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MERIANDER (Kingdom of)
Location: Bellissaria, west of southern Skothar, southeast of Aquas. AS
Area: 92,034 sq. mi. (238,368 sq. km.).
Population: 100,000 (15,000 in Alchemos). [Population figures are tentative, pending census. Ed.]
Language: Alphatian (Bellissarian dialect).
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher and an import tax of 1% (Naycese kingdoms and Karameikos excluded). 10% goes to the imperial treasury.
Government Type: Semiautonomous monarchy, member of Nayce.
Industries: Agriculture, alchemy, education.
Important Figures: Hubertek (King and General, human, male, F20).
Flora and Fauna: As with all Bellissarian kingdoms, there are no indigenous monsters, most animal life being brought in from elsewhere. Of course the presence of the mages in Alchemos may warrant more unusual creatures due to summoning and creation magics.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Allstrick.
Meriander, long seen as the bastion of magical pursuits upon Bellissaria, is also a pleasant place. Our arrival there was a welcome relief from our travels across the subcontinent. I really wanted Thalia to see the kingdom, as it seemed a more suitable litmus test to show what Alphatia had been. I also hoped that it would be a first step in preparing her for the more spectacular kingdoms to come.
The kingdom of Meriander is a peninsula along the eastern coast of Bellissaria, sharing its only land border with Notrion. The remainders of the kingdom's borders are with the surrounding seas. The terrain varies as one travels south. Rolling hills and open pastures gradually become more forested, ultimately giving way to the dense forests at the kingdom's extreme southern regions.
The capital of Meriander is the city of Alchemos, which boasts a sizeable university. Most people have the impression that the university is purely devoted to alchemy. This is false. Alchemy is a focal point in Meriander, but is not singular to the university. Here one can earn the semblance of an education, far above what can be taught at home. The majority of the city's alchemy trade is born through a cottage industry. Without its university and alchemy pursuits, Meriander would be hardly distinguishable from its neighbours. As such, Alphatians from other Bellissarian kingdoms can be seen attending its classes.
Unsurprisingly, Meriander is populated by Alphatians. The university is paramount in their eyes. Everyone claims some connection to the institution, whether it is a teacher or a farmer whose crops feed the faculty. With the university an ever-present entity, the people of Meriander tend to present themselves as intellectuals. This persona is well founded as Meriander boasts one of the highest literacy rates within Nayce. The populace either learns directly from the university or that knowledge is passed down at the hearth. This home teaching is mostly seen in the rural areas. Most urban citizens see it only unfashionable to not study at the university.
With a name like Alchemos, it is not surprising that alchemy holds a prominent position in Meriander. The kingdom has a reputation for its research and production of potions and the like. Such concoctions are easily found at the markets and shops of the capital. Likewise, prices are fairly reasonable despite the aftermath of the Great War. The integrity of potions is fairly secure; one does not have to worry about scam artists selling false or dangerous potions. Public sentiment is hard against such charlatans, seeing their actions as a dishonour to their own local industry.
Like its fellow Bellissarian kingdoms, Meriander has long been settled and has lived in the shadows of the Alphatian mainland. With the sinking, Meriander has come into a more prominent role. Following Zandor's demands, Queen Drulivia abdicated her throne in favour of Hubertek, Commander of Meriander's armed forces. Hubertek's reign has continued until this day. His rulership has been fair and well done. If he has drawn any criticism, it is for his abolishment of the age-old law restricting nobility to just spellcasters. So far, this dissatisfaction centres upon Meriander's spellcasting populace and some more traditional commoners. However, most are content to pursue alchemy studies.
Visitors to Meriander will find themselves focusing their attentions within Alchemos. It truly is a quaint place, by Alphatian standards. The local atmosphere is pleasant enough for one's personal comfort, yet boasts enough magical flair to sate the palate of those interested in the manipulation of the magical energies. One should really visit the city's various shops. There, one can find all-manner of potions and magical substances.
There really is not a whole lot to fear while one visits Meriander. Of course one may want to be on guard for certain mages and alchemists, especially late at night. Components for potions of the necromantic variety often include corporal ingredients obtainable through fatal means. Being Alchemos, the law would focus more upon the potion working than the ingredients. More than one of these types are known to operate in Meriander, so one should be on guard.