More of a loose confederation than a ‘true’ Kingdom, Sussenia lies across the northern fringes of civilization. The land is unyielding, but sustains a hardy grass well enough, and so Senians have naturally taken to husbandry and herding. Consequently, borders are vague and often points of contention between neighboring herds and exacerbated by the pride Senians take in their product — not one animal is allowed to be branded. Though violent, protective, and prideful, these Northerners are far from the vicious Wild Men to the south and do attend the rules and regulations of The Council of the Code.
Animal husbandry is almost the exclusive industry of the nation, and is done so with incredible success. Goats and pigs are the mainstay of the herds, and are known to have the finest flavor in all Kai’ckul, even down to Senian milk and cheese — both derived from goats. Sheep exist as well, but are not herded, and freely range, and are targets of opportunity for families when their coats become full, but are utilizes almost entirely for personal and family needs. The conditions of Sussenia make farming nearly impossible, with broken, rocky land and the shallow topsoil as well as the occasional cruel cold that swings down from the Soundless Brink. Foraged berries and family gardens or importation sustain the non-meat portion of the diet. For many reasons, the population of Sussenia is sparse and slow-growing, but has resisted any threat from outside due to the lack of natural resources and by it’s natural neighbors of the reclusive Elves and Dwarves both south and West. Civilization this far north is a much cruder breed. Less cities, leaders, lawmakers and refinement and more of a controlled and self-contained chaos. Settlements and townships exist, but more as junctures between lands of different families.
Father south, where the climate is gentler, though the borders narrow between the hills of Nathrach and the Raniar Mountains, goat and pig shepards give way to incredibly fine horses, and typical Senian settlement gives way to a single city: Nikto. Due to its westerly locale and proximity to An Dun, it serves as a de-facto marketplace and trading center for the Kingdom, though it’s official capitol lies nearly upon the Indahar Mountain Range alongside the cold, desolate marshlands abutting the peaks just north of Athfort: Salusa.
King Mikel Pallin rules in Salusa from Castle Doune, the only standard-style stone and curtain wall castle in the Kingdom. Control of the Kingdom has rested with the Pallins and, eventually, Doune, since The Codification, when Senians resisted foreign rule. Greatworth was not eager to begin further conflict simply to bring other nations into line, especially one separated by the lands of Elves — soon to be claimed by the dispossessed Dwarves. It was Monty Pallin’s resistance and the division of the lands of Men that established separate kingdoms, and led quickly to Mikk separating as well.
Each Senian family claims their own lands unlike the other, more feudal states. If you are not a member of the family, you would be trespassing on their lands. Disputes are settled locally, with a swift and effective brutality that makes such conflicts rare. Should feuds or other issues become untenable, male representatives are sent to Doune for adjudication. Due to the sheer distance to Salusa, an intrinsic desire of Senians to mete out their own justice, and the laissez faire style of government, few actually make the trek except during yearly taxation, when each family sends a small portion of their earnings to King Pallin for “his protection and guidance.” Many Senians still rankle under even the tenuous control, and every so often a conflict breaks out that threatens to splinter the confederation into smaller and smaller individual ‘family states,’ yet it has always been the Pallins strength and influence that has held the fractious, individualistic people together.
Salusa and the training fields of Doune have long been known to make the hardiest and most vicious warriors in Kai’ckul, and utilizing that strength, the Pallins both created Sussenia, and have held control over it through every splintering. Each potential warrior goes through rigorous training that involves a low survival rate, and others ‘marsh out.’ Pallins attract men and women from all over the world with the potential purse that awaits a successful warrior at the end of their training — nowadays, the very money that is brought in through the taxes. The successful warriors are brought into the fold of the Pale Souls or are traded or ‘sold’ to mercenary outfits. No nation has yet directly tried to acquire any of the Pale Souls.