My maps are, alarmingly, getting more and more citified. My map of Frencha had about 52 cities and towns marked on it, and there was still plenty of room to draw little symbols for mountains and forests and the like. My map of Egeld had about 150 cities and towns marked on it, and did not have room for the little symbols. Now this map of Arandu has about 185 cities and towns on it, and most definitely does not have room for pretty symbols. Yikes! I can’t believe I came up with that many town names! At least now I’ll never have to come up with one again. Unless I need a name for a village that’s really small and wouldn’t be on the map…
Arandu, like Egeld, is in the continent of Lufitantha. It’s the biggest industrial center in the continent and also the richest country. It was originally settled by Egeldish refugees who had converted to the Schesian religion. These Egeldish Schesians were mostly poor peasants, and so after concluding from the Schesian scriptures that all people were equal, they became eager to try to change their society and improve their lot. However, they soon discovered that Egeldish landowners were quick to crack down on any peasants that tried to put any big ideas about equality into practice. Many of the Schesian peasants then turned to what was basically terrorism – attacking and kidnapping landowners, attacking major public places, and so on. Naturally, the Egeldish landowners were not very happy and cracked down even harder, and soon the Schesians had to leave the country. They traveled through Azon, gaining many converts – Azonians had been subject to the often brutal rule of Egeldish landowners many times in their history, and so they were happy to join anybody who had opposed the landowners – and then arrived in Carafilier.
At first they were welcomed, and indeed made quite a few converts. But when they started to denounce the Carafilieris’ mistreatment of the Hysleft people, they quickly fell out of favor with the ruling classes. Soon they were back to their old terrorist tactics in another effort to change society so that it would treat everyone equally. And soon the Carafilieri government had punished them enough that they decided to leave the country again. So this time they sailed to Suclapo. Here they were not even welcomed in the first place, as most Suclapois were very suspicious of anyone with a different religion. So while they were allowed to land in a city in Suclapo, they were not allowed to leave the city, and they encountered hostility everywhere. What to do?
Fortunately, if most of the Suclapois didn’t like them, a few did. One of the friendly Suclapois had gone on a merchant ship to Jacia some years back. Along the way, they had been blown off course by a storm, and ended up landing in Arandu, which was unsettled at the time. This Suclapoi sailor told the Egeldish Schesians about Arandu and suggested that perhaps the Schesians could sail there and settle there. They decided that this was a good idea, and so after a great deal of bribery, they managed to get another ship and sail to Arandu. It was still uninhabited, and so they settled there.
Today Arandu definitely retains its religious heritage. The Schesian church is extremely powerful and is very involved in the government, and the vast majority of Aranduis are practicing Schesians. However, the flavor of modern Arandui Schesianism is very different from the flavor of the original settlers’ Schesianism. Those Egeldish Schesians were big on equality, and practiced an almost Communist system of sharing resources. However, over time, as more and more Aranduis got into business and trade, the Arandui church began to define the ideal of “equality” as “everyone has the same opportunities to get into business, get a job, etc.”, not “everyone has the same amount of money, food, etc.”. If you did well in business, the church began to reason, that must be God’s reward for your obedience. So of course you should get to keep your profits. If you were poor – well, everyone has equal opportunities, so you’re either not taking those opportunities or you’re receiving God’s punishment for something. Either way, the government certainly shouldn’t intervene and give you something. And so Arandu morphed from a near-Communist state to a pretty intensely free capitalistic society.
Now, while in the new thinking, businessmen should get to keep their profits, the church still insisted that it was important to give to charity. So the government, tied up with the church as it always has been, began to institute a special kind of tax that is still in effect today. There’s no income tax, you see. But you’re required to give a percentage of your income to registered charities, depending on how rich you are. Since the church ran the charities, it soon got quite rich. In the end, the Arandui government today is actually quite small. I haven’t worked out yet exactly how it works, but I do know that it’s not that large. But the Arandui church, on the other hand, is quite the organization. Honestly, it’s really more like the government is an extension of the church.
Arandui society today, despite the founders’ ideals of equality, is quite stratified. At the top are important church leaders and government officials. Then there are the landowners and merchants. Next there’s the educated middle class that those merchants get their managers and clerks from, and that the church gets its priests and administrators from. Then there are the skilled laborers, and then the unskilled laborers. Near the bottom of the totem pole you have independent farmers, most of whom live in southern Arandu, south of the Naa Jaisil and the Śasa Shaes (two rivers I have on the map). And finally, at the very bottom are the farm workers who work on land they don’t own, most of whom live and work on the rice farms in northern Arandu. Many of these northern farm workers are part Suclapoi or Väolki (e.g. from Katon Ko Väolk, or, as it’s labeled on the map, Catoon Co Falaca), which is part of why Arandui landowners don’t have a big problem with treating them badly. While they are paid, they are very restricted in where they can travel and what they can do, and they lead pretty miserable lives.
Right now Arandu is pretty stable, and indeed is the most advanced and successful Lufitanthan country at the moment. But I have plans for Arandu to get into a civil war very soon, mostly fueled by the poor classes’ dissatisfaction with the church and with their lot in life. So you might see some articles about Arandu’s civil war soon; in particular, I’m thinking to write some newspaper articles about the incident that sparked the civil war.
Now that I’ve given a bit (okay, fine, quite a lot) of an introduction to Arandu, what do you say we actually look at the map? I’ve colored it more or less according to what people use the land for there. So the dark green areas are rice-farming areas where those unfortunate farm workers live; the light green areas are predominantly made up of independently owned farms; the grey areas are mostly industrial; the red areas have a lot of industry and trade going on; and the brown areas are mountains, where there’s a bit of everything except rice farming. All the labels for cities, towns, rivers, lakes, etc. are in Arandui, except the map key in the box. As always, my signature is whited out, and you can click on the image to see it larger.
If you’re curious about how to pronounce all those names, here’s a quick guide. Stress is always on the second-to-last syllable, unless there’s a vowel marked with an accent (e.g. á or é), in which case the syllable with the accented vowel is stressed. “dy” and “ty” are a bit like G and K, but pronounced further forward in the mouth, in the same place where you pronounce Y (they’re palatal). “đ” is pronounced like D, but with the fleshy middle part of your tongue instead of the tip (it’s laminal). “zh” is a voiced “sh” sound. “ź” and “ś” are pronounced like Z and S, but again, with the middle part of your tongue instead of the tip. “zy” and “sy” are like Z and S but in that same place where “dy”, “ty” and Y are pronounced. “ń” is like N but with the middle part of your tongue. “ny” is like N but in the same place as “dy”, “ty”, “zy”, “sy” and Y. “j” is pronounced like Y. “gh” is kind of like Y, but in the place where you pronounce G and K; it’s a velar approximant. “e” is always pronounced “ay”. “i” is always pronounced “ee”. “o” is always pronounced “oh”. “u” is always pronounced “oo”. And finally, “c” is always pronounced like a K, never like an S.