Valdyas is an imaginary kingdom in an equally imaginary world that grew in the telling. At first it was only the setting for what I then thought was going to be a book, pieced together from the shards of two other worlds that had fallen apart for different personal reasons, but in the almost twenty years (egads! has it been that long?) that it has existed it's taken on a life and a language of its own.
The whole country is about half the size of Europe (look at the map for latitudes). Its known neighbours are Iss-Peran to the south across the sea, Solay (or in its own language: Aumen Síth) to the south-west, and Velihas to the east over the mountains. Velihas is nominally an estate of the Crown since Vegelin II (the Great) married Lédu Lástalfái, the youngest daughter of its king, in 358.
Miallei Vegelin astin Velain (339-399) was regent for his niece from 354 to 359 and then king until 380. That he bears the title "the Great" is because of his spiritual rather than his physical stature: history has him as a short and slight man, no more than about five feet tall. He was an excellent swordsman, however. His sword is still being handed down from monarch to crown prince or princess, but most of them exchange it for a longer weapon when they grow up.
People live there: peasants and nobles, teachers and students, watchmen and midwives, priestesses and guildmasters. And many children. To have children is one of the greatest joys of life in Valdyas. After more than a hundred years of hard times, when harvests were poor and many children didn't live to see their second summer, Queen Alyse II, Alysei Alyse astin Velain, and her Prince Consort Hyltei Radan astin Brun made the kingdom flourish again. When Queen Alyse died in a smallpox epidemic, her son Athal became king at thirteen. (More recent history is here, in my roleplaying blog.)
The most important single factor that shapes Valdyan society is probably the eternal struggle between the god Anshen and his twin, who is usually not named. About one in seven people is born with psychic gifts, which many of them use to work for one god or the other.
That may be the reason that literacy is more widespread than in most equally developed societies: to do a god's work, you need to know things, and many things you need to know are written down or can most easily be communicated in writing. Even the smallest village has its school.
The economy is mostly agricultural. Population is densest where the land yields plenty, but even in the Western Plain there are stubborn people scraping a living from the bare ground. Ryshas is the richest region, and some people call it "the Garden of Valdyas" or "Queen Alyse's Garden" after Alyse I, the king's grandmother, who used to spend winters in Turenay. Grain and wool come from the north, weavers from Rizenay make the best tapestries, wine is produced in Ryshas and Lenyas.
There are some successful trading companies, mostly based in Essle where ships keep up trade routes to Solay and Iss-Peran. The Star of the South is the largest company, though it's only a branch of a company from Iss-Peran. The Rising Sun and The Dawn strive for second place, and at the moment the former is on top because The Dawn has recently suffered some serious setbacks. All trading companies have offices and warehouses in Essle and most have an office in other towns, or at least an agency with the Temple of Mizran, whenever something they happen to trade in is produced in the region or there's a reasonable demand for their imports.