To the far west of the Empire is the land of Quamiln. The people there are called Eaqu, and they are smaller and darker than most imperials, though not so dark as the Sahmu. Their land is far off and rarely visited except by the bravest traders. What reports have come back speak of a fantastic land.
Much of the Quamiln that the merchant vessels see is covered in high mountains and snowy plains. This characterization is accurate of most of the eastern shore where Imperial ships make berth. The land is much more diverse, however, and sports hot springs, brisk highlands and dense evergreen forests. The entire island nation is characterized by it’s place as the top most peaks of an sub-oceanic mountain range; namely, as a land of extremes.
Religion is key to the Eaqu, as is the sovereignty of the religious. Although wealthy families typically send their children either to court or to temple, politics and religion are never mixed. The two are taken with the peasant life to make a triune society, the balance of which is paramount to Eaqu philosophy and morality. The protection of the small folk is foremost to the religious, as supporting the state is to the peasant, as defending and supplying the temples is to the politicians. There are still corrupt politicians, crooked priests and scheming peasants, but as a collection of many small, tight-knit communities the ideal generally holds across the country.
Isolated as they are, war is rare for the Eaqu. The have a rich martial tradition, based mostly on weapons crafted by honing farming instruments (staves, spears, rakes, scythes). They have little land for grazing animals, and rely on agriculture to supply their food. The year is spent growing and stockpiling foodstuffs in preparation for harsh winters. The spring brings monsoons in the costal lowlands, good constant rain in the highlands and light snow in the mountainous regions. In the summer and fall, temperatures are mild and daylight abundant. Just before the shortening of the days, the Eaqu will gather their last harvest and hunker down. Fires burn all through the dark winter as villagers will eat through their grown food, before slaughtering the older goats and rams.
The rare visitor to Eaqu is struck by their obsession with vertical architecture. Perhaps inspired by the ubiquitous mountains (or perhaps pitched roofs keep the snow off), Quamiln cities are dominated by spiraling steeples, high wooden towers of many levels and always the gold-capped spires of the great temples. A typical house often appears as nothing more than a high roof sticking out of the ground like a cone – the rest of the house being built below ground to conserve heat. The combination of limited landmass, cold winters and limited food, have left the Eaqu with an outlook that favors strong family ties, community responsibility and a rich tradition of valuing food and drink (from toasts and rituals of spirits to blessings and sharing patterns of food).