Skingaard
Fantasy art by Jensen Patrick
Fantasy art by Jensen Patrick as Skingaard
REGION INFORMATION
Region: Skingaard
Kingdom: Kiraric
Rulers: Kiraric
Wealth: High
Population: 495,000
Language: Sancric
Religion: The Light
Demonym: Skingaarder
Primary Revenue: Architecture/Ice Wine/Brandy/Herb of the Island
Cultural Niche: Water Wonderland
Weakness: Limited Resources Due to the Island's size/Limited Population Growth
MILITARY INFORMATION
Fortification: Calydonea Halls
Specialization: Navy
Knights: 3000
Soldiers: 20000

Overview

Skingaard Life

Skingaardians love life and live it to the fullest on their own terms. There is a clearly defined class structure, however a secondary class to nobles exists in the form of merchants who are often richer then some noble families. The country runs off of these merchants and traders with the whole of the island split into acres of orchards due to the long summers and therefore long growing seasons. Apples and cherries are typically found on the southern side of the island where the brandy production Skingaard is famous for is also produced. Harvests of grapes can be found in the north where the earlier frosts make for stunning ice wines. Commoners work the fields and never own or rent land, while merchants rent the land from the nobles or rarely own it. Though with the smaller population the people are generally more coveted and treated better then commoners in larger lands as the work force is harder to replace. A commoner who is particularly skilled may even be enticed away from one orchard to another with large promises.

Skingaard Marriages

The noble class is very protective of the womanly virtue. A female noble who is unmarried and ever rumored to have lost her virtue or had any sort of dalliance can ruin almost all chances she has of a marriage to a fellow noble. This rarely but can lead to marriages between the merchants and nobles where the merchants are viewed as buying their way into nobility.

The marriage ceremonies are very religious in nature and large sums of money can pass hands to the temples to get the most auspicious days of the year, during the height of summer or at the start of harvest. Such marriages that take place during this time are considered to be blessed by the beauty of summer or the bounty of the harvest. Marriage ceremonies are lavish and the more money spent on the niceties improves a families social standing greatly. A poorly executed wedding can lead to societal disaster in the eyes of their fellow nobles or merchants. Rarely do people simply 'run off and get married' even amongst the commoners. Skingaards are all about the show and the party.

Once married a woman is seen as protected under her husbands household and any offense to her virtue therefore falls upon her husband's head and brings him great dishonor. A woman who cheats on her husband is seen as unseemly and disgusting to bring him such offence. While a man before or after marriage is encouraged to enjoy as many women as possible since it shows his great virility.

Children born out of wedlock are very frowned upon unless it is a noble's child had with a commoner. In these cases if the noble acknowledges the child or is forced to acknowledges the child by the Dynast's verdict must provide for them and their family even. It is rare for a noble male to be careless enough for this reason to get anyone but his wife with child. No child born out of wedlock may have any claim to their father's estate but is seen as having all rights to their mother's and her husband's (if she has one).

Skingaard Clothing

Clothing in the kingdom of Skingaard could be considered racy by the standards of other kingdoms. The warmer temperatures then Mobrin have lead to lighter fabrics joined by tight and high waisted styles for woman t better improve cooling. Heavy brocades and satin are rare while silk and cotton are used with abundance. Sleeveless styles or bare shoulders are popular but hair is to never be seen down by a man outside of a married woman's household. Unmarried woman often twist or braid their hair up with expensive fabrics into elaborate pinned styles.

Winters styles lead to hair down but covered by expensive veils and more layered styles of gowns. The very short and almost snow free winters mean these are not common styles within the isles, however Skingaardians do enjoy the relief from the heat.

Herb of the Island

While many primary think of Skingaard as a place to get fine luxury items from like their infamous ice wines, they are the only source for the herb most commonly know as 'Herb of the Island'. Once considered noting more than peasants food and a weed, there are many legends and tales on just how it came to be more. While the details of the stories change, at the center of each is about how during a time of plague upon the island that a Sheat himself guided a healer to the plant. And since that time, plagues such as the 'Sweating Sickness' have been rare and short lived upon Skingaard. The herb has since become an important, if limited, export for the Skingaards. It is important to the point that there are laws against the stealing or destroying of this plant on Skingaard.

Tinctures and teas are made from the root of the plant to treat fever, infections, flu and 'plagues'. And just about any other ailment, for some have come to think of the plant as a 'Miracle Plant' that will heal or fix anything. While the stalks of the plant are often used to flavour teas and thought to aid one to regain strength after illness.

The Order of Forza e La Bellezza

With the value that the people of Skingaardians have placed upon the virtue of their women, especially their royal and noble women, the royal family centuries ago created the Order of Forzae la Bellezza. The order purpose was to train women to serve as protectors of their women, avoiding risk of impropriety with them having male guards. The women protect the female members of the royal House only. The women who make up the order are selected at an early age when a princess is born, usually around two or three for the honor of being sent to the training house. Children who are selected have shown some promise to learning and ability, and of course looks. Though given the status and honor that comes with being chosen, a family will sometimes 'help' see that their daughter is chosen, as with everything else on Skingaard, everything can be bought at the right price.

The training house is located within the grounds of the castle and only women are ever allowed within it's walls and training fields. Any male found on the grounds is punished severely, often ending with his death. The only exception to this is the Dynast and Princes, though it is rare for them to pay visit.

Training for those chosen to become part of the Order, a Forza as they are often called, is rigorous and intense. For the girls must not only master the combat and defensive skills needed to protect the women of the Royal family, they must also be versed in all the social protocols, to read, to write, to hold conversation, and so on. For not only do they protect, but serve as companion to the princess they are assigned. To outsiders, they would seem to serve as both guard and handmaid.

The Forza are honored and respected for being chosen and the duty they perform. But they are also the only women who are allowed to learn the art of combat. Any female outside the order that has been discovered to learn how to wield any weapons (other than a kitchen knife) are looked down upon and often shunned. As it is assumed, the woman had to turn to a man to be taught and her virtue was the price. No member of the Order will ever agree to teach a nonmember.

Women of the Order remain unmarried during the duration of their service. Often this is for life as one might go from actively guarding to training the newest girls. However, service is sometimes also 'rewarded' with the royal House seeing to a marriage arranged for a Forza to a noble, usually from one of the minor Houses. Most minor Houses actually welcome the opportunity since the women are highly respected and the Royal Family provides the dowry for the woman. It is also common for the House to see the woman matched to one of their accomplished Knights.

Forzas are easily identified by the clothing they wear. Blue dressed designed to allow movement with tight bodices and shoulder less sleeves. A trim of silver and black are added to match the royal colors. The same fish upon the royal crest is tattooed on the Forza's right shoulder upon the completion of her training and must always been shown except in dire circumstances to easily identify the guardswoman. If a Forza allows herself to be sullied by a man of her charge to be disgraced (even if it was the noblewoman's own free will) she is cast from the order and her tattoo is cut from her shoulder. The cut is forbidden anything but the basic tending to prevent infection but encourage scarring to show her shame.

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