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Aquas (Kingdom of)
Location: Sea of Dawn, northwest of Bellissaria.
Area: 498 sq. mi. (1,290 sq. km.); only 2 sq. mi. are covered by domes.
Population: 41,000 (30,000 in Seashield; 11,000 in outlying domes). Numerous sea peoples present not included in census.
Coinage: Crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher and an import tax of 1% (NACE kingdoms and Karameikos excluded). 10% goes to the imperial treasury.
Government Type: Semiautonomous monarchy owing loyalty to the NACE.
Industries: Fish breeding, pearl harvesting, jewellery making (chiefly from local materials), engineering of undersea related items (submersibles, diving suits, waters pumps, drilling machines).
Important Figures: Zynnia (Queen, human/mermaid, female, M6).
Flora and Fauna: Aside from its official human (95 percent) and demihuman (5 percent)population, one may find the kingdom frequented by numerous sea creatures. The more intelligent ones are mermen, tritons, sea elves, nixies, and storm giants.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Thalia.
I have seen much as we travel the lands of NACE, however Aquas proved most astounding. Despite Allstrick's early tales and descriptions of the submerged city, they did little to prepare me for what was to be our visit to Aquas. With its watery nature, getting to Aquas is difficult. Fortunately, Allstrick had arranged for a submersible to meet and transfer us down to the kingdom.
For those not aware, Aquas is a kingdom built upon the very seafloor, off of the former Alphatian mainland. Its inhabitants have walled out the surrounding seas with the construction of huge crystal domes. For our arrival, we were fortunate to see the city of Seashield glistening under the penetrating rays of the midday sun. Truly, it was a fascinating sight.
Our first destination was the city of Seashield. Most people assume that Aquas is the capital of the kingdom. I myself was under such impressions. Aquas is the kingdom, Seashield is the capital. Seashield is a densely packed city, confined to the area of its dome. With a population exceeding 30,000 the inhabitants have strove to build as much livable space as the dome will allow. To gain additional living space, they have even excavated well into the bedrock below the city.
Later, we were able to visit Aquas' other four domes: Seapearl, Brightwater, Seacrystal, and Wavedasher. These domes are essentially smaller versions of Seashield. Their populations are much smaller, and generally less dense inside their domes. However, these domes' buildings were no less impressive than those found in the capital.
Our travels among the domes allowed us to see much of the kingdom. Oh sure, using magic would have been faster and less dangerous. But in doing so, we would have missed much of the sightseeing opportunities. We saw much of the seascape. Coral reefs, pearl fields, and kelp beds all took on a new life under the ocean currents and filtered sunlight. We even journeyed to the north, surveying the fringe of the Alphatian Trench.
Those calling Aquas their home are mostly Alphatians. Oh sure there is a sizeable minority of elves, dwarves, and gnomes. Also, one really should count the numerous sea creatures that live outside of the domes, but visit their interiors quite frequently. For some reason, the people of Aquas do not consider these sea folk as being part of the population. Myself, I enjoyed interacting with them. Their company was most welcome in our sightseeing visits outside of the domes.
The people of Aquas are a strange lot. That they wish to live in an environment that an air-breathing creature is not designed to live in is in itself difficult enough to comprehend. However, the inhabitants have apparently grown quite use to living in their bubble beneath the sea. Despite the ever-present dangers of the sea, the inhabitants have some rather ingenious precautions against flooding. I am told these pre-emptive measures preserved Aquas during the sinking of the mainland.
As with elsewhere, there were enough people that knew Allstrick or at least knew his reputation. We even had the privilege to be seen by Queen Zynnia. Allstrick and she spoke for some time. With my limited grasp of the Alphatian language I really have no idea what was said. What I did recognise were references to her father and discussions on the current situation of Karameikos and the kingdoms that we had visited.
Aquas is a fairly new kingdom. In AY 1949 [AC 949. Ed.], Queen Zynnia's father petitioned Empress Eriadna for permission to establish Aquas. King Zyndryl and the empress had a well-know affair, resulting in two children: Eldrethila and Zandor. Zynnia was the product of another affair with the mermaid, Lynnia.
When Alphatia sank, Aquas was assaulted by seismic tremors. King Zyndryl perished as his people worked to preserve the integrity of the domes against the sea. Zyndryl's death opened the door for Zandor, who made his claim to the Alphatian imperial throne and ruled from Aquas.
In AY 2013 [AC 1013. Ed.], Zynnia, Prince Haldemar, Commander Broderick, and Queen Gratia ousted Zandor and captured him for a return to Alphatia in the Hollow World. Zynnia claimed the throne of Aquas and has ruled ever since. Soon after, Aquas became a member of the NACE.
When in Aquas, one has to marvel at the domes and the surrounding seascape. This is an environment that one will not normally see. Those lucky enough to visit Aquas will find the items needed for a relatively safe undersea excursion. One will have to visit the pearl bed, where a veritable fortune lays scattered about the seabed in the oyster shells. One should be warned that the locals keep a vigilant watch for unauthorised harvests. A place the visitor must see is the King's Tower and Observatory [formerly Emperor's Tower under Zandor's rule, now returned to its original name (after King Zyndryl) by the queen. Ed.]. Though one will not have ready access to the queen, one can go to the observatory and see the entirety of Seashield and much of the surrounding area.
Aquas is a hostile environment. With all of its aquatic races, it may be easy to run afoul with some of the locals. Each has its own customs and practices, so keeping up with them all will be difficult. The Alphatian Trench is a beacon, drawing the attentions of many a would-be adventurer. However, the trench is off-limits, at least to those without authorisation.