In an official sense, the Village Territories is a loose term given to the region southeast of Thysia and east of Lavos with Edrossian culture, just southwest of Sigon, the homeland to the now-Andorasi Sigorians, and northwest of the Drakonteian Empire. This area of southern Doras Edrossi is dotted with small, disunited villages and nations that are far too complicated to try and map out, or too autonomous to be considered a nation -- hence, they are known as village territories. For political purposes, this land is considered unclaimed by the Dealing Council, and as a result, has been the target of (failed) colonization, particularly by the seafaring Andorasi Lord Paramouncy of Thunder's Shore. Several centralized, united village territories exist, however, and a few in particular have petitioned for city-statehood at the next Dealing of 350 AC, where their candidacy will be determined and evaluated.
Definition, and drawbacks
By the Dealing Council's definition, a village territory is "an autonomous region unrecognized by the Dealing Council as an independent nation, by way of obscurity." What this basically means is that the villages and towns that exist here are still deemed too unimportant to be recognized nations, and are subject to a large grey area of law by the Dealing Council. The rules are not too concise following this, but only that they may apply for city-statehood every 5 years, by Dealing.
Part of the reason that village territories clamor for gaining city-statehood is because the treaties that apply to the rest of the city-states do not apply to the territories -- the Dealing Laws, which keep the city-states in general accordance with a defined set of laws based on their Edrossian culture, which they may or may not abide by, but generally do so because of the economic benefits by choosing to trade primarily with those who follow the laws. There are no sanctions imposed for invading or subjugating the people who live in the Village Territories by the city-states, but there will be interference should an outsider nation (i.e. an Andorasi paramouncy) decides to attempt an invasion anywhere in the Village Territories (or anywhere where Edrossian culture is prominent, for that matter; the Drakonian Union was established just for this purpose). The Village Territories can be freely taxed and extorted from at any rate, should one territory be forced to depend on a city-state for its sustenance. Once they have joined the ranks of the city-states, they can no longer be treated as such -- but the criteria for becoming a city-state requires that they can self-sustain or at least remain stagnant, if none of the other states choose to help them.
If a city-state that became such from a village territory suddenly becomes weak or poor, and it applied for city-statehood within the past 20 years or four Dealings, it can be demoted -- this, like all things city-state related, would have to be discussed at the next Dealing. As of late, this rule has yet to be tested. Long-standing traditional city-states cannot be subject to this, and the implementation of allowing the village territories to be recognized as city-states only came about in the early 4th century AC; this doesn't stop them from recognizing themselves as ones, of course.
Requirements to become a city-state
Although in reality all a village territory needs to become a city-state is recognition from 2/3rds of the other city-states, the territories are not even evaluated if a.) their population is not at least over 1,000 people, b.) they cannot self-sustain, meaning they must depend on others for survival and not for leisure, and c.) if they are part of a war. If a village territory meets all of this criteria, it can petition the Dealing Council in Meyron, and they will add it to a list of territories awaiting approval and recognition at the next Dealing.
List of Village Territories
Efugio - The most likely of all village territories to achieve city-statehood, it is also the most powerful, most wealthy, and most influential village territory. Applied for city-statehood in 346 AC -- almost certainly to be accepted.
Folthysland - A small but very powerful and dense village territory made up of the Thysian extremists who still worship Folthys Dimaeron, a Thysian Magister known for his cruel treatment of Zaentovi slaves while he ruled Thysia. Applied for city-statehood in 349 AC -- likely to be accepted.
Vysetharia - The newest village territory to be united, by a group of pacifists calling themselves The Fleece of Purity. Unique in the fact that it is permanently ruled by a regency council, it is a relatively weak but extremely loyal territory that enjoys a connection to Doras Edrossi's internal sea. Applied for city-statehood in 350 AC -- likely to be accepted. One oddity of this village territory is that, given its current claimed borders, it would be the only city-state to not touch another -- it is only bordered by other village territories and the Haajidi Caliphate.
Belkaia - Once reviewed for city-statehood in 340 AC, it completely shattered in 343 AC following a civil war that dissolved and took the united territory with it. Over time, it has rebuilt, but much smaller than before and much weaker. It chose not to apply for the 350 AC Dealing, citing economic struggles and internal strife.
Velkaia - The sister state of Belkaia, which broke off from it in 343 AC as part of the Belkaian Civil War. Stronger than its counterpart, it applied for city-statehood in 349 AC -- unlikely to be accepted, however, as it is weak and depends mostly on its iron deposits, which they use as their main export.
There are several more village territories, but many are too irrelevant to name.