The Noriho Archipelago, also known as Westmost or Vestaland, is a cluster of large islands in the Western Sea, centred around a central island called Noriho, from which the archipelago and kingdom take their names. With the exception of the northernmost island (Ijsveld), which is a protectorate of Zuidland (Since 1853 N.A.), all of the islands are part of the Kingdom of Noriho, which is among the more powerful nations in the Farlands, and is the second most powerful country in the Western Sea, after Solenjord (With whom they have fought several wars). The kingdom has territories and protectorates scattered throughout the many islands of the Western Sea, and claim territorial ownership over much of that sea.
The Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, though the King maintains more power than the monarchies of Werkland or Solenjord do. The King is considered the direct, lineal descendant of Asashiwa, the head of the Norihoshi pantheon, who, according to their myths and legends, founded the Kingdom on Noriho and then defended the islands from an invasion of fire-breathing dragons (Many historians have chosen to interpret this as a mythical retelling of a failed Oiran invasion, which has been backed up by the recent archaeological discovery of traces of Oiran settlements in the far northern islands of the archipelago ), and as such is himself part god [Wow, that was a long sentence]. The Norihoshi believe that when the world's end comes, the Last King will transform into a new god, and alongside Asashiwa, with the risen previous kings as their footsoldiers, lead an army to defend the islands from hordes of dragons and demons sent from the depths of the sea. Once the Final Battle (Kotakiwa) is over, he will then lead his people eternally in the new world formed by the battle.
Because of this close link between the monarchy and the religious beliefs of the Norihoshi people, there are no records of a completely successful overthrowing of the monarchy since written records of it began. This is not to say that there haven't been several attempts (it has been three-four thousand years since Asashiwa, after all). The most successful removal of power from the monarchy in recent history (Recent being the past thousand years) was the period from around 1150 N.A. to 1420 N.A. The previous king had died, leaving only an infant son to replace him. This was not the first time such an event had occurred, and it was not long until a council of regents was appointed to govern in the king's infancy. These initial regents governed very effectively, and when the king (Hirashi IX) came of age he chose (Though probably while being heavily leaned on by the council, who had had control over his entire upbringing) to allow them to continue governing, with him taking part in council meetings but agreeing not to interfere too often in their rather effective governing. Over Hirashi's lifetime, he slowly ceded power to the council, including the power to choose the successor to their office. It is doubtful that Hirashi had much choice in the matter, as removing the council would have provoked a revolt, both by the councillors and by the people who very much liked the council's effective governance. Over the next few hundred years, regal power was slowly eroded until eventually the kings were little more than figureheads. Not every council was as effective as the first, and two were indeed deposed by popular revolts, but new ones were soon instated. however, in the early 1400's, after a particularly disastrous series of wars which had left the islands ravaged, a massive revolt stormed the capital and beheaded every member of the council, along with half the aristocratic population in the city. This severely hampered any efforts to create a new council, and several of the warrior-monasteries around the kingdom had been calling for a reform that would put the king in his "Rightful place as Heavenly Monarch of these Isles, with all the Power of Heaven and Earth in His hands, and the Divine Right to rule completely over all those who are Norihoshi"  . Royal power was on its way back, and by 1460 the country was well on its way towards being an absolute monarchy.
 See Willem van Niederstroom (1933) Ijsveld Opgraving, Zomer 1932 N.A., Vertrekstad: Zuiduitgeverij; and Cohone Eriksson (1941) Ojraniske Nedgang: Gammel Gåde, Nye Svarer pp. 253-264, Vestasyn: Ulf og Sigurd.
 William Rood (1893) A New Oversetting of the Gakanata Norihoshiwa pp. 42-43, Sporton: Brown and Worlburgh
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