Korvar is a fractured land, infamous among its neighbours for its ludicrous weather and lawlessness. There is no one true higher authority the people submit to, and the political system could be considered tribal, perhaps even anarchic, despite the land’s official standing as a Kingdom. Some of the greatest concentrations of power are listed below
The main, officially recognised religion in Korvar is the worship of the ancient High Ones, powerful beasts that both personified and commanded the elements. This is known as Dracoism, and the followers are known as Dracoists. However, to presuppose that it is a unified religion is both naïve and blatantly incorrect.
There are three main denominations, or sects, of Dracoism. The unifying text for all three denominations can be found here, although each sect has its own alterations, interpretations, and further texts.
- Korvarrans: The earliest recorded sect of Dracoism is Korvarran Dracoism, which had its roots in this land, ultimately named Korvar. The Kovarrans posit that the High Ones Korthet and Varros had a pure and kind love, and that all of dragonkind loved their child Venya despite her destructive tendencies because she was a good and kind High One whose waters brought life and growth to all. They also posit that Tod, if he ever was good before, became corrupted by jealousy and hate. Korvarrans believe that Tod is now the only High One presiding over the holy land of Kor and Var, and that his hate and fire is killing the land. They believe that constant prayer and ritual ceremonies done to honour Kor and Var will eventually release them from their entombment in the northern Verothet Mountains, and they will return in triumph over Tod. They will then rule over mankind as benevolent parental figures, and they -and all their revered dragon servants- will treat their faithful with as much love as they once did their child Venya, restoring eternal life and vitality to all their new children as Venya was once lively and vigorous herself.
- Venyans: The second most prominent sect is Venyan Dracoism. Much like the Korvarrans, they believe that Tod has grown sick and corrupt with hate, and that Kor’s and Var’s holy family is now the only one remaining of the dragons that yet bears love for the humans. Unlike Korvarrans however, Venyan priests believe that the ultimate life-giver, and the true innocent, is Venya, the Child of Water herself. They believe that Venya is the one true High One, meant to eventually conquer the other three and grow into her rightful throne and title of Lady of Water and Queen of the High Ones. They believe in the coming of the Second Great Sea, when Venya will exit her long rest (or rise from the dead, depending on the translation), flood and purge the land of evil, and eventually reign supreme. Some more active Venyans constantly try to dig deeper into the earth or otherwise discover new wells and springs, in the hope of finding the source that will one day trigger the flood to begin the Second Great Sea.
- Tottans: The third most prominent sect is actually rather unpopular and generally treated with much mockery and spite in most popular culture, although they are a sizable minority of Dracoists. Tottans believe that Tod is and always was a good and kind High One, genuinely invested in humanity’s wellbeing. They believe that while Tod’s rage was horrifying, it was justified, and that he is still searching for the wicked and the dishonest amongst mankind to remove them, and only by converting all of humanity to good and honest lives will Tod finally rest. Tottans believe that Tod is a fair and just deity who will punish or reward all their due in his afterworld as the Master of Death, whereas Korvarrans and Venyans believe that Tod either stores souls in an eternity of frightening nothingness only to resurrect them as dracolich servants, or that there is simply nothing after death.
Of course, these are simply the three largest and most prominent sects of Dracoism. Many other smaller sects exist, and even within the three main sects disagreements frequently arise regarding the correct interpretation of their texts and the correct ways to worship and so on. Other religions also exist, though these are called cults and are not officially recognised by the state. And then there are of course atheists and lay Dracoists and other lay religious persons. For these reasons, religious authorities such as monks and priests do tend to have greater authority than the common man.
Korvar holds historical significance as the location of the seat of the old High Ones, the location of the Old Sea, and one of the countries on the border of which the Verothet Mountains sit. For this reason Korvar attracts regional tourism mainly of the religious pilgrimage variety. However, Korvar’s harsh, uninhabitable terrain quickly thwarts the ill-prepared and wears on the weak of will. Most Korvarran pilgrims take to becoming mountain climbers, trying their best to survive the wildly fluctuating and treacherous wilderness around and near the Verothet Mountains. Venyans will seek out subterranean dig sites to visit blessed and ordained ‘holy wells’. Tottans will become wandering nomads, braving Korvar’s harsh lands, winds, and dirt, in their search for Tod’s true lair.
The Korvarrin (not to be confused with ‘Korvarran’, many foreigners make the mistake of using the terms interchangeably) royal family is the Yarronacht family which has been ruling since hundreds of years ago. Prior to them were the Elogmyr and Vereye families, neither of whom lasted very long due to the intense political backstabbings, plots, and counter plots going on at the time. By ‘not very long’, one should not assume that they had only ten years on the throne each. No, the Elogmyr and Vereye families were bitter rivals that fought for the throne for generations, and their total reigns combined lasted a good five human lifetimes.
The Elogmyr and Vereye reigns were characterised by a long spell of prosperity, richness, and excess. Trade flourished, technology and art was steamrolling forward, and Korvar was a tourist hotspot. As resources were depleted and the land grew hotter and hotter, the weaknesses of the Vereye (the family on the throne at the time) reign became more and more apparent. The Elogmyr family rallied the army and staged a coup d’etat and crushed the Vereye family and their personal guard. However, before the Elogmyr could assume the throne, the Porvissian general, Yun Yarronacht, stormed the severely weakened country and utterly destroyed the Elogmyr. Thus began the reign of the Yarronachts.
Despite being Porvissian, Yun had no interest in conquering Korvar for Porvist. As Korvar had already begun showing signs of worrying decline at the time, the King of Porvist permitted Yun to crown himself King of Korvar and run the kingdom independent of Porvist, provided they remained non-hostile and open to trade. To this day, Porvists still view Korvarrins as stupid and of lower class, and take a very elitist stance against them, no matter if they are merely tourists on Korvarrin soil. Many richer or better educated Korvarrins also adopt Porvissian accents, to varying degrees of success. The retreat of at least 75% of Korvar to the sheltering coolness of the underground to escape the ever-climbing surface heat have certainly not helped elevate their social status relative to Porvissians in any way.
The current king has very limited ability to directly affect his country. This is due to a combination of depleted natural resources, limited and poorly educated manpower, the sheer size of the country, an inefficient bureaucracy, low national funds, and because the king simply doesn’t care all that much. Possibly the only reason why the people haven’t risen up as an angry mob and rebelled is simply because they have formed many self-governing unofficial ‘tribes’, a phenomenon which the king has no interest in regulating or disbanding.
Tribes and Crime:
People dissatisfied with their current tribes are usually free to remove themselves and to seek out other tribes. Naturally, gang violence and border conflicts have erupted all over the nation, earning Korvar its ‘lawless’ reputation. None of these conflicts have ever really escalated too greatly however, as an ever-present scarcity plagues any ‘army’ that attempts to form, and many quickly disband or lose members due to their need to take care of more pressing basic needs such as their health. Not to mention that one of the earliest things Yun Yarronacht did as king was to prohibit civilians from bearing arms, a law which remains in effect to this day. Guns and ammunition are simply far too expensive and difficult to obtain or create for any civilian army. If they do bear weapons, expect them to be wielding knives and daggers.
Korvar is not entirely weaponless though, the weapons are simply manufactured in an extremely small quantity for a group of guards called the Mirror Guard. Initially a small arm of the much larger Imperial Army, the Mirror Guard was formed to protect and maintain the large mirror halls scattered over the underground of Korvar. By making sure that the mirrors remained in position, clean, whole, and free of vandalism, the Mirror Guard would ensure that the vast underground cities of Korvar would still be able to receive sunlight from the surface. The Mirror Guard also defends the wells and springs that provide water for the people, though their role in this regard has dwindled greatly as more springs are found than Guards can be recruited. The increasing poverty also means many mirror halls have no Guards to attend to them, and have collapsed into disrepair, and their associated sections of the country plunged into darkness, leading to mass exoduses.
The Mirror Guard bows to the authority of the Imperial Guard, the king’s personal army, many of whom are descendant of early Porvissian nobles and immigrants. Members of the Mirror Guard discovered to have neglected their duty, sabotaged the mirrors, or had their weapons sold/stolen/lost would be immediately expelled from the ranks (the older punishment was execution, but that was outlawed some eighty years ago). Thus neither the Mirror nor Imperial Guard has ever really attempted to rebel either, simply because they get paid decently well, are widely respected, and losing their position if caught is swift. Civilians pay a small tax for the public service that the Guards perform, and have been largely satisfied with doing so, with tax evaders being punished by their own community.
As it is in most cases, the daring and clever, in positions to amass and protect personal wealth, tend to get ahead in life. Many achieve this by frequently leaving to trade with Porvist. These people usually set themselves up as wholesalers back in Korvar, providing for their neighbours, if they don’t outright apply for Porvissian citizenship and leave. The greatest commodities in Korvar are typically meats of herd or forest animals, fuel such as firewood and charcoal, and metal tools. Despite living underground and so near the earth, Korvarrin earth is unfortunately almost void of workable metal ores. Scrap metal from old constructs, left behind from the old days of plenty, can rarely be used without adequate fuel to melt them down into a reworkable form.