Jirra (JEER-ah) was the name of the founder of the settlement that became a city and the namesake of the entire region. Jirra was an Acheran sailor and explorer who ventured off the mainland during The Scattering.
The Freeholds exist on a series of islands grouped in the heart of the Sea of Jirra. The southernmost islands are mostly rainforest while the northern isles possess a mixture of tropical and temperate forests.
The southernmost islands also have a series of rocks jutting out from the shallow sea surrounding them. These rocks are particularly treacherous for sailing and act as a barrier against Urkhani incursion.
Cities and Places of Interest
The largest “freehold” is the city of Jirra, on the northernmost tip of the northernmost island in the chain. It is separated from the mainland city of Kalimsport by only a mere forty miles of sea.
The city of Sinika stands on an island to the east of Jirra. South of Jirra, on the southern tip of the same island as that city, is the city of Qualera. On the southern islands stand the cities of Lenay, Vesoth, Enthys, and Mosel.
The island chain to the southwest of Achera had once been thought a frontier and was often treated as such. The settlements there were actually the refuges of pirates, outlaws, refugees, and other outcasts from mainland society. As these settlements grew, and the independent “freeholds” began to trade with each other (and even with mainland settlements), the need for common governance began to grow. Thus the Freehold Charter was born.
The Imperial Period
During the Imperial Period, the Jirran Freeholds were nominally Acheran provinces, though, so long as tribute was paid, they were left largely to their own devices. As the empire declined, the freeholds began to assert themselves once again.
A large-scale trade embargo, enforced by privateers patrolling the waters, won the freeholds their independence once again. These actions, known as the " Pirate Wars ", represented the first concerted military action taken by the Freeholders and the participants became the predecessor to the modern marine militia that patrols these waters today.
Laws and Governance
Under the Freehold Charter, each city is an independent entity (“freehold”) with a Representative on a Charter Council made up of representatives from each Freehold. The Charter details the powers of the Charter Council as well as the responsibilities of each Freehold. Each city maintains its own laws and regulations, with Charter law trumping all others. This document has held the islands together for nearly three centuries.
The spirit of the law under Charter rule largely favors personal freedom over governmental rule. Further, as each city grew from seafaring settlements, local laws tend to mirror shipboard law and punishments tend to be summarily issued by magistrates and often fit the individual crime. However, there is also a spirit of “every man has his say” before the law.
The Freeholds very much maintain a shipping economy, trading with each other and with mainland ports. They are also suspected to maintain a privateer navy that preys upon the ships of other nations—though this is rumor and has never been substantiated.
The islands are green and quite fertile, supplying the cities with food and timber. However, mineral deposits are scarce; thus, metals feature heavily into the Freeholder’s imports.
Trade is supported by a robust Guild system that oversees much of the economy within the islands.
*CP = Copper Piece, SP = Silver Piece, GP = Gold Piece, and PP = Platinum Piece
Freeholders are a varied mix of peoples, though they tend to be primarily of Southron stock.
Tradespeak is probably the most prominent language in the Freeholds, though Acheran runs a close second.
The Mazranites have a heavy presence in the Freeholds, though there are some Tarsian temples in Qualera and in Lenay. The practice of religion is unrestricted by Charter law.
Sorcery and Wizardry
The Freeholds are not signatories to the Athanasius Pact and thus there are no Towers of Wizardry within the islands. Freeholders tend to be a superstitious lot when it comes to sorcery and magic—not trusting it at the least and being outright hostile to it at the most. Though it is not illegal to practice such arts in the Freeholds, it is not a popular pastime.
The Freeholders are a freedom-loving lot, and very much represent a hodge-podge of mainland cultures. Music, cuisine, fashion, etc. are quite flamboyant and accentuate the varied nature of Freeholder culture.
Weapons and Armor
As each city maintains its own militia, there is no one style of weapon or armor design that is distinctively “Freeholder”.