Chandra-Veh is a small, but incredibly wealthy, country far to the East of Haltbent, led from the sprawling capital of Ilan-Pur, which is said to be one of the oldest cities in the world. Chandra-Veh is protected on three sides by a rugged mountain range known as the Holds, and it is because of these mountains that Chandra-Veh has survived not one, not two, not three, but seventeen separate invasion attempts from adjacent countries eager to obtain the nation's wealth- most of which is in the form of massive gold, silver and bronze mines scattered through the mountains.
Chandra-Veh is led by an emperor, a title which is theoretically passed down by bloodline but is more often than not obtained via wars of succession that can last anywhere between a few months and several decades. Despite this, the country is remarkably stable, and by not seeking to expand their territory they are able to focus on what's going on at home.
Chandra-Veh's dominant religion includes a litany of Gods not worshiped in Haltbent, but their main deities are the same.
Chandra-Veh is known for a great many things, though the most notable would be the expansive markets of Ilan-Pur, and the equally impressive Hanging Gardens. Though Ilan-Pur is surrounded by only one wall, this wall is over eighty feet tall and fifty feet thick, with four tiers- from each tier hangs a variety of plants, ranging from bushes to ivies and trees. These gardens are tended by a staff expressly picked out for this purpose and no other, and the walls are in fact Ilan-Pur's version of a royal castle.
At the southernmost point of the city, the tiers rise a fifth time to form a tower that peaks high above the rest of the city, looking out at the nearby sea. This is where the emperor lives. The closer to this tower, the wealthier the citizens, while the farthest area is dominated by the marketplace and the slums.
Chandra-Veh is currently led by the young Emperor Marodchanzzar II, who inherited the throne from his father less than three years ago. He has already risen to fame for being both generous and tactically gifted; his rule has seen a 20% rise in the worth of the Chandra-Veh currency, and a drop in the homeless population, as he has opened a series of mines in the nearby hills to obtain quicksilver and iron.
The country's population is also quickly rising, however, and fears have risen that they soon won't be able to provide for all citizens without expanding their reach. Suggestions have been made to convert Ilan-Pur's extensive Hanging Gardens to more agricultural purposes.
Perhaps because they have so much money to spare, or perhaps because they never have to worry about war, Chandra-Veh is one of the world's leaders in architecture. The Hanging Gardens of Ilan-Pur are a shining sample of this. So too are the Colossal Keepers, two massive statues carved into the mountainsides on either side of the ports of the city of Gulda-Dain, which is surrounded on every other side by sheer cliffs. To be honest, most of Chandra-Veh's cities are architectural miracles; the country is largely desert and savannah, and every settlement is built around oases or right near the sea.
Ilan-Pur's massive reservoir is hidden under the city so it won't be polluted by invaders, and is supplemented by water running down from the mountains in the summer. Petra Naktal, the third largest city in the country, is one of many etched and carved into the side of the mountains. Most of the mines have their own companion towns, but most of the citizens (70%) are clustered in the top five largest metropolises. Travel is usually done by caravan, which use camels instead of horses.
The laws of Chandra-Veh are incredibly strict, with the Eogh, the Chandran standing army, spending more of their time dealing with homegrown criminals than they do with foreign enemies. The Keepers, the branch of the military after which the Colossal Keepers were built, hold guard in the mountains around Chandra-Veh, using arrows, cannons, and vats of boiling water or molten slag to keep enemies away when an invasion strikes. The only legal way to enter Chandra-Veh is via boat, and as such their standing navy is quite impressive.
The people of Chandra-Veh are generally seen as loud, boisterous, and argumentative- a large portion of the population workers are merchants, after all. They are stereotypically good with money and seen as somewhat miserly, unwilling to part with a single cent more than they have to. Chandrans tend to be somewhat free with their friendliness, not fighting physically unless they have to. They have more talent for showmanship; gymnastic, firebreathing, basically all things flashy.
Chandrans wear incredibly vivid clothing, and because winters in Chandra-Veh just mean longer nights and not colder days, white is a common color.
Because of the lack of trees, paper is an expensive commodity in Chandra-Veh, and most writing is done on stone tablets or parchment made of papyrus reeds.
They are a clever and charismatic people, but are also known for being manipulative and deceitful, and their patriotism makes them a bit condescending toward outsiders.
Chandrans usually live in extended family units, with aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers and nieces and nephews and cousins taking up building complexes and sharing food, water, money, facilities and even furniture. Referring to someone as a 'cousin of an uncles's wife's cousin's girlfriend' and meaning that as an actual bond of kinship is perhaps not as uncommon as it should be.
Schooling is required for cityfolk from the age of six to the age of fourteen, but people who live in other parts of the country don't have the same rules, as they have to work the fields or mines with their parents from a young age. Ilan-Pur has some of the most renowned universities in the world, though most students are more partygoers than anything. The libraries hold several centuries of knowledge on a vast expanse of things, but not many except the intellectual elite ever read them, and many are in bad shape or are in languages nobody speaks anymore.
The temples throughout the country, but especially in the shining capital of Ilan-Pur, are renowned for their size, architectural miracles, and designs. The largest, the Ettrian Khalpanha, butts right up against the wall in the east of the city, and every morning the morning sun strikes a massive diamond dug up from the mines and covers the gold, wood and stone in a fantastical array of multicolored pinpricks of light. The Ermyar Khalpanha, its sister temple, has the same effect with the western sunset; the only reason it is smaller is because the two towers on either end of the entrance have not yet been completed.