The Axle, Notes on the Sundermen

[So first a bit of news. The name of this blog was not chosen at random, it is actually the title of a novel I’ve been working on for awhile now. At this time, the rest of February and possibly longer, I’m entering into writing the final draft of that novel. I fully intend to keep updating this blog during that time. There may be fewer long stories, but I  still plan to post something every Monday if I can (for all two regular readers :p). Below is another entry in my Axle world, the Sundermen. Please enjoy :).]

The Sundermen

Those who dwell on the island that forms the lowest part of the Sundering are called the Sundermen. Living in the only part of the Axle with naturally occurring arable soil, the Sundermen have become an exceedingly rich and powerful people. Heavy bodied and hairy merchants of food and wood, and facilitators between the upper and lower parts of the Axle.

History

Sundermen live in the Axle’s land of plenty. Food, space, water and fresh air are plentiful. This wealth has led to the Sundermen being the most frequently conquered people in the history of the Axle. The Dunloc attempted to establish settlements on the surface, only to be pushed back inside the Axle by the Mirloc. The Mirloc were replaced by the Uulan Dunloc from the upper Axle, who were in turn replaced by the Nakan Dunloc from below. Almost 200 years ago, the Sundermen finally overthrew their Dunloc conquerors, and formed a new order on the island. Since then, the Sundermen have grown into a powerful merchant confederacy that dominates the Sunderlands and beyond. The many merchant princes of the Sunderlands have great influence extending into the Ro’pan Shard Fields, the Mirloc tribal nations, and the even deep into the Dunloc tunnels.

Culture

The Sundermen are a people who live with excess. Having no need for the strict rationing or constant searching for food of the Dunloc and Ro’pan, the Sundermen have become a people of luxury. Science, philosophy, and the arts thrive in many Sundermen cities, fed by the patronage of the wealthy nobles and princes.

The Sundermen also nurture an extreme sense of victimization. Remembering all too well the indignities suffered by their ancestors at the hands of their neighbors, they are quick to accuse others of trying to dictate to them. The Sunderland League was specifically formed to prevent the Nakan Dunloc from reasserting control over the Sundermen.

“We will never again be slaves.”

-Prince Ada Gasbal

(two years before legalizing slavery in his principality)

Warfare

Sundermen have had varying military doctrine as determined by their many princes that have come and gone from power. Generally, in times of war, the princes levy soldiers from their vassal lords, but just as often princes will pay for their armies. The contracts of notorious mercenaries are often traded between nobles like rare collectibles. Ro’pan skirmishers, Mirloc warships, Dunloc underminers can all find mercenary work regularly due to the near constant fighting between Sunderland lords, all competing for control of trade. Though these engagements rarely escalate to the level of total war, usually restricted to small engagements. The Sundermen are the only people of the Axle who employ cavalry in warfare.

Technology

Sundermen have many skilled alchemists and scholars, and have developed some of the most advanced medical alchemy on the Axle. Their location between the broken sections of the Axle, also allows them access to many new discoveries as they travel back and forth across the Sundering.

Language

Almost any language can be heard in Sunderlands, but the most common language is called Faedish, which is a language derived from Nakal with some borrowed Ro’pan elements. Coastal communities will occasionally speak Mirish or a pidgin referred to simply enough as Faedon-mirish. Most Sundermen are very loud when they speak. This gives many other cultures an impression of Sundermen as rude and full of hot air.

Government

The great island of the Sundering is divided among the Merchant Princes. These princes are unified by an oath to keep the other powers of the Axle from holding sway over their island, but outside this vague oath to the Sunderland League, each prince is free to manage their own domain as they see fit. Feudalism is the most prevalent government, though some princes have chosen to preserve some elements of Dunloc democracy, allowing the election of advisors or counselors, and some princes even being elected by their vassals, rather than hereditary right. A growing minority of Princes have embraced the Mirloc Code of Amalkah, some even adopting the title of Kah instead of Prince. The most powerful of the Sundermen Princes (and possibly the most power single person on the Axle) is currently Prince Anton Geravis, who rules the Principality of Faedon, not far inland from the Sunderland Coast.

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