The Aspuan

Introduction

“The Aspuan” is a term that refers not only to the large, warm ocean to the southeast of the continent of Talaura but also to the numerous islands that lie within its crystal waters and the country created from a collective of them.

History

Historical artefacts and cave paintings dating back nearly one thousand years suggest that Aspua was first settled by a group of merfolk and elves who came there from Skoiasu. Historians theorise that they were originally in search of somewhere were more permanent settlements could be established, and ruins excavated near the capital Aspua seem to corroborate this. After the initial settlement, however, The Aspuan grew apart from their cousins on the mainland and the groups underwent both a cultural and linguistic divergence, provoked in part, perhaps, by interaction with the saline merfolk. This underwater kingdom had existed for hundreds of years beforehand but never expressed any interest in colonising the land.

Government and politics

The Aspuan is largely divided into self-sufficient communal areas, small trading co-operatives and so on. The country is ruled by a democratic council from the city Aspua

Economy and industry

Many of the residents of The Aspuan are subsistence fishermen, catching only what they themselves need to survive. As a result, the country lacks a national surplus and has to trade with other nations when fish harvests are low. Aspuan artisans are widely-known for their work with precious metals and stones, creating jewellery from gold, silver and platinum, jade, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and pearls.

Geography and demographics

The Aspuan can generally be divided into two distinct demographics: the land-dwellers and brackish merfolk (consisting of the descendants of the original Skoia settlers); and the saline merfolk, the original natives of the area who still dominate much of the ocean around the islands. The population of self-described “brackish” merfolk has declined in recent years, as Aspuan merfolk cleave very closely to one another in tight communities. The land-dwellers are predominantly elves and humans, with a small population of dwarves and orcs.

Aspuan geography is defined by warm water and warm weather. Clear skies are to be expected for most of the year, with cool breezes blowing consistently throughout. Monsoon season is the only exception, when torrential rain and hurricanes besiege the country. The water between many of the islands is shallow enough to wade across, though many people would rather avoid stepping on a stonefish and so prefer the shallow-bottomed boats that are a holdover from their ancestors in the swamps of Skoiasu. The merfolk’s underwater kingdom stretches for miles in all directions, down into an infinite black abyss and through labyrinthine caves carved in the sandstone by the currents of centuries.

The Aspuan

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