The northern half of Brevoy was once the independent nation of Issia. A twisted landscape of rugged hills covered only with scrub and scree, the uniformly poor quality of the soil makes it nearly impossible to grow anything here. The people live mostly on the fish they can catch, a diet supplemented only by food shipped up from Rostland or areas further south. In centuries past, the people of Issia were infamous raiders, and their river-raiding craft were feared along the whole length of the Sellen, all the way to the Verduran forest.
For more than a thousand years, the Surtovas have ruled Issia. The family of pirates and scoundrels has retained an iron grip on Issia ever since it beat all the other pirates and scoundrels into submission. Collectively, Surtovas are known as crafty schemers. Lacking both natural resources and a large population, Issia has never possessed anything like a mighty military force, but it usually survives by outsmarting its enemies. When Choral and his dragons arrived, the Surtovas surrendered immediately and were therefore spared the retribution that nearly destroyed their southern neighbors in Rostland. Since that day, the family worked, slowly and carefully, to advance its position in the royal hierarchy of Brevoy—a diligence that paid off when the Rogarvias disappeared. Many suspect the Surtovas are somehow behind the mysterious disappearance, as no sooner had the Rogarvias vanished than the Surtovas began consolidating their grip on the throne.
On the whole, Issians remain a reclusive and enigmatic bunch. Each village has its own traditions dating back hundreds of years. Outsiders find themselves distrusted and shunned. Rumors of bloody rituals and human sacrifice remain unsubstantiated, but in the far-away cities of Restov and New Stetven, people whisper that the true masters of Issia remain hidden beneath the waters of the Lake of Mists and Veils, emerging in the dead of night to strike terrible bargains with the villagers.