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ARKAN (Kingdom of)
Location: Northeast corner of the floating continent of Alphatia, inland from Ambur, east of Frisland and north of Foresthome, bracketing Crystal Lake. HW
Area: 53,375 sq. mi. (138,240 sq. km.).
Population: 103,000, including Ceafem (pop. 8,000). [Population figures are tentative, pending census. Ed.]
Languages: Alphatian (Arkan dialect).
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp). Arkan lost its own mint when Skyreach was unaccountably left on the surface, and makes due with coins minted in other kingdoms, especially Ambur.
Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher. Slaves are counted as the property of the owner and the product of their labour is taxed as income for the owner. Prior to the sinking, much of the kingdom's tax receipts were generated from the floating islets. With those left on the surface, the new king has tried to turn to other means of generating revenues to restore finances, imposing severe duties on agricultural exports.
Government Type: Monarchy, member of the Alphatian Empire.
Industries: Agriculture (mainly grain), animal husbandry.
Important Figures: Qinn (King, human, male, M11).
Flora and Fauna: See Alphatia.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperor boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Gerta Knutsdotter.
Arkan is often called Ar for short by many outsiders and local commoners, because ar is the common Alphatian word for ark, the arcane Alphatian (and official, with respects to the kingdom's name) word. Arkan is a flat land, almost entirely plains sprinkled with some small forests. Its most significant feature is Crystal Lake, around which most settlements, including the capital, a smallish town named Ceafem, is built. This town lacks many of the architectural features that make most Alphatian settlements noteworthy. This fact might be on account of Arkan's odd social situation. The Kingdom of Arkan seems to be almost denuded of aristocrats. Yes, there are some, but far fewer than in most of Alphatia. It is said that until quite recently, the aristocrats of Arkan lived above the kingdom on many miniature versions of floating continents, and that the kingdom's capital was set upon one of these. According to local lore, these floating islets disappeared recently. Those who believe Alphatia has always been a floating continent think they vanished around the same time as the earthquakes, but when pressed on how or where they went, they get perplexed and are unable to explain. Pressing them on the issue just seems to distress them. Those who think that Alphatia was until recently a continent elsewhere that was shifted here in a great cataclysm assert that the floating islet abodes of the aristocrats were simply left behind.
Still, the point remains that the proportion of aristocrats in Arkan is a quarter or a fifth or lower than what one would find in other Alphatian kingdoms. When the local population is asked about this in the presence of an aristocrat, they express grave concern over the issue. But when approached on their own, without an aristocrat observing the conversation, they do not seem to mind much and even seem pleased about it.
Arkan consists largely of farms and fields, and freshwater fisheries around Crystal Lake. This lake could serve as one of Alphatia's better resorts (a factor that is popular among Alphatians and well developed in other kingdoms), but the locals do not seem to have taken advantage of that opportunity. At least Crystal Lake does have beaches, though they seem to go unexploited.
As I said, Crystal Lake is the kingdom's most notable feature. Right now it is also a placid, relaxing place to visit, especially as it lacks the swarms of haughty aristocrats that frequent more common tourist locales. The people of Arkan are down to earth and seem truly contented and happy about their lives, and are unusually open and polite to outsiders (for Alphatians at any rate), making this one of the more pleasant places to visit.