The Heel of Accitaine
A large wide peninsula on the southern coast of Accitaine, the Heel is a hot, fertile and verdant area, much of which is currently a combined Protectorate/Colony of Cantabrius and has been for over 550 years, certainly pre-dating the Cataclysm. The explorers from Kessavaine brought some of their native crops with them when they arrived in the Accitainian waters, and moved swiftly to claim hot lands that would allow the growth of coffee, dates, oranges and certain spices. As it turned out, the spices were adaptable enough to grow anywhere, but the other 3 crops would have needed the warm climes the southern coasts of Accitaine enjoyed.
The Heel was originally a region largely controlled by a variety of clans and tribes called the Thurvish, who were warlike and fought over many things and concepts of honour, both with themselves and with outsiders. The Kessavine arrivals landed with strong forces and made quick progress in carving out 3 city-state colonies with large areas of land given over to growing their precious crops, with the Thurvish either being forced back into their lands or quite often joining with the newcomers. In time, wars between the Thurvish tribes and the Cantabrians ended and the warlike Thurvish settled down, founding a variety of townships and small kingdoms.
The 3 City-states are all cosmopolitan areas, for they have the nature and customs of both the Cantabrians and also the indigenous Thurvish, making for a wildly colourful culture and experience. The city-states are in order of descending size Cassezo, Villaro and Therxiao, and are the largest cities within the Heel. Some things are standard amongst all 3 cities, such as the lack of support for and interest in the Society, the great cultural debt and loyalty to Cantabrius and a fierce pride in their combined Thurvish/Kessavine heritage.
Located on the Golden Coast at the southernmost part of the Heel, Cassezo is a large city of over 25000, with an rural population of 35000; it is a great maritime trading point, especially with the Island Kingdom of Sebbia in the Southern waters. The olive, date and coffee trade is especially lucrative here, which in turn also attracts produce from other lands. It is governed by a Consul who, like the other 2 city-states, holds positions within the Foundation Council back in Cantabrius, and this political openness and fairness has allowed the city-states to grow and be content without feeling any urge to split from their homeland; indeed, if a Cassezan or other citizen of Villaro or Therxiao were asked who they were a citizen of, they’d say “Cantabrius” and then name their home city. The city is quite clean compared to other Accitainian mainland cities, in large part to the existence of excellent irrigation and sewer systems.
It sits on the mouth of the Haszkine River, and as such is the terminus for the river trade the wends its way from the Saaltz Mountains to the Southern coast; it was no accident that the Cantabrians chose to found their 3 cities on the banks of the river.
It is also the main base of operations for the Southern Cantabrian Naval Presence, and the Southern Admiralty is a grand sea fortress at the entrance to the bay the city surrounds.
In the northerly parts of the Heel in the low hills just before one reaches the Saaltz mountains sits the walled and stout city of Villaro, holding as it does 18000 urban citizens and about 23000 rural ones. The rural ones tend to concentrate into fortifies towns, villages and farms as there are dangers that lurk on the borders of the mountains that have a bad habit of foraging down to the lower lands. Villaro is the centre of the orange trade in the Heel, and so the whole of Accitaine, and the great armed and armoured presence here illustrates how important this city is to regional security and Cantabrian interests. Also, the 9 Airships of the Southern Cantabrian Airfleet are all based here in the great and lofty fortress of Lecanto that sits but a couple of miles upriver of Villaro. Villaro of all the colony states is the one with the most Thurvish influence on its culture, and is on excellent terms with the nearby non Cantabrian states and kingdoms within the heel as a result.
The smallest of the city-states, but an important one, Therxiao occupies the middle part of the Cantabrian Link, supporting both Villaro to the north and Casseza to the south. Its urban population of 13000 and its rural population of 25000 are heavily invested in safeguarding the river trade and travel and also have extensive olive, horse ranching and beef producing concerns as well. The Therxian defence forces are made up of a great many cavalry, mounted infantry and small galleys, the better to patrol the land and the rivers respectively from bandits, dangerous wildlife (for there are still dangers in the forests and plains) and other threats to the city and its people.
Originally a warring series of tribes and clans, the deeply tanned Thurvish are now a proud and vigorous people who dwell in a series of fortified village, towns and small cities dotted throughout the Heel, or Thuurvia as they refer to it as. Technologically they have caught up with much of Accitaine in many key areas, but socially they are strongly ruled by tradition andintra clan links of alliance, marriage and upon occasion Bloodfeuds. True Thurvish have a deep seated unease and wariness over centralised government, with small city-states being about the limit of what they find tolerable. Most clans are autocratic, but with a custom of Free Words allowed to all and a great tradition of charity, hospitality and honour. The Society treads carefully here, for they are viewed with an extreme amount of mistrust and reservation amongst the Thurvish, much from their cultural dislike of centralised organisations, but also from the influence of the Cantabrian city-state neighbours and occasional allies.
The Thurvish warrior is distinctive as though they have taken up crossbows and where affordable firearms, they still like to carry and use their favourite cultural weapons, namely the Thurvish Sword, a slightly curving single edged weapon that has a longer haft allowing 2 handed use, and also throwing darts.