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Within east-central Azaleon is Macenia, sprawling plains and dense forests belonging to the Macenian tribes. One cannot truly call Macenia unified, and many of Macenia's tribes are nomadic, but they cooperate with one another often enough to consider them somewhat allied. Macenia's territory is bordered to the north by Galace, to the south by Dalmasca, and to the west, by the vast neutral territory across which the Free Cities are scattered. Macenia also includes Aesia Isle, a large island to the northeast of Azaleon, which is due north of Jihon. As Macenia is tribal, each tribe is ruled differently than the others, but in general, they're most commonly oligarchies. In international conflict, the Macenian tribes side with Galace, as their distance warfare perfectly complements the Macenians' infantry-based guerilla tactics.

Climate

One could consider the vast majority of Macenia to fall under the header of subtropical. The presence of the Taogan river delta, a massive delta, causes a rise in general, overall humidity, and southern Macenia can reach rather terrible heights of heat. The northeastern coast is relatively humid, but more seasonally varied, with the interior less humid and home to a few dry zones. Along the coast, between north and south Macenia, are cloud forests, dense mixed forests often thickly fogged over. Much of Macenia sees a high rate of rainfall throughout the year, but the cloud forests generally subsist on fog drip.

The rainy season is in summer, when it will rain quite heavily and consistently, and there are rarely dry spells. Despite the consistent pattern of rain, these rain showers are typically short-lived, and go as quickly as they come. Tropical storms from the ocean are not unheard of, and occasionally will form into cyclones which reach the land. In the winter, the weather is cooler, and the cycles of rainfall cease, sometimes causing patches of drier conditions across the region.

Culture

Macenians have no particular lean toward one gender or another. Both can be useful in their ways, and not all women are particularly feminine, just like not all men are terribly masculine. Some are even a clean combination of both. Above all, the Macenians value power, and intelligence. Those with a decent head on their shoulders, and the ability to effectively use it, are far more likely to gain influence and position among a Macenian tribe. Macenia's territory is not always kind or merciful to those that live within it, and while not all Macenians are capable of defending against them, they do need the assurance of someone who can. Those that would, traditionally, be considered weaker, perhaps even hindrances, are not typically looked down on, surprisingly. Every member of a tribe has a role to play; some fight, that others may live in peace, and none are excluded from contributing to the tribe's overall well-being, no matter how it is they contribute.

Above all, Macenians are practical, and this reflects in their artistic taste. While they may not be known for their sculptures, furniture, or monuments, paintings or mosaics, they are known to leave behind pottery and tool artifacts wherever they go. Some of these pieces are rather detailed and interesting to look at, and some collectors within other nations and the Free Cities are always looking to buy genuine Macenian artifacts. They are known to carve stone and wood, rather well, everyday tools, and accessories such as hair pieces, combs, sword sheaths, and similar. Their woven baskets are occasionally among the most detailed and well-designed in Azaleon. Some might view these pieces as very primitive, but what a Macenian has no use for, he does not bother making pretty.

Music, dance, and oral storytelling, are hallmarks of Macenian culture. All know how to sing, perhaps not very well to ears accustomed to the more practiced tones of other nations, but this is what makes Macenian music and song unique. All have a voice, and all voices join together sooner or later. Typically, Macenian song is not perfectly harmonized, and never even or practiced, being wild in nature and tone, accompanied by thundering, powerful drum lines. Above all, they enjoy singing together, and don't concern themselves with what the rest of Azaleon considers to be good. No music in Azaleon sounds like Macenian music, except Macenian music.

Dance is both an art, and a form of expression, of both internal emotions and turmoil, and carnal pleasure. Most other nations find Macenian dance too explicit and suggestive, but dance for Macenians is how one connects to who, and what, they are, and creatures designed to reproduce is one of those things humes are. They do not shy away from expressing and exploring all sides of themselves, because they can be no other person than who they are, and attempting to is rather quite dumb.

Macenians have perhaps very odd views on religion. They do not worship, not in the same way, as other religious doctrines do. They may pay homage and respect to their ancestors, and recognize that a being greater than themselves exists, they believe that just by living, they are doing all they need to. Macenians often roll their eyes at the Jihonese and their occasionally blindly fervent worship of Kirinyaga, but even Dalmasca's large pantheon is too much for them.

Being as Macenians are practical, education in Macenia's territory is never formal, only practical. They learn necessary skills and abilities needed to survive, that is, combat, agriculture, fishing, foraging, hunting, pathfinding and tracking, building shelters and fire, how to find their way following the stars, and they have no need of science or arithmetic. That is not to say a Macenian has never become interested in these subjects, but they simply have no reason to learn them on a widespread scale. Many Macenians are even rather superstitious in regard to science. These things are overcomplicated to them, and no Macenian has ever truly wanted to understand the universe. That is not for them to understand, but merely in living, perhaps they understand more than they think.

A vast number of Macenians are enslaved. While Macenia does not partake in the blood games, they do enslave one another's people, when one tribe overcomes and conquers another, albeit their system of slavery is far less structured than that of Dalmasca and Jihon. Thereby, escaping slavery in Macenia is a thousand times easier, as no formal records are kept of such things, and those that remain enslaved in Macenia do so mostly because either they are afraid to escape, or there is actually something beneficial within the arrangement for them, such as gaining incidental protection. Macenians have mixed views on slavery, as some really abhor it, and a small cluster of tribes do not feed into slave trade, even within their own borders, while others see it as really just a natural part of existence and conquest. Due to the Galacese distaste for slavery in general, and Macenia's overall valuing of their good relations with the ilim nation, the practice of slavery in Macenia is actually in a decline.

Sexuality is a very fluid thing in Macenia. No one bothers to put labels on anything, and the idea of heterosexuality, or homosexuality, are rather moot to them. One could basically state that all Macenians are technically bisexual, but some do eventually develop a preference one way or another. Marriage is an extremely foreign concept to Macenians, as no one sees a reason to make something that is decidedly wild and untamed formal, but some in Macenia have somewhat adopted vague marriage-like traditions. The concept was imported from Dalmasca, of course. Polyamory is a very wide-spread practice in Macenia, as well, as no one thinks too hard about the weird forms love and attraction can take. The tribe raises children, as a whole, anyway, so there is really no need to be particular about which tribesperson is a child's parent, because all of them are. Transgenderism is surprisingly a concept that Macenia understands as a whole, so once in a while, one will come across a Macenian whose tribe calls them by gender pronouns that don't match their appearance.

Macenian names tend toward Celtic influences. Note that by "Celtic," we reference a large majority of western Europe, all of which fell under the "Celtic" header in antiquity, not specifically Gaelic Celtic. Thereby, Britannic (Irish and Scottish Gaelic), Gallic (French, Dutch), and Spanish (Catalan and Basque), all fall under this header.

Currency and Trade

Unlike the other Azaleonic nations and the Free Cities, Macenian tribes have, thus far, had no use for mint currency. The concept of coin in place of something useful to them is rather the foreign and bizarre one to them, and they have refrained from attempting to adopt a currency system. Often, Macenian tribes are too nomadic to truly make use of physical currency, as large numbers of them would become a burden when moving from one place to another. Thus, Macenians will prefer to barter-trade, rather than accept coin.

Once in a while, a non-native merchant within Macenia's borders will take coinage, or even perhaps a native Macenian merchant that travels outside of Macenia on a frequent basis might, but beyond these exceptions, coin means nothing in Macenia, unless the specific individual is looking for metal to fashion a weapon or plate armor from.

Demographics

Some of Macenia's tribes are nomadic, some are not. Their tendency to war with one another, and other nations, over territory and resource, means that often the Macenians will die off in large swathes all at once, but it is even more difficult to say how many of those that go missing in such conflicts actually die, rather than become enslaved. Children can be presumed to be born about as quickly as their elders die off, as it is at least clear externally that Macenia's populations don't seem to fluctuate in size very dramatically. Even tribes that are not nomadic will leave and gather in the ancestral lands once a year. People disappear in the forests and along the delta all the time. There have even been several instances of ilim and weres living amongst Macenian tribes, but no one has a precise number of how many of either there are.

In short, who really knows?

Geography

Macenia has two things in abundance; hills, and forest. Toward the north side of Macenia, as the land transitions from Macenian territory to Galacese, the hills become more pronounced, and finally begin to morph into mountain ranges. The Ophon mountain range spans across the Macenia-Galace border a few hundred miles, and separates the two geographically, as the mountains are difficult for the forest-plainsmen to traverse. However, the Erewel forest spans across a large area of both Galace and Macenia before finally giving way to the Estios plains, and Macenian tribes occasionally follow the forest into Galace to trade, often bringing preserved plains game and Taogan river fish to the Galacese, who then, in turn, give the Macenians raw ores and minerals.

Closer to the Taogan river, the land becomes more marsh and wetland than grassy plains, and this region often floods. Settlements in the area are often built right on the river, on floating decks, which will rise and sink with the water level. Rather than trying to fight the river's water levels, the Macenians decided to work with it, and thus far, this has worked rather well for them. Most of Macenia's settlements, yes they do exist, are somewhere along the delta. Macenia is rich with mineral deposits and natural underground springs; toward the Ophon mountains, some of these springs are hot springs, which means the likes of Dalmasca and Jihon greatly desire control of Macenian territory.

Government

As Macenian is entirely tribal, each of these tribes have their own leader, or leaders. Likewise, the rules for leadership vary from tribe to tribe; some tribes may be ruled only by the eldest of the entire group, while other tribes are led by the individual that is considered the strongest of them, or the most intelligent, or a council comprised of several that match one or a few of these descriptors. Thereby, some tribes are technically somewhat of a monarchy, while others are perhaps more of an oligarchy. No external source has come across a Macenian tribe that operates democratically, but that is not to say there are absolutely not any that do.

Because of this arrangement, Macenia is not truly unified in the traditional sense of the term. The variant tribes typically don't consider themselves allied with one another, and in fact, will often fight and squabble among each other over hunting territory, or resource-laden areas of the region. Some tribes quite bluntly hate one another, and make this very clear every time they happen to come across one another. The strongest and largest tribes among them are often the ones that have secured permanent territory, within which they build settlements and towns, and have begun establishing farms.

Despite this division, however, the Macenian tribal leaders will come together every year in the central Estios plains, where the leaders discuss issues and circumstances that affect all tribes on some level. Typically, however, the tribal leaders are not willing to discuss any real problems, as they do not want to look weakened in front of the other leaders. Likewise, each tribe faces different everyday problems; the tribes that stick to the plains generally cannot understand the everyday struggles of those that live in the forests or the marshes. Attempts to unify Macenia beneath a single banner have, thus far, remained unsuccessful, and tends to end in a lot of pettiness, and occasionally, civil war.

Religion

While much of Azaleon is either religious, or decidedly not, Macenians are typically somewhere in the middle. It is thought they were influenced on some level by Galacese beliefs. They believe in something greater than themselves, but also believe that this power is inconceivable, that mortal minds have no hope of truly grasping its full scope and really understanding it. They see Dalmasca's pantheon of gods, and Jihon's Kirinyaga, as facets of this greater power, forms that it takes to present itself to mortals, that they may better understand what it is they are looking at, for the true vastness of this great being is so immense that mortals would likely cower in fear of it, not because it is terrifying, but because it is so much.

Like the Galacese, they recognize the concept of aura passing from one living thing to another in a constant cycle; most Macenians cannot sense this passage, but they believe the Galacese when they say it occurs. Thereby, through this, the Macenians have extrapolated that all living things carry within them some shard of this great being, that all living things both are, and are of, it. Thus, there is a little piece of the divine in all things, and no matter how different one thing may look compared to another, they are all tied together through that piece, and all things come from it, and must someday go back to it.

Despite, or perhaps because of, these beliefs, many in Macenia are very intolerant of mages. This is because the Macenians do not believe that humes should be given magic, as it is too powerful for small minds to command. They view the fact that hume mages oft go insane as vindication for this viewpoint, as if they were meant to have the ability, and capable of controlling it, it would not overload them time and time again. While it seems cruel that Macenian tribes will occasionally outright kill mages upon discovery, it is somewhat of a mercy kill, because, as of now, there is no hope for a hume mage, and it is better to die standing, than to live on your knees.

Technology

The first and foremost thing Macenians are good at, is herbalism and agriculture. One would imagine, with as many nomad tribes as there are in Macenia, the concept of agriculture would be a foreign one to them, but Macenians know their plants. Perhaps at least in part due to their close friendly ties with the Galacese, they know plants and animals, and understand the forest and plains, in ways most humes never can. Despite their lacking technological advancement, Macenians have extremely sophisticated irrigation systems and water channels, and were the first peoples to implement a water cleaning system, wherein the water is dumped into a sealed reservoir, boiled, and the steam collected, and then filtered through several layers of volcanic rock.

Their cities are sprawling, as there is no real definite border to them, and their homes, when they build them, are simplistic. Macenians are not terribly for excess, particularly those that are nomadic, but mobile homes are also a Macenian staple, for those that roam, and these homes can have aura-based lighting and simple water systems, that have small filtration systems. Macenians are also extremely accomplished ranchers, and understand livestock and work animals in a way only the ilim seem to. Similarly, they rarely have too much trouble with wild animals, as they better understand what to do with a wild animal. Many of the most accomplished, non-magical healers on Azaleon are Macenian, whom understand the inherent properties of plants very well.

Understand, however, the Macenians have learned to utilise the same methods and systems for weapon and armour creation as their Galacese friends, and while the ilim may be near pacifistic, the Macenians most certainly are not, and they will ruin when given the chance. Macenians understand that they are the first line of defence for Galace, merely because of their particular geographic location, and on the whole, Macenians tend to be extremely vicious in defence of others. They seem to not have any combat technique whatsoever, but they do; simply, it was designed to be chaotic and hard to predict. Macenians are among the most accomplished warriors on Azaleon, and those that do not fear them on the battlefield, quite frankly, are gunning for a Darwin.