The Country of Etsey
Located in the northwestern-most corner of the known world, Etsey is an island country whose closest point to the main continent is just shy of sixty miles. That said, the nearest continental shore becomes almost immediately impassible by anything but mountain goat. Consequently the northern strip of the main continent is largely the home of pirates and refuges from both Etsey and Hain. Etsey is largely isolated, save from the country of Catal, which is accessible only by a three day sea voyage. In the distant past Hanian barbarians set up camp at the Engagement Ring and made a concerted attempt to invade the country, and at the onset of the Continental Empire, the Cloister Army did briefly invade the north (though this claim is disputed among Etsian scholars, as no material evidence has survived). However, between the arduous journey from Hain to Etsey and the relative lack of minerals or pleasant climate, in general invaders have given up before success because it simply didn’t seem worth their time.
As a result of all this, the culture has developed rather autonomously from the rest of the world, and because of its damp and sometimes downright cold climate especially in the north, Etsian society is both close-knit and protection-oriented. Though no one has attempted to invade the country for over a thousand years, strangers are generally mistrusted, especially in rural areas. Religion is less of a belief and more of a cultural habit and means of issuing moral edicts (Eat your vegetables. Don’t make the Lady weep over your rejection of her generous bounty.) and organizing festivals. Unsurprisingly, a number of social constructs have migrated into what was once a simple nature-based religion, and the true roots are not just muddy but largely obscured beyond hope of rescue.
Etsey is a patriarchal society despite having a Goddess as a deity. Men are protectors and adventurers; women are nurturers. Sex is dangerous and awkward and so is idealized. Women, as the center of necessary sexual activity, are encouraged to be the purest, holiest woman they can be, just like the Goddess. Men are encouraged to be the noble, stalwart protector of such femininity.
Naturally, as a result of such impossible ideals, depression, anxiety, superstition, paranoia, and despair are generally companions of all Etsian citizens. The constant cloud cover doesn’t help that much, either.
Etsians are fair-skinned and sunburn very easily, one of the greatest frustrations of their navy.