Primary language: Nessinian
Primary religions: Church of the Divine Balance in the north, Church of the Four to the south
Government: Monarchy, coming from a class of nobility that holds all of the political power in Nessiny and much, though not all of the economic power. The noble families are prone to forming secret alliances and pushing one another out of influence when new rulers come to power. Currently there are five noble clans: Pirci, Cetara (currently in power), Grespinali, Balieri and Sinaro.
Geography: A warm, dry, partially mountainous country that borders Achusa to the northwest and the ocean on all other sides. Its climate allows for plentiful farming in the central region, between the two largest cities and west of its largest port.
Cities and regions of note
Located toward the north of the country in the foothills of the mountains, Murio is Nessiny’s cultural seat. It is a wealthy city with a thriving culture of art and theater, and a minor port on its western shore that is used more for passenger ships than cargo. It is also the home of the influential Academy of the Divine Balance, which trains energy healers, Divine Balance priests, and swordmasters (shrine guardians). At least a few of the noble families have their seats of power in Murio at any time, and along with the influence of the Church and its Academy, balance out the official powers in the capital city. Due to several factors including the Academy’s presence and the region’s quick embrace of Furonian missionaries and traders further back in history, Murio still has a more diverse populace than many other areas of Nessiny, including a large population with Furonian ancestry.
Nessiny’s capital city, located at the southern end of the country. It is a dense walled city, divided into compact neighborhoods dotted with community gardens. Over the most recent monarch’s rule, it has evolved into something of a fortress city, with the royal guard making up a sizeable percentage of the citizenry. The Church of the Four has taken root here and in the surrounding regions more than in the north, after missionary outreach from Yanwei generations ago.
Nessinian culture places great meaning on the solstices and equinoxes, which form the primary cultural/secular holidays.
The tradition in Nessiny is for all birthdays to be rounded off to the nearest festival, so that everyone with a birthday near the vernal equinox celebrates it during the spring festival, and so on. The traditional gifts for a birthday are flowers/bouquets (usually given by peers or partners) and money (usually given by elders).
The holidays often inform school breaks, including at the Academy of the Divine Balance. There, the school year runs in terms bookended by the holidays, and the school year begins just after the spring festival.
Spring Festival: Celebrated for a week surrounding the vernal equinox, approx. March 18-24.
The spring festival overlaps with the Feast of Eytra, and marks the start of the calendar year. Garlands of real or paper flowers are common decorations, and shrines may hold banquets, bonfires and dances.
Summer Festival/Midsummer: Celebrated for a week surrounding the summer solstice, approx. June 18-24.
The summer festival often has romantic/courting overtones, and proposals and marriages are more commonly associated with this festival than the others. Bonfires and dances are also common at this festival, though they often run longer, noisier and more wine-soaked than the spring festival’s.
Fall Festival: Celebrated for a week surrounding the autumnal equinox, approx. September 18-24.
The fall festival represents hearth and family and takes the shape of a harvest festival, though the growing season in most of Nessiny runs year-round. Families gather for feasts and enjoy the year’s bounty.
Winter Festival/Midwinter: Celebrated for a week surrounding the winter solstice, approx. December 18-24.
Borrowing from the Golden Anniversary, the feast of Tufar, the winter festival is a little more somber and contemplative than the others. It’s customary to leave offerings at shrines in the memory of departed loved ones. This is also combined with a winter gathering/party, usually after the family duties have been discharged.