The Ice City
By far the smallest of the Six Cities, Vaskalt is still the vital industrial center of Icetrout Lake. The many fishing villages floating on the lake require the land based city to actually trade their unique goods, for the unpredictable and dangerous lake is separated from the vital trade route along the Jormungar River by a magic dam that is Vaskalt’s primary duty to maintain.
The Icetrout bones, eyes, and meat are some of the most valuable goods harvested anywhere in Leonora, however the majority of Leonarians know very little about Icetrout Lake, and even less about the city of ice… and they don’t particularly care to learn more about the frozen North first hand.
Icetrout Ship Captains vote in a Governor for life. Any Captain can call a meet to impeach or override the governor, but that Captain opens himself up to being stripped of title (and more importantly, his ship) if it’s determined by other Captains to be a waste of time.
The Governors are normally Retired Captains, because in Vaskalt that is the most honored and honorable profession. Captains would rather be at sea, and while they have elected active Captains before, they make bitter Governors when they’re taken away from the water. Governors can send anyone to Leo as Councilman, but they normally send a former First Mate. The previous Councilman is normally happy enough to leave Leo and go back home… Vaskalters generally aren’t big fans of big cities or politics.
Vaskalt Geography is dominated by it’s reason for existence: The Icetrout Lake to the north. (See full article: Icetrout Lake)
To the West is barren tundra, where farmers eke out an existence on the hardiest of crops. Barbarians raiders are a constant threat, and many Leonorian soldiers are first blooded while defending this land. Vaskalt Captains consider this land an important buffer between themselves and a barbarian land-based threat to their fishing villages.
The East holds the forested foothills of the Glittering Ramparts. In ancient times, this land was considered an equally valuable land buffer between Vaskalt and Erdahome. In the era of the Six Cities, Vaskalt proper has little use for the self-sufficient hunter/gatherer villages. The greatest danger comes from whatever bandits or monsters nest in abandoned border forts, as is true throughout much of Leonora.
While the Icetrout Lake brings prosperity and purpose to Vaskalt, the farmland to the south provides it’s sustenance. As necessary as this land is, however, Vaskalters have little respect for the “soft” denizens of the southern towns or villages. Southern Vaskalters are still a hardier, rougher bunch than most of Leonora, but that isn’t relevant to anyone living on the unforgiving lake to the north.
To become Boneguard, a Vaskalt Citizen must risk their life to save other Vaskalt Citizens. These feats are generally only recognized for near suicidal efforts with many witnesses.
Once nominated by any other Vaskalt Citizen, existing Boneguard will investigate the claim for truthfulness and worth, often interviewing witnesses or inspecting the remains of slain monsters. Upon confirmation, the prospective Boneguard is given an elaborate ceremony in which all Vaskalt territories are informed of his or her deeds, and a priceless weapon is crafted by the Icetrout Bonesmiths specifically for that Boneguard. This weapon bears the seal of the Boneguard, and no Boneguard would go anywhere without it. In Vaskalt, and elsewhere, the bearer of such a weapon is afforded great respect and deference.
The Boneguard have a headquarters in Vaskalt and are given a living stipend from the city, however their society is small and not particularly organized. There are roughly 100 Boneguard at any given time. Although no effort is directly made to maintain this number, it generally requires less significant feats to receive the honor in times of peace, when true threats are relatively rare.
The Boneguard hierarchy is not explicit, but rather an understanding based on respect. Senior members are honored more, and the relative worth of ones deeds is carefully (if subjectively) measured, however it is not unusual for arguments to erupt between two members who are roughly equal in stature. Only the Bonelord has a designated rank, as the leader of this privileged society, and his term is for life.