Secrets of Strugur
You may wish to reference Vin the Clairvoyant’s Survey of Pretarran Holdings, Neighbors, and Trade while reading this page.
Strugur is a wild land. Where the land itself does not threaten with torturous mountains, fetid swamps, inevitable glaciers or scorched chaparral, danger comes from savage beasts and monstrous tribes just as surely… or all to often, both the land and its inhabitants bring death at once. Many civilizations have risen, or come from elsewhere, to tame Strugur and claim its riches, more even than the Elves can recall, and in due time all have failed, each leaving their secrets and their wealth for others daring or desperate enough to seek out and take what they could not hold.
Most recently, the mysterious collapse of the distant Human empire of Kyria five hundred years ago and the loss of its advanced magical knowledge stranded its colonies on Strugur, somewhat to the relief of the civil Elder Races clinging to ancient strongholds here. A few geographically fortunate colonies survived to form the Kingdom of Pretarre, currently the strongest force of civilization, the center of all trade on the continent, and the first truly cosmopolitan kingdom in known history though its heritage and royalty remain Human. Pretarre (and its sibling Foirfeach), are the only wide areas of Strugur where a wanderer could reasonably expect to travel, or a peasant to toil, without threat to their very lives. However, it is not the only lawful culture currently to be found in Strugur.
Halflings flourish on the verdant isle of Foirfeach, holding one of the few areas with seemingly no serious natural hazards or dangerous prior inhabitants through subterfuge and economic manipulation, communicated through their extensive network of traveling trade bands.
Dwarves maintain dominion over the icy inland sea of Bolvirk from their fortresses beneath the surrounding mountains, keeping the Gatan river open as their link to the outside world, with the largely unintended consequence of rendering the alpine valleys of Vegr safe enough for ramshackle settlement by anyone canny enough to avoid antagonizing them.
Across southern seas in tropical Akaflege (and thus properly outside Strugur entirely), contact has been made and trade begun with the unseen Salitani and the civilization of fanatically devoted Human slaves they rule. So far, wonder at their works and the value of their spices has overridden fear of the threat to Struguran peoples implicit in their religion, wealth, and military might.
Viska, hidden refuge of Elves, is the longest established settlement in Strugur still standing, so old even the Elves themselves can not (or will not) detail its early history. Some say the same cautious isolationism that has preserved their sanctuary for so long is responsible for the continued failure of their mandate to bring the land to harmony. Others might point to the ruins of every other civilization that has tried and name them the most successful by far… especially those aware of their covert exterminations throughout Strugur.
Each of these shares one commonality, however, the unwritten rule of civilization on Strugur; it is earned with blood, for the great majority of creatures in the mortal realm care not for building societies, edifices, and culture, and indeed would see them torn down whether willfully malicious or merely acting in their nature. Even sprawling Clebiruqe and bucolic Leabhairt is made secure at great cost; they merely use the tools of government and subterfuge to pay that cost in a more palatable form.
A few such outside threats are known, even famous, such as the Tikhak or the Tevchaaji. The vast majority of creatures who oppose the force of civilization, however, are little known and unremarked among civil folk until they become the crisis of the moment.