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A steep mountain range located at the eastern border protects against invasions from Leazas and the Kinani Desert along the southeastern border separates the territories of Helman and the Zeth Kingdom, preventing both nations from easily attacking the other. Despite its military culture, these geographical handicaps have historically prevented Helman from expanding into neighboring countries. Helman's southwestern border, next to the Kinani Desert, connects to the Crystal Forest of the Kalars. While Helman has occasionally conducted raids upon Kalar citizens, in hopes of acquiring valuable Kalar crystals, no focused invasion of the Crystal Forest has ever been conducted. Due to the difficulty of assimilating the Kalar populace and the threat a united Kalar citizenry would present, this is likely a wise choice.
As with Zeth, Helman's entire western border connects to the Monster Realm. The country is secured by a massive fortress called Fort Banra that spreads all across the western front. The Fort is made from sturdy rocks and protected with catapults, as well as by the more than one hundred thousand soldiers who live inside the structure. Fort Banra has long protected Helman from invasions from the Monster Realm. However, Helman's western border has seen little conflict in recent centuries due to the fact that the northern territory of the Monster Realm is where the Demon King's Castle was built: during Gi's long and relatively neutral reign as Demon King, no Demon Army ever attempted to attack Helman. At present, the northern territory belongs to Gi's daughter Hornet and her Hornet Faction, which is also a neutral faction seeking peaceful coexistence with humanity. Unlike Zeth, these advantageous conditions have meant that Helman has never been involved in a large scale war with the Monster Realm.
The capital is the Imperial City of Lang Bau, where Helman's Government rules from. It is protected by the Imperial Guard of the Helman 3rd Army and is the most advanced city in Helman filled with complex and intricate architecture. While not many people know it, Lang Bau was built right on top of the former Capital of the Holy Magic Sect, Detna Luca, and preserves many of the old nation's artifacts hidden deep within the Imperial Palace. The most outstanding and advanced structures within Lang Bau are actually remnants of the destroyed Detna Luca.
At present, Helman has around 51 million people. Most of its population lives in towns or larger cities, though there are many outlaws society's that settle near towns as well.
Helmanians typically tend to having brown, black, or other dark colored hair. Their skin tone is often darker than the people of Leazas or Zeth, with many looking slightly tanned and poorer citizens often displaying dark complexions. Traditional colors in Helman fashion are usually brown, black, or dark blue and their clothing usually consists of several layers in order to protect against the cold weather. The National Emblem is a blue flag with an elegant white "H" in the middle.
While Helman possesses huge territory, most of its land is cold and barren, with many mountain passages that don't allow human settlement. Much of it's northern territory is completely unpopulated due to frigid temperatures. Overall the country's farmland is unproductive and yields little in successful agriculture; the regular low crop yields lead to routine food shortages for the Helman citizenry. Even the most livable portions of Helman land may face severe winters, with the most devastating often taking many lives. Though not abundant in natural resources, Helman does possess minerals and rare metals, making the nation thrive on heavy industrial business. Some industries have become specialized in the extraction of geological materials from the earth, which are used for trading with other countries or their own use. The mineral trade is Helman's most common source of income and the backbone of their economy. Despite this, living conditions in Helman are extremely poor, with low living standards and a short life expectancy. Naturally, due to the extreme levels of poverty, the country's crime rate is very high and there exists a strong business for slave trading. It is not uncommon for parents to be forced to sell their children as slaves. The overall poor standard of living has forced many citizens into a more secure life within the military.
The Helman Army is the country's most impressive feature, having the world's most powerful army. Helman is rightly considered a military nation. Joining the army is the surest way for a Helman citizen to secure safe standards of living, as most other jobs are very badly-paid due to the nation's weak economy. Due to the harsh living conditions, Helmanians are typically very tough and sturdy, accustomed to living a harsh life. Men are notorious for having large and well-built bodies and even women are often strong and fit. Most of Helman's national budget is dedicated to the military and their training facilities have produced some of the strongest fighters in the history of humanity, such as Fletcher Modell, Thoma Lipton and Minerva Margaret.
Despite occasional female Empresses, there exists among the citizenry an entrenched sexism against women, who are seen as weaker and inferior. This is even more prominent in the military. Female soldiers often struggle in the Helman Army, facing discrimination from their male counterparts and commanders. A talented female officer will usually have difficulty obtaining promotion, despite any successful campaigns. Cream Ganoblade is a prime example of the Helman military's glass ceiling, though an occasional talent such as Minerva Margaret will break through.
Helman has seen little technological improvement in its history, with most of their buildings and architecture being built with stone or metals. They are underdeveloped in Magic Research as well, as even an unadvanced magic nation like Leazas overwhelms them; due to the feeble economy, imported magical items from the Magic Kingdom of Zeth are uncommon. The former Prince Patton Misnarge has commented how Magic Vision, a very common device seen in the average households of Leazas and Zeth, was very rare in Helman and mostly used for military purposes. Helman's military equipment is also subpar when compared against other kingdoms, with the Banra Fort being mostly protected by crossbows and catapults, while Zeth's Maginot Line is defended with highly advanced automated systems. Their weaponry and armor are also of a lower quality from those of Leazas, being heavier and more cumbersome, though still effective.
Most Common Helman Foods
- Steamed Potatoes: Just like the name implies, potatoes that have merely been steamed. Extremely common food in Helman due to its simplicity and being relatively flavorful.
- Boiled Daikon: No kind of soup stock used. Traditional Helman food that consists only of finely chopped daikon tossed into boiling water.
- Raw Gomu: Local Helman dish consisting of gomu, an insect that lives inside trees, sliced and eaten raw. Extremely tough to chew and thus very difficult to eat, but contains high nutritional value. Food poisoning frequently occurs, so it is now illegal to sell in shops.
- Helman Bread: Staple food of Helman. Very tough, and only produces the slightest flavor when chewed well. It won’t go bad for almost two years so it's used as preserved food in other countries. It is extremely tough and most people from other countries can't eat it, but Helmanians are very used to it. Patton has remarked that he doesn't like the bread from other countries because he finds it too soft.
Relations with Other Countries
Ever since its foundation, Helman has been very fond of warfare. As a consequence of their unproductive land, Helman has often tried to expand in order to generate better living conditions. Conflict with the Kingdom of Leazas has been frequent - over the years the two nations have had seven wars and many smaller raids and skirmishes. Most Helman-Leazas wars have followed the same story: Helman initially overwhelms their smaller neighbor, but the innovative Leazas military rises to push the invaders out. Peace is usually agreed upon once a stalemate is reached along the mountainous border. Many Helman citizens seem to dislike the people of Leazas. This is partially due to their history of conflict, but also envy and resentment of Leazas's fertile land, which once belonged to Helman prior to Leazas's founding.
Helman lost large swathes of territory during the Southern Proxy War that resulted in the founding of the Magic Kingdom of Zeth. Helman attempted to recover their territory shortly after Zeth's creation, however, thousands of mages had gathered in the new magic nation and worked together to deploy a fearsome spell that turned the land between Helman and Zeth into a huge desert. This was the first, last, and only war the two countries fought against each other, since the Kinani desert has since prevented an army from crossing without suffering enormous casualties.
Like in most human territories, the influence of the AL Church is very prominent and commonly seen in their citizens' daily lives. Weddings, funerals and other such ceremonies are handled by priests of the Church, and their doctrine is taught in schools.