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The home nation of the ilim, Galace is a large nation located to the north of Azaleon, and one of the few unified nations on the continent. It is bordered by Macenia to the southeast, however they are naturally separated from their Macenian neighbours by way of large, treacherous mountains with few easily traversable passes. To the southwest lies the neutral territory the Free Cities are scattered across. Galace is a monarchy, ruled by the Galacese Emperor, but does not have any strong gender lean. In international conflict, Galace almost always allies with Macenia, and sometimes Highwind or Haradi.

Climate

In general, Galace is a bit colder than the majority of Azaleon would be accustomed to, but the idea that Galace is all an icy, wintry tundra is an incorrect one. Some locations that reach high altitudes can have very cold weather patterns, and some of these even have permanent snow cover, ice that operates like rocks, large glaciers still slowly making their way through valleys, it is true, but in the lower valleys and in small pockets at varying elevations, there are pockets of warm air, as the atmosphere and wind patterns trap heat. In these areas, the temperature range goes higher than surrounding wintry landscapes, albeit perhaps not as warm as, say, Dalmasca.

Particularly in southern Galace, as well as these warmer zones within the central mountain ranges, and the area around Lake Anfail, the climate becomes more varied. The seasons differ over the course of the year, and there are less frequent temperature and weather extremes, and more regular distribution of rainfall. Similarly, these zones also experience an extended vegetation period in comparison to their higher altitude counterparts, although those in the higher altitudes have managed to domesticate and selectively breed special varieties of crop that are better adapted to conditions found up there. Some of the taller mountain peaks in Galace are high enough to go above the clouds, and these areas very rarely see rainfall, sometimes going years without a single drop.

Air currents from across the sea actually keep northwestern Galace a bit warmer than the rest of it, the area closer to Lake Anfail, west of the Thalirn Mountains.

Culture

Where other nations tend to have a particular lean toward one or the other gender, Galace is a strange exception. Those that are compassionate, good-hearted people, even if they make mistakes on occasion, tend to have more influence and better reputations on the whole, and this is not influenced by gender whatsoever. Galace has had important men and women both, and the monarch has been both emperor and empress in roughly equal amounts. All who seek a new life in Galace, even if they are not ilim, can find somewhere to call home, and a place in the overall Galacese society.

The Galacese have a love of art and artistic expression, but their concept of artistic is somewhat unique, in that it does not always take expected forms. Anything from the particular structure of a building, to the manner in which one magically influenced the flora to grow around a specific structure, to market stall display arrangements, can be considered an artistic means of expression. That isn't to say there is no traditional art in Galace, for they also have pottery, glass-blowing, painting, and sculpture, as well as several natural mosaics and murals created from mostly-unmarred stone, and varying forms of dance and music, but almost anything in Galace can be considered an art, if it is done well and in a unique manner. Some of the most acclaimed artists in Galace are actually architects or mages with very unique and well-arranged magical effect displays, or flora singers. Magical effect displays work similarly to fireworks displays, and are arranged and put on by skilled ilim mages, or hume mages, if they can be found, to celebrate festivals and holidays. Smaller villages and towns in Galace's borders may also put on effect displays in celebration of their founding dates, good harvests, and the birthdays of their townsfolk.

The primary cultural separation between humes and ilim, and thereby other nations and Galace, is their view on death and rebirth. As ilim have always been mages, innately, they understand the properties and manner of aura in a way humes, even ones capable of magic, thus far have proven unable to. They feel aura moving from one living being to another, and believe that death is not something to be mourned, but something to be celebrated, for one is moving from this stage of life to another, and that one is never truly gone, simply become something, or a part of something, else. In this way, the Galacese believe that all living things live forever, and death is not much different from life, it merely looks that way. It is rare to find a Galacese individual, ilim or not, that truly fears death, for they also understand that there is nothing to truly be afraid of, but fear itself, for the universe takes care of itself. Most humes have difficulty truly understanding this mindset, and will often somewhat extrapolate this viewpoint into seeing everything as individual parts of a larger whole.

In general, the Galacese are not religious, so much as spiritual, but this spirituality is deeply rooted in their culture and everyday lives, and can be rather apparent to others. Some choice individuals within Galace's borders may lean more toward a truly religious pathway, such as the ones with roots in other nations, particularly common amongst immigrants.

While the Galacese have established centers of general and higher learning, among the first nations to build their own educational institutions, those that are educated are not necessarily favored over others. Anyone in Galace can gain an education, if they are close enough to a center of learning, but having or not having one isn't really impactful in Galace. The Galacese are aware that one can be highly educated, and still dumber than a box of rocks, or not educated at all, and yet very intelligent. In some, very specialized work fields, such as that of a healer or engineer, education can be helpful for learning what needs to be known in a more timely manner, but even then it is not required, as one will normally train under a senior worker to learn what they need to know before being allowed to operate solo.

Slavery is a concept that Galace was not familiar with before the advent of Dalmasca and Jihon. Even now, Galace does not have an active slave trade, but there are hundreds of thousands of Galacese ilim enslaved in Dalmasca and Jihon. Due to this, most Galacese know someone that was taken away by slavers, and about half of those lost a relative to them, and Galace, on the whole, has a very poor view of slavery. While they cannot logistically stop slavers from entering Galace's borders, they can stop them within them when they find them, and it isn't rare for an entire settlement to group together and take down slave caravans. The Galacese also abhor the blood games, and often are notably warmer and more welcoming to ex-slaves that were formerly blood fighters.

Sexuality is a very open topic in Galacese culture. Most Galacese don't bother putting names to the sort of partner they prefer, and simply leave this open-ended. As such, very few Galacese really care about sexual orientation, and while marriage exists, it is not a commonly practiced system by the natives; it was imported from Dalmasca. There are few restrictions in Galace about whom one can have romantic or sexual relations with, and polyamory is not seen as radical - many Galacese are polyamorous.

Galacese names tend toward Elfish sounds and styling.

Currency and Trade

As of now, the vast majority of Galace has not seen a reason to convert entirely to using minted currency. While the nation does have their own currency system, much of the country still runs on barter-trade systems. It would take Galace a good deal of time to change over completely to using mint coin, as Macenia, their most familiar trading partner, and the Free City of Highwind, their second-most familiar trading partner, have not done so completely (Macenia actually still does not have a minted currency of their own).

Their coin is called the drun, plural drunii, and comes in gold, silver, and bronze coins, mostly silver. The least valuable drun piece is bronze, relatively small, about the size of a US dime, and is worth about $1 USD. The most valuable drun piece is a large gold plated bronze piece, and worth around $50 USD.

Demographics

A vast majority of Galace's populace are ilim, but there are a small number of weres, and some displaced humes, as well, many of them mages. The weres and humes that have relocated to Galace are typically either from Highwind, or Macenia, and usually adapt to Galacese culture instead of the other way around. While Galace has some semblance of social classing, it is almost entirely merit-based. One can gain some influence with their fellow countrymen by others having good things to say about them, but primarily, one needs to show that they are a decent person, conscientious, and compassionate, in order to reach notable levels of influence. One may be wealthy either way, but wealth does not a kind heart make.

Galace's population is currently in a slight decline. The ilim race lives for a slightly longer period of time than humes, and weres are not known to die naturally, thereby the lifespan demographics of the country are markedly skewed. Rarely is one in Galace particularly impoverished, and there is no real, clear defining poverty line, but there also isn't a clear, definite line beyond which one is overly wealthy. The Galacese get what they need to survive, and beyond that is the extraneous.

Geography

As can be inferred, much of Galace is montane. These mountains were formed partially carved out of the earth from glacial movement, and partially formed by volcanic activity. There are a couple know hot-spots where one can find hot-springs, warm geysers, and heated calderas, and these areas tend to have a very diverse array of endemic animal and plant-life, some of which can only be found in these locations. Interestingly, the northwestern side of Galace has less mountain, characterised by the massive Lake Anfail, which is only just cut off from the sea. Due to this, Lake Anfail is partly brackish water, but only on one side of it. The further inland along the lake one goes, the more freshwater percentage it is.

There is notably a large coniferous forest to the northwest of Galace. This forest is surrounded by hilly grasslands, and a large number of Galacese settlements and trade routes go along these lands, as the easiest and least treacherous means of crossing great distance within Galace's territory is following the forests. The forest itself follows a warm air current.

Government

Galace is ruled by the Galacese emperor, though it has, several times, in history been an empress. Currently, Galace has an emperor, the Emperor Viniel, whom has been on the throne for around four years. The emperor's assistants are often lords and ladies of regions, typically Galacese nobility with influence with the common people in a given locale. What gives the lords and ladies their power is their position in the view of the commoners, and many times, without that backing, the lords and ladies lose their influence with the emperor, as well. In this way, the Galacese commoners may not have much direct say in who it is that ends up on Galace's throne, but they do have direct influence over the highest ranking officials directly below the emperor, who, should they need to, have a means of removing him from power, or overriding a particularly stupid decision he or she may make.

In most cases, those that handle the judicial government branch, and the military, are not the emperor or empress. While the monarch can override any decision the leaders of these governmental sections make, they primarily focus on the implementation of policies and laws that benefit the Galacese people, as well as handle foreign policy and diplomacy. While Galace often gets along with Macenia, its relations with Dalmasca and Jihon are somewhat strained, as there are estimated several hundred thousand Galacese enslaved in one or the other, and as of now, Dalmasca and Jihon's leaders refuse to return any of them back home. It is difficult to find an ilim in Galace that has not lost someone they know to Dalmasca or Jihon's slavers, and thus, diplomatic relations between the two sides are rather strained.

Religion

In general, the Galacese are more spiritual than religious. While some minor influence from Jihonese or Dalmascan belief systems is clear, Galacese revere, first and foremost, the land and living creatures around them, rather than a particular god, or pantheon of gods. Additionally, the Galacese ostensibly do not necessarily believe in a sole power that could be construed as some sort of god-like figure, as they instead believe that, while everything came together and fell into place in a specific manner, this may or may not have been accidental, and even if it wasn't, it may have just been the natural order of life itself, instead of the machination of a higher being. Perhaps something just happened to put the initial building blocks in place, on purpose or otherwise, this is debatable, and everything took care of itself from there, and the primary reason for life now is that life's will to exist.

As the ilim race has always been capable of magic, they have also always been able to sense the natural flow of aura from one thing to another. Through this consistent experience, the ilim, and by extension the Galacese, have always believed that all things are connected, and what affects one thing in the world will almost always affect another. Because of this belief, the Galacese are very careful what they do, and how they do it, in order to prevent unnecessary collateral damage. They are aware, from a young age, that merely by existing, they are affecting other things, sending out ripples into the great beyond, causing change in long chains, even if that change is small. The Galacese remain aware of this reality, and consider this knowledge whenever they do something major, or even small things, if the potential scope of that small thing is large.

Technology

Galace is most skilled at metallurgy and all things forging. The master weapon and armoursmiths are in Galace, and everyone knows the best weapons and armour are Galacese steel. Only the Galacese can create weaponry that lasts near as long as theirs do, and some magical enchantment causes their weapons to remain sharp long after they should have dulled. Galace does not have much use for other technology, barring the typical agricultural-related ones, but beyond their basic set of metallurgy related technology, their skills are mainly auratech. There is little Galace uses, technology-wise, that does not have a hint of aura enchantment to it. They're known for developing weapons and shields that generate extra features off loose atmospheric aura, and are thought to be the original source of aura guns and cannons, which, later, the Free City of Haradi combined with airships. Galacese do not use airships, typically, however.

They do, on the other hand, utilise war mounts, either large cats, or some kind of very large bird, normally bred to be larger than typical. There are rumours the Galacese ilim ride phoenixes into battle, but none are sure phoenixes even exist. Their birds, however, are known to be very intelligent, trained very well, and act as scouts, messengers, and occasionally, living cannons, as these birds can fire off simplistic aura bolts and generate defensive barriers.