The nation of Thesk is an oligarchy of around 850,000 people, inhabited by humans, gnomes, and orcs. The majority of its inhabitants are either merchants or farmers. The Golden Way, the main trade route to Kara-Tur, runs through Thesk, exposing it to a wide variety of cultures and making its people more tolerant than most Faerûnians
In eons past, the lands of Thesk were once part of the empire of Narfell, but little survived the Great Conflagration that destroyed that empire in -150 DR. Thesk remained largely empty until Windyn Balindre pioneered the Golden Way trade route to Kara-Tur in 970 DR and immigrants from Impiltur began to settle the land. Balindre and these settlers founded the city of Telflamm in 926 DR. In 1177 DR Princess Delile Balindre declared Telflamm (and thus all of Thesk) independent from Impiltur.
In 1211 DR, Thay invaded and captured the two southernmost cities of Thesk, Nethjet and Nethentir. Twenty-five years later, in 1216 DR, Thay again invaded, marching on the city of Phent, but this time the combined forces of Impiltur and Thesk defeat the Red Wizards of Thay. Relations between the two nations eventually cooled, and in 1351 DR, one of the first Thayan Enclaves was established in Telflamm.
In 1360 DR, the Tuigan Horde, led by Horselord Yamun Khahan invaded Faerûn from the Hordelands in the east. To meet the threat, the people of the western heartlands, lead by King Azoun IV of Cormyr raised a great alliance made of troops from Cormyr, the Dalelands, Hillsfar, Raven’s Bluff, Dwarves from the Earthfast Mountains, and others. Sembia provided funds to hire mercenaries, and Zhentil Keep contributed 1000 Orcs. The armies of the west totaled 28,000 against 100,000 Tuigans. Despite the odds, the alliance defeated the invading horde on the Golden Way near Phsant. The eastern half of Thesk was in ruins, but with the Tuigan threat neutralized, trade with Kara-Tur could resume, and with it, the flow of money into the land. The Orcs decided to settle in the country, becoming “civilized”, and the people of Thesk grew to accept them.
Seeing opportunity in a weakened Thesk, the Sharkjaw pirates descend on Telflamm in 1364 DR and make it their home port until the Shadowmasters managed to drive them out, leaving them unchallenged to expand their influence in the still recovering city.
In the early fifteenth century, Tai Shing, a Shou hero, successfully drove the criminal gangs out of Phsant to became the First Council Lord of Phsant and then to be elected the first Suzerain of Thesk. His death in 1453 DR has left Thesk a patchwork of nobles, merchants, and gangs.
Thesk is a heavily trade-focused country. It is very wealthy because of it, but it also gave rise to an everyone-for-himself mentality that rules many of the cities and merchants. Thesk has trade relations across the Sea of Fallen Stars to especially Impiltur and Aglarond, but also countries beyond. On the other side it trades with Narfell, Rashemen and through the Golden Way with Kara-Tur. From the neighboring countries, Thesk is also the most tolerant to Thay and their Red Wizard enclaves that have sprung up around the country. Even though only a few decades ago Thay captured 2 of Thesk’s cities.
Thesk is very wealthy and the wealthiest inhabitant of each settlement becomes the mayor. A council of mayors exists to govern the nation. Most outsiders think of the city of Telflamm as the capital of Thesk, but in reality, the council that governs Thesk does not recognize any city as capital.
Thesk is located between the Plateau of Thay and the Forest of Lethyr and is largely uninhabited. It has a coastline on the eastern edge of the Sea of Fallen Stars, in what is knows as the Easting Reach. Much of this coastline is rocky, but ports exist at Milvarune, Nyth, and Telflamm.
Ashanath is an uninhabited area of Thesk. Despite its fertile lands, its lack of settlement is attributable to the seasonal tornadoes from which it suffers.
Telflamm is a large independent city-state and the largest settlement in Thesk. Its approximately 23,500 inhabitants apparently are under the rule of a “merchant prince”, though behind the scenes it is the Shadowmasters, a thieves guild, who runs the city.