The Free People of the Fringelands
The Free People of the Fringelands is a steadily growing group of people in the northeast portion of Scintar who are clamouring for independence. Talk of such a thing is considered treasonous, and so one is unlikely to know if someone is a member of this group unless one knows and is trusted by the right people. The group has been particularly encouraged by the recent success of Yardolan in the Lady’s War, though it holds no illusions about its current martial strength. There are some particularly active members of the group who raid Scintarese caravans, usually those laden with tax money or what many consider to be the exploitative prices many of the guilds maintain. However, with the growing success of these bandits, and the presumed knowledge and assistance lent to them by the local population, recently Scinatese officials have taken to recollecting lost tax funds from the locals. So far the guilds have not been able to enforce the same policy, but they have been raising prices in the area to cover the losses, which is simply reinforcing the root of the original problem.
A great many people of the Fringelands (the common name given to the entire eastern portion of Scintar) have little attachment to the political regime based in Scintar City. The Fringelands were conquered militarily by the Scintarese over two hundred years ago. The area remains sparsely populated (compared to the heartlands of Scintar to the west and the those of Bwollowland to the east), though the land is suitable for agriculture. Unlike Yardolan to the north, the Fringelands were never a politically unified entity. Instead, most inhabitants are quite happy with a rural existence, and would prefer to be left alone by most of the rest of the world. Many nobles from western Scintar hold official title over vast tracts of land in the Fringelands. Few actually travel to these ‘backwoods mud holes’ or ‘redneck ghost towns’ for fear of being bored to death. Some do maintain hunting lodges or similar retreats on their properties to which they travel once or twice a year. Despite this lack of direct involvement, these nobles tend to exact a fair amount of taxation from the local populations (often as much as possible) through appointed sheriffs and tax collectors. While most people in the Fringelands would rather be free of the absent power-figures of the nobles, along with their economic overhead and interference in local affairs, not many are willing to die for the cause, at least not yet. While the notion of a free state is growing in popularity, it appears that some kind of catalyst will be required to rally more people to the cause, and this will only happen if some positive vision of the future state can be presented to the people. Given the current state of affairs presenting such a vision would get one imprisoned or hung, it is unclear how this movement can truly blossom in the near future.