The fourth-largest nation in the East, home to the Muzina race. A combination of high volcanic mountains and arid Cliffside flat lands, it is rich in spices, metalwork and tradition.
Muzin is one of the culturally most intriguing places in the world. Due to the unique qualities of their people, and the intense abilities of their race, the Muzina have developed an infamous reputation. While often misconstrued, the Muzina people themselves tend to propegate these misconceptions so as to be uninterfered with.
A few terms to clarify: Muzin: Refers to the country itself. Muzina: Refers to the race of people who inhabit Muzin. Muzino: Refers to the language of the Muzina people. Muzinish: An English adaptation of the Muzina people to imply any quality of the Muzina people, such as fashion or cuisine.
Geography: Muzin is located on the south-eastern side of the Eastern Continent, between Suoro and Speritan on the north side, Humoro on the west and Bodove on the south. The sheer Cliffs of Aragor make up Muzin's eastern border with a straight drop into the rocky ocean. The lower regions of Muzin lie on the verge of the equator and a fault line rises in the centre of the country making it the most volcanically active place in the world. The warm temperatures and fertile soil from the volcanic ash make Muzin the sole ground for certain crops to grow, namely the renown Fire Trees (or Teishur) which cover nearly all of the mountains in the Muzinish Highlands. These trees are slender, flexible and extremely tall, growing in excess of 80' in some places. The Teishur have smooth black bark, long slender leaves that grow in pairs of two all year round and have a bright orange-gold colour that fades to rust red before they fall. These forests of waving fire-coloured leaves crawling up the mountainsides look like smokeless forest fires waving in the wind, hence their name. Because of their web-like root structure, the Teishur cosupport a wide variety of other flora and fungi, many of which are the source of spices utilized in Muzina cuisine and export.
Life gets sparse as one reaches the the higher altitudes on the volcano and mountain sides, especially if they are active. In the Flatlands (which are by no means flat, but reach no higher than 120 metres in altitude) contain much more varied plant and animal life and are a bit more welcoming and tolerant to foreign cultures and races.
The 1st Season in Muzin is one of blustering hot storms, blowing up dust and ash, violent squalls on the ocean, sandstorms, raining ash or embers and hot rainstorms generally accompanied by a lot of lightning and thunder. The highest mountains in Muzin, namely Mount Blackmouth, Mount Ishmal, Mount Yalil and the VallKuenos Pass all see snow during 1st Season.
By 2nd Season, the storms abate, but the rains continue, the winds grow calmer but continue, blowing up ash, sand and pollen into the air. During this season the seasonal plants begin to bloom, insects and reptiles hatch and any creatures that lay dormant during tumultuous 1st Season come out of hibernation.
By 3rd Season the full heat of the year strikes, making the air humid, sticky and hot. During the 3rd season, drought is frequent in the Highlands, and some relay glacier ice from caves, while others rely on distilled ocean water or deep wells in the valleys. Freak lightning storms are not infrequent and many creatures hibernate during these hot three months.
By 4th season, the year comes to a close with cooling temperatures, mild winds, light rain and blooms of fungi, fruit, tubers and game meat as several species birth the young conceived in the 2nd Season. Many other species breed in 4th season and make busy collecting seeds, spores, nuts, berries, roots etc before the monsoons begin again.
The Capitol of Muzin is Malik, on Mount Nasal in the northeastern part on the country, a long since dead volcano. The High Temple of Isham, the central hub of holy life in Muzin, is situated in the heart of the acropolis of Ishmal, and from its court dais the Pillar of Fire burns endlessly upward for 400 metres. (Discussed more in the Religion section)
The port cities of Kasza and Larvik are two of the most prominant ports in the world, especially for the trade of precious stones, gold and spices - not to mention for the fact that they have been carved out of the face of the Cliffs of Aragor.
In Muzin there is a single ruler that can be male or female but is almost always a man, called the Regent (in Muzino the Golvakyn). There is no election in Muzin, nor is the Regency hereditary. In Muzin, if people respect you they will follow your lead. The rightful ruler, therefore, is the person whom the most people are following. The reason this person is usually a man is because often in the Test of Pain, those who do extremely well receive armed fighters as their followers in reward. Once someone has such a group of believers, and he/she does good works - showing good leadership, judgment, control and humility - more people join the retinue. If there is ever a close number between multiple leaders, the leaders take their fighters and do battle or duel one on one depending on their own martial background. The winner gains supremacy. A Regent's reign lasts so long as his followers believe in him/her. If someone else thinks he or she can do a better job, they have to challenge the Regent to battle, and all those who support the instigator go against those still loyal to the Regent. Since gaining Regency demands belief in the Regent by his citizens, the Regent must not only impress the Muzina enough to gain power, but must also maintain their respect, trust and support. If a Regent makes even one poor decision or mistake he can lose the Regency as swiftly as in 1013 PT when Perdash T'Vailak lost the Regency in a record-breaking 20 minutes to Verden RnRhun after Perdash broke his Blood Bond.
Aside from the Regent, the current ruling force also includes the Regent's Chief Advisor who is almost always a woman (often the Regent's sister, wife, mother or other woman he trusts) who helps the Regent with news and current affairs, international issues and manages the treasury; the Head Priest of Isham who handles all official decrees, records, adjustments to laws or certificates with his team of scribes; the High Priestess of Isham who oversees all spiritual needs and communication with the temples, including acting as official prophet and the diviner of signs; and sometimes a Tactition or General of the Armed Forces. The rest of the Regent's retinue are various servants, followers, guards and informants that assist the officials in day-to-day tasks and operations. The Regent oversees the safety of the nation, treaties, international relations, internal unrest and all matters of discrepancy of law. Day-to-day issues of lawbreaking are delegated out to smaller branches usually situated in the Houses of the Test of Pain throughout the country or Magistrates offices in individual cities.
There is no established monarchy in Muzin as following the descendants of a leader simply because the children are related rather than for personal merit. Blood ties do not earn sufficient respect in Muzin to be maintained if the descendant can't live up to or exceed their predescessor. In archaic Muzin tales are told of Triumphant Kings, Royal Generals, bandit Lords and the recurring theme of the Shining Empress as a standing point between mortals and Isham. Generally, Kings and Queens have been chosen in times of need when other leaders like the Regent (or prior to the Regency when Muzin was controlled by fuedal lords) had died or the people needed one figure to rally to that did not simply rely on martial prowess (This most often happened in dealings with foreign nations that did not respond well to displays of strength, such as the Suoro and Humoro). This was certainly the case during the world wars and during the turmoil of magic and fate before the Death of the Twins.
The Military in Muzin is not organized as a single body, but rather is purposefully split up into different regions. In keeping the control in smaller units, each unit is capable of acting independantly, develops comraderie and faith in each other, and is taking orders from a single man that they trust and understand. These leaders then can work together with other leaders, but are always part of the decision making for the best course of action for their men. As the Muzina are courageous and follow their orders with confidence they have no qualms about dying for what they believe is right, and this makes them fearsome enemies. Also, the Racial Ability is used more extensively in the armed forces than anywhere else, and this gives them an extra edge in their manouvers. The leaders of these platoons align themselves to whatever leader they think will rule the country best and this usually means they all work for the Regent and fight for his sake. While the Regent sometimes asks these military leaders or Maklai to act for him, the Maklai are authorized to act without orders to secure what will be best for their men, Regent and country. This often means that they can suppress instigations, fight off enemy attacks and protect commoners from assault before the Regent will even hear of the problem. They are efficient, idolized and invaluable. It is historically believed that the Maklai are the remnants of the fuedal lords of archaic Muzin.
There is no centralized or organized crime in Muzin, though the mountain passes have several Bandit Clans which in certain areas are rampant. While even the Bandits of Muzin have their codes that all their brethren must adhere to; often in the Bandit Clans these rules are as cruel and vicious as the lawless rogues in the Speritanian Marshlands. As there is no monetary system in Muzin, if captured or barred passage by Muzina Bandits, the payment comes in the form of jewellery, clothing, goods being carried, steeds, alcohol and katyin smoking herbs. If there is nothing of worth in the traveller's goods, payment must be made of the flesh. If willingly (which considering the pride of the Muzina is almost never) the captive can sometimes barter for their lives. If unwilling, the traveller is either challeneged to a duel (if they win they can either go free or join the clan) or they are raped and killed. A few Bandit Clans on the borders of Suoro will sell their captives into slavery rather than murder, but in the eyes of a Muzina slavery is worse than death.
When crime is committed in major cities, generally theft, rape, or any form of deceit (i.e. conmen, illusionists, infidelities, charlatans) the accused is captured and put in stocks or Shahim (tethered with their arms behind their back to a pole around which they can do laps or be dragged depending on the severity of their crime). During these periods of punishment, the accusers will come and rail their accusations and suspicions against the accused, who can defend themselves with words alone. Alms or food is given to the person by onlookers who feel the accused is innocent. If the accused is clearly guilty, they will slowly starve. In cases of dispute, verbal petitions for either innocence or guilt are taken before the city magistrate who decides whether or not the accused should starve or be released.
In smaller towns, hamlets and places without a magistrate, accused criminals are generally bludgeoned to death by those outraged by the crime before any official force of law can be brought in. In these cases, if the accused is found to have been innocent after his/her death, the accuser is strung up from a building by their hands above their head and weights beneath their feet and spat upon, urinated upon, stoned and salted in their wounds. When they die, their faces are cut off and the body dumped in the wilderness somewhere to "do good to the soil as no good can be done for the Goddess". Due to the honest nature of the Muzina, these systems of punishment are almost always clear-cut and justified. Duelling should be discussed, as individuals killed in the process cannot be legally avenged. Many wrongs or perceived wrongs are solved in this fashion. Terms are set to reflect the gravity of the slight or insult, in which the duel is decided to go to first blow, first blood or to the death, whether or not weapons are to be used, if there is a time limit and whether or not seconds are to be included. Duels are a very public thing, accusations and invitations to duel being done in social places like market squares or tavernas. Though, if the two wish to settle the matter quietly, the time and place may be kept secret between the duellists. As duels are generally fought over honour, it is usually considered a matter between Muzina where no one else can determine who is right or how to make ammends that will rectify the situation. Duelling has existed since the days of the Muzmyn Jackals and are considered an adult and mature way to solve disputes as those involved are forced to maintain decorum, dignity and courage. Children play a game called Hutzka (possibly from the Muzino "duel" Huzzan) in which with bare hands the children try to prod each other in the midriff while defending their own midriff against their opponents.
Assassination should also be discussed as there are very specific rules of law as to how the situation is addressed. Hiring an assassin is generally considered condescending, elitist, cowardly or underhanded. However, in the case of an assassination, the assassin is not accountable for the murder. If caught, the assassin is under law to name his employer. If not caught, diviners are brought in to determine the employer and they are punished per usual.
Muzina are blunt and outspoken, and often will step up to interfere in an injustice. Rarely do crimes escalate or injustices continue unaddressed if they are discovered by another Muzina. They have a far stronger sense of right and wrong at an instinctual level than humans and their crime rates are lower per capita than almost anywhere in the world (with exception of Humoro and Briandyna).
One of the most idolized professions in Muzin is that of the Hunters - those men and women that track down lawbreakers and pass judgment on them, often executing those they find guilty and/or unredeemable.
Muzin trades by barter which makes their dealings strained with some countries and flourished with others. Their primary trade partner is Bodove, with whom they exchange precious stones, spices, muslin and linen, ores, glass and volcanic stone in return for fish, game meat, silks, fruit, hides, shells, pearls and other bounty of the sea like coral, dried seaweed and driftwood.
They also do trade with Suoro and Lisdan, with minimal trade with independant merchants from Ere Beghin, Speritan or Tirivahn. Their key exports are stone, glass, gold, precious metals/gems, spices and linens. Their key imports are wood, skins/hides, silver, silk, brocades, fruit, fish and oil. Muzin is the world leader in fine glass.
Value of goods to be traded is based on the individual merchants opinions of quality, need, and quantity. While these numbers and amounts can vary greatly, the port merchants (especially out of Rohan, Lakka, Kasza and Larvik) communicate between each other to organize some basic guidelines for better distribution of business.
International Relations: Edit
In general policy and law Muzin act independantly as far as their borders extend, but will not pursue a case beyond their borders. For international matters, the Muzina will meet individually with Lisdanese, Bodovian or Suoro delegates, but not with Speritanians. Opinions between the Muzina and the other races are not always reciprocal, and the Muzina are prone to hold prejudices and racism as a standard when they've seen a side of a society of which they don't approve.
Muzina ~ Suoro: The Suoro find the Muzina alluring, dangerous, at times stuffy and overly blunt, but generally pleasantly receive them. They admire Muzina tenacity, hard-work, devotion and confidence. They dislike their insistance for honesty, their stubbornness and their distrust of anything new. They fear their Racial Ability.
Muzina ~ Speritanians: The Speritanians and the Muzina are such a case of opposites that they are almost naturally disposed to contradict and oppose each other out of instinct. The Speritanians find the Muzina overly simplistic in their world view, heretics to their religion and concepts of sin and afterlife, not to mention they are far too influenced by their women. They do admire Muzina weaponswork, textiles and goldsmithing. They dislike Muzina bluntness, condescention, physical intimacy and pride. They fear the Muzina faith.
Muzina ~ Bodovians: Of all the races, the Muzina and the Bodovians get along best. The Bodovians appreciate the Muzina honesty, respect and fidelity. They are good trade partners and the Muzina have supported the Bodovians against attack or misfortune. The Bodovians like the Muzina culture and cuisine, their courage, their straight-forward approach and their adherence to peace treaties. They dislike the Muzina distrust of the new, their immediate suspicion of anything out of the ordinary, and their Tests of Pain. They fear the YathRagazi.
Muzina ~ Tirivahni: The Muzina and the Tirivahni rarely make strong contact as Speritan lies between them, but occassionally Muzin has supported Tirivahn out of principle of opposing Speritan and for this the Tirivahni are thankful to the Muzina people in general. However, almost all the Tirivahni hear of the Muzina is from Speritanian perspective and so many Tirivahni fear the Muzina or are wary of them. They like the Muzina's strong sense of honour, wrong and right, and their inherent dislike of Speritan. They dislike the Muzina incindiary nature, grudge-holding and their spicy cuisine. They fear the Muzina Racial Ability.
Muzina ~ Lisdanese: The Lisdanese and Muzina are of different worlds - the Lisdanese creatures of the sea and the Muzina of the mountains. That said, they get along well enough, happy to agree to disagree when they come together. The Lisdanese like Muzina practicality, that they don't preach their religion and their love of hard work and diligence. They dislike their refusal to allow machines and technology to replace the "old-fashioned" methods, their high tolerance for intoxication and their insistance between the balance of science and magic. They fear their heightened senses and reflexes.
Muzina ~ Humorans: Despite being neighbours, the Humorans and the Muzina have nearly no contact whatsoever. The Muzina leave the Humorans to themselves and the Humorans contact no other race willingly. They like that the Muzina never hastle them but know nothing of their nature except for the few times YathRagazi have ventured over their walls and these they loath and fear.
Muzina ~ Ere Breghin: The Muzina are one of the least judgmental of the Ere Breghin, being able to understand their reasons behind some of their emotional laws. Still, the Muzina do not trust the Ere Breghin. The Ere Breghin quite like the Muzina, finding them easy and reasonable to trade with, and are highly intrigued with their blood and their Racial Ability and have been known to kidnap some Muzina for their magical experiments. They admire the Muzina emotional reserve from their dealings with Ere Breghin, their brute strength and their ability to take a lot of pain/manna channelling. They dislike the Muzinish climate, their resistance to damage and their refusal to submit. They fear their afinity with fire.
Muzina ~ Talmontese: The Muzina and the Talmontese are aware of each other's existence in a sense that borders on folklore. They nearly never encounter each other and are rather indifferent to each other. The Talmontese have heard stories about the Muzina Racial ability and believe it to be an aberration against the planet, but considering they were born of the planet and seem to be thriving, reserve final judgment.
Because the Muzina don't have a currency that can inflate or lose value compared to the currency of other nations, Muzin remains fairly stable and are instead solely reliant on the production of the tradespeople and nature to provide crops, harvests and resources. Likewise, because there's no opportunity for real growth in Muzin's economy, most banks and investors won't spend on Muzinish enterprises. Some RnClan merchants occassionally accept Æra or Tesa from the Suoro, however the currency is usually traded to tailors or jewellers to utilize in decorations, smelting or talismans. There are a few banks in Muzin, always closely tied to registration offices for land-owning. While they do have small amounts of foreign coin for exchange, their primary purpose is safety deposit boxes and vaults for heirlooms, artefacts and other valuables. The banks make contracts with the people they hold items for and if their clients commit crime or otherwise breach their contracts, the Banks are enabled to keep part or all of the goods they maintained. Since accumulation of wealth is hampered by a lack of monetary systems and an inability to personally own land, real wealth in Muzin is judged by how much you can afford to give, with one's level of productivity and usefulness markers of social popularity.
Much of Muzin's history has been preserved in the ceremonial and popular oral traditions. The ceremonial accounts are kept by the Priests and Priestesses, and generally recount the workings of the Goddess, the interaction of the country of Muzin on the world stage, and the dictates of the passing line of Regency. The folk heroes and tales, specific deeds, battles or stories are kept in verbal poetry, troubadour's songs and sagas. Often minstrels will assimilate a collection of these impromptu lays that crop up around the countryside by theme, time period, or personages featured into a Lakot, or saga. Lakots can range in length, from as few as 4 to as many as 300 individual lays, and typically grow with time as more tales are added into them. The longest known Lakot is "Lakot liyn Zolar", a collection of tales regarding the events and actions of the life of Zolar, the youngest Muzina ever to fully succeed the entirity if the Test of Pain - a man who went on to decline the Regency and fight alongside Arethan the Dragon of the famous Twins of Prophecy. The "Lakot liyn Zolar" follows Zolar's life from his infancy, through his youth and Test of Pain and into his adulthood, trailing along side the events of the End of the World, and into his private works and final decline. Its individual lays were composed by some 327 different individuals, and over a span of nearly 900 years to its current (and final) incarnation.
Only marginally shorter is the "Lakot liyn Ralon'Tokhet" or 'the Saga of Ralon the Blind', which recounts the life and deeds of one of the Greatest Muzina folk heroes, Ralon the Blind. This more recent composition was done in a significant part by Mykætha, Ralon's lover during their own time period, and the rest was filled in afterwards by 324 minstrels in the remaining years of his life and through the 80 years following.
Other Lakot exist for various Regents, the Goddess, the Battle of the Bones, The Üaharte, foreign heroes, world events, the seasons and weather, even specific foods.