Epsilon

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Epsilon at nighttime.

Overview

Epsilon is a small island settlement under the control of the New Sammichian Empire. It sits in a small island chain to the east of the Demmatrodine Region. While it is hailed for its main export, luxury Epsilorne Chocolate, its citizens are plagued by the Kajkto Sickness (a virulent disease which stems from the surrounding flora) and abusive labor practices. Because of the Kajkto Sickness, travel to the island is heavily restricted and Epsilorne Chocolate is becoming a rare commodity.

History

The full history of Epsilon predates recorded Shire history, with hieroglyphs from the indigenous Enpeecee race dating back to 8,000 PRY. Epsilon was the hub of trade and commerce in the short-lived Dominion of Enocia, controlled by the Enpeecee legend Uhktal the Sacred. While historians debate if Uhktal the Sacred (or even Enocia) actually existed, many Enpeecees claim that Uhktal lived on Epsilon. However, the glory of Epsilon and Enocia ended with the enslavement of the Enpeecee race by the Lilladonian Empire in 2,164 PRY. Epsilon was oppressed, and without any advancement of science or medicine the Kajkto Sickness rose from the lush jungle flora of the island.

Kajkto Sickness

Without any intellectual advancement after being enslaved, the Enpeecee population of Epsilon grew vulnerable to the threatening and unsafe plant life. The first known outbreak of Kajkto Sickness was recorded in 1,620 PRY among an enclave of chocolatiers. The symptoms of the sickness include a green pallor of the skin, bloating, and the malfunctioning of the digestive tract. Most people end up dying when their digestive system fails, or the pain of digestion is too much and they starve. The Epsilonites believed the disease was spread from the plant life alone, but modern medicine tells us that it can also be transmitted through excretement.

The disease ravaged the population, and the Lilladonian Empire chose to withdraw from the settlement, truly leaving the Epsilonites to die. The population was saved only by a group of people who were born with immunity, and the island maintains a steady yet small population to this day.

Sammichian Conflicts

In 1930, during the period of aggressive annexation on behalf of the newly-formed New Sammichian Empire, Imperial forces had set their sights on the island, seeking to profit from their main source of income, decadent Epsilorne Chocolate. Calia Pessides, the Imperial Foreign Ambassador at the time, journeyed to Epsilon herself to extend an invitation to join the Empire. Still bitter from when the Lilladonian Empire withdrew their involvement instead of helping the Epsilonites battle the Kajkto Sickness, they ordered Pessides and her party to leave the island. However, the Empire was set on their intentions to claim Epsilon, and formed a trade blockade on the island in 1932, intercepting any shipments of Epsilorne Chocolate and depriving Epsilon of their earnings.

Reluctantly, the Epsilon Chieftan Kalek agreed to the annexation, under the terms that the blockade would be lifted and DePrey Institute in Fulfwotz would help to develop a cure to the still-existent Kajkto Sickness. In 1933, Epsilon officially joined the Empire, and both parties reaped the benefits of increased income and the development of the cure. The prosperity was soon over though, because after a reported Kajkto case in Oranjestad from a shipment of Epsilorne Chocolate, the Shire United Nations pressured the Empire to restrict travel and trade from Epsilon. They agreed, but began selling the chocolate on the black market in large quantities and at a higher price, still generating revenue for the island.

Epsilorne Chocolate

Quite possibly one of the most expensive food products on the market, Epsilorne Chocolate is an old and sought-after commodity which originates on the island. It was first created under the Epsilorne Order, the modern-day Epsilorne Chocolate Company. The humid, tropical climate was favorable to cacao trees. It remains a mystery why Epsilorne Chocolate has such a rich and decadent taste, but folktales on Epsilon tell of the taste driving people mad and lusting for more. It helped Epsilon become noted around the Shire, especially after the New Sammichian Empire annexed it and began exporting it in much larger quantities. Although the industry suffered after the trade and travel restrictions were placed, the Empire helped smuggle the product into the black market. Many people boycott the chocolate because of the disreputable and abusive labor practices that involve the production, which does not involve any modern machinery and relies on physically-demanding and ancient processes.

Notable Residents

Calia Pessides - Current Chancellor of Epsilon, former Imperial Foreign Ambassador

Damra Lorne - CEO of Epsilorne Chocolate Company and criticized for questionable labor practices

Uhktal the Sacred - Legendary and sometimes mythological ruler of the Dominion of Enocia

Dellia the Storyteller - Famous teller of stories and folktales, host of Shire Tales with Dellia