NEW Story: Drip
✿ This article was part of Vekllei’s Ocean Month in March 2021
Welcome again to Ocean Month. If you have questions, just ask.
When we say “Vekllei,” we most often think of the Home Island, the city-state to which the country owes its name. In practice, however, the state of Vekllei is portioned between many far-flung corners of the Atlantic Ocean. From tropical jungles and dry wine-making country to mossy woodlands and arctic deserts, “Vekllei” as a singular concept is obfuscated by its diversity of land and people, and better represents a coalition of disparate Atlantic states than a single, centralised city-state.
Make no mistake, however — the power is held in the Home Island, where the vast majority of Vekllei’s people live and work. Her autonomous, satellite regions are indulged and supported as any borough of the Home Island, but these islands (and they are, invariably, islands) are often small, isolated and of little economic value. What makes them special is that they are populated with vibrant, unique peoples and cultures of considerable history, and are retained for precisely that fact — their cultural benefit for a city-state that considers itself a representative of indigenous Atlantic people; a “third power” between the hegemonies of Europe and America.
This map depicts these places — “overseas territories” is what Vekllei calls them — as well as their exclusive economic zones (EEZs), outlined in white. Let’s take the opportunity to have a brief look at some of Vekllei’s most unique and distant regions.
- Kala, or Greenland, is Vekllei’s “sister land”. Many of the indigenous Arctic people who first settled Vekllei nearly six thousand years ago crossed from or lived in Kala. The massive glacial island is self-governing, and has its own regional parliament, but is otherwise a possession of Vekllei. Its largest city, Nusc, reveals just how antagonist Kala remains towards it inhabitants — just 250,000 people live there, compared to nearly 2.4 millions in Vekllei’s largest borough, Vekllei Proper. Pack a jacket!
- Demon, or Jan Mayen, is a tiny volcanic satellite island and full overseas territory of Vekllei. It has the smallest population of any overseas province, at just 15,600 people, who live in its only town — Skismi. As an overseas territory, it receives daily postal service and full entitlements of any Vekllei person, mostly by way of flying boats and hydrofoils.
- Aismious Isles, or the Faroe Islands, are an archipelago of charming people mostly descended from Arctic Vekllei (indigenous Algic people) and early Irish settlers, known for their seafood diets and provinciality. There’s a lot going on in the world, and the people of the Aismious Isles don’t want to know about it — or at least, that’s the consensus. For this reason, it’s popular as the “thinking man’s retreat” from society, as opposed to traditional holiday locales like the Azores.
- Speaking of the Azores, these islands are unique — while self-governing, they are structured more like a Bureau than a democracy. Two governments exist there at once — the Azores Holiday Government, which maintains infrastructure that enables nearly a million Vekllei people to vacation there each year, and the Mira Regional Council, its neighbour and electorate to which locals cast their ballots. This has, historically, made them very cranky.
- Mira, or Madeira, is situated off the coast of Africa and is one of the few places in Vekllei that requires special permits to visit. It is both heavily protected as a wildlife reserve and a major naval port for the Royal Vekllei Armed Forces at Sumi, its largest city. As is encouraged throughout Vekllei, people here live the way they have for hundreds of years, just more quietly.
- Kalina Isles, made up of many islands of the Lesser Antilles, are a tropical archipelago of hundreds of small islands, many of which are unpopulated. Like Kala, the Kalina Isles are self-governing, and while its old colonial towns and indigenous Caribbean culture may not at first appear “Vekllei”, you’ll find their relaxed lifestyles and deep appreciation for landscape unite them in spirit with all Vekllei territories, from the Home Island to Demon.
- Vekllei Antarctic Territories are, somehow, more isolated in feeling than her Lunar cities. During the late 2050s, when sovereignty started to be enforced in the antarctic, Vekllei retained its claim by encouraging domestic tourism to the South Pole. On the coast, an airport services a civilian city called Desma of hotels and commerce, which is marked by the dramatic, hostile desert that surrounds it. The further inland you go, the less accessible the settlements become, finally arriving at the military/scientific Polar Station at the South Pole.
- Vekllei Lunar Territories are, through the miracle of our current age, accessible to the average Vekllei person. This fact is one of the great sources of pride Vekllei people feel toward their country, and many visit at least once. Moidonnet, or “Moon City”, is one of only a handful of lunar settlements open to the public, and is unique in its accessibility to the people of its home country. Some 45,000 people live there semi-permanently, taking calcium pills to keep their bones healthy, under the large glass domes of the city. Many more visit — and are left with the memories of a lifetime, and the humbling experience of gazing upon our small blue planet from above.
It is clear, then, that Vekllei’s conceptual and political bias towards its northern territories is misleading, since — at least domestically — isolation and island living is a foundational aspect of how Vekllei people understand themselves. Although someone from Mira might at first be a novelty to a person of the Home Islands, it very soon becomes apparent that Mira is, in fact, Vekllei — its weather might be warmer, and its people might look different, but their lives are very similar, premised on gentle living and Vekllei’s complex metaphysics of landscape. That is what it means to be “Vekllei,” no matter where you are in the Atlantic.