The Verdenes, also known as Sammichian Verdenesia, is an island chain in the western Shire under the control of the New Sammichian Empire. The Verdenes is comprised of five main islands; Kaava, Lavfe Nu, Koha Nu, Jaave, and Avfra, along with several smaller islands. The bulk of the land is protected by the Empire as the Verdenes National Park, while Koha Nu is the chain's largest and only town. The islands are known for their lush rainforests, exotic plant and animal life, unique Verdenesian culture, and the active volcano, Mount Poon. The population of the Verdenes is roughly 1,200 people, and its current Chancellor is Kora ne Mokae.
The Verdenes were first inhabited by ancient Enpeecees, with evidence suggesting an Enpeecee presence on the islands since around 4,000 PRY. Secluded and isolated, the Enpeecees developed a unique culture focused on harmony with nature and all life. Their practice of leaving a very small footprint has made them difficult to study today, but it is believed that they thrived in peace for centuries and remained untouched by the empire of Xamichia. The islanders were discovered by the outside world in 1777, by the Paarsdam explorer Willem van Verden. The city acted as a middleman for trade between the Verdenes and the rest of the Shire, until the trading rights were purchased from Paarsdam from the Solurian Empire in 1824 to bolster their economic presence in the western Shire. The Solurian Empire exhbited a higher amount of control over the islands than their Paarsdamer predecessors, and eventually annexed the Verdenes in 1831. They held the islands until 1863, when Emperor X ceded them to King Phemenses IV of the Kingdom of Fulfwotz in order to cement a pan-Demmatrodine trade deal between the two nations. Because the islands were given directly to Phemenses, they functioned as his private economic venture and were not subject to Chancellery inquiry. The native Verdenesians were enslaved and forced to work in silver mines on the island of Kaava as Phemenses exploited the Verdenes for its natural resources. His successor King Drefnex continued to operate the islands privately, but did free the natives (albeit still putting them to work in mines with inordinately low wages).
The exploitation of the Verdenesian natives lessened as King Sammich entered power, and a number of public works projects were launched in the early 20th century; however, the Kingdom tightened its grip on the islands as tensions mounted leading up to the First World War in 1927. To avoid inciting revolt and discontent, the Kingdom kept the Verdenesians and many other territories ignorant of the war and what was occurring. In order to boost morale on their side, the Liberators devised a plan to liberate the Verdenes from the Kingdom in what was expected to be an easy operation; however, Overtaker spies discovered the plan and ambushed the Liberators upon their arrival on the shores of Kaava and Lavfe Nu. Reinforcements were sent, and the Overtakers did not allow the Liberators to retreat. The Battle of the Verdenes ended up being one of the bloodiest and largest conflicts of the war, with over 180,000 deaths combined and an eventual victory for the Overtaker forces. There were also mass civilian casualties, leaving the entire island of Lavfe Nu depopulated.
In the Treaty of Niflheim in 1929, the Verdenes remained a part of the newly-formed New Sammichian Empire, largely due in part to the brainwashing of native children fostering loyalty to the Empire and the belief that had the Liberators not invaded the islands, they would have been left alone, and the simple fact that the Verdenes no longer had the means to support itself. In 1932, the Verdenes were given a Chancellor and its people formal Imperial citizenship. It survived the Second Plague, remaining almost completely unaffected due to both physical and self-imposed isolation. The Serene Republic of the Verdenes was formed following the collapse of the New Sammichian Empire in 1972 and the creation of the Fulflet Union. It remained independent until 1974, when Fulflet forces asserted control over the islands. It became a primary weapons testing site for the Fulflet Union, and in 1976, the Ender Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created, was detonated in the ocean surrounding the islands.
Today, the Verdenes are a popular tourist destination for its impressive ecosystem and green rainforests. The islands of Kaava, Lavfe Nu, Avfra, Jaave, and Rivfa are now protected and form the Verdenes National Park, one of the most visited nature reserves in the world. The islands are currently experiencing a generational divide between the older Verdenesians who wish to preserve the traditional way of life and harmony with nature, and then the younger Verdenesians who wish to mine Kaava and stimulate economic development, selling silver on world markets. This also clashes with the views of international environmentalists.
- Kaava- The largest of the Verdenesian islands, Kaava is known for its vast rainforests and still-active volcano, Mount Poon. Mount Poon forms the base of all of the islands; ocean vents beneath the surface of the water created all of the islands aside from Kaava. The island has many untapped silver reserves, which have been exploited by many colonizing nations throughout history. Its large beaches are popular destinations for tourists, and the island has the largest population of Queen parrots in the world.
- Lavfe Nu- Lavfe Nu is a flat island dominated by wildlife, similar in appearance to other islands of the park. It features the park's Visitors' Center and a war memorial to the Verdenesians who fought in the Battle of the Verdenes. Lavfe Nu once boasted an impressive town, but the entire island was depopulated after the Verdenes were caught in the middle of the Liberator and Overtaker conflict. Wildlife quickly retook the land, and any indication that a town had been there was removed with the creation of the park.
- Koha Nu- Today, Koha Nu features the only community in the Verdenesian islands. It is populated almost entirely by natives, and the Empire is routinely criticized for its treatment of them; much of the town is in a state of disrepair, and poverty has forced many of the islanders into drug use -- which the Empire only profits from. In 2014, figures indicated that the Verdenes alone accounted for 18.4% of state-sanctioned heroin consumption. In 1998 during a state visit of Emperor Sammich, the 1998 Verdenesian Race Riots erupted as the result of popular discontent; tourists were not allowed to depart the islands of the park, and on Koha Nu, six Sammichians were killed and over 140 Enpeecees were arrested. One islander, Nidale Kaafte, was killed by the Magistrax Militae after making an attempt on the Emperor's life. Since then, programs have been established on the island to rehabilitate and improve the living conditions of the natives.
- Avfra- Another key component of the park, Avfra's unique rugged terrain and steep climbs make it a more popular spot for experienced hikers. Its inclusion into the Verdenes National Park sparked debate, as the island's untapped resources are now virtually inaccessible by the Verdenesians.