Black Hearts Under Black Flags
The Peisani are unique amongst the Old Kingdoms in that they are not ruled by a single monarch, and make no claim to nobility or birthright. Instead, the nation is ruled by the Peisani Council, a democratic body comprised of representatives of each of the major merchant houses. The Council levies taxes, maintains the constabulary and justice system, funds its standing armies and navies, and negotiates trade agreements and tariffs. Since all races show an inclination toward trade, Peisa is a diverse nation, though some merchant houses are composed primarily of a single race, especially amongst the elves.
Easily the richest of the Old Kingdoms, the Peisani see themselves as the grease in the gears of the rest of the continent’s schemes. They maintain cordial relationships with Al’Hasin and Sunetos, as well as many of the minor houses (in case one of them manages to successfully establish itself in a stable, new kingdom). It is not uncommon for two Peisani merchant houses to back opposite sides in a conflict, while the nation of Peisa maintains a neutral stance.
Peisa’s standing army is comprised entirely of volunteers and mercenaries. Because the Peisani army rarely leaves their borders in anger, they maintain a primarily defensive posture and keep vigilant watch over Peisani lands. However, fearing rust more than wear, the Peisani Council does send its armies for the occasional campaign through the Savage March to combat barbarians, orcs, and goblins.
In contrast, Peisa’s navy is a large, aggressive interdiction fleet which patrols the coasts and open waters. Until the discovery of Karaha, it was famed for its vigorous response to any threats to their harbors or merchant fleet. Over the course of a century, piracy was effectively eliminated in the Western Continent, and the Peisani navy was able to hunt many of the natural (and supernatural) threats at sea to near extinction: even the fabled Kraken—once the subject of sailor’s nightmares—were relegated to children’s fairy tales; merchants, fisherman, and passengers had little to fear for their safety.
In modern times, however, the Peisani navy’s ability to secure the safety of its ships has faltered. The Residuum trade in Karaha gave rise to a new breed of pirates on faraway shores, and the Peisani navy was stretched too thin to secure its home ports and fleets, as well as its merchant ships in the uncharted waters of the Eastern Continent. Pirates on both continents gained a foothold (see: The Pirate Culling), and the attention devoted to hunting dangerous sea creatures lapsed. Even as Peisani coffers began to fill faster than ever, the world’s oceans again became very dangerous places.