"Snow moves down branches
Once the piles are big enough
The breeze explodes them"
Located between the Imperial Akinian province, the Hotspring, and the Lightning country lies the small political entity that is called the 'Frost Country'. A vassal state of the Lightning country, the small country has earned its name for the demanding conditions in which its people live.
The history of the Frost country is linked to various events as people. The earliest mentioning of the country can be found in the tales of the Alaricus clan, who fled towards the north while being harassed as attacked by Hon warbands after being driven from their homes in the Hotspring. Not much history is known of its natives and some scholars from the Lightning lay claim that the region was more or less colonised by natives from the Lightning country.
The region itself hasn't seen many conflicts, either between its native clans or from external threats. This is often attributed to the difficulties that invaders would encounter. With the rugged mountain range in the south, forming the natural border with the Imperial Hotspring province and along the north-west coast, the only possible location to mount a large-scale invasion would be to land an army on its south-east coast. The Water country did try to land various regiments into the region in this way, during the Great War, but encountered the problems to advance to the north - as yet another mountain range blocks easy passage into the Lightning country.
The only successful intrusion was perhaps made by the forces of Shoji. But this is proclaimed by the Frost's denizens as anything but an invasion - for they had been ordered by the Lightning Daimyo to allow the forces of Shoji to move in. The occupation of Shoji went relatively harmless in the region for the locals weren't keen on disobeying the decree given by the feudal lord of the Lightning country. Only once the liberating forces of the Lightning country under the command of Asami Sanosuke marched south did the natives take up arms to drive the occupants out of their homes.
After that, the Frost country hasn't seen much military action. Peace quickly returned and the inhabitants of the region continued with their lives.
The standing army of the Frost country is relatively small, once compared to the 'giants' it is stuck in between. Various units, of the native clans or Feudal lord, are stationed at the border forts that guard the passes towards the north and south. Its naval force is primarily located and operating in the northern bays and seas, being watchful for any possible intrusion that might come from the Earth country. The military strength of the country is strengthened during times of conflict by clans and the Feudal lord raising their levies, to bolster their own standing forces.
The quality of the military of the country is often considered average. Despite the Frost country having access to various important minerals to fuel industry to produce forth reliable equipment, the military isn't as well equipped as that of its neighbours. Its discipline and capability to use their terrain against enemies have proven their worth, however, during both the Great War and Shoji's Occupation.
Rough lands produce rough people is a saying that could be applied to the populace of the Frost country. Yet many that travel past the mountain passes and the military fortifications will be welcome in a region where its populace is quite hospitable. They are also being described as a loyal folk by their Lightning country overlords. Many of the country's denizens, however, aren't able to write or read. This 'privilige' seems to be reserved for their either wealthy enough, such as the nobility and clergy.
The populace speaks Taika. There are some dialects present within the region but these won't prove too much of a hassle for an outsider Taika to understand or exchange words with a native from the Frost country. Lately, there is a trend where the nobility aims to refrain themselves from using these dialects, considering it only worthy of the commoners. This has likely to do with the growing grip of the Lightning country on its vassal.
The majority of its populace are followers of Akemi. However, many of those who live in the more isolated parts of the country, such as the harsh highlands or demanding mountainous areas tend to follow a faith akin close to nature worship.
At the head of the country stands the Lord, who in turn is a subject of the daimyo of the Lightning country. The rule of the lord of the Frost country is not without boundaries. He, first, needs to follow any decrees placed upon him by the Lightning daimyo. These decrees are expected to be executed with impunity. If the lord of the Frost desires to reform or impose decrees, he requires the approval of the majority of the institution that goes by the name of: "The Banners". The Banners are made from a combination of clans, clergy and a chosen representative of the guilds located in the capital of Urawara.