Cortos

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Cortos is a land that has been preserved by its twin rivers - shields against the the warlords of Amol-Kalit to the North and the encroaching hegemony of Vel Anir to the East.

When travelers speak of Cortos, they most frequently mention their peculiar religious unity, and the beautiful ships that carry their grand expeditions.
  • Name: Cortos
  • Location: North-western Liadain
  • Type: Temperate forests dominate the edges of Cortos, with a drier and arid center. Cortos is dominated by mountains, hills, and large plateaus.

Overview

Cortos is a varied region, with fertile river valleys on its borders, lush forests along its coastline, and arid, rocky plateaus at its core.​
The rivers that split from the Baal-Asha are of great cultural significance to Cortos. They are often referred to as the Twin Rivers. The Roaring Brother in the East is known for its temperamental waters and dangerous floods, while The Sleeping Sister in the West is much calmer, its floods more manageable.​
Old fortresses stand at the major crossings of the Twin Rivers, and have been the final resting place of many enterprising Kaliti warlords.​
Compared to other regions, it is both younger and more developed. Highways connect many of the major cities and forts, with plenty of waystations in between. There are few ancient ruins in Cortos. Most abandoned castles and settlements have their fates documented in recorded history.​

Appearance

Cortos is a varied region, with fertile river valleys on its borders, lush forests along its coastline, and arid, rocky plateaus at its core.​
The rivers that split from the Baal-Asha are of great cultural significance to Cortos. They are often referred to as the Twin Rivers. The Roaring Brother in the East is known for its temperamental waters and dangerous floods, while The Sleeping Sister in the West is much calmer, its floods more manageable.​
Old fortresses stand at the major crossings of the Twin Rivers, and have been the final resting place of many enterprising Kaliti warlords.​
Compared to other regions, it is both younger and more developed. Highways connect many of the major cities and forts, with plenty of waystations in between. There are few ancient ruins in Cortos. Most abandoned castles and settlements have their fates documented in recorded history.​

History

Background

The stories of Cortos and Amol-Kalit are closely entwined, but they bore grossly different results. The political realm of Cortos is not so fractious, and is instead dominated by a handful of large kingdoms and duchies. These governments are far more stable than their neighbors in the south, with the oldest kingdoms persisting for well over two centuries.​
This stability can largely be attributed to a shared religion, and the overwhelming popularity of a single religious organization. The Radiant Church is the dominant religious organization in Cortos, venerating a single deity, closely associated with the sun and prophecy.​
The influence of the Radiant Church is felt strongly throughout Cortos. There are few places – if any – where other denominations are present, and fewer still where other faiths are tolerated. The Church has been given tremendous freedom to root out heresy and heathenism by temporal authorities. And for good reason: even kings are hesitant to cross them.​
Humans are the undisputed majority of Cortos, though emigre populations of Elves, Dwarves, and other near-human populations are somewhat common. The Radiant Church does not expressly forbid non-human members, and so the kingdoms often follow suit by not legally discriminating against non-humans. But common prejudices and a dogmatic religious majority do not often make Cortos a favored destination for other races. Nonetheless, some states are more tolerant and cosmopolitan than others.​

Lore

Like Amol-Kalit, the pre-human history of the region is lost.​
The ruins of a civilization comprised of avian-like humanoids have been uncovered in the southern forests of Cortos, and along the Twin Rivers. This culture left no written records, but the presence of Sand Elf relics within their ruins indicates they had some sort of interaction with the old Pharaohs. What prompted their extinction is a subject of great debate.​
Whatever the reason, Cortos was largely uninhabited by the time the first humans arrived from Amol-Kalit. These travelers were said to be refugees of a vicious conflict. They fled down the Baal-Asha, splitting into two groups and settling along the banks of the Twin Rivers. From there, they spread along the forested coast of Cortos and eventually into the interior.​
Despite being spread out, these groups shared a common identity in their veneration of a sun deity. Though the Cortosi founded many city states and warred with one another constantly, they were unified in their religion.​
One denomination eventually garnered more popularity than others: The Radiant Church. As the Radiant Church grew in popularity, so too did its political clout. The age of the city states gradually subsided. Large kingdoms and duchies came to be the primary political feature of Cortos. Competing religions and denominations came to either be outlawed or suppressed – both by the Radiant Church and secular authorities.​
Wars of religion became quite common, and many Cortosi fled to the straits South of Cortos, and to the jagged coastline to their East. The migrations to the East were so extensive that the coastline itself eventually became known by that name: the Cortosi Coast. It became a haven for city states and merchant republics, heretics, heathens, and other exiled Cortosi.​
Some sympathetic kingdoms and duchies retained commercial and diplomatic ties with these republics, much to the chagrin of the Radiant Church. Over the years, four great republican city states came to the forefront coastal politics, and politics back home. These states became known as the Quatreville.​
As Vel Anir expanded its hegemony, the Quatreville fell into their sights. Four great wars were fought over several decades. Even with the intervention of kingdoms from the Cortosi mainland, the Quatreville fell one by one, becoming tributaries and military bases for Vel Anir.​
In the present, with no major foreign wars to fight, Cortos is primarily known for its lavish expeditions across the known world, exploring Aina O Ka La, Kiva, and most recently, as far East as Nagai.​

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