Juvinium; Falor of old. Different archons continue expanding the formal boundaries of the Imperium north and east on the Halim peninsula, leaving Varantium behind as one province among several, albeit the capital and most important one. Radiant Lord's taste for extravagance only grows, and human subservience to the archons becomes official with the formation of the Holy Dominion. Early Medieval times, political and social upheaval.
After the Malvernian rebellion (1721) followed another long era of relative stability and development. While Varantium no longer was the capital province of the country it nominally belonged to, the province remained the most developed region in Halim and with a distinct character linked to its Archon. Sometimes referred to as the New Kingdom era, as opposed to Malvern's "Third" Empire. High and late Middle Ages, political and national structures stabilize.
Renaissance and early modern times. Eventually progressive thoughts clash with the established Archonian order, leading to the Faloran rebellion in 2427. This culminated in the Shatterbridge, 2435, breaking the almost two millennia-long connection between Camperia and Juvinium, and transforming Varantium for the first time in a thousand years into a border region.
Geography and subdivisionsEdit
Its area is almost twice that of France, its terrain and climate generally Mediterranean; Italian.
Varantium or, rather, Radiant Lord's sphere of influence, is administratively divided into ten regions. Radiant Lord's realm encompasses several larger traditional territories; Varantium in the southeast, Myrania in the north, Abissia in the west and Cadia in the northwest.
Capital & its pop
|Area & Pop|
|Abissia||West||Mountainous, dry and sparse, distinct ethniticy, poor. Goats.||
|Camperia||Southeast||Fertile plain, temperate, capital region, schismed. Wheat and wine, arts.||
|Maycia||North||Hilly, mild, culturally distant, healthy. Education.||
|Perchium||East||Hilly and wild, backwaters, poor. Olives, fishing.||
|Retilis||Centre, S.||Mixed temperate, wartorn. Fishing, wheat.||
|Samana||Centre, N.||Mountainous and forested, isolated, healthy. Timber, fur.||
|Senium||Southwest||Cliffy coast, hot-temperate, wartorn. Fishing, plantations.||
|Transolum||West||Coastal focus, fertile bay, untouched, near Dominion. Fishing and fruit plantations.||
|Vachea||Northwest||Great valley, windy, crossroads. Cattle.||
|Veorensis Borea||Northeast||Forested and large, northernmost march, independent. Technology, timber.||
Politics and governmentEdit
Radiant Lord rules, as he has (with some interruptions) for almost a thousand years, from the Old Capital. His inattention to administration and military directorship, however, is leading the central government towards the brink of collapse. Enormous corruption exists in the Old Capital.
|Holy City (H.D)||The most involved ally, sending Dominion officials and occasional military support. Cooperation goes poorly, however, mainly for lack of high-level Varantians trying.|
|Kutanda (H.D)||Disinterested; Vachean and Kutandan mountain tribes occasionally get into minor wars|
|Havsgard (H.D)||Varantium's northern provinces are more part of Havsgard (originally, they were) than Radiant Lord's realm. Distant more than disinterested; sending occasional support down the Tircon.|
|Nalbin ("H.D")||Well-meaning but sends little more than well-wishes.|
|Plutars||Neutral, good trading partner|
|Faloran Republic||Been in more or less intense war for half a century.|
|Sali||Neutral; once good for trading but the Mesegian Sea has become dangerous.|
Form of governmentEdit
Varantium's form of theocracy is, as all parts of the Dominion, particular to the Archon, Radiant Lord's, nature. Radiant Lord has surrounded himself with an entourage of like-minded and leeching lesser Spirits, who altogether form the basis of Radiant Lord's variant of Archonism. When observed in (semi-)physical form, they indulge in extravagant ceremonial and festivities. The centre of their cult is in the Old Capital, within the Cariapolis on the Hill of Light, which once was the senate of the Faloran Imperium. Sacrifice, tribute and pilgrims from all of Radiant Lord's provinces come here in a steady stream. A substantial portion of the state's budget is spent on the regular parades and festivals Radiant Lord commands, and carrying out his (and his lieutenants') various projects - constructing new and fantastic pleasure palaces and temples to glorify him and, briefly, satisfy his attention. Several such "Divine Mansions" are spread across Radiant Lord's realm, and serve as local religious and political focus points in a hierarchy parallell to the official government's, directly dedicated to the archon.
Actual governance is dealt with by humans, in an institutional mishmash of the Roman Senate and Catholic Curia. The College of Candidates (the Canditium; the word "Candidate" is a distortion of the original meaning, roughly meaning "those who the light radiates on") is the ruling body of Radiant Lord's realm. It has approximately 300 members who are both priests and politicians, officials and judges, all in one. Together they debate and advise on the rulership of the realm. They more or less independently form assemblies to govern particular aspects, and elect from their own numbers people to carry out decisions.
From among the Candidates are elected one or several Palatines by the archon with extended political and military rights for four-year periods.
Members are appointed by Radiant Lord or his companion spirits for life (or until revoked), and generally can be counted upon to be hereditary. Although anyone can be chosen by Radiant Lord as a Candidate, almost all Candidates for the past three hundred years have sprung from 30-40 prominent Families, with a group of 5-6 "Great Families" controlling most of the College's votes. Members are given, apart from official rights and influence in the realm's governship, a part of the (enormous) religious tribute to Radiant Lord as their pay. They also receive a Spark. Bribery from without and within the College is expected and another lucrative source of income. It is estimated the Families own 90% of all land in Radiant Lord's realm.
Provincial governorship is generally accomplished by one of the locally prominent Families conspiring together to elect one of their Candidates as the Magistrate of the province, hence further expanding opportunities for corruption and independence from the Capital. The Magistrate's primary function in the eyes of central government is to ensure a steady supply of sacrifice and taxes.
Palatines are given extraordinary powers and responsibilities (religious, official, supernatural, military, etc), and it is the highest office any human can gain under Radiant Lord's rule. He is in near direct contact with Radiant Lord, his chosen agent among mankind, sometimes given a particular task to do. However, due to their closeness with Radiant Lord they are often burdened with his demands personally. The office is granted for four years at a time. There can be several Palatines, or even none - Radiant Lord's disinterest can leave the office empty for years at an end. Depending on the times and the character of the Palatines, either situation can be a blessing or a curse for the realm.
They're kinda the Pope, Caesar/Roman Consuls, and Jesus all rolled into one.
Holy Dominion's involvementEdit
Very limited. Who knows how that system works?
Lots of it, haphazardly organized. Mainly, local Families employ their own guards, sometimes minor armies, to safeguard their lands.
Towns and cities may also organize their own militias if no Family organizes a force for them; few towns in Varantium are properly fortified.
It is one of the tasks of the Magistrates of the ten provinces to maintain a small, professional army. The Candidates may elect one of their number to go command an army, using whatever is given to him by Magistrates, Families and towns, to campaign against the enemy.
A few cohorts sent from the Holy City are encamped north of Senium.
Monk-warriors dedicated directly to Radiant Lord, serving at local "Divine Mansions". There are about five thousand in all, mainly in the Old Capital.
Demographics, urbanization, and educationEdit
Approximately 19,000,000 people live in Varantium's provinces.
Varantium is relatively urbanized, with approximately 800,000 (6,7%) people living in cities with a population above 10,000, and ~15% living in towns larger than 1000 inhabitants.
Life expectancy for a healthy, well-to-do individual is 65-70 years. Child mortality rate is around 50%.
Literacy is quite high, 15%.
Peoples, ethnic groupsEdit
Despite centuries of decline, the region's total population still makes it one of the largest in the Dominion. Faloran natives of classical Varantian territory make up a large portion of the population, but with recent years' displacement other inhabitants of the Dominion have come to form an increasing presence. Of all the groups listed below, only the Abissian people do in any noticeable way distance themselves from the heritage of the Faloran Empire of old, to which Radiant Lord's Varantium claim successorship.
|People||Location||Description||% of total|
|Faloran||south, east||Roman italian, Mediterranean types, rulers and peasants both with great schisms||50%|
|Myrnian||north-centre||Austrian-like, independent and north-looking||20%|
|Citizens||west, central||Aristocracy and military from the Holy City region||8%|
|Cadian||west||Sardinian people, self-centered||8%|
|Kutandan||northwest||Turkic, nomads and herders; ignored and ignoring||7%|
|Plutarii||southeast||Venetian, trading colonies etc.||>3%|
|Abissian||west-central||Romanian, decentralized isolated mountain villages, fiercely independent culture||>3%|
Faloran is the lingua franca of most of the world, and the Holy Dominion. 60% of the population speak Faloran as their primary language; about 40% are bilingual. Only in Abissia and, perhaps, rural regions of Vachea and Perchium might one find people which do not speak Faloran at all.
Archonian worship is the only recognized and permitted religion, with 80% active adherents. Of that, 40% worship primarily Radiant Lord; 20% recognize one of the other Archons' primacy, and the rest (40%) worship a pantheon of Spirits where Radiant Lord and the Archons join an array of local and mythical Spirits.
Culture, arts and technologyEdit
Arts and architecture is huge; Radiant Lord funds it happily.
Falor, the city, is the centre of archonian cult and Faloran nationalism.
The coastal regions have been devastated by the long, intermittent warfare against Malvern and then Falor, and the region is much declined from its former glorydays. Even so it remains - by its exposure to the "free" nations - a conduit of new technologies and ideas into the Dominion. While gunpowder is outlawed in the Dominion, it does have a presence in the lawless hinterlands of Varantium.
|Holy Dominion of Archanicus|
|Bhakhtar · Chakazia · Havsgard · Holy City · Kutanda · Nalbin · Otticia · Varantium|