|The dark and vast forest of the Pinelands|
Like Avalot, the Pinelands was settled by some of the more outspoken members of the Westwarden settlers. However, unlike Avalot, the territory was controlled by a single Zealot family who were the precursors of the Dragos. However, the family considered themselves very much a part of Avalot as a whole at the time. Together, the two Providences would continue to battle their Westwarden overlords and eventually succeeding in the War of Unity.
The Zealot family renounced all ties with Westward and took on the name of Drago, forming the first monarchy in the Eastern Territories. They ruled their section of the territory until the Great Schism in 115 AU. With the rise of the young Farkarn Dacre in 162 AU, the Pinelands made a push to make itself a separate country from Avalot due to their differences in the aftermath of the war. Farkarn agreed and also married one of the Drago family's daughters to cement a strong bond between the two new nations.
The Pinelands continued to maintain strong ties with Avalot even during the Treeblood War in 541 AU when they united against the Pale Reach as their common enemy. It soon became custom for the Pinelands to send the King's children into the Court of Nobles to represent the nation. Even during the Emperor fiasco, they still continued to lend their support to Avalot royalty.
By 658 AU, unknown to the current Pinelands king at the time, Vane Drago, his daughter had been secretly trained by the organization known as the Midnight Hands as an assassin. While her brother, Hugh Drago, declared war on the Sand Federation, Isolda and her masters did everything they could to disrupt the Court of Nobles. They succeeded and Vane lost both his children in the ensuing chaos. On top of everything, he had to deal with the Sands encroaching on Blackport and battling with his army while dealing with a plague of Tree Fever.
The war between the two territories continued into 659 AU, when Mary the Mute escaped from Avo and headed for Blackport. She and King Vane met and worked to uncover the truth behind the Midnight Hands and she was eventually able to convince him to end the war with the Sands and join the Avalotian army. The Pinelands continued to support the battle against the Westwardens during the Ninth Barbarian Invasion until the last moment when he abandoned their attack in favor of protecting his own nation. This proved to be the wiser move as after the war, the Pinelands had the largest army and navy in the Eastern Territories.
While the Court of Nobles attempted to talk the King down, King Vane passed away from his past experiences with Tree Fever. The next heir was a distant cousin of his, Ton Drago, who became the next Queen of the Pinelands. In the modern times, the Landsmen believe its their turn to be the strongest nation in the world, supplanting Avalot. In addition, there is some rising tension with Cheng and Pokol.
From the safety of their dark forests, the Landsmen, as they are known, have enjoyed a peace similar to Avalot. Outside of their capital of Knotook, many Landsmen choose to live along the beaches of their country where there is the most trade and beautiful resorts. Those that live inland are lumberjacks and make their living off of the vast timber supply gifted to them. Often, Landsmen make their homes in trees, there being so many of them to use. Being so close to the ocean, fish is usually the primary diet of most commoners. Along the ocean, fishermen trade and collect food to feed their entire nation.
Most nobles of the Pinelands make their home in the largest tree in the world, Knotook. The tree has much history in the early days of the land and most royals make their home in its highest branches. Many nobles also have homes in the northern island known as Greenline. The isle is a resort and a vacation haunt for many nobles in the Eastern Territories, and draws in a lot of revenue for the country. Like Avalot, the Pinelands does not support any major religion and is the only nation to not have any churches in its territory, abandoned or otherwise.
The people of the Pinelands are proud of their culture and lifestyles, almost to the point of stubbornness where they will not accept the aid of anyone else. This also makes them incredibly loyal, as to go back on their word would bring dishonor to them.
Like Avalot, the Pinelands are known for many soldiers who follow the code of Knighthood. However, in recent times knights have become less popular as technology changes. As a result, the majority of the Pineland's army is made up of lumberjacks who volunteer in a time of crisis. These men are strong and rugged, and also very experienced around forests and climbing trees. Axes are the main weapon of choice for most members of the armed forces, as it doubles as a tool and a weapon. Because of the nation's excess on lumber, many siege weapons and even armor are made of wood. The soldiers of the Pinelands specialize in ambushes, preferring to attack from above on unsuspecting targets and use all manners of traps to hold enemies down while they kill them. Their army is around 10,000 strong currently.
In addition to an excellent army, the Pinelands has the largest navy in the world of 2,000 ships. This puts them in constant rivalry with Cheng, whom controls the eastern sea. Most of their commissions for ships come from Pokol, a renowned port of ship galleries. Most of their ships patrol around the Greenline where there is a a naval base, though there is a rumor that the royal family has a harbor somewhere that no one knows where they craft even more advanced ships for the high seas.
Unlike Avalot with its convoluted government, the Pinelands boasts a simpler monarchy ruled entirely by the royal family. Any local lords must first swear an oath of absolute fealty before owning any land within the forests. As such, the Dragos have remained unchallenged and ever present since the dawn of the nation. The only strange rule is that every single member of the Pinelands who wishes to be held as nobility must have their own tree planted on territory within the country. The tree represents the roots in the nation and is to never be cut down or removed without dire consequences.
In modern times, with the founding of the Court of Nobles, the Pinelands has the tradition of sending the Princes or Princesses to handle the affairs with foreign nations. This is to encourage leadership in the heirs at an early age and prepare them to deal with foreign affairs. The King or Queen directly commands the army and navy, though it is generally required that they spend a few years of service during their youth to better understand military tactics. While there can be any number of lords or ladies in the Pinelands, cities are only controlled by one person called the Wuld. The Wuld reports to the monarchy whenever their is a problem within their given territory, and the monarchy responds accordingly. Wulds are voted on out of the group of nobles in a given territory by the commoners, so they can decide who will represent them to the King. A Wuld may have their own militia but must surrender it to the monarchy if ever requested to. A Wuld may retire whenever they choose, but a re-election must occur every two years at the very least.
Territories too small to have their own Wuld as simply assimilated into neighboring territories. The Wuld of the capital of Knotook reports directly to the King and handles the day-to-day problems of the city.
There are two general areas of the Pinelands: forest and sea. Generally, the trees of the Pinelands are tall and strong, making the less populated areas of the nation dark meadows with little light. Landsmen like to make their homes in these great trees, gutting them and using them as a makeshift house if they can't afford to create a real cabin. Most of the Pinelands is notably warm during the summer, especially along their shared edge with the Sea of Sands. Winters are much milder in comparison to Avalot's due to the tree nation being further south. Because of their vast forests, the Landsmen have plenty of fruits to eat and hunt the many deer and bears that lurk within their woods.
The bulk of the fortresses that defend the Pinelands are along its borders. The cliffs along the coast also make natural defenses against any naval invasion. Their capital is also well protected, though made of wood, the dense forest surrounding them prevents any siege weapons. The furthest city currently is Blackport, located along the Avalot border. The Pinelands used to have many naval bases around the eastern ocean, such as the one in Pokol.