Beltavia is a small territory, said to have been originally founded by a deposed Khazar of Vaarta centuries ago which shares some cultural traditions with that land. It is right on the edge of the Tlaxu plains and suffers from raiding, so they have a very well organised permanent, and large for Beltavia's size, army. They hire the extra companies out as mercenaries. There is also a sizeable minority of Yavenniks.
Beltavia Keep is a heavily fortified town on a small hill on the west bank of the Far Anhui, with good views over the steppe that stretches far to the east and Tlaxu lands. There is also a well guarded bridge over the river which can be demolished by removing a few vital supports. Several smaller keeps are dotted around the country side and there is a series of watch towers between Beltavia Keep and those on the Tlaxan frontier. Any incursion by Tlaxans can be quickly transmitted and reinforcements sent.
It is ruled by Kizen Denik and his wife Kizina Ivanka, and the Council of Boyars. When the deposed Khazar fled Vaarta he brought with him only his most loyal hetmen and boyars, no serfs. They intermarried with the local peasant population and as all men and women can claim descent from the upper classes the system of serfdom did not establish itself. Peasants are free and can move away from the land of their birth. Many own a small plot of their own land as well as work for the local boyar on his land, others without land work for wages or join the army. Retiring soldiers are often gifted a plot of land on the fringes of Beltavia.
The Kizen can create new boyars and assign him a sufficient land grant to maintain his position (if he does not already own a large enough estate) this is usually in uninhabited areas like the Wastes to encourage Beltavian expansion. Currently there are about 65 Boyars. The council ratifies the Kizen's laws and is the highest court in Beltavia. Most Boyars hold regular or reserve commissions in the army or other government positions, when away from Beltavia their Boyarinas often deputise for them in the council.
It is obvious that women hold a much more liberated position in society than in Vaarta, they do not tend to join the army but are quite prominent in business and politics. Unmarried women are still under the rule of their parents but so are their brothers. Class differences are much less pronounced as well, many farming Boyars would have no compunction about getting their hands dirty and helping with the harvest for example. When the exiled Vaartans first arrived they were welcomed by the local people and became farmers and labourers in order to survive and so lost a lot of their notions of superiority. Their association with the Empire strengthened these tendencies.
Although nominally the same as the Vaartan Church, Beltavian religion is conducted on quite different lines. The Church had supported the usurper and so no clergy had travelled west with the exiles, thus, though they use the same scriptures it fell to the boyars and heads of the family to conduct religious services and rituals. This has developed into many slightly varying family traditions, most people share the basics but natural progression means lots of variation. With such a personal relationship with God they are a devout and moral people but not in any fanatical evangelizing way. With this diversity they were much more open towards Yavenniks and there is a thriving community living openly in Beltavia. Indeed Kizina Ivanka is herself a Yavennik, although she is bringing up her children in her husband's path.