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PEARL ISLANDS (Exarchate of the)
Location: South and east of Ochalea, south of the Alatian Islands, north of the Jungle Coast of Davania. SD
Area: 119,719 sq. mi. (310,070 sq. km.).
Population: 100,000, including Seagirt (pop. 5,000).
Languages: Nuari (believed to be a dialect of Tanagoro), Thyatian (Nuari dialect).
Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), justiciar (ep), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Barter is common among the islanders themselves.
Taxes: 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods save food, clothing, and fixed assets. Corvée labour on behalf of the nation as needed.
Government Type: Dominion, member of the Thyatian Empire with self-rule.
Industries: Pearl-diving, jewellery-making, export of tropical fruits.
Important Figures: Nurokidu Nuar (Exarch).
Flora and Fauna: Mainly dominated by fruit-bearing tropical trees and hardy grasses. Animals include cattle and horse imported from Thyatis. Giant lizards (draco) are also common, as are many sea creatures in the surrounding waters.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Vivianna Romanones.
This is a long tropical island chain, which runs east to west for over twelve hundred miles. It consists of many hundreds of small islands, and five large ones.
The Pearl Islands, named such by Alphatian invader of long ago and commonly called that ever since, are a series of islands north of Davania, in the South Ochalea Sea and the Sea of Pearls. More properly called the Nuar Archipelago, the islands are of volcanic origin (though a few of the smaller ones are coral atolls), and though most of the volcanoes are dormant a few are not. One, the largest, on Nuar Island itself, has been erupting continuously, if mildly, since AC 1009 when Alphatia sank.
There are often reefs offshore, but not dangerous ones as are found in the Straits of Barbarossa between Aegos Island and the Isle of Dawn. The Pearl Islands indeed have wide, sandy beaches in many areas, as well as bluffs looking out over the sparkling azure seas. Most islanders live near the beach whenever possible.
Inland from the shores to the mountain slopes are tropical forests, though on the leeward side of the islands, which the mountains prevent from receiving as much rainwater, there are usually grasslands instead. The windward sides of the islands get most of the rain, and indeed it often showers once a day in this area. From the tropical jungles come wonderful fruits that are a staple, along with fish and pig, of island fare. Many streams run off the mountainsides down through the jungles to the sea, and some of this water is used to irrigate plants grown in the uncommon island agricultural plantations. There are few dangerous animals in the islands, though there are draco lizards, leeches, and sometimes poisonous serpents. Streams collect the runoff waters from the mountains and bring them back down to the ocean.
Of the five major islands, only Nuar is large enough to actually have rivers larger than streams, and it even has a large lake in the north central portion of the island. The waters around the islands themselves are known not only for the fish that abound in them, but for their famous pearls, which are harvested and exported by the islanders.
The islanders have dark skin, hair and eyes, and are a robust, muscular people. Their last name is derived from their isle of origin, with most being from Nuar and thus called Nuari. They traditionally live in small settlements rather than towns or cities. They are an energetic people who enjoy relaxation and sport, but are dedicated to excellence and self-improvement. They are fierce fighters yet also great philosophers, and their double-hulled ships, while small, can be quite effective in war and trade. Nowhere can one find better sailors or scouts than here on the Pearl Islands.
It is said that the islanders are descendants of Tanagoro colonists from long ago. Ancient scrolls claim that they were once a matriarchal society, but now men and women are equally regarded. Upon meeting someone for the first time, islanders present them with a small gift, usually a pretty coloured shell or stone. The stranger is then expected to return a similar gift before the day is over, and if this custom is not followed the islanders consider it a slight.
One thing that can shock visitors is the islanders' lack of concern for wearing clothing. They normally wear no more than a simple kilt or skirt, along with necklaces, garlands of flowers, and the like, but think little of going entirely nude, especially when swimming. The islanders also enjoy riding the waves on specially crafted boards, a sport that requires some dexterity and skill to master fully and which can be dangerous to the unwary and inexperienced.
There is so much to see and do here, the islands are a potential tourist mecca if only a convenient means of regular, rapid transportation could be initiated. There is the town of Seagirt, built around the Harbour of Pearls, the imperial naval base, where most Thyatians and traders live and work. In the town also is the palace of the exarch, as well as a colosseum built by Thyatian conquerors back in the first century AC. Down the shore from the town is Diamond Head, a towering rock formation overlooking the sea, which many climb to get a panoramic view of the ocean and the island. Inland from Seagirt is the long dead volcano called the Mount of Sacrifices, which is a graveyard of men and women slain serving in battle, especially against the Alphatians (though few of those killed in the Final Alphatian War are buried here). Many important rituals of the islanders' religion are carried out at the Mount of Sacrifices as well.
And this only mentions those sites nearest Seagirt. Each island is beautiful in its own unique fashion, and it might take a lifetime to visit them all and explore them thoroughly.