A country most known for its political upheavals of the last few decades, Letch is nevertheless a strong country founded on rich resources, biodiversity, and a surprisingly well-educated populace, despite the strife that has affected its governments.
Letch is home to both a significant agricultural industry and manufacturing in equal measure, with the country taking much of the engineering weight for the Southern Imyran nations, in the same way Wessenland does in the North. Counter to this very regimented use of lands, Letch also has large swathes of wilderness that ranges from the jungles in its north to the plains in the west and glaciers in the south. Thanks to the consistent nature of its iced coast, the national animal of Letch is the penguin.
Capital: Ulaila (’Meeting Place’) Palace: Rigaruz (’Shrine of Saint Riga’)
Northern River City: Mosa (Named for Mos The Unifier)
North Jungle City: Sionla (’Wild Place’)
East Forest City: Nocha (’Green Place’)
South East Coast City: Tucha (’Cold Place’)
Southern Estuary City: Ubutruz (’Night City’)
Mountain City: Dobaroc (’Plentiful Land’)
The involvement and continued interaction between Men and Nagu in Letch, despite the political difficulties of the country, perhaps reveal it as one of the most integrated nations on all of Hevna.
Tara, the Bakenagu settlement on the east of the country, sits firmly at the crossroads of several major railway lines and operates as the diplomatic hub the rest of Imyra has with Xem. While no Nagu has yet been elected as President, members of all the species present in Letch sit among its ministers and speak on policy as strongly as their human counterparts.
Most of Southern Imyra’s nations work a non-standard week, only really observing a single day for holy rites. Unlike its neighbors, however, Letch has a set week, working six days from Merday to Sailday, with Stoneday and Lightsday as a weekend, the latter for holy devotions. While this does not apply to every single job and individual in the nation, it has generated a unique culture of work, reward, rest and affluence in most areas, save those worst hit by the governmental upheavals of the past.
Water: Letch is blessed with plenty of water across the width of the nation, which has historically made access to such easy for most settlements. The rise of industry in the South, however, has caused a rapid rise in pollution problems in some areas, many of which are only beginning to be recognized and treated now the governmental issues of the nation have stabilized. The Doba River, south of Ulaila, is one of the most polluted water bodies in the country, if not on the planet, and recent lawsuits against the companies dispensing waste into it have caused the government to finally begin to clean up plans. The town of Sfar is known for its Dancing Cats, thanks to the mercury in the water. As a result, much of the country relies on spring water from underground or the mountains, and visitors are encouraged to stick to bottled water.
Food: For all its water woes, the abundance of moisture and lack of pollution away from the cities gives Letch a decent agriculture community. While nowhere near as prolific or abundant as Ithas in its grains, or as cattle-ready as Ketto, Letch has a strong range of products made in-country to support its populace, varying crops and meat animals across the various biomes inside its borders. Of particular note are the farms on the southern shelf, where Letch makes its most money by providing seal meat and winter bird eggs to Southern Imyra. The only sustainable penguin farm on Hevna is found here, though the penguins are farmed for their eggs alone, as their meat is less than palatable.
Law Enforcement: A contentious issue in Letch, the local law enforcement of the past have been both pawns and instigators in some of the countries troubles, leading to a general distrust by the public. Under the current climate, things are steadily improving though this has come at the expense of taking some powers away from the police. Currently, crimes committed on the street are easily handled by the given authorities, but access to homes and businesses for the purposes of investigation or prosecution are not clear cut. With a rise in violent crime inside of private premises and a savvy upswing in litigation from the general public, a push back to hand over authority to police has begun but has yet to unify the country under one permanent code of law and enforcement conduct.
Fire: With many of Letch’s resident’s building in wood, fire is a concern in any settlement. One of the few services not to be discontinued or changed in any way through the changes in government and policies, every town is still required by law to maintain suitable fire services for its size and populace, with appropriate training and skills as part of that task force. Firemen are paid a competitive rate as standard to most industries, with hazard pay for each fire a station responds to. While this has led in the past to arson scams, the penalties for such have been very severe for a long period, and the profession is regarded as an honorable one, with little corruption in modern times.
Utilities: Most Letchan residents have access either communally or personally to utilities. The richer among the populace and city dwellers tend to have sewers, gas and water piped in, while more rural regions still favor outhouses. Waste collection is consistent in most towns, though this was not always so during the strife of recent years. As a result of the disruption to services and the current pollution problems plaguing the denser area of the country, most utilities are highly protected now, with aetheric wards and contractors free of government attachment seeing to the needs of each town.
In 1840, the military of Letch rose up to depose the ruling Parliamentary Ministry after a steady increase in corruption among the ruling peers at the time. A product of years of increasing unrest, the overthrow was initially welcomed by the people before border friction with neighboring countries over the coupled to an increasingly paranoid and equally corrupt leadership rising from the new elite.
In 1847, power was restored to an elected body after the assassination of General Hoidin, and the country restructured to reflect its original representative doctrine, with a brace of new supporting anti-corruption laws. The General and his cadre of administrators were executed in 1848, as the forerunner to a brace of new sanctions and protocols for the military in the country.
The result for the country at the present time is a somewhat weakened military, as recruitment is down after the drop in popularity for the armed services, as well as the removal of many experienced personnel for their part in the coup. Letch currently sits strongest with its Navy and aerial forces, most of which are used in maintaining Letchan sea borders and shipping lanes.
Unique Imports and Exports: Letch imports cheap meat and grain from their neighbors, in exchange for its unique market in specialist meats and eggs. Beyond this basic necessity, however, Letch exports goods of all kinds into the Southern nations, ranging from felt hats and woolen garments all the way through to completed steam engines and aetheric devices. Letch manufactures on a huge scale, bringing in materials from around the South and trading on the skills of its workforce.
Letch is also able to trade via its education facilities, offering a wide range of subjects and trade skills. Known as the Wessenland of the South, Letch’s intelligentsia is not quite so prestigious as their Wessen counterparts, but a degree or trade certificate from one of its many schools is cashable anywhere on Hevna for the experience most graduates have in their chosen fields.
Docks: Despite having a fair amount of coast within its borders, Letch is not brimming with ports. The icy waters of the far south often clog potential docking points, and the swells and eddies of the Southern Strait can be unpredictable and treacherous. Letch thus maintains two major docking ports at Tucha, and upstream in Ubutruz with processing facilities for foreign visitors, while Itis handles much of the nation’s fisheries. The Nagan settlement of Slm also provides a safe harbor for those needing it, mixing both incoming international port facilities with fisheries.
Airports: Air travel across Letch is a daunting prospect, thanks to the variance of its biomes and the strong winds this can create as a result. Flights are strictly forbidden to move into airspace south of Dobaroc, thanks to the icing risk southern winds present, and pilots are also denied access to airspace within ten miles of the Letch Lodestone. While this is in part due to the capacity for the Stone to kill an aether engine and cause any ship to crash, the Stone is also protected to such a large distance out of religious respect for both the Lodestone and the ceremonies held around it, and the sanctity of the natural habitat it sits in. All visitors must thus land in the Nagan city of Tara to access to Stone, or in any other city in the country for all other airports.
Railways: Letch operates as something of a hub for rail travel in the south, even though its terrain prevents a more robust and connected network. Many goods pass through Letch on its ring rails for transport across international lines east to west and back, as well as for access to the expertize of Letchan rail engineers. Passenger trains are common along the established rail network, and Letch offers international access into its country at Mose, Tara, and Dobaroc.
Currency: The Letchan Ceed (LEC). Originally a stamped coin currency in a similar style to the Florin, the rise of the print industry and complications of Government saw the Letchan people switch to a paper-based currency on the decimal system, one which has finally settled down under the current leadership and is steadily gaining strength.
The basic Ceed is still a coin, made of brass and nickel. It is sub-divided into Ceedi coins at values of 1, 10 and 50, with banknotes featuring figures of Letchan history to denote amounts of 10, 20, 50 and 100 Ceeds.
State Religion: Letch is very much a Lodaist country, both thanks to its strong ties with its Nagan population, and the presence of a Lodestone within its borders. Religion has very much allowed a unity among the Letchan population not as evident in other places, with both species present in the nation coming together over a shared origin story and worship rituals.
Letch uses one of the Dragons of Lodaist myth as its crest, though this represents the only real religious division in the country. In general, the Dragon Tal is traditionally considered to rest within the Lodestone of Letch, the Dragon of the Earth and bounty. This is the belief and focus of worship for most of the country, but it is not the only thesis. A second, and relatively powerful, group holds that the Stone is home to Great San, one of the greater deities of the Lodaist faith. In general, San is thought to rest in Rasaal, far to the north. Currently, the distance between the two countries and their separated trade habits have not caused this debate of faith to cause any tensions, however, the rise of Rasaal on the world stage has seen an increase in lobbying from the San-ites on the matter.
Conflicts: One cannot talk about modern Letch without talking about the internal struggles of the last decade and the violence turned in upon itself and its own people. The fall of Kemri’s Parliament in 1840 was considered a necessary move by Letch, but certainly unsettled its neighbors. While the full intent of General Hoidin was not something known to outside parties, the potential for foreign intervention only subsided after his rule focused inward on his own people.
Within five years, however, the humanitarian issues in cities harboring persons Hoidin considered his enemies reached such scale as to interrupt international affairs and trade, allowing the exiled Parliamentarians and other nobles outside of Hoidin’s chosen few to gather foreign support to retake the country. Two years of strife followed before the General was truly deposed and control wrested back into the hands of the people, bringing Letch’s Time of Strife to an end.
The future still remains somewhat unstable for the nation, however, as its weakened military state and coveted resources and populace may yet see a conquest bid from more militant countries keeping a close eye on the situation.
Alliances: For all its troubles, Letch is considered a necessary presence in the South for its industrial complexes and skilled workers. Most countries will claim an alliance or at least friendship with Letch, but for true support, Letch relies most on Xem to its east. As one of the few Nagan powers on Hevna, Xem operates much of its international presence through the Men of Letch it has come to trust, and has a not insignificant force to bring to bear should it wish to.
During the Time of Strife, Xem offered both sanctuary to deposed nobles during Hoidin’s rule, as well as an elite force of Weavers during the restoration of the same.
Manner of Rule: Representative Republic. Each major city and its surrounding district hold elections to local governance, and then put forth candidates to the Parliament in Ulaila. This includes Nagan towns which hold equal standing to run districts as their counterparts among Men, with many Nagu sitting in positions of power and holding wealthy estates.
Printed Press: With the majority of its populace literate, and the affairs of the last decade benefiting on all sides from propaganda and investigative reporting, it is perhaps not surprising that Letch, just like Wessenland to the North, has seen an upsurge in newspapers and other printed media due to its past. Letch had five major national papers, hosts of small publications and a keen work base operating within the print industry. The forests of Letch provide a good source of paper for these works, which are shipped over international borders in many cases, and populate libraries the world over as the country works with the Wessen Floating Library. Unlike Wessenland, however, Letch is unique for actively managing its forests for the purpose of paper production – a necessity, considering the rate of publishing would see the country denuded within a single Nagan lifetime otherwise.
Penguin Tourism: With tourism steadily becoming a more common thing among Hevna’s people, and the progressive workweek pioneered by Letch, some facets of certain cultures have become inexplicably popular. Such is the case for Letch with its penguins.
Both among its own populace, who celebrate the bird as part of their national identity, and among the richer travelers of Hevna’s advanced northern nations, penguins have become something of a craze. Unsuitable as pets, thanks to their unique needs and frankly unpleasant breath, the penguin has become a symbol of value. Locals to Letch take pride in the fact they are the only country to successfully meet the needs of the species for breeding and farming, while the rich of other countries enjoy showing off their photographs with the animals, as they simply cannot be kept or encountered outside their natural habitats.
Penguin farms have thus become extremely profitable, offering tours of their facilities to visitors, chances to feed the birds and hold chicks, as well as selling all manner of penguin-themed merchandise.
One can only imagine this will be a temporary industry, until the next big thing, but the boon in cash is certainly no bad thing in the recovering nation.
Building Materials: Letch operates its building projects very much in line with Ketto. Wood and stone are used in most houses, with wood favored wherever the climate allows. 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, or are otherwise used for the care of the penguin flocks on the Southern Shelf.
Healthcare: Letch’s health-care system was not particularly organized before the Time of Strife, but certainly through it and in its wake, things have become no more formalized. In general, health is left to the individual to acquire, though this was very difficult during the rule of General Hoidin, as all known medics were drafted to treat only his troops and chosen few, with intent to allow the disease to claim some of his perceived foes.
Since the dissolution of his order, however, and the rebuilding of the Republic, medics are again available in most towns and active study of medical treatises legal and encouraged once more. For now, the price of healthcare remains fairly high due to demand outweighing supply, but the balance is steadily redressing itself as students pursue an education in this field in the hope of making money before the bubble bursts.
Disaster Relief: Sitting on the far side of a recent disaster in terms of its own internal conflicts, Letch does not currently have much scope for handling an unexpected disaster of any note. That said, localized problems such as aether storms, winter storms and trouble in the Southern Strait remain a part of normal life for all Letchans, and provisions remain in place for these. Whether that is the deployment of ice breaker ships or the upkeep of shelters in town most likely to be hit by aether storms, most residents know their options in times of trouble, and many of these shelters remain in excellent condition, having been used during the Time of Strife, and thus maintained by the populace desperately in need of them.
It is, of course, the hope of the people that stability will remain for the foreseeable future, and that the government will rebuild its coffers in time, in the event something devastating hits Letch’s shores.
The Letchan Lodestone
Like the other six Lodestones around Hevna (in Adane, Rasaal, The Esian Desert, The Lode Islands, The Okan Islands & The Nostalian Snowflats), Letch’s most unusual and unique piece of rock has several remarkable features.
The Letch Lodestone sits on the edge of the Lumin Forest, south of Tara, on Letch’s east side. It sits nestled in a wide and thick ring of purple moss, and seems to exert some effect on the forest to its south, which gives off aether-green light at night during the Weft (hence the forest name).
The stone is canted at a 30 degree angle with its point toward the north. Under normal daylight conditions, it is a light blue behemoth, pitted across its lower edges, and home to a unique species of white lichen, mostly present on its south side. At night, and during the day in Spin-time, the stone has a soft glow. Giving off a subtle amethyst-purple hue, the stone remains consistent in color in the Weft, but pulses between other tones of purple, red and blue when aether passes by. This same pulsing can be seen when the ashes of the dead are scattered on the Stone’s surface.
In keeping with other Lodestones, the Letchan Stone seems to absorb any aether in the area near it, even during Storm seasons, and has a ‘scrambling’ effect on magnetism. Birds and animals avoid it, which may be due to how it interferes with homing instincts in these creatures. It is thought that the moss growing around the area has the rare adaptation of being entirely aether inert, while the trees of the Lumin forest have adapted to cope with the constant aetheric pull of the Stone, hence their nightly discharge of latent build up, stored in Storm years.
Aether ships flying within this half-mile radius will spontaneously fail and crash, even wooden ships impregnated with latent aether.
The people of Letch venerate the Stone, as do most adherents of the Lodaist Faith, as the Stone is seen as the resting place of the Earth Dragon, Tal. Due to this, there are four Lodaist Lodges present at the cardinal directions around the stone, with priests of all the races of Letch present. These priests are charged with many religious rites, including passing of the dead to the Stone, and maintaining the carpet of moss so pilgrims do not kill it off by using the same routes constantly.