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One of the few unified nations of Azaleon, Dalmasca is located on the southeast side of the continent. It is bordered by Jihon, across the Aont Strait to the east, and Macenia to the north. Dalmasca is a monarchy, ruled by the Imperator, with a noted patriarchal lean. Historically, Dalmasca and Jihon tend to be allied in international conflicts.

Climate

Due to its location, Dalmasca enjoys relatively warm, but consistent temperature range. The further inland one goes, the warmer the temperature becomes, and the lower the average humidity drops. Instead of the consistent humidity seen regularly around the coastlines, inland Dalmasca receives a notable amount more regular and predictable rain. Rainfall near the coastlines is consistent, but rainstorms are notoriously short-lived, barring in monsoon season, where there is decent chance of a tropical depression.

In the winter, the coastline is cool, breezy, and somewhat rainy, but never anywhere near freezing. Inland Dalmasca's winters are a little bit colder, and may receive some snowfall here and there around higher altitude hill lands, but often the snowfall is brief. In spring, when the temperatures warm up, after a particularly heavy snow season, the coastlines can flood slightly from snow melt run-off from northern territories, more common around the brackish waters near the Taogan river delta. The area around the delta is already somewhat marshy, and any structures or buildings in the vicinity are often not terribly tall, as the ground is generally not solid enough to support large structures.

Culture

Dalmasca is a patriarchal nation; while it is not unheard of for women to gain some semblance of influence or power, doing so is difficult, and often easier only through the assistance of a powerful male the woman knows, whether they are related, or merely know one another. In Dalmasca, it is rather typical for women to become quite cunning, as some men are accepting of headstrong females in their lives, and others verily are not, and any woman that wants power must be intelligent, quick-witted, and rather good at underhanded manipulation to get it, as more often than not, it will not simply fall into her lap.

Notable amongst Dalmasca's culture is their love of two things: alcohol, and music. Some would argue that the Dalmascans themselves haven't contributed much to the development of musical arrangements, as Dalmasca's musical scene is very much sequestered away from international influence, and Dalmascan musical scores only ever feature a couple of a small number of instruments. They seem to commonly hold favor for the urus, a wind instrument that produces a droning sound akin to a bagpipe, and the urus and drums are often the only two instruments featured in Dalmascan arrangements. However, Dalmascan music goes a little bit beyond just instrumentals. Rather, Dalmasca has furthered the use of one's natural instrument, also known as their own voice, much farther than the rest of Azaleon. While musical pieces heavily feature only two other instruments, clusters of singers of varying ranges are often used to fill the gap, and to great effect.

Much of Dalmasca's artwork features mosaics and sculpture, even if, perhaps, that sculpture is not of the hume figure, but instead of animal and plant life, and often non-living objects, such as vases and amphoras. Dalmascan potters are almost always creating some odd amphora or wine bottle or another; as mentioned, they love their alcohol, and they also love decorating it and making it look more high class than it truly is. Drinking vessels are another oft potter-thrown item, and always in hot demand. In recent times, the Dalmascan potters have begun learning to paint and glaze their pottery, and will, when catering to a particularly highborn Dalmascan, apply gold leaf detailing and embed valuable gemstones into their pieces. Many a Dalmascan Imperator has owned crown jewels embedded in his wine cups.

Traditional painters can also be found in Dalmasca, but the demand for high-quality paintings is, perhaps, rather specific. Ergo, those with the spare hessions to spend on artwork typically desire portraits of themselves or family members, to have their likeness immortalized for all time in a painting. Granted, no painting really lasts forever, particularly if it is not well-cared for, and very rarely are such pieces, but most painters in Dalmasca find they have a hard time selling their pieces, and an even harder time selling anything that does not depict a hume of great import.

Religion plays a heavy part in most Dalmascans' lives. Even the very lowborn will often visit temples at least a few times in their lives, and the temple priests and acolytes never turn anyone away.

Dance used to be very well loved within the country's borders, but in recent times, have become reserved for especially joyous occasions, such as a new heir to the Imperator seat being born, or a major military victory, or something likewise special, due to some religious sects believing that dance is in and of itself a temptation, and an expression of societal wildness. It is, quite frankly, a strange belief, but so it is.

Education is taken relatively seriously amongst the highborn castes. Most of the gentry, and all of the nobility, and certainly the royal family, are often well educated, by specialized and experienced tutors. Early education for the middle class may be handled by particularly talented slaves, but lowborn very rarely have the resources or money to afford such things, and the lower classes typically remain lacking in formal education. Slaves, on the other hand, vary, depending on where they are originally from, and some slave owners may choose to teach their slaves skills and knowledge that are somehow beneficial to them.

Slavery and homosexuality are viewed as natural and normal. They are both natural steps in the cycle of life and death, in general Dalmascan view. Similar with the Blood Games, and much of Dalmasca actually rather likes the Blood Games and finds in them a source of national pride. Many nobility have also reached the social status they are in due to recognition in the Games. Despite homosexuality being seen as normal, and transgenderism being a concept that is known and accepted, highborn are pressured to produce heirs, and it is seen as a fundamental failure not to do so. Marriage fixes this issue for most that can deal with it, arranged or otherwise, but it is not unheard of for such couples to both have lovers on the side, and is indeed oft expected. These other lovers may be lower born, or slaves, but fraternizing with another highborn is viewed as dishonorable.

Names native to Dalmasca will tend toward Latinate or Grecian. Slaves are always given a new name in Dalmascan language, and no longer allowed to recognize their birth name. Some slave owners will use their birth name, instead, but they are few and far between.

Currency and Trade

As is true for most of Azaleon, Dalmasca mints its own currency. Its currency takes the form of gemstone chips, progressively darker in color, called the hession, typically a reddish-gold. Many have commented the darker denominations, which are more valuable, look a bit like blood. The hession comes in six or seven different denominations, and each is called something different.

The least valuable hession piece is a very translucent gold tone, and worth around $5 USD. The most valuable hession piece is a very dark colored, almost maroon chip, with goldish flecks inside it, and is worth about $5,000 USD.

However, Dalmasca trades with other nations quite frequently, as well as the Free Cities, and has learned to accept both other currencies, and barter-trade. It is a rare occurrence when one finds a merchant within Dalmasca's borders that will not trade instead of only accepting currency, but depending on individual merchants' preferences, it may happen, typically only within very large cities (the merchants there can afford to be more discerning). Individual merchants may also decide not to accept certain types of currency from other locales, as it is rather dependent on whether or not they have the ability to exchange into their preferred currency easily.

Businesses are often a family matter. Large houses run most, all but the smallest, and some decent commonfolk-run merchants and shops have found a good deal of financial success by way of running their shops and businesses well. Highborn corruption is not a new concept to Dalmasca, and neither is the corruption of businesses run by them.

Demographics

As a direct side-effect of having such a wide spread slave trade, the majority of Dalmasca is actually not Dalmascans. They are slightly outnumbered by Macenians, and nearly outnumbered by the Galacese ilim. Jihonese make up a small majority. Slaves, and thereby the majority of Macenians and ilim, can be free citizens of Dalmasca, but very rarely are. Some within high political positions in Dalmasca are of Macenian blood, but it has never happened that a high-caste Dalmascan was ilim.

Geography

Much of Dalmasca is grassland. There is some marshland in the area around the Taogan river and its delta, where the freshwater of the river meets the saline waters of the sea, and it is common for such area to flood. Most civilization is not anywhere near the river delta, or at least a few dozen miles away, to allow for flooding to come and go.

To the northwest of the nation, the grasslands give way to the hilly, near mountainous terrain that is common throughout Macenia, the transition between one and the other. The Rhalini forest separates most of Dalmasca from the Taogan river, and helps prevent the flooding of the delta from going too far inland. Sandy beaches splotch the coast, though the beaches to the southwest are rockier, and certainly more dangerous.

Government

Most would consider Dalmasca to be a monarchy. At the head of the nation's government is the Imperator, whom makes most of the executive decisions for the country, and acts as an ambassador to the other nations. Below the Imperator, there may be trusted advisers or security detail, but the only permanently influential group are the justicars, and heads of the major noble houses. While they do not have direct control over the Imperator or his choices, they often hold control over a vast majority of Dalmasca's resources, and can, essentially, resource-starve the Imperator into doing what they want. It is just as likely, however, that the Imperator will have the house destroyed and move on.

The commons have absolutely no say about anyone that ends up in power in Dalmasca. It is, primarily, a choice of the nobility, but the Imperator has the power to override their choices, even if this is by force or coercion. Beneath the Imperator are the justicars, whom oversee Dalmascan regions and make and enforce laws. Below the justicars are the warlords, military commanders that handle the Dalmascan army. Only a warlord, or a very rich mercantile lineage, has a chance of reaching justicar status, and thereby reaching the ability to act as adviser to the Dalmascan Imperator, or someday become the Imperator. In most cases, a justicar's loyalty lies with their house, or whichever house is sponsoring their grab for Imperator, so typically, justicars are rather biased. The same, on the other hand, can be said for warlords.

In most years up to this point, the Imperator, should he be particularly corrupt, has not lasted long, typically by way of the nobility offing him before he could off them. In truth, it is merely a toss of whether so and so is willing to kill for what they believe is right, and many a Dalmascan highborn is. The current Imperator is Kaleon Hargrave, but he has not been seen in public very often, leading to the nobility to wonder if he's ill, as his wife, Marissa Hargrave, has been acting as his voice in council meetings.

Religion

Dalmasca's religious lean is polytheistic. There is a wide range of gods and goddesses within their pantheon, and each one has a following, temple, and clergy of their own. Some are smaller and more akin to a cult than a real religious group, more driven by blind fervor than anything, but each is recognized by the vast majority of Dalmasca.

In general, Dalmascans have a very awkward sort of disagreement with those of Jihon and Galace. Where the Jihonese and Galacese are reverent of their gods, Dalmascans treat them perhaps more as if they are comrades or friends. It is entirely culturally acceptable to publicly curse the name of one of Dalmasca's gods, and it is believed the gods find this more amusing than being displeased or offended. The other religious nations find this distasteful and blasphemous, but for the Dalmascans, it is just how things are, and they cannot really fathom grovelling.

Their gods are: Adona, goddess of water; Dameus, god of fire; Dione, goddess of earth; Erus, god of destruction; Etiana, goddess of darkness; Iuna, goddess of life; Oanke, goddess of creation; Pyxna, goddess of chaos; Xitos, god of death; Ydon, god of air; Ydyan, god of order; and Ytias, god of light. There are mentions of three other deities in historical texts, but their names and functions have been lost. In most circles, Oanke and Ytias are most important.

Technology

Like its neighbours, Dalmasca lacks in auratech significantly. However, not as much as they do, as Dalmasca does allow for simplistic aura lights, and larger cities use auratech to power their plumbing and electrical generation needs. Primarily, however, Dalmasca uses the auratech-based thermal engine in a wide array of applications, anything from running escalators built into walkways, and up multiple floors in municipal buildings and the blood arenas, to powering air-forced furnaces and farming equipment. Most of Dalmasca's machinery is agriculturally-leaned, as a large majority of the nation is farmland, ranging from general food needs, to vineyards that produce wines. Dalmasca is well-known for its fine wine brews. A large majority of the wine-making industry is controlled by House Asheron.

Some criminal organisations and houses with ties to such organisations have access to, and may use, aura guns. These are, however, illegal, and usage of them is rare and always extremely covert. Getting caught owning or using an aura gun often ends in very hefty fines, well over what one's assets are worth, and being caught killing someone with one ends in execution. Those that have gotten their hands on an aura-based weapon often have ties to House Essair, as it was the Essairs that first smuggled the weapons into Dalmasca from Haradi, and continue to do so.