Nefazo

Capital: Ouilainne (pronounced Wee – lane)
Location: Northwest of Mana’Olai, southwest of Easlinder
Climate and Terrain: Subtropical to temperate marshlands in the north, rich farmland to the east, tropical climate to the south.
Citizenry: The Nefazo

Physical Attributes
Skin: Light skinned
Eye Color: Blue and hazel
Hair: Blonde, sandy brown, black, occasionally red
Avg. Height: 5’5”- 6’

Religion
No state religion. Common practices include Yuinism, Fedi’Omana, and (almost universally, alongside the others or exclusively) Avidade

Ruling Body
Parliamentary Guild Congress

Title of Ruler
Sabhadar

Name of Current Ruler
Sabhadar Reis Beldington

Allies and Trading Partners
Mana’Olai, the shuen, Easlinder (tremulous), Pileaus (through shuen agents), the Kleas (currently opening an overland route), the eashue (through Mana’Olai agents)

Enemies
The Nefazo try to remain neutral in all international concerns to keep their lines of trade open. There are factions in all nations that do not appreciate the methods and practices of the Nefazo, but by and large, they are welcomed everywhere.

Trade
Any and all goods flow through Nefazo.
Crops/livestock: The jui are a type of tiny marsh deer common in the western reaches of Nefazo. The leather taken from these animals is incredibly soft and supple and is used almost exclusively in the creation of footwear. Various indigenous crops are grown in the nation, primarily fruit orchards and rice.
Fabric: Any and all
Unique Export: Jui leather
Major Exports: Any and all

Overview and History
In the year 523 D.O., a number of wealthy merchants from across the northlands financed a great race of exploration into the central and southern regions of the continent in search of new resources to exploit. They suffered extreme hardship while traveling through the dangerous central region, where they were continually set upon by local tribes and bandits and forced to move onward with little rest. After a number of years, they crossed the southern arm of the Monahdraichean into an area with few inhabitants and decided to settle there.

Many lives were lost during their harsh travels, and the people realized that there would be no way to safely establish solid trade routes with their homelands. After a time, these settlers came to enjoy the autonomy of their new home and decided to band together and make their settlements permanent. A great fear of exploration gripped the northern nations when these explorers failed to return, and no further attempts at travel through the central region of the continent were financed or encouraged.

As a group built primarily of merchants, the newly formed coalition of Nefazo began to trade seriously with both the Mana’Olai and the local taishu. Their number slowly grew over time, as did their wealth. Over the years, many of the ancient mah’saiid ruins were recovered, restored, and inhabited. Unlike with the Mana’Olai, however, the mah’saiid do not trust the Nefazo or their communal greed, and so the Nefazo have had to rely on their own ingenuity and curiosity to aid them in uncovering the lost secrets of the “Ancients.” This has hindered the Nefazo and their attempts at keeping pace with the Mana’Olai. However, members of the Guild Congress have been actively searching the secrets of the knowledge of the ancient mah’saiid through any means possible – whether it be espionage, theft, or even honest trade. Unfortunately for the Nefazo, the Mana’Olai keep their secrets well hidden, only allowing enough of their discoveries to slip out in order to slake the Nefazo’s thirst for knowledge.

Relic hunters are common throughout the nation, and many of the wealthy merchant houses and members of the Guild Congress pay hefty bounties for any knowledge of the Ancients. Thus the Sul Brotherhood is very active in the borders of Nefazo, doing their best to ensure that the more dangerous discoveries remain hidden.

Politically speaking, the Nefazo are more often at odds with each other than with the rest of the continent. However, in 709 D.O., the members of the Guild Congress joined together in a rare (some say miraculous) show of solidarity and voted unanimously to find ways to open trade with the north. Through treaties soon signed with the shuen, ports in the Duchy of Ud, Ommany, and Thila were opened to the Nefazo.

It has long been a goal of the Nefazo to one day open an overland trade route between the north and the south. In spite of all their attempts, the inhabitants of the Shoro refuse to allow this to happen. With the establishment of Easlinder, a new opportunity has presented itself to the Nefazo. If they cannot create an overland route, then perhaps they can, with the aid of the rilk, create an underground route. All the Nefazo need do is absorb the fledgling nation in order to begin construction.

The large shipments of jui (HWEE) leather that have recently surfaced in the northlands has sparked the interest of the Guild Congress. The small amounts sent northward through the shuen are not nearly enough to account for all the leather showing up in the markets of Pileaus, Thila, and Ud. The Nefazo recently tracked a shipment of specially prepared leather as it moved through Mana’Olai. It was later found to have surfaced in a Thilan market only weeks later. Since it normally takes months to reach Thila oversea and years overland, this disturbing news has set the Guild Congress aflame with fear and trepidation. If the Mana’Olai have somehow established an overland trade route, then the Nefazo will be beholden to the nation, even as they are beholden to the shuen for travel oversea. Spies have been sent forth to discover the secret means that the Mana’Olai are using to trade with the Thilans, suspecting some sort of ancient technology or magic aiding their trade. This, coupled with the already competitive race to open the Kleas to trade, has caused tensions between Mana’Olai and Nefazo to rise greatly.

The Guild Congress may, if they become desperate enough, begin to seize these secrets by force. This would be the first sanctioned military action between the established nations in the south.

How they are perceived by other nations
The Nefazo are merchants first and people second. Their entire society is built upon commerce, and they live for the sale. Anything that has value to someone else can and will be sold, be it a pretty bauble or even a close family member. They are known to be shrewd and cunning, loyal only within the bounds of a written contract. They are a nation of lawyers, capable of exploiting any loopholes they find within a contract, and outsiders have learned to be extremely careful in their dealings with these merchants.

Major Heroic Figures
Avidade – Deified merchant
Apros L’eure – Beggar that weaseled his way into wealth over night
Gamingnon D’duer – Founder of the city of J’espe (second greatest city in Nefazo)
Diedre L’alleux – First female to successfully deal with the shuen

Customs
The Nefazo are an eclectic people. They have very few customs of their own but choose to adopt the customs of those they do business with instead. There are a number of laws they hold sacred above all else called L’Traie nu Duoit (la-TRAY-noo-doy). These laws are codes of conduct for every facet of life that are loosely based on a foundation of trade and commerce. Marriage, interpersonal relations, and meting out justice are all dealt with in great detail within the L’Traie nu Duoit. Every conceivable circumstance has been outlined within this code, so dealing with the Nefazo requires a familiarity with these laws.

The Nefazo are very eclectic in their celebration of holidays. Only three of their national holidays are unique to their nation. All others come from neighboring allies such as the Mana’Olai or Easlinders.

Style of Dress
The Basics: In Nefazo, attire is all about status. The richer one is, the more expensive and flamboyant one dresses. Jewelry and accessories are important. Some clothing could border on the edge of foolishness.

The Details: Males wear loose fitting robes of varying color and ornamentation. Most men wear a type of sandal made from soft sheep or jui leather called a Moulier. They also wear a dangling earring made from a precious metal adorned with gemstones and other charms. The more charms and embellishments on the earring, the wealthier the man is likely to be. The wealthiest men usually wear hair ornaments instead of the heavier earrings.

Females in the south wear light dresses, blouses, and skirts due to heat and humidity. Nefazo women adorn themselves with copious amounts of jewelry and makeup. A small conical hat made from woven precious metals or other costly materials called a “Sonnet nu Turone” is worn on special occasions by females from all walks of life. This hat resembles a fez but is not as tall, reaching no more than three inches in height. It is often tooled with intricate glyphs, patterns, and images that tell stories or depict important personal or historical events. Many of the wealthier women have these inscribed with symbols that are deep with meaning – more often than not depicting a telling victory over an enemy or rival. The Sonnet nu Turone is often braided into the hair in such a manner as to draw attention to the headpiece rather than to the woman’s hair. Female Nefazo wear the Moulier sandal, albeit with a very different cut – lacing up along the calf to better accentuate a woman’s legs.

Notes: Yuinism and Fedi’Omana are both practiced within the nation’s borders. Clothing should be unmistakably Nefazo yet still adhere to the standards of those religions. Information on these clothing styles can be found under Eastlinder Clothing.

Jui leather is a very valuable commodity, and as such, should be used for more than just sandals. Jackets, hats, and even gowns could be made of the leather.

As merchants, the Nefazo are very in tune with trends in other regions of the continent. As such, they would probably borrow styles from the more refined nations, like the Empire and the Duchy of Ud, while rejecting styles from places like Mana’Olai and Brailee’s Steps.

Architecture of Nefazo
Influenced by: Mah’saiid, The Empire, Thila

The citizens of Nefazo are an extremely competitive lot; those with any money at all are constantly attempting to prove they’re wealthier than their neighbors. As a nation, they’re similarly looking to be ranked among the cultural and economic powerhouses of the north, namely Thila and the Empire. Nefazo architecture is an interesting mish-mash of styles from those nations, and each residence on a block is a garish attempt to outclass the rest.

The ruins of the mah’saiid and the secrets they hide have become a cultural obsession. Wealthy individuals often have their own bands of scouts scouring the countryside for such ruins. Art and technology are not the only things they bring back to their masters, however. Whole pieces of mah’saiid structures are often stripped from their original locations and installed in Nefazo residences. One cannot truly be considered high society without a proper amount of mah’saiid architecture incorporated into one’s home.

There is, of course, one exception to the above description. In cities which host members of the Nefazo Council, the councilor’s residence is the only structure allowed to be seen above the city wall. It’s also the only structure allowed any individuality; other buildings in such cities must adhere to strict standards set by the local councilor.

Nefazo Holidays
Dete du Avidade – Ianus
This celebration is a day of wheeling and dealing where each community gathers together as its members attempt to sell the most worthless merchandise for the greatest amount. At the end of the day, the person who has made the most money is crowned the “Avidade” for the duration of the year and is granted a year free of taxation on all of their transactions.

S’espri Moiraube – Agminis
A night of revelry and celebration. This night is a celebration of life and the gifts it brings. When the holiday was first instituted, it was a night of thanksgiving, but over the years it has declined into a display of hedonism and indulgence.

Foures du Apros L’eure – Vinali
The Feast of Apros L’eure. Among the Nefazo there is a fascination with poverty, and on this day, the wealthiest of the Nefazo take beggars or orphans from the streets and make them kings for a day. These unfortunates are given the opportunity to experience the good life for a day and “blessed” with a parting gift from their patron as a token of their stay. Most Nefazo find a drunkard and serve him wine until he passes out, but there are a few who go to great lengths to make the experience more memorable for their guests.

Nefazo Marriage
Nefazo marriages are arranged affairs centered around the amount of wealth and influence that can be acquired through the union. An agreement is traditionally reached between two families soon after the birth of their respective children, and the courtship lasts from the time a child is old enough to walk and speak to the age of majority. The wedding itself is an elaborate display of wealth and influence as the parents draw on incredible amounts of resources and favors to make the event memorable. The bride and groom are merely puppets in this ceremony, not the honored focus. The marriage is seen as a coming of age event, and no one within the society is truly seen as an adult until they are married, regardless of age.

The Nefazo are the only group within the south to actually embrace the idea of divorce, but it is a costly affair that is not actively practiced by most couples. A divorce normally takes, at the minimum, three years to complete and requires stringent audits of all resources, past and present. The merging of dowries is then split, and the balance of the wealth generated during the marriage is paid out according to how it was managed and accumulated. It is a terribly tedious prospect to divorce, so most couples have their spouse assassinated or attempt to buy them out rather than go through the whole process themselves.

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