Cryria

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Kingdom of Cryria

Flag of Cryria
Flag
Motto: Remember Her Promise
Anthem: Du Gamla, du Fria
Location of Cryria
Capital
and largest city
Leidenstad
Official languagesCryrian
Demonym(s)Cryrian
GovernmentConstitutional Monarchy
• Queen
Ulrika II
• Prime Minister
Stur Lundberg
LegislatureThe Riksdag
Unification
• Declared
Early 12th Century
Area
• Total
716,525 km2 (276,652 sq mi)
Population
• Estimate
36,000,000
• Density
50.24/km2 (130.1/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)estimate
• Total
$1.8 trillion
• Per capita
$50,000
CurrencyKrona
Driving sideleft
Calling code444
Internet TLD.cry
Cryria, officially the Kingdom of Cryria, is a largely archipelagic nation in northwest Novaris. It is located nearest to the Infinite Loop to the northwest, Älemsi Negdel to the northeast, the Varentine League to the southeast, and Varletia, the Kelamí League, and Volscina to the south. Cryria's coastlines run along the Keigan Sea in the west and the Pacific to the south. It has a population of 36 million people, and its capital and largest population center is the city of Leidenstad.

Etymology

The term "Cryrian" has been retroactively applied to the seafaring Yasterian peoples whose arrival drove the unification of the eponymous islands. While this word was likely adopted by this group, more recent evidence suggests that it emerged from Vesterholm during its early contacts with their western neighbors. This has made the origin of the term particularly difficult to decipher due to the extensive bastardization most languages of the Isles underwent after the Conquest. Many records of Old Vesterholmi were destroyed in the Vhydaszi sack of the island, and the more modern derivatives of the language went extinct in the 19th century.

It has been historically believed that the word "Cryrian" comes from the Vesterholmi term Kryrennin, which loosely translates to "Joyous Rot," but the precise meaning and reasoning behind the descriptor were long lost. Varying suggestions that the word might relate to fungus-growing religious practices from Talvere have been raised and dismissed due to the severely limited contact between Talvere and Yasteria at this point in time.

More recent studies conducted by the University of Talvere in the 1980s determined that Kry, the Vesterholmi word for "Joy" could be used interchangeably to refer to the Isles' traditional harvest season. As such, it's likely that Kryrennin relates to the nature of the initial experiences many of the Isles' inhabitants had with the ancient Yasterians. The original Cryrians frequently raided against the islands they would later call home, and translated manuscripts of the Court of Vesterholm refer to large scale population losses that resulted in harvests being "left to rot" due to the deaths of so many peasants. Population estimates of the period suggest that this losses on this scale were either infrequent or limited to certain locations, but the damage was evidently sufficient that the raiders were characterized after the destruction they inflicted.

When Magnus of Nederborg married into the throne of Vesterholm, the Vesterholmi language initially remained the primary tongue of the Court. As such Kryrennin remained in use and was gradually adopted by the new arrivals themselves, who gradually reduced it to "Cryrian." The original names actually used by the Yasterian groups are highly conflicted and complicated by a lack of written records and a tendency on the part of ancient writers to use the Vesterholmi term. Thus, "Cryrian" has been used to refer to both the original Yasterian seafarers as well as the Kingdom they would later found, though the culture and makeup of the latter ultimately had limited overlap with that of the former due to a thousand years of absorbed Novaran influences.

The term "Kingdom of Cryria" only came into use after the Scouring, when the Queen-Mother Lielsta arranged the dissolution and merger of both Vesterholm and Talvere, the thrones of which were both held in personal union by her son at the time. In order to avoid the appearance of setting one group above the other, the newly formed entity was simply declared to be "The Kingdom of the Cryrian" in reference to the origins of the ruling House of Leidensen. This was later truncated to "The Kingdom of Cryria."

History

Ancient History

The first recorded habitation of the Cryrian islands was in the form of nekomimi settlers. Their presence in the Isles was abruptly truncated with the arrival of the elves, who grew to dominate the large central island. The nekomimi persisted in the far northwest as the realm of Vhydhasz, which encompassed the islands of Brekbu and Kraskne as well as portions of the Brekkim Peninsula. The variety of elven groups slowly grew to establish a patchwork of kingdoms and chiefdoms across the main island, which thus became known as Älva Mark, or "Elf Land." This was eventually shortened to simply "Älmark." The southwestern portions of the island group became home to the first human habitation by early arrivals from Novaris. Talvere was the first civilization to arise here, and further splits and migrations birthed the Kingdom of Vesterholm and a proto-republic on what would become Lindesgaard. The balkanizing geography of the Cryrian Isles stunted the development of all of these groups and ensured that no one dominant power was ever able to arise during their early history.

Early Cryrian Settlement

The original Cryrians emerged as a distinct group along the eastern coasts of Asendavia around 1000 BC. They were a seafaring people from the continent of Yasteria, with a long history of both raiding and conducting trade with the various polities which existed on the Isles. Their initial settlements were small outposts founded on the sparsely inhabited island of Nederborg and the mountainous Arm of Tarva. Though they had previously raided against Vesterholm, these early settlers would now swear nominal loyalty to their King in exchange for claiming land in his name, and their arrival brought the Ademarist religion to the islands. The mixing of Asendavian languages with local tongues similarly resulted in the development of a distinct Cryrian language.

The Last Warding of Nederborg

Though the early Cryrian tribes operated in a manner largely independent from one another, they held to a longstanding practice known as the Great Wardings. In these, a worthy leader referred to as a Warden would be elected by the great families, who would place confidence in their chosen by giving up a child(usually the eldest) as a ward to serve as both student and hostage. Though Wardens were often symbolic figureheads whose power resided solely in their control of these prospective heirs, this tradition allowed for some sense of unity among the Cryrians and created opportunities for political ties between them as their children would serve together. As the center of Cryrian power shifted away from Yasteria towards Nederborg, the practice of the Great Wardings followed.

Writings about most of the Wardings have not survived, but the Last Warding of Nederborg was well recorded, for its results would change the Isles forever. In 793, Magnus of the Leiden was propelled to near-legendary status when he slew a great blue whale in the northern waters. This feat all but sealed his election in the next Great Warding in 795, and the practice would soon cease entirely with his later ascension to the throne of Vesterholm.

Magnus' Conquest

During the eighth century the Kingdom of Vesterholm fought a lengthy and sporadic naval war against Lindesgaard for control over the strategic Lindesgaard Straits. By now, Lindesgaard had established colonies on the main island which could supply its fleets with the lumber needed to construct new vessels, putting it at a decisive advantage over Vesterholm. After the Battle of Tarva saw the destruction of his fleet and the death of his sons, King Iver of Vesterholm formed an alliance with Magnus, a powerful leader among the Cryrians. In exchange for his ships, Magnus would gain the hand of Iver's daughter in marriage, thus making him the heir to Vesterholm. Cryrian fleets achieved a decisive victory at the Battle of Trauer and subsequently committed the bloody Sack of Lindesgaard which subjugated the island city in 798. The death of King Iver from dysentery a year later saw Magnus proclaimed the new King of Vesterholm. After this, Cryrian influence spread rapidly, and Yasterian cultures gradually merged with those which had already existed in the southwestern Isles.

Magnus' final act of expansion was to claim forests on Älmark for their supply of lumber. The Lindesgaarders had effectively abandoned their colonies there during the war, and in an effort to retake them, Magnus sailed his flagship to claim the lands around the river Leiden. It is there that the City of Leidenstad was founded, built around the famed vessel.

The Cryrian Unification

The centuries following Magnus' rise to kingship saw continued human encroachment on the rich lands of Älmark. The establishment of the House of Leidensen on the throne of Vesterholm along with successive waves of Yasterian migration led to the increasing dominance of Cryrian culture in the area. This eventually gave rise to the Honningfjord System, where titles and lands on Älmark were granted to those Cryrian warlords who could claim and settle them in exchange for hostages and pledges of loyalty. The Honningfjord System not only led to Cryrian expansion across much of the southwestern isles but also the establishment of a powerful new Cryrian aristocracy, both distinct from that which had existed in Vesterholm and often independently-minded due to distance and geography. These grants of land were often given without regard or consideration for the native elves, resulting in friction between new settlers and the existing populations especially as human arrivals often invaded existing polities in pursuit of land and valuable lumber. Conflicts between Ademarist Cryrians and the polytheistic elves took on increasingly religious overtones as Ademarist priests within the court of Vesterholm were spurred on to call for the elimination of heretical populations by those desiring to settle further in Älmark.

The First Regency and Inquisition

In 1041, King Joar II's reign came to an abrupt conclusion after a suspected poisoning. The Cardinal of Vesterholm declared himself regent for the infant Joar III and announced a Church-led inquiry into the old King's death. This effort later became known as the First Inquisition and was utilized by the Church to conduct purges against its enemies in the Court. Blaming the elven populations within the Kingdom for the assassination, the Inquisition expanded to conduct bloody pogroms, marking the beginning of official government policies against nonhumans within its borders as well as the rise of the Cryrian Church as both independent from Asendavian Ademarism and a powerful political force in its own right.

The elves were not the only native group which the Cryrians fought during this period. The nekomimi in Vhydhasz were still powerful and remained the only true naval threat to the island kingdom. Internecine clashes and raids between the two were frequent throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries. The death of King Joar and the unstable regency that followed greatly emboldened Vhydhasz. The subsequent Flaying of Vesterholm in 1045 saw much of the city sacked and destroyed and brought a near-collapse to the Kingdom. The destruction inflicted upon Vesterholm and other coastal settlements grew so severe that the Court was forced to relocate to Leidenstad, which lay sheltered within the Kongsbukta. Though the Kingdom of Vesterholm retained its name, Leidenstad became a permanent capital for the security it offered. The Vhydaszi War dragged on as the Vhydaszi fleets raided Vesterholmi coastlines with impunity. Surviving elements of the Cryrian fleets regrouped and waged an asymmetric war under Lord Admiral Kraskne to protect territories that had been all but abandoned by the regency, heralding future political conflicts between the Lords Admiral and the Church. This period also marks the origin of what would become an extensive system of militias and coastal defenses, as individual islands were forced to defend themselves against the threat of raids. The regency's control over the Kingdom grew extraordinarily thin during this period and was largely held together by the common recognition of the House of Leidensen as the only legitimate and broadly acceptable option for the throne.

Ultimately, it was not fleets that saved the Cryrians from the predations of their northern neighbors, but a plague, which swept through the islands of Vhydhasz. In a twist of irony, Vhydhasz's domination of regional trade routes had exposed it to diseases from overseas, most likely from the island of Älemsi. No Cryrian ships dared venture to Vhydhasz for over a decade, but when King Joar III sent them forth to avenge the humiliations of his childhood, they proved victorious against the badly ravaged nekomimi population and finally captured the capital of Aisis in 1063. The oldest nation on the Isles had fallen, and the Vhydhasz Plague was seen as a sign of divine intervention on behalf of the House of Leidensen thus further cementing their place and that of the Cryrian Church, which would soon loose its inquisitions upon the nekomimi.

Reign of Joar III

As the tenth century neared its end, the Kingdom of Vesterholm ruled over the western swathes of Älmark and the outlying islands, albeit only through a loosely controlled and often squabbling nobility aided by the difficult geography and kept in check by the larger royal fleets. To the mountainous east, the High Places remained the largest and most powerful elven state, while the large and fertile island of Talvere persisted as an entirely independent human Kingdom with little in the way of Cryrian political influences, though it had been introduced to Ademarism a century past. This balance of three powers held until 1090, when an aging Joar III sought to cement his legacy by unifying the two Ademarist states on the Isles through marriage. These efforts faced significant obstacles due to cultural differences between the two kingdoms. Though both technically Ademarist states, Talvere remained heavily influenced by its non-Ademarist practices and primarily viewed Ademar as a manifestation of their goddess Ezethla. Further, Talveri gender norms and thus laws of succession varied from those practiced by the House of Leidensen. Talvere used absolute primogeniture, while Cryrian succession practiced the male preference traditionally held by Vesterholm. These lingering religious differences as well as questions of inheritance proved to be significant obstacles for Joar's efforts.

In 1091, crop failures and the internal scheming of the byzantine Talveri court came to a head, resulting in a widespread and bloody peasant rebellion across the island. To save his fading dynasty, King Nikolai II agreed to wed his heir daughter, Lielsta of Talvere, to Prince Karsten of Vesterholm in exchange for aid in quelling the uprising. The resulting conflict was significant for its brutality, even by the standards of the time. The rebellion which had begun as a backlash against aristocratic abuses and the oppression of the peasantry had developed an ideology of its own, which would be compared by later historians as a rudimentary form of Theocratic Socialism. Ultimately, it is difficult to classify the precise nature of the Talveri Civil War, as it left few records of its own, and most writings on the subject leaned heavily in favor of the victorious clergy and aristocracy who commissioned them. Through the decade-long war, the rebels are said to have coalesced around an Ademarist priest and ideological leader referred to in later writings only as the Mad Monk, supposedly a badly mutilated Cryrian sailor who became a spiritual leader after surviving a keelhauling. Despite this nominal allegiance, however, the rebels typically operated as largely independent communes on lands seized from overthrown nobility.

Thus, the growing ideological component of the rebellion left little room for concession or compromise by either side, and Joar III was particularly keen on claiming a total victory, to both establish his dynasty's legitimacy as the sole rulers of the Isles and to ensure that the Talveri had no cause to renege on their promises(the promised wedding was oft-delayed by Nikolai, much to Cryrian frustrations). The ten-year-long struggle that followed destroyed large swathes of the island as Cryrian and Talveri armies sought to force the rebellion into an open battle. Even the supposed killing of the Mad Monk in 1098 did not bring an end to the violence, and at the time it was widely claimed that the Monk still lived or had returned from the dead, leading to a plague of pretenders as the priest was raised to a cult-like status.

The rebellion eventually petered out by 1101, doomed by its inability to coordinate itself or to cut the Cryrian supply lines by gaining the support of the strongly fortified cities. The scars it left on Talvere, once the fertile jewel of the Cryrian Islands, would take far longer to heal, and the confidence of the aristocracy had been badly shaken. With Nikolai II having perished in the conflict, Joar III now had practically unopposed power both in Vesterholm and the badly weakened Talvere, and the long campaign had ensured a further spread of Cryrian culture among the last native human kingdom. The much-delayed wedding of Karsten and Lielsta marked a momentous occasion, as it not only meant a victorious end to a difficult war, but also the unification of the two southern nations on the Isles.

This shift in the balance of power did not go unnoticed by the vast elven realm that persisted in the highlands. With Talvere all but absorbed into Vesterholm and Vhydhasz a thing of the past, an entire western and southern arc of the Isles had come under Cryrian control, and continued encroachments seemed all but guaranteed. Similarly, Cryrian explorers and settlers continued to venture into the Far North, where Vhydaszi colonies had imploded upon the fall of their homeland. Efforts to control the northern trade routes led to the founding of Tynam March, named after the Lord Admiral sent to take charge of the region. For now, however, Joar III had grown old, and after a long and difficult reign, his legacy, at last, appeared to be secure in the form of a restored and strengthened kingdom. The birth of Prince Edvin to Karsten and Lielsta further secured the future of the new union. Thus the king's final years were largely peaceful and stable.

War with the High Places

With the death of Joar III in 1105 conflict returned to the Isles. While the Crown had in the past years sought to avoid conflict with the formidable elven kingdom in the High Places, the fiercely independent Cryrian nobility often acted without the monarchy's consent or control, claiming lands and then insisting on Leidenstad's support. The reluctance of Joar III to partake in these small scale conflicts during his last years had led to a growing sense of frustration among the aristocrats who ruled near the elven border, and with Joar's demise came renewed tension as the nobility sought to enlarge their holdings once more.

The elves of the High Places were unwilling to sit quietly and await the same fate that had met their lowlands brethren, and the Veiled King, who had now reigned for over a century, knew well the ways of his enemies. Raids from their mountain strongholds grew ever more frequent, stringing out the Cryrian nobility who needed to stretch themselves thin to defend everywhere before being picked off one by one. These tactics led to mounting losses for the frontier houses, who appealed to the Crown for aid. Such a move was not unexpected, and when the recently crowned Karsten rode forth, the elves lured his army into the surrounding hills before ambushing and slaying him at the disastrous Battle of Barren Hill in 1107.

It was expected that the loss of the King would greatly weaken the Cryrians. Indeed, the death of Joar II not so long ago had shown how quickly the Kingdom could fall into an unstable regency. For a time it seemed that this would be the case, as infighting broke out almost immediately in the Cryrian court over who would become the regent for Karsten's sole son and heir, Prince Rikard, who himself had been born mere hours after his father's death on the battlefield. The Cryrian Church, which had conducted the last regency, insisted that it should once again be allowed to have the final say. Against it stood a variety of aristocrats, who had grown wary of the Church's rising influence in Leidenstad, and recalled the purges of the First Inquisition. The elves of the High Places were not content to stand by and give their enemy a chance to recover as the Vhydaszi had done. The largest elven army in the history of the Isles gathered and invaded the coastal plains of the Cryrian heartland. There they launched a brief but brutal chevauchée across the countryside in the hopes of drawing remaining Cryrian forces into an open battle on land. Such a counterattack failed to materialize due to power struggles over the regency and control of the Crown's armies. With winter coming and the growing logistical struggles of maintaining a large army in the field, the Veiled King was forced to seek a more direct route to victory. The elves marched for Leidenstad, knowing that it was at the time not merely a capital, but the only true port on Älmark's coastal plains, and that with its capture the Cryrians would be unable to reinforce themselves from their outlying territories.

Queen Lielsta, depicted commanding Cryrian forces in the Scouring

As the elven armies burned a bloody swathe across the Cryrian hinterlands, they advanced upon a city increasingly consumed by chaos. Yet, as the enemy drew nearer each day and one castle after another fell, the many factions within Leidenstad were forced to unite. With the aid of the loyal Talveri guards who had accompanied her from home, Queen Lielsta fended off attempts to take custody of the infant King and in doing so rallied the local nobility around her. Taking charge of the defense, she ultimately succeeded in holding the city until the Cryrian fleets from Vesterholm arrived and deposited their marines behind the siege lines. The subsequent Battle on the Leiden would see the elven armies forced to withdraw back into the mountains.

The Scouring

After the battle, the Queen's reputation and legitimacy were solidified and aided further by the deaths of many high-ranking members of the priesthood when elven soldiers briefly breached the city walls and burned the Leidenstad Cathedral, with the full Council of Cardinals within. The destruction of such an important holy site along with a general outcry for revenge against the elves who had slain the late King Karsten became a rallying point that could finally unite the factitious aristocracy. What was to follow was known as the Scouring of the High Places, a decades-long campaign into the elven highlands.

The Scouring was not so much a single, continuous military engagement, but rather an extended but deliberate crusade with periods of intense large-scale violence separated by years of slow siegework and raiding. In this regard, it was not so different from early Cryrian expansionism on Älmark in terms of timescale, but it was now being conducted against an equally large, well-organized, and heavily fortified Kingdom. The effort would be a generational one, and at first relied heavily on religious motivations and a desire for vengeance to mobilize the nobility of both Vesterholm and Talvere for such a conflict. In this regard, Queen Lielsta excelled as she played the role of a widow seeking justice against the King's killers. The destruction of the Leidenstad Cathedral gave the Church's new leadership further impetus to both fund the effort and to use its social influence to call upon the Ademarists of the Isles to take up arms. Two years a soldier in the Marches, it was said, was enough to wash away all but the greatest sins in the eyes of Ademar, and to fight honorably until the end could cleanse even the blackest soul.

The Scouring served to bind the disparate Cryrians into a single coherent realm. While conquest had long ago taken Lindesgaard and marriage had brought together Vesterholm and Talvere, it was the war that created a common purpose for these wide and varied cultures. Lower nobility and those who stood to inherit little could find considerable opportunities for advancement in the Marches that made up the front lines, and the presence of the Queen-Regent meant that the courts of Vesterholm and Talvere had essentially moved to these border areas, creating a new center of influence that drew notable individuals together. Though King Rikard came of age during the war and return to Leidenstad to take up the throne, Queen Lielsta remained with her armies. Usage of the region's all-important river network allowed Cryrian longships to bring their all-important naval power to bear, severing elven strongholds from one another and wearing them down one after another. It was a risky business, with Cryrian forces often at an equal risk of being ambushed or cut off due to the elves' in-depth knowledge of their mountainous homeland.

Yet, the Cryrians had the numbers on their side, and technology as well. The need to breach the many mountain citadels propelled some early experiments with gunpowder by the Cryrians. Though these primitive bombs proved entirely incapable of seriously impacting elven walls, the technology's growing spread to anti-personnel weapons created a significant psychological impact where they were deployed and was capable of breaking elven lines on the occasions where they gave open battle. These growing disparities brought the Cryrian forces to the gates of the elven capital, nestled within the mountains. A final year-long siege began, ultimately ending in 1137 with the destruction of the greatest elven city on the Isles and the slaying of the final King of the High Places. The Elven capital was renamed after the Cryrian Queen, and the city of Lielsta was thus born.

The war had changed the political structure of the Isles irreparably. The last great nonhuman power had crumbled and with it the final barrier to Cryrian expansion. only a handful of scattered former vassals to the High Places remained in the north. The conflict further served as a final unifying factor to form the unified Kingdom of Cryria, which was proclaimed on the eve of victory in the ruins of the old elven capital. Queen Lielsta made use of this legal shift and her moment of power to implement Talveri-style absolute primogeniture rules within the House of Leidensen. The growth of Talveri political influence within the union due to heavy Cryrian losses as well as the disproportionate losses suffered by the Cryrian aristocracy due to the long war meant that the unified Kingdom as a whole began to adopt both this and many other Talveri cultural practices. The status of Talvere further ensured its relative independence from the influence of the Cryrian Church for the next several centuries.

The Rose Inquistion

Tragedy struck the Court soon after the Scouring. Even as the High Places fell and the last of the Veiled Kings was slain, King Rikard of Cryria began to show signs of instability. Chronic sleeplessness, frequent panic attacks, and phobias began to undermine his rule and forced an aging Lielsta to return to Leidenstad to maintain order in the Court. The King's sickness became known as the Weeping, and rumors quickly spread of an elven curse afflicting the Crown. It is more likely that Rikard was the first of a series of Cryrian monarchs to be affected by a rare genetic disorder now known as fatal familial insomnia, a prion disease of the brain which causes a slow death through progressively worsening insomnia. The disease is thought to have entered the Leidensen bloodline after its union with the Talveri ruling house, which had previously suffered from the illness.

Whatever the case, Rikard's death so soon after the Cryrian victory led to an almost immediate backlash against the newly conquered elves. Lielsta authorized the so-called Rose Inquisition to conduct violent purges and hunts for elves suspected of witchcraft, and the King's death would be the proximate cause for several expeditions that conquered remaining elven polities around what are now Karlin, Brekkim, and Grimvik, thus completing the unification of Älmark. The Weeping, for its part, continued to plague the Leidensens and the broader Cryrian nobility for generations to come.

The Sorrows

Background

The late 15th-century saw growing divides in the Court, fueled by Church meddling and questions over the succession. The seeds of the conflict were planted with the birth of Princess Charlotte and Prince Isak, both twins born to Queen Anette during the reign of King Ivar. Charlotte was deemed to be the elder of the two by a few moments and was thus proclaimed the Duchess of Lindesgaard, as is tradition for the heir to the Cryrian throne. To further cement a peaceful succession, Prince Isak was promised to the Church, which was to take charge of his upbringing until he came of age and could be inducted into the priesthood. This would, in effect, remove him from the line of succession once he joined the clergy.

However, Ivar had underestimated the machinations of the Church. The powerful twenty-fifth Cardinal Leidenstad saw an unprecedented opportunity to groom the young Prince and place a Church-friendly monarch onto the throne. The Court gradually transformed into a hotbed of intrigue as the King's health declined and his two children drew ever closer to adulthood. Both Charlotte and Isak sought to draw allies to themselves. Many female aristocrats had a vested interest in maintaining Charlotte's right to the throne, as anything else posed a threat to the legitimacy of absolute primogeniture, and thus their own rights to inherit. Many powerful Talveri noblewomen and Duchess Caroline of Karlin rallied around the Princess. Isak for his part gained many powerful friends in the Duchies of Vesterholm and Leidenstad, as well as the Marches of Aisis and Lielsta. Through the efforts of Cardinal Leidenstad, he also clandestinely purchased the loyalty of the Lindesgaard Garrison, thus potentially undermining his sister's control of the Duchy. Gustaf of Tarva, a former the Leidenstad Garrison and mentor to the Prince also became a close advisor. Though Gustaf and a handful of his officers became afflicted by leprosy, Isak would keep them among his retainers, an unusual move at a time when such diseases were greatly feared. Their deteriorating bodies led the unit to be known as the King's Ghouls.

King Ivar passed away in 1498, and with his death, the conflict in the Court came to a head. Both Charlotte and Isak had, by this point, survived multiple assassination attempts. Charlotte had become known for her late-night wanderings in Leidenstad Castle, and Isak's supporters quickly spread rumors that she was suffering from the Weeping, the fatal insomnia which had plagued the Leidensen line and would make her unfit to reign. It would be later theorized that the Princess had been engaged in a secretive affair with the Duchess of Karlin, however, the matter remains heavily disputed by historians, many of whom believe that they were merely roommates.

The Queen's Flight

All these intrigues culminated when Cardinal Leidenstad visited the King in his final hours, ostensibly to prepare for his last rites. When the Cardinal emerged from the King's bed-chamber, he carried with him a final proclamation bearing the Royal Seal - one removing Charlotte from the succession and declaring Isak to be the new rightful monarch. Even as Ivar's corpse turned cold, the Leidenstad Garrison mobilized under Gustaf of Tarva to arrest the Princess and her supporters. Across the Kongsbukta, the Lindesgaard Garrison similarly declared their support for Isak. Charlotte escaped Leidenstad only with the help of the Duchess of Karlin. With the sea routes closed due to the defection of Lindesgaard, the Princess, the Duchess, and a handful of loyal retainers fled into the Highlands and make an arduous winter journey through the hostile Lielsta March to reach Karlin.

Civil War

Even as the self-proclaimed Queen made her escape, the rest of the Kingdom devolved into open war. Talvere, historically wary of the Church's influence, declared itself for the Queen and launched a fleet against Lindesgaard only to see it destroyed over a month-long campaign. Later campaigns on land brought further Talveri defeats when Isak's armies took Storlund and Lavini. In the north, Karlin's small flotilla successfully deters destructive coastal raids from the overcautious leaders of Aisis March. A later invasion into Karlin results in the disastrous Jaedz Campaign, which devastates much of the countryside but is caught by winter and destroyed in an ambush. Karlin's armies then march through the highlands towards the city of Lielsta, whose garrison is thought to be unreliable. Isak's armies remain caught on the far side of the Isles, still occupied by the war against Talvere. To stall the Duchess' march south, Gustaf of Tarva and the King's Ghouls move to Lielsta to take control of the city's defense. The presence of the afflicted soldiers unnerves both the garrison and the besiegers, however, and the former attempts to defect. The Lower City falls in the subsequent insurrection, but forces loyal to Isak hold the strategic Linnake Plateau and its citadel, which controls the passage south. Thus, the war in the north came to a stalemate.

The forces the two claimants had become increasingly bloodied by years of warfare, and both made overtures to the last neutral power in Cryria - Duke Hindrik of Tynam. In the winter of 1515, Tynami ships appeared off Karlin's coast and declared their loyalty for the Queen. As soon as they entered the fortified harbor, however, Tynami naval infantry sacked the city, catching its defenders unaware. Queen Charlotte was killed, ostensibly while attempting to flee the fighting. News of the betrayal reached Duchess Caroline shortly after her forces finally stormed Linnake and slaughtered its starving defenders. The Duchess attempted to continue the war, now for vengeance instead of victory, but with their figurehead lost and their homes now at risk, the Army of Karlin turned on her and forced her to flee.

The Court of Quarters

As the Queen's armies surrendered or fled, Isak set out to return stability to the Kingdom and legitimacy to the House of Leidensen. Cryrian powerbrokers would gather in the ancient walled city of Nederborg to end the long war. Harsh punishments were levied against rebellious aristocrats who declined to swear their loyalty to the King. Those sentenced to death were hung, drawn, and quartered in the town square. Those willing to accept new allegiances forfeited only portions of their wealth and lands, in part due to the Church's efforts to ameliorate the King's desire for vengeance. Dominating the proceedings was the Duke of Tynam, who was both reviled by much of the Kingdom due to his late entry and treacherous actions, but also commanded the last intact force in the Isles. Worries about the Duke's increasingly independent attitude and the need to reward him for his service led to proposals that the Duchy of Karlin be granted to him. The area was still fiercely rebellious with a widespread hatred of the Duke, and it was thought that being forced to occupy the area would occupy Tynam's resources. Isak rejected this scheme. The King had by all accounts grown paranoid over the course of the war, and feared that the still-missing Duchess Caroline might resurface to launch a new uprising, this time with Tynam's backing.

Tynam's reward would ultimately come from Talvere instead of Karlin. Though Talveri holdings on Älmark had fallen and its fleet was destroyed, the island itself remained under the control of the Queen's supporters. In exchange for their return to the fold without further warfare, Talveri autocephaly would be reaffirmed. The lost territories on Älmark were reorganized into the new Duchy of Storlund and granted to Duke Hindrik. These lands offered considerable wealth, but would be more vulnerable than Karlin to royal retaliation in the event that the Duke stepped out of line. Thus, a powerful incentive was created to keep Tynam loyal to Leidenstad.

The Absolute Era

The period from the 16th to the 19th centuries was witness to seismic social shifts as the Crown sought to strengthen its hold over the aristocracy. The Absolute Era was most defined by the centralization of the state. While historically the Isles' geography had granted a great deal of autonomy to local actors, advances in technology and social sciences now allowed for the rise of an absolutist monarchy under the House of Leidensen. This process was in part the culmination of centuries-long efforts to keep the nobility in check, but it also benefitted heavily from military and economic advances. The rise of the cannon had helped to obsolete the individual castles that had symbolized the independent aristocracy, and in their place rose new Royal fortresses guarded by loyal garrisons. The Royal fleets, which had long been an important source of authority across the island nation, now further benefited from improving firepower and shipbuilding, and by this time it had become largely unviable for individual noble houses to field significant modern fleets of their own. Similarly, advances in transportation and infrastructure helped to tie the Isles together under Leidenstad's rule. The 17th century also saw the Church's inquisitions loosed upon Talvere, where the Clergy had historically acted with relative independence both in their politics and their religious interpretations. The Cinder Inquisition meant the end of the autonomous priesthood on the island, as well as the destruction of lingering Talveri shamanic practices. Notably, this destroyed the previously common depictions of a female Ademar on the island, a practice that had originated from efforts to subsume Ademarism into Mlythlaism. After the Cinder Inquisition, Talveri autonomy was no more, and the Crown's grasp in the area solidified.

The absolute monarchy persisted into the mid-1800s, when power began to shift to the Riksdag. The desire for a centralized Cryrian state governed out of Leidenstad proved to be more permanent. Forced language standardizations became common from the 18th century onwards to stamp out various regional dialects and native tongues. While elven communities were successful in resisting these efforts, most local human tongues died out and were replaced by a standardized Cryrian language. The tail end of the Absolute Era was dominated by Cryria's industrialization. Rich sources of coal helped to fuel this revolution, which brought about many of the social changes that ultimately contributed to the movement away from absolutism. Rapid urbanization and the poor quality of life for the growing working class planted the seeds for the social upheavals of the Anarchy a century later. Other scientific advances at the tail end of the Absolute Era gave rise to the Cryrian Social Engineering Program. The movement in many ways co-opted existing sentiments towards nonhumans and social undesirables, and added a pseudoscientific layer that appealed to many proclaimed rationalists of this time. The effort to create a Cryria pure of "Social Undesirables" led to the empowering of the Ministry of Tomorrow, which had initially been created to oversee language and cultural standardization efforts but quickly expanded to become infamous for its systemic targeting of nonhumans, the mentally ill, and progressive dissident movements. The following century would see a marked collapse in nonhuman demographics as a result of forced sterilizations, lobotomies, and other atrocities that sought to dissolve elven and Vhydaszi communities. Much of Nekomimi culture was lost during this time, though coherent elven communities persisted in the Highlands.

With much of the isles firmly under Cryrian control, the Kingdom embarked on a wide variety of imperial ventures during this time, for power, prestige, and an easy means to dispatch troublesome nobility to the periphery. An attempt was made to invade and annex Varletia in the 17th century, though this ultimately failed. To the east, meanwhile, the Free City of Fosden succumbed to Cryrian economic and military pressures and effectively become a vassal state, before being slowly absorbed into the Kingdom. Further abroad, private Cryrian interests created the Mandate of Ellesborg in Arcturia throughout the late 18th century. The pace of Cryrian ventures Älemsi Negdel also accelerated. In previous centuries, the Kingdom had sought to control nearby sea routes by first establishing Tynam and later setting up a network of suzerainty over coastal Älemsi tribes and townships in exchange for protection against raiding steppe nomads. During the Absolute Era, most of the southern Älemsi coast housed some level of Cryrian presence or influence, which allowed the Kingdom significant leverage over the island's external trade. Even so, Cryrian imperialism in Älemsi remained thin on the ground and relied mostly on economic ties and the continued cooperation of Älemsi factions. Few serious military expeditions were to take place on Älemsi, and those that did, such as the infamous Lost Inquisition, petered out in the face of the harsh environment and highly capable local opposition.

The Modern Era

The Great War

The Kingdom partook in the Great War as a member of the Pacific Coalition.

The Cryrian Anarchy

The 1918 New Year's Massacre in front of Karsholm Palace

Though the nation had abandoned its absolute monarchy and adopted constitutionalism, the government remained heavily unrepresentative of the population, with considerable power still concentrated in the hands of the aristocratic Upper Chamber, while the Lower Chamber was dominated by rotten boroughs due to an electoral map modeled off of old noble holdings.

The immediate post-Great War era saw a rise in sporadic but deadly political violence and turmoil that was collectively termed as the Cryrian Anarchy. The name stemmed from government efforts to paint the broad opposing coalition of unions and activists as anarchists, though genuine anarchist movements existed only at the fringes. This crisis was largely fueled by poor working conditions, coupled with repressive government action against labor movements. Violence during this time included the bombing of the Ministry of Defense. The 1918 Siege of Karsholm Palace, where demonstrators blocked the Prince Charles Bridge in response to the suspected murder of imprisoned union leader Nisse Österberg and ultimately culminated in the New Years Massacre when government troops opened fire, killing dozens and wounding many more in subsequent fighting.

The Anarchy eventually subsided as the Cryrian government was gradually pressured to give in to various demands, including constitutional, electoral, and bureaucratic reforms as well as vastly improved worker protections. The domestic turmoil and general postwar malaise led to further consequences abroad. Cryrian influence in domestic Älemsi affairs disintegrated as a result of resurgent Älemsi nationalism, and outposts on Älemsi were peacefully ceded. A referendum was held in ethnically Älemsi northern Tynam on whether it was to remain Cryrian or join the new Älemsi Negdel. While both nations expected and perhaps secretly hoped for the latter outcome, long running disputes between Älemsi groups resulted in a vote to remain Cryrian. In order to rescue its remaining ties with Älemsi Negdel, the Kingdom agreed to forgive Älemsi debts to Leidenstad.

Geography, Wildlife, and Climate

Lielsta's Upper City, located on a plateau in the Cryrian Highlands

Geography

Cryria consists of two main groupings in northern Novaris, the Cryrian Isles and the Duchy of Tynam. The highest point in Cryria is Mount St. Inge, located in the Älmarkii Highlands at 3,781 meters.

Cryrian Archipelago

The Cryrian Isles consist of a total of five main islands and many smaller ones, but the central island of Älmark is by far the largest and most populated. Its coastline is filled with large fjords, bays, and peninsulas. The majority of the archipelago lies between 45° and 60° North. Much of the population lives along the jagged coasts, and the interior of the main island is filled with rivers, mountains, valleys, and forests. The main exception to this rule is the Isles' second-largest island, Talvere, which is notable for its flat and fertile lands.

The main island of Älmark has an extensive river network that runs down from the highlands. The River Leiden is particularly noteworthy despite its short length, as it runs through the capital of Leidenstad from Lake Lasi, where it meets with the island's other internal waterways.

Tynam

Tynam is a detatched portion of the Kingdom located in the Rotantic Circle. It consists of the Tynami Peninsula that juts out of the mainland, and the Tynami Archipelago that runs north of it. The Tynam Straits offer an important route for shipping across northern Novaris.

The Kankaanvesi Forest

Flora

The nation's vast primordial forests have been much reduced by logging and industrialization, however, they remain significant. The countryside near the capital of Leidenstad boasts the Kankaanvesi, a forest of some 3,000 square kilometers. These woodlands are in fact the much reduced remains of the oldest forest on the Cryrian Isles, which were largely chopped down for shipbuilding. What remains was initially preserved out of religious superstition and later as a hunting ground for the Leidensens, though today it is a nature reserve open to all.

Fauna

A number of notable species on the Isles, including snow tigers, the Cryrian Bear, and the Cryrian Bison, saw themselves become increasingly endangered throughout the 19th and 20th centuries as they suffered from hunting and habitat loss. Recently, strong state protections have seen their numbers begin to rise again. Cryrian waters are home to valuable fisheries as well as whale migration routes. Whaling historically played an important role in Cryrian culture, though many species are now protected.

Politics

Government

Parliament

Karsholm Palace during the Winter of 2020

Cryria is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Ulrika II as its head of state. While both the monarchy and the aristocracy retain significant powers and influence, much of the day-to-day affairs of state are handled by the Prime Minister. The Riksdag serves as a bicameral parliament, with the Upper Chamber, the Första Kammaren, controlled by members of the old nobility, and the Lower Chamber, or the Andra Kammaren for the commons. The position of Prime Minister is typically held by the person most able to command the confidence of the Lower Chamber, usually the leader of the party with the most seats. The current Prime Minister is Stur Lundberg of the Social Democrats. Individuals selected as Prime Minister are also traditionally granted the title of Lord Protector of the Realm, in effect making them a part of the nobility for the duration of their service, and thus ensuring that they can command the appropriate respect from the aristocracy.

General elections for the 349 seats in the Andra Kammaren are held every four years. Of these, 310 are fixed constituency seats, while the remainder function as leveling seats. The total number of seats and their assignment is adjusted every ten years based on a national census. Much of the actual legislative power is held here. Most but not all cabinet members are drawn from this chamber, and the Prime Minister must maintain the confidence of the Andra Kammaren to remain in office. Legislation must meet the approval of the Andra Kammaren to pass into law. As such, bills are typically introduced in the lower chamber, though this is not necessarily required.

Seats in the Första Kammaren on the other hand, are unelected and broadly fall into four categories - Titled Seats, Personal Seats, Clerical Seats, and University Seats. Titled Seats are heriditary positions held by the historically important aristocratic families of the Kingdom, and are passed down along with the title in question - for instance, whoever holds the position of the Duke of Tynam also holds the associated Första Kammaren seat. These seats can only be stripped through both a two-thirds vote by the chamber and the approval of the Crown. Personal Seats, on the other hand, are granted directly to an individual by the Crown, usually alongside a knighthood or as a reward. These Seats are not inheritable and cease to exist upon the death or resignation of its holder. Such Seats can also be removed wholly by the monarch's discretion, or by another supermajority vote of the body. Clerical Seats are held directly by the Cardinals of the Cryrian Church and cannot be removed by any means, though the Church may remove and assign Cardinals to hold these positions. Finally, the Universities of Leidenstad, Talvere, and Vesterholm all receive seats in the chamber. Though these seats may be assigned at the discretion of the respective administrations, each institution typically holds a vote among its faculty and students for the position. As with the Church, however, these seats cannot be wholly removed by any means. In every case, the Crown holds the power to create and assign new seats in the Första Kammaren, and the existence of Personal Seats means that the size of the body varies and is not tied to the actual demographics of the Kingdom. Currently, the chamber hosts 412 seats.

Queen Ulrika II, portraited wearing traditional royal regalia
The current Prime Minister of Cryria, Stur Lundberg
The Palace of Glass, home to the Cryrian Riksdag

Historically, the Första Kammaren has held a legislative position equal to that of the Andra Kammaren, but both convention and constitutional reform has reduced its powers in keeping with the democratization of the Cryrian Kingdom. Today, the body retains the power to initiate hearings and parliamentary investigations and to introduce legislation. Legislation passed through the Första Kammaren must also pass the Andra Kammaren. Conversely, the Första Kammaren may review bills from the lower chamber, but cannot reject money bills, nor delay them for more than a month. In other cases, a rejected bill from the Första Kammaren can still be presented for Royal Assent with two-thirds support by the Andra Kammaren. Non-monetary bills can also be delayed for up to a year by the Första Kammaren, a practice which has at times caused considerable controversy. The Första Kammaren has no control over the tenure of the Prime Minister or the Government, and no Prime Minister has been drawn from the chamber since the 20th century.

Monarchy

The Monarch serves as the formal head of state, head of church, and commander in chief of Cryria. The position has historically held absolute power and remained a potent executive even through its waning days, but has been increasingly constrained since the 19th-century. Today, the Monarch typically only makes public appearances at specific formal events and remains a distant figure in daily life and politics.

Oaths of allegiance are made to the sitting Monarch. They can confirm or reject appointments, dissolve the Riksdag, dismiss the Government, grant pardons, and grant or delay royal assent to legislation. All of these powers are, by convention, used sparingly, and often only with the support of the Prime Minister. Uniquely, the Crown may also introduce legislation to the Riksdag, observe sessions, and speak before either chamber despite not having any voting seats of its own. The power to introduce bills has not seen use since 1972. The Crown holds some additional sway through its ability to influence the membership of the Första Kammaren. The reigning Monarch of Cryria also has various ceremonial functions which range from granting honors to meeting with foreign heads of state. The Crown is recognized as the head of the Cryrian Church, but once again serves primarily as a figurehead.

The most significant and independently exercised power belonging to the Monarchy is known as the Right to be Informed. Through this, the Crown effectively has the right to access any government information and to hold its own inquiries, which must be answered to under threat of perjury. Crucially, however, the Government is rarely required to go out of its way to provide information that is not specifically requested, save for instances where it is deemed necessary for the Crown to perform its core duties. A sitting Cryrian Monarch also enjoys full immunity from all prosecution.

The royal family also owns the vast Crown Estates, the largest collection of lands and holdings in the Kingdom. The Estates range from various urban properties to agricultural lands, forests, waterways, and various other holdings. Much of the incomes from these estates are voluntarily directed to the Government, but they give the monarchy considerable influence. Beyond the Crown Estates, the royal family is thought to own some thirty to sixty billion dollars worth of assets and investments, and receives annual discretionary funding from a five CKR-per-person head tax levied across all citizens and residents of Cryria and Ellesborg, save for specific exemptions.

The current monarch is styled Ulrika the Second, Queen of all Cryria by the Grace and Blood of Ademar, Duchess of Vesterholm, Talvere, Karlin, and Leidenstad, Defender of the Faith, Lady Patron of Ellesborg and Fosden. The title of Duke of Lindesgaard has traditionally been delegated to the heir to the throne, often as a sign of confidence by a sitting monarch as Lindesgaard protects the vital straits leading to the Cryrian heartland.

The Government is headquartered at Karsholm Palace, located on an islet within the city of Leidenstad. The Riksdag meets at the Palace of Glass, thus named for the many windows installed in a literal display of transparency for the people. There are several royal residences around the nation, but the primary one is Leidenstad Castle, located in the hills overlooking the city.

Political Parties

Parties
Name Ideology Lower Chamber Seats Government
Cryrian Social Democratic Party Social Democracy 129 Coalition
Cryrian Conservative Party Liberal Conservativism 95 Coalition
Cryrian Green Party Green Politics 55 External Support
Cryrian National Party Social Conservativism, Cryrian Nationalism 33 Opposition
The Red Hundred National Conservativism 29 Opposition
Party of the Rose Agrarian Liberalism 8 Opposition

Foreign Policy

Cryria's foreign policy is handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presently headed by Erland Maravel, the Count of Grimvik. This is not unusual, as the Foreign Ministry has a long history of being dominated by aristocratic families.

The country has operated on the uncodified principle of military non-alignment since the Great War and has thus distanced itself from many of the wider conflicts on Urth. It does however remain a significant arms exporter and has most notably supplied the Republic of Serramal and Älemsi Negdel, both nations with which the Kingdom maintains close trading ties. The Kingdom also has warm economic and cultural relations with most of its immediate neighbors, including Volscina, Varletia, the Varentine League, and Endertopias. Its ties on the Mainland have further expanded to include trade relationships with Antora. Further ties with Mexregiona are maintained through both nations' membership in the Rotantic Congress and the Conference for Amity and Cooperation. Relations with syndicalist and communist powers on the Mainland have been more strained, with significant economic conflicts with Katyunon, Durakia, and Ekvatora.

Cryria further maintains a condominium with the Union of Free Cities in Arcturia in the form of the Crown Mandate of Ellesborg, and holds a seat on the Mandate Directory Council. Multilateral international cooperation has always been an important part of Cryrian foreign policy, and the Kingdom is a member of the League of Novaris after joining in 2020 and was a founder of the International Forum. More historically, the nation also took part in the Common Era calendar conference.

The Kingdom also has a considerable history as a foreign aid provider, most recently having pledged monetary assistance for the Novaris Reconstruction Fund as well as medical aid for the GHSO mission in Southwest Gondwana. This has not been without controversy, however, and the Royal International Development Agency has recently suffered notable scandals with regards to its funds being used for bribery in Serramal. Cryria provided aid to Nystatiszna in the aftermath of the 2021 tsunami, and has also pledged large quantities of vaccines for Kaera'zna. Both decisions took place in tandem with deepening ties between Leidenstad and Borea, with growing Cryrian investments into the Nystatinne whale tourism industry and the continued issuance of guest worker visas to Nystatinne citizens.

Cryrian ties with Tavaris have also expanded as the Tavari Kingdom continued to integrate into Novaris, particularly in the aftermath of its peacekeeping mission in Cavellan. These ties were expected to be marked in a formal state visit by the Cryrian monarch in 2022. Deepening political divides in Tavaris due to the ongoing Acronist secession referendum resulted in a cancellation of the visit, however.

The twenty-first century has brought forward mounting challenges to the Kingdom's foreign policy doctrine, with difficulties caused by the Volscine Civil War leaving behind lingering questions about the nation's ability to continue avoiding the conflicts on the mainland.

Military

The three main branches of the Cryrian Defense Forces(Historically and commonly known simply as "The Defense") are the Cryrian Army, the Royal Cryrian Air Force, and the Royal Cryrian Navy. The Cryrian Military is heavily supported by domestic industry.

The indigenously produced Örn JAS 39 Gripen is widely symbolic of Cryrian military and industrial capability

Due to Cryria's relatively small population and tendency to avoid joining larger power blocs, the nation has historically used a combination of well-trained professional soldiers alongside widespread conscription to boost its numbers in wartime and gain access to specialized skill sets among the civilian population. Most Cryrian men and women, barring various exemptions and alternative service options, are drafted at the age of 18 and serve for two to three years before being cycled back out into the reserves. Reservists are liable for up to 30 days of service a year during peacetime, theoretically as late as age 40, or 50 in the case of commissioned officers. Those who have served at least 20 days in a three-year span are considered to be a part of the Active Reserves. The concept of National Service in general remains popular in Cryria, and it is seen as a uniting force within the nation. However, younger generations increasingly look to alternatives to conscription to fulfill the National Service requirement, and the Cryrian military itself has steadily expanded its use of professional forces. Today, roughly half of active-duty personnel are conscripts, while conscripts make up about 80% of the overall defense structure when considering the reservist system. The lower ranks of the Army contain the highest proportion of conscripts, while the Air Force and Navy have the highest proportion of professional servicepeople. Conscription, and National Service continue to play an important role in the nation's Total Defense doctrine, which seeks to build societal resolve and cohesion to counter hybrid threats that go beyond the military sphere.

The Cryrian Military presently has a total of 306,000 active soldiers and 800,000 active reservists, with another 800,000 inactives. The development of this force has been heavily influenced by Article 6 of the Cryrian Constitution, which prohibits the deployment of Cryrian conscripts outside of Cryrian soil. As such, the Cryrian military emphasizes the defensive and deterrence aspects of its missions, and Cryrian doctrines are heavily focused on fighting conventional but asymmetric wars to preserve Cryrian independence against potentially more powerful aggressors. This stance has been heavily influenced by the unstable politics of Novaris. Built-in redundancies, extensive maskirovka, and hardened bases and shelters to preserve military assets are a common theme, and the civilian sphere is touched by this as well - for instance, the national highway network is built to act as backup runways for the air force. The Novaran Cold War had similarly led the Kingdom to establish an extensive network of fallout shelters, through both building regulations and the hardening of government facilities. Today, this civil defense network is theoretically capable of sheltering 55% of the Cryrian population. Article 6 has also led the Cryrian government to hire foreign soldiers for expeditionary purposes. These units contain Cryrian citizens in leadership positions but are typically made up of non-citizen soldiers.

The most famous of these groups form the Cryrian Foreign Legion, a division strength unit that makes use of both professional Cryrian officers and non-citizen troops. The Foreign Legion is known for containing large numbers of Ethalrians and Ethalrian-descended soldiers, and has been enshrined in popular culture as an effective but sometimes disreputable unit that asks few questions about a soldier's past and offers a clean slate to all. The Legion’s notoriety is further heightened by its high esprit de corps and long history, as well as its guardianship of the Island of Trauer, which guards the way into the Cryrian heartland. Most notably, the Foreign Legion is the only such unit to formally and fully operate under the auspices of the Cryrian military. In this regard, the Foreign Legion also offers full military benefits and pathways to citizenship, either upon completing a period of good service or upon being injured in service to the Kingdom.

Due to extensive investment in civilian nuclear energy and expertise and access to the necessary materials, Cryria has developed a policy of nuclear latency. Suggestions that the Kingdom has assembled weapons of mass destruction are denied.

Crime and Law Enforcement

Most day-to-day civil law enforcement is handled under the umbrella of the National Police, while the Säkerhetspolisen serves as a specialized domestic intelligence agency handling counter-espionage and anti-terrorism activities. There are some overlaps between the remits of the two organizations. In addition to normal policing activities, the National Police also operates the Special Task Force, a police-tactical unit for high-risk situations. The State Protection Service provides security for high-level government officials, visiting dignitaries, and government buildings, while the royal family is protected by the Royal Guard, a fully functional Cryrian Army infantry brigade consisting of 6,000 professional soldiers. The modern iterations of the National Police, Säkerhetspolisen, and SPS can all be traced back to the need for improved security forces during the Anarchy.

Unlike similar forces in many other nations, the Cryrian Coast Guard is a purely civilian law enforcement arm. It functions as a part of the National Police and operates a range of largely unarmed aircraft and patrol vessels for maritime peacekeeping and search and rescue purposes. More serious situations are typically handled by the military.

The Central Intelligence Directorate functions as the government's primary intelligence-gathering arm and serves to coordinate intelligence gathering functions from both military and civilian departments. Notably, the CID maintains the Obsidian interception facilities for the purpose of countering terrorism and organized crime. The system has been the source of notable controversies for the civil liberties threats it poses. The CID also operates the Kingdom's primary dedicated cyberware units, a capability which has been heavily invested in throughout the 21st century.

The highest punishment in Cryria is a life sentence, which is of indeterminate length. Capital punishment has been outlawed in civilian contexts, though it can still be used under the nation's military justice system. In a military context, an execution is typically carried out by firing squad, but this punishment is exceedingly rare in the modern era.

Euthanasia is banned in Cryria, and same sex unions were officially recognized in 2021. Historically, homosexuality has been decriminalized, but its existence was still denied by the government.. Even prior to official recognition, however, such unions were legal in Ellesborg, which became a popular loophole for those seeking to exploit it since all marriages performed in Ellesborg were automatically treated as official in Cryria as well. Abortion has historically been legal and widely accessible.

Copyrights in Cryria are protected for the life of the creator plus 70 years.

Economy

The Cryrian economy boasts a GDP of 1.8 trillion. Initially built off the export of raw materials including lumber, coal, petroleum, uranium, and other extraction activities, the nation has grown to develop a strong technological and manufacturing base, especially in the automotive and aerospace industries. The Cryrian economy and government remain major investors in a wide range of research & development activities, with one of the highest R&D to GDP ratios in the world. The Cryrian financial sector is notable mostly for the high levels of confidentiality it offers to its clients.

The Cryrian government operates the Royal Investment Authority, a large sovereign wealth fund fueled by excess natural resource revenues. The RIA’s secretive nature makes it difficult to determine its exact investments, though it is thought to have built up over 1.3 trillion SHD in assets over its history.

Defense

Though it cannot be said to compare with those of great powers, the Kingdom of Cryria has built up a remarkably sophisticated and comprehensive domestic defense industry, thanks to its already strong presence in the aerospace and auto industries, as well as its strong technological base and ever-present markets. Major players in this field include Hejeld AB, Tarva Defense Systems, Emmerson Land Systems, Marlberg AS, and Örn AB. Most of the Cryrian military is in some shape or form supported by domestic industry, which has also had extensive dealings abroad. Notable, Hejeld AB purchased the rights to license build the Strv 122, a Cryrian variant of the Volscine CAP-80. The nations of Serramal and Älemsi Negdel are both heavily supplied by the Cryrian defense industry as well, and the latter is home to a major subsidiary of Hejeld AB known as Hejeld AN, which itself works extensively with both Älemsi and Cryrian forces. The Örn JAS 39 Gripen in particular has become symbolic of Cryrian defense manufacturers as an independently developed fourth-generation fighter jet. The actions of this industry have not been without controversy, however, and arms sales to Serramal are often scrutinized for both the proliferation risks as well as their potential to draw the Kingdom into unwanted foreign entanglements.

Transport

The most important component of the public transit system is the National Ferry Service, which effectively links the archipelagic nation together. As of present, there are no direct bridges or tunnels which link the different islands of the nation to each other, and instead, a sophisticated boat network operated by the Ministry of Transportation provides quick and easy transit around the Kingdom.

The Älmark Circular is a network of highways and railways that runs in a loop around the main island, connecting coastal cities and sending smaller offshoots further inland. The Talveri Circular functions similarly on the island of Talvere.

Science and technology

18th century industrialization brought with it a scientific revolution. In modern Cryria, the traditional engineering industry remains an important source of new developments, but pharmaceuticals, electronics, and various high-tech industries have gained considerable ground. Honningfjord's "Cryptic Circle" has become home to rapidly growing blockchain-based enterprises, fueled by a supportive regulatory environment and strong financial and tech sectors in the country. The industry, which consists of mostly small enterprises, employs around 5,000 Cryrians across some 900 companies and has an estimated total value of over 200 billion SHD.

Energy

While Cryria continues to be an important fossil fuel exporter, and its total oil production of 1,927,054 bbl/day makes it one of the largest in the world. The Kingdom as historically also enjoyed large coal reserves which fueled its industrialization. The importance of coal as an export and an energy provider has declined precipitously throughout the 20th century. The country continues to operate a number of deep pit and opencast mines in the Cryrian Highlands and extracts some 15 million tonnes annually. This production is used primarily for steel-making, fertilizers, chemicals, plastics, medicines and road surfaces, as coal has been entirely phased out as a means of energy production. Open questions about the future of global demand for oil as an energy source have also led the Cryrian oil industry to invest in other products, primarily plastics.

Domestically the Kingdom has increasingly begun to move towards more sustainable forms of energy, with considerable government investments in renewables. The country is well suited for the implementation of hydropower, due to its many fjords and rivers. Nuclear power also plays a major role and has led to the nation's informal nuclear doctrine which has seen the creation of a considerable reserve of nuclear material. Wind and wave power have also begun to play larger roles in the Cryrian energy market. The country also makes heavy use of biofuels, driven by its large forestry sector. Biofuels especially play a large role in the lives of everyday citizens, with all fuel stations offering it as an option and flexible fuel vehicles being quite common. It is the stated aim of the Cryrian government to fully transition to fossil-fuel-free traffic by 2030.

Unionization

The history of organized labor in Cryria can be traced back to the powerful urban guilds that predated the Conquest. Modern unionization, however, began with 18th-century coal miner's unions that formed in Lielsta March to combat harsh working conditions. These movements were fiercely opposed by both management and government action. Strikes and shutdowns were frequently met by militarized responses, and the Säkerhetspolisen was initially founded during this period as a specialized force to target or subvert labor movements. These cycles of violence and repression led to heightened radicalization among union leadership, which increasingly became associated with a wide spectrum of progressive politics in the otherwise heavily conservative country.

The matter came to a head during the Cryrian Anarchy, during which unions became a centerpoint for a variety of anti-government actions that ranged from both peaceful and extremely violent. The ultimate series of compromises and political reforms undertaken to end the conflict both legitimized and popularized the union movement, while effectively splitting it off from more radical groups who were willing to pursue further conflict. The subsequent expansion of unions beyond their traditional urban factories and mines further diluted the power of hardline elements in union elections, and effectively dragged these entities away from the far-left.

Today, there are five government-recognized trade union confederations which serve as umbrella organizations across a wide array of industries and entities. The government frequently consults and negotiates with these groups regarding regulations and legislations, and they can hold considerable political and economic sway. They are as follows:

  • The Cryrian Social Confederation of Labour
  • The Confederation of Cryrian Labour
  • The National Confederation of Labour
  • The Cryrian Professional Confederation
  • The Cryrian Worker's Confederation

Of these, the Cryrian Professional Confederation is the only one accredited to negotiate on behalf of management. The remaining four are allowed to negotiate and conclude agreements for employees across all sectors. All five of these Confederations hold elections every four years for their officers. These elections alternate with regularly scheduled Government elections, and have been called a parallel political system in the Kingdom. Some specific professions, such as journalists, maintain their own wholly independent organizations which are similarly consulted by the government for their specific industries. Student unions also maintain presences on most university campuses, though they are typically small and limited in scope.

Union membership in Cryria peaked in the 1980s at around 95% of the workforce. The early 2000s brought about a marked decline for for Cryrian unions. A major scandal erupted when Confederation mutual aid groups were found to be engaging in hoarding and price gouging amidst shortages brought on by the Volscine Civil War. These organizations were characterized as effective black markets, and their reputations suffered immensely. The rise of communist elements in Volscina similarly revived associations between organized labor and political violence in the popular consciousness. A return to strong anti-union stances by the Conservative-led Marlberg Government dealt further damage. The Confederations also initially struggled to appeal outside of their traditional blue-collar base in a time when white collar professionals were becoming increasingly prevalent.

Today, Cryria has a union density of 65%, and a collective bargaining coverage of 88%. These rates are both still relatively high and demonstrate that the Confederations continue to wield considerable influence, particularly in blue-collar sectors. However, the numbers do not include the many classes of Government employees who are banned from unionizing. Nor does it encompass guest workers, as the Confederations only accept Cryrian citizens as members despite the growing importance of foreign labor. Cryrian unions are widely credited for the Kingdom's high workplace standards and relative political openness, though they also face criticisms for taking up many protectionist, xenophobic, and nationalist stances. The Confederations were notable opponents of the Kingdom's decision to join the League of Novaris, in a break from the Lundberg Government they had helped to power.

The Confederations continue to describe themselves as champions of progressive causes within the Kingdom, but as they have grown to encompass a wide range of groups and industries, the votes of their member base can vary wildly. This has generally prevented them from issuing overt political endorsements. A notable exception to this rule was in the 2020 Cryrian elections, when all the Confederations save the CPC endorsed the Social Democrats in order to halt further anti-union policies. This action was considered to be a significant factor in the SD victory that ended almost 20 years of Conservative-led Government.

Demographics

Much of Cryria consists of the descendants of ethnically Asendavian migrants and local human populations, however, the nation has seen subsequent waves of migration, particularly from the Zapolese population in the Mandate of Ellesborg and Ethalrian immigrants who arrived after that nation's collapse. Cryria remains almost entirely populated by humans in the present day, with elves and nekomimi existing as small and historically marginalized communities making up 1% and 0.6% of the population respectively. The Braiorvitl District in Lielsta is the largest of the so-called Minority Districts in the country, and home to much of the elven population. Similar minority-dominated areas include the Ethalrian influenced neighborhoods in Tarva, the Volscine areas in Valngi, and the Serramal and Zapolese districts in Leidenstad, though these are often far better integrated and more widely accepted.

Most of the Cryrian population is concentrated along the coasts or in fertile river valleys further inland.

Language

The official language of Cryria is Cryrian, an Asendavian offshoot that remains mutually intelligible with other Asendavian dialects despite heavy influences from the native human languages previously spoken in ancient Vesterholm, Lindesgaard, and Talvere. Varletian is also spoken in portions of southern Cryria, particularly in Lindesgaard, the Arm of Storlund, and portions of Vesterholm.

Religion

The Cryrian Church of Ademar serves as the nation's primary and official religion, with roughly 70% of Cryrians considering themselves to be practicing members. The Cryrian Church is formally headed by the Monarch, and certain members of the clergy are given seats on the Första Kammaren and other privileges' as if they were equal to the nobility. This has allowed the Church to retain a measure of its historical political power in modern Cryria, which it has most notably used to oppose euthanasia and the official recognition of same-sex couples, and the institution has generally served as a bastion of social conservativism.

The Cryrian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and other religions are practiced on a smaller scale, most notably Vaerism, which was brought by Ethalrian migrants and continues to be practiced by 1% of the population. Cryrian Elves also continue to practice their own form of paganism.

Akuanism was first brought to the Isles in the 20th century by Borean guest workers. The expansion of guest worker programs has resulted in the establishment of two permanent shrines, one in Leidenstad and another in the town of Grimvik. Both shrines are primarily dedicated to the goddess Sakami, the patron deity of fisherfolk. Many Nystatinne guest workers in Cryria work in the Kingdom's fishing industry, and offerings at the shrines are thought to bring good fortune and safety to those who ply the dangerous northern waters. As such, adherents of Akuanism in Cryria are almost exclusively foreign nekomimi. Despite this, Sakami herself has evolved into a common political symbol used by various nonhuman-rights advocates after a failed effort by local councilmen on Grimvik to have the shrine removed, and the fish-shaped charms associated with the goddess have become fairly popular among Cryrian scrimshanders.

Älemsi Shamanism is practiced by Ay peoples in northern Tynam, and has around 300,000 adherents as of the 2022 census.

Pre-Conquest

Mlythlaism

Before the Cryrian Conquests, Talvere was a primary economic and cultural hub in the Isles, with a religion that spread to Lindesgaard, Vesterholm, and even saw some elements absorbed by the ancient Cryrians. The Talveri pantheon was centered upon the goddess Mlythla, represented by a triskelion and said to exist simultaneously as three separate entities incorporating the cycle of life as the Talveri understood it - the Ezethla, Mhuilka, and Cxouxa.

The Ezethla represented youthful strength, motivation and intellect, and was most often portrayed as a warrior or a scholar.

The Mhuilka, representing middle age, was worshipped as a goddess of both fertility and protection. This aspect was treated as the central entity of Mlythla, as she was often invoked for plentiful harvests on the heavily agrarian island. She was also treated as a representation of life in all its varied forms. A common artistic depiction of the Mhuilka found in surviving Talveri scrolls shows monstrously deformed children clawing their way out of her belly, thus demonstrating life born from death. Such portrayals initially led Cryrian arrivals to view the Mhuilka's children as representations of some evil aspect within Talveri religion. Such deformities were not seen negatively by the Talveri, who considered all forms of life to be born from the Mhuilka, including the strange and the twisted. Deformed children and individuals with visible cancers in Talveri society were seen as bearers of new and unique forms of life blessed by the Mhuilka, and were often inducted as griots on this basis. Early Cryrian visitors to Talvere also noted that Talveri griots were frequently accompanied by strange-looking hounds. Further study of Talveri records suggests that they maintained kennels of dogs deliberately infected by transmissible facial tumors as a form of worship.

The Cxouxa represented the wisdom and cruelty of old age. She was typically shown as a withered old woman, often cold and nihilistic in the face of her impending demise. Talveri legends surrounding her portray her as a distant and secretive entity who is quick to curse and punish, but one who also holds the knowledge of long years. The Cxouxa was typically invoked as a representation of death, bearing a lantern at the end of her staff to guide departed souls to their place in Mlythla's Garden of Riot.

Talvere's position as the most populous region in the pre-Conquest isles allowed the Talveri Pantheon to spread, in one form or another, across the various other human statelets of the region. The largely decentralized nature of Talveri religion meant that the worship of Mlythla varied wildly outside and sometimes even inside its borders. Ancient shrines and scrimshaw pieces dedicated to Mlythla have been found in Nederborg dating back to the first Cryrian colonization of the island, suggesting that the deity had been in some way recognized by the otherwise still-Ademarist Cryrians. Similarly, several accounts by Cryrian tradesmen and missionaries mention visitations to Talvere and encounters with their griots.
"I am sorry to report to his majesty that in all my travels, I was unable to learn anything of note from the Talvan preachers who wander the countryside. It seems they often know us for outsiders, and so rarely speak in our presence. Yet, I shall endeavor to describe them best I can. These priests, who they refer to as griots often travel from village to village, though some who bear the most awful malignancies reside permanently in the great cities along with the oldest and highest of their number. There are still twisted and deformed creatures which walk the roads, accompanied only by their sickly and bloated hounds. No alderman will deny one bearing the grey cowl a bed, nor would any malcontent dare waylay them. There are further many who are fit and whole, and serve as itinerant surgeons in addition to sealing marriages and other priestly affairs which are more familiar to us." - Modernized translation of explorer Olov Persson's report to King Magnus of Vesterholm
Worship of the Talveri pantheon began to decline in the face of rising Cryrian power in the Isles. Ademarist priests were far more centralized and conducted active missionary work in an effort to convert lands that came under Cryrian influence. Though Magnus conquered Lindesgaard and ascended to the throne of Vesterholm, griots of Mlythla remained active on the island for some two centuries afterwards. Mlythlaism declined and was ultimately ended entirely as part of the First Inquisition. In Talvere itself, Ademarism absorbed a number of existing religious structures. This religious shift, though gradual, did not come without conflict. Though Talvere remained an independent state up until the Unification, the Cryrian Church was active in its efforts to establish direct influence over Talveri religious life, and Cryrian trade and marriages were often used to influence the local elite. This clashed fiercely with longstanding traditions of decentralized religious institutions, and helped contribute to the Talveri Civil War beginning in 1091.

The semiautonomous religious structure of Talvere persisted for centuries after its inclusion into the Kingdom of Cryria, and Ademar continued to be frequently depicted as an aspect of Mlythla. This state of affairs eventually clashed with the growing centralization of the Cryrian state during the Absolute Era. The old religions of the Isles had long been at odds with both the Church and the rising state, which viewed these forms of worship as sign of a decadent past at best, and a potential threat to their authority at worst. The Cinder Inquisition wiped out the last griots of Mlythla, and the worship of Ademar was brought in line with the dogma of the Cryrian Church. Despite no longer having overt worshippers, elements of the religion were deeply absorbed by Cryrian Ademarism and general society over centuries of intermingling. The late-nineteenth century saw a renewal of popular and academic interest in Talveri mythology and history, though much of this was heavily distorted by perceptions of the time.

Mlythlaism provided a powerful backdrop for disability rights movements in the Kingdom, and is considered to be an underlying factor for why Cryrian eugenics movements did not typically target the physically disabled in the way that foreign equivalents did. In modern times, Mlythla's Triskelion has become adopted by some environmentalist groups. Mlylthaist symbology remains present in other parts of life, for instance, many universities and libraries have wings named after Ezethla, and hospitals often reference Mhuilka. Various pieces of art, music, and literature continue to draw elements from Mlythlaism as well, in keeping with Talvere's influence as an artistic center in Cryria.

The God-in-Flesh

The oldest recorded organized religion on the Cryrian Isles was established by the Vhydaszi, who worshipped an entity referred to as the God-in-Flesh. Most manuscripts on the topic were destroyed by the inquisitions after the Fall of Aisis, but it is generally understood that the Vhydaszi believed that the Urth was in fact the corpse of a dead deity, and that all mortal life was "As maggots feasting upon the flesh of divinity." In Vhydaszi creation myth, the consumption of this fallen god is what gave sapient life its intelligence, and that as such all sapients bore within them a small piece of the deity. In dying and returning to the Urth, that piece was returned, and upon the death of all life the God-in-Flesh would awaken anew. Whether the Vhydaszi saw this as a desirable outcome or merely an inevitable one remains a topic of debate. The Vhydaszi practice of sapient sacrifices is often pointed to as a form of worship to renew the God-in-Flesh, but most Vhydaszi rituals are poorly understood, and the practice of sacrifice in particular has often been heavily propagandized by Cryrian-written primary sources. Similarly, the religion's association with ritual cannibalism is also believed to be heavily overstated by modern academics.

The worship of the God-in-Flesh is thought to have been a dominant factor in Vhydaszi society and political life. Vhydasz is known to have been largely governed by its powerful priesthood, and temples were synonymous with seats of power. Vhydaszi priests also played the roles of scholars and perhaps most importantly navigators and cartographers. The maps made by Vhydasz were highly sought after by those who would traverse the Northern Way, and these same maps would become a guiding force behind Cryrian expansion after the Fall of Aisis.

Health

Tobacco products are highly regulated and heavily taxed, but there remains a niche market for them, particularly as expensive examples are sometimes a status symbol among the upper class. Cardiovascular diseases remain the most common cause of death in the country.

Mental health has historically been a fraught subject in Cryria. The rise of eugenics in the 19th century came with the establishment of the Ministry for Tomorrow, which aimed to restructure Cryrian society along new eugenicist ideals. In this regard, the mentally disabled and ill were frequently targeted for forced lobotomies and sterilizations. This was often be targeted towards nonhumans and "societal undesirables." The dismantling of the Ministry in the 1970s and the official end of eugenicist policies in Cryria allowed for new mental health infrastructure to be developed.

Education

Children aged 1-5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public kindergarten. Between ages 6-18, children attend comprehensive school which is compulsory outside of certain, limited exceptions. After completion, many students continue on to a university, which is often seen as necessary to beginning a career and also offers a way to defer or reduce National Service requirements for certain academic pursuits. The school system, from beginning to end, is largely funded by taxes and non-university institutions are almost entirely state run, outside of certain specialized schools.

Culture

Cuisine

Cryria is home to a number of breweries and vineyards, with Akvavit and various wines being a popular drink during special occasions. The government holds a monopoly on the sale of strong liquors outside of restaurants and bars, and a Church-supported temperance movement during the 19th century lead to the minimum drinking age being set at 18. Foreign alcohol brands are popular within the country, whose own alcohol never gained any international fame.

Entertainment

There is a small industry of Cryrian-language films, however, they are quite niche and limited to domestic markets. Markedly more successful is, surprisingly, Serramal-language films. The Little Marago District of Leidenstad attracted a significant number of artists from Serramal due to purges throughout the 1990s. Serramali cinema, frequently defined by their use of music, melodrama, and colors, were quick to stand out in Cryrian markets and have become a significant pop-culture phenomenon. The Kingdom also hosts a well developed video game industry, due to its strong technological base and large numbers of skilled programmers.

Media

The government funded Cryrian News Network is the largest and oldest media network in Cryria, and operates over radio, television, and most recently internet.

Whaling

Whale hunting has been an important part of Cryrian culture for centuries, dating back to before the Conquest itself. Many Cryrian sagas depict whale hunts as both a means of sustenance and a demonstration of a clan's prowess. Early whaling was both difficult and dangerous, and success was seen as a sign of heavenly favor. The Drifting Throne from which the Cryrian monarch rules is supposedly made from the bones of a blue whale slain by King Mangus in his quest to unite the Cryrian clans beneath him. The cultural importance of whalebones led to the development of scrimshaw as a Cryrian art form. The practice likely began as a leisure activity for sailors, but scrimshaw pieces often took on superstitious qualities and are still treated as good luck charms for sailors. Particularly old or well-crafted pieces were handed down from generation to generation and often had stories and myths attached to them and the whales they originated from, and even in modern times many Cryrian vessels, including those of the Royal Navy, will house a scrimshaw engraving out of tradition.

Technological advances would bring the rise of industrial whale hunting, and Cryrian prominence as a whaling country peaked in the 19th century. The industry would come under the dominance of a number of traditional whaling families who formed their own competing corporations to exploit the waters of the North Pacific. The decline of whale stocks as well as falling demand for whale oil would cause the industry to rapidly fade in the 20th century.

Whaling persists in northern Cryria and is considered to be a cultural mainstay of the Kingdom, while scrimshaw remains a traditional art form. Even so, increasingly strict regulations have limited the industry to hunting non-endangered species. Whaling families still maintain small fleets of ships for this purpose, and every year an average of 200 beluga whales, 360 narwhals, and 820 minke whales are hunted, as well as nearly 1,000 pilot whales and 2,300 porpoise. The whales are hunted both for ceremony and for their meat, oil, and ivory, though a mixture of falling demand, political controversy, and weak recruitment for whaling ships has kept the commercial side of the industry on a downward trend. The increasingly important whale tourism sector has also clashed with whale hunting in the past, and government limits on whale catches have rarely been fully reached since the 20th century.