Kestrel Sumner
Citizen of the World
Joined: June 17th, 2004, 9:25 pm

July 23rd, 2008, 8:46 pm #1

Type: Republic
Head(s) of State: 12 Councilors, including: Relations with Other Countries?
  • Angkar: Soto previously had a good relationship with Angkar, based primarily off the strong trade between the two nations as well as the occasional friendship with Hemlock. However, there were those that diapproved of Hemlock's slave trade, a situation which has since changed. Following his sudden deposition, the Councillors of Soto are rather unsure about how to feel towards the new queen, Eulalia, and are slowly testing the waters to see if they are warm or cold.
  • Ashoka: The Sotoan opinion of Ashoka is somewhat confused. The strain of being forced to deal with Ashoka's refugees is much in the past, but the thought still lingers, as do doubts about Ashoka's despotic government. Silent disapproval of Orion's rule is common among the Councillors, and yet many of the Councillors hold a more favourable opinion of his High Inquisitor, Sophia, as she has been in contact with them. Thus even the occasional whispers about overthrowing the draconian government have been silenced, and a relative, if somewhat hostile, peace is kept.
  • Morrim: Opinions of Morrim range from neutral to positive. Soto maintained a hands-off policy when Morrim struggled with famine, but more Councillors are now showing the desire to see Morrim prosper. Many would not extend a selfless hand in aide, but at the very least the intent to maintain trade between the two nations remains.

Capital City: Madrid

Notable Cities:
  • Reine
  • Hohoemi
Climate: Soto operates under the four regular seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter) in which spring sees a renewal of life and winter the "death" of the deciduous trees and the hibernation of animals. Summer is generally very hot and humid, and the fall rainy, wet, and colourful, due to the colour changes tree leaves undergo. Rain and snow are common within the country depending on the particular season.
  • Seasons:
    • Spring: Trees begin to bud and the snow begins to melt, which may cause minor flooding. Although temperatures increase, snowfall early in the season is not uncommon. Low-lying plants grow while the tree cover isn't too dense.
    • Summer: Hot and humid, tree cover is dense while ground growth is restricted. Thunderstorms see the most amount of rainfall during the season, and it can be very windy. On occasion, there are flash floods that can destroy homes and farms built on flood plains.
    • Autumn: Winter's chill begins to set in as temperatures drop, and leaves begin to change colour (green to red/yellow and then brown) on deciduous trees before falling off. There is a chance of snowfall throughout the season, while rain may also be more common. It is also usually windy.
    • Winter: Covered in anywhere from a foot to four or five feet of snow, Soto is very cold. Windchills are common and can severely drop the temperature at times. Deciduous trees have no leaves while coniferous trees continue to bear needles. Slow or still bodies of water have frozen over.
Terrain: Soto is unlike any other nation within Elenlond. From its vast forests to its extravagant cities, it is both beautiful and daunting to those who are unused to large and spacious territory. To the west lies the Sedokai ocean where it is rumoured the Mianorite water goddess' desolate temple stands on a cliff overlooking the ocean, while to the east sprawls the massive Erth’netora Forest. Safely hidden within the interior is the city of Madrid, while Reine, Soto’s second major city, is located along the coast. A small island southwest of the main continent houses Hohoemi and one of Soto's most beautiful rivers, the Kaeyale.

Notable Landmarks:
  • Erth'netora Forest
  • Amaranth Falls
  • Kaeyale River
  • Navale Lake
Vegetation: The forests of Soto are comprised of a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees that cover the vast majority of the country, spreading out from the cities. Typical wildlife includes bears, moose, elk, various woodland birds, etc.

Exports: Animal bone and antlers, rafted products, furs, lumber, weapons, wine
Specialities: Lumber, production/manufacturing of imported products
Agriculture: One of Soto's chief exports is lumber. The forests of Soto are plentiful, yet the people of the country still replenish what they take from them, planting trees each time they cut them down. A few hobby farms mostly run by various guildsmen or merchants do crop up along the countryside, but there are no large-scale crop farms in Soto. Elk and moose herds do thrive in captivity, and there are many farmers who keep such animal herds to sell for their meat, antlers, or hides. These herding farms can grow into very large operations, and the business is quite lucrative to the smart herder.

Soto's history is long and bloodstained, punctuated in the early period with near-constant internecine warfare on the long road to unification, and in the later period with prolonged quarrels with its eastern neighbour, Morrim. A common theme of Sotoan military development has been reaction and adaptability. The forest that dominates the countryside provides useful materials in warfare, and a culture of hunting fosters a rugged independence of thought in its people. However, outside of the cities, its population density is low.

Soto is organised mainly around material, as opposed to landed, wealth. Private enterprise and ingenuity within the confines of guild law are praised and lauded. As such, Soto has a thriving industrial culture, and produce the finest weapons, armour and feats of engineering in all Soare. This infrastructure couples beautifully with the professionalism of its military, creating a dangerously effective fighting force.

Mercenaries are unwelcome in Soto, the ruling councillors viewing them as unreliable and disloyal. Due to the slight xenophobia against non-Guild warriors, bands of professional soldiers typically go to Morrim or Ashoka to ply their trade, or are assimilated into the Guilds that will take them.
[+] Spoiler
The geography of the southern republic is not suited to raising horses, and as such Soto's cavalry forces are exceptionally limited, though they are still used extensively for transport and draught work. Commonly, they invest in light cavalry, primarily for scouting and harassment operations. Their discipline, unit cohesion, and morale is good - the ability to focus only on their drills and training affords them a quality not found in the light cavalry of other nations. However, they lack numbers, and field no heavy cavalry whatsoever.

Due to this shortfall, Soto has been known to hire mounted mercenaries although only when absolutely necessary, such as when facing the destructive power of Morrimian knights during the Origa Wars.
[+] Spoiler
The infantry of the Sotoan forces are the pride of the Council. Its ranks primarily consist of members of Auberon's Destiny, although guilds such as Dido's Children and Revenger's Blade also maintain companies, which typically consist of scouts and rangers. The soldiers of Soto are professional, meaning they train full-time, unlike the levied troops found in the other militaries of Soare who are recruited on a limited service. Another important factor is the presence of a rigid command structure - each soldier has a definite officer to look to - soldiers to sergeants, sergeants to captains, captains to commanders, and commanders to generals. This makes them flexible in combat, able to adapt to changing situations with alacrity. Although Councillor Aniketos Hesperés has done much to reform the military, in certain regiments a culture of nepotism remains.

The Sotoan infantry are well armed and armoured with the latest innovations from Sotoan smiths. A cult of individual swordsmanship pervades in the ranks of the military, and the soldiers are constantly drilled, making them effective both in unit tactics but also on an individual basis. Their morale is rock solid, and their discipline is not in question.

Sotoans also favour the crossbow, as it is easy to train and mass produce. Due to the longer reloading time, they have also come up with a genius innovation - the pavise, a broad shield mounted on a static frame, made of thick wood. It is not wielded, rather it is planted in the ground in front of the crossbowmen, creating an artificial battlement which protects the vulnerable soldier whilst reloading. They also provide something of a shelter should the crossbowmen be engaged in melee. This innovation, as well as their heavy armour, makes the missile troops fairly unmaneuverable, however, and they cannot react quickly en masse.
[+] Spoiler
Soto is famed for its cannons, having both the infrastructure and the technical expertise to create and maintain bombards. The principle foundry is to be found in Reine, where the gunners also train. Unfortunately, Soto itself lacks the necessary resources of minerals and blackpowder and so must rely on imports from Morrim and Ashoka, limiting the amount of ammunition available.

Ballistae are also incredibly popular, possibly as an offshoot of the popularity of the crossbow. They are mounted on city walls, on ships and mobile versions are even wheeled into field encounters. Wood is so plentiful in Soto that they never lack for ammunition.
[+] Spoiler
Soto's navy is well manned and equipped, second only to the Angkarians in marine dominance, owing to the existence and efforts of Kraken's Rage. The Navy was developed heavily during the colonisation of Angkar and the subsequent Second Origa War, and has become a mainstay of Sotoan military strength.

They maintain a fleet of three-decked galleys, equipped with sails and oars - making them incredibly quick. They are equipped with rams and ballistae, and manned by crews of marines. These sailors are lightly armoured, and equipped with swords and crossbows, and are fiercely individualistic in battle. In recent years, there has been close co-operation between Kraken's Rage and Auberon's Destiny, and sometimes these marines are joined by rank-and-file soldiers for more dangerous situations. These factors combine to create a versatile force, able to do battle at range but also up close in boarding actions.

They have a strong organisation in terms of officer corps, whose promotion is entirely meritocratic. Constant skirmishing with pirates off the Sotoan coast has made this something of a necessity, unlike
the occasionally pampered members of Auberon's Destiny.

Soto offers a prime location for piracy, owing to the abundance of maritime trade, despite the dangers posed by Kraken's Rage. Pirates typically operate out of the Southwestern Island, or hidden harbours on the Sotoan coast, and will rest and resupply at Reine or Hohoemi posing as foreign merchants.
[+] Spoiler
The use of magic on the battlefield is something of a political issue in Soto, with members of Auberon's Destiny jealously guarding their military priveleges from the grasping hands of Mystic Occult. As such, mages are called up on terms of limited service rather than fully integrated. They have a diverse array of skills, though the Sotoans favour conjuration and illusion magics to confound and outmanoeuvre their opponents, letting the artillery have the set-piece glories of mass carnage.
[+] Spoiler
The Gunners of Reine

Reine is the home of a large foundry, used primarily in the manufacture of cannon. As such, the officers in charge of the city's garrison maintain a company of seasoned bombard crews, divided into loaders, spotters and fuseliers. There are twelve cannon in all, and the gunners are in constant practice, shooting out into the bay of Reine much to the concern of the local populace. Their aim is unerring, and have developed a tactic of revolving salvoes - able to wreak terrifying havoc on the battlefield or efficiently batter down a fortress gate.

The men are drawn from middle to upper class Sotoans, preferably those with a background in alchemy and mathematics and drawn from the ranks of Auberon's Destiny. Their uniform typically consists of short silk coats of pale blue, emblazoned on the right breast with a white feather. On their heads they wear woollen brimmed caps of red, with a solitary white feather tucked behind the brim. They carry daggers, but are otherwise unarmed and unarmored.

Nationality: The Sotoans are a very fair people—tall, lithe, and graceful. There are few apparent differences between the wealthy and the poor apart from the type of material their clothing is made of or the size of their purse. Most Sotoans tend to have lighter hair, ranging from blonde to a light brown, their eyes primarily ranging between hues of blue or green. There are, on the odd occasion, brown-eyed citizens, but they are few and far between, and it is often assumed that a distant relative was from one of the other countries. Most everyone is treated with respect, whether rich or poor, and there is very little crime as the penalty for unnecessary bloodshed is banishment and the subsequent end of one's career.

The coastal people are quite a bit different from those men and women of the interior. Many are dark-haired and bright-eyed, a tad more burly due to their relationship with the sea, and are significantly more war-like. Typically they become either merchants, pirates, mercenaries, but are almost always affiliated with the ocean in some way. Brawls are not uncommon among these folk, but the Council only reprimands them when it has time to. For the most part, these people are ignored and take very little part in the governing of Soto. Few are privileged enough to become Councillors, even if they are a citizen of Soto. The coastal people still abide by the guild system, even if it's of little importance to Soto as a whole.

It is said that there may be other races within the Erth’netora forest—elves, dark elves, and vampires being what the rumours tell of—although it is unknown as to whether this is true or not. Only a handful of people have claimed that they’ve come across dark shapes unlike anything they’ve ever seen before, and it has been said that most of these people were a little "mad" to begin with. Therefore, how much truth these rumours have remains to be seen.

While there are no substantial differences between the Southwestern Islanders and the Sotoan mainland citizens, the people of Hohoemi tend to be a quieter and less aggressive, likely because the town does not see a lot of foot or boat traffic, and it remains largely secluded. Because of this, however, a traveller would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't want to aid them in any way they can, the altruism runs so high. For some it can seem obnoxious, but to most it is a welcome change.

When travellers do pass through Hohoemi, they are both welcomed and regarded warily, mostly because there is an ever-present underlying fear that the Soto prooper and its powers that be hope to assimilate the island into its culture.

National Designation: Citizens of Soto are known as Sotoans.

Religion: Soto is, perhaps, one of the most religious countries in the world. It does not merely worship nature gods as the temples scattered throughout the country would imply, but all kinds of different gods, some of which are little more than deified local superstition. More often than not, a Sotoan will stop at the entrance to a door, make a quick prayer to the two headed god of doors, Jaseff, or the goddess of hospitality and homes, Hecassa, before entering—they even have a god for grain mould, named Eurus, to whom they pray when they don't want their crops or stores to mould. There are hundreds of different gods that different people will pray to, and there are festivals and feasts throughout the year to the more prominent ones—especially the nature gods, but not always—with at least one each month, if not two or three. Most Sotoan denizens enjoy the festivals because it means getting out of work for a day.

There are some gods that are highly favoured and very important to the Sotoans, such as the wise mother-goddess, Gaena, who is sovereign over the earth, or her more fickle sister, Hailis, who is sovereign over the sea and is particularly respected in Reine. Others include their brothers, such as the mischievous Khabros, otherwise known as He-Who-Walks-the-Mountaintops, or the solemn but beautiful Thaeonon, who acts as the psychopomp between life and death. These gods are also acknolwedged on a daily basis, be it by farmers or sailors, through stories and idioms. The tales especially are endlessly creative and are often told with a regional twist. In the end, it is probably the storytelling that is the most important part of the Sotoan religion: more than the burnt offerings in temples and the murmurings of priests, these are a form of worship.

Education: Literacy rates are higher in Soto than they are in any other country, but only because access to literacy is easier for most people, due to the lack of a rigid social hierarchy. There are several guilds for the tutors, teachers and mentors that teach reading, writing and other skills to people, though the extent of that teaching depends hugely on fees that must be paid to the guild. The more one pays, the more respected a tutor one will get and the more proficient one will be in either reading, writing, or both. Other skills, such as combat, stealth, magic, and clerical skills, are generally learned through the guild that one joins, and these skills may be broadened if one chooses to join other guilds.

Society: Soto is a country based solely on guilds—there is no social hierarchy, save that a citizen is either a part of a guild (or multiple guilds, as the case may be), or they're not, and almost all of Soto's citizens do, because it is seen as disgraceful if one doesn't join at least one. Those that don't are often called Outcasts. Aside from the social aspect, it is unwise to not be affiliated with a guild, because it is association with a guild that makes one able to practice and sell their profession without tax or punishment. Within these guilds, a social hierarchy exists, but one does not exist between guilds, and members are expected to follow the rules laid down by their guildmasters: if they do not, they may be removed from the guild, and never accepted into another again, depending on the circumstances. If one chooses to join multiple guilds, they must keep up their duties for all of them, and when conflicts arise between guilds, must choose the one that they are affiliated more to, which may or may not lead to expulsion from other guilds. For that very reason, most only choose one. There are several different kinds of guilds, for a variety of functions, but the best-known ones include:
  • Kraken's Rage, a seafaring guild which is the only guild to be based almost exclusively in Reine. These are the sailors of the ocean. The Kraken's Rage also directs Soto's naval force and in this matter is known to cooperate with the military guild, Auberon's Destiny.
  • Mystic Occult, a mage's guild for magic users of the highest order. Though willing to accept any type of witch or wizard and even the occasionaly magicless potion maker, the ranks within this guild tend to be based on the amount of power each member possesses.
  • A group of affiliated guilds known as The Artisans, based in Madrid, which includes minor guilds dedicated to everything from stone masonry to chandlery. Here there is an established hierarchy between the individual guilds, where the stone masons evidently rank higher than the chandlers.
  • Gold Makers United, a merchant guild with members who travel the world to buy and sell wares. This guild also employs those who collect import taxes and regulate the quality of goods within Soto. A person may report here if they find the beer of a tavern to be sour or fish from a fishmonger to be rotten and the appropriate fines will be levied. A portion of these fines goes to the treasury of the Sotoan Council.
  • Rediscoverers' Association A.K.A. Snatchers is a guild that, on paper and to the public, sells antiques and second-hand goods. However, behind this honourable and respectable front, it also doubles as a thieves' guild. Not all members of the guild are in on this conspiracy. In fact, many oblivious storeowners may receive goods that weren't donated or found in estates of the deceased, but were in fact stolen. Thus the Snatchers guild exists mostly as an underground subsection, where fences are provided for thieves to sell their wares to. Many of the most esteemed members of the Snatchers go on to become members of the underground assassin's guild, Deadly Silence.
  • Auberon's Destiny, the most prominent military guild. It hires all sorts of people, from warriors to fighters to archers, but it does not employ mages of any kind. Swordspells are normally accepted, but, for the most part, it only trains in the physical and tactical aspects of combat. The guildmaster of Auberon's Destiny is in charge of the official Sotoan army, as well as the city guard and policing forces.
  • Dido's Children, a wanderer's guild, which accepts both Sotoan citizens and non-citizens and is found all throughout Soto, with many agents and headquarters outside of the main cities. It is one of the few that allows people from outside of Soto to join it, as this practice is severely frowned upon by most guilds. This guild even extends into other countries, possessing small recruitment agencies that may help to bring people under their umbrella. Adventurers are also accepted into Dido's Children and innkeepers may associate with this guild, receiving benefits for providing reduced rates for members of Dido's Children.
  • The National Survey, an explorer's guild that, among other activities, makes maps, and surveys of the land. They focus mostly on the Erth'netora due to its mysterious nature, but they may be interested in other areas, as well. Currently, they are trying to branch out into other countries. The National Survey is rumoured to take an interest in local myth, trying to locate and investigate supposedly haunted ruins, mysterious faery mounds, or even roaming monsters of dubious existence.
  • Sickles and Ploughs, a farmer's guild specifically, agricultural guild more generally. Although it is primarily dedicated to Soto's farmers, it also may encompass some of its herders as well. This guild also employs workers, both foreigners and workers, to help farmers during harvesting time and is in charge of organizing many regional festivals.
  • The Revengers' Blade, a bounty hunters guild, where people can collaborate to entrap any criminal with a price on their head. They are well-known and respected for picking up where the officials in Auberon's Destiny fall short. Many of these officials collaborate with The Revenger's Blade to capture the worst criminals: the murderers and grand thieves. This guild has a strong reputation for morality, as evidenced by the fact that new members swear an oath to fight only those who are guilty and to never kill unless absolutely necessary.
  • The Anointed, a guild for priests, priestesses, and all other such holy people. The guild takes care of Sotoan temples, arranges religious festivals, and provides a place for the members of the Sotoan clergy, as it were, to congregate and discuss issues of religion. Headquarters for The Anointed are well known for being very welcoming places, where any person can walk in and ask around for advice on religious and moral matters.
A few other guilds exist in secret, operating underground and exploiting the occasional instance of corruption within the government to continue their existence. Some smaller guilds are often taken down by the government with great swiftness, but there are some that persist, escaping attack, such as:
  • Deadly Silence, the most prominent assassin guild in Soto. Only the best are allowed to join this guild, and there is talk that there is a rigorous test for those who are interested. It is also said that those who fail are never heard from again. Some may be funnelled in from the lesser assassin's guilds in Soto, some are even sought out by the guild. Deadly Silence is practically a legend to the unaware, a story to frighten children, and even quite a few government officials refuse to believe it exists.
  • Argos, the most despised guild in Soto. Composed entirely of the outlaws in society who have disgusted even the more underhanded and despicable people/guilds in Soto, Argos sits on the fringes of society. Argos specializes in no particular type of criminal, but accepts them all, including those on the run from the law or just realeased from jail. Unlike Deadly Silence, Argos' existence is well-known, but notoriously hard to pin down. The bases of operation are often hidden, and if anyone comes to investigate them, they are easily vacated. It is often rumoured that previous guildmasters were even otherwise respectable and upstanding members of society, but nothing is known for sure.
There are hundreds more, of course, and a guild can be composed of as few as two people if it really wants to, just so long as the guild's existence is registered with the government. However, this will not earn the guild prestige and the less prestige a guild has, the less likely its guildmaster will be voted in as a Councillor.

Most of Soto's guilds do not accept foreigners, including former Mianorites, and they must be registered at a Counting House, a number of which can be found in Madrid, a couple in Reine; there are no guilds in Hohoemi, as the Southwestern Island never adopted what the mainland had, likely due to its status as an acquisition that was never developed by Soto proper. Perhaps the most striking feature of Soto's system is that the Councillors do not choose when the country goes to war—the guilds do. If the guilds refuse to band together in order to go to war, Soto will remain neutral. Usually, if the country is invaded, the guilds will come together, but it has been known to remain neutral, even when Soto itself is being assaulted.

Hohoemi and the island on which it resides, just off the southwestern coast of Soto, do not follow the guild system. Although it is still considered a part of the country, it does not dabble in the politics of the mainland. In its own way, the island has decided on an isolationist political policy; people do still travel between Hohoemi and the other Sotoan cities, but information does not disseminate back and forth well. Both sides seem, for the most part, content with this.

In addition, Soto is governed by a council of twelve. The council appears as follows:
  • Every single one of the twelve members is a citizen of Soto.
  • Most Councillors are from Madrid and its surround, though others can become Councillor if they own land in Madrid. The loophole in this law is easily exploited, because even the tiniest possession in Madrid qualifies a person for Councillorship.
  • They are elected once a year in the autumn by the people residing within Madrid. Because Reine is comparatively small and Hohoemi does not participate in this system at all, only Madridians are allowed to cast votes.
  • Councillors may be replaced without warning once their year in office has elapsed. This means that sometimes the council remains relatively stable, while at others it changes rapidly.
  • One Councillor is appointed to one job. For example, one man is appointed to the treasury, one to military matters (which are normally minor), one to overseeing public works projects (repairing damaged houses, roads, etc.), one to foreign affairs with Ashoka, Morrim, and Angkar, etc.
  • Councillors are former guildmasters who voluntarily gave up the management of their guild in order to run for office. Once voted in, they must act neutrally towards all guilds, including the one they used to manage. If they are found to be acting in the interests of themselves or their former guild(s), they are immediately removed from office and an election is held.
  • Before the years of 4 and 5 AR, most Councillors were older men, elders, even. Very few young men ever made it onto the council, as they were seen to be revolutionaries and anarchists. This was also generally true for women, though younger women could be elected if they were persuasive. Now, especially after 5 AR, a number of young people have been elected, both men and women. It is a definite shift in Soto, and the few older council members who have managed to retain office are uneasy.
The first settled Sotoans were divided into many different groups, each led by their own leader and oftentimes unique governments. Termed kingdoms for the sake of convenience, these sovereignties were of varying sizes and strengths, some encompassing whole swaths of forest and others barely covering a few villages. They were often tied up in complex webs of alliances and enmities, sealed by marriages or split by feuds. Before the unification of Soto, there was never a moment where these kingdoms were not experiencing some sort of conflict.

Despite this, the peoples of this area still identified by a common term: Sotoans. There was no questioning what land they were a part of and while they often were unkind to each other, they were unkinder still to those outside their lands, to the foreigners and barbarians. In that, at least, there was a sense of unity. There was also an option for Soto-wide cooperation, not that it was often used. In times of necessity, a Council of Kings was convened in Madrid, a city that was deemed neutral. Madrid had no king or other such recognized leader, but instead relied on a system of direct democracy. It was common practice for the leader or wealthy members of a kingdom to bestow gifts upon the city, be it refurbishment or money for a garden, as this tended to make them seem more charitable than they might otherwise have looked.

Though spats and small conflicts were common, there was no altercation as great as the Gold War, which began in 188 BR. This war began when the already rich and powerful soverignty of Stavros found a deposit of gold ore on the border it shared with the lands of a much weaker kingdom, Pessara. As is to be expected with such a rare commodity, conflict broke out over who had possessions of the vein, and it was expected that Stavros would soon bear down upon Pessara and crush it. However, it turned out that the royal family of Pessara, the Whitsors, had managed to make a lot of friends across the Sotoan communities. They called in their various contacts and were soon engaged in a struggle with the Stavrites and their allies. Soon enough, almost all of Soto was drawn into this conflict, creating a stalemate situation that dragged on for many years.

In all this confusion and drama, the Sotoan peoples failed to notice when Morrim began to encroach upon the sovereignties of the east in the 160s. It was only when they took one of the larger kingdoms, which bordered upon Madrid, that people began to realize. A panic set in and a Council of Kings was quickly convened in 165 BR. This Council was one that changed history, for it was here that a prominent Madridean, Phaedrus Hermanos, gave a famous speech. He urged for the Sotoans to come to a peace with each other, to create a unity, "no matter how fleeting." He turned their attention to the sight in the east, where the Morrim-occupied lands of Dolopis lay: "We have been fighting for private interests, for petty gains. That is rare privilege, for if we fall under the yoke of another, if we are divided and so give into tyranny, we will be able to fight no longer. There will be no gain for this kingdom or that, but only for our enemies in the east."

Phaedrus' words had a miraculous effect on the Council of Kings. With very little arguing, they decided to solidify a peace treaty and institute the Council of Kings as a regularly meeting body of government, with Phaedrus at the head. However, conflict between the common people of the various kingdoms continued, so the Council of Kings decided to create a body that would unify their subjects as well: the Council of Guilds. As there were various guilds in every sovereignty, they decided to unify them and give them a place to have political power: the Guildhall in Madrid, where there were twelve seats. This had the added effect of increasing trade in the Sotoan lands.

However, the balance of power between these two bodies was tenuous at best. The Council of Guilds only had power over the Guilds themselves and had very little actual political power, a fact which they despised. In a movement spearheaded by the representative for the Mystic Occult, Sirravo Quintus, many members of the Council of Kings were found to be corrupt or otherwise morally dissolute. Once the various members of this Council were sufficiently defamed, that body of the government was dissolved, leaving the Council of Guilds sovereign. Its name was later changed to the Council of Twelve, as it is called today. Phaedrus Hermanos was assassinated soon after and his killer was never identified. Today, Soto's lords and other such "nobles" are descendents of the families of the ancient Kings. They have no true power, merely a reputation for their ancestry.

It was in this state that Soto faced Morrim in 160 BR. The Ashokans approached the Council of Twelve with propositions of an alliance against Morrim, for Ashoka had also experienced incursions by the Morrimian Empire. Thus they fought together in the First Origa War, named so because the conflict centred around the Ashokan lands surrounding the Origa River. This two-pronged war lasted for fifteen arduous years in which the Sotoans assisted the Ashokans in the north and in turn received help with their own struggles in the south. The Sotoans managed to push the Morrimians away from their land, leaving them with only a few coastal possessions. In 145 BR, a truce was agreed upon, for both sides were tired of fighting. The end result of this war was viewed by the Sotoans as a success: it confirmed the strength of their new unity and government.

In the years of peace that followed, the Sotoan people began to truly appreciate their new nation. They became more patriotic, more avid in the guilds and the government. When Morrimian explorers discovered and colonized a land in the south, Angkar, the Sotoans believed that they should have a piece of it as well. A fleet was assembled in Reine in 135 BR and they managed to take a few pieces of land in the western portion of Angkar, largely on the main island with a few of the surrounding islands as well. The Sotoan economy benefited heavily from this venture, for there was an influx of luxury items such as spices, coffee, and sugar. However, the Sotoans refused to take slaves, as Morrim did, for it was against their moral code.

In 127 BR, the Sotoans and Morrimians came into conflict in this new land. They both wanted to expand but had already eaten up all the space available, and so conflict began again. This time it was Soto approaching Ashoka for help. An assault on Morrim was picked up on several fronts: once again around the Origa Ravine, then along Soto's coast and even in Angkar. The Morrimian empire could not sustain this war for long, and so the Second Origa War ended in 121 BR. The collapse of the Morrimian empire was concurrent with the disturbance that was the Mianorite migration. In the warped years that followed, Soto was thrown out of Angkar by the natives and later became the country most responsible for the eradication of Mianorites, and such prejudice against them still continues today, at least amongst those people who remember their existence.

After this troubled period came the Dark Conquest, in which the Banshee King, Andromalius, staged a takeover of Morrim and then Ashoka. Soto was afraid of the army amassed on the Ashokan border, but Andromalius suddenly abdicated and fled. Relieved, the army stood down, though there was fear that that Andromalius' disappearance could just be a hoax. When no attacks came, the peace became official and Soto breathed a sigh of relief. Safe from war, Soto was suddenly the strongest of the three Soaren nations.

The major concern for the Sotoan people was the presence of refugees that had come from Ashoka during Andromalius' conquest. Some Sotoans supported their presence and wanted to help them, a lot simply didn't care. But there was a group that despised them, was paranoid about the refugees committing crimes and otherwise harming the country, even though there weren't many of them. The one who most encouraged this anti-refugee sentiment was the Councillor formerly of Auberon's Destiny, Aniketos Hesperés. He assembled a small group of fighters and raided the main refugee camp. Though some Sotoans joined the fight on the refugee side, the raid was still a success, and the refugees were dispersed. Many of the refugees, including their leader Yangin Kanruh, secretly entered Madrid and made a plea for the guild Argos to take them in. The guild agreed, though not lightly.

Since then, Soto has been relatively at peace and its people live in a wealth and freedom unavailable to many others. However, these people keep a cautious eye on the other countries; after all, prosperity can never last long.