One of two former nations that now comprise Brevoy, the pirate nation of Issia was known and feared all along the length of the Sellen River. Perched on the edge of the Lake of Mists and Veils, Issia had an unforgiving geography that forced its people to be cunning and brutal in order to survive. Issia makes up the northern half of Brevoy, from the Lake of Mists and Veils in the north down to and including the Gronzi Forest in the south. The rugged hills of this region have little vegetation and poor soil.
Issia first came into existence when explorers from Taldor came across a disease-ravaged frontier colony of the ancient Iobarian empire. The area that came to be known as Issia was too barren to allow true agriculture so the inhabitants turned to raiding to support themselves. Issia became renowned as a land of river pirates and other such scoundrels with the center of raiding activity being the boisterous Port Ice.
When Choral the Conqueror came from the Lake of Mists and Veils in 4499 AR to conquer and unify both Issia and Rostland, he worked out an agreement with Lord Nikos Surtova at the edge of the lake. The two men staked out a truce that was bound with the promise of Nikos' daughter Myrna Surtova in marriage to Choral. In the agreement, House Surtova kept much of its power and wealth while they served as vassals under Choral's leadership. As a result, Issia survived the transition into the new nation of Brevoy far better than Rostland did, eventually allowing it to gain control of Brevoy after every member of House Rogarvia within Brevoy's borders mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind a power vacuum in the capital of New Stetven.
For more than a thousand years Issia was ruled by House Surtova, a family of pirates and scoundrels that was unequalled in cunning and power by any of the other pirate clans and maintained an iron grip on its people. Due to the harshness of the land, Issia was never able to support a large military and so the country had to outsmart its enemies.
The people of Issia were renowned in centuries past as raiders and pirates. Today many Issians are simple fishermen or traders trying to make a living plying the waterways of the north. There have always been rumors that there was something odd about the rural folk of Issia (even in the cities of Restov and New Stetven with hushed whispers about them engaging in dark practices such as human sacrifices. Outsiders to this day often find themselves shunned in the smaller villages and rumor has it that the true masters of Issia lie beneath the freezing depths of the Lake of Mists and Veils.