The Eustace Magocracy, commonly just called Eustace, is one of the four major powers in Orthon. It is located in the western part of the super-archipelago. Its territory consists of Eustica, one of the larger islands in Orthon, and several smaller islands that surround it.
A mainly rural country with an agricultural economy, Eustace is a magocracy ruled by an elite upper class of plantation-owning wizards and sorcerers. A council of eight wizards called the Archmages exercise ultimate political power. Those without magic can find opportunity in Eustan cities, but the lower classes are consigned to serfdom on the plantations.
Eustace is the world’s largest magocracy, and has been since well before the Last Dragon War. Its rulers are a council of eight Archmages, each of whom specializes in a different school of magic. Archmages serve for 64-year terms, staggered such that one new Archmage is appointed every 8 years. The Archmages are equal in terms of power. Whatever their internal politics and divisions, they always act together in public.
Geography and Society
Beneath the Archmages is an upper class comprised of everyone who has skill with the arcane. While anybody can theoretically learn to become a wizard, it is difficult for members of the lower class to find anyone to take them on as an apprentice, or gain entry to any of the magical academies.
Alternatively, there are those who have arcane power without formal training, like sorcerers. Wizards and sorcerers both tend to think that only they know “true” magic, but in terms of class, sorcerers and wizards are both privileged members of society.
Other types of spellcasters are also part of the upper class, but somewhat at the periphery. Unlike wizards and sorcerers, bards and clerics are rarely landowners.
Those without spellcasting power are called “mundanes”, or mundies. In the cities, mundies form the middle and lower classes. They can own businesses, learn trades, and so forth. But there is still some prejudice – some wizards refuse to patronize mundie-owned businesses, and refuse to provide services to mundies.
Must of Eustace is farmland, though. Mundies in the farms are little more than serfs bound to work on mage-owned plantations. They aren’t considered slaves, but they have few opportunities or rights either.
The Archmages have put forth a proclamation stating that everyone in Eustace must follow Celestialism only and declaring anyone who worships the Ascendants heretics. But the faith of the Ascendant Lazulum is strong in the outlying islands, and the faith of Jalder is popular among the mundie serfs. The Archmages have repeatedly promised the Holy Episcopate that they will crack down on these heretics, but they never seem to do anything. No one has ever seen or heard of a prosecution for heresy in Eustace.
Eustace currently has a near monopoly on the sugar trade in Orthon. They’re also the largest supplier of coffee to the region. This, plus their obvious magic power, gives them a certain amount of clout.
About 100 years ago, Eustace briefly sided with the Empire of Gard in a war. Since then, the Archmages have proclaimed that Eustace will always be neutral in any conflict, and will protect this neutrality by force. The Empire and the Holy Episcopate respect that, although they do not like the fact that Eustace has also become a haven for refugees. The Holy Episcopate also regularly complains to the Archmages about the spread of the Ascendant heresies in Eustace, but they don’t have the power to do anything about it.
Eustace and the Free City of Dragonfall are on friendly terms, though not technically allies. Dragonfall is an integral part of Eustan trade, buying sugar and coffee and selling goods from the rest of Orthon.