A former Khazar, recognising the necessity of foreign trade has created an enclave in Novomsk town where other religions are tolerated but outwith that area worshipping other gods is punishable by death. The Patriarch tolerates this enclave reasoning that it allows the poor foreigners the chance to experience the one true religion, he also sends out missionaries beyond Vaarta's borders to bring enlightenment to the God-forsaken masses. These missionaries are usually fire and brimstone types who often run afoul of the local authorities and incite violence whether by annoying everyone else so much or encouraging their own followers to desecrate other temples.
The Sea of Usk.
Lying between Vaarta and the Tlaxu Steppe is a great lake known as the Sea of Usk. It is freshwater, and located close to the interior of the continent, meaning that it freezes over for much of the year. It is fished by the Hinar people, a seperate ethnic group that have long been considered part of the Khazarate. Although converted to Markamism, the Hinar still maintain folk traditions of the White Bear and other spirits.
Most of the Hinar live in small villages, but there is a large city - Orminska - built on the shores of the lake. Here can be found the Summer Palace of the Crown Kizen as well as the impressive Cathedral of Markam. Local saints include St. Morvik who first brought Markamism to the Hinar, and St. Zandrei. Zandrei was a youth who is credited with single-handedly turning back the Imperial invasion. When the Empire forces came across the frozen Usk, Zandrei (a mason's son) took his hammer and broke the ice. Both he and the Imperial army fell into the frozen waters but whereas the army persished, Zandrei was saved by Markam although his hair was turned forever ice-white. His icon depicts a white haired boy, walking on water and wielding a hammer.
The Hinar use kayaks craft to travel the lake, which is home to seals and the Usk Whale. There are many sacred islands within the lake, and perhaps some fantastic creatures dwelling there too.