The Isles of Blood
The newest and most unlikely addition to The Golden Isles is Catalan. Since Sargonia and the land of Bellen shard the same pantheon of gods, The Bellenese joined quickly with the growing empire of Sargonia. Some intrigue and debates took place and quickly Bellen became Sargonia’s first puppet nation. Soon all of the Bellenese lands were taken by the empire with little resistance. A faction of Bellenese split off but eventually their lack of support caused their death. The Bellenese were considered a cowardly people since that time, and trade has always been difficult because of their history of bowing to the oppressive Empire.
The Sargonian empire began to loosen its hold on Bellen as it expanded, and the magistrates became lackadaisical because of the nation’s apparent loyalty. This lack of attention eventually opened a path for a Bellenese Entrenepeur named Miguel Vega, to take a large portion of the Bellenese impoverished out of the country. A few bribes and a lack of government interest in the poor later and Miguel Vega and his people left Bellen forever. This mass exodus of Bellenese poor would be called by outsiders “The Humble March” beleiving the people had finally learned the pain of an oppressive empire. By insiders it was called the “Self Deportation” and by some with less class, “The Street Sweeping”. The government took little interest in the poor leaving as they tended to make up the most part of the mobs and riots, and it made the city look better and feel safer. When the Emporer caught wind of the Exodus he saw the long term negative consequences and attempted to make an example by killing the fleeing people.
The people of Miguel Vega were never found however. As the Catalan people would tell it, the Soldiers had come upon their camp but had miraculously passed over it. Many of the people called the event a miracle and claimed that the Goddess of Shadows, Ombriella, had covered the camp with her own mystic shroud of darkness. Because of this the Sargonian goddess Ombriella has adapted over time to become the more worshiped Goddess of the Catalan people and many consider her the most powerful among the gods.
During their sojourn to The Golden Isles Miguel organized the people by their skill and craft. He developed a plan whereby they would purchase one of the island from the Martigians and begin working it right away. This plan of Miguel’s would later become known as the Bellenese Buyout when it infact came to fruition. As Martigues was building a militia if began to run out of funds. Lupin de Garou haggled with Miguel over the price and eventually the two settled aimicably on a price. Miguel named the land after his daughter Cata, and put the once poor and unemployed to work right away.
It wasn’t until Miguel became too old to run Catalan anymore that his full dream was realised. Cata, who had followed in her father’s footsteps took the goods they had produced from the land and traded with the Sargonians and the other Islanders, eventually coming home with a vast windfall. Shortly thereafter, Cata Vega was named the first Merchant Princess of Catalan, and was formally invited to join the Meritocracy.
Catalan was originally taken over by the Martigians and cultivated by them. At the time, the few merchants who lived there farmed the more fertile flat lands on the wide island. Most of the food in The Golden Isles was grown there, and it helped sustain the entire cluster of Islands. None of this changed when Miguel Vega purchased the land, infact the farming became more efficient which produced a greater profit than the Martigian farmers were able to produce, though the said farmers would claim that the food lost its special quality. This is still debated today.
The church of Ombriella thrives in Catalan but it is changing all the time to meet the current views of the people. Much of the rest of The Golden Isles resent Sargonian gods so the religion doesn’t spread well. The former Bellense understand the mistrust of the other Islands and stive to overcome this stigma all the time, particularly from the Matoshi. Cata Vega, who is a staunch believer in Ombriella works closely with the clergy in matters of governing. While Catalan produces more farmers than it does soldiers, the church and state have come together to form an elite group of spies who devote their very lives to Ombriella and her people, the “Catallan”. The spies themsleves are known as “Whispers” and none of the members are actually known by name. It is generally believed that the Meritocracy uses the Whispers to infiltrate the Sargonian Empire, finally utilizing the Empire’s trust of Bellenese.