|Queen Ysabel I and King Ferrando II|
Hespia had long been a conquered region. At one time or another, native Hespians were under the control of the Alpenne Empire and the Gilded Imperium, both reverting back to their small kingdoms after those empires fell. Roughly 1500 years ago, Hespia was overtaken by the Sonrai Sultanates. After centuries of rule be the Sonrai, a Hespian nobleman named Pelagius roused an army - claiming the divine favor of the Steward - and struck back against the Sonrai. Centuries of fighting continued, but native Hespians eventually drove the Sonrai completely out of the peninsula roughly 100 years ago, completing the 'Reunification'. This feat was celebrated by the marriage of Ysabel I and Ferrando II - the rulers of the two greatest kingdoms in Hespia who first united the lands under one rule.
Hespia is currently in the midst of what could be called a golden age. Led by King Filipe IV - who is of the same royal house as Ferdinandus II - their massive navies travel all over the world trading goods, setting up colonies in the New World and Kibula, and enforcing their sprawling borders. Art, philosophy, education and faith are at an all time high, and few can compete with the might of Hespia. That does not mean all is well - Hespia is the seat of the Inquisition, and fanaticism runs high against anyone who does not worship the Steward. Not only that, but Hespia is involved in multiple conflicts against Couronne, Albain, Schwarzlander and Osmanli pirates, not to mention their activity in the Great War. It is both a time of gold and a time of bloodshed for Hespia, and King Filipe worries for the future.
LAY OF THE LAND
|A typical 'castillo' in Hespia|
Hespia may be a large empire, but the Hespian Peninsula the actual country lays on is not overly large. Small rivers cross the country, but the largest is the western-flowing Tajo, which most major Hespian cities sit upon. Hespia also has quite a large mountain range called the Pirinioak - a short but broad range that is often served as a defensive point against Couronne. The land is fairly hilly and rocky, turning into occasional plateaus and lowlands. The land is temperate to the north and west, turning into coastal scrubs to the east and arid near-desert at the southern tip. Luckily, Hespia has managed to keep their borders secure - the forces of Corruption rarely tread here, meaning even towns and villages can thrive with only worries of other nations and the occasional Skrzzak incursion. The climate stays warm and dry, but not blistering.
POLITICS AND DIVISIONS
King Filipe IV is the current king of Hespia, and is a member of the House of Hapsburc - the same royal dynasty of Ferdinandus II. King Filipe is an aggressive king militarily, but is also known as a lover of arts and culture. Technically, Hespia is actually two separate kingdoms - the Kingdom of Castilla in the center of the country, and the Kingdom of Arago to the northeast. While both are now part of Hespia, they still have their unique attitudes and cultures. Hespia is still feudal, so provincial governors, princes and dukes rule over most of the country and its holdings, reporting back to King Filipe. While Filipe is tolerant of most things, one thing he is not tolerant of is heretics and dark religions. That's why Grand Inquisitior Antoine - the head of the Inquisition - is the second most powerful person in the country, and probably the most feared.
THE PEOPLE OF HESPIA
|Don Marco, governor of Barna, leading a charge|
The residents of Hespia have the reputation of being passionate, excitable and motivated, though that is not everyone in the country. Their skin is the color of olives and their hair as dark as night, while their faces are sharp and almost aquiline. Hespia still retains remnants of its occupation by the Sonrai Sultanates, with more southern cities possessing Sonrai architecture, culture and faith. Honor is also important in Hespia, whether it be through dancing, sword dueling or bull-fighting, Hespians tend to be larger than life and their cities reflect that. Rural Hespians have a fairly good standard of living compared to most of Europa - they often fish or farm, and tend to live long and with pride in the country.
Tole - Both the capital of Castilla and Hespia as a whole, Tole is truly a multicultural city located at the mouth of the Tajo River. The remnants of Hespia, Alpenne, the Gilded Imperium and the Sonrai Sultantes are all seen in the architecture and culture on this city on a hill. King Filipe holds his court here, as well does Grand Inquisitor Antoine. Though all people are welcome technically, those who do not worship the Steward are advised to watch their backs. Despite this, Tole still serves as the major port of all of Hespia.
Barna - Nestled in the heart of the Pirinioak Mountains, Barna is an old and embattled city, as well as the capital of Arago. It has long served as a defensive choke-point against Couronne and the few Goblin clans that roam the Pirinioak. Barna isn't a grim place though - Hespians here are just as vibrant as other parts of the empire, though they are often quicker to conflict. In addition to their military prowess, Barna produces some of the best wine in all of Hespia.
Ochuse - Though Hespia has sent out multiple of their conquistadores - combinations of explorers and soldiers - to found colonies in the New World or Kibula, few have succeeded. One that succeeded was Tristan de Luna who founded the colony of Ochuse in southeast Dinetah. Though a prosperous trading post for Hespia, Ochuse has found itself embattled on all sides by the Dinetah Confederation, the Aztlan temple-cities and Siabra raiders. King Filipe is considering abandoning the colony if things don't improve.