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 History and Setting
uzair
Posted: Apr 20 2011, 08:48 PM


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history and setting

the history of the islands
    The Islands of Escova have only recently come to be inhabited. While the countries and Kingdoms of the Mainland are thousands upon thousands of years old, Escova as a country knows only seven hundred years of recorded history.

    The first people to inhabit the Islands were fishermen from the Mainland. Then came the sailors, the merchants, the tradesmen. Villages turned into towns, and those eventually became cities. Within a hundred years, the Islands were a Kingdom, ruled by the powerful and charismatic Kings of Old. They laid down the groundwork for the Kingdom, creating a potent, vibrant society in a cold, savage land. They built the walls of Maristheum, the Capitol, and it was they who ordered the construction of Kyha, the Sea Port.

    As the centuries passed, bringing progress and civilization, the people did not forget their pioneering spirit. Immigrants were always welcome and, though life was harsh and brutal, the land was vast. The people made do.

    By and large, the Kingdom of Escova avoided interfering in the politics and troubles of the mainland. While not exactly remote, the Islands found strength in self-reliability, and avoided war where possible. The few times the Kingdoms of the mainland did invade, the people fought back, claiming victory every time.

    This stable political climate brought with it other benefits. Mages began to congregate in Maristheum, bringing their knowledge and technology to the Islands. A guild was set up under the auspices of the Old Kings, and this eventually led to the establishment of an Academy of Magics for those with the Gift. The mages became another thread in the fabric of society, and time marched on…

    Twenty-two years ago, a great war on the Mainland erupted. Barbarian hordes descended upon the civilized Kingdoms of the Mainland. They rained destruction down on the populace, burning towns, slaughtering citizens, and creating chaos. Escova, safe for the time being, watched the events from a distance.

    But it couldn’t avoid the repercussions forever.

    A wave of refugees fled the Mainland, striking for Escova. Thousands upon thousands filed into boats and sailed the narrow straits that divided the Islands from the Mainland. Over the course of a decade, they landed on Kyha and settled on the Islands. At first they were welcomed. Escova had always been a patchwork of cultures from the Old World and understood that war had its consequences. However, the Kingdom did not have enough resources to accommodate these newcomers. They were pushed into ghettos, forced to congregate in small, cramped sectors.

    As the refugees began to pour in, a wave of discontent rose. The War on the mainland became unending, with more and more Kingdoms falling to the barbarian hordes. The refugees refused to leave. Their lands were still overrun and they had nowhere to go. So they stayed in Escova, never quite assimilating. Most clung to their cultures and languages, with only the new generation learning Escovan. The services to assimilate them just weren’t there and, over time, they grew poorer and less skilled. The Refugee sectors of both Maristheum and Kyha became places of crime, poverty, and vice. There was no social or economic movement.
the present setting
    And so we come to the present. With the New Queen taking the throne, rules have begun to change. The influx of refugees has been restricted, with only a few hundred allowed to disembark every year. Most ships filled with refugees are turned away, and the only certain way onto the islands is through human smuggling (which unfortunately has become all too common).

    The resident population of refugees continues to live in its ghettos, and life has become more and more difficult. Although there is no official policy on discrimination, the refugees (who are often identified through their accents, their clothing, and their lifestyles), find it impossible to find work, to rise through the social and economic ranks, and to make a life for themselves. They are mostly regulated to their sector, and their discontentment grows daily.

    On the flip-side, the citizenry of Escova is also being tested. Voices against the refugees are rising, and there is increasing talk of ‘send them home’. However, there are vocal supporters of refugee rights, and these groups also tend to be quite vocal. They advocate assimilation programs, scholarships . . .

    With the social bond between citizens growing tense, it is only a matter of time before things spiral out of control. A New Queen, a war encroaching ever so steadily on the country’s doorstep, and a large population of refugees are beginning to take their toll on Escova.

    It is only a matter of time before this bond snaps completely.
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