Mist and Soil: The Nordan Coastal Colony

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A colonial fishing village. Imagery by Marko Drazic.
This region, known locally as Kuria, has been under Nordan control for more than a century.

The land along Devera’s northwestern coast is a dramatic collection of steep fiords and black sand beaches rising to heavily forested uplands that gradually rise to distant mountain ranges in the east and north. A cold, southerly ocean current follows the coastline, often bringing mist that inundates the land forms close to the sea, often for days or weeks on end.

Brenna relates a sad story from the balcony of Belwyr and Eira’s home, overlooking the sea in Southern Kuria.

This region, with its abundant natural timber and mineral resources, teems with fish that thrive in its massive rivers. Consistent rainfall waters its deep, fertile volcanic soil, which could support a much larger population than has ever lived in the region.  Access to these treasures attracted attention from neighboring nations, especially the Vatherii in the north, the Kamerese in the south, and of course, the Nordans,  who put an end to the constant internecine warfare of the local Kurian leaders and colonized the territory to exploit its bounty.

A coastal fiord. Image by A_Sunbeam on Renderosity, using Artmatis Voyager and Photoshop.

Long ruled by a factionalized warrior priesthood, the Kurian people suffered under the tyranny resulting from paladin landholders who owed fealty to various temples in the eastern mountains. People had no autonomy, little choice over their futures.  A local economy based on subsistence fishing, farming and logging were the livelihoods for many generations, who lacked the education and opportunity to expand their horizons.

Kurian cities, located mostly on the coast, or at important road and river junctions, grew large and spurred manufacturing that eventually diversified the economy. Easy access to raw materials resulted in rapid growth and increased wealth that attracted the attention of the Nordan Islanders.

Tellerviken, on Kuria’s north coast, is a thoroughly modern city.

The Nordan Empire grew out of necessity to feed an ancient people who had settled on a long archipelago in the distant sea, in an era far beyond the fringes of human memory. These narrow islands, mountainous and heavily forested, contained incredible mineral wealth, yet suffered a limited capacity for growing cereal crops. However, the Nordans had the fortune of living in particularly rich waters that supplied them with abundant food for most of their history. As their civilization prospered, the Nordans developed industry and technology that rivaled, and in some cases exceeded, the most advanced societies on Devera’s continental mainland.

Nordan Village. Image by Masashi Kageyama.

As population growth outstripped local marine resources, the Nordans began looking overseas for arable land and fishing grounds to feed their people. This brought them into conflict with the western nations of Devera, including the Azgar, the Kamerese and the tiny islands of Hera.  The ensuing arms race wrought rapid change in the compositions of various navies, compelling vast expenditures to build fleets of big-gunned battleships. Over the decades, the Nordans built some of the largest, fastest and most powerful warships in their world.

Nordan battleships on patrol. All of the continental powers with fleets of their own respect the Imperial Nordan Navy.

And with that naval hegemony established, the Nordan Empire was able to establish a foothold on the Deveran continental mainland, conquering the region known as Kuria. While they initially ruled fairly and were welcomed as liberators by the local population, the Nordans were unable to control the distant, isolated interior portions of the region.

Yet as they extracted wealth and resources from the colony in increasing measure, they did so at the expense of local people, who began resenting foreign control over their lives and land. In order to maintain their control, the Nordans became increasingly draconian in their rule, stirring an insurrection that was fueled and funded by industrial and nationalist factions in Kameron and Vathera.

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