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This article or section is out of date. The country/countries relevant to this article have been removed from Sahar and have been retconned. Everything here can be considered non-canonical.
|Region of the Holy Xhovian Empire 5 seperate Northern Duchies legally, however they effectively operate as one region.|
Lhivrala (Lhivralan: Lhivrala [IPA]), is a region of the Holy Xhovian Empire located in South Baredina, bordering Norjihan to the west. Due to its proximity to Norjihan, Lhivrala had seen a lot of cultural mixing between the various Xhovian cultures, both the local north Xhovians, and the culturally influential southerners and Szezks, and the influence of the Baredan Norjihanis. Across its history, it has been conquered and owned by Istan and Norjihan, before acquisition by the Empire, further aiding the cultural and ethnic mixing. It is known within the Empire as being, depending on the point of view, either more liberal, or openly degenerate, with a lot of the personal liberties, especially sexual, from the Baredans having taken hold. Equally it is seen as somewhat corrupt, as many anti-corruption campaigns target the region.
Prior to the numerous conquests of Lhivrala, the various regions making up modern Lhivrala were considered backwards by the burgeoning kingdoms around them, ruled over by Sky Kings (Lhivralan: ADD LATER), tribal warlords. They followed Lhivralan Paganism, and were effectively always at war with one another. Most attempts at religious conversion, both from other Xhovians, and from the Gennists, were met with intense barbarism, missionaries commonly being put through the Lhivralan Witch Trials, which proved fatal.
Duchy of Lhivrala
In (1364), the Mahirazan Empire moved troops into Lhivrala, to cement its control over trade between Alcia and Ekuosia, as whilst the Sky Kings did not take kindly to missionaries, they had very little issue with traders. The campaign was short, and effective, the Empire's troops vastly outnumbering the fractured Lhivralans. Lhivrala was quickly annexed as a new duchy in the Empire, and they attempted to install Gennism in the population. However, it was less than successful in that goal. Whilst a small minority did take up the faith, many more simply intensified their use of the witch trials, making Lhivrala a troublesome duchy to keep hold of. The city of Anasta was founded and built up as a capital, from which the Baredan elite would rule, and live in relative luxury compared to the native Lhivralans. Lower class Baredans who moved into Lhivrala, which was sold as a land of opportunity for them (as part of a scheme to Gennify the region), frequently started families with the locals, causing the start of Lhivrala's mixed ethnic makeup.
However, in 1401, the death of the ruler, the son of the infamous Govegz Rona, died. This led to his empire collapsing into civil war. Lhivrala was no different. With the Duke cut off from outside support, and much of the nobility fleeing, or starting to fight amongst themselves, the tribes in the north, that had been mostly left alone due to their prior lack of expansion, but it being difficult to fully remove them, united. Under Garev, one of the last surviving Sky Kings, Lhivralans stormed Anasta, and captured the Duke, (NAME), before executing him, by binding him to a post, and leaving him to the birds.
King in the South
After their storming and reclamation of Anasta, the Lhivralans successfully managed to take most of what makes up modern day Realm Samsem. Former nobles of varying varieties held the rest of Lhivrala, effectively continuing as Baredan dominated region. Garev lasted as Sky King until 1463, when he died, and his successor was elected to be Vari, commonly known by his appellation as last of the Sky Kings. During Vari's reign,the southern Kingdom became a lot more active militarily, having effectively levelled the playing field in terms of technology and tactics, thanks to the Baredans' time in power. He successfully led conquests of almost all of the rest of modern Lhivrala, save for a small Baredan kingdom, (NAME), with its capital in Tansha. Vari was notably merciful to the Gennist clergy where he conquered, allowing them to continue practice, much to the ire of his tribal council. However the Baredan nobility were not shown the same mercy. It was Vari who made the old Witch Trial, of throwing one, bound, down the side of a mountain, a standard execution. He was also notably brutal in his personal conduct while at war. Baredan records tell of Vari keeping a personal collection of the severed hands of those he defeated in duels and single combat, that he hung from his horse. He also, in his home, had a room full of Baredan weapons, that according to records, were those belonging to the people he had defeated.
In 1483, the Grand Viceroyalty of Istan had its sights set on Lhivrala. Using (SMOLBAREKINGDOM), which they had earlier integrated into the Viceroyalty, they went to war with Vari's kingdom. The Istani-Lhivralan War lasted nearly 3 years, and was fabulously bloody. Vari however fell, at (Battle), where he was baited into challenging the enemy general to single combat, and being shot 5 times on his way in. After the death of their leader, the Lhivralans quickly collapsed to infighting, and were easily conquered by the Viceroyalty.
After that, the Viceroyalty again attempted to Gennify the region. This time round, however, Lhivrala was a lot more receptive. The locals who had been living with Gennism now mixed with the southerners, the combination of their beliefs leading to modern Lhivralan Tanhunga. Originally, the Viceroyalty considered their practices heretical, however they grew to accept the Lhivralan sect, simply because they still respected the will of the Grand Gennist Servant, and thus were much more compliant. In general, Lhivrala behaved much more civilly under the Viceroyalty than it had under the Empire before it. This also featured much of the assimilation of Baredan and Lhivralan culture, and the influence of Middle Norjihani onto Lhivralan.
This also saw the creation of the Tanhungði Mountain Guards, the military order that defends the Grand Gennist Servant, drawn exclusively from Lhivralans. Lhivrala's military contribution was one of the most notable ones it made, its people more eager and willing to enter combat than the Norjihanis had initially expected. For example, in the War of the Grand Coalition, a Lhivralan army, under the Norjihani banner, (did something to be worked out later).
Province of Lhivrala
In (Year), after the war of the Grand Coalition, the Lordinals became the Princes of Istan, and Lhivrala was thusly integrated into Norjihan proper, as a province. This period saw the growth of tensions between Lhivralans and Norjihanis, as many of their "heretical" practices were outlawed. This led to, during the Rebellion of Voren Lordinal, a force of Lhivralans, promised independence from Norjihan for helping in the coup, sacked Ronyg.
However, Voren had not informed the Lhivralans of his full plan. In 1673, he gave Lhivrala its independence, but split it into the five realms we know today. This was done to minimise any potential threat to the east. He also deliberately put noble families that were at odds with one another in charge of each of them, to try and reduce the chance of unification. This situation did not last long however. The Holy Xhovian Empire saw opportunity in the fractured state, and invaded, in the Northern Acquisitions.
Science and technology
Lhivralans are mostly mixed race, Baredo-Xhovians, finding a native Lhivralan who is entirely of one group or the other is pretty rare. However, since the acquisition, a lot of Xhovian migration, as well as the flight of the Lhivralan Diaspora, has seen Xhovians become a majority. Equally, many anti-Baredan campaigns in the region may be derided as racist in origin, as the Empire has aimed to Xhovianise the population.
Lhivrala's state religion is, nominally, Xhiuism, apropos of being part of the Empire, however, Lhivralan Xhiuism is a rather different sect, albeit a recognised one. Effectively, Lhivralan Xhiuism experienced a lot of influence from the pre-existing indigenous religion of Lhivrala, as well as The Tanhunga before it was converted. The Empire tolerates them, as over the years, the religion's more egregious Gennist elements have been eroded.
There is also a relatively small Gennist minority, who, until the latter years of the 20th century, were outlawed. Now, whilst not outright oppressed by the state, the general populace still regards them with a small amount of disdain and distrust.
Traditional Lhivralan theatre can be broadly split into two forms: indoor, and outdoor theatre. Aside from location, the two differ in style, and in the genres that are classically acceptable. With modernity, Lhivrala has of course taken on the theatrical genres and styles of its neighbours and the wider world, but the traditional styles are still alive and thriving.
Outdoor Theatre is performed in open air theatres, built into hill and mountainsides. Two of the four classical genres are outdoor genres, Comedy, and Adventure. Comedies are based mostly around slapstick, puns (which in many of the older works, have lost all meaning, due to Lhivralan's linguistic development) and misunderstanding. Actors and actresses perform in wooden masks, painted and carved to reflect their character. It is tradition that an actor or actress should carve and paint his or her own mask, but that has of course not been the case universally for quite some time. Adventures, on the other hand, are much grander performances, requiring many more actors. They tend to depict heroic journeys, either from Lhivralan Mythology, or original ones by the playwright. It is considered typical for Adventures to also feature some interaction between the hero and one of the Spirits of Lhivralan Xhuism, as well as them to fight either the villain, a monster (performed by multiple actors inside a larger costume, in combination with setpieces, or by more advanced means in modern productions) or both towards the climax of the play.
Indoor Theatre, on the other hand, is, as the name suggests, performed indoors. It is performed either by actors and actresses, or with shadow puppetry. All four genres are acceptable in indoor theatre. So the aforementioned Comedies and Adventures will appear, in addition to Tragedies and Mysteries. Tragedies almost always carry heavy moral messages, showing a character contravene some religious or general moral rule or law, and then depicting the consequences that befall them. Mysteries also carry messages, but in a different way. The Mystery play is a very specific art. It is always based around two principle characters, a protagonist, usually some everyday figure, a farmer, a hunter, or a craftsman, and one of the Lhivralan Xhiuist Spirits. The protagonist will go to the Spirit with some problem he or she has in their life, of work or of home. The spirit will then answer, usually in poetic style (the specifics depend upon which spirit), with a story, a fable featuring animals or magical creatures from Lhivralan Mythology, somehow related to the issue they have been posed with. Many productions, both in history and modernity, will have some pretense of a Question and Answer format, hiding the actor playing the protagonist amongst the audience, giving the illusion of audience participation.