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
942,328 km2 (363,835 sq mi)
Population
• Estimate
36,000,000
• Density
38.2/km2 (98.9/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)estimate
• Total
$2.2 trillion
• Per capita
$61,111
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, Endertopias, the Kelamí League, and Volscina to the south. Cryria's coastlines run along the Keigan Sea in the west and the Cerenerian 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. Talveri dominions around Oshombran and Halyu which had been largely untouched by the conflict would continue to accept nominal Talveri rule but grew increasingly independent following the Cryrian ascension. Even as the Isles were unified these regions would remain on the periphery of Leidenstad's power for centuries to come.

Artist's depiction of Queen Lielsta

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. 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.

A Cryrianized depiction of Queen Lielsta during the Scouring that is commonly used in modern popular media

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.

Depiction of a fortified Scouring-era Cryrian settlement in the Highlands

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 Gösta 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 Gösta. 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

Depiction of the city of Oshombran during the industrial revolution

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 decades immediately following the Sorrows saw Peninsular Cryria effectively brought back under the House of Leidensen's control. While the region had successfully avoided joining the civil war, the city of Oshombran now found itself sorely pressed by the increasingly united Taragai clans from the east, and sought Leidenstad's aid. It was ultimately Cryrian armies that waged this war, and in doing so they extended and solidified Leidenstad's power along the coastline. They also secured access to the comparatively undamaged Peninsula's wealth at a time when the Leidensen treasury was still suffering immensely from the events of the Sorrows. Further efforts were made to push inland towards the core Taragai territories, but difficult terrain and fierce local resistance precluded such efforts.

The 17th century also saw the Church's inquisitions loosed upon both Talvere and the newly formed Peninsular March, where the Clergy had historically acted with relative independence both in their politics and their religious interpretations or outright retained Mlythlaist practices. 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.

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. 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. Cryrian influence was also established along similar lines in Aikthudr'zhur. Further abroad, private Cryrian interests created the Mandate of Ellesborg in Arcturia throughout the late 18th century.

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.

The Constitution of 1865

By the mid-19th century, industrialization had brought social changes with it. Both the working and middle classes were expanding and newly empowered, while the Royal Cabinet began to take on more of the day to day tasks of government. The Riksdag largely existed as an advisory body formed from the aristocracy, clergy, and various other privileged entities, but the Crown was faced with growing demands that it be expanded in both representation and authority. These calls were increasingly supported by the influential Prime Minister, Rikard Östberg.

In 1864 Queen Ulrika I began to display symptoms of the Weeping. The Crown's sudden weakness proved fortuitous for advocates of liberalization, and in 1865 at the advice of her Prime Minister, the deteriorating Queen acquiesced to the creation of a new constitution from her sickbed. The Constitution of 1865 established the two separate houses of the Riksdag and placed defined limits on the power of the Crown. While the Monarchy remained a powerful executive, it could no longer act unilaterally and the Absolute Era effectively came to an end. For instance, the Riksdag's approval was now required for the passage of all legislation and decrees and though the Crown could continue to appoint the cabinet and the Prime Minister, these appointments similarly required the Riksdag's confidence. While the monarchy retained the right to conduct diplomacy, receive and appoint ambassadors, and make war and peace the Riksdag now controlled the national budget and in practice any international agreements would require its support. The Monarch could still unilaterally issue pardons, command the military and government agencies, propose and block legislation and appointments, and ultimately dissolve the Riksdag, but in practice it could no longer function without it.

The expansion of the Riksdag saw movement away from its almost exclusively aristocratic roots. However, even the newly formed elected Lower Chamber remained dominated by the wealthy due to a broad array of limitations on those who could vote and run for office, while the Upper Chamber maintained significant influence in its own right. The Kingdom's electoral divisions were still based upon old aristocratic landholdings, which created a very uneven distribution of power in favor of more conservative rural regions and led to the proliferation of so-called rotten and pocket boroughs. Voting for the Lower Chamber was limited to citizens over the age of 25 who could prove their literacy and had not been barred from voting as part of a criminal punishment. The former restriction in particular was used as a part of wider efforts to enforce a standardized Cryrian language over the country.

Further, the Constitution of 1865 did little to enshrine rights beyond that of the vote. It was particularly criticized for the lack of protections in regards to free expression and fair trials, and though various guarantees were provided through both tradition and subsequent legislation, these ideals did not become a constitutional fixture until 1929.

The Albertine Era

King Albert ascended to the throne after the passing of his mother, Queen Ulrika I. The Albertine Era was marked by close cooperation between the Crown and the Riksdag, propelled by the King's own past support for the signing of the constitution and his close relationship with Prime Minister Östberg. Even so, King Albert proved to be remarkably active within his new role and deliberately sought to keep the Crown in a leadership position - Though now with the Riksdag's support. Throughout his reign he actively courted the rising nationalist sentiments within the country and sought to solidify the Cryrian identity. Under his reign the National Service System was modernized and standardized throughout the Kingdom, and a truly national education system was put into place along with the roots of many modern day social services.

Albert also proved to be a powerful proponent of the early eugenics movement as well as ongoing efforts to eliminate regional dialects and force the adoption of a standard Cryrian language. As King he was considered to be the father of the Ministry for Tomorrow which enacted what he outlined as his Social Engineering Program. The program in many ways co-opted existing sentiments towards nonhumans and so-called "Social undesirables," and added a pseudoscientific layer that appealed to many proclaimed rationalists of this time. While the Ministry was initially founded to oversee the Government's language and cultural policies, it quickly expanded and became infamous for its systemic targeting of nonhumans, the mentally ill, and dissident movements. The century following Albert's coronation saw 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. Albert reportedly summed up his own views in a speech to the Riksdag as early as 1867:
 
 
It is incumbent upon us as leaders and statesmen to understand that we now reside in a new age of science and reason. To wait for the unfit and undesirable to perish of nature's own accord is the way of animals and primitives who know no progress and thus have only patience. We however must now claim the tools our own intellect has given us and with them the responsibility to command not merely our own destinies but the destiny of the Cryrian nation. As we once moved from the caves and the wilderness to construct our own domains, so too shall we now engineer a society within which to reside that will withstand all tests of time and troubles. This obligation is neither to ourselves nor to God nor even to our children, but to the thousand nameless generations who will follow in our footsteps.
 

 

Albert also inherited a Kingdom in a complicated geopolitical situation. The ability of the small Cryrian population's ability to sustain its historic great power aspirations in the industrial age was coming under increasing scrutiny from both within and without the Kingdom. The ambition to fully control the Northern Way had been all but abandoned as Cryrian influence failed to extend beyond eastern Älemsi, while other aspects of Cryrian power had entered a state of decline as the country struggled to maintain its goals of naval parity and power projection. Though the King firmly subscribed to longstanding concepts about Cryria's rightful sphere in the region, he simultaneously eschewed the Arcturian ventures that had previously been endorsed by the late Prime Minister Aberg as wasteful and impractical. The King instead turned his attentions towards shoring up the country's position within Novaris. He became the first to turn the networks of Cryrian outposts and concessions on Älemsi into a formal system of naval outposts and refueling stations to protect the Nordenfästningen's eastern flank and ensure the RCRN's dominance over the immediate area. The fleet itself was similarly reorganized around a new doctrine of short-ranged coastal battleships and shore installations that could provide for the defense of the Isles and its immediate interests. Efforts to consolidate Cryrian power led to conflict in Aikthudr'zhur and were a contributing factor to the Sack of Highdrilian.

This realignment was effectively an admission that the Kingdom lacked the economic and military means of achieving the full extent of its desired dominion in Novaris, and the King instead pursued other means of pursuing Cryrian national aims on the Mainland. This culminated in King Albert's marriage to Leonora Reitz, the younger daughter of the Duke of Charlottesborg. The marriage was considered to be highly unusual, as Cryrian monarchs had traditionally always married within the Kingdom in order to maintain their ties with the aristocracy. The marriage with Leonora not only marked a continuation of Albert's own ambitions to cement a pan-Cryrian identity but also a form of rapprochement with the Duchy and an indirect extension of the Kingdom's influence into Volscina. The implications of this backdrop were mollified only by the expectation that Leonora was unlikely to inherity the Duchy - That privilege belonged to her elder sister, Olivia, who had children of her own. However, Olivia passed away from typhus approximately a month before her father's own death, and Leonora successfully laid claim to the Duchy over the objections of Olivia's line. Thus, the Duchy of Charlottesborg effectively came under the rule of the House of Leidensen, a fact that inspired wariness among other Volscine powerbrokers that would later lead to the controversies of the Charlottesborg Succession.

King Albert of Cryria in 1883

Ultimately, King Albert is considered to have been largely successful in establishing a new and important role for the monarchy within the limits of constitutionalism. The Crown remained a driver of policy even as it was forced to seek cooperation and share power with the Riksdag - albeit by embracing and even accelerating its nationalist and conservative policies. Albert further put into place many elements of the modern Cryrian state that would carry forward through generations to come. However, these included his support for highly illiberal movements that would continue to plague the nation. His support for eugenics and his harsh stances against nonhumans have made him a highly controversial figure in Cryrian history. Even in his own time, many who had enjoyed high hopes for a King who had been a significant supporter of constitutionalism soon grew disillusioned by the subsequent policies of his reign. Though he sought to unify the Cryrian identity on a level it never had been before, his hard line towards both the country's nascent labor movement and its nonhuman population generated an undercurrent of unrest throughout his rule. In 1871 he ordered the violent quelling of the Highland Riots, an extended period of civil unrest in Lielsta March that resulted from state efforts to force Elven children into the country's new education system. Similarly strict measures in favor of employers were taken against worker's strikes, which ultimately lead to the formation of initially small but increasingly energized opposition factions in the Riksdag who sought to end the body's support for the Crown's actions. As the Riksdag remained dominated by a wealthy elite, these groups primarily focused on the King's Social Engineering Program.

As a result of these policies and the King's remarkably public role in supporting them, Albert became a target for numerous assassination attempts in his lifetime, particularly as the groups his government marginalized grew increasingly radical as a result. Shortly after the Highland Riots an unnamed half-elven servant in Tvillingblom Palace attempted to stab him, but ultimately only cost the King his left eye. He would live on until 1897 when syndicalist assassins successfully bombed his train outside of Lielsta, killing the King along with the young Prince Astrad and forty members of the Royal Guard and staff, while wounding sixty more. The attack brought the Albertine Era to a close and ushered in the reign of his daughter, Queen Katharine.

The Tanznozhiv

Queen Katharine of the House of Leidensen was coronated in 1897 on the heels of her father's assassination. This backdrop of violence and instability added to an already rocky transition. Katharine lacked the goodwill her father had earned through his support for the 1865 Constitution and though she continued to press his policies forward in order to maintain its support she faced growing resistance from his previous opponents. With the Constitution now firmly in place and accepted after more than thirty years of existence, the Riksdag was much more willing to exercise its powers as a limiting factor on the Crown. Tensions between the Queen and the Riksdag were further propelled by the Queen's desire to take a more direct hand in the domestic security of the realm in the aftermath of the 1897 Train Bombing.

Founding of the Säkerhetspolisen

Queen Katharine of Cryria

These conflicts came to a head when the Riksdag initially denied funding for the creation of her new Säkerhetspolisen, or Security Police, which was intended to complement the existing National Police in combating political terrorism within the country. Though initially popular, disputes quickly arose over the dictatorial authority Katharine sought to grant the SÄPO such as the right to indefinitely incarcerate without a trial and to search homes without a warrant. Perhaps most importantly, the SÄPO was to be a new domestic arm of the Försvarsmakten and thus directly and completely answerable to the Crown rather than the Ministry of Justice. The SÄPO ultimately came into being, though it enjoyed a much more limited array of powers and was required to operate like any other law enforcement agency. The clash soured relations between the Crown and the Riksdag particularly as the latter feared the Queen was utilizing her father's death as an excuse to create support for an effective return to absolutism in the name of security. This, alongside the expanding mainstream appeal of worker's movements in the Kingdom led to the narrow victory of the Cryrian Liberal Party in the 1900 elections, thus creating a more hostile Riksdag for the Crown. The remaining years of the 19th century were marked by mutual mistrust and continued competition. Amidst all this, Katharine primarily focused on pressing onwards with her father's foreign policy by seeking to press Cryrian influence forward within its immediate surroundings and actively courting a separate base of support within the aristocracy of an increasingly shambolic Volscine Empire.

The Charlottesborg Succession

These efforts soon paid dividends when in the December of 1900, Duchess Leonora of Charlottesborg passed away. Her death created a crisis of succession around the Volscine Duchy. Under the laws of both Charlottesborg and Cryria called for the eldest child to inherit, this would have passed the title of Duchess down to Queen Katharine, a foreign monarch. Such an outcome was largely unprecedented within modern Cryria, and was viewed warily by elite in both Leidenstad and Charlottesborg. The former worried that the possession of a Volscine title might compromise the Monarchy and create unwanted ties with the Volscine Empire, while many among the latter preferred that Olivia Reitz's surviving children inherit in order to avoid what could easily become the direct Cryrian rule of a Volscine territory. Ultimately however, Katharine was determined to see her claim upheld, and her past activities within both countries largely bore fruit. In Leidenstad the Crown invoked pan-Cryrian sentiments and successfully turned closer relations with the Cryrian-speaking population of Charlottesborg into a national imperative, while in Charlottesborg itself Katharine was able to call upon the local branch of the Cryrian Church for its support. The aid of powerful religious figures marked a strengthened relationship between the Church and the Crown and allowed Katharine to win sufficient support within the Duchy. Local elites were further mollified when the RCRN offered new contracts to Charlottesborg's shipyards, and similar actions by both government agencies and private entities with close links to the Crown were used to placate other Volscine aristocrats. Though these actions were largely conducted outside of recorded diplomatic activity between the two countries, they marked a transition for Cryrian policy in Charlottesborg from a largely individual pursuit of the Crown to a broader effort by Leidenstad to establish a position in Imperial politics.

While the Charlottesborg Succession remained a distant affair for much of Cryria's domestic politics, the matter became a subject of great focus for the Kingdom's ruling classes. Many of the initial doubts regarding the Succession's implications for future relations with Volscina were largely overridden by the ethnocentric imperative to both protect a Cryrian monarch's lawful claim and to pursue connections with Charlottesborg. As such the recognition of the Queen's claim was met with quiet celebration within much of the Government which saw it as a victory for the Cryrian nation as a whole. More skeptical factions ultimately accepted the Succession in the hopes that the Duchy would distract the Crown from Cryrian politics, thus giving the Riksdag a freer hand.

Imperial Election of 1903

Cryrian attentions to Volscine politics became an increasingly important facet of both national policy and the Queen's personal agenda. At this time Volscina was seen as both a vital buttress in an increasingly unstable Novaris due to its immense size, population, and historic power, but a critically flawed one due to its complex and archaic feudal governance that now had to compete in an era of national identities and centralized states. That the Empire was the Kingdom's second largest trading partner further entangled the two nations, even as Imperial territories such as Varletia remained targets for Cryrian revanchism. Following the Charlottesborg Succession, relations with Volscina were effectively conducted on two levels. The first consisted of formal and traditional state-to-state diplomacy spearheaded by the Foreign Ministry and generally directed towards maintaining favorable trade relations and bartering limited Cryrian backing in an anticipated Novaran conflict in exchange for concessions and support for the Kingdom's own northern sphere of influence.

A second, far murkier level was conducted directly by the Crown and its allies and utilized the Queen's titles in Charlottesborg as a means of building ties directly with individual Volscine polities rather than just the Imperial government. In doing so, Katharine sought to target smaller and more disadvantaged entities within the Empire as a means of both securing her previously disputed position in Charlottesborg and also building her own base to influence Imperial politics. This effort went largely unrecorded in official government archives or communiques, and its full extent was not revealed until the publication of then-Prime Minister Alina Syren's memoirs:
 
 
In the aftermath of the Succession it became increasingly clear to us that the Queen was forging a parallel apparatus that would bypass the regular Foreign Ministry and answer directly to the Crown in conducting relations with Volscina. By 1901 it was my estimation that the Throne had mobilized existing government institutions in Charlottesborg and was further levying its own wealth and privileges to secure the support of minor Imperial Estates. Our official Embassy in the Empire, under the leadership of Count Widfross, was also considered compromised. It was in effect the same circumvention of the Constitution attempted through the 1897 Security Act, though this time we were ill-suited to contest the effort without undermining our perceived gains from the year prior.
 

 

Even as the events of the Charlottesborg Succession passed, the Queen desired to see these two approaches combined to her own benefit. Both the Crown and nationalist elements within the Government had begun to reassess their views of the Empire following the succession. Katharine's private correspondence with Tyres Rehnquist revealed these sentiments after their publication in 2011:
 
 
The Succession should not merely be seen as mild satisfaction for a brief flash of nationalistic angst. It is a demonstration of what has so long been whispered - That the Volscine political system has deteriorated to a level where we can act with heretofore unimagined freedom. Consider, if Charlottesborg were Aisis and it were a foreign power who would claim its titles, and tell me that such a circumstance would not represent the death-knell of the Cryrian state. I am not so ambitious as to think that the end of the Empire is a desirable outcome - Indeed, it would be nothing less than catastrophic. It is thus incumbent that we treat internal Imperial politics as a matter of national priority and Imperial Estates as the nearly independent actors they have become such that we might shape a favorable outcome on the Mainland.
 

 

The sudden fall of Syren's Liberal government following the Breivik Affair in 1902 paved the way for a Conservative majority and broke the most ardent opposition to the Crown in the Riksdag. Foreign policy quickly became an area of cooperation, and Katharine finally accomplished her goal of turning Cryrian state resources towards pursuing direct relations with Volscine states. Though Rehnquist retained his post as Foreign Minister, he became increasingly supportive of a policy to either create or entice an Imperial government that would be advantageous for Leidenstad's increasingly ambitious goals. These by now extended onto the Mainland and called for a new hegemony on Novaris centered on a Cryrian-Volscine alliance which would permanently secure access to continental markets and the Cryrian position in the north and elsewhere. Rehnquist had grown disillusioned by bilateral efforts with the existing Imperial government and offered a change in Ministry policy in his correspondence with the Queen:
 
 
We find ourselves presented with a rare moment of opportunity where a lesser power might determine the direction of a greater one. Should we fail to take it, we risk allowing another to do so.
 

 

Despite this apparent accord, many within the Government were taken by surprise when Katharine used her title as the Duchess of Charlottesborg to name herself as a candidate in the Imperial elections of 1903. The decision led to speculation that the Queen was engaging in a personal power grab rather than a continuation of Cryrian policy. The unwavering backing of the Foreign Ministry and promises made by Katharine to the Riksdag regarding future Cryrian-Volscine relations under a hypothetical Leidensen reign served to rally the Government behind her. Katharine was further able to offer powerful Volscine electors an alliance with the Kingdom that could bring its industrial and military assets to bear in an increasingly anticipated Novaran conflict, a tactic which required courting and empowering the most hawkish factions within the Empire in the leadup to the Great War. The offer of a conservative Cryrian monarch also promised a regime that would stand in opposition to many progressive changes that threatened Imperial traditionalists. Though smaller than those of Volscina as a whole, Katharine enjoyed the advantage of being able to call upon and offer more resources than any single Imperial state that might compete with her, and further benefitted from a fractured political landscape in the Empire which ultimately failed to produce an opposing contender who could unite Katharine's opponents. Thus by the end of the year, Katharine was elected the Empress of Volscina.

Personal Union with Volscina

With Katharine's coronation, both Cryria and Volscina came to share a single monarch. In practice and on paper the two states remained separate and their governments continued to operate independently, but the House of Leidensen had already begun to serve as a clear bridge between them and enjoyed an active role in the running of both countries. With the union came new accords in the form of military pacts pledging Leidenstad's assistance in a Mainland war, as well as new guarantees for Cryrian trade access. The sudden closeness between the two nations came with more complexities than cooperation however. Immediate issues arose as lingering disputes in the Arkian Sea now demanded resolution. The Government in Cryria expected its investments in the Queen's election to be paid, while the Volscine aristocracy remained extremely wary of any sign that Katharine's reign might merely be a ploy to cannibalize Imperial possessions. These demands were temporarily satisfied by limited concessions around fishing rights, but pressure persisted from both sides.

Similarly, questions continued to swirl around the extent to which Katharine separated her duties to Volscina and Cryria. Her decision to utilize the Cryrian Royal Guard even in her capacity as Empress became the source of some controversy, particularly as elements of the Guard now based themselves at the Ducal Barracks in Charlottesborg. The distribution of important posts to loyal figures was not an unusual move, but similarly garnered unwelcome attention as the Empress favored the Cryrian-speaking minority and electors who had supported her. Perhaps most dangerous of all was the matter of a true union between the two nations. Ironically this was an area of agreement from all parties. Katharine had made little secret of her desire to bring her two realms together, but each government held a wildly different view of what such would entail. While Volscina's elite envisioned the Kingdom or its individual duchies entering the Empire as member states of equal standing. Such a scenario would likely have seen the Kingdom completely subsumed into the larger population of Imperial estates. The Cryrians on the other hand intended to create a new dual-monarchy structure where two parallel governments would largely continue to exist with the sharing of certain institutions and a requirement for mutual agreement in matters of defense, foreign policy and economics. This would have in effect given Leidenstad's heavily centralized government a broad veto power against the numerous and more disunited Volscine states, thus turning the union into little more than a Cryrian empire. It is believed that Katharine herself privately fostered both views among their respective parties, as the prospective gains from such a merger kept each government invested in the union. Count Hans Widfross, the Cryrian Ambassador to the Empire, remarked on the situation in his private journals.
 
 
Such a happy marriage this is, where both bride and groom remain together, each in the hopes of a chance to devour the other.
 

 

In Cryria, the personal union quickly became known as the Tanznozhiv, after the Talveri Dance-of-Knives where partners take turns leading and bear ceremonial blades as a relic of the mutual mistrust that once pervaded their courts. The outbreak of the Great War soon forced these matters to be set aside.
The Great War

War papered over the divides inherent to the Tanznozhiv, but it could not erase them entirely. Cryrian entry into the war was all but guaranteed - Even in the absence of the Tanznozhiv, a Volscine defeat would have brought catastrophic economic and security consequences for the Kingdom, particularly if the southern coastline of the Arkian Sea found itself in unfriendly hands. Further, the war had quickly taken on religious connotations as Ademarist nations including Asendavia joined the Cerenerian Coalition. Within Cryria the Church played a central role in mobilizing the population in support of the conflict. Indeed, an expeditionary force was quickly dispatched to uphold the pact. However, mistrust persisted on both sides, particularly as the brunt of the fighting fell upon the Empire and its territories.

The length and intensity of the Great War far surpassed the estimations of its combatants however. Cryria enjoyed a position as an industrialized but geographically secure member of the Cerenerian Coalition with easy transport routes to several major allies. As such its economy increasingly adapted around supplying the demands of the war, a fact which later led to the Cryrian Anarchy as belligerent nations cut back their purchases at the end of the conflict. Cryrian forces partook in fronts as far away as Arcturia where the Mandate of Ellesborg conducted a successful and largely independant campaign over the next thirteen years.

Closer to home, the long war gradually began to accelerate the divides in the Tanznozhiv. Significant opposition to Katharine's reign stemmed from the country's industrial heartland, and the need to compromise with these for the sake of the war effort undermined her throne. For her part, Katharine took a hands-off approach to day-to-day military affairs focused her attentions on both coordinating her two thrones against their common enemy and spearheading diplomatic efforts to both rally the Empire behind her and bring new allies into the war. The latter saw sizable volunteer armies raised from around the continent including Älemsi and Mirhaime in order to bolster Cryrian numbers. The former was successful in maintaining her reign throughout the war, even as her efforts to make use of the crisis and centralize Imperial power along the lines of the Cryrian model inspired fresh worries about her postwar plans. Ironically, the pressures of the conflict did indeed inject a fresh sense of unity among the Imperial states, but one which served to further weaken Katharine's hand as she had thus far relied upon divisions within the Empire to retain control.

Abdication

The end of the Great War brought few gains for the significant losses suffered. In Volscina, the Imperial system had been placed under serious strain, while the conclusion of the conflict meant an end to the favorable economic and political position enjoyed by Cryria, which in turn began to see its own internal conflicts bubble up and was unable to provide the same support it once had for Katharine's regime. The hawkish and conservative members of the Imperial elite she had relied on had similarly been discredited by the brutal conflict.

In 1918, calls for the abolishment for the Imperial system which had allowed the emplacement of a foreign monarch concluded in Katharine's voluntary abdication of the throne when her support among the aristocracy finally evaporated. The Empire was soon replaced by the new Volscine Confederation. The Duchy of Charlottesborg remained the center of a diplomatic tug-of-war until 1923 when the House of Leidensen agreed to transfer its Volscine titles to Martin Reitz, Olivia's eldest son who had previously contested both Leonora's and later Katharine's claim to Charlottesborg. This handover ended all direct Cryrian involvement in Volscina and concluding the Tanznozhiv.

The Cryrian Anarchy

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

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 in exchange for an end to Älemsi claims to the islands.

Geography, Wildlife, and Climate

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

Geography

Cryria is colloquially divided into three main geographic regions in North Novaris: Insular Cryria, Peninsular Cryria, and Tynam. The highest point in Cryria is Mount St. Inge, located in the Älmarkii Highlands at 3,781 meters.

Landmasses of Cryria
Insular Cryria (Green), Peninsular Cryria (Blue), and Tynam (Red)

Insular Cryria

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. A little under 90% of the Cryrian population resides in Insular Cryria, which also hosts the majority of the nation's industry, infrastructure, and governing institutions.

Peninsular Cryria

Peninsular Cryria is the Kingdom's largest territory on the Novaran mainland and lies to the east of Insular Cryria. It is largely centered on the port city of Oshombran and borders the Varentine League and Endertopias. The region consists mostly of low lying territories along the Novaran coast and the Cxolthe and Halyu peninsulas which jut out towards the islands of Grimvik and Talvere respectively. Much like Älmark, the region has a heavily forested interior with a population concentrated along the coastal plains. Peninsular Cryria enjoys an extensive river network which flows down from mountain ranges to the east. The Fosden Archipelago is also traditionally considered to be part of Peninsular Cryria, even though it has historically been politically and culturally distinct.

Tynam

The northern city of Tynam

Tynam is a detatched portion of the Kingdom located in the Rotantic Circle. It consists of the Tynam Peninsula that sticks out of the mainland, and the Tynam Archipelago that runs north of it. The Tynam Straits offer an important route for shipping across northern Novaris. The Tynam Peninsula receives rivers from large mountains to its south, and coastal settlements such as Tynam and Chauşam contain most of the population. Its northwest contains the Siggeholm and Obelva island chains, which largely lack a permanent population.

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.

Government and Politics

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 Tvillingblom Palace, located outside the city and beneath Leidenstad Castle.

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 nobility, Church, and universities, 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.
The Palace of Glass, home to the Cryrian Riksdag
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.
The current Prime Minister of Cryria, Stur Lundberg
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.

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. The Throne retains considerable powers even after the Constitution of 1929, however in practice the most significant of these cannot be exercised without the approval or advice of the Prime Minister, Riksdag, or other relevant institutions. These include the ability to:

  • Summon, dissolve, or prorogue the Riksdag
  • Reject or confirm the appointment of Prime Ministers, Cabinet members, judges, prosecutors, and other officials
  • Queen Ulrika II, portraited wearing traditional royal regalia
    Provide or withhold Royal Consent for legislation and treaties
  • Serve as the Commander-in-Chief of the Cryrian Defense Forces
  • Declare war and peace when provided with a supporting vote by the Riksdag
  • Declare or end states of emergency
  • Provide Royal Charters for corporations

While in practice a Monarch cannot be involved in every aspect of government even in a perfunctory sense, official actions and decisions are typically made in the name of the Drifting Throne. Government documents and citizenships are also issued under the Throne's authority. All currency is minted bearing the image of the sitting Monarch, and oaths of allegiance are made out to the Drifting Throne. The Throne also enjoys several powers which it can exercise with a greater degree of discretion, though even these are usually only used sparingly and with the approval of the Household Ministry. They include the right to:

  • Introduce legislation and propose appointments to the Riksdag, observe sessions, and speak before either chamber
  • Make or end appointments to the Första Kammaren, but only for designated Titled and Personal Seats
  • Grant honors and titles
  • Grant Royal Pardons or Nolle prosequi

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, something which once extended across the Royal Family until the 1929 Constitution.

Ornamentation and Pedestal for the Drifting Throne

A Cryrian Monarch also serves as the official head of the Cryrian Church and can appoint Cardinals and other figures. This is however a largely figurehead role, and in practice the Council of Cardinals handles the day-to-day governance of the Church.

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. The management of these estates and their incomes have been voluntarily handed over to the Government for the benefit of the Kingdom, however. Beyond the Crown Estates, the main line of 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.

Nobility

The Cryrian nobility encompasses both hereditary peers and anointed knights. The Kingdom's aristocracy has played a fundamental role throughout its history, but has seen its official powers vastly curtailed. The Absolute Era effectively ended the existence of semi-independent fiefdoms and private armies which had previously defined the Kingdom. Reforms in 1929 further reduced the power the aristocracy could wield inside the Riksdag and many of the social attachments around the nobility such as required forms of address soon fell out of use as well. Although the old divisions of Duchies and Marches and Free Cities still technically exist, they no longer hold any meaning in governance and are instead little more than regional boundaries.

Even so the nobility continues to be a recognized class in Cryria, and has at times been criticized for maintaining a de facto caste system through a combination of inherited wealth and political connections. Indeed, over a third of land in Cryria is still thought to be owned by the aristocracy, often as parts of centuries-old holdings. Powerful Egendomar also often are held by aristocratic families. The Drifting Throne has the sole authority in both making and unmaking members of the nobility and in granting or withdrawing seats in the Första Kammaren.

The nobility can be divided into four groups - The High Nobility, Count and Countesses, Barons and Baronesses, and Knights of the Realm. Some titles also exist outside this categorization. For example, King Albert bestowed the title of Lord Protector of the Realm on his common-born Prime Minister Rikard Östberg, reportedly after noting the disrespect Östberg faced from powerful aristocrats within the Riksdag. This action effectively forced other aristocrats to address Östberg as an equal in terms of rank, and the practice of granting Prime Ministers the title of Lord Protector for the duration of their terms continues to this day.

High Nobility

Duchess Saga of Tynam
The so-called High Nobility encompasses the most powerful aristocratic families of Cryria that historically held sway over large swathes of the Kingdom. While these were at times very nearly monarchs in their own right, the uppermost levels of Cryrian nobility were thus also the ones who received the greatest degree of scrutiny and interference from the Monarchy. This policy was explicitly described by the Duke Gösta of Tynam after the Sorrows:
 
 
To be the second most powerful man in Cryria is to at once be the most dangerous and the most endangered.
 

 

As such it is no accident that the category of High Nobility saw a high degree of turnover throughout Cryrian history as its occupants were often deliberately kept impermanent. As the House of Leidensen's power centralized many of these titles were either gathered into the Royal Family or simply fell out of use.

The High Nobility consisted of both Ducal and Marcher Houses. Of the seven Ducal titles in the Kingdom, four(Karlin, Leidenstad, Vesterholm, and Talvere) are now held by the occupant of the Drifting Throne. A fifth - the Duke of Lindesgaard - Is a title traditionally granted to the Crown Prince or Princess. Titles to the Duchy of Storlund and Tynam are both held by the House of Tynam which largely survived due to its comparative distance from the center of power.

Cryria also has three regions designated as Marches - Aisis, Lielsta, and Oshombran. These were historically frontier areas with high degrees of continuous instability and warfare. The title of Margrave was more akin to an appointed general with the right to rule over, call upon, and command the nobility of a given region. The title was not an inherited one, though a single prominent family might see several generations receive the same title over time. The appointment of Margraves ended during the Absolute Era as professional standing armies become more effective and prevalent. This effectively leaves the House of Tynam as the last family to fall within the category of the High Nobility, as the House of Leidensen is typically not counted.

Counts and Countesses

Count Rikard Widfross of Skaudvis

Below the High Nobility are Counts and Countesses. Many of these were families raised through the Honningfjord System where the leaders of settler groups on Älmark were granted titles over swathes of territory as encouragement and reward. These Counties formed the backbone of the aristocracy and after the Constitution of 1865 were also used as electoral subdivisions. After the Constitution of 1929 however, electoral and administrative boundaries were redrawn in order to end the oligarchic system that had previously developed. The new divisions were still called Counties, but their borders bear little resemblance to their original form and are now based on population size and administrative convenience rather than historic landholdings. Due to their combination of numbers, power, and relative independence, Counts and Countesses have arguably been the most influential level of the nobility. Today there are 102 recognized houses at this level with seats in the Första Kammaren.

Barons and Baronesses

Baroness Helena of Reitz

The lowest tier of hereditary nobility in Cryria consist of Baronial families. These were aristocratic families who lacked the independent governing authority of the higher levels of nobility, but were still considered to be highborn and could often achieve significant positions within various courts - Particularly as their lack of an independent powerbase made them more reliable for their superiors. Today there are some 270 recognized Baronial houses with seats in the Första Kammaren.

Knights

Knights in Cryria are also considered to be part of the nobility. This rank cannot be inherited, and Cryrian Knights are unique in terms of the function they historically served within the Kingdom. Knighthoods in Cryria can only be granted by the Drifting Throne, and today are typically only given as rewards for high service. Historically, although anointed Knights were on their own the lowest category of the nobility, some simultaneously held higher ranks as well. Rather than merely a professional warrior as was the case elsewhere, Cryrian Knights were considered to be the personal representatives of the Drifting Throne and were just as often used as commanders, diplomats, and couriers. They later formed the backbone of the early Civil Service. As such, Knights often held a great deal of authority that exceeded their official rank. Today there are only eight anointed Knights in Cryria, all of which have seats in the Första Kammaren.

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

Cabinet

Portfolio Minister Took Office Party
Prime Minister's Office
Prime Minister Stur Lundberg 9/21/2020 Cryrian Social Democratic Party
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Local Government Affairs
Ministry of Justice
Minister for Justice
Minister of the Interior Walter Forsberg 9/21/2020 Cryrian Social Democratic Party
Minister for Immigration
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister for Foreign Affairs Erland Maravel 6/3/2010 Cryrian Conservative Party
Minister for Trade
Minister for International Development
Ministry of Defense
Minister for Defense Majken Tornquist 9/21/2020 Cryrian Social Democratic Party
Ministry of Health and Public Welfare
Minister for Health and Public Welfare
Minister for Emergency Situations
Minister for Housing
Minister for Family Affairs
Minister for Social Security
Ministry of Finance
Minister for Finance
Minister for Financial Markets
Minister for Consumer Affairs
Minister for Revenues
Ministry of Science and Education
Minister for Science and Education
Minister for Schools
Ministry of the Environment
Minister for the Environment
Minister for the Climate
Ministry of Industry
Minister for Industry
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries
Minister for Labor Affairs
Ministry of Culture
Minister for Culture
Minister for Tourism
Minister for Sports
Ministry of Infrastructure
Minister for Infrastructure
Minister for Energy
Minister for Communications
Minister for Transportation
Minister for Space Policy

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, Älemsi Negdel, and Aikthudr'zur. Cryrian relations with its former Älemsi and Aikkian vassals have often been complicated. The former has historically been plagued by the Northern Waters Dispute, whose resolution in 2003 has paved the way for a closer ties. Mutual CAC membership and concerns over the conflict in Ymirland have served to forge a strong modern relationship between Leidenstad and Amrakh Gazarv. Cryria also remains an important economic partner for Aikthudr'zur, and its relationship with Highdrilian has similarly improved following the return of the Three Swords in 2020.

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 has also played a key role in facilitating a final peace accord between Astela and Celanora, and it remains one of the few nations to maintain any sort of relationship with Altarme. Astelan laborers are known to find work in various Cryrian industries.

Cryria also enjoys close ties with Yasteria due to both its historic roots and its close proximity to the continent. Asendavia remains one of Cryria's most important economic partners. Instability on the Novaran mainland have encouraged an expansion of relationships with Yasteria, including the development of new ties with Packilvania. Today, Cryria is a member of the Commercial Cooperation Partnership with the Sultanate.

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 as well as people of Älemsi, Serramali, and Zapolese descent. It 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. The Foreign Legion 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 2.2 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 offered to clients by Ellesborg-based institutions. Though their power has declined notably, large family-owned conglomerates called Egendomar continue to play an important role in the Kingdom.

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

Leidenstad Central Station, the primary railway hub in the capital city

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.

Cryria is an important player in both space technology and polar research, and important government organizations in this field include the Royal Cryrian Space Agency and the Royal Institute for Sempiternic Expeditions.

Agriculture, Fishery, and Forestry

Fishing

The fishing industry has been important throughout the Kingdom's history and benefits immensely from the nation's long coastlines, large EEZ, and extensive waterways. Today the industry employs roughly 250,000 Cryrians and foreign workers, and its catches are used for both direct human consumption as well as industrial products such as fish meal and fish oil. Beyond traditional fishing, aquaculture provides roughly forty percent of the industry's total yearly harvest, which comes up to over 5,600,000 tons - One of the largest in the world. The industry's output is estimated to have a value of over 18 billion SHD in 2022. The Kingdom operates a total fishing fleet of nearly 1.3 million tons, which includes a sizable distant water fleet. The Cryrian fishing industry further benefits from heavy Government subsidies for infrastructure and research and development as well as diplomatic efforts to secure fishing access agreements abroad.

The Cryrian fishing industry has gradually consolidated into a handful of corporate entities, leading to a fairly integrated system that has helped keep it competitive. The Kingdom remains an important center for processing catches for instance, and a high degree of mechanization has further improved its capabilties. While much of the harvest is exported, seafood plays an important role in Cryrian diets. The nation is well known for its pickled herring, and caviar is a traditional Cryrian delicacy which makes its sturgeon catch particularly sought after and lucrative.

While fishing activities are common across the Kingdom's extensive waterways, the Rotantic fishing industry is particularly notable. Based out of ports such as Karlin, Grimvik, Cxolthe, and Tuigar, it represents a particularly difficult and dangerous occupation. The Rontatic fisheries are well known for utilizing Nystatinne guest workers who are often already experienced in Rotantic navigation and are both cheap to hire and do not benefit from many regular worker protections. Despite these cost advantages, Tynam has also recently begun to establish itself as a hub for the Rotantic fishing industry. Most of the smaller fishing operations in the Duchy retain their traditional family-crewed models as opposed to using guest workers, something which has protected them from recent political and reputational controversies that have impacted their competitors. Additionally, offshore drilling activities have been known to cause disruptions in Rotantic waters near Insular and Peninsular Cryria, while Tynami fisheries are rarely impacted by these operations. Tynam has also recently benefitted from the resolution of maritime disputes with Älemsi Negdel. Though fishing rights in certain areas were opened up for Älemsi trawlers, the agreement also finally ended the harassment of Tynami fishing vessels by the Zavital Autonomous Militia and its frequent standoffs with the RCRN.

The Kingdom's many bays, fjords, and inlets are similarly home to important fisheries. Here too, the industry has been impacted by various forms of environmental damage such as pollution from agricultural runoff and other industrial activities. The industry itself is also often controversial due to its own environmental impacts. The Cryrian fishing industry has repeatedly been found to lag behind other sectors in terms of sapient rights, and its treatment of foreign workers in the Rotantic and on the distant water fleet has come under increasing scrutiny. Though the Kingdom's whaling traditions are in decline, over two thousand whales are also still hunted every year.

Energy

Cryria continues to be an important fossil fuel exporter, and its total oil production of 1,927,054 bbl/day. The Kingdom also produces 126,000 million cubic meters of natural gas per year, thus making it one of the largest energy providers in the world. Today, Cryrian oil and gas is primarily extracted offshore in the Kingdom's Rotantic EEZ. The cities of Karlin, Cxolthe, and Brekkim are all home to major refineries and terminals, and the economy of northern Cryria continues to heavily rely on and benefit from this industry.

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.

National Pension

Cryria's National Pension System is housed under the Ministry for Social Security and provides benefits and economic security for retirees and the disabled. The NPS remains one of the Government's largest expenditures and is funded primarily through payroll taxes that are paid by all employers and working individuals. Citizens aged 67 and older who have paid at least 40 years of Cryrian social insurance taxes are automatically eligible to receive a full pension payment, while individuals who have paid for fewer years received reduced amounts. Additionally, citizens who suffer from severe injuries or disabilities may also be eligible for payments along with their caretakers. Orphans under the age of 18 can also inherit their parents' pension payments until they reach majority. Separate schedules are maintained for long-lived nonhuman populations such as elves. There have also been several legislative attempts to further expand eligibility by allowing surviving spouses to similarly inherit pension payments or to remove the requirement that pension payments be offset by any continued income an individual earns, but these have failed to gain traction.

Pension payouts are made monthly and for most recipients are calculated based on the total number of years an individual has paid Cryrian social insurance taxes. For most Cryrian retirees, the National Pension payment represents a significant amount capable of sustaining a basic livelihood, but it is typically further supplemented by employer sponsored plans and personal tax advantaged retirement accounts. National Pension payments have been forced to rise to match climbing costs of living within the Kingdom, and even so Cryrian retirees have increasingly chosen to settle in rural parts of Älmark for its lower costs. As Cryrian pensions are paid out on a fixed even if a given citizen departs the country, it has also become popular to retire abroad where spending power is greater.

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 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. Furthermore, approximately half the population of the Duchy of Tynam is of Älemsi descent, and the Tynami Archipelago is primarily settled by the Ay ethnic group.

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 the Isles. Varletian is also spoken as a second language in parts of southern Cryria, particularly in Lindesgaard, the Arm of Storlund, and portions of Vesterholm. Other minority languages include Ay dialects of Älemsi, Ethalrian, Volscine, Serramali, and Zapolese, though these are similarly used as second languages in areas where these groups settled. Several elven languages have also survived among elven communities in the Highlands.

Cryria has historically witnessed several government-sponsored linguicides. Up until the Albertine Era, the Kingdom was also home to numerous Cryrian, Talveri, Vesterholmi, Lindesgaarder, Vydhaszi, and elven dialects. Albertine visions of a Cryrian state and national identity demanded the adoption of a single standard Cryrian language, and the development of a common education system was used to enforce this. Language restrictions became a central component to the state repression of various minority and nonhuman communities. Legacies of this system persist today, as the Kingdom does not provide any official recognition to languages other than Cryrian, and municipalities are prevented from using any local languages on official paperwork or to conduct government business.

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. However, the Cryrian Church continues to enjoy several privileges over other religions within the Kingdom, including a tax exempt status, Upper Chamber seats, and various forms of indirect government funding and support. Additionally, particularly organized foreign religious institutions such as the Church of Akrona face numerous bureaucratic hurdles within the Kingdom.

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 360,000 adherents as of the 2022 census. Vaerism was also brought to Kingdom by Ethalrian migrants and continues to be practiced by around 1% of the population. Cryrian elven communities have also maintained their own religions.

Pre-Conquest

Mlythlaism
Statue of Ezethla in Valngi

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.

The Cryrian university system consists of both government-run and private institutions, though nearly all higher education in the country receives significant government funding either through research grants or other subsidies. Limited tuition and other fees may be charged, but these must often be capped in order to retain access to government funding. The three oldest and most prestigious universities in Cryria are the Universities of Leidenstad, Vesterholm, and Talvere respectively.

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.

Vihreäätaidetta

Vihreäätaidetta at the Marching Gardens of Oshombran
Vihreäätaidetta at the Queen Evelina Gardens
Vihreäätaidetta at the King Magnus Gardens

Vihreäätaidetta is a common Cryrian gardening tradition. Literally translated as "Green Art" from ancient Talveri, the practice trades its roots back to the Oshombrani Peninsula where it was first used as a form of Mlylthlaist worship. Vihreäätaidetta consists of complex and carefully sculpted topiaries, typically using perennial evergreens. In its most basic forms, Vihreäätaidetta is shaped into geometric maze-like patterns that incorporate the symbols of Mhuilka, the Mlythlaist aspect of life and fertility. The practice expanded into an art form in its own right. Talveri palaces hosted intricate topiaries depicting animals, mythological creatures, and humans. Royal Gardeners held an important and prestigious position within palace hierarchy which included both religious and artistic duties.

Vihreäätaidetta at the Valngi Water Gardens

The arriving Cryrians adopted this practice from the Talveri. Cryrian nobility frequently intermarried with their local counterparts and Talveri art and artists were highly sought after. Under Cryrian influences, Vihreäätaidetta moved away from its original roots in order to depict imagery from both Cryrian legend and everyday life. Cryrian aristocrats often commissioned skilled craftspeople to construct and maintain gardens that reflected their households' rank and deeds.

Vihreäätaidetta at Tvillingblom Palace
Conflicts within the Kingdom saw the burning of many Talveri religious gardens and the destruction of their frameworks by the Cryrian Church in what became known as the Cinder Inquisition. Despite this, Vihreäätaidetta persists as an important artistic style in modern Cryria. The Order of Royal Gardeners is now a part of the Household Ministry, and continues to maintain gardens on royal premises. The Order is considered to be the official authority on the art form and also runs a number of public competitions and ceremonies for artists. It's website states that:
 
 
Vihreäätaidetta is first and foremost a form of sustained storytelling where scenes from myth and mortality are metaphorically and literally given new life through the artist's creations. The maintenance of a project is itself a continuation of that story.
 

 

Vihreäätaidetta has also become an increasingly common part of public spaces in Cryria, particularly as formerly private gardens are opened to visitors. The Marching Gardens of Oshombran are considered to be the most important surviving example of Vihreäätaidetta and were first opened in 1893.

Whaling

Postage stamp depicting the Tidvattnets Dam, a national personification of Cryria and a symbol of its seafaring traditions

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 Magnus 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 Cerenerian. 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.