Once a powerful independent kingdom, now the great cities of Thénai, Kersepoli and Korthos have outshone Isteros. Though, of late, the former kingdom is considered a provincial backwater, the Isteroi look on their past with pride.
Though the Isteroi speak a dialect of Eloesian, they are considered barbarians or, at best, half-rate Eloesians by the rest. Red hair is common among their people, and — in contrast to the rest of Eloesus — the Isteroi grow their hair long and sport beards.
They worship Tyros, god of war, above all others. In statues and paintings, Tyros is represented as a bear or werebear. The Isteroi king’s bodyguards are called the Black Bears. Thus, the bear is considered the Isteroi national animal.
The city of Arctos lies at a bend in the River Ister before it empties into the River Sulis. Arctos, population 25,000, is the site of the Royal Palace, the Grand Temple of Tyros and the Isteroi People’s Assembly. An immense stone statue of an anthropomorphic bear, representing Tyros, can be seen in the market square.