by User: Otto didact
|Ruled by||Fen Rnamdi|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”We are going to need to administrate trade through the Oathgates. I wonder, who has excellent expertise in shipping, caravans, and trade in general…?
Thaylenah encompasses a trio of islands, as well as a small number of islets, in the South-East of Roshar, on the ocean known as the Southern Depths. Together, they cover roughly 414,000 km2, putting Thaylenah in the middle of all Rosharan states, area-wise.
The largest of the three islands is several times bigger than the other two, and appears to be the country's population center. It's mostly mountainous, with a tall range rising in the middle. The mountains reach all the way to the shore, with towering cliffs making up the northern coast. The climate is cold and frigid, although the locals find it pleasantly chill.
To the north, Thaylenah is separated from the Frostlands by the Longbrow's Straits. The nearest countries to it are the city-states of Kharbranth to the north and Shallow Crypts to the east. Within Thaylenah itself, there are only two known major cities -- the capital, Thaylen, in a large lait on the nothwestern coast, and Klna, a shipbuilding centre further east. The port city of Amydlatn may belong to Thaylenah, although this is uncertain.
In Shadesmar, Thaylenah's largest island manifests as a vast lake known locally as the Thaylen Sea, south of the Sea of Lost Lights. The shores of Thaylen Sea are unoccupied, with the nearest spren settlement being Salumon in the foothills of the mountains to the east.
During the Heraldic Epochs, the islands that now compose Thaylenah were part of the Kingdom of Thalath. The current capital, Thaylen City, was likely also the capital of Thalath, as it possesses that state's Oathgate. It's unclear when the country broke apart; however, Thaylenah itself is about four thousand years old, according to the local tradition.
In the Era of Solitude, Thaylenah became a titan of commerce, with their ships and caravans trading goods around the world. The country was largely peaceful, with no conflict or war within the past generation. In the last few decades, Fen Rnamdi was elected Queen.
This age of prosperity ended with the coming of the True Desolation. The Everstorm dealt massive damage to the country's economy as Thaylen City was devasted, first by the storm itself, and then by the local Parshmen stealing the ships and leaving. Having no other choice, the Thaylen allied with Urithiru, remaining even after the alliance with other countries broke up.
”Queen Fen is not an absolute authority. (...) The councils of merchants and naval officers pick the new monarch, after all.
Thaylenah is an elective monarchy. Following the death of a king or queen, an assembly of merchant councils and high-ranking naval officers elects the new ruler, with the current one being queen Fen Rnamdi. While the kingdom follows the Vorin division between lighteyes and darkeyes, there doesn't appear to exist a formalized noble caste analogous to Alethi or Veden highprinces and highlords. Rather than nahns and dahns, the Thaylen utilize their own system of ranks. The Thaylen monarch, however, still claims the first dahn.
Military and Fabrials
Thaylenah appears to have little in the way of a land army, but they do have a long-standing naval tradition famous the world over. Thaylen officers are trained in naval tactics and strategy to a far greater extent than their counterparts elsewhere, and their country boasts a large fleet. Unfortunately, many of their ships have been stolen by former Parshmen following the first Everstorm, crippling their capabilities in this regard.
The kingdom holds five Shardblades and three suits of Plate, each owned by a different house. Shardbearers are referred to as highguards. Prior to the Battle of Thaylen Field, known highguards are Hrdalm, who wields the Shardplate Cvaderln, and Tshadr and Estnatil, who wield an unnamed Plate and Blade respectively. Following the Battle, Estnatil's Blade is now in hands of Kdralk, the Queen's son.
One of Roshar's ten Oathgates is located in Thaylen City, adding to its importance. In the present, it's one of only four Oathgates controlled by the Urithiru alliance, alongside Stormseat, Vedenar and Azimir.
The Thaylen have a system of underwriting trades based around the Thaylen Gemstone Reserve in the capital. Each sphere stored there has an owner and an identifying number. People trade the gemstones among themselves using the number; however, rather than taking the spheres in and out of the vaults, they leave them inside. The system functions properly so long as people trust the Reserve that the money is there, allowing merchants to trade large sums without the usual dangers associated with it. This, along with the existence of spanreeds to trade over, allows Thaylen banks to have wide networks all over the continent, with branches in major cities like Kholinar.
”They're mostly tradesmen and merchants. Every one I’ve met has tried to swindle me, but that’s hardly the same thing as invading.
The Thaylen people are tanned, thought not as dark as the Reshi, and, like most Rosharans, have epicanthic folds. They are typically short, although some can grow as tall as the Alethi. Their most recognizable, distinguishing feature are their long white eyebrows, which they tuck behind their ears as a sign of respect. There seems to be no upper limit on how long they can grow, other than sheer practicality. The Thaylen men additionally have white beards, regardless of their age or the color of their hair.
The eyebrows are often styled in various ways, such as spikes, bangs or ringlets. To keep them in the desired shape, they are either waxed or starched. Some people shave them altogether, although this is rare. The eyebrows seem to be of great cultural importance to the Thaylens. Even one of their suits of Shardplate, Cvaderln, is decorated with them. The eyebrows of a child of a Thaylen and non-Thaylen wouldn't be this long, although they would have streaks of white in them.
Thaylens can be found not only in their native country but also elsewhere in the world. While many of them are travelling merchants, some Thaylen settle in other countries, such as Reshi Isles or Alethkar, permanently. Thaylen businesses, like tailors and banks, can also be found across the continent. The people have a reputation for swindling, but they are not considered particularly warlike. Thaylen locks are known to be of high quality.
Clothes and accessories
The people of Thaylenah seem particularly resistant to the low temperatures of their homeland, often going shirtless in even the coldest weather. While they do have heavy winter clothes, they only use it high in the mountains, where the temperatures are the lowest.
Patterned silk vests, shirts, and skirts with removable hems are fashionable for Thaylen women to wear. Another popular style includes leggings under a skirt, with thick boots. One specifically Thaylen article of clothing is a tlmko, although what it looks like is unknown. An older fashion -- though still apparently present in some form -- includes knee-lenght trousers tucked into socks along with jackets with rolled-up sleeves for men, and knee-length aprons with shirts underneath for women. Parasols to protect oneself from the sun have also been popular for some time, though they have yet to cross over to the mainland.
Thaylen architecture is flowery and decorative, unlike the more utilitarian Alethi structures. They also have a traditional weapon called the gtet, notable for its wedge-shaped blade and a grip that forces the user to hold it like a fist. Thaylen sailors use sabers instead.
Language and writing
”Shaylor mkabat nour.— "The winds have brought us safely", a Thaylen thanks
The Thaylen language belongs to the Vorin family, alongside Alethi and Veden, although it is only distantly related to others from that group. Thaylen words can be recognized by clusters of consonants (babsk, Cvaderln, Kdralk). Fittingly, their own writing system, the Thaylen script, is an abjad -- it contains no vowels. In contrast to most other Vorin countries, Thaylen men seem to be permitted to learn how to read or write the script, although it's not a skill shown off publicly.
Known full phrases in Thaylen include the thank you quoted above and Mkai bade fortenthis, an exclamation with unknown meaning. Thaylens have a distinctive accent; they give emphasis to unusual syllables and run words together. They seem to have a habit of ending sentences with "you see."
”Great Honor in you, Prince Adolin. Great Passion in me at this aid.
The dominant cultural tradition in Thaylenah is Alethi Vorinism, albeit mixed heavily with local culture and native beliefs. Despite discouragement from the ardentia, it's common for the Thaylen to believe in the Passions, a philosophy suggesting that wanting something strongly will draw it to you. Even beyond that, the Thaylen stray from the Vorin doctrine. Men are permitted to learn to read, and women eschew the traditional full-sleeve safehand, instead covering their left hands with long gloves. Some younger women don't wear the safehand altogether, although this is frowned upon by the more traditional segment of the Thaylen society.
Although this makes them half-pagan in the eyes of other Vorin countries, the Thaylen are nonetheless considered one of the five Vorin Kingdoms, and their religious authorities are taken into account when the ardentia as a whole debates. However, there has always been some friction between the Thaylens and the church authorities, with the Thaylen monarchs often having to go the extra mile to reassure the ardents of their piety. In the present, this has led to some voices in Thaylenah to call for breaking ties with Vorinism altogether.
Local lore connects Oathgates to the Passions, calling them "portals of worlds" and claiming that only the most Passionate will be able to reopen them. The legend seems to suggest that only women would be capable of such a feat, possibly because of the Vorin division between masculine and feminine arts.
”I think any Thaylen would jump at the chance to come pull strings at a meeting of monarchs, if only to see if she can find a way to get trade deals out of them.
Thaylenah is well known for its merchants. Thaylen traders can be found across the entire continent, as far West as Shinovar and as far North as the Reshi Isles. On land, they typically travel in caravans of wagons, while on sea, they have their own ships. The goods they carry range from Soulcast metals to slaves.
Merchants in Thaylenah are ranked, from apprentice to master merchant. The position is equally open to both men and women, and even to non-Thaylens. One can become a merchant by being taken in as an apprentice by a master, whereupon the latter becomes their legal parent, or babsk. Traditional clothing, consisting of a flat-topped conical hat and starched robes, identifies master merchant from their servants and guards. In the present day, the merchants will often wear caps and vests instead.
Ship captains -- who are often merchants themselves -- can be additionally identified by an item known as the captain's cord. The cord is a twenty-feet-long white rope, which the captain wraps in their own colors and strings on the ship's rigging to mark their ownership. Traders without ships can rent barges to ferry them a short distance to and from Thaylenah, connecting them to the mainland.
Trade forms the backbone of Thaylen economy, leading to merchant councils holding significant power over the reigning monarch, including participating in the election alongside the navy officers. The position of a master merchant can serve as a path to a high rank in the Thaylen government.
Little is known about Thaylen food, although it follows the Vorin tradition of gender separation, with spicy dishes for men and sweet dishes for women. One product of Thaylen cousine known beyond its borders is the bread, notable for being puffy like cake and dark, with a characteristic long and rounded shape. Thaylen also have their own type of beer, made from lavis.
- The Thaylen linguistics, and the names in particular, are somewhat inspired by Welsh. Brandon calls their difficult pronounciation a practical joke on the people creating the audiobooks.
- Compared to real-world nations, Thaylenah is slightly smaller than Sweden.
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