In war and in everyday life, the people of Nirmathas are fiercely independent, defining themselves largely by opposition to their regimented and bureaucratic former masters in Cheliax and Molthune. Great generosity and charity of spirit abide in Nirmathas, but the ideals of freedom, self-sufficiency, and liberty reign above all else. Even the best ideas are ignored or rejected if they bear the faintest hint of compulsion. To infringe upon individual rights and freedoms is to invite blood feud. The partisans of Nirmathas have learned well how to survive. Whether they can succeed in forming a nation remains to be seen.
During the years of turmoil following the collapse of Cheliax, the governor of Molthune claimed all the Fangwood to the then-current southern border of Lastwall as part of his newly independent nation. Soldiers from the regional capital at Canorate ensured political stability, but the woodsmen, rangers, trappers, artisans, and fisherfolk who depended on the forest’s bounty soon realized that, just as Cheliax had pillaged the region of resources while providing little in return, the new mandates from Canorate were simply changing the flow of exploitation from one city to another. Resentment flared as the promise of a new era collapsed, and what started as a few minor acts of sabotage soon blossomed into a guerilla war for independence.
Spilled blood and chaos defined the early years of the fledgling nation’s revolt against Molthune, with bands of woodsmen and other irregular troops acting independently. This changed when Irgal Nirmath, a half-elf trapper, united several separate groups into one sizable force. As his victory-count mounted, his legend spread, and Nirmath drew more rebels to the banner of Irgal’s Axe – as his force came to be known – and even Molthuni commanders found themselves respecting his cunning.
After 7 years, a border of sorts solidified, and the rebels declared victory and independence in 4655 AR. Yet on the very night of Nirmath’s triumph, an assassin’s blade took his life. His followers clamored to name their newborn nation Nirmathas in honor of their fallen hero. In the years since, Molthune has repeatedly invaded its wayward province, and every time, its armies have eventually been forced back across the Marideth River after pyrrhic campaigns against foes who refuse to stand still or stay down.
Prominent Nirmathi leaders and soldiers gather every 4 years to elect a Forest Marshal to lead their military forces. The current marshal, Weslen Gavirk, is a compassionate and determined man well acquainted with the jack-booted oppression enacted by Molthune in its repeated conquests of his home city, Tamran. He hopes to duplicate Irgal’s feat of uniting the Nirmathi, but his is a difficult task, as every Nirmathi considers himself an army of one, with every household and village an independent company. While they usually respond to the Forest Marshal’s call to battle, disparate groups of Nirmathi often ignore battle plans in favor of their own ideas. The Fangwood is filled with such merry bands, each considering itself the embodiment of the true Nirmathi spirit. These bands fight injustice (real or perceived) as they encounter it, although they often spend as much time feuding with rivals as stymieing Molthuni incursions. Their efforts hack at the limbs of injustice without piercing its heart, and amid these individual acts of heroism, the Nirmathi as a whole struggle to merely survive.
The city of Tamran is deemed to be the pseudo capital of the country, and is governed, with the term being used loosely, by a council of 4 elders including the Forest Marshal, and three speakers namely the Speaker of the Bark, the Speaker of the Heart, and the Speaker of the Leaves). Currently the three speaker positions are filled by Speaker Ollis Tamain, Speaker Mayslen Torgun and Speaker Aromina Yasgon respectively. The speakers act more as advisors to the Forest Marshall that actual members of a democratic government.
The Forest Marshall is the overall leader of the Nirmathi people. The role of Forest Marshal is primarily a military position, with those who fill the role selected for skill in battle and tactical acumen. As a civil ruler, the Forest Marshal is no more than a symbol or figurehead.
The Speaker of the Bark is the Forest Marshall’s primary military advisor within the confines of Tamran. His portfolio is responsible for defense and policing of the city. The Speaker of the Bark usually holds some type of military rank, but may also be a masterful tactician, and in some cases, bureaucrat with some type of military logistics background.
The Speaker of the Heart is an advocate for the people of Tamran, who looks out for the best interests of the city as well as for Nirmathas as a whole. The Speaker of the Heart is usually a masterful negotiator or in some cases ex-spy whose portfolio includes identifying threats within the city as opposed to the Speaker of the Bark who concerns themselves with threats from without.
The final position, the Speaker of the Leaves, is concerned with maintaining harmony with the surrounding natural areas, both physically and spiritually. This means that they are responsible ensuring that local religions work together for the betterment of the community. The role of Speaker of the Leaves is primarily a logistical one however and is usually given to a person with a background in diplomacy, or in some cases those with connections with the church of Erastil.
Actual governance of the country is entirely a local affair, from village elders or exiled nobility to the oldest, wisest, wealthiest, or most eloquent speakers – there is no organized system of rule spread throughout Nirmathas. Some Nirmathi advocate for a leader skilled in diplomacy, trade, and negotiation, but in an unstable land where freedom, liberty, and individuality are paramount, centralized leadership and the common good are elusive concepts. Alliances and coalitions are ephemeral and often deeply personal, and Nirmathi are quick to recoil when they perceive someone overreaching his authority.