From Dragon Eye Atlas
|Official Name||United Provinces of Sila|
|Dominant religion||Faith of Ikoyo|
Sila is a union of several provinces, duchies and smaller realms that were founded along the southern coast over the past millenium. During The Century of War, these realms formed an alliance to weather the storm and have stuck together ever since. The union is not always perfect, however. Some of the Sila realms are more friendly to each other than others, and there have been several wars between some of them, though they are commonly on a minor scale and would qualify as little more than border skirmishes in the Empire or other large realms.
Sila has a unique government in that the individual rulers come together twice a year to discuss matters and set policy. One meeting, in spring, is attended by the rulers of each province in person. The second one, in summer, is a conference of advisors and diplomats and discusses the details of the general policies set by the rulers.
Over the decades, this process as harmonized the provinces and their individual laws and customs, but on paper each of them retains full autonomy. It has also lead to a basic set of rights for all citizens of Sila, even the poorest and the slaves.
Speaking of slaves, Sila is one of the realms where slavery is legal and slaves are considered property of their owners. But slaves can own property by themselves and there are some slaves who have made it far despite never becoming free. Slavery can be a punishment for serious crimes or debt, and can be time-limited depending on the severity of crime or amount of debt. Children born to slaves are also slaves.
Most of Sila is fairly flat, with the land rarely rising more than 300m above sea level. The exception is the very west of Miniasia and the small shard left of Kydonticia, which has more pronounced hills rising up to over 600m.
Most of Sila is covered by temperate deciduous forests, with temperate rain forests along the major rivers and coast. Towards the south, where average temperatures rise towards a yearly average of 20°C, forests turn into tropical forests, again with rain forests along the larger rivers and at the coast. Along the coast and rivers are also many areas where the forest gives way to wetlands, swamps and marshes. There are almost no larger open grassland areas throughout Sila.
Temperatures in Sila are warm throughout the year, with yearly average temperatures between 15°C in the north and 20°C in the south. The climate is mild, with only the northern provinces experiencing freezing temperatures and only for the coldest month in winter. In the central parts of Sila, snowfalls occur only once or twice in a decade, and in the southern provinces things such as snow and ice are exceedingly rare.
Near the coast, the weather is rainy all year round, with regular rainfalls and occasional thunderstorms. Towards the interior, the weather becomes more and more dry, but the land stays lush thanks to the many rivers flowing from the Hanzatia mountains towards the ocean.
Around Guera, much of the land still shows clearly visible signs of Elven Agriculture and counts as some of the most fertile areas in Sila, being exceptionally lush and plentiful with fruit trees and bushes, mushrooms and wildlife.
People within Sila range from poor backwater farming communities, especially in the controlled provinces, to wealthy traders and other citizens in the capitals of the various states. Wealth is very unevenly distributed throughout the lands here.
About 20% of the population are slaves, two-thirds of them permanently and the others temporarily (criminals, debtors, etc.) but many of the peasants in controlled provinces live not much better and are only nominally free - as serfs they are not allowed to leave their villages for more than three days without permission by an official, and in some remote regions those officials live more than three days on foot away and come to visit - in order to check, speak justice and collect taxes - only two or three times a year.
In and around the capitals, a relatively prosperous middle class has begun to emerge, with traders, craftsmen and court officials enjoying the fruits of many years of relative peace. Slave ownership is relatively high among this class, and many of those slaves are servants and housekeepers, often kept in better living conditions than many of the free peasants in the more poor rural districts. In the rural regions, slaves are owned mostly as a workforce and are commonly beaten, working hard and long every day. This is where most slaves who were enslaved as prisoners of war during conquests are sent.
In the regions around Guera, a considerable elven minority lives in many places, with a few villages being split almost half elven/human. This thins out quickly, however, and in the provinces further away, elves are as rare as everywhere else in the world. The elves found here are Wild Elves.
With no mountains worth speaking off, dwarves can be found mostly in the coastal trading cities as craftsmen, together with Gnomes. In the interior, both of these races are very rarely seen.
This page is still incomplete and missing content or details that are planned, but have not been added yet.
Sila is the only human realm that knows how to construct carvel-built ships.
Carvel-built ships are lighter and faster than the older and more common clinker-built ships. They require more advanced woodworking techniques, as the planks must be fitted exactly and the gaps between them must be sealed properly. Only the Ice Elves have also mastered this technique, making the shipwrights of Phaies in Cyrinia the only humans in possession of this knowledge. The guild of shipwrights guards it well and has avoided conflicts over their secrecy by freely taking orders from anyone within Sila, slowly turning the realm into a formidable naval power. Some merchants from Fonticia have also been granted sales of this new type of ship hull, but less than 20 ships of this type have been traded outside Sila.
For about five centuries, the area of today's Sila and the surrounding lands were made up of several dozen independent, often very small, realms with a plethora of colourful rulers and near constant small-scale war.
Over time, some of these rulers managed to consolidate their domains and add their neighbours via conquest. However, the feudal system of the modern or even pre-empire Vericum area or Njombia or most of the other realms on Auseka never took off in this region. Instead of advancing into kings and parcelling out their lands as fiefs to vassals, Silaen lords, once their conquests went beyond the area they could personally rule over, added more lands as controlled lands. These lands were governed by administrators instead of vassals, and their positions where offices that would be granted and taken, not inherited. When another ruling family found itself conquered, they would be enslaved or slaughtered, not bend the knee and become bannermen and small lords.
By the start of The Century of War, Sila had been reduced to about 30 realms in this way. As the wars of that age intensified, several ancient noble families were conquered and wiped out, often down to all records and memories of their existence. For example, we have no records of who took the south-western parts of Ibawak from the elves of Guera, even though evidence and local tales suggests it was less than two centuries ago. The Siege of Deracussa in 69 BV was a turning point for Sila. All around it, larger realms had either formed or gone to war and while other battles before had demonstrated that the smaller realms would not hold against their neighbour's might, Deracussa proved that it meant the end of lineages, cities and life as everyone knew it.
In 67 BV and all through the following five years, the remaining 16 noble houses of the region met in a series of conferences and negotiations. Cease fires were signed and alliances formed and future discussed. In the end, a military alliance between 12 of the 16 houses was formed. The provinces of Phacantia, Geleagas and Enexadne remained at the edge of this proto-alliance and later joined Vericum instead of Sila. The ruling house of Kydonticia was wiped out, much of its land lost to Miniasia and Tasen (which was largely conquered by pre-Empire Olmadmun afterwards).
For the other regions, as The Century of War raged around them, the various alliances formed became both more needed and more permanent, and one-by-one merged into what finally came to be known as the United Provinces of Sila.
The area remains a coalition of realms to this day, with no overlord or king.