Republic of Mikash
The Republic of Mikash was once an old Charan trade outpost on the habitable southern edge of the Kallai Desert. Over the centuries it grew slowly, being a haven for outlaws, disgraced sons of noble families and politically unsavvy administrators. However, two major events occurred within a very short time of each other which transformed the outpost into a thriving city and the area into a small but powerful Republic: the fall of the Charan Hegemony allowed the outpost to claim independence, and only four years later, the discovery of a collection of ancient ruins filled with powerful magic brought wizards and sorcerers from across the known world to investigate, study, and make a new home in an increasingly magic-friendly territory.
Modern-day Mikash has less in common with its neighbors than they do with each other; the power of magic counts for far more in society than it does in the other nations of the western bay, and the Republic’s position between the well-explored inner coast of the bay and the largely unexplored outer coast has given them tremendous knowledge and opportunities unavailable even to Remera’s far-reaching exploratory commissions. The desert shields the Republic from invasion, and even Elven pirates are slower to challenge merchant shipping in a nation where even common sailors can hurl spells at attacking ships. However, Mikash is still the smallest by far of the four nations on this side of the bay, and its loose rules for the control of magic often produce disasters.
Mikash is a magocracy. The cities of Mikash, Ayaldun and Herevos are the only major population centers, and each is ruled by a council of the three most powerful resident mages – though each city differs in how this power is proven. The Republic as a whole is ruled by the nine members of these three councils and by 9 representatives elected by each city. Meetings of the councils are closely guarded secrets and all decisions that leave the chamber have been reported as unanimous since the early years of the Republic, when many prominent politicians were assassinated by groups of mages unhappy with their choices.
Easily half the citizenry of Mikash has some level of magical talent, and thus citizenship. The other half serve as suppliers of labor and raw materials to the magical population, and while they are better off than the serf and slave labor used elsewhere in the bay, they are in utter poverty compared to even lower-class magic users. Divine magic users are very rare in Mikash; organized religion is barred and no temples have been built since the fall of Chara, the mages having decided that religion was a personal choice and should be kept that way, lest a religious war between mages destroy what little habitable land the nation possessed. Such clerics as can be found in Mikash are granted citizenry as magic-users, though they are quietly barred from any attempts at political maneuvering.
Mikash fields limited ground forces, as no ground army has proven able to cross the Kallai to attack. Instead, it fields a powerful navy in spite of the great expense of importing wood to build ships. Magic and extensive practice keep their warships floating far longer than most ships serving in Charan or Remeran fleets, and any ship that leaves Mikashan waters carries a dozen mages in addition to the sailing crew, who are all required to be citizens as well. While other nations do send mages out on their ships, few have sufficient number of them to defend against a dozen lightning bolts – or enough of them to strike a Mikashan warship with more defense-oriented passengers.