Gavent
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Nestled between Ohtar and Khalkha - countries that foreign armies refuse to enter - Gavent has evolved relatively free from organized outside influence. Though it suffers from raids from the Magog tribes of Khalkha and pirate raids from the Syreni islands, Gavent's enemies don't try to conquer: they simply raid and run. This pattern has left Gavent to morph into a society that is completely different from what is seen anywhere else in the world. A land of intense spirituality, reverence for ancestors and heroes of ages past, and devotion to the deadly artistry that the human body can achieve, Gavent's unique culture, location, and dynamic leads citizens of other countries to view the place as mystical, foreign, and dangerously appealing

Regional History: The people of Gavent were originally a series of scattered tribes under the Vardamir Empire (see History) that shared a similar ethnic background. While tensions between the groups were heated, they shared many traditions, languages, and cultural markers. They also had a common enemy - the Magog tribes of the steppes to the east. Eventually, the Gaventian tribes began to band together to repel the foreign people, and the various cultures gradually came together to form a rudimentary government that would provide protection against their violent neighbors to the east. This country developed isolated from the rest of the world, and their habits grew further and further from the weak cultural influences of the Vardamir Empire to morph into something completely separate from anything else in all of Aatos.

While usually safe from foreign armies, Gavent has suffered from constant internal conflicts. Gaventi culture leads to clans - large networks of families - forming political factions that constantly strive against each other, always vying for power and influence. Oftentimes these tensions result in violence in the name of a clan's ancestors. The government has been overturned many times, though it has usually remained structurally sound. Dynasties, or a series of rulers from the same family, have lasted anywhere from twelve years to four centuries. Civil wars can break out at a moment's notice, and assassination and espionage between clans often lights the fuse to a bloodbath that has happened at least once a century since the country coalesced from a series of scattered tribes.

Under its current Emperor, Gavent has opened sea trade routes with many of its neighbors across Lake Lyra. This has been a huge change for the Gaventian people, as they are only now starting to receive visitors more than occasionally, and they are beginning to feel the pressure of external forces for the first time ever. They have been quick to adapt however, and the Emperor has recently entered into negotiations with Galla, and has sent several ambassadors to discuss a potential trade alliance. Gavent still has a long way to go to become a major player on the international stage though, and many of the Gaventian people are against opening their borders, seeing it as a disgrace to the traditions of their ancestors. Another civil war seems to be looming in response to these developments, and, depending on the result, Gavent may once again retreat behind isolationist walls.

Culture: The Gaventian people are very patriarchal. Large extended families live together: the peasants in huts, and the nobles in large mansion estates. At the head of every family is the patriarch of the family. His word is law in familial matters. When introducing oneself, the family name is given first, followed by the individual's name. In all matters, your people come first, and everything else is less important. This devotion extends beyond the present, however, and into the past. Gaventian people place great importance on the sanctity of one's ancestral heritage. Large temples are dedicated to one clan's famous and illustrious ancestors. In times of difficulty, patriarchs of the families come to the temples to ask the ancient ones for assistance and guidance. Individuals often take the names of important and powerful ancestors and try to follow a similar path in life, to show devotion to one's past. Reverence to the dead is important, and defiling tombs is one of the most egregious offences a Gaventian can commit.

Additionally, the people of Gavent have great reverence for the human body, seeing it as both one of the world's greatest beauties and one of its deadliest weapons. The Martial Arts are sacrosanct in the country, and a large percentage of the population participates in martial arts to some degree, although often only as a means of relaxation. However, there are several large temples scattered around the countryside where men and women of all ages live monastic lives while immersing themselves in the traditions of martial arts, although many of them deplore violence for violence's sake alone, and they refuse to participate in the civil wars that ravage the lands, although they are often requested to participate. Martial artists who are interested in violence often participate in the hugely popular fight clubs that blanket the country. There, people bet on gladiatorial style matches held in deep pits. While some of these are quite ethical, many more are filled with drugs and underground slave rings. The fighters here are all too willing to participate in political wars so long as money changes hands.

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Geography: Gavent is known for being incredibly beautiful. Many painters travel to Gavent simply for the pleasure of painting the landscapes for their collections. The eastern steppes are flat swathes of land characterized by the silhouettes of tall hills to the south and west. These hills slowly blend into the Skyland, which dominates the central areas of Gavent. Miniature mountains with sheer cliffs rise out of the ground, leaving almost no purchase to climb up or down, and their tops are flat enough to build on. These spires are sometimes connected by rickety rope bridges, but, more often, flying pokemon are required to travel from one spire of rock to another, hence the name Skyland. Hundreds of meters below lie Skyland's earthbound half. Swathed in constant mist, this area is rarely visited, as the mist and sheer cliffs form a maze completely impenetrable to those unaccustomed to travelling its twists and turns. Those needing to pass the Skyland either use bridges or head west to avoid the area.

The trees are large and have ornate looking branches. The art of cutting tree branches is wide-ranging among both the upper and lower classes, and nearly every family has at least one ornamental tree in their home. Gavent also contains a small portion of the Forest of Ohtar, and the border is guarded jealously so the Ohtan people do not try to expand their territory into the Gaventian logging endeavors. As in many other countries, ice from the Frozen Wastes has been encroaching onto Gaventian soil, slowly consuming the steppes.

Demographics Having spent centuries in isolation and stuck between two relatively inhospitable people, the Gaventian population has remained fairly unified along ethnic lines for quite some time. While the people have more diversity than other countries give them credit for, people of Gavent are often stereotyped as having dark skin and almond shaped eyes. Recent interactions with foreign countries has led to the first generation of mixed race children, these are rare, as Gaventian parents rarely approve of foreigners unless they are very wealty.

Economy: As a country that remained functional for millenia in isolation, Gavent is perfectly capable of supporting itself. They have everything they need, and usually eat rice instead of the wheat that many western countries consume. They developed an advanced means of terracing that works well in the hilly landscape of Gavent and in the mist covered ravines of the Skyland. With their recent envoys into the world of international trade, Gavent discovered they have one commodity that they can export en mass. The Gavent are extremely potent at making the fine caterpie silk (the finest in the world), and it is in high demand throughout the western portions of Iussus. In return, the Gaventian people import foodstuffs that they cannot get themselves and valuable metals.

Politics and Government: Gavent is ruled by an Emperor, who lives in an extravagant palace filled with albino liepards and gold plated pathways. Under him are the patriarchs of the noble families, who are responsible for their respective portions of the country. They report regularly to the Emperor, and are honor bound to serve the Emperor in all ways. That being said, considerable tension exists between the differing families, as power shifts are not rare. Between periods of civil war these families remain extremely stable, each vying for power yet remaining a powerful force. During those times of violence however, many families are destroyed, and many more rise up to claim positions of influence, sometimes even claiming the throne. In recent years, tension between families has been escalating at a phenomenal rate due to the radical new policies of the current Emperor. Espionage is common, but assassination is rare, as such attempts spark a bloodbath between families. Until one clan is sure of its position, they won't make a move to kill anybody.

As for policy decisions, the laws in Gavent are quite strict. A governmental philosophy known as legalism has ruled for almost a millenia, and it is characterized by harsh punishments for seemingly menial crimes. Stealing a loaf of bread is punished by chopping off the hand of the offender and one of his family members; this is one one of the least severe punishments. The philosophy behind these practices lies in the concept that, if the drawbacks to crime are too serious, nobody will dare to break the law. So far, it has worked marvelously. Gavent has an incredibly low rate of crime - aside from the occasional attempt on the Emperor's life.

The Emperor employs a large army at all times, mostly to ensure a position of safety for himself in relation to other clan patriarchs. The government recruits through forced conscription, and these forces serve as a defense for the Emperor against clans who make a bid for power, as well as building extravagant structures at the Emperor's whim. Military terms last eight years. Depending on the Emperor in question this service is either painfully easy or extraordinarily deadly.

Pokemon: Gavent has a relatively standard outlook on pokemon. Battling is common, especially in tournaments held in the Emperor's honor and in fight clubs throughout the cities. Gavent has a pretty standard array of pokemon, with a large diversity in its ecosystem. The people do tend to revere dragon type pokemon, viewing noviern and dragonite with particular reverence. Additionally, exhibition battles between unarmed humans and pokemon are common occurrences to show the beauty of the battle.

Bug types tend to be particularly commonly used by Gaventian trainers due to their economic benefits and common distribution across Gaventina lands. Butterflly and moth pokemon are the most common pokemon seen in any trainer's team, and heracross doesn't fall terribly far behind. Some trainers have even developed teams of caterpie, using them not only as innovatively strong battle pokemon, but also to make a pretty penny while travelling.

Important People:
The Emperor: The current Emperor of Gavent comes from the Han family. He has had a long and illustrious rule, although his policies on opening international borders has sparked controversy, especially in the past few years. An old man, the Emperor will likely die within five years - either of natural causes or a knife in his back. He is currently looking for a worthy successor from among the Han family and having his massive army build a gigantic underground tomb for him in a remote portion of the Skylands. While he has good intentions, The Emperor is rather prideful and arrogant, and he places himself as highest priority in his mind. He is shrewd and calculating, rarely taking risks unless he can see a distinct benefit for himself. These are the traits that have allowed him to live so long, and he doesn't intend to give them up just yet. He also has a bit of an obsession with death, particularly of his own.

Taizan Xiang: Tiazan is a young feudal lord in the far north. Determined, stubborn, and quite cunning, Taizan has acquired quite a large amount of influence for himself and his family in the past few years. He is an avid pokemon battle, and has mastered the use of ice type pokemon. It is common knowledge that he is happy the icelands of the wastes are encroaching down upon Gavent. Some people whisper that he is encouraging it by over breeding ice type pokemon. Nobody is quite sure what the young Xiang plans for, but his rise to power hasn't show any signs of slowing down in the near future.

The Dragon: The Dragon is currently the most powerful fighter on the fight club scene. He is known as the Dragon due to his unique style of fighting with his hands as claws and his signature pokemon: a Dragon type charizard from the Syreni Islands. While his home turf is the Politoed House in Linzi, The Dragon does a fair amount of travelling. He recently achieved his 500th consecutive win and recieved a public blessing from The Emperor: an unheard of act that has practically catapulted The Dragon's status with commoners into that of a clan patriarch.

Important Areas:
Feng Hao: Sitting on Lake Lyra, Feng Hao used to be a small fishing village less than two decades ago. Then, when the Emperor removed began to interact with the outside world, the town blossomed overnight into one of Gavent's largest cities. Now Gavent's ticket to the outside world, Feng Hao is built just as much out of new money as out of wood. Ships constantly come and go from the ports here, and it is one of the most important places economically for Gavent. It also houses a large number of military barracks. However, since the city sprung up so recently and with such concentrated wealth, thieves from all over Gavent have flocked to the city in droves. Since thieves are killed when caught, the ones who have lived till now are assuredly masters of their craft.

Linzi: Sitting on the Silver River, Linzi is a pleasure city as much as anything else. Smoke filled casinos, high class houses of pleasure, and other sites of entertainment frame this city which would otherwise be known only for logging and distributing goods. It's most famous establishment is a fight club known as the Politoed House. The establishment has practically grown into a miniature town, and it draws people from all over Gavent as the most illustrious club in the country. Every year the Emperor visits for the high point of Linzi's year - a three day series of matches that go 24 hours a day, and end up crowning the strongest fighter in the country.

Zhaoge: The capital of Gavent and home of the Emperor and the Han clan, Zhaoge is a thriving city full of bustling people, craftsmen, and restaurant-shacks. The city is tightly under the Emperors thumb, and many religious ceremonies take place here involving the gods Zekrom and Reshiarm take place here. It also houses the Royal Library, the Treasury, and the largest silk farm in the world. Unlike the other two major cities of Gavent, Zhaoge is more opulent than gritty, and grandeur is the norm here.

Plots and Rumors:
Rumor has it that Taizan Xiang is looking for a competent fighter to enter in the annual tournament at the Politoed House. Nobody is sure why he's looking for so strong a warrior, but he's looking for somebody strong enough to defeat the Dragon in battle.

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