The Thalassocracy of Arkhos
Directly between The Grandy Dukedom of Lindel and The Shogunate of Chusei, resting in the center of the Bhastone Sea, lies the Island of Arkhos. Because Cisterran naval development has yet to invent ocean-faring vessels, Arkhos is perhaps the most populated and most visited non-continental location in Cisterra. Its shores are close enough to the Adas and Ryushu Peninsulas that galleys, rowboats, and even the rare sailing-flatboat can reach them without problem. This, coupled with Arkhos’ centralized location, promote the small island into a trading port between the two nations. As the port city of Arkhos has grown over the years, though, it has developed an identity and culture of its own, and now stands as a free city-state, the Thalassocracy of Arkhos.
Being made up of travelers and seamen from all over Cisterra, the population of Arkhos is extremely varied. In Arkhos, the only real town on the island, men and women of all races and histories can be found living in (relative) harmony-even rejects of other areas, like Half-elves and the rare Half-orc. Anyone who can pull their own weight can survive in Arkhos, and this principle is mirrored in the islands government. The Thalassocracy is a purely communal governing body; made up of the most prosperous merchants, most diligent traders, and most nefarious captains, the leadership of the Thalassocracy is come-and-go. Any visitor may vote on issues in Arkhos, but issues seldom come to a vote without being ‘corrected’ by local boat captains or merchants. When things do get out of hand, leadership is deferred to ‘The Admiral’-a captain respected (or feared) above all others. ‘The Admiral’ changes from time to time, but every Arkhosian knows who the current Admiral is at any given point-purely by reputation.
Being a melting pot of races and cultures, Arkhos’ own culture is a blend of universalism and capitalism. Though all are welcome in Arkhos, only those who can earn their bread, gold, and reputation last very long. As such, many odd heroes spring up from ‘The Golden Isle’. Halflings tired of travel, dishonored (or disenthused) Elves, adventure-drawn humans and all other types make up Arkhosian culture, and all Cisterrans know Arkhos as a place anyone can go to never be sought after again.
Arkhos doesn’t harbor any religious practices or customs-its citizens (if they can be called citizens) practice whatever they wish, without fear of governmental reprisal. This does not mean Arkhosians are all friendly-though the government may accept all people and practices, the island’s inhabitants go by the rule of power. As such, Arkhos is home port to many pirates and mercenaries, and among the few legitimate traders and merchants are despicable fences and mischievous thieves. Arkhos’ only true export is wine from the Zolaga Vineyards, located barely inland.
The defense of Arkhos is a strange one. Seeing as how Arkhos doesn’t have much that any other nation would want, it often needs no defense. Also, due to the fact that naval technology keep Arkhos out of reasonable access to most of Cisterra, the few people capable of reaching her shores usually call them home. As such, Arkhos has no standing army, but many a pirate or even merchant captain would defend the Golden Isle with his or her life.