Another of Imyra’s changeable environments, Ketto stretches from dry sands in the north, to ice snowfields in the south. Originally two separate countries after the grand expansion across Imyra, Ketto conquered ‘Sterin’ in 1507, going on to seize parcels of land from Ithas, Mayris, and Bazel over the next two decades.
Since then, Ketto has gone from what many viewed as a warmongering society, to one much lauded by many modern nations.
While Ketto has bared its teeth in the past and operates on a similar governmental system to other southern Imyran nations, it differs from its peers in one significant factor – equality of the sexes. Ketto uniquely has a workforce made up of more women than men, and while that in itself has no benefit or detriment to it, it has meant a degree of investment in Ketto’s infrastructure and cultural identity as one people. Even those towns that remain in old Sterin strongholds freely recognize themselves as Kettan, though many hold on to some old Sterin traditions within their own homes.
Capital: Amin Dina (’Safe Town’) Palace: Qae Maliq (’Hall of Strength’)
Northern Dune City: Kuthba (Named for the General, Kuthan.)
North Lake City: Cabheyra (’Great Lake Place’)
West Coast City: Galghnar (’River of the Forest’)
South West Coast City: Jal’Dina (’Icy City’)
Southern Estuary City: Dinarr (’River City’)
Southern River City: Sha’Yal (’Oft Cold Place’)
Mountain City: Yesdina (’Nestled Town’)
East Mountain City: Cabi’Lairit (’Great High Place’)
The nature of those Nagu who live in Ketto keep them relatively separate from their peers among Men. The Tyakonagu of Ketto are as reclusive on land as their kin anywhere else on Hevna but are more amenable when met in the water, often having favorable interactions with the ships and crews of Men they have come to respect. The Attonagu and Bakenagu of Ketto remain fearful of Men, however, and choose to remain aloof. Kettan culture does not persecute Nagu, per se, but it is likely the memory of the Kettan/Sterin war lingers within these tribes as Nagu live so much longer than Men, and thus their stories resonate for many more years (the current Nagan generations will be the grandchildren of Nagu alive during the war).
It is also worth noting that the Bakenagu of Ketto are unique among even their own kind for their white fur and cold adaptations, not seen elsewhere in Hevna. Such differences in the species may also account in some way for their wariness of other peoples.
Ketto remains, at its core, a very industrious nation. The people work long hours in most jobs, and much weight is put on community labor to improve services for the many. Thanks to this, amenities are well distributed in nearly all permanent settlements, despite the challenges of the Kettan terrain. The very north and very south of the country, though, remain a challenge for some necessities due to the heat and cold respectively.
Water: In the north, piped water is a vital component to survival for the residents of the sandy forests and dunes. Water pipes in this area are warded and looked after above all else, drawing from either the Cusan Peaks or Threp Pools. Further south, water is more easily available and less protected, as rivers and streams supply much of the country with fresh water or ice in the very south. In the more wealthy areas of the cities, not only is piped water a common feature inside the household, but heated water is a regular fixture too. Even poorer districts of settlements tend to have access to public hot baths, however, as cleanliness is important to Kettan culture.
Food: Ketto has given over swathes of its mid belt to agriculture, but its production pales in comparison to Ithas and other Imyran nations. Instead, the Kettan people thrive on meat and cattle culture. The capture of grazing land from Ithas, as well as the host of native meat species present in country, have meant a steady boom within the nation on the back of this market, and many ‘exotic’ portions of meat are exported around the world for consumption in the houses of the rich and famous. As a result, Ketto has some very strict laws and rules for the cultivation of livestock, and are in the process of branching out into varied poultry farming, to try and compete with Nostalia’s grouse market.
Law Enforcement: Once, the army was the law, but Ketto has come far since then. All major cities and most towns have a police department of some manner, size dependent upon the population in a given area. Ketto also pays these stations from government funding, itself derived from taxes upon the whole populace. The law is centralized from the Serk’s palace, with mandatory sentences across Ketto’s territories. The death penalty remains a commonly enforced facet of these laws, with Ketto favoring the ‘long drop’ for its most egregious criminals and traitors.
Fire: Ketto’s many fire departments predate the police force by a long shot. Fire is bad news no matter where one may be in Ketto, and organized prevention and reaction groups have existed since settlements began. The Kettan people tend to build their houses close together, thus it is in the best interests of a community to prevent fire so it does not spread between properties.
After the formal embracing and organization of police departments in recent years, the Kettan government has steadily been unifying its attitude and training toward fire protection in all its provinces along similar lines.
Utilities: Gas heats and allows cooking in just about all middle and upper-class homes in Kettan lands, and steam assists in many tasks around the house. For folk who cannot afford personal utilities, there are usually similarly services available within the hub of the community to see to similar needs, be it cooking pits or cheap wash houses. Warding protects the intakes for near all these services, as the lines for the poor are often connected to the same pipes that service the rich.
One element of living that is not split between income levels, however, is sewage access. Laws require all two-story buildings to have access to the sewer grid, and outhouses to stand at certain distances for single story residences. Significant fines can be issued to those not in compliance with the law, or who do not have their pits emptied regularly. While it would be nice to think this is due to looking after the human population, the truth is more to do with preventing diseases from being passed from people to livestock unnecessarily.
Ketto has maintained a standing army within its borders since the earliest times when it was a collection of warring tribes. The army hit its peak leading up to the war with Sterin, but has decreased in number since. Every city maintains a barracks for training and deploying troops, mostly along the Kettan borders these days, and to deal with the issue of persistent cattle rustling in some areas of the country. As a result, the Kettan populace is particularly proud of their cavalry, many of whom started life as cattle wranglers.
Ketto also has a very small navy, more active in ice breaking than actual ship combat, as Ketto is not currently at war or swamped by pirates. Finally, Ketto maintains a roaming airforce of aether ships, used both in protecting trade routes, securing airports, and patrolling troubled areas.
All of these forces are under the control of the Serk, though in practical terms, each force respects the orders of a given hierarchy of Generals and Commanders that advise the Serk and handle the logistics for deployments and ‘peacekeeping’.
Unique Imports and Exports: With Ithas to the west able to outdo Ketto in sheer quantity of meat released onto the global market, Ketto makes it mark in variety. Ithan cows may make excellent beef, but only from Ketto can you add four more species of delicacy to your shopping list. Kettan animals are not just useful dead, however. The country supplies many studs to various investors around the world, not least of which the camel-dependent nations who value the gentility of the Kettan breed. For imports, Ketto favors magus globes, glass and engineers from the north, to continue the development of the country.
Docks: With a sweeping southern coastline, one may be forgiven for expecting many docks and fisheries along the Kettan coast, but the fact is they are relatively sparse. This is due to the perpetual issues of ice on the southernmost spans of the coast, thick and unpredictable enough to capsize unwary boats. Nevertheless, vessels set out from the more northerly ports where the water is more reliable, and these ships tend to have excellent hauls of cold water fish and crabs. The assistance of ice-breaking ships and the local Tyakonagu makes such ventures safer, a fact which aides the polar outpost of Stomwool with whom Ketto trades regularly. The docks at Jal’dina and Galghnar are the biggest on Kettos coast, with suitable space and administration for foreign arrivals.
Airports: Air travel in Ketto can be challenging, as one ranges from the icing problems of flight in the south, all the way up to sand in the engines to the north. Despite this, airships operate out of all the major cities, especially in the mid belt, to move cargo and passengers around Ketto’s challenges. Coupled with the growing rail network, air and steam travel combined have driven the price of transit down enough that most citizens can afford to cross long distances when they so wish, and holidays around the country are on the increase as a result.
Railways: Ketto has a strong rail network everywhere across the country save the coldest and sandiest areas. The rail network connects to that of Bazel, Ithas and Letch which allows for fast international trade and travel, and the country intends to continue the expansion of its network into more areas of the country.
Currency: The Kettan Stol (KES). After the war with Sterin and acquisition of diverse lands, people and currencies, Ketto made the decision to overhaul the entire financial system and introduce new coinage on the decimal system. As one of the newest currencies on Hevna, it is also one of the few to include bank notes alongside its coins.
The Stol is a thick coin of brass and nickle, backed by the Kettan gold reserves. It is divided into Stels, with coins for 1, 5 and 50 stels in circulation, as well as bank notes for 10, 25 and 50 stols.
State Religion: Ketto is devoutly aligned to the Lights, in contrast to many of its neighbors. Lights worship arrived in force prior to the war with Sterin, and helped catalyze the outbreak of violence. It is likely the faith took off with such strength as Ketto has excellent access to astronmy with its often clear skies, and the southern aurora at the right time of year. Coupled with the nature of Kettan life, Lights worship makes a great deal of sense on a ‘ground floor’ level, and while the adoption of Lights’ holidays and celebrations caused tension in the days following the conquest of Sterin, one wouldn’t know it today.
Despite how hard Lights worship is pushed by Ketto, Lodaism has not been outlawed or persecuted, save when practitioners refute Lights worship in public. What people do and believe within their own homes does not seem to concern the Serkate, so long as national observances are made without complaint.
Conflicts: Ketto is most famous for its war of conquest against Sterin. While this war saw the absorption of the one into the other, the war is also remembered for the expansion into territory that had once belonged to other nations immediately after. Since the settlement of new borders, though, Ketto has been at peace and focused a lot of effort on establishing a national identity to unify all of its peoples. While this has been mostly a success, there are still periodic demonstrations over some facets of Kettan ethics.
Internationally, Ketto is useful to the trade network, but its choice of religion and tariffs on rail trade through its borders for Ithic products does present areas of political contention between Imyran leaders.
Alliances: Ketto maintains close friendships with Stomwool across the sea, and Nyret in the north on religious grounds. The Kettan government also courts Ithas heavily, despite their conflict of interests in the food market, for access to trade from Adane and the tariffs on trade out of their western neighbor.
Manner of Rule: Hereditary Monarchy, deferred power. Like other southern Imyran nations, Ketto is ruled over by a Serk, with a parliament of nobles fulfilling other leadership and advisory roles supplementing the power of the throne.
Cattle: Cattle are the backbone of Kettan life. Even the poorest family will own a small herd or group of goats or other creatures, and the largest families of the region manage multiple ranches of animals, from cows to horses to antelope to oxen. Ketto has very profitable and predictable grazing ground across much of the land not given over to agriculture, though some of it comes with its own challenges, such as the Galloping Plains. This area experiences regular tremors through the ground, giving the area its name (and not, as many assume, from the horses that roam there). The domestication and management of livestock inside Ketto goes back so long, however, that many of its herds are uniquely adapted to the challenges of their environments.
Theater and Sport: The Kettan culture of hard work is offset by an almost equal love of recreation. What free time most people have is often devoted to theater or sports. Much of southern Imyra’s unique cultures and stories are best preserved by the actor troupes of Ketto, many of whom tour not just their own country, but their neighbors as well. Athletic prowess is as loved as storytelling in Ketto, with hip-ball and ice racing both equally preferential depending on where in the country one may be. Hip-ball is technically the national sport, however, as a tournament is held every year in the capital to celebrate the Serks birthday.
Building Materials: Wood and stone are used in most houses, usually in about equal measure. In colder areas of the country, some people still build the traditional ice houses of the past, but these are usually seasonal way-houses, rather than a families’ main domicile. Glass is somewhat expensive to import, and has led to the rich displaying their wealth by installing either double glazing or colored glass depending on locale.
Healthcare: Healthcare is the concern of the individual, but doctors are readily available. The need for medical practitioners in Ketto’s most remote and difficult regions means some individuals are even able to acquire government grants to pursue the healing arts, but residents are expected to pay for their care. Within the cities of the Kettan people, some influencers and wealthy residents fund or sponsor hospitals, either long term or for a short period for free check-ups for the poor, as this aids their social standing. For large companies managing ranches and other lucrative industries within Ketto’s borders, offering health care as part of employment is common, especially as cattle management can often end in broken bones.
Disaster Relief: Ketto’s government holds a fund for relief, should it be needed. What qualifies as a ‘disaster’, however, means the fund has yet to be tapped, even in particularly harsh Storm years or winters. Taxpayers have questioned whether the fund even exists at all, in the wake of devastation when it has happened, though the government says it does. The cynical of Ketto point out that the money, extant or not, will no doubt only turn up should something occur to seriously damage Ketto’s national profit margin and farming. Anything less simply isn’t of concern to the powers that be.