The Kingdom Of Arnesse
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♕ House Hale
Far to the north, beyond the peaks of the Barrier Mountains, lies the vast tundra of the Everfrost. To outsiders, this is a harsh, unforgiving land that lies far beyond the boundaries of civilization. A place haunted by the spirits of those who have been taken by the cold and left to wander the frozen wastes for all eternity. But there are those who call this inhospitable environment home; a people made hard as ice and sharpened by the cold. They are a proud, fearless society who draw their roots from a lost culture long forgotten by the rest of Arnesse. A people long ago conquered, passing what remains of their ancient practices down in the hopes of keeping the fires of their heritage alive just a bit longer. To many, the Northmen are warlike savages, best known the terror they sow in others when their horns sound on the horizon. Those who come to know them find they are honorable warriors whose word is stronger than the iron mountains within whose shadow they live.
♕ House Bannon
Deep in the Kingswood lies an ancient people who can trace their line back to the Kings of Old. The Valefolk, a reclusive, superstitious and talented people who have lived in relative isolation for centuries in a broad forested valley surrounded on three sides by towering peaks. Here, in the shadow of the mountain, the Valefolk have quietly carved out an empire that has spread throughout the rest of Arnesse as far as the wastes of Tarkath and the tundra of the Everfrost. This is a realm of contradictions, where pure-blood Ardan nobility rule over a more primitive people that they subjugated to their will in a time out of memory. It is a place where the mysticism of the ancient world collides with the newly emerging religion of the Hearthlands and threatens the very foundations of all that the Bannons have spent a thousand years building. This is a land where wolves still run free through old growth forests beneath a full moon and tales speak of dark creatures that lurk at the edge of firelight, waiting to drink the blood of the living. The Sovereignlands is the home of King and Highcourt; it is here that the fate and future of all Arnesse is likely to be decided.
♕ House Innis
The Northern Marches
Considered by many to be a place of mystical energy and forgotten legends, the Northern Marches, and specifically the Thornwood, is a realm apart from the Kingdom of Arnesse. Home to an ancient people who share a powerful connection with the land and the spirits of the wood, is is a place of wonder for some and terror for others. For those who travel too deeply and carelessly into the wood and stray from the paths, are rarely seen again. This is a place of deep sorrows and ancient grudges, home to a people who have suffered beneath the yoke of occupation and while bent, were not broken. It is a place of hope, for the people of the wood are survivors who have protected their legacy from those who would see it undone. But as the winds of change blow through the trees of the Thornwood and beckon the Woodfolk to leave their forest, the question remains if they will heed the call and what they will do once they have left their sanctuary.
♕ House Blayne
The Hearthlands is the cradle of faith in Arnesse and a land of incredible bounty. Where the rivers meet plain and forest, its lush, rolling plains are some of the most beautiful in the Kingdom. Here, live a proud and just people descended from the knights of old. They have stood up to tyrants in the name of virtue and justice for centuries and paid a terrible price for their beliefs. With sheer will, they have carved out a place for themselves in the world and held it against impossible odds. But darkness grows in this land like a cancer. Even while its people revere the dawn, the shadows grow long where the light does not shine and corruption festers among those who are sworn to protect the innocent. It is a place of incredible potential which has never been realized. A proud legacy that has been squandered by incompetence and vice done in the name of virtue. Others may look down upon the Hearthfolk, but few can deny that something that is unknowable brought them to where they are, and that they may indeed be a people chosen by a higher power to accomplish some greater destiny.
♕ House Richter
The Dusklands is an otherworldly realm of overcast skies and craggy peaks, of desolate volcanic plains, misty bogs and lonely moors haunted by the baying of distant wolves. It is the home of ancient secrets and treasure buried beneath in hoary crypts and abandoned mines long before the Age of Man. Here, the Dusklanders take precious resources from the Vale’s bosom and the hands of ancient craftsmen turn them into masterful instruments of war and death. The Dusklanders are a logical, stoic, and war-like people, driven by an all-consuming passion to create, even as they continue to master the arts of destruction. This is a dangerous land, a hard land, filled with people who have become as hard and cold as the iron they mine. Once, the Dusklanders were very pinnacle of power in the Kingdom of Arnesse and none could stand before them, but now the mountains from which they were made have laid them low in a moment of fiery apocalypse. Through sheer will, they have clawed their civilization back from the brink and Dusklanders now stand at a crossroads in their redemption, one path leading to glory beyond even the dreams of their fathers; the other, the path to annihilation.
♕ House Aragon
Tarkath is a land of the barren and the exotic, located in the furthest Southern region of Arnesse. It is a desolate wasteland of ashen deserts filled with deadly creatures, where the very soil itself is poisonous to life. Here, House Aragon and its vassals have carved out an empire that has lasted over one thousand years. The people of Tarkath are hardy, passionate, and freedom-loving, embracing life with a wild abandon as though each day were their last. Here, some of the finest minds in Arnesse make their home. It is a haven for scholars and the home of the Apotheca. Tarkath’s warriors are among the most skilled in Arnesse, striking like the snakes after which they style themselves. It is a land of curious wares and exotic goods where one can purchase almost anything for a price. Tarkath is a land unlike any in the Kingdom, with its own customs and practices that are singular among their northern neighbors; a land of fallen dragons and snakes, of ancient tombs, and lores lost long ago to the world of men.
♕ House Rourke
The Three Seas
The Three Seas are among the most rugged, dangerous, and wild landscapes in Arnesse. It is here, among the waves, that the Seaborn make their homes. Unbound by the laws of Kings, they are a people who live at the whim of the tides and go where the currents take them. Forever doomed to be outsiders, their culture has grown up outside the structures and civility of more established society. To many, they are little more than brigands of the sea, uncouth rogues who take what they want from whomever is unfortunate enough to cross their path. From their secretive and hidden freeports the fleets of the High Armada have remained a constant and deadly threat to those who travel the Three Seas. But just beneath the surface lie a proud people who are inheritors of an ancient and dark legacy; Princes of a drowned empire who yearn to return to the time when they sat in a place of honor among their peers. In years past, the Seaborn had all but disappeared from the courts of Arnesse; largely forgotten by the powers of the Kingdom. Recently, the ships of Seaborn captains have been sighted in the ports of towns throughout the Arnesse, not as raiders, but as visitors. Speculation has spread across the Kingdom as to the Seaborn’s intentions and what it could mean for the delicate balance of power in the Kingdom. To date, the Seaborn have been careful to not reveal their hand or plans to anyone. They remain a wild card in the great game and a sharp thorn in the side of many who see their fickle and unpredictable nature as a possible threat.
♕ House Corveaux
With endless, green plains and rolling hills set against the backdrop of towering mountains and snow-capped peaks, the landscape of the Midlands is considered some of the most break-taking in all the Kingdom. With a temperate climate, good food, mirthful people, and benevolent rulers, many consider the lands of House Corveaux to be a true paradise. Though this is a land of plenty and people want for very little, it has not stopped the folk of the Midlands from developing a culture of martial excellence and its knights are considered the finest in all Arnesse. This is an ancient land that has a long history of conflict, where knights of legend still ride free atop coursers from the purest bloodlines and the virtues of chivalry are held to be the law of the land. Here, one can catch a true glimpse into the ancient feudal society of ages past, where the nobles sit upon thrones within castles built a thousand years ago by the masters of old with techniques forgotten to modern craftsmen. Here the horse and the hawk are sacred, valued for their freedom and unimpeded movement on land and sky. This is a land of justice and honor, where valor and personal skill are the measure of worth and the beasts of a mythic age; the gryphon, the pegasus, the eagle, the stag, and the lion continue to inspire heroism in the modern day.