The largest city in Falhath, Ozea (Oh-zee-Ah) has become the default capital of Falhath though Sangreal remains its administrative hub. The city was built roughly 2400 years ago on the edge of Oz Bay, an idea harbourage due to its depth, size, and the sheltering breaker islands that line its mouth. What was once a communal fishing village has grown into the largest port in Falhath, and second in size only to the city of Riga in the Midlands.
The Agares river dumps into Oz Bay, and serves as the principle mode of travel between Sangreal and Ozea. River barges carry lumber, stone, and grain south to the port, and on their return trip they are laden with cloth, oil, and other goods. After the collapse of the Old World the entire economy was thrown into disarray.
The cities were short on manpower, and cooperation had all but ceased. The next century or so would be a trying one as Ozian economic needs clashed head on with Sangrealian religious interests. While Sangreal trumped its own faith, Ozea was solidly behind the Via Mortus. The Sangrealians held the significant timber reserves of the Whitewood forest, as well as the primary sources of stone in the region. Located close to the sea, Ozea lacked old growth wood for ship building and access to stone for building walls, homes, castles and such.
This war wandered up and down the length of the Agares river but during that time, neither city could muster a large enough army to score a decisive victory over the other power. The Ozian military was numerically larger, but the Sangrealians held the advantages of having the high ground, a larger store of Old World weaponry, and the newly combined power of the patron of Sangreal, Sangia the Dragon-God-Spirit and the Dreifachian Artisan-magic deity Ixia.
Against the loose circles of the Black Circle, these clerics proved to be superior and after the century of war, a truce was agreed to and Ozea adopted the faith of the Sangrealians over the Via Mortus, adopting the shrouded and semi-skeletal patron of Belex. In current times only lip service is paid to the Trinitine faith and Belex is satirized as Pater Pochennoch, or Father Knocky-Bones as a way to frighten children. The elderly curse Knocky-Bones for arthritis pains.
Under the Kingdom
With Ozea now part of the Kingdom of Trinistine, the sprawling ecclesiastical body of the Faith, the region was renamed the Diocese of Ozea, and plans for a new Cathedral were laid out. To show respect for the ingrained beliefs of the Ozians, the Cathedral was to be built in the High Macabre style of architecture, which some more adamant Trinitines found to be morbid and possibly offensive. As a show of power, the new cathedral of Ozea was to built on top of the Desole Cylex, the most holy site of the Via Mortus, a literal gateway to the underworld.
Within two decades, the glooming wood was cleared, and the mouth of the massive dolmen mound was closed with mortar and stone. The Cathedral that grew on top of it was huge, covering more square footage that the Cathedral of Sangreal, but none of its spires reached as high. The message of the Cathedral was simple, that while the new Trinity respected the nature of the native faith, it was going to be replaced by something greater.
Saint Duncan is something of a folk hero in Ozea. While he is the patron saint of exorcists in Sangreal and in the Kingdom, to the Ozians he was something more. Besides being a holy man and accomplished exorcist, Duncan was a man of the people and he railed against the excesses of the Ozian nobility and the opulence of Sangreal.
contemporary to the height of the power of the Kingdom, Duncan was seen as a firebrand against hypocrisy within the Kingdom. After his death, many Ozians began to place Duncan above Belex, the Ozian counterpart of the Trinity. this veneration, combined with the Diet of Sangreal and the ordination of the Emerald Order some say caused the current recession of the Kingdom of Trinistine.
The Recession and Modern Times
Though the First Diet of Sangreal was over 500 years ago, its consequences were long term. While the schism within Falhath was healed, the acceptance of sorcery by the church raised the ire of many who opposed sorcery and cited the legends of the Nightmare War. This brought the old Via Mortus Demon Atma, the embodiment of evil magic, back into public view. This in turn spurred new interest in the Via Mortus which had reached an all time low, with fewer than a dozen Ashen Priests left.
The real Schism went largely unnoticed by most of Falhath, as the split occurred west, over 1700 miles away in the Midlands. One of the newer dicoses, Kesselry, refused the ordination of the Emerald Order and held to the hardline of the old conservative order. This drew many of the hard line clergy from Falhath to Kesselry, further strengthening the western most bastion of the Kingdom. Falhath then slid further into the hands of the progressive factions who wanted to see the Kingdom adapt to the new climate of society.
Seeing its power erode, the Pontiffs began to issue more and more strict edicts to hold the Kingdom in line. No longer was the faith being accosted by ogre raids from the Great Woses, or orcish marauders from the plains, it was being bled to death. Recruitment among the Arms Militant was dropping,and fewer people were visiting the shrines and temples in Sangreal. More and more Ozians were giving up on the authoritarian Kingdom in favor of the resurgent Via Mortus and its more accommodating nature.
Ozea now sees an uncertain future, one path leads to peace and prosperity, possibly the restoration of the old ways. The other leads back to the Kingdom and a future that could be stained with blood shed in new wars to reclaim lost territory. As always, the first battle will start with Ozea.
Home Sweet Home
The Ozians, despite their seemingly dour and disinterested lives are not the people many make them out to be. They enjoy music, with woodwind instruments being common, and the ‘Anthem of Ozea’ is a light bit of music played on a small reed flute. Ozians also greatly enjoy the theatre and plays that are tragedies often draw the best crowds.
Architecture is either Corded or Macabre. The Corded style refers to a style of wrapping stone pillars in colorful dyed jute twine (burlap to us folk). All sorts of colors and patterns are used, though this ornamentation is generally indoors or in covered areas. The Macabre style is festooned with skulls, writhing bodies and gives a leering morbid fascination to the dichotomy of life and death. Death can be caricaturized into the inoffensive and comical Father Knocky-Bones, or left in is coldest state in Kamzar’s sculpture Age of the Sword which depicts a beautiful woman being stabbed through the breast by a marauder.
The Ozian diet is notably salty. They prefer a brine cured and pressed cheese that is cut into crumbly cubes, this cheese is crumbled into salads or melted into dishes with courge, peppers, and the staple crop of Ozea, the olive. Vinegar and wine are major products, with pickles and pickled goods also being common. Ozian wine commands staggering prices in the distant Midlands, even moreso in Calcobrina.
Wizards are tolerated so long as they behave themselves and keep a low profile. Wearing the traditional garb of a wizard, such as the stiff collared caftan and the pointed slouch hat is a sure way to receive a very cold greeting, or refusal of service.
Manners and hospitality are old traditions in Ozea, rudeness being almost as great an offence as taking the name of a Trinity deity in vain. Greetings are warm, kisses on the cheek are common, even among strangers (though not to the extent of man kissing). Food is always offered, along with vima, a mixture of wine, fresh fruit juice, and water.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Ozea is a prosperous region, with a long growing season, and abundant arable land. The population is strong and has a healthy resistance to illness, and when their ire is raised, the Ozian military is as efficient as it is ruthless. While Sangreal held the line against the Ogres from the Great Woses, it was Ozea that fought the Kourgans, the Reavers, and the grimlock tribes as they tried to raid through Falhath.
On the other hand Ozians are a phlegmatic people, and some accuse them of being slothful and lazy. Compared to the aggressive Sangrealians, the Ozians tend to be reactive, rather than proactive. They can often be greedy with a greater interest in investment and marketing than in the thoughts and feelings of others. This tied with their conservative faith and traditional values often leaves outsiders with a feeling of unemotional detachment from the Ozians.
Ozea nominally operates within a Feudal System of fealty and obligation, but this system has been slowly undermined by the power of the Kingdom. At the height of the Kingdom, the Bishop of Ozea exercised considerably more power than the Duke of Ozea. In modern times, this level of power has become more balanced with the resurgence of the Via Mortus and the decline of the Kingdom.
Duke Trahir is the current Lord of Ozea, and is a well respected lord, but suffers from the lack of adulation and honor that is typically granted nobility. He is opposed by Bishop Cardomon, a transplanted Dreifachian zealot who is pressing for a pogrom against the Via Mortus with enthusiasm that would match Torquemada.
Beneath the Duke are the Maynors, the Falhathian equivalent of Counts, or Boyars. Beneath them are the landed warrior Bailiffs, who are contemporary to Knights. The weapon of the nobility is the ax, and they tend to look unfavorably upon sword-users.
The Ozians lack the sense of wonder and awe of nobility than many folk favor. To them, many of the woes that have befallen Ozea through history have been because of the nobility, or the nobility of their neighbors. The House of Vozieren is still the primary bloodline of the Duchy of Ozea, though in recent memory, more of Old Voz’s blood have been joining the Kingdom. Many elderly Ozians see this as sign of Voz no longer supporting his blood.
Traced through women, the Bloodline of Mastere is still well represented though it exists in hiding and is tied very much to the current clergy of the Via Mortus. In truth, almost any woman with pale blonde hair and a pale complexion could claim descent from Mastere, and many do.
Stereotypes and Opinions
Sangreal: Our long time rival, I think it is good to see some of the wind taken out of their proud sails. Maybe when they see that they are not so favored by their gods that they will come back to reality and get their heads out of the stars.
Dreifach: The Lair of Wizards and sages, trust what they write for them the truth is sacred, but only believe half of what they say. Their wares are some of the best, but unfortunately they also know this.
Bosqueland: They are a hard working people, simple though, very simple. Speak clearly and slowly when dealing with them.
The Trinitine Faith: Take the scowl off of your face brother, there is more to life than chanting to distant gods.
The Via Mortus: The Old ways are often the best ways, best not to forget that.
Wizards: You can keep the whole lot of them. Pompous to the very last, and even worse when they feign humility. There was a reason that Atma destroyed the old world, and it was them!
Necromancers: Be respectful of the dead when calling their shades, and honor them when you lay their salts to rest. Also mind that your minions do not be leaking on me rugs.
Nobles: Just as bad as the wizards, full of themselves and thumping their chests and rattling their axes. War on them, war on them they say. I got no interest in wars.