From Dragon Eye Atlas
Revision as of 08:09, 2 March 2021 by Tom
The island of Makkaha is found at the southern edge of Auseka, away from main shipping routes and the politics of the mainland. While formally a part of Hampy, no tax collector or offical from the main island has been seen for years, and Makkah is essentially self-governed. That is not to say it is a small place - the islands has a total area of about 7,500 square kilometres and is home to about 95,000 people, almost exclusively humans.
The island is flat and low, the highest point being just over 50m above sea level, near the spring of the Chistow river. The northern coast lies barely above sea level and is flooded in major storms. The southern coast is more rough and beaten but also slightly higher above the sea, with occasional cliffs, but even those are rarely higher than 10m or so.
While the Koryo culture has the largest influence on Makkaha, the Makkahans have developed their own flavour of it. The most obvious peculiarity of Makkaha culture is their obsession with beauty, not only in the arts but also in people. Makkaha is the only area in the world where it is possible to be arrested for being too ugly, as it is considered a crime to terrorize ones fellow humans with hideousness. Among the youth of Makkaha, those who are less blessed with comely features are shunned by the opposite sex and anyone with considerably below-average beauty is prohibited by law to marry or have children.
This ruthless discrimination has, over the generations, created a population of exceptionally beautiful people, and an outcast class that has nothing to gain or lose and engaged in vicious piracy along the northern waters or heads for foreign lands as mercenaries or cheap labour. Meanwhile, Makkahan women are sought-after treasures among certain parts of the nobility in several realms, but not many can afford one, as the expected bride price is between two and five gold pieces - more than a suite of plate.
The island is fertile and covered by forests and marshes. It is self-sufficient in everything but metal of which there is a constant shortage because only two small mines produce any ore locally.
Very little trade arrives in Makkaha, due to its remote location and the fact that it does not have a deep-water port and its two cities are located away from the coast (like many Koryo cities are). The southern coast is too often ravaged by high tides and ocean waves to provide a location for a port town, and the northern coast is mostly marshland or swamps, and treacherous water where not.
Fishing is, as on most islands, a major industry and food source. One unique feature on Makkaha is the Munchar, a fish about the size of a small mouse, which is served and eaten still alive. In fact, the common way to eat Munchar is for the host to bring it to your table in a bowl, take it out, and with a practiced move gut it to remove the innards and backbone, the only hard bone it has, and put the rest of the fish on a plate in front of you. The fish should then be picked up and eaten while it is still moving.
Politically, the island is made up of the two provinces Gwalm and Gunsanguk. Of these two, the western province of Gunsanguk dominates the island in every way. It makes up over 80% of the area, houses over 80% of the population and is home to the two only cities of Makkaha, Hanamwon and Ikgugu.
Add to this the fact that Gwalm is an ungoverned anarchy, which has not had a leader for nearly a century, and you begin to wonder why it still exists at all.
The simple truth is that everyone likes it that way. The eastern people enjoy the fact that they pay fewer taxes while the western people prefer the protection of their lord against bandits and disasters. The unwritten and unspoken arrangement to leave Gwalm alone works out because on the one hand there is little worth waging war for and on the other hand the people of Gwalm are still proud subjects of Hampy, send their sons to war if the distant republican government requests them to, and at least the four towns in Gwalm even pay a small tribute to the central government, giving the greater Hampy Republic no cause to support any moves the lords of Gunsanguk might fancy. And finally, the Wizardry Academy is an asset that noboy wants to threaten, or engage with.