|The cold and rugged mountains of Berma.|
Their flag is that of a black dog.
While Berma had once been a part of the Reach, it had always been reserved for some of the more poorer members of the nation's society. Until the Three Brother's War, Berma supplied its southern brothers with all necessary ore and minerals from its many mountains. Being the first and only passage into Westward at the time, Berma was also subject to traffic between the east and west before the War of Unity. As such, Berma continued to suffer attacks from the barbarians into the modern age, with its natural walls as its only defense.
During the Three Brother's War in 174 AU, the former prince of the Pale Reach, Bermus Ernest rallied many of the commoners in the area to fight for more equal rights against his older brother, Hugh Ernest. Unlike his two brothers, Bermus merely sought to create a sanctuary of peace after a long war, seeing what the Great Schism had done to his father. When the Westwardens attacked during the First Barbarian Invasion in 176 AU, rather than fight and die Bermus called his people to flee to Farqual to escape any bloodshed. After the war, Bermus returned to his newly dubbed nation of Berma.
In the coming years, Berma would suffer many hardships as it struggled to find an identity in a land with very little and constant threat from barbarians. They survived another barbarian invasion just in time for Bermus to die in his sleep. As the government carried on, they looked for a place to establish themselves outside of the smaller city of Whitedoor. Their location, and fortune, came when a group of miners discovered gold in the western mountains in 280 AU. People began to rush for the lands to stake a claim and the result was the newly established capital of Goldrok in 284 AU. With a new source of finance, Berma's economy quickly turned around and made it one of the most powerful nations in the west.
They would continue to flaunt their wealth for many years, building up Goldrok and even creating the wonder known as the Gold Citadel. Unfortunately, when the Westwardens invaded again in 355 AU, Goldrok was sacked and all the treasures Berma had acquired were stolen in a matter of days. This was considered one of Berma's greatest tragedies, and their misfortune only continued over the centuries. Berma because infamous before their constant barbarians raids, resulting in a complete lack of progression in their northern territory.
In 422 AU, after four Westwarden invasions, the Narvineous family finally took the Berman throne, supplanting the previous nobles as the King. Through the guidance of the Narvineous family, Berma would endure future hardships until 621 AU.
Gunpowder and War
Through the help of an exile from the Pale Reach named Fanny Abbott, Berma created a substance known as gunpowder to help with clearing out mines. The substance was later used in a miniature revolution during the Eighth Barbarian Invasion, headed by a local legend by the name of Benny Finn who attacked the city of Goldrok. During the chaos, Arl Reed Howell was killed and Finn and three over conspirators where executed for their crimes, including supposedly Prince Jamie Narvineous. The gunpowder, however, including the invented rifles the rebels used, were acquired by the Berman army.
King Juilus Narvineous then used the gunpowder, mass-produced it, and then beat back the barbarians into Westward before requiring the aid of any outside nations in 623 AU. Then, in 625 AU, King Juilus ordered the sacking of Farqual, effectively starting the Berman War. Juilus would call himself Emperor and eventually got all the way to the Baltic Hills where there was a brutal stalemate with Avalot, whom had joined the war to stop their advance. The war only ended in 630 AU, when Princess Beatrice Dacre was offered in union to Prince Alric Dacre to form a truce.
However, twenty five years later in 655 AU, King Alric was assassinated during a masquerade party, which resulted in Emperor Juilus being the prime suspect. After some shenanigans in Avo, both Beatrice and Juilus ended up dead and Berma was forced to surrender all stores of gunpowder and rifles. Farqual was also returned as a free state. The government was in shambles and with barbarians on their doorstep, their only hope was to send Lord Argus Verze to the Court of Nobles to request aid against the threat despite the many enemies Berma had made through their over ambition. Verze did not succeed in time and Berma was completely overrun in the Ninth Barbarian Invasion.
Even though a truce was made with the Westwardens in 659 AU, Hysaph Jaric refused to return Berma ruling and instead opted to make the nation a window into the Eastern Territories for his people. Naturally, the Berman people despised this decision and spoke out against their barbarian masters. Escalation occurred until a breaking point in 670 AU when the Black Dog Revolution began after a few Zealots were killed. Through the Hysaph's massive army, and the help of an assassin named Arthur Mourne, the rebellion was squashed in 672 AU before it could spread to other territories. Now the Bermans hold a deep resentment towards Westward and the other nations that have abandoned them. This continues into the modern day.
Berma was always primarily a mining nation, with most occupations in the northern area of the country devoted to working in the many mountains the country is famous for. The Bermans cling to their lost legacy of wealth in these mountains, still remembering the grove of gold they had found in centuries pass. But the people of Berma remain hardworking and vigilant, for they must if they are to survive both the cold winters and barbarian raids in the mountains. Many people call Bermans rugged and uncut, given their gruff exteriors and need to focus on survival above all else. Most Berman men grow out long beards for the winter, with only the nobles shaving to show their status.
When dealing with foreigners, Bermans can be very friendly and hospital even providing them food when their family is in danger of starving. Bermans always want to put their best foot forward in front of a guest, ignoring the consequences of doing so until later. While Goldrok is like a typical eastern city, many of the northern villages form a sort of family-based system of living. Either no one goes hungry in the north or the entire village does, they always share their food and supplies with their neighbors.
In terms of economy, Bermans used to own the trade in rare gems and minerals until their discovery of gunpowder. Since then, they have backed out of the market and focused more on conquering their neighbors, reaching back to old grudges of abandonment to hide their guilt for doing so. Recent events, however, have left them more humbled in the wake of powerful foes.
Berma is also rather famous for its dogs.
Berma's army consists mostly of volunteers during times of crisis in the north, while the only true vestiges of soldiers exist in cities like Goldrok or Whitedoor. There are only a handful of knights in Berma and those that exist loyally serve the King and his family. Berma can provide around 5,000 soldiers at any time, including horses, while it can rely on its militia of around 20,000 men, though they are significantly less equipped. Many of the soldiers in Berma adopt black plate armor and recognized by their darker appearance. Unlike Avalot, the Berman army is under the direct control of the King of Berma.
When Goldrok was established in 284 AU, the feuding nobles of Berma quickly put aside their differences and elected a King whom could fairly and successfully manage the treasures they had acquired. Since then, all nobles swear fealty to the King of Berma, though they were allowed to own land. While they may own land and do whatever they wish in their territories, the nobles lack any real power when it comes to state matters. Only the King and his chosen ministers may decide on national laws and move pieces in Berma. However, the King himself controls the whole army, as all soldiers swear fealty to him.
Land is the most important bit of power in Berma, as more land means more mines a noble can own. In modern times, many nobles will try to bully their way into power by owning as much land as possible so that they may sell it and join the King in Goldrok. Only the most influential and richest lords may dwell in the capital city, where they can respond quickly to decisions made in the King's court. Goldrok then turns into a game of politics as these nobles battle each other for the position of ministers in the King's court. There are only five ministers at any time, and the King often defers to the majority's judgment in difficult decisions:
- War Minister- Usually a noble with combat experience and helps plan the defense of Berma.
- Coin Minister- Generally a trader from Whitedoor whose best interest is the nation's economy.
- Public Minister- The noble whose best interest in the opinion of the people. Considered an easy position by the others.
- Food Minister- In charge of food supplies during the harsh winters of Berma.
- Spy Minister- Supposed to have close ties with Farqual and controls all knowledge of Berma.
Any noble may apply for these positions of power and it is the King who elects them every year. Thus, many nobles compete with other for the King's favor, proving their skills in each respective field. This friendly competition can become a brutal miniature war between its players, though so long as it affects no one else the King is happy to let it occur.
In 625 AU, when King Juilus invaded Farqual he named himself an Emperor. Nothing changed about their governance outside the new title. Farqual conquered nobles were allowed to participate in the government until their return to a separate nation in 656 AU.
Berma generally has two major areas, both based in mountains. There is the northern area, where most of the mines are, that is snowy and cold with a large forest to the northeast called The Vale. The southern area is more rugged and populated with the nation's two largest cities, Goldrok and Whitedoor. Land is owned either through purchase from the crown or inheritance, while all other land is technically owned by the King of Berma but may be settled in by any of his subjects. The land past Goldrok to the south is generally where the cold weather dissipates, and can be very swampy from the change in altitude. The only passage for trade with outside nations exists in this area.
Farmlands can exist in all areas of Berma as the locals have developed a sort of cold weather farm method. Rather than rely on the Pineland's timber, the people tend to prefer the local Vale for their wood. Berma prefers black with their architecture, while nobles make their homes in dark gothic citadels, the commoners live in small cabins out in the wilds.