The Rupani Nation dominates most of the western half of Zevesdiel from their swamp homes in the south. They have a strong naval tradition which allows them to protect the long coastline and make trading between cities a rich prospect. With the large Yao Feng Divide protecting their eastern borders, Rupani has little to fear from an invasion. This has allowed the country to focus on expansion, exploration, and research of both the magical and medical fields. Its citizens are wary of outsiders, but that doesn’t slow down trade between the nations as resources, such as cotton and oils, are necessary for their survival.
Militarily, Rupani participates in small skirmishes with other nations, both offensively and defensively. Because each citizen, whether man or woman, is required to spend at least one term serving in the military, the country has a large supply of fresh bodies. With that they can quickly field a large army of trained soldiers and a powerful navy to fight for the nation and defend against invasion. Each landlord, or Fraehalder, protects their network of outposts as a way to warn against invasion as well as provide a relatively quick communication system. It is not unknown for a couple Rupani ships to disappear for a few days only to return with slaves and treasure, even while at peace.
Of note, Rupani is a very spiritual nation which pays homage to its ancestors.
“Still and rushing waters. Both give and both take. Respect them and they will gift you life.” – Moki’ka, deceased Yundoh Lun’wui of Clan Ashta
The Rupani Navy consists of a mix of deep berth and shallow water ships – useful for both raiding and sea battles. The largest ships in the navy carry mangonel siege weapons and bombard enemies from afar while the smaller deep berth ships and shallow water ships are filled with archers and boarders. The Rupani Navy archers have access to firepots which they lob over to explode and spread oil over the enemy ship – this oil can then be lit on fire by flaming arrows from other archers. The boarders typically wear steel breast and back plated armour which leaves the shoulders free and use rapiers and spears to fight enemies, relying on their armour and mobility to avoid harm. All soldiers carry the Rupani sgians which they can use as a last resort or for eating; whichever seems more important at the time.
The Rupani land army is very similar to the Navy, owing to sharing the same origin. The main warriors in the army use rapiers and spears, and now have shoulder plates in addition to the breast and back steel plates. They also wear steel bracers and greaves to protect more of their bodies and often carry wooden shields with a family crest painted on the center. The archers in the land army also use a longbow, but it is not uncommon to see soldiers using light throwing spears to punch through thicker enemy armour. Rupani has access to cavalry which use spears and sabres to make fast hit and run attacks, especially when flanking enemies. Like the Navy, the land army uses mangonels along in their fortresses, especially on ports to prevent enemy ships from attack; they use trebuchets for land sieges to bombard from a large range.
Rupani are highly respectful of their ancestors and have miniature temples in their homes to honour those who’ve passed on. The temple is the central part of the family compound and each ancestor is represented by a lock of hair tied with a leather ribbon. Living family members often, and are encouraged, to take time out from each day to visit the ancestors and speak to them as if they were still living in order to get advice or encouragement.
Yundoh Lun’wui are especially important in Rupani culture as they are seen as reincarnations of past water Yundoh Lun’wui – many of whom were great heroes or warriors in their past life. Yundoh Lun’wui remains are kept separate from non-Yundoh Lun’wui in the family templates, typically on a second level which is accessed by a ladder or stairs. A bowl of water is placed by each set of remains so that the ancestors can still perform magic in the afterlife.
Rupani is the only nation in the world that creates Sea Sand Glass, a beautiful multicoloured glass which is translucent and durable. It is highly prized by people of all nations. Rupani Yundoh Lun’wui are known to statues out of moving water. Since the statues collapse upon the death of a Yundoh Lun’wui can be used to tell the well being of a Yundoh Lun’wui during wartime.
As a Democratic Monarchy, the King is of the Rupani Nation elected and maintains absolute power. To prevent the abuse of that power, advisors are able to overrule a King if they have a 100% vote against the action the King wishes to take. Each year, the Advisors and Fraehalders submit a vote to retain the current king or to elect a new one. The King can be male or female, and their spouse (again, male or female) is the Queen.
The country is split into smaller fiefdoms which are ruled by a single family, known as the Fraehalders, who pass the land down to their children. The King has power to grant or remove a fiefdom from a family and revoke or give Fraehalder status. A Fraehalder is required to look after the land and people to ensure the fief runs smoothly, the people are happy, taxes are collected, and to help neighbouring Fraehalders if needed. The Fraehalders are also responsible for defence of their fief and often have a garrison of soldiers which protect them, but will also conscript laymen in times of trouble. Only the family leader is given the title of Fraehalder along with the powers and responsibilities. Even the inheriting child doesn’t receive the title until they actually take over the land from their parent and they are officially recognized by the King.
Rupani has several major cities, most of which are near the water and have a large port. The different fiefdoms also have small towns with farms on the outskirts and many contain a Bao with a permanent garrison. The King and Queen live in the capital city of Ilia which bears a large harbour next to the western-most sea. As one of the largest cities in the world, a large portion of Rupani lives within Ilia. Sui Hingdaih is a smaller neighbouring city to the south of Ilia; the name of the city translates roughly to Little Sister as it is considered the smaller version of Ilia. Romik is the only major inland city in the Rupani nation and is surrounded by large swaths of fertile plains which Rupani farms to feed the rest of their nation. Liu Shi is south of Romik and is a trading city near Mount Xue’feng and the Wajanderu city of Grunsee – the city is relatively small compared to Romik and Ilia but has a strong tourist and trade business. The city of Shuicheng to the far south is the primary staging point for the Rupani navy and is the first major city created after the Rupani left the swamps, making it their oldest city. The last city in the Rupani lands is Chengshi which is on the southern point of Rupani. Chengshi is on the edge of the Wu’Kay Yu and works with Hoi’ye Bao to form a defence against enemy fleets and to act as a staging point for incursions into Narsput.
There are several fortifications called Baos around the Rupani lands as well. Beih’go Bao is the largest Bao and is the primary training ground for the military and main construction yard for the navy. Beih’go Bao also defends the northern coast from invaders. Mah Bao protects the northern plains of Ilia as well as the farmers that live there. Ahn Tai Bao is at the crossroads of the river Ahn Lu Hoh and the trade route from Romik to Ilia. Ahn Tai Bao also oversees the Shui Jintou, the Lonely Grove. Syu Bao to the south guards the pass out of Grunsee and acts to collect tolls from other nations. Xue Xhao Bao, H’yit Bao and Daiyu Bao are smaller Baos placed around the Wu’Kay Yu to keep an eye on the lower lands and to provide reinforcements for Chengshi and Shuicheng. Lastly Su’tse Bao guards both roads out of Sui Hingdaih – one road heads towards Liu Shi and the other towards Shuicheng.
The government of Rupani sponsors Yi Shae Yu’An Moshu – a school focused on medicine and magic which is located in central Rupani, just north of the border swamps. Yi Shae Yu’An Moshu works in concert with the Akademie der Urkraft in Wajanderu. The two schools often share information and knowledge, which benefits both schools since they look at magic in different ways.
Some Rupani are born with power over water allowing them to manipulate small amounts of water to create various shapes, these people are called Yundoh Lun’wui. The Yundoh Lun’wui require an active source of water to use their magics, so they are nearly useless in a desert even if they carry in water. Rupani believe that they can relearn techniques from past lives and have entire schools devoted to opening them up to their past lives. Yundoh Lun’wui are capable of staying underwater for very long periods of time and can use their water magic to swim much faster than normal.
This aids Rupani often in their daily lives allowing them to direct rain into containers, clean swamp water, save people from drowning, and to even stabilize the tide at ports to make it easier for traders. It is very common for the Yundoh Lun’wui to create water statues – water which has been suspended and held in place by magic to create a statue – that will remain unchanged until the Yundoh Lun’wui dissolves it or perishes. When Yundoh Lun’wui go to war they often create these statues for their family so that if they die on the battlefield their loved ones will know their fate.
In war the water magic can be used to draw clean water from the ground, surround the face of a foe to drown them, or change the tide to speed up, slow down, or turn ships in the water. This feat can be used to stop ramming attempts, capture enemy ships, break an enemy formation, or escape from an engagement.
It is said that true masters of water magic can collect moisture from plants and the air when they run out of water and stay under water for hours.
“Row, you sea rats, row! Gerhard put everything you have into that sail!” Friedrich called to his crew as the Rupani pirate closed in on his vessel. “It’s no use captain! They’ve turned the tide against us, we’re going backwards!” – Excerpt from Popular Wajan novel: Captain Friedrich, Seaward Frontier