A small island nation, seemingly insignificant when seen on a map, yet it has been the center of almost every policy decision of either the Kingdom of Zhûrasca or the Empire for 1000 years. The country itself is craggy: a place of misty moors and rolling hills, sharp cliffs that fall off into turbulent waters, and forests so thick no sunlight touches the floor.
It was here, among the rocks and hills that Eagori was first found. The Ustjubaji themselves hold that the god / goddess Tsre was destroyed defending the World Plane from the Forces of Chaos. In using his / her own body as a shield, the world was saved but ultimately at the cost of Tsre’s life. Thus the Stone is the physical remains of a God and treated with incredible care. The Ustujubaji have always kept secret the process for mining and refining the Stone and hold a trove of traditional rites and sacraments governing its use. These traditions look more like Witch covens than any kind of organized church. Ustjubai is ruled by a council of 9 tribal leaders. They rarely meet – usually only for far reaching trade policy and war council. In general, the Ustjubai are a simple, rural people.
Physically the Ustjubaji favor blond or auburn hair. Their eyes tend to green or yellow, occasionally venturing into pink. They are usually shorter and slimmer than their Imperial and Zhûrascan counterparts. Dressed in leather vests, wool shirts and cropped pants, they are pedestrians, wont to walk their land and plow their fields.
The Ustjubaji keep a small militia to defend their ports from raiders. More impressive is their vast merchant fleet. For such a small island, it is impressive sheer number of ships they boast. Each captain is unofficially charged with defending Ustjubai and her interests. Saying the Ustjubai have national pride is an understatement. They credit this pride to the fact that they have never once been occupied.
The truth is that twice in the past, there has been a significant attempt to take the island and secure the Stone. The first attempt was by the Empire in 446 AI. The Emperor at the time, Constant IV, became outraged at the trickle of Runestone coming in to the Empire and, collecting around him a cadre of Wodin, he was convinced to make a vie for the island. When his fleets arrived, the sea rose up, his ships were thrown about and several reportedly burst into sudden supernatural flame. After loosing dozens of ships to this display of magic, the Emperor retreated, offering tribute for the next 50 years in apology for his actions.
The second attack came in 877 AI when a pirate fleet led by Rexer Danes attacked in the night, catching the guard by surprise in attempt to topple to government and control the island. Making for a foundry of the Stone, he was eventually repulsed by the militia and a group of Magi. No survivors are believed to have made it off the island.
While all-out attacks are rare, smugglers, thieves and crooked merchants are very common. Ustjubai has a reputation for being a place of spies and espionage as much as a pastoral land. The Tribal Council spies on other nations constantly and an Ustjubaji assassin can usually fetch a high price on name alone.