Ginzaz was originally a province of Cartha until it revolted along with the mainland in 0AE. Though Harkath attempted to reclaim the island after Hale Harkonnen's forces had recovered from the rebellion, the island was able to fight off the invaders and maintain its independence. Its small military eventually grew into a school for training master swordsmen. Ginzaz master swordsmen take decades to hone both their skill with a blade and their knowledge of matters political and philosophical, and are the main export of the small island nation. They often serve as advisers or elite guards for the political and economic elite of Erna. Aspiring swordsmen travel from all over, hoping to enroll in the legendary school.
In 75BA, Ginzaz was an uninhabited island. At the time, there was a popular theory running the length of the Carthic Empire that there were other lands beyond the vast oceans around Erna. Such rumors angered the Carthic emperor and ruling elite, who did not like the people to dream of lands beyond their empire's reach, and within a few years the idea was stamped out. Before that happened, however, many coastal governors at the furthest reaches of Erna built great observatories to look outward and keep watch for foreign ships cresting the horizon. Ginzaz was one of those sites.
The construction of the great stone towers of the observatory was costly, and the transportation of food and other goods over time was even more costly. Eventually, the call was sent out and a group of Harkathan locals volunteered to ship out and establish a town to support the Carthic troops manning the garrison. The land of the island was rich, and allowed the town to flourish even after the mission of "keeping watch" dried up on the mainland. After a few generations, loyalties to the faraway empire diminished, and the descendants of the Carthic soldiers and locals began to dream of freedom from the imperial governors, whose ill favor and legions of troops could destroy all that they had created. When news of the weakening of the empire reached Ginzaz in 10BA, the remains of the garrison were shaped into a militia, and plans were made.
When Hale Harkonnen began the rebellion in 0AE, Ginzaz was prepared. They immediately declared their independence from everyone and sent emissaries to all the nations along the eastern coast to negotiate treaties and ensure their security. However, few governments took the entreaties of this small island "nation" seriously, and the emissaries were largely ignored for the duration of the rebellion. In 20AE, Hale Harkonnen, now king of a free Harkath, set his sights on the island. Harkath's navy was small and primitive, like most of the other land-bound nations, which limited the size and scope of the invasion forces he was able to send. By 23AE, the success of the island in repelling Harkathan advances caught the attention of Willesa and Tandrice, who had become weary of the military might of Harkath. They quickly signed the treaties Ginzaz craved, making further Harkathan assaults unfeasible.
Over the generations, the militia which had fought for the freedom of the island became a central part of Ginzaz culture. Armed with few natural resources to offer in trade, the people of Ginzaz put great effort into training their soldiers, and by 55AE, the school of the Ginzaz Sword Masters had been formed. The school grew in prestige over time, and in modern times is highly renowned for producing excellent warriors.
The island of Ginzaz is loosely dotted with farming and fishing villages, and the only real government lies in the administration of the Sword Master School. As so much of the island's fortunes depend on the performance of the sword masters it produces, the proctors of the school are obeyed in any matter they take a hand in.
Ginzaz has a warm relationship with Willesa and Tandrice, with whom it has solid treaties of friendship. It's relationship with Harkath is much more tenuous, as the royal family still remembers when Ginzaz was nothing but a colony of the mainland. However, the undeniable quality of the Ginzaz sword masters, coupled with the island's distance from the affairs of the mainland, leaves it largely undisturbed.
The skilled sword masters of Ginzaz began to come into competition with the elite mercenaries of the Shadow Dancers of Jakka around 100AE, and over the years that competition grew more and more fierce. When Shadow Dancers attempted to infiltrate the island and sabotage the School in 121AE, Ginzaz instructed their graduates to kill Shadow Dancers on sight unless strictly forbidden by their employers.
When war broke out between Gastonia and Harkath in 190AE, Ginzaz remained officially neutral, but it was rumored that Ginzaz sword masters helped train and support Gastonian military commanders during the conflict.
Demographics and CultureEdit
Rich though the land may be, Ginzaz's small landmass can only support so many, and the population of the island nation has remained constant for many generations at around 20,000.
The centrality of the Sword Master School in Ginzaz fortunes has promoted a focus on martial prowess even among the farmers and fishers of the island. Everyone regularly practices some form of combat, and martial proficiency is considered virtuous. All citizens of the island are very deferential to the proctors and students of the School, and great respect is given to any who are admitted. Swordsmen travel from all corners of the world to apply to the School, and they bring all manner of diverse cultures, ideas, and practices with them.
The Ginzaz Sword Master School is legendary throughout Erna. Students study for years, perfecting not only their bodies and combat skills, but also their minds and spirits through intense study, meditation, and art. Ginzaz sword masters who complete their training, which can last for more than ten years, leave the island to serve whoever hires them. Their exemplary performance as warriors, bodyguards, advisers, and teachers earns profit, prestige, and security for the island that became their true home.