The Refuge of Sylverport
In Athera, there was an enclave of people that referred to themselves as Sylvaestinian (or Askalene). The history of this culture and their origins have been long since forgotten, as the only tangible records stored away were buried under mounds of rubble in Vailor and long forgotten. They were founded by a wood elf known as Fjordin Sylver, who wished to escape the persecution that faced his people on the mainland (following the assassination of King Vydra). As time passed, he accrued a very diverse population within their refuge in the untamed Eastern mesa; Some were humans seeking adventure and isolation, others were impure High Elves, and once a whitewash Olog that had his eyes on their land to create a burrow. For a short while, they were known to be one of the most active (but not populous) regions of Athera, coming second to Siegrad. This traffic attracted skilled craftsman, hardened laborers, and promising shipwrights (as they were a coastal town, known as Sylverport). Shortly before Exodus to Vailor, Fjordin had arranged a meeting with Olivier de Savoy (then the King of the Reformed Kingdom of Oren), and with his permission became a provincial vassal. Had it not been for this, they would likely have perished in Athera, landlocked when disaster struck as the Descendants made their way to Vailor. The motto for Sylverport was, quote: "Much like the very wine we drink, the city only gets better with age.".
Though Athera brought about fortune, it was perhaps a premature golden age: many citizens died making their way to the racial boats, or during the journey itself. Many got lost in the chaos following landfall, and it was later discovered that the lucky few that survived the Exodus did not fare well in the coming decades in Vailor. Maiming, suicide, and old age would claim the entirety of the people (or so was believed). The few that stuck together would exist primarily on the outskirts of Felsen during her development, establishing a crude encampment that despite it's construction would come to service the injured for years.
The Province of Aesculus
The Sylvaestinian culture made a short-lived impression on Vailor. Not only did half their population (which had been nearing 30 in Athera) perish during the Exodus, but they were subjected to waiting an entire Elven month to acquire their land from Oren (which caused them to lose a large amount of their influence as their remaining population lingered to already established cities). Despite the fertility and vastness of the land they were eventually given (North of Felsen, appropriately named Aesculus), the Ducal War soon kicked off. Being only a fledgling village with the bare basics of a community established, they were terribly lacking in defenses. This resulted in consistent raiding on part of the Northern separatists, as well as loyalist enclaves (which held negative tensions with the people and used the war as a distraction to carry out their angst) pillaging the population. Within an Elven month, their land was unexpectedly bulldozed to it's original form by some celestial magic (presumably carried out by the merciless Sky Gods). This destruction carried with it the end of an era for the Sylvaestinian people, and presumably brought about their extinction.
Fjordin Sylver, who had barely scraped by into the realm of Axios, was left to his own devices for many Elven weeks. After coming to the conclusion that he was the last (and first) existing member of the Sylvaestinian people, he began to orate their history to anyone that would listen, hoping to leave at least a mental mark on the world by dispersing their records. He soon stumbled upon a man named Douglas, who took a deep fascination for his past. Douglas urged Fjordin to look towards Sutica for land, so he may revive the dead culture. Not long afterwards, he also reunited with his presumed-dead advisor, Aifric Driscoll. As an Atheran human, he was terribly aged, but Aifric offered to join Fjordin in creating a promise land for those in need as they did so many decades before.
The Commune of Caligo
Following the advice of Douglas, Fjordin made contact with Trade Princess Lilyana and successfully acquired a large piece of land south of the Ceru mountains (on the southern edge of the inland sea). Although his ignorance of the previous realm (as he banished himself to the wilderness after losing the company of his people) makes coping with Axios a constant struggle, he hopes to create a shining beacon of hope and refuge for one and all as he did in Athera. With time, the commune would hopefully evolve into a bustling city-come-center-of-learning. Being a vassal of Sutica also allows them to adopt similarly liberal doctrine to [[Sylverport. This means regardless of race (with a few exceptions), anyone is granted a chance to prove themselves capable of contribution to society (and therefore respect).
The Commune of Caligo, established on the Ceru island, is located on the southern edge of the inland sea (in the mouth of a broad bay). Surrounding Caligo is a forest of great trees, consisting of both dark and light hardwoods. The air is rather humid and warm, and as a result many large mushrooms have sprouted from the ground (having taken advantage of the low light levels as a result of a thick forest canopy). Hills would dominate a few lesser regions, and the soil is ill-suited for farming (although grazing animals can get by fairly well). As a result, settlements rely heavily on imports from the Sutican capital and/or livestock and fishing (although Caligo would pioneer in 'floating gardens', which are complex rafts of soil and water vegetation that can support mundane crops in small amounts).
Caligo would on the surface appear to be an autocracy, but it is in truth an oligarchy. The head of state would be referred to as Scholarch, which attributes to the culture's emphasis on education and progress. Below him or her serve the Mercator (Head of Commerce and Foreign Affairs), Judicator (Head of Judiciary and Internal Affairs), and Procurator (Head of Learning and Archives), all arbitrarily appointed by the Scholarch according to perceived ability. Despite this, all decisions made by the government are done for the betterment of the people (even if it costs an arm and a leg).
Sylvaestinian law is directed towards the respect of your fellow citizen and contribution/fairness of labor. Details can be found in the Caligonian constitution, which is kept within possession of the Scholarch (soon to be displayed in Caligo).
Sylvaestinian's, unlike Sutican's, do not measure their worth by coin. Instead, a Sylvaestinian is judged by their honor and contribution to society. Like Sutica, houses are free and there are no taxes in the city. Donations of mina are instead asked for at the will of the people, which would be put towards purchasing goods otherwise unavailable and the advancement of existing or pending projects. Sylvaestinian's also admire isolation and peace above all, but will not hesitate to stand against those that threaten or disrespect their people and allies. Anyone is allowed to assimilate into the Sylvaestinian culture (with the exception of necromancers and races deemed 'dark' and destructive), so long as they prove themselves a capable contributor to society and respectful of their fellow man or woman. At their core, they are a warrior culture that places family and friends above all other affairs. They see progress through the synergy of their individual skill and labor. In times of personal conflict and celebration, particularly zealous Sylvaestinian's may shout their ancient battle-cry: "From clay to steel!" (originally 'skteel', as pronounced in a Kharajyr accent by the saying's author Sha'adzi A'inlund).
Much like Sutica, Caligo extends her hand more liberally than the majority of other lands: their history as a mixed bag of racial backgrounds developed them into a culturally learned people. They have thus come to value the teachings of all Descendants regardless of their complexion. This gives them a credibility lacking in most other lands: a place that discriminates against individual action, not that of the whole, the half, or even the far and few.
Sylvaestinian's are historically a people which value stonemasonry and gemcutting. Emeralds are granted to guests during particularly special moments of communion, the most famous of these acts on behalf of Fjordin Sylver to Olivier de Savoy (where he granted the man around an entire crate of finely cut emerald gemstones to show his gratitude during their vassalage). Lapis lazuli and ruby (redstone) are both compacted into large blocks, and rather than traded or offered as a gesture of respect are chiseled into great works of stonemasonry and architecture. Visual art is demonstrated on thick slabs of parchment, oftentimes using various shades of charcoal. More often than not, they are based on existing locations within the realm, such as scenes ripped from the appearance of settlements, forests, etc.
Though Sylvaestinian's have never developed any particularly popular works of poetry, there were various records created and kept by a particular Berilac Goldworthy in the times of Athera and Vailor. These tomes would conceptualize aspects of Sylvaestinian culture, the most famous of which titled the "Canons of Honour".
No works of music have ever risen to prominence within Sylvaestinian culture, although rumors of a particular anthem in Sylverport with an authoritarian harshness linger.
Structured religion is not promoted nor rejected by the Sylvaestinian people, although there is a particularly promoted reverence displayed towards descendants of past times. These people are referred to as 'demigods', since they are not actual gods but mortal men and women who rose to prominence during their time. Currently existing are Krug'Lag (Olog Demigod of War, Smithing, and Loyalty), Cealum (Wood Elf Demigod of the Sea and Craftsmanship), Mira (Human Demigoddess of Strength, Labor, and Commitment) and finally Themba (Human Demigod of Love, Food, and Medicine).
Sylvaestinian people are not in favor of war, but will commit themselves if the cause is just and/or directly threatens their existence (or the existence of their allies). The traditional Sylvaestinian would prefer ranged combat and archery from horseback to direct confrontation with the enemy.