Ilona (Cosprak: ill-OH-nuh, Ilonan: EEL-oh-nah) was an island in the southern hemisphere. It was a founding member of the IU. Its capital city, Besson, is located in the northeast of the island. Its two other large cities were Tiçanne ( tee-sahn ) and Port d'Ilona, which was generally referred to by its inhabitants as Port d'I ( pour-dee ).
Main article: IU History.
Ilona and its sister island, Ilesar, are believed to have once been one a single land mass known as Ilaria. It is thought that they were separated by a rise in sea level thousands of years ago.
Regardless, the two islands had been in contact since perhaps -1300.
Ilona had a single elected executive official and an elected legislative body. High-ranking government positions were largely also elected.
Life on Ilona was primarily centered around its capital, Besson. This city boasted monuments and institutions such as natural history museums, hospitals, a complex public transit system that reached most corners of the island, and l'Université d'Ilona (LUDI). Historically, the city of Besson had been built in harmony with the forests around it: green roofs were common, and many trees lined paths and transit roads. In more recent years, however, protective, industrial architecture has become more common, and large domes, reenforced doors and windows, and massive storm walls have been built to protect against the storms. The other major cities, Port d'Ilona and Tiçanne, have similar features, though smaller size, and Port d'Ilona was the home to the island's main port and international trade.
Those who did not live in cities lived in smaller towns or in groups of only three or four families, scattered throughout the island. However, the numbers of rural inhabitants were quickly shrinking even before the storms, as students would have to go to either a large town or a city to continue their education past the primary level. When the storms began to significantly worsen, families began to either move to large communal storm shelters, forming miniature towns, or began to find ways to live underground.
Due to Ilona's historically favorable climate, the weather for the most part permitted diverse growth and good soil on the interior of the island. Saltwater-friendly trees were also sampled, studied, and grafted with fruit-bearing trees so that even coastlines could become productive. Many Ilonans shared an intense love of nature, and make concerted efforts to preserve the wildlife around them even as their cities and towns expanded and grew more industrial. Daily shopping was considered an important part of Ilonan culture, and massive domed buildings were constructed in several locations in each city to host the produce markets that used to be held outside every morning.
Ilonan food was primarily vegetarian, with the exception of fish. Many dishes were heavy in natural sugars, resulting in many foods from other islands tasting bland to Ilonans. For the most part, Ilonans did not adopt flavors or ingredients from other islands.
Ilonan education has three parts: primary, secondary, and university. Schools used Cosprak, but taught Ilonan as a secondary language, although many students also learned it from their homes. Outdoors activities were popular, and Ilonan school systems allowed for the majority of one mid-week afternoon to be spent on sports, which were organized not through the school but through clubs and activity centers that hosted teams, provided fields, and so on. Most Ilonans would play at least one sport up until university.
After the completion of their secondary education, the Ilonan government guaranteed students acceptance and housing at either a university or a trade school. Students would conclude their secondary education with a standardized exam, then rank the schools they wished to attend. Higher exam scores meant those students were slotted into their top choices first; lower exam scores meant that, by the time it was your turn, your top choices may well have been filled. Top-performing students would be actively recruited to apply for the University of Pax.
Each of three major cities on Ilona had one university. L'Université d'Ilona (LUDI) was located in central Besson. It was a school dedicated to the study and preservation of Ilonan language and culture, and to the advancement and support of Ilonan citizens. Its motto was Le futur ne changera point nos racines ("The future will not change our roots"). LUDI was by far the largest university on Ilona, serving the majority of its student population. It was also well-respected throughout the island for providing generous research grant to as-yet-unpublished applicants from all universities and for sponsoring public outreach programs such as lectures and concerts.
In Port d'Ilona, there was l'Université des Études Maritimes (UDEM), which specialized as per its name in maritime studies. This included marine biology, marine ecology, ship engineering, IU history, navigation, and so on. UDEM also offered an international studies program, under the logic that one must cross waters to reach other islands. Regardless of the shaky justification, the program had been a staple of UDEM since its foundation, and was well-respected internationally.
Tiçanne hosted the Ilonan Technical Institute (IloTech), the island's only monolingual university. For the most part, LUDI and UDEM were bilingual, offering classes in both Ilonan and Cosprak; IloTech, by contrast, offered classes in only Cosprak. It originally only had one sister university -- the Ilesarian Technical Institute (ITI) -- but that network quickly began to grow to many IU islands. The Technical Institutes would interact with one another frequently via video or written messaging, collaborative projects, or programs abroad. IloTech's focus was technology, innovation, and advancement.
Cosprak and Ilonan were the official languages of Ilona. There was another language, East Ilonan, spoken in a small pocket of the south part of the east end of the island. Most inhabitants of that region would speak all three languages. Cosprak was used in schools, but elementary Ilonan was required and many choose to continue their Ilonan studies after that, as both languages were used with frequency in everyday life. There was also a sign language, IUSL, which was largely developed in Ilona but was used throughout the IU.
Creation Myth Edit
The following is one telling of a traditional Ilonan story of the world's creation:
In the time of the sea and the sky, there lived the creatures of the sea and the creatures of the sky. They lived in peace and contentment, wanting for nothing. But there came days when there were storms of the sea and days when there were storms of the sky, and the creatures longed for a place where they could be in safety.
So the creatures of the sea worked together and lifted a reef out of the sea. They called it the land, and it lived between the sea and the sky. In time, some creatures of the sky came down to the land and joined the creatures of the sea who were living there.
Soon, there came to be more creatures than could comfortably life on the land. So they made more pieces of land, and the creatures spread themselves between them.