Thousands of years ago, the east side of the continent united under their first monarchy. After the monarchy became well established, it led to less fighting and more innovating. With better equipment for farming and better chances of surviving longer, there was a population boom.
Early on Nagdecht had to decide how to approach handling its large population, and Nagdecht decided to go with the idea that, “If everyone does their part a large population makes us stronger.”
This philosophy is deeply ingrained in Naggian culture and has translated in a great need for everyone to have a job, any job, as long as they can contribute something. People take huge pride in their work.
In the modern day, students attend school until they reach adulthood at nineteen. Then they’re expected to go to the employment office and find a job. The employment office is controlled by the government and every available job has to be listed with them; combined with how easy it is for people to start their own business, it makes it an easy task to find openings.
Finding a job for every person is important to them as it’s seen as giving someone a way to be self-sufficient, included and proud. The employment office works hard to find work for everyone who can conceivably do something.
With the amount of pressure on people to do as much as they can, it can be intimidating for young adults like Leander, who don’t know what they want to do yet and have immense competition.
For the first few years young employees are paid less and expected to hop from job to job until they find a match for them. This opens up a lot of opportunities for employers who want some cheap labor and new adults who want to get their foot in the door. Job-hopping is expected and not looked down upon as most people still consider nineteen years olds young and don’t expect them to know what they want to do until they have more experience.
People who continue switching jobs in their mid-twenties will be seen as immature and unreliable and will have a harder time finding employers who take them seriously. If they don’t stay in a job long enough to be properly trained they’ll also continue to receive minimum wage.
In Leander’s time people are living much longer; long enough to reach retirement age. This has created an upsurge in consignment shops. The majority of retirees in Nagdecht take up a hobby; whether it’s knitting, building model houses or making toys. Rather than mass-produce items like they would at a regular job, they spend a lot of time making items by hand.
They can then take what they’ve made to a consignment shop – many of which specialize in selling goods from senior citizens.
The shops are generally considered to be full of high quality goods that can be a little pricey, but it goes to a good cause (supporting seniors). It lets seniors work on projects at their own pace and continue to produce goods. Selling goods in a consignment shop is a source of pride for the seniors because it allows them to continue to contribute and lets them show off labors of love.
Different cultures have personal space bubbles. In Nagdecht, physical proximity is a large indicator of how close two people are mentally because physically touching is considered important to bonding.
For that reason it’s not unusual for Leander to have a lot of physical contact with his dad. It can come in many forms; from hugging, to sleeping next to each other to wrestling. Leander’s desire to be close to his father is seen as a good thing and an indication that they have a strong relationship.
In the same way, how people physically interact is usually an indicator of the type of relationship they have.
Where people are placed in relation to other people is also a symbol of how important they are. In Nagdecht’s castle, the king and the two generals sleep on the top floor, putting them above everyone else. General Glaive’s personal soldiers sleep just one floor below them; clear evidence to the rest of the kingdom that they’re the most highly ranked of all the troops, even if they have no official titles declaring it so.
Leander and Lorough have a highly unusual setup in their house. While Lorough sleeps in the basement, Leander sleeps on the second floor.
(Sketch drawn by Lylith.)
Some sketches Lylith did of Ellora.
These are more manga-style than in the book. The one in the bottom corner is out of character for her, but it’s just a sketch.
It does give an opportunity to bring up breast sizes in Nagdecht. Female breasts aren’t considered any more sexual than male chests, so there was never any pressure for women to have large breasts. The average size is an A-cup with the occasional B-cup.
With that in mind, most swimsuits in Nagdecht are bottoms only for both men and women.
On Pressea there are 14 months in a year. The months aren’t named; just referred to by number. There’s five days in a week, 27 days in a month and 378 days in a year.
Years on Pressea are slightly longer than on Earth. Every 20 years on Pressea is approximately 21 years on Earth.
Naggians have black to extremely dark brown hair. Naggian hair is fine and straight. Shoulder-length hair is popular and is allowed in the army.
Geuranians have blond, all variations of brown and, more rarely, black and green. Green hair is caused by a mutation of the black hair gene, so it always appears very dark and can easily be mistaken for black at a distance. The thickness of their hair varies more than the other two races, usually medium to thick. Both straight and curly hair is normal. Women tend to have longer hair than men, mostly due to men being part of the army and having to keep their hair short.
Rhodarens have medium to dark brown hair. They also have black hair, but it’s more likely that it’ll actually be a dark brown. Rhodaren hair tends to be thick and they usually either have wavy hair or curly hair, but there’s also people with straight hair. Rhodarens dislike cutting their hair short because it usually becomes difficult to handle. Even if they join the army they will often put it up rather than cut it short. It’s most common for them to wear it to their mid-back and rare that they will cut it shorter than a centimeter above their shoulders.
Nagdecht, Geuran and Rhodaren exist on the largest continent on Pressea. In the middle of the continent is a large and dangerous forest called Lyruna.
Lyruna continues to exist despite deforestation for several reasons.
1. People appreciate nature and are opposed to removing the largest forest in the world.
2. Lyruna is full of dangerous animals and plantlife. The further in people press the more likely they are to be attacked.
3. Lyruna provides resources.
4. It would affect the environment.
The largest mountain on the continent is located at the center of Lyruna. It’s real name is Mount Lyrune, but it’s been nicknamed Mount Peril. There’s a long held belief that a great treasure is at the top of Mount Lyrune, and small groups of soldiers are assigned to retrieve it. The groups, however, are always composed of defiant, lazy or otherwise unworkable soldiers and it’s considered giving them a ‘second chance’. If they can make it there and back they can gain both fame and fortune.
None have made it back in forty years. People used to look at it optimistically but now it’s considered a suicide mission.
Lyruna wasn’t mentioned in the first book but it will come up in later books.
On Pressea the majority of people don’t need to learn to drive. If they do need to use a vehicle they’ll hire someone or use public transportation. Vehicles travel between cities on a schedule.
Carts are the main form of transportation. Most people travel within the city they live, and each large city has a well-developed rail system. The railways are built above the ground – the ground is reserved for pedestrians. It’s easy to find a place to board a cart. Generally there’s a spot at every intersection. Depending on the city the carts have different ways of being boarded. In Nagdecht’s capital, the carts lower themselves straight down to the ground at specified boardings spots. In the Geuranian town Leander visited, they built a platform to walk up to the cart. In Rhodaren, it’s common for the rails to curve to lower the cart to the ground. Carts are controlled by a computer system that calculates the best path to take.
There are 2 main types of carts. The first type is the cheaper to ride. It has seats for people and carries them from one destination to another. The second type is commonly called a “dining cart”. These carts are rented by restaurants, bakeries and other food places and serve as a way to sell food all across town. For example, a dining cart in Nagdecht’s capital will have the back or front end dedicated to food. There are compartments for each meal that are designed to keep the food fresh and warm for a period of time. People can look at the display and purchase whatever meal or dessert they want. Throughout the day the carts will be re-stocked with fresh food, so it’s possible to board a dining cart at any point in the day and not worry about the food being out too long. Dining carts are considered expensive not because they cost a lot to board but because people end up spending a lot on food. People can also request food carts from certain restaurants but it may take longer for them to arrive, so often they let the nearest cart come.
Every spot to ride a cart has an access panel nearby. These are used to pay and enter the destination, but in Geuran and Nagdecht they’re also connected to a widespread network of information so they can all be updated regularly. The purpose of the network is so that information is easily shared among all citizens. What is on the network depends on the country. Each country has a separate network from the others and is monitored differently. Geuran and Nagdecht both strictly regulate information that is available to the public while Rhodaren’s rules are much looser. This is because Nagdecht’s monarchy and Geuran’s dictatorship only want some information public. They’re also cautious to avoid putting up useful information that other countries might be able to steal. Rhodaren, on the other hand, is a Republic. Their leaders don’t have a monopoly on their media. Access panels in Rhodaren are for getting directions and entering destinations. The majority of their information comes from a variety of media sources run by everything from news companies to small local sources.
There are other carts made for specific situations. Hospitals have carts prepared to pick up and transport people. Medical carts take precedence over other types of carts and always use the quickest route. People who have certain IDs (police, rescue teams, etc.) can register when there’s an emergency to get places as fast as possible.