| democratic republic|
|Official Language(s)||Alahi, Draconic|
|Official Religion|| commonly zen Gaerism,|
worship of Ryuugami
|Original creator is Blaze Yamato Spirit. Predominant races are Alahi drow, human, dragon, and part-dragon. Common is not an official language but due to trade is known fluently by a large minority of the population (15-20%) and known to a lesser extent by many. Multilinguism is common.|
- 1 Briefly
- 2 History
- 3 Today
- 4 Miscellany
- 5 See Also
Colena Island is a small island located in Argovia's northwest, west of Alahana and south of Igala's Avon. It's small, comparable in size perhaps to one of Tristes's islands or Barius, and shaped roughly like a kidney bean. Mount Chóle, a volcano whose last eruption took place in mid-300 BT, takes up the larger part of the island's surface area.
The midlands and deeplands--together known as the portallands, so named as they are reached by crossing a portal located near the summit of Chóle--make up the majority of Colena's land but a very small amount of Colena's world presence. While the island resides entirely on the physical plane, the portallands do not quite so. Rather, they are a finite space formed from the merging of the physical with part of Ryuugami's space that occured circa 700 EP, when a large number of dragons simultaneously pulled on Ryuugami's power during her absense from Gaera.
The midlands are reached immediately upon crossing the portal. As one travels farther away from the portal, the midlands gradually give way to the deeplands. There is not much to visibly differentiate between the midlands and deeplands, but they are nonetheless quite different
The midlands, to explain it one way, are better 'anchored' to the physical. The rules of magic and physics work as predictably as they would on Colena Island. Meanwhile, the deeplands and its corresponding astral presence are much 'closer' together, occassionally disrupting physical laws and having unpredictable effects on spells. This is especially true when the deeplands are exposed to strong wills, as--so to speak--the deeplands want to help out.
Wherever one is, the portallands have effect on inhabitant and visitor alike, effects which take place more quickly and more dramatically the deeper into portallands one travels. The portallands, being a former piece of Ryuugami's home, leak the goddess's personality and ideals, and one of the first effects of this to appear in people is a feeling of general goodwill toward Colenans, especially its dragons. (And maybe all dragons, Maybe dragons are kinda cool. Why didn't we realize this before now?)
Obsessions, too, are likely to manifest--in people within the midlands and deeplands both, but much more quickly in the deeplands. They are, in fact, probably the most common side-effect acquired from living in portal-side Colena, and they'll occur most easily in those whose personalities are already obsessive. While some will form a Ryuugamesque dragon obsession, it is more common that they obsess over an existing topic of keen interest.
Dragons in the midlands find themselves feeling healthy and energetic, and generally have a very enjoyable time just living in Colena's midlands. These are the dragons most likely to occassionally find things to do outside the portallands; some find that they need to go to other countries in order to write their complete history on the use of fire magic amongst non-dragon races, while a few noble youngsters want to get the word out of how cool their home is to other dragons (and wouldn't you like to live there?). The dragons of the deeplands, meanwhile, experience excellent health and are almost guaranteed to live a good several decades more than the average. They can feel how much the land likes them, and they really need a damn good reason to leave. Maybe three or four.
Colena islanders farm primarily at the base of the volcano but also maintain some crops suitable for rocky terrace farming; the largest crops are rice and olives. The surplus of both these crops are exported, most commonly in rice wine and olive oil form, which keeps best. Fishing is, of course, a large industry, and goats are popularly raised for their milk, meat, and hide. Rice, fish, and salad greens make up the staple of the island diet. Chocobo ranching is also a popular means of livelihood. Chocobos are bred for riding stock and sold abroad for investment capital.
Colena midlanders make their living by means similar to the islanders; they grow and harvest crops, fish, and raise domesticated animals, and eat much the same diet but for going bit heavier on the fish and meat side. Midlanders, however, do not trade a great deal. The portallands provide a great deal of what they need--and there is not a little compulsion, amongst portalland inhabitants, to accumulate their extra goods. Just in case of emergency.
Deeplanders make no effort in trading and very little in raising crops, preferring to hunt and fish for their dietary needs. It is fortunate, then, that the deeplands are less densely populated than the rest of Colena.
Islanders are, most often, drow, human, part-dragon, or dragon (roughly 40%, 20%, 20% 10%). Midlanders have the same races in different proportions, weighted more heavily toward the dragon and part-dragon, while the deeplands are, predictably, almost entirely dragon-populated.
Midlanders keep up-to-date on the outside world through semi-annual communication with the islander government, as well as more frequent, less formal communications. Information is also gathered informally when midlanders feel the need to leave the portallands in search of some quest for a trinket, trivia, or special dessert. Deeplanders, when interested, usually get their information from midlanders.
All Colenans operate under the knowledge that islanders are welcome into the portallands in an emergency. Additionally, amongst the portallanders it is traditionally considered a job of midlander fire dragons to take turns monitoring the volcano. Islander fire mages and dragons consider it to be, at the least, also their job, if not more rightly their job--when coming in conflict over this, midlander dragons prefer to make peace by finding another spot to do their job, so that everyone can be happy watching the volcano.
In the past, Colena was home primarily to two races--the aldrosian dragons of Igala and the black-skinned drow of Argovia, who resided entirely on the small Argovian island. While sharing some cultural similarities with their brethern elsewhere, the Colenans formed a unified culture that was less competitive and acquisitive than that seen in more modern Alahanan tribes, and likewise less religious than that seen in Solasia's prime. While zen Gaerism and worship of Ryuugami were both popular--and sometimes a hybrid of the two--the Colena islanders were much more concerned with their day-to-day needs than what others were doing elsewhere.
This proved to be something of a mistake, in fact.
Now, the reason the particular blend of drow and dragon worked so well in Colena come down to the races' comparable lifespans and their ability to, together, minimize the risk posed by living on and around a volcano. With fire dragons monitoring the mountain to warn of imminent disaster, come the mid-300 BT volcanic eruption the Colenans had several days' warning for evacuation. Between ships, wings, and the occassional set of gills, there were few difficulties evacuating drow and dragon, adults and children alike. Rather, the problems came when these people found themselves to be refugees on the shores of nearby Alahana.
As it turns out, it takes time for an island--particularly one composed almost entirely of a volcano--to ecologically recover from such a thing as, say, a volcanic eruption. As it also turns out, like many refugees throughout history, the Colenans weren't particularly welcome guests in Alahana.
The stay in Alahana was as unpleasant as it was brief, taking into consideration their new status as second-class citizens with limited freedoms. When things settled on the homefront, however, there was not a great deal of protest against the refugees going back the way they came--once they had finished paying off their debts, that is. Leaving behind all airships and the best of their seaships, the people of Colena returned home half a century later, worse for the wear.
The concern on the forefront of the minds of the Colenans upon their return, aside from rebuilding, was how to prevent a recurrence of what had so recently occurred.
Turning Off the Volcano
After considering alternatives such as territorial conquest, it was decided that the volcano would be "turned off" by magically redirecting the magma flow which fed it.
Preparing for the event took centuries, with the pure planning stage bringing Colena well into the Era of Peace. Generations of Colenans aged and passed so that the 200- to 300-year-old dragons who would come to work the spell on the volcano had been practicing the spells--with the benefit of past mages' insights--their entire lives.
The spell was cast in early 700 EP, with fantastic results. However, it didn't exactly do what it was intended to do. Or, for that matter, anything like it.
While the volcano was unchanged--something the fire dragons were able to determine quickly, to great disappointment and many deflated egos--the spell accomplished something of interest to all. It opened, from near the summit of the volcano, a rather large portal to another land.
It was not entirely unlike finding a wardrobe which led to another world...only the Colenans were quite unsure of how stable this world was. It was, after all, the aftermath of a spell gone wrong. The land on the other side could well be another Argovian Island, another continent altogether--or it could be a planar land liable to collapse at any time. It might be the construct and hunting ground of an astral predator--you could never be too cautious with the sort of things that happen on Gaera.
However, history has never lacked for its explorers, nor people for curiosity. For every Colenan willing to leave the portal well alone, there were two interested in what might be found inside--by someone else, of course--and yet another willing to go in and see. In particular, the fire dragons who had worked the failed spell were interested in the exploration; having spent the larger part of their lives preparing to do something and failing at it, many desired a chance to 'make amends' to their countrymen and women...while some of the older dragons simply wanted a 'retirement project' to last them their remaining 50 or so years.
Reports of the explorers' findings were favorable; on the other side of the portal was land much like Colena itself--minus the active volcano--and there were no other settlers present. There was, perhaps, as much or more land as that found on the main Dillidan isle were it four times its current size. The weather was mild, edibles plentiful and, as one young dragon put it, the land itself seemed to like them. It was so nice, in fact, that some of the original explorers opted to stay and let others bring home the news.
Colenans back on the island, meanwhile, were more skeptical. It was enough to put some on guard that the original reports sounded too good to be true--a concern that may have been dismissed as the typical worry of those who just don't know when they have it good--but it was a concern of many when some of the older and well-established members of the community did not come home.
Those who did come home were cause for further concern. Simply put, they were changed Colenans--even old dragons grew unnaturally energetic and charged with purpose, while drow and dragon alike exhibited strange obsessions. A Colenan could find the drive to finally became a skilled artist as she became focused on the visual arts, or another an expert on the flowering perennial plants of Beau.
All in all, Colenans who spent a significant amount of time on the opposite side of the portal loved living there. It seemed for all the world that the only reason many of them came out was to try to convince family and friends to come back with them.
Between 700 and 900, many Colenan families migrated off-island, particularly drow. Most but not all of these families sailed north to Igala.
Meanwhile, word spread of the "Dragon Paradise"--a country where even the land itself welcomed dragons. Dragons from Gaera over began to drift to Colena. The island got a particular, if somewhat small boost in the years of 1000-1100, when the Solasian War took place.
Recent History and Current Events
Before leaving, the goddess created a pool of energy--by means of destroying her physical form--from which her followers could call upon in her absence. However, she miscalculated, having not quite counted on the sheer amount of magic her people were going to use during her absence. After focusing many years on making amends for the Solasian and Rivan tragedies--continued works in progress--Ryuugami finally came to notice that a piece of her home on the deitic plane was gone.
Well, it was not exactly gone--it just no longer in a usable state, for her anyway. It had at some point become merged with the physical plane over Argovia, and a number of dragons were living on it. However that had happened, it seemed to be put to good enough use, so she left well enough alone, having goddessly work elsewhere.
The thing about each god's portion of planar space, however, is that it is often shaped by the will or personality of its god. It took a few years, but it did occur to Ryuugami that this sort of thing might have an effect on the inhabitants of the land, and that they might want to know.
So, after finding a willing paladin in the area to possess, Ryuugami found the appropriate political figures to inform--and did so. She also offered blessings and recruited two paladins on her way out from the land. By request, she left the ryuuneko paladin she had possessed on Colena.
Much like Ryuugami herself, portal-side Colenans really just want everyone to get along. The question, then, is how do you tell your populace that their homeland fundamentally affects and even changes their personality?
One choice, albeit a poor one, is to not do so. The Colenan midlanders Ryuugami contacted chose this route.
Really, they were going to. They were just very concerned about the best way to do it, and couldn't decided which was the best way. While pondering the issue over the course of a few years, the issue was conveniently forgotten.
A couple years later, when Ryuugami checked back up on the situation on this wonderful new country full of so very many dragons, she was surprised to learn that her Colenan paladins were surprised to learn about the effects the portallands have on its inhabitants. After sorting out the origin of the failure in communication--and explaining that, yes, it really is a divine responsibility to make it known--Ryuugami set her Colenan paladins the duty of spreading the news personally.
Word is spreading slowly. Originally numbering three, the Colenan paladins were contacted and began their work in Tzelara of 1316. Disbelief was the most common reaction early on and many demanded to hear the story from the goddess herself. Being an eager and accomodating sort, Ryuugami did this for a bit, but the requests for her appearance grew so frequent that they drained her and made getting work done difficult. She now makes a single monthly appearance in the Colena midlands, at which time she also appoints new paladins.
Many Colenans were disturbed by the news; not a few visitors and those who had recently moved in took their opportunity to immediately leave, fearing that the portallands would soon trap their wills should they stay. Many of the more adventurous midlanders--those who frequently left the portallands on quests or visitations--also left, interested in what it would feel like to live without the influence of the portallands. Deeplanders, by and large, didn't care. However, some deeplanders would venture out into the midlands during Ryuugami's visits. For some of these Colenans, this seemed to mitigate how strongly the lands effected them, perhaps just by virtue of their spending less time in the deeplands.
Word of the portallands' unique situation has not reached the island in any official manner, but it has always been common islander knowledge that going to the portallands changes a person. The exodus of midlanders and their stories are just being added to the lore of 'what happens when you go over there.'
The islanders have the most structured political set-up, which they insist on keeping separate from that of the midlanders' due to 'cultural differences'--predictably, deeplanders don't care a great deal about government.
The island is set up as a democratic republic, with each of 5 regions (called districts) electing 5 representatives to take their interests to national meetings. These representatives are voted in for single, 5-year terms, with a representative seat coming open each year in each district. The most senior representatives from each district get to cast their votes last.
When things come to a vote, representatives may abstain from voting; when a tied vote comes from such a situation, the representatives disperse for a 3 day recess during which they may consult with their constituency or may debate with other representatives. Ideally this is all done openly and without underhanded tactics, for whenever politics are ideal.
As the island is so small, most citizens have met many if not all of their region's representatives. It is not easy for citizens of all professions to attend the meetings where voting occurs, especially with Colena terrain, however each meeting is invariably attended, oftentimes packed, with citizens. Recently there have been complaints that certain classes--such as the wealthy chocobo breeders--get better representation, since they have the means to attend meetings and talk to their representatives during tie-vote recesses.
Colena has, traditionally, been very much of an isolationist nature, distrusting other nations and thinking best of itself. It cannot, however, survive comfortably on its own as it has grown accustomed to trading off its surplus goods in exchange for items it no longer spends resources producing. In particular Colena prefers to acquire its lumber, luxury clothe, and metal goods from southern Igala or Beau. For the last many decades, the island's primary political meetings have circled around assurances that Colena is remaining isolationist, really, and what should we trade for what?
In light of the aggression in Argovia, however, there has been increasingly more debate as to how Colena should or should not react. The general concensus is, of course, to keep things the way they always have been, but a growing number of islanders are split between finding out who the good guys are and helping them, or running into the portal and hiding.
Inside the portal, the midlanders have a much more simple set-up. While trouble still comes to the midlands and occassionally needs to be dealt with, the main function of dignitaries there is to pose as the figurehead visitors look to when they assume the midlands have a leader. The midlander leader, as well, has the right to have the final say in any portalland debate--a rarely used power, but the decision is final because, dammit, you kids better the hell not make me come over there. It is from this that he/she gets his/her title, Arbitrar. The Arbitrar is typically visibly unique in some way, by means of age, size, markings, or elsewise.
Specifications: The flag of Colena is to be a regular square. Five diagonal bars of equal width, whose edges should meet at 45 degrees to any of the square's sides, should cover the square completely. The center bar should be black and bordered to its left by a navy-colored bar and to its right by a red-colored bar. At the flag's upperleft corner the bar should be red while the lowerright should be navy. Five white stars should be placed diagonally along the black bar equidistant from each other; the distance from an outer star to the flag's nearest edge should be half of the distance between two stars.
Symbolism: The choice of five stripes and five stars of the flag represent the five districts of Colena. The diagonal lines represent the slopes of Mount Chóle. The stars are significant of the stars used in both nautical and aerial navigation. The black represents the Alahi; the red the dragons, the volcano, and work; the blue the ocean, balance, and peace.
Colena has the charm, which comes in denominations of 0.50, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Charm are minted of metal alloys and are differentiated by color, shape, size, and ridging. They are most commonly referred to by their value.
The back of all coins show the year minted under an olive tree, while the front shows something to represent one of the five districts. Every so often--anywhere between 10 to 50 years--the symbol of each district is changed, but it is frequently a crop, animal, or geographical feature.
- 0.50 - (halfie) large, light-weight, thin coin; tin alloy circle-cut with smooth edges
- 1 - (a charm) small, heavy, thick coin; copper alloy circle-cut with ridged edges
- 2 - (2 charm) medium coin of moderate weight and thickness; mixed alloy circle-cut with 'donut hole' filled of silvery metal surrounded by golden metal with alternating, evenly measured patches of smooth and ridged edges
- 5 - (5 charm) medium coin of moderate weight and thickness; nickel alloy oval-cut with smooth edges
- 10 - (10 charm) large, lightweight coin of unremarkable thickness; tin alloy square cut with 'donut hole' punched through it (can thread a string through the center)
- 20 - (20 charm) medium-sized, heavy, and thick coin; mixed alloy "sandwich" rectangle with silvery metal on top and coppery metal on bottom
- 50 - (50 charm or the charmer) large, somewhat heavy coin of moderate thickness; made of a mixed alloy with 'donut hole' filled of coppery metal surrounded by silver-colored metal; edge of coin is dramatically wavy
With roots in Colena's distant past, the two major religions of Colena remain to this day zen Gaerism and the worship of Ryuugami. Colena's zen Gaerism tends to take on a less acquisitive face than that seen commonly in modern Alahana, taking a slightly more personal or private bend. Zen Gaerism is most commonly seen on Colena Island itself. Some dragons of the portallands, however, practice a blend of zen Gaerism and Ryuugami worship, a well-preserved national relic from days when drow and dragon were more frequent neighbors.
When born in Colena, dragons with natural elemental affinities--such as Aldrosians and Long--are most likely to be born with a fire or water affinity. It is the rule and not the exception for Aldrosians, in particular, to be born pure elemental dragons rather than terrain type, in contrast to Igalan Aldrosians, when born on the island or in the midlands (8 out of 10). Of the few terrain dragons born, storm dragons are most common, with desert type--called sand dragons by Colenans--second highest in number (5 storm for each sand). There are more exceptions to these 'rules' in the midlands than on the island.
There are no particular hard-and-fast rules for dragons born in the deeplands. In fact, dragons born in the deeplands often break all normal racial rules; terrain dragons may have a human form instead of an elven form, pure elemental dragons may have an elven form instead of a human form. Dragons will often have scale colors which mismatch their elemental affinity. Dragons may be born without magic. 'Emperors' and 'empresses' (exceptionally large dragons) are also born with a greater frequency.
The idyllic scenery and somewhat sparse population of Colena's island--not to mention its 'let's just get along' government philosophy--attracted an influx of chocobo breeders in the 900s. Since then the island population has grown more dense but the breeders have stayed around.
Chocobos are raised here but rarely for purposes of meat; Colenan islanders pride themselves as both skilled breeders and trainers and come to the island to breed, raise, and train the fastest, largest, and sturdiest chocobos. Between shallow pools and ocean currents, sandy shores and the steep slopes of the mount, Colena provides much in the way of a natural obstacle course for training.
Colena trainers tend to take their chocobos off-island to sell, agreeing that there's no particular reason to encourage tourism. Beau has traditionally been one of their prime markets, although there is always a presence at Nekonia's Kitiwai Karnival and Inustan's Festiva Fideleo. Colena chocobos are recognizable wherever they go by their impressive size and colorfully dyed wing and tail feathers, a long-standing 'branding' tradition.