Demonym: Brandish; of Brandeis. Brand; a person who is Brandish
Climate/biome: Mostly seasonal woodland and open plains, becoming coniferous forest and taiga to the south. The Soaring Sentinels, marking the western border of Brandeis, are permanently snow-capped.
Population density: Very low
Common Inhabitants: Brannyr, humans, elhan, thulls
Uncommon Inhabitants: Abilen, elves, wu-kan, equitarn
By far the largest of Alm’s nations, Brandeis—the land of the Brannyri—occupies much of the Eastern half of the continent.
Thanks to its huge territory and low population density, Brandeis is actually a collection of nine holdings, each originally born from an ancestral Brannyri clan. These are Adelhae, Albion, Aragon, Ceanmor (the capital), Ironhilt, Kurast, Navorey, Saffron and Woodfall. Each holding has an elected leader, who together form the “nobility” of Brandeis.
Brandeis shares borders with Aurion to the west (by way of the Soaring Sentinels), Calanshae to the east, and the Grasslands to the west. Upon its northern border lies Beasthome, where few humans dare to tread.
For centuries, Brandeis was not a nation but a countryside filled with fractious squabbling factions. Even with the gnoll and Calan empires at their door, the Brannyri who settled here spent more effort on their ancestral grudges than their new foes. It was a warrior woman named Brayden, nicknamed “Bloodmane” by the gnolls, who unified the fighting spirit of the bickering clans and used it to drive back gnolls and Calans alike.
So it was that Brayden Bloodmane became the first Cean (roughly “boss”) of Brandeis, giving rise to a massive nation filled with proud warriors. She also left them with the unusual tradition of electing their monarch, in hopes that this would continue to please all clans equally.
After the war, Brandeis was left holding a majority of the Almish mainland. This proved to be much more than their thinly-spread population could handle, as taking was much easier for them than managing it. Thus, the Brands were content to abandon most of their gains on the western front, and consolidate their power in the east—keeping the Calans and the gnolls in check by concentrating their strength on those international borders.
Thus, western Alm returned largely to the control of peaceful beastkin tribes, today known simply as “The Grasslands”. A much lesser portion they gave to the human refugees who arrived from Parosea. This territory was called Novelis, though it was soon to splinter into the Three Kingdoms of Aurion, Tenebrae, and Kalyvas.
Thanks to its surprise victory in the War of Empires, Brandeis is in a stable but antagonistic orbit with Beasthome and Calanshae. Indeed, its strongest military forces remain on its borders with these two countries, with the holding of Ironhilt deliberately designed as a shield against potential invasion. Its dealing with both old neighbours remains tense to this day, but fortunately the two nations hate each other even more than the Brands.
Beyond these two powers, Brandeis is powerful enough to have a laidback approach to Alm’s other nations. Their willingness to give away territory after the war instantly placed them on good terms with the Grasslands tribes, Ashar strongly appreciates the stability brought by their victory, and the human refugees owe the very existence of their nations to Brandeis’ generosity. Although their sheer power is a matter of international concern, they have thus far refrained from abusing it, meaning they are well-liked for now.