The Iberian Peninsula is a land mass on the western coast of Amfal, and is one of the oldest occupied territories on the continent. Prior to the Reign of the Godking it was an independent territory, which was seized during Mandri’s second Grand Expansion . Following Mandri’s death, the Iberian Peninsula was abandoned; though it is still formally considered a part of Amfal, the entire 170 thousand square kilometer landmass has been declared uninhabited, and unauthorized access is strictly forbidden.
Legend suggests that the Iberian Peninsula was home to the city of Giragis, whose patron First God is Tsa (otherwise known as the Dark Scholar, the Judge, or the Grand Arbiter). While there is no historical evidence to suggest that Giragis was on the Iberian Peninsula (nor indeed that it was the city which would be later known as Cordoba), there is some merit to the suggestion that the western tip of peninsula was home to a particularly powerful entity, though whether that was Tsa itself or some mortal which has been lost to the mists of antiquity is beyond the scope of this article.
For most of its history, Iberia was ruled by the runelords; despite certain surface similarities, these were NOT godkings, but a parliament of mortals who had achieved some level of mastery over the techniques of Runesmithing . It was a strictly meritocratic setup—though it naturally favored those who could afford to engage in years of study, practice, and contemplation, anyone who discovered a new, functional rune was invited to join the parliament.
Whatever its original intent, this form of government kept the art of Runesmithing strictly Iberian in nature, as members of the parliament were branded with the Warding Runes which would prevent them from injury or illness, so long as they remained within the bounds of the peninsula. To date, there are only a handful of confirmed examples of runecrafters showing their art to greater Amfal, and no evidence a full runepriest ever did.
(Early Iberian culture was extremely xenophobic, and tolerated no immigration or emigration with peoples who were not “blessed by Giragas,” which effectively meant anyone. While there are some examples of powerful runes existing outside of the Iberian border, such as the Great Sword of Atema, those who study Iberian history generally contend that these runes were discovered by complete happenstance by a layperson who was fortunate enough to not be killed during the initial smelting. While this is, yes, unlikely in the extreme, is is significantly MORE likely than a full runepriest leaving her country and sharing her skills with other cultures.)
Iberians remained neutral in all battles; their runic mastery made their borders virtually impenetrable, but the nature of runecraft made it a less-ideal tool for expansion. They were the only local government to remain neutral during the Godking’s first Grand Expansion, which is why, scholars believe, the second expansion, only ten years before Mandri’s death, was almost entirely focused upon seizing this particular territory. Though it was not the bloodiest series of battles during Mandri’s reign, it was the longest ongoing conflict, and arguably the most difficult.
It is currently unknown why, precisely, the Godking Mandri’s final, deathbed act was to engineer the complete destruction of Cordoba, although there is no end of supposition regarding the role Runepriest Pari played in the Godking’s death, and her perported connection with the Leftward Hand. Any suggestion that she was somehow responsible for the Mandri's (ostensible) assassination is guesswork at best.
This is too complex and multifaceted a topic to cover in one brief article. See Runesmithing for more details.
New Cordoba sits on the East side of the peninsula, and is currently the only occupied Iberian city. While it is thought of (rather unfairly) as little more than a group of inns for pilgrims making their way to the least-accessible of the Godking Tombs , New Cordoba has gone to great lengths to preserve as much as possible of the heritage of the forbidden peninsula. Most notable is the University of Cordoba, which is, at present, the only institution of higher learning within Amfal which has a program dedicated to Runesmithing as a linguistic practice, rather than as a form of enchantment. Alas, much of the most valuable texts on the language were lost when the original city of Cordoba was destroyed.
As for the rest of the land, it is uninhabited and generally considered uninhabitable; even approaching within five hundred meters of the Cordoban crater is fatal.
This article was written by Professor Estrin dan MaqEdit