Population: 78% Human, 12% Cursed, 6% Elven, 4% Other
One of the few truly democratic nations of the world, every law enacted into place is voted upon by the Moot, a council comprised of every single land owning women and ship owning man with every vote being considered equal no matter how much land or how many ships are owned, with the third gender the Kalstalk (Clostra term for Dusk and Dawn) acting as mediators.
With gender lines given distinct roles in society only men are allowed to serve or captain a ship while only women are allowed to own and manage land with the Kalstalk owning nothing but are provided for their role as peacekeepers in society and as caretakers of the children.
Those men who own ships primarily meet during the winter months when they cannot raid or trade as the sea freezes over, despite their ability to manipulate the ice they choose not to. During these meeting they will vote on matters of the sea such as contracts to raid particular nations, commission new ships from the Kalstalk and pass out the rights to raiding territory among their number.
The women who own land meet during the summer months during which they are able to farm, build weapons and harvest tree’s for the ship tax, during this time they will negotiate on land deals and vote on the tax that men must give from their raids to receive food and weapons. As during the winter months when the land become impossible to harvest from they move beyond into other lands to raid and are sealed off from their homes as the mountain pass seals with snow.
As the Kalstalk, do not leave the city of clostra they maintain the Tree tax of the women and build the ships for the men keeping the peace between the violent groups. They are the only one’s who are allowed to declare war for the raiders and act as representatives to other nations for both the men and women. They also maintain the integrity of the Moot and manage a lottery to pass out raiding rights to both the women and the men.
Ruler: The Moot, assembles in the what is known as the “Hollowed Hall’s” a great hall forged from the planks of the hundred ships that first brought their people to the coastal lands of Clostra.
Capital: Umbra; Built within a sea cave said to be the fossilized mouth of an extinct specious of dragon so large it could engulf ships in a single bite, the city is carved from the surrounding stone with stair cases only a foot wide carved into the walls as buildings are formed even from the roof of the cave. Year long the city is mostly unoccupied except for the rare circumstances a Moot is called to; or one of the raiding seasons has past. Beneath the stone burial temples exist in submersed caverns were the iron dipped skeletons of the long dead are stored. The only permanent inhabitants of the city are the Kalstalk who maintain the city’s stores of supply’s and manage the small kingdom from this central location.
Resources: Iron, Copper, Quicksilver, Iron Wood
Located in the northern coast of the Midlands bordering the Vortax river that cuts the north from the middlands, Clostra dominates the Vultures Coast running down the edge of the northern midlands as mountains cover all but a thin strip of land that is almost entirely beach head that hides thousands of sea caves, many of which are the home to the villages and city’s of Clostra. What land is not covered in beach is dominated by pine forests similar to those that grow in the Great North which provide excellent wood for ships.
Fang Coast: The coast of Clostra is shadowed by hundreds of minor islands covered with mist secreting tree’s who’s breath engulfs the sea giving it the name of the “Hidden Sea” in addition these islands are usually come to hidden sea caves were minor city’s and outpost can be established There is no map of the fangs that exists rather the raiders let hundreds of ship’s be crushed beneath the hidden rocks each year to weed out the weak captains and for the yearly “Unguf Race” were the young build their own small boats and race through the jagged hills of sea rocks.
Vultures Gulf: Officially named the Fishhook Coast on maps, it’s unofficial name comes from the fact that it is the home to the dreaded raider’s mass docks and storage temples were yearly supply’s from raids are kept and then sent out across the small kingdom and during the winter months the ships are kept safe within wooden pavilions only to fly across the sea during summer and raid.
Hidden Sea: Covering only the coast of Clostra and representing the divide between the Blood Sea of the Middlands and the White Sea of the north, the hidden sea gains its name from the fact that it is covered in a wall of unbreakable mist year round that all but the most experience captains are able to
The Iron Gate Mountains: Protecting the lands of Clostra from outside invasion, the Iron Gate wraps around the entirety of the nation and are impassible year long save for a single mountain pass that seals with snow during the winter months.
IronWood Forest: Famed for the tree’s it derives it’s name from, the forest inhabits the northern edge of clostra on the Vultures Gulf. The tree’s are famous for being impossible to burn through normal fire, do not rot or whither from time or disease and are used exclusively to create the ships of the Clotran Raiders and is the source of the nations only exports of wooden art and shields which are much desired across the entire continent.
A brutal climate, even in the hottest summers snow falls daily and rain fly’s through the air stinging the skin of anyone who walks the land unprotected by the thick clothing that is common in the north. During winter the sea itself freezes over and snow blocks all travel with several hundred deaths attributed to the cold each year being common news. It is a common debate by southern Scholars weather or not the Clostrans use their unique Ice magic to manipulate the weather to be this way.
The lands of Clostra are of poor use for farming, the stone is difficult to mine due to its strength and the beasts are as dangerous as the weather making hunting a dangerous activity and raising cattle almost impossible. The only way the Clostreans are able to survive is to raid their southern cousins for food and supply’s, but the manner of raiding is kept separate by gender lines with each given unique rights and laws.
Only men may own and captain ships, therefor they control the sea’s and govern all laws upon it, they use their massive fleet of ships to raid the coastal city’s of other nations during the summer months and then retreat before the sea freezes over in winter to store their winning’s. During their entire lives men are expected to harvest the bones of worthy kill’s from both men and beast, dipping it in iron and forging them into armor slowly creating a suit of iron and steel over their entire lives with one’s social rank being governed by how extensive, well crafted and completed their armor is.
While men control the ships and the sea, only women may own property, with men still able to rent. They govern the land, farming, mining and maintain the Ironwood forest, trading weapons, ironwood shields and raw iron to the men for the supply’s they gain from their own raids. Women are expected to raid the southern lands during winter time wearing lightweight leather armor covered in foliage and fur to blend into hills, forests and swamps, like their male counter-parts they gather bones from worthy enemy’s but restrict themselves to finger bones which they form a necklace from with many a women refusing to lay with a man if his armor is consider lesser in quality then her own necklace.
Kalstalk is the Clotra word for Dusk and Dawn and their term for the third gender. While some consider themselves to be either a man or women later in life and at 18 must cement their gender taking all the responsibility’s and traditions of that gender. A number of the people see themselves as both and act as a peace-keeping force moderating between the violent men and women. A non-violent group they manage the Ironwood tax for the women to forge ships for the men, an almost religious task as only the Kalstalk who are of both world’s, men and women- Sea and Land may craft the ships which are born upon the land but live upon the sea. Because they do not claim kills the Kalstalks braid their hair for every year of service they lead for the people in addition as neither men nor women take part in raising children the Kalstalk exclusively watch over the next generation and often mark themselves with Vasel of a child they are proud of, declaring the child as their pride.
Vasel: While Clostrans have spoken names they do not write them as other people would recongise them. At birth each child is given a simple unique symbol that represents them and acts as their name. Over the course of their life they will add to the symbol as they achieve victory’s and defeats; the symbol becoming more and more intricate over time as it is a recording of everything they have done.
Clans: As family lines do not exist within Clostra, the closest thing they have is clans, family groups made of like-minded individuals who choose to gather and protect one another usually centered around a single individual, if a mono-gender clan, or a pair of individuals, weather 3 people working together to represent each gender or a married couple. These clans usually pull from one of 7 sub-cultures that exist based on preferred raising methods and generally mentality.
- BlodGal: The most violent of the clans who use fear as a weapon, the Blodgals enjoy the hunt of the raid seeing others as prey and predators, with only fellow Clostrans being seen as fellow predators.
- Silvete: Using the fear of their fellow clans to use, the Silvete are amoung the richest as they use their sheer presence to exploit city’s into paying them to stay away.
- Hashel: Having a large dedicated to the goal of the Kalstalks , the clans of the Hashel will have ships and equipment of tremendous quality when compared to the other clans as they will donate vast quantity’s of the horde to the Kalstalk in exchange for favorable equipment.
- Dugr: Militant to a fault, these clansmen train unending to hone their skill of war into a art so they may attack the most heavily defended of targets.
- Taka: A little known clan, that do not regularly interact with the rest of Clostran society, they rarely raid or join the Moots. Often though a single member of their clan will assemble a mass raid with a combined force of various other clans.
- Skadi: Attacking only at night, the clans of the Skadi prefer not to have their presence known until it is to late for the defenders.
- Fara: Having the highest populations of mage-born of the clans, the Fara clans will entrap others in ice and allow the slow creep of the cold to do the killing for them rather then engage in direct force.
Huds: Children of Clostra are not raised by their birth parents and in most situations do not even know of their parents identity’s, as clans will usually exchange groups of children to ensure strong blood is spread and weak blood is thinned out making no clan more powerful then the other and ensure the clans do not wage war against each other in theory, instead they are raised by the Kalstalk in large groups of anywhere between 20-40 children to a group of five Kalstalk and are seen as brothers and sisters.
Lore of Ice: Known only as “The Path” to the Clostrans, the lore of ice is a unique form of the lore of water that developed in the frozen nation allowing them to manipulate the snow driven lands around them. It is seen only in their hands as they make it a duty to hunt and kill outsiders who have learned even an extent of the lore, but it is commonly seen as the raiders bring heavy snows to farms to blind their targets or as men in heavy metal armor run across the ocean towards ships, the sea freezing beneath their feet as they run to make the first kill as their prey’s ships are stuck in ice. It has been said in rare circumstances that a outsider will be allowed to learn the Lore if approved by a vote of the Moot.
Clostran law is simple and unapologetic, any man or women may challenge another to a fight to the death for any reason from a simple insult to outright murder, with none able claim a champion to fight in their name no matter the situation. To not fight is consider a dishonor and banishment is a common punishment for doing such a thing.
The greatest punishment that can be given out to a man or women and only be made by the vote of the moot is to be stripped of their right to raid ultimately denying them any chance to one day own land or captain a ship of their own.
Extremely religious and spiritual the Clostrans have a deep understanding of the spirit world; men would carve the appearance of Undines into their boats to convince the water spirits to swim with their ships while women will always prepare a seat at the table or the camp fire to welcome spirits into their home and camps. But it is a single spirit that they all worship as a god, one they refer to as the Deep One, a beast that lives deep in the darkest coldest waters of the world.
Effective Fighting Force: 7,000 Fighters
Effective Navy: 900 Ships
While having no official army, the entire population of Clostra is considered a deadly fighting force with every man and women raised from a young age to raid the villages and city’s of what they consider their lesser kin to the south for resources. In the rare circumstances they are called to war they prefer massive sudden strikes over protracted combat that their lesser kin prefer to use.
Men due to their ownership of the navy and their common practice to form heavy metal armor from the bones of their enemy act as a siege force and shock troops striking at the coastal city’s, blocking trade and even engulfing the sea in storms of ice to halt reinforcements from coming. The common practice would be to harass the coastal city’s to send refugee’s directly into the waiting arms of the female forces that lay-ed deeper within enemy territory.
The Women who normally harass the interior lands of other kingdoms are expert archers, trapper’s and ambush fighters using their skills in stealth and forest travel to lay in wait for their male counterparts to freeze the coasts and forcing refugee’s to flee inland were the women will hunt them like rabbits while they are on the move, forcing the enemy’s fighting force to spread thin in an attempt to protect their people, only for the women to slip through the lines and cause havoc while the men slowly move inland.
Major man-made structures/ cities
The Iron Gate: named after the mountains that protect Clostra, the Iron gate is built within the only pass through the mountains and despite it’s name is not a defensive installment but instead a series of massive statues of the greatest warriors born within the lands each carrying a flaming brazer the size of a large building that remain alit no matter the surrounding weather, a statement to travelers that they walk into the land of warriors.
Vulture Bay: Centered in the gulf, a massive city comprised mainly of docks and warehouses it is were supply’s gained from raiding the sea and land is stored but the true worth of the city is the docks. Each ship is stored in a temperature controlled sealed pavilion were ice can be melted and drained to usher repair’s if needed during the winter months.