Serrin
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The spirit of Arceus took hold of the hearts and souls of the people of Serrin two hundred years ago, and this religious fervor remains the driving force behind the nation. The religion of Serrin is officially called the Monotheistic Church of Arceus, and it is the most powerful force in the nation. Serrin practices something called Civil Theology, which eliminates any separation between church and state. Religion permeates almost every part of the people's lives. Of course, this makes Serrrin rather uncomfortable for those who do not follow the church of Arceus, and only the church of Arceus.

Regional History: Originally, Serrin was not a Theocracy, but a monarchy. A ruling family held sway, and Serrin survived through the many wars and trials of the world. Then, an Aura User named Tira Galfiar received a vision from Arceus that a darkness was going to descend upon the land. Tira marshaled the forces of Serrin against the legendary and the army of corrupted pokemon that followed it. Just when she was about to be struck down by the menace, Arceus appeared, and launched itself into combat. The battle seemed to last forever, causing great damage to the surrounding countryside. Eventually, when both gods were weakened to the point of near death, a miraculous thing happened. Tira's aura was sucked out of her, and wrapped itself around the two legendaries, encasing them inside a shell of pure energy that neither of them possesed the skill to break. Without their leader, the army of corrupted dark type pokemon spread into the countryside. The only remnants of the fight were a pitted landscape, the petrified form of Tira, and a giant sphere, floating in place, with the light and the dark merging and separating, in constant flux. This was known as the Beacon, and it became the symbol for the warriors of Serrin.

From that point on, Serrin quickly developed. A temple was built around the Beacon, protecting it from outside interference. A powerful clergy quickly developed, and the people began to flock to this new religion whose god had saved them from a terrible fate. As nobles began proclaiming loyalty to the new religion, the clergy took over the government, with the monarchy left only as a figurehead. Serrin continued on as a country, engaging in conflicts with its neighbors, and rooting out any pockets of corruption left over from the invasion. Recently, they have been increasing their military strength in order to counter what they see as the inevitable invasion from the Achaemian Empire.

Culture: Almost 7/8 of the Serrin population are active members in the Church of Arceus, which is encouraged by the religion's involvement in the government. It dominates many parts of society, and religion is tied to everyday life. The people of Serrin pray three times each day, generally before meals, thanking their god for allowing them to live in relative safety while he holds off the evil spirit inside the Beacon. There are mandatory holidays eighteen times each year where businesses close for major celebrations of faith. Churches, cathedrals, and monasteries are all common sights in every town and city. Even in country hamlets, the nicest building in town is the center of religion.

Not everybody participates in Church sponsored activities however, and those who don't can sometimes have miserable lives. Those who don't make a fuss about worshiping the common pantheon or having a patron other than Arceus are usually fine as long as they don't bring up anything regarding their religion in conversation. They simply go on with their lives without participating in the celebrations of faith around them. When it becomes known that a person is an active nonbeliever though, individuals are often socially and professionally ostracized. While Serrin is a place with a strong religious community, it also has an even stronger intolerance of religions other than that of Arceus. While not all Serrin people believe in this practice - and refuse to participate in it - enough do to make life difficult for anybody who doesn't subscribe to the commonly held beliefs.

Festivals and Carnivals are common components of Serrin culture. The people enjoy celebrating, and do so at least once a month during religious festivities. However, travelling troupes of performers are not terribly uncommon, and when they visit a hamlet they become the life and soul of the village. Performances are attended by nearly everybody, as they are a way to share a cultural heritage and break up the monotony of everyday life which, for most residents of Serrin, involves farming, sewing, and cooking. They aren't unhappy with their places in life, but they will never say no to a break when a performer visits their quaint village.

Geography: Serrin is mostly made up of light forestation and flatlands. Farmland is both common and high quality which allows wheat farming to support most of the people in Serrin. A quality set of road networks maintained by the government connects hamlets, towns, and cities to support a nearly self-sustaining agricultural system. Underground caverns are also quite common, and are known as the Underland. The Underland is a nest for corrupted pokemon that are drawn to the area by the dark emanations from the Beacon.

In the far eastern portion of the country lies a thick forest filled with mist and an uncounted number of entrances to the Underland, and it is known as the Shadukar. This forest is made up of tall trees packed so closely together that, even during the height of the day, the sun cannot shine light into the midst of the forest. The Shadukar is a common hunting ground for corrupted pokemon, and it has the most concentrated population of corruption in all of Aatos. The church of Serrin commonly sends teams of exorcists armed to the teeth in order to root out as many abominations as they can.

The Tibris and Europa Rivers run south from Lake Lyra into the Achaemean Empire. These give Serrin easy trade routes south, but also gives the Achaemean Empire an easy route of attack. Thankfully, the Achaemean Empire has shown little interest in the past about pursuing this religioius nation, and the benefits of the trade connections far outweigh the risks. The river also has a large amount of minstrels that travel up and down the river, stopping in towns along the way, to make a bit of coin by putting on performances and telling the stories of the Great and Powerful Arceus.

Demographics The people of Serrin do have some diversity, though it is quite limited. Most of the inhabitants in Serrin are white, and the country makes no effort to make Serrin an appealing place for people to immigrate into. A major reason for this trend is the religious intolerance, which people of other beliefs would never enter into if given the choice otherwise. As will nearly all other aspects of the country, Serrin's demographic diversity is largely a product of the Church's influence throughout the country. Spatially, the people are distributed throughout the land fairly evenly. There are few large cities, with most places being small towns or hamlets. These hamlets are surrounded by farming communities that use the hamlets as their hometown.

Economy: Serrin does its best to be self sustaining, and they have succeeded for the most part. Agriculturally, they have no need to trade with other countries, as their fields are fertile and their livestock is plentiful. In fact, they often export food to other countries to make a profit. The large amount of ponds, lakes, as well as their position on Lake Lyra makes fishing a trade practiced throughout the realm, and it supplements their meals of wheat and barley. However, many of the richer residents of Serrin, including high ranking church officials, have a taste for gourmet food, and spices from the Achaemian Empire and Chandra are quite popular in these markets. Unfortunately, they have little access to natural metals due to the sparse distribution of precious metals in their ground and the difficulty of mining in the Underland where corrupt pokemon prowl. They need to resort to importing nearly all of their metal ore, which makes these goods more expensive than in other places. Additionally, Serrin's location on the edge of Lake Lyra makes interaction with other forces impossible as trade ships travel through their waters to reach other locales.

Politics and Government: The government of Serrin is a complete theocracy. The Church of Arceus is a well loved entity by the majority of the populace, and the current government is quite popular. Power in the Church is split between the Light of the Beacon - a clergy member chosen by Arceus to lead the religion, and the Council of Bishops. A large branch of friars also holds some power, though they generally refuse to exercise the authority they might have. The Knights of the Beacon are the Church's personal military, though there is a general army and navy. The people have no say in who leads them, but this does not particularly bother them, because they believe their leaders to be divinely ordained by Arceus, and they have complete faith in the Light, who is publicly endorsed by Arceus upon their ascension to the position.

There are two types of worshipers in Serrin. The majority are relatively tolerant. They preach the lessons of Arceus and do their best to help people regardless of belief. The vocal minority wants to convert the world to the monotheistic Church of Arceus in Serrin. They even advocate for the invasion of other countries to spread their message. Not everybody in the Church is good, and the internal politics of the Church are filled with power struggles.

Pokemon: Serrin has the highest rate of Corrupted pokemon in the world with the largest concentration of them in the Shadukar and Underland. They are incredibly common compared to other parts of Iussus, and the Church has spent large amounts of time and energy trying to remove them from the landscape. However, these pokemon are not so easily eradicated, and they continue to thrive as they spread their disease to other pokemon. Aside from corruption, pokemon are generally used as a part of everyday life and pets. Battling isn't a particularly common pastime in Serrin, but it isn't rare either. It is generally regarded as a rather childish activity unless you are using your skills in service to the church. The Serrin people tend to see grass and fairy type pokemon as pure and good, and these types are favorites among the Serrin people. Many citizens will keep grass type pokemon as pets, caring for them and playing with them. Maintaining living gardens is a common pastime among housewives, and they compete to see which garden looks the best.

Important People:
Sethra Serina: The current Queen of the royal family, Sethra is infuriated with her position in society. She believes that she should be the ruler of Serrin, and that the Church has stolen her birthright from her. Unfortunately, she has very little support among the people, most of whom support the Church of Arceus. She has been relegated to a figurehead of the past regime that is required to publicly spout support for a group that she blames for her life's situation. Sethra isn't stupid however, and won't risk her own neck to get her throne back. She is waiting, always waiting for a chance to get back her family's ancestral position.

Johanna Serina: Johanna is Sethra's younger sister, thus also a member of Serrin's 'royal family.' Like her sister, Sethra resents the Church of Arceus for keeping her from a life of lavish luxury, but since she is not the current leader of the family or the heir to the 'throne,' Johanna has exponentially more freedom than her older sister. Like Sethra, Johanna lives in Iera, where she has made a habit of becoming the world's leading scholar of corrupted pokemon and Corruption Magic. She doesn't advertise this fact, and only a few people, namely other scholars and a few trusted friars, are privy to the knowledge of her area of study. If she were to be found out, the Ring of Shadows would have a keen interest in either capturing her or killing her.

Janine Moris: The current Light of Arceus, Janine is a very powerful woman. At sixteen years old, she has matured extremely quickly because of her position and has developed an aura of pure charisma that forces others to respect her and her title. She received the title three years ago when the last Light died and a sign appeared on her hand marking her as the next Light. She is currently struggling with internal forces who are seeking to gain more control during the power shift, namely the Council of Bishops and the Knights of the Beacon, both of which are seeking more influence. Since she is sorting out these issues, she has had little time to turn her attention to the growing problem of Corrupted Pokemon, a fact that her political enemies have been quick to attack.

Important Areas:
Rivenkeep: The capital of Serrin and home of the great Cathedral of the Beacon, Rivenkeep developed around the site where Arceus and the demon god clashed in their death match. The city is almost 100% religious, and the Temple Guards roam the city, ensuring that the peace is kept in this most holy of cities. It is the site of both Janine Morris, who runs the Cathedral and the rest of the country, and serves as a meeting place for the Council of Bishops, which represents individual districts of the country. It is by far the largest city in the country, with only Iera's former grandeur even coming close to the money that flows through this religious capital.

Iera: The former capital of Serrin and home of the 'Royal Family,' Iera is a shell of its former self. Though still a thriving city, all administrative jobs have left with the shift in government. It has been demoted into a port city, and the old castle has begun to fall into disarray. Almost all of the noble district that housed noble's summer homes have fallen into disrepair, becoming nothing more than majestic ruins. Instead, a series of docks, wharfs, and warehouses currently keeps the city running. However, the city still has some of its old haunts. A library hidden in the now abandoned noble district houses an extensive collection of books, and is used by scholars from all over the country, and sometimes the world. This library serves as Johanna's study location of choice.

Plots and Rumors:
Cults to the great evil have been becoming more and more common in the countryside. The Church is looking for skilled warriors to root out these cults. They prefer warriors from inside the church, but they aren't particularly picky. Cult-hunters make good money, and it could be a great way for struggling adventurers to make some quick cash while getting in the good books of the country's administration.

Sethra is currently testing the waters to see if she is able to steal power back from the Church. Her efforts have been mostly met with frustration, though there have been rumors that she has recently reached out to the Acheamian Empire. While the Church has been unable to verify this, they are certainly keeping a close eye on the would be usurper, though she is careful to give them no reason to arrest her.

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