Picture taken by Dizzeave
|State||Free Cities of Alathra|
|Former state||Federation of Arith|
|Established||22 May 2021|
|Population (12 March 2022)|
HighTide is the founding city of the Free Cities and is recognized as the cultural and governmental center of East Arith. As an island surrounded by towering icebergs, HighTide is quite isolated from the rest of Alathra. The only way to access the island is through the north and south bank, as not even a seasoned captain would be able to traverse the packed ice that lay beyond most of the island's shore. Though the dangers of the Northern Sea are quite dreadful, the island's geographical placement is of quite tactical importance to the Hightidians, as it gives them easy access to the mainland of East Arith, while still making most of their shoreline inaccessible to northern pirates and invading armies.
HighTide serves as the regional authority of the Seastone Isles, a collection of islands and icebergs located in the Northern Sea. The city, and by extension the isles, are overseen and ruled by the Sealord. The current Sealord is the founder of HighTide, Cody29797. The city also has a symbolic ruler, a Chelonian by the name of lord Theodore Estermont III.
Before the arrival of the current Tidian population, the island was inhabited by a native group of villagers. These original peoples were far from primitive, creating a thriving society based around fishing and sea trade. Most of the island's land was undeveloped except for a collection of wooden homes built by the natives.
Upon his arrival on the island, the Sealord, Cody29797, was welcomed by the villagers. Their hospitality and customs convinced him to make this land his home which then led to the formal creation of HighTide. The early days were mostly filled with the construction of the Tidefort. At this point, the mighty fortress was nothing more than one large tower known as the Sea Spire. The Sea Spire was a feat of engineering on Alathra at the time. It drew in visitors from far and wide to gaze upon it. Sadly, the Spire was not without fault. During it's exterior construction the only way to traverse up and down the tower was by a thin and completely unsafe system of scaffolding. Many fell to their deaths and it remains a sore spot in Tidian history.
It is also during this time that the city's first diplomatic ties were formed. The nearby town of Duskenspur had been rapidly developing on the eastern coast of Arith. The Sealord travelled to this town to meet with it's leader, Mylesdon. The two became close very quickly. The leaders would frequently visit each other, exchanging gifts and knowledge. The greatest of these was a hoe given to the Sealord as a symbol of their friendship. This comradery led to the creation of an alliance between the two towns and Uhovia known as the Alliance of Costal States. Uhovia and Duskenspur were HighTide's oldest and most staunch allies until both fell to ruin, leaving the Tidian's as the only surviving member of this original alliance.
The Emerald Sickness
As HighTide continued to grow out of its infancy stages it was seen as a great era of prosperity, but not for all. The local villagers of the island began to fall ill with a strange plague. At first most believed it to be nothing more than an outbreak of the common cold, but that stance changed very quickly. The illness, dubbed the Emerald Sickness, began to ravage its way through the village. Healers and clerics tried their best to treat those afflicted but to no avail. Within a couple of weeks the native village was a ghost town. Just as quickly as it had arrived, the sickness was gone. Although brief, it had completely killed off the native villager population. Still until this day the native population has been unable to recover, rendering the first people of the land nothing more than a footnote in history.
Formation of the FCA
As an independent town at this point in time, HighTide was concerned with foreign powers seeking to conquer its lands. As such, Cody29797 began to enter talks with OnlySolid of Slavongrad to form a diplomatic union to deter any would-be aggressors. Slavongrad was another island town in the Seastone Isles and were on good terms with the Tidian's. Although, these talks did not go far. Shortly after the idea was proposed Slavongrad was annexed by Ashina and majority of OnlySolid's people were banished from Alathra.
The annexation of Slavongrad was a shock to the people of HighTide. The town was the only thing standing between the Ashina Empire and their island home. Without the Slavonists acting as a buffer there was nothing preventing the empire from expanding further west. This situation troubled the island dwellers as their new position put them directly in the path of expansion. In an attempt to preserve the sovereignty of his lands and by extension Arith, Cody29797 called a great council with the Alliance of Costal States. He proposed that a simple alliance would not be enough to protect them colonization and proposed that they came together to form a nation. Although initially skeptical, both Duskenspur and Uhovia eventually agreed, leading to the formation of the Free Cities of Alathra(F.C.A.).
Part of the terms behind the founding of the nation was that each town was to remain autonomous and that there would be no central leaders that the others would need to swear loyalty to. As such, the F.C.A. functioned more as a loose union of city-states rather than a centralized country with a federal government. Despite this, HighTide was still named the capital of the nation and Cody29797 was given the symbolic leadership role of Chancellor. This is because HighTide was the wealthiest and most developed of the three towns at this point and the Sealord had already made important political connections with groups around Alathra.
As a relatively remote island, HighTide is isolated from the mainland of Arith. While maritime trading seems to be prevalent between the cities of HighTide and Uhovia, the city of HighTide has managed to develop its own customs and traditions distinct from that of the mainland, largely due to Uhovia's absence of culture. Much of this culture is inherited from the various indigenous peoples of the Seastone Isles. Prior to the arrival of Sealord Cody29797, the natives of the island spoke a regional dialect of Animalese, distinguished by its excessive amount of words related to turtles and turtle-adjacent activities. The dialect is currently endangered and is only spoken semi-fluently by various scholars and clerics.
The Sea Turtles (Chelonians)
Many visitors are astonished by how well the local residents treat the native sea turtle population on the island. Chelonians, or 'turtles' as they are called in the common tongue, are considered sacred beings in Tidian culture and should be treated as such by anyone who wishes to earn favors with the people of HighTide. Tidians are at the brink of being fanatically obsessed with these home-carrying creatures, which means they are sometimes even given symbolic positions of power, like the renowned Theodore Estermont, Theodore Estermont Junior, and Theodore Estermont III.
Only under certain circumstances are Chelonians allowed to be put to death, like under the ancient ritual of Testudo Sacrificium. In accordance with the ritual, the essence orbs of the deceased Chelonian are carefully entombed under the soft sands of its birthplace. To prevent any unnecessary pain or discomfort, the gentle creature is put under anesthesia with a splash potion of weakness before being sacrificed. Fully completing a Testudo Sacrificium has been shown to be remarkably difficult. If done incorrectly, the essence orbs might be wrongly absorbed by the practitioner of the ritual, preventing the Chelonian from ascending to a higher plane of existence. It is believed that if the essence of a Chelonian resides within the material body of a human, that person needs to perish before the essence is able to ascend. Because of the serious risk involved with performing a Testudo Sacrificium, the ritual is usually reserved for professional practitioners like shellherders and clerics.
The Tidefort is a large castle located on the island. It is the seat of the Sealord and serves numerous important roles in town as well as nation operations. The Tidefort consists of four main towers all connected by a curtain wall. The original and largest of these towers, the Sea Spire, is the personal residence of the Sealord and contains many amenities for residents. It was constructed long before any of the other additions and can be seen from almost anywhere in HighTide due to its size. Next, the Dread Spire, was the second of the great towers to be built and serves a mostly military purpose. It has a mess hall for the castle garrison, officer quarters, and a holding cell located at its peak. The third tower, the Sand Spire, is closed to the public and most residents. Only a select few Tidians have access so its interior and purpose are widely unknown. Lastly, the newest addition to the Tidefort, the Bastion of Unity, is not exactly a tower and is closer akin to a large hall. It held the senate chambers of the F.C.A. and currently is the residence of the F.O.A. governing body, the Assembly.
The Arith Academy
Professions and Titles
The Sealord oversees and rules the Seastone Isles. The current Sealord is the founder of Hightide, Cody29797.
Shellmaster is an honorary title bestowed onto the Sealord's most trustworthy subject. The Shellmaster oversees HighTide and its subjects in the absence of the Sealord, as well as ensuring the safety of all the Chelonians. Outside of the Seastone Isles, the Shellmaster might be referred to as a steward, as they fulfill much of the same role. The Shellmaster is however distinguished by their perplexingly well-crafted scuteplated armor (with no turtles being hurt in its production). The current Shellmaster is one of HighTide's most prominent architects, GreatLemi.
Breeders, caretakers, and collectors of scute, the shellherders basically do it all. Shellherders owe their allegiance to the Shellmaster and are distinguished by their green scute helmets.
Ordinances and Codes
Though HighTide mainly follows the laws of the federation, HighTide has its own ordinances that are only enforced within its own local jurisdiction. Unsurprisingly, most of HighTide's ordinances concern the treatment of the Seastone Isles' native turtle population, something the Sealord considers of upmost importance.
Laws relating to desecration
- Killing a Chelonian might give the same charges as that of manslaughter or homicide, depending on the circumstances of the killing.
- Any literature or art depicting violence or mistreatment of turtles may be confiscated by the city guard. The owner of any such media might be given a penalty or a fine, depending on the grotesqueness of the work. Exceptions might be made if the work is intended to be educational.
- The 4×3 block painting by the name of "Kong" is one of the works of art that is strictly forbidden inside the borders of HighTide, as it depicts a genocidal maniac who sets turtles aflame for entertainment. The steward of HighTide released a statement saying anyone who finds a copy of "Kong" should burn it or immediately send it to the city guard for confiscation. In the eyes of Tidians, "Kong" is the most profane and grotesque painting you could ever decorate your home with.