The Great Tome of Fantastic Wonderous Places will be out in less than a month (current release date is September 21st!) I thought I’d post a bit about the country that my story, Autumn Road to Yessar, is set in. Here is an entry for Provaria from “The Encyclopedia of Idhua:”
Encyclopedia of Idhua: Provaria
Provaria (PRO-vair-ia) is one of only two countries in Idhua without a coastline. With the exception of river access to the Straits of Geffer at the mouth of the Provone River, Provaria is entirely landlocked. Most of its area is taken up in the Cazra Plateau – a high, dry desert around Mount Yessar. Much of Provaria’s population is nomadic, grazing herds on the Plateau during the wet season and returning to the river valley during the dry. Provaria is bordered by Hynovia to the east and Avarra to the north.
Provaria consists of six principalities along the lower river valley and the Cazra Plateau above. The wealthiest and most influential principality is Para. It encompasses the sprawling capital city of Zamora and the Prince of Zamora gathers tribute from the other princes and acts as their leader in international affairs. In addition much of the trade to and from Cazra comes through Para, whose high roads are the safest and best maintained of the region. The other principalities include Telmor, Yeige, Kamerlan, Karbren and Cythia. The population of Provaria is around 120,000 with over half that being part of the nomadic groups.
The Provone River is the only year round river in Provaria and all the agriculture along the river valleys depend on its flood cycle and irrigation from its torrent. The Cazra Plateau is crisscrossed with seasonal rivers and even year round springs, but the secrets of water in its barren hills and valleys are closely guarded tribal secrets.
Provaria’s economy is primarily based on internal and external trade. The nomadic tribes herd goats, sheep, horses and cattle and sell both the animals and related goods in the lowlands. The river principalities grow food and create finished goods the former of which is mostly sold to the tribes while the latter are exported across Idhua. The Prince of Zamora controls and polices the diamond, gold and silver mines which is why Zamora is the wealthiest city. A great deal of internal trade is carried out by barter, however the Prince of Zamora kept the Hynovian Eagle as the form of currency after Provaria’s withdrawal from the Hynovian Empire.
A Brief History of Provaria
The oldest recorded settlement in Provaria was Gatza, across the Provone River from the Hynovian city of Voira. Settlements sprang up all along the river, but the dry desert-like interior had few permanent settlements. The early Provarians would send their herds of sheep, goats and cattle up into the highlands through the winter, spring and early summer. Then, during the hot, dry summer they would return to the lowlands and the river. Sections of the river were controlled by tribal leaders who often fought among themselves and guarded their borders jealously.
The Ocillian Empire conquered Provaria in 1542 EC, but paid it little attention until some years later when gold and diamonds were found in the hills around Mount Yessar. Due to the harsh landscape, the Ocillian governors of Provaria allowed the semi-nomadic lifestyle of the Provarian tribes to continue and developed strong relationships with tribal elders. During Ocillian reign, the Glass Gardens in Zamora were built. These fabulous greenhouse gardens are heated by geothermal steam and contain exotic plants from all over Idhua. When the rebellion against the Empire took hold in the early 1900 EC, many of the smaller tribes were eager to join and to push for tribal independence and control of the river cities. In 1999 EC, the Emperor sent Imperial troops to Provaria to try to quell the increasing rebellion. Before they could arrive however the Dicora struck, destroying the Ocillian Empire.
In the aftermath of the Dicora, tribal leaders attempted to take charge of the cities, but soon found that they were not prepared to manage the settled and co-mingled populations. When the young Emperor Vastintine II, of the even younger Hynovian Empire, offered Provaria entry into the Empire in 7 LC, the tribal leaders were quick to agree. The Emperor created hereditary principalities in the cities, awarding them to the most powerful tribal leaders in each area. The Hynovian Empire lasted until around 345 LC when some of its southern provinces began rebelling and breaking off. Provaria remained part of the Hynovian Empire as it splintered into smaller and smaller fragments. Finally in 587 LC, when Emperor Maranius died, his twin sons both claimed the throne for the throne. Prince Aleksantos was supported by Hynovia proper while Prince Abalden had the support of his mother’s people in Provaria. Eventually they signed an accord that split the country in two and they were crowned King of their respective halves. Prince Abalden rejected the title of King or Emperor, declaring that the tribes of Provaria had been too long under the thumb of the empires. He crowned himself Prince of Zamora and for tribute from the other princes, he maintained diplomatic and international relations on their behalf.
Provaria joined the Treaty of Ten in 743 LC with the intention of stabilizing political boundaries and affirming trade agreements. In 857 LC, Provaria and Hynovia worked on a joint project to update and repair the caravan route over land and water down the Provone River. This route was an important one for goods coming to and from the south of Avarra. The increase in trade brought new revenue to the river cities and increased the power of the princes.
When sylvan magic began to wane across Idhua, Provaria found itself at odds with the branches of the Temple that were based on maritime magic. Without access to the coast, Provarian magic faded, making the teachings of the Ánadine Temple from Eonia. Though sylvan magic was restored in 1313 LC, the Temple in Provaria did not rejoin the Ánadine Temple. In 1400 LC the first Princess of Zamora was crowned. One of her great projects was to build a university adjunct to the Glass Gardens.