The Blade of the Raven Queen
Land of Chivalry and Conspiracy
Zingara is a land torn apart and ruined by civil war. Historically a king ruled the land out of Kordava, but the elegant, bejeweled and hosed princelings and nobles, who usually fought petty battles among themselves and Argos, rose up and destroyed themselves and their noble kingdom in flame and blood. The refined swordsmanship of the Zingarans unfortunately turned inwards. The kingdom is faltering, unable to support itself – fertile fields are outnumbered by those left salted, burned farmhouses dot the landscape and far too many of the country’s castles and armies have been crushed. The ghouls of the central region have begun to prowl, even toward the north and the Argossean border.
Under a dazzlingly complex political system, dukes and counts rule fiefs in the name of the King in Kordava, although in most cases that fealty was, at best, nominal and somewhat confusing. The nobles of Zingara are a proud, individualistic race, not given to subservience. They rebelled both openly and secretly. This continual backstabbing, political maneuvering and social ladder-climbing under weak kings who were more concerned about the state of Argos’ shipping brought about the final dissolution of Zingara as a bastion of civilization and good breeding. Today, Zingara is a faltering anarchy. Once the proud possessor of a major shipping industry, Zingara is an exotic land existing between Zamora to the south and Argos to the north. Although often times thought of merely as Argos’ maritime rival, Zingara has in the past been a land of agriculture and elegance.
Manners and pleasures in Zingara were elements of their sophistication. Ballet troupes learned the finest dances in the schools and the fine art of fencing was taught to all noblemen. Waving scented handkerchiefs, the nobility of Zingara plotted and conspired against fellow nobles even as they talk elegantly of philosophy and civility.
There is a movement in Zingara to move away from the old feudal system, which clearly has failed, to a republic. The mountains of this proud land are mined for tin, a rare commodity in any land, but readily found here. Their once great plantations yielded crops of grapes, sugar, tobacco and grain, and serfs were brought in to work the vast plantations of southern Zingara, labouring under the whips of cruel slave-masters hungry for wealth and prestige. From the grapes, highly regarded Zingaran wines were once distilled. In addition to the agricultural products produced in the fertile southlands, leather was another staple product from the Zingarans.
But no more. Most of those fields are gone, burnt by the civil wars that have raged from one end of Zingara to the other. Only the leather industry continues to proceed smoothly.
In its prime, Zingaran swordsmanship was taught in both formal fencing-schools as well as in the deadly backstreets of every city, though many Zingarans learn only the civilian Rapier, rather than the more military-oriented broadsword. The Zingarans developed one of the most sophisticated forms of elite fencing ever developed – a sheer art form to behold. Many of these fencing schools may still survive and those that have burned are slowly being rebuilt. Many feel these schools, which also taught principles of chivalry, are essential to the rebuilding of Zingara, to keep it from sliding backwards into barbarism.
Zingarans try to dress well. Trunk hose and doublets of silk with puffed and slit sleeves are common for the men. Cloaks hang from their shoulders. Boots of the finest Kordavan leather adorn their feet. Soldiers dress in steel and satin. Armour and garments are always ornate and made of the best material that can be afforded, stolen or made. Thin black mustaches are also common. Royal soldiers dress in burgundy and gold.
Zingara desires no colonies, desires no new lands. They are a civilized people and they have what they have. Trying to lord over lands that are possibly hostile to invaders is a stress Zingara chooses not to bear. Instead, they seek commercial domination of the sea for their growth and wealth and continued independence.
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