Manscell is a country in the northwest of Anatis. The country extends a little ways past the Malveyan Alps to the south and also contains the Wemberth Mountains, running north-south from the southern range. The capital is Bluesky City, on the eastern coast of the southern mountains. It is ruled by the King Aberdeen. Manscell’s military is known for using griffons, as well as its generals. The climate is cold. Manscell grows a hearty winter grain and potatoes and fishes for cold fish such as tuna and stuff.
Manscell takes up the north-western peninsula of Anatis. It contains the Wesberth Mts running north-south and the Malveyan Alps running east-west, which cut the majority of the country off from the rest of the continent. The climate is generally drier north of the Alps but overall is cold-temperate with hard winters and mild summers. The Menschenfluss (the People’s River) flows north from the Alps until it meets the Hochfluss (the Large River) flowing east from the Wesberth. From the confluence, the Hochfluss flows to the east until it drains into the Enigmaris Sea, which borders the entire eastern and northern coasts. West of the Wesberth two smaller rivers, the Garing to the north and the Beschaiden to the south. The mountains also feed into a few lakes. Most of these smaller lakes are used for irrigation and eventually feed into the Hochfluss with the exception of Lake Konig which lies northwest of Bluesky City. Lake Konig drains into the Enigmaris through the Konigsfluss (literally the King’s River) though a series of aqueducts leads water away from it to supply Bluesky City and nearby farms.
The geography of the mountains and the Hochfluss divide Manscell into four geo-political regions. West Manscell, commonly Westen, lies west of the Wesberth. Westen is cold and dry, being in the rainshadow of both the Wesberth and the Malveyans. Low precipitation and cold temperatures make Westen a stark, rugged grassland. North of the Hochfluss is Kaltewald, a snowy taiga rich in lumber. Land along the Hochfluss is generally cleared for farming and trading posts. The land south of the Hochfluss is called Menschen as most of the people live there. It is slightly warmer than Kaltewald but a little drier. West of the Menschenfluss the land is hilly and dry. East Menschen doesn’t lie in the Malveyan rainshadow as much and is flatter and more suitable for agriculture. Finally, the land south of the Alps is Belgein. It receives a lot of rain and is significantly warmer and wetter than the rest of the country (though still cold by Caelisalien standards). It is very fertile and well suited for production of grapes, hops, and barley for wine and beer.
The House of Aberdeen currently rules Manscell (see below). As recorded in the Abraxan calendar (XE), Weichart I ruled from 1803 until 1811 followed by Queen Dietlinde I, King Georg I in 1849, King Franz III in 1860, King Weichart II in 1865, Queen Maria in 1867, Queen Mechtild in 1870, King Weichart III in 1913, King Johan III in 1933, Queen Dietlinde II in 1933, Queen Liesel in 1935, King Franz IV in 1945, King Georg II in 1969 and finally King Johan IV in 1999 XE. This lengthy and obnoxious list of historical names and dates is given to emphasize the historicity of the monarchy. They take it seriously. Manscell was formally founded in 1153 XE, two years after the fall of the Verdayl Empire, of which they had been a state, but it was inhabited long before.
The earliest records indicate settlers coming north across the Alps as early as 233 AE. Most of these were nomadic farmers looking for new places to graze their cattle, farm, and hunt. There is considerable speculation about what drove them over the Alps in the first place as animals didn’t migrate across. Some think a particularly large beast or force of monsters forced them over, others suspect they merely were blown way off course by a storm in the Enigmaris Sea and just happened to end up there. Either way, life in the ancient days of Manscell was mostly tribal. Communities were usually nomadic, but a few permanent settlements sprung up here and there to help get through the winters. By the time the Verdayl Empire had expanded out that far, Manscell already had several small city-states and a number of nomadic clans. The clans were the primary political power, meeting every so often to discuss regional concerns: such as the invasion of Verdayl, the threat of a Drow army, or a powerful green dragon brooding in the forests. Among themselves they called the region Muun Gazl.
Despite the might of the kahns, the Emipre was significantly stronger, but the distance and geographic barriers in the way made direct control of the region difficult for the Empire, so they forged a deal with the kahns. In return for their fealty and for declaring themselves a state in the Empire and subject to their rules, the Empire would leave the main business of governing up to the kahns. Let them elect their own leader and work for the empire. The name was changed to Mensgell and the treaty formally established in 904 XE. The Empire invested some funds into Bluesky City, providing the infrastructure for the kahns to govern from. From there, the governers built roads to the city-states and used their political and military power, along with a small contingent of the Verdayl army, to force the city-states into compliance. Most voluntarily came along when they realized the economic benefits offered by civilization. In particular, the Verdayl were largely responsible for the roads, carving out an easier pass across the Alps, and setting up the initial economic framework between the formerly independent peoples.
The governors of Mensgell were clever and had a lot of popular support, having come from the kahns. The wealth of the mountains and easy access to the sea allowed them to make Bluesky a vital trading post with the Verdayl city of Oceal. Being the same as the capital allowed direct governmental control over trade, increasing the economic might of Bluesky City. To keep control over the rest of the region, the governors built roads and divided the land into economic districts. This was the most controversial move as it forced a lot of the nomadic herders to move or become farmers or miners. Fearing unrest, the governors rewarded the nomadic families with titles of nobility, important positions in the army, and making them mayors, tax collectors, or magistrates. Those who wished to continue the nomadic lifestyle were given the areas of Westen and West Menschen and the duty to expand Mensgell’s reach to and across the Wesberth Mountains. Over time roads were improved to allow the nomads and the Kongsmen (the King’s Men or the Kahn’s men, a general term for the government workers) easy access to the entirety of the country.
In the later years of the Verdayl Empire, troubles back home prompted higher taxes in the form of minerals and metals from the Mensgell mines. The output demanded of them was more than they produced usually, so the Empire sent workers to help out. These were criminals at first, but overseeing them became a hassle and so the governors petitioned for extra help. Unable to spare soldiers, the empire sent wizards and golems over. Some of the Mensgell wizards had used simple golems for mining, but with the help from the Verdayl, the golemancers made great advances. At first the golems were used for supervising the prisoners, but they quickly realized that the golems made better miners than people ever would. Production soared and when the Verdayl Empire finally fell, Mensgell remained alive and well. Without a home, most of the wizards stayed in Bluesky and founded the University. The governers, once kahns, were now kings. The transition from a state of the Empire to a sovreign nation was relatively smooth and accomplished with no major civil strife as the Empire had always been too far away. From then onward, the new nation of Manscell focused on building its infrastructure and maintaining diplomatic relations with the new neighbors of Lyrise and Calisaele, whose independence from the Empire had begun to revive old feuds, such as over the Belgein region. The Royal Army was founded and strengthened to protect interests south of the Alps as well as protect from the Ominians who might otherwise seek to claim the remains of the Verdayl for themselves.
The economy of Manscell relies on production of lumber in Kaltewald, precious stones and metals in West Menschen, and wine and beer in Belgein. Most woodworking and ore refining happens in East Menschen where the products can be swiftly transported along the rivers or south across the Alps; brewing is done almost exclusively in Belgein with the exception of Eiswein, which must be grown and brewed in Kaltewald. There is a small livestock industry in the various farmlands and fisheries all along the coast, though importing them is rare. There are a few outposts in northern Kaltewald, particularly along the Wesberth, which export ice, but in general the country is too warm to support continuous ice cutting and too cold to need much of it. Due to the large amounts of heavy lifting in the form of lumber and ore, Manscell has invested a significant amount of resources to the production of golems for use in mining, logging, and construction. The university in Bluesky City has the only dedicated Department of Golemancy in the world. To accommodate the slow and ponderous golems, Manscell has very good roads that are designed for efficiency and reliability.
Once the raw materials are processed, they are exported throughout the country. Lumber is graded into Prime, Choice, and Stock based on quality. Prime is used for trade goods, Choice for construction, and Stock for fuel, either burned raw or as charcoal. Manscell mines a significant amount of coinage metals, iron, and zorite, as well as semi-precious stones such as opal and lapis-lazuli. Trade with Ominia happens at the mouth of the Hochfluss in the city of Handal. Trade with Lyrise or the Esterlands goes through Bluesky City by ship or crosses the Alps and goes through Belgein, as does trade with Calisaele. Jeberra and Kal’renth are too far to have any direct meaningful trade.
Due to its abundance of resources, Manscell doesn’t import very much. It usually brings in horses and whiskey from Lyrise and artistic items from Calisaele. During drier years it also imports grain from its neighbors as Belgein is too specialized and valuable to produce standard grains.
Manscell is a monarchy and has been for a long time. Currently, the Aberdeens rule. King Johan Aberdeen IV has been in power since the death of his father, King Georg Aberdeen II, in 1999 XE (or 849 PV). The house of Aberdeen began its rule in 1803 XE (680 PV) with Weichart I.
Johan IV is currently married to Queen Maria Ellinova and they have three children: Tamra, Seith, and Franz.
The Royal Army of Manscell has, historically, been superior to both the Lyrisian and Calisaelian armies, if you measure by territory held. Some historians note that this is skewed due to the harsh Manscellian winters, but others point out that Manscell has consistently held land on the milder southern side of the mountains. The army is noted for its aerial griffon units, which rain boulders and spears onto ground infantries and siege machines, as well as its elite monk units which are generally used as tactical strike teams. The most well-known of all the Manscellian army, however, are the Four Generals: Ephraim, Eirika, and Beatrix.
Ephraim leads the general troops into battle and is the most visible and recognizable. He fits the stereotypical ideal of the leader-general, strong and commanding. He is skilled is many weapons but prefers his spear, Schwertbrecher. His younger sister Eirika commands the country’s intelligence network, mountain rangers, and navy. She is exceptionally fast and skilled in dueling. Her rapier Panzerbrech is said to have shattered a thousand shields and ten-thousand breastplates. Finally there is General Beatrix, a former mercenary who pledged her life and honor to protecting the royal family. She was challenged by the former holder of her post and defeated him after revealing him as a traitor. True to her oath she guards teh royal family, though this is generally taken to mean the whole of Bluesky City and all royal holdings. She is the final line of defense, and nothing gets through.