The Island of Thrace

I recall a post in which the island near Lillygrove was given some description. I would welcome a poster linking that for me if it exists.

Otherwise, I chose to use it in a recent mission and wanted to write about the island and its residents. I can’t do that all immediately, but I’ll be returning to this thread to fulfill my intent in the coming days.

My version of Thrace:
Thrace is an island nation which currently enjoys autonomy from the mainland. They have never received a Guard patrol or posting. Thrace has a strong warrior culture as well as hunting culture. Their island has a unique landscape which creates a unique mouse. These mice also have a strong artist’s streak for glass making, beading, painting, and dancing. Their island home is generally unmolested by large predators. Thracian mice have a naturally heightened fear of fire as they come from a region of thick grasses which burn fast and hot.

Thrace island is located in the eastern sea. It is just off the coast of Lillygrove. Their placement in the eastern sea protects them from snakes and wolves. The homes of mice are spread across the landscape and hidden in, under, and near brambles cultivated by the mice. The community buildings are spread out somewhat as well. Their docks access the water from many locations hidden in the reedy banks of the island.

Thrace employs a Monarch supported by a Republic Senate. The Empress make decisions, but relies on the Senate council to offer advice, announce rulings to their kin, and manage sub-committees of important topics. These nobles and royals work for their own substance, and enjoy a friendly relationship with the thracian mice of the island. The community is small enough that relationships are nearly always cemented by kinship.

Major Trades and Import/Export:
If given a chance to trade with the mainland, Thrace offers the following:
Brewers (Wine only), Insectrists, Artisans, Glaziers
and the products of these skilled workers.

Thrace would gladly accept:
Stonemasons, Smiths, Brewers (Beer and Mead at least), Archivists, Apiarists, Weavers
and the tools and supplies for these workers to ply their trade.

Mice of Thrace are not currently interested in service to the Guard

Curious, Driven, Innocent, Inquisitive

Hunter, Boatcrafter, Insectrist, Weather Watcher

The island community which resides on the island located off the coast of Lillygrove in the eastern sea is known as Thrace.

The mice of thrace enjoy a fairly different culture than that of the mainland mice. Part of their cultural differences stem from the unique resources of Thrace island while another part is derived from their many generations of separation.

The Landscape of Thrace

The island has not trees. It is instead home to a variety of grasses, berries, grapes, flowers, and brambles. The island hosts no snakes, foxes, wolves, or skunks. It does however have an abundance of spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, aphids, beetles, lizards, and welcomes bear, deer, elk, and moose. The shores provide habitat for otters, turtles, frogs, crabs, and water birds. Without trees, there are no nesting sites for owls or other predatory birds, but it is not out of reach; most other birds are non-predatory and come only for the berries or flowers. There is not a site appropriate for bees to create a hive, yet the bees do come for the nectar and pollen of the flowers.

The grasses are not grains like wheat, rye, oats, or rice such as the mainland mice cultivate. Unfortunately, this means they cannot brew beer.These grasses are simply common reedy grasses of marshlands and swamps. The grasses provide some food, but are not the best source of nutrition for mice. They provide for the mice to create reed boats (like we might see among native populations in South America or the wadis of Mesopotamia regions) for fishing, limited travel, and pleasure cruising on the sea; these boats could not handle rough waters far from land. Grasses also provide for paper, fabric, and sailcloth. The grass provides a food source for crickets and grasshoppers too.

The berries and grapes are a large source of food for these mice. They do use the fruits for winemaking. They cultivate these fruit-bearing plants somewhat, but the growth of these plants for outstrecthes the farming reach of mice. With some effort each year, the mice attempt to make a favorable environment for strawberries, blueberries, huckleberries, grapes, raspberries, and blackberries. The dyes from the pigments can create ink, color clothing or fur, and paint buildings or stones. The fruit provides a food source for ants and aphids as well.

The brambles which grow are used for creating natural defenses against the bears, but that will be discussed in more detail below.

The Landscape of Thrace

The island has remained free from snakes since the creatures do not trespass the ice during winter and cannot swim the sea. Fortunately, water snakes have also kept distance. However, the lizards of the islands do have a small niche and are not violent to the mice. They occassionally cause a nuissance to ants and beetles corralled by mice. These are skinks largely, but a few anoles also find a home on Thrace island. They cannot swim away from the island.

The insects are a great source of food and simple labor for mice. The spiders range from the black widow, orb weavers, and jumping spiders to the wolf spider, diadem spider, and yellow sac spiders. All of these spiders are treated as wild game, and mice excel at hunting the spiders. The spiders prey on various flying insects as well as crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles. The crickets are also treated as game insects. The grasshoppers are often corralled for training and use as household music-boxes. The beetles are captured or reared captive as laborers–they most use is found in quarrying stone. Ant colonies are permtted to thrive enough that mice can use them as a source of delicacies. The ants often tend to aphids as a source of food, so mice are careful not to upset the balance by over harvesting aphids or ants; both are sweet and tasty.

The mainland mice tend to bees in grand apiaries, yet the thracians have not suitable hive site for wild bees and lack the knowledge of beekeeping. They cannot take advantage of this passing visitor on their island. They cannot brew mead without honey.

The island plays host to several water-borne creatures including the otters which have friendly relations with the thracian mice. They serve as auxiliary fishers, water taxis, shoreline protectors, amusement, and fascinating whistlers. Several turtle species make homes amid the shore reeds. The painted turtle is hunted as game while larger breeds are left alone. Multiple amphibians are at home in a similar niche to the turtles. Mice hunt frogs and salamanders for meat, but are careful not to take too much food away from the otters. The mice tend to leave most aquatic food for otters to thrive, yet do enjoy some seafood dishes from time to time.

The water birds are not a problem for mice, but they have not yet allowed a friendly relationship to grow like the otters have. The mice would love to take to the air or even have a mount for hunting among the tiny niches of the reeds with lances. The birds appreciate their freedom and do not have an inclination to be ridden by a mouse. Some will serve as spies for predatory birds to save themselves from becoming a meal.

Predatory birds cannot form appropriate nest sites on the island. As such, they find the fishing as they approach satisfying enough to ignore the island mice much of the year. Still, most predatory birds do recognize the easy targets. They are not foolish, but find easier prey more frequently than attacking the mice.

Like the snakes, foxes, wolves, and skunks have made no place there, yet cross the frozen ice during winter to prey on mice. Foxes especially enjoy the winter hunt. The bright red creatures are a fearful sight. Because the mice fear fire destroying the grasses and fruit-bearing plants, these fire-colored beasts are terrifying for thracians.

Deer, elk, and moose easily wade the lake to the island for its many abundant food sources. The mice do not present a barrier or nuissance. In fact, the mice call upon these creatures to provide rumors and gossip of far distant lands. The above-mentioned brambles are used to create natural barriers of protection for community sites and homes against deer, elk, and moose.

Most treasured of the thracian mice is the bear. The island itself provides a sufficient food pantry for perhaps 5-7 bears fattening for winter, yet the population of bears in this area attracts only 2 (sometimes 1) bears seeking the berries. The thracians celebrate the season of the bear; they name each bear that visits (much as we name tropical storms and hurricanes). Bears bring many seeds in their fur and scat to diversify the flora of their island. The bramble defenses protect community sites and homes from the bears moving too far inland.

The Landscape of Thrace

Thrace lacks abundant ore resources. They have very little metal. This means they do not forge swords, shields, axes, or maces for warfare. The spear, dagger, and arrow require far less metal–a precious resource. Also the thracians do not use metal to create currency as mainland mice do.

They employ a large glassworks to provide glass pips as currency. The royal glassworks handles all treasury needs. It would not be easy for a counterfeit of the stamp to be used accurately elsewhere. Likewise, glass is used to create bottles, windows, plates, and jewelry. (The stamped pips of glass used as currency are not at all similar to the Native American wampum beads.) These trade goods are used for their appropriate purposes. Smaller glassworks have capacity to create artistic glass if desired.

The stone of Thrace is used to build just as mainland mice use stone. One key difference is taht thracians have fewer metal tools to cut stone. They must use hard rocks to pound soft rocks apart. For this reason, stonemasonry is more often a simple task of putting together rocks that already seem to fit well (this is similar to the Scottish and Irish wallers if you are familiar with that). For community buildings, true stone cutters use the rocks against each other to create expertly formed bricks (this is similar to Incan methods of stone work).

The Landscape of Thrace

The mainland mice boast a multitude of governmental structures in their many cities. Thrace has but one government structure that serves the entire island. The first twelve families of mice that colonized from the mainland, hundreds of generations ago, still sit as the ruling Senate. The Thrace family is the monarchal ruler; they pass the seat of power through their own lineage of female mice. The Senate represent their kin from various sub-communities of the island. The families inlcude the Longtail, Deepear, and Toughnut clans (I have only named these because they were used in the session; feel free to think of others). Ultimately the Senate are also selected by matriarchy, but may be male or female. The Thrace empress makes final decision regardless of the discussion underway.

Lillygrove claims a blood feud, but that began so long ago that it is hard to recall the origin. Most Lillygrove natives will tell the following tale (or some exageration thereof): these thracian mice are a nuissance on the sovereign waters of Lillygrove. Their otters are violently playful with our fishing boats and overfish our waters. The thracian mice are thieves; they are so curious about metal, beer, mead, and cotton they forget to make any sort of payment before forcibly taking goods from a merchant. Their silly glass pips are all they offer in return; sometimes they barter with glass beads or tableware.

The story may have a few true aspects, yet the Lillygrove residents prefer to avoid empathizing with thracians about the reall matters of insult. On the other hand, the thracians generally avoid Lillygrove waters and have rarely made landfall. Some blood has been spilled on both sides, but nothing recent has occurred.

One of the empresses decided to reduce any mainland contact. A Guard patrol tasked with patrolling the island for signs of predators was rebuffed and sent away. Their intent was to form a scent border on the island, but it was not permitted. That was far before the Weasel War of 1149; matriarchs of the Guard have simply ignored Thrace. Left to their own protection, Thrace has a strong warrior ethos.

Please excuse all typos and grammatical errors.

Really nice write up.