Darmania, formally the Bordered Container of Darmanian Soil, is a landlocked country in Eastern Niobe with an estimated population of 5.6 million. It is a politically and geographically isolated nation state, surrounded by the Darmanian mountains, and has since its reversal from monarchy to republic been under the control of the totalitarian regime of the Vodenicharov family. The capital of Darmania is Vjecnigrad.
People have been living the region of what is now Darmania and part of its neighbouring countries since at least 156 BCE, when it was first mentioned by the Bromans as a 'non-descript' and 'boring' region, 'inhabited by a people who can only be described as uninteresting'. Archeological finds have also been made that support these early records.
The foundation for the Kingdom of Darmania was laid in the early 13th century, when various tribes, cities and kingdoms in the surrounding areas were under attack from the Gondol horde under Djingo Khan. The people of Darmania had no unifying leader or military to speak of, and feared a crushing defeat should the Gondols cross the Darmanian mountains. After a council where 1,000 village elders discussed the matter, the war-hero Borwin Brankoslav, famed for having once chased three burglars from his house armed with only a spoon, which he had mistaken for a fork, was elected as their first king.
A year later the Gondols crossed the mountains through what is now called Borwin's Pass, where Borwin and a large gathering of peasants with scythes and pitchforks met them. According to Darmanian legend, Borwin crushed the Gondol army even though they were vastly outnumbered, and Djingo Khan proclaimed Borwin his overlord before departing (hence the Darmanian expression 'to leave like a Djingo' when someone retreats after an embarassing situation.) Other historians, however, agree that although Borwin did meet Djingo Khan, Djingo had already decided not to invade after his scouts reported that the country was 'small, bland, and really boring' and that attacking would be 'too easy' and 'not worth bothering with'. Instead of a battle, Borwin was invited to Djingo's tent, where they spent the evening talking and playing chess. Before they parted, Djingo gave Borwin some advice on how to train soldiers and behave like a general, and Borwin gave Djingo a foot massage.
Kingdom of Darmania
Upon his return to the council of village elders after the retreat of the Gondols, Borwin claimed he had soundly defeated Djingo Khan and was backed by his 'army', as no one wanted to admit how the event had actually progressed. Hailed as a double war-hero and 'the man who had unified our proud people', Borwin was crowned the first king of the Kingdom of Darmania as soon as a crown had been forged (it was, in fact, still hot upon his coronation and gave Borwin a permanent scar around his head, leading to the trend of the 'reverse monk cut' among Darmanian nobles). In accordance with the new trend among Niobean kingdoms the crown was made hereditary to the king's eldest child. Borwin reigned for thirty years before passing on the crown to his daughter.
The Brankoslav dynasty lasted for three hundred years, during which an aristocracy was established and the first castles, cities and palaces were built. The last Brankoslav monarch was Ratziev III, who during his short reign managed to run the country into deep debt, provoke Cabranthia into attacking the Rogri mountain and subsequently losing both the mountain and half of the Rogri valley, and lastly, in 1568, die without an heir. What followed was a brief period of civil war, after which Mladen the Great seized power.
The Mladenov dynasty remained in power until 1821, when they were replaced by the short-lived Kohut family.
Revolution of 1932
In 1932, the people of Darmania had grown tired of the totalitarian regime of the Kohut dynasty, and after a long period of unrest, strikes, and demonstrations, a revolution broke out in May, 1932. People rallied under the motto "Darmania for the people", turning to their aristocratic overlords as well as the king himself first with demands of greater justice and democracy, and when this demand was not met, to overthrow them. The king had to flee the capital and retreat to a mountain fortress, a move quickly repeated by half the nobility. With many of their enemies thus conveniently absent, the freedom fighters managed to capture several cities.
It was not to last however, as in the following winter the king and parts of the nobility attacked from their various castles and fortresses with well-rested armies and carefully coordinated plans. They managed to push the freedom fighters back, but not enough for their different armies to meet as had been planned, and instead each general had to fend for themself. This prompted some to surrender or retreat again, while others fought on. From 1933 to 1936, the various armies continued to make small progress and the civil war dragged on, until at the end of 1936, they came to a standstill. This was not broken until the Cucumber Coup of 1938.
Politics and government
Darmania is officially a republic and its leader Iulia Vodenicharov the nation's president, although most experts consider it a hereditary dictatorship. Elections, where voters are given only one legitimate alternative and generally do not vote in private booths, are held every fourth year and usually preceeded by an increase in government propaganda and dissenter prosecutions.
The president of Darmania is also the Head of State and has full control over the government.
The Vodenicharov Family
Eryk Vodenicharov rose to power at the concluson of the Revolution of 1932 following a strategic maneuver commonly known as the Cucumber Coup. He quickly established a new government with himself at the head, using his fame and the people's support after the Cucumber Coup to seize most of the power himself, effectively making himself as or more powerful as the newly overthrown King Ratziev IX. In the following years and until his death in 1989, he continued to hold the position of autocratic leader of the country. After his death he was upraised to Eternal Leader of Darmania. Current president Iulia Vodenicharov is the grandchild of Eryk Vodenicharov and most likely selected to be his successor at 16 or 17 years of age.
The greater part of Darmania's geographical area is made up of the valleys of Irsk, Ursk, Gef, Blep and half of the Rogri valley. Before the loss of the Rogri mountain and the second half the Rogri valley 16th century, Darmania was often referred to as the Land of the Five Valleys for this reason. However, no suitable alternative to Land of the Four and a Half Valleys was never found, and this way of referring to Darmania fell out of use. They valleys now constitute five of Darmania's seven main administrative region, and have a great cultural and traditional value.
Half the Rogri valley
The Darmanian half of the Rogri valley is a fertile land with a generally mild climate. The most notable feature is the trenches, palissades, and sharpened wooden stakes that mark the border to Cabranthia, as well as the valley's largest town, Szczcmsk, which the border runs through. Here the difference between Cabranthia can clearly be seen, with the Darmanian half of Szczcmsk still resembling a village, while the Cabranthian half has fully asphalted roads and electrical lights.
Gef is the largest valley as well as the largest region, and its inhabitants are referred to as geffers. There is not much else to say about it.
Ursk is a small region, but densely populated due to its many mines and factories. It is also the most densely urbanized. Ursk has two cities, Tchmiksl and Vztnc>dt. Vztnc>dt is the largest city in the region, and second largest in Darmania.
Irsk was once the most fertile valley in the country, but after the damming of the river which watered the region, it now holds the record for the driest place on earth. Only a few nomadic irskrs inhabit the region, travelling from water hole to water hole.
Blep, also called the Beaver Valley or the Kingdom of Beavers is forbidden terrority to all but the native beaver-blooded bleppers, and of course the beavers who control the region. The beavers swore fealty to the Vodenicharov family in the 1950s.
The region of Vjecnigrad Major encompasses both the city itself and its surrounding fields, villages, and vassal states. It is directly controlled by president Iulia Vodenicharov and is the richest region in the country.
Slurp is a marsh in south-eastern Darmania, which was made into an own administrative region as none of the bordering regions wanted it. It has no inhabitants, and has not paid its taxes for seventy years.
Children in Darmania attend school for six mandatory years staring the year they turn seven, often with two or three complementary years of higher education, which is necessary for certain jobs and especially for attending university. The first years are usually delegated to studying the "democracy", the Vodenicharov family and the Revolution of 1932, in addition to basic reading and mathematics.
The government controlled Darmanian school system was established in 1934 to increase literacy in the people and promote higher education, while also beings a means to indoctrinating Darmanian children to the new regime's philosophies from an early age. It was the first school system employed by the state itself; previous generations had only been able to attend expensive private boarding schools or to hire private tutors, something which was only possible for approximately 0.3% of the population.
A unique aspect of the Darmanian school system is the close relationship between a child's school and their parent or guardian's place of work. Most children attend school or even daycare in a building adjacent to one or both of their parents or guardian's workplace. For example, the child of a bicycle factory worker will go to the factory's school. Furthermore, the position of the parents within the workplace decides which group of children their own child will be placed in. Most schools have two groups, while those near larger workplaces may have three or more. The most common division is between those labelled "workers" and those in managing positions. This has in turn led to the possibility of making a "school career", which is when a child thanks to their parent making a career at their work moves through classes of increasingly high status, hence getting access to better accomodations, equipment and literature.
Darmanian culture shares many traits with other Eastern Niobean countries, especially when it comes to secular and rural folklore, customs and mythology. However, Darmania also has some unique aspects which are not found elsewhere, some of which were developed during the last century of isolation; others have been preserved while in other countries where they previously existed they have grown out of use.
The Darmanian calendar was created by Eryk Vodenicharov and taken into use in 1935.
Darmania is perhaps most known, if not most celebrated, for its cuisine. One of its many pecularities is the nation's focus on agricultural produce, especially cucumbers. The national dish is cucumber soup, a thin, nutrition-scarce soup made with cucumber, potato, salt and pepper, which is often served with a side of rye bread topped with a leek-and-potato mash.
The height of Darmanian art is considered to have been reached in the 18th century, when Zoranya Zlatunića painted her famous Sunset over Half the Rogri Valley. Since then, no art of note has been produced in the country.
Darmania has a strong musical tradition, especially in rural areas where people still use traditional instruments and songs. The gherki is the most common instrument, and is often passed down as family heirlooms; historians estimate some gherkis may be up to three hundred years old.
Darmanian media is extremely strictly controlled and very underdeveloped. Only in urban areas are TVs present in a majority of homes; not all rural households have a radio, although most have access to one through neighbours or a community center where TVs and sometimes even computers can also be accessed. The internet is heavily censored and only accessible for a few individuals.As of April 2017, the only TV- and radio programs broadcasted in the country are Darmanian produced; however a recent rumour has arised that international programs may soon be allowed in some circumstances. Darmania otherwise produces its own news program, a comedy show, a talk show, propaganda and infomercials. These programs are considered to be extremely biased.