Nations and Cultures

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"Five minutes after my birth, and my name, nationality, and religion were all decided. I have spent the rest of my life defending that over which I had no choice. No more."

--Unknown

Filgaia and Lunar have a number of nations spread across them. Kingdoms and empires, city-states and tribes, the peoples of these two worlds are many and varied. This document does not provide a comprehensive overview of each culture on Filgaia and Lunar. The administration doesn't want to provide in-depth detail on that level, to allow players room to feel comfortable to create minor detail and foster an environment where making a small mistake is fine. These are liner notes to explain the most important aspects of the many groups that characters may encounter on the game.

Filgaia

Kingdom of Adlehyde

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: King Justin II

Notable Towns: Adlehyde, Saint Centour, Port Timney

Adlehyde is one of the three great kingdoms on the Ignas Continent. It occupies the southeastern part of the continent. It enjoys greater stability, more arable land, and more peace than its neighbors, Aveh and Kislev. Like the other two kingdoms, it is a monarchy. However, the merchants of Adlehyde are powerful, and have won representation on a council to the king that insures the common man receives more representation in governance than its peers.

Life in Adlehyde isn't easy, but it is easier than most parts of Filgaia. The desertification that gripped Aveh is only at Adlehyde's borders, and its farmers pull in a decent harvest every year. The towns and villages in Adlehyde's countryside are peaceful. Conversely, Adlehyde's military is not as strong as its neighbors. ARMs are rare in Adlehyde, because it is largely a nation of farmers. The recent discovery of four Golems has increased its might considerably, as it has few Gears. Settlements in Adlehyde are often left on their own, being simple farming communities ruled by a nobleman or a council -- and, in turn, they are more vulnerable to dangers than the townships in Aveh and Kislev.

The capital of Adlehyde shares the kingdom's name. Adlehyde sits near the southern coast, on a broad plain that includes a considerable amount of the nation's farms. The city is at a crossroads, which makes it rich in trade. The heart of the city is Adlehyde Castle, an old stone fortification built some four hundred years ago.

Republic of Aveh

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: Prime Minister Shakhan

Notable Towns: Bledavik, Dazil, Lahan

Aveh is one of the three great kingdoms of the Ignas continent. Aveh was reformed as a republic 15 years ago, when the last king of the Fatima Dynasty -- Edbart Fatima -- was overthrown and executed following popular uprisings over the monarchy's handling of the desertification crisis, which claimed most of the kingdom's arable land and devastated its commons. King Edbart's former prime minister -- Javid Shakhan -- has ruled ever since.

Aveh lies at the centre of one of the largest battlegrounds from the Metal Demon Wars, and in recent years the republic's economy has been revitalized thanks to the excavation of ARMs. The country is in an active and heated war with the neighbouring Kislev Empire, which regularly raids into Aveh territory to claim excavated technology, particularly Gears, for itself.

Life in Aveh is hard. Desert has consumed most of the country, and the sands grow with each passing year. Still, the clear and present danger of Kislev -- combined with the brisk trade flowing through excavation hubs like Dazil -- has bolstered Shakhan's popularity considerably within central Aveh. In the border regions, however, things are more grim, and memories of the Fatima kings more favourable.

Recently, Shakhan announced that a force known as Gebler -- said to be an arm of the Solaris military -- has been aiding Aveh in its war against Kislev. The battle lines have shifted northeast, and Kislev is dug in heavily in a relatively narrow mountain pass along the border. Raids into Aveh territory are still common, but the highly mobile Gebler forces are punishing them.

Badlands

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: None

Notable Towns: Little Twister, June City, Boot Hill, November City, Humphrey's Peak

The Badlands, officially, is part of Aveh. It fills the western part of Aveh, essentially occupying all of western Ignas. It is a lawless land; the cities and towns here consist of independent city-states, either broken away from Aveh's direct rule or survivors of the Night of Falling Stars. The deserts here are the fiercest on the whole continent: dry, arid, and blazing hot year round.

Life is difficult here. The cities that have Plants have a better time of it, with a source of power and water. Powers like June City and November City rule their small tract of desert without much trouble. However, many towns are much smaller, desperately making ends meet with cattle driving, ranching, and mining. Towns like Boot Hill and Little Twister get by on hard work and hard living.

ARMs and Drifters are common here. People here are suspicious, but not hateful of ARMs because they need them. Drifters are frowned on, but they bring the only law and order that this region can hope to find. The wealthier cities hope to hire Drifters; the poorer towns hope that the Drifters won't turn outlaw. Ruins are common here and the region promises incredible wealth for those who will risk its dangers.

Kislev Empire

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: Kaiser Sigmund

Notable Towns: Nortune

The Kislev Empire dominates the east of Ignas, where tight mountain passes have served as a bulwark against both the effects of desertification and the territorial ambitions of its neighbours. The ruler of Kislev, Kaiser Sigmund, was rumoured to be close with King Edbart of the Fatima Dynasty; since the latter's death, Kislev and Aveh have been in a state of open war.

While Kislev has a few small settlements in the northeast portions of the country, the majority of its wealth and power is concentrated in the capital of Nortune, a sprawling industrial city like nothing else on the surface of Filgaia. Nortune's population is close to three million, and lives in regulated, segregated districts based on a letter system and divided by occupation and income. Even so, life in Nortune is easier than most parts of Filgaia -- massive coal deposits near the capital served as a cheap and reliable source of energy through much of the last two centuries, and even the poorest parts of the city are typically lit and heated by gas and steam. In recent years, the construction of a massive reactor in the heart of Nortune has sparked a wave of new industry.

Kislev is most famous for its Battling Tournament -- a series of ongoing fighting competitions similar to the Lacour Tournament of Arms, but fought with Gears. Participants are furnished their Gears by a central Battling Committee, and are promised (and more remarkably, given) wealth and privilege with each victory. For prisoners and other lower-class citizens, the promise of quick gella is a hard one to resist. For Kislev, the benefit is twofold: in addition to its entertainment value, the Battling Tournament serves as a test ground for their weapons development programs.

As a result of the Battling Tournament, Kislev's Gears are the most powerful on the surface of Filgaia... or at least were thought to be, until the emergence of Gebler. Even the battle-tested forces of Kislev are sorely pressed by the advanced technology of this new force, and have dug into the mountain passes to make their stand and await developments.

Nisan

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: Holy Mother Marguerite

Notable Towns: Nisan

Located on an island immediately northwest of Aveh, the country Nisan is home to the Nisan religious sect. Traditionally a peaceful and religious country, Nisan has close ties with its neighbour; the kings of the Fatima Dynasty frequently chose their wives from among the senior leadership of the church.

The country's only city, Nisan, is located on an island sitting in a lake that has formed in a large crater. The current Holy Mother of the Nisan Sect -- Marguerite Fatima -- has formal authority over the country, although most day-to-day matters are left in the hands of the Church's senior leaders and a small town council. Holy Mother Marguerite is currently in the Aveh capital of Bledavik, where she is said to be working to calm tensions between Aveh and Kislev.

Kingdom of Lacour

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: King Ardryn I

Notable Towns: Lacour, Linga, Hilton

Located in the southwestern corner of Ignas, the Kingdom of Lacour is a relatively minor power on the continent. Adlehyde borders it on the north and east, but relations between the two kingdoms have largely been cordial throughout their history; neither is particularly interested in a war with each other when Aveh and Kislev are looming so large. Like Adlehyde, Lacour is predominantly pastoral. It is entirely untouched by the desertification working its way through central Ignas, and the people are prosperous. Unfortunately, many outlaws view these southern cities as softer targets, and so banditry is high in the rural regions.

While ARMs are almost totally unknown in the kingdom, the capital -- Lacour Castle -- is home to a thriving community of blacksmiths. Generations of smiths have practiced their craft within the castle city's walls, and the weapons and armour forged in Lacour are the class of the world. The kingdom plays host to an annual Tournament of Arms, which bestows a sizeable purse and the title of World's Strongest Warrior -- prizes worthwhile enough that competitors come from as far away as Elru or Aquvy to participate.

There are two other cities of note in Lacour. Hilton, located on the westernmost point of the country, is the largest port city in Ignas, and serves as a hub of trade. The other is the city of Linga, home to the Linga University, one of the foremost centres of learning in Filgaia. Scholars travel from the world over to study in Linga, and many set up shop there -- this has also made it an attractive destination for Drifters who emerge from ruins with no idea if the artifact they've recovered is a piece of priceless lore or a 5000-year-old shopping list.

Kingdom of Krosse

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: King Krono I

Notable Towns: Krosse, Marze, Salva, Harley, Arlia

Krosse occupies the southern portion of the Ignas continent, bordering Aveh and Adlehyde, the latter of which has been a close trading partner for centuries. Life on Krosse is almost idyllic compared to the rest of Ignas -- its closest neighbour is a friendly nation, and its mining and fishing industries are prosperous. Its king and local leaders are competent and well-respected. It's almost too good to be true.

The village of Marze is one of the few noteworthy aspects of the kingdom; it was founded about 80 years ago by a group of Symbologists who left the fledgling University of Linga over disputes with the College of Crest Sorcery there. The combination of a remote location and peaceful neighbours have allowed for rapid development, and the residents of Marze have made a number of discoveries that are pushing the boundaries of their art.

The kingdom is also home to a fairly benign system of worship surrounding a so-called "Warrior of Light," said to be the reincarnation of the first king of the dynasty, Kahlus Krosse. Its adherents believe Kahlus will return to save the kingdom from a catastrophe; they are generally viewed as strange but mostly harmless by other faiths.

Ignas Baskar Tribes

Continent: Ignas

Ruler: None

Notable Towns: Small and scattered villages.

The Baskar Tribe is spread across all of Filgaia, but time and distance have resulted in the Tribe developing differently across the globe. The Baskar of Ignas are a pastoral people who reside primarily in Aveh and Adlehyde. They are not uncommon on the Badlands, but small villages and wandering tribesmen can be seen elsewhere. Their largest village is located deep within the Badlands, in a mountainous region. Outsiders often call it "Baskar Colony."

The Baskar tend to be ranchers by trade, though they do some farming near their villages. They tend to distrust ARMs and eschew modern technology, but not to the point of being Luddites; in the hard life of the Badlands, the Baskar know the value of protecting themselves. They worship the Guardians, a centuries-old practice that has granted them access to sorcery and made them deeply in tune with the land.

Most Baskar remain in their towns or, occasionally, bands that work trade routes necessary to keep their village alive. However, some young Baskar seek their fortune outside of their villages. These Baskar tend to encounter some religious discrimination, given the beliefs of Ethos.

Solaris

Continent: None; located in a floating suborbital platform

Ruler: Emperor Cain

Notable Towns: Etrenank

Solaris is an advanced society based on a floating platform located high in the atmosphere over Filgaia. The platform is far above the operational limit of all but the most advanced Gears, rendering it nearly inaccessible from the surface except through a series of transporters called "Gates." Like nearly everything else about Solaris, the locations of these Gates is a closely-kept secret, and they are never left unguarded or unattended. As a result, nothing of Solarian society is known by anyone who was not born or has not lived there. They are a mystery, and work both hard and ruthlessly to keep it that way.

Shevat

Continent: None; located in a floating suborbital platform

Ruler: Queen Zephyr I

Notable Towns: Aphel Aura

Shevat is a nation that exists over the skies of Filgaia, built on a floating platform constructed from salvaged Zeboim-era technology. Shevat flies low enough that it can occasionally be seen from the ground, meaning Gears and other airships could (theoretically) reach it, although it is constantly on the move and most surface dwellers tend to dismiss it as a hallucination.

Shevat has existed since before the Day of Collapse, and views itself as the only thing keeping Solaris from total world domination. Shevat agents exist in nearly every nation in Filgaia, and provide clandestine assistance to counterbalance Solarian attempts at manipulation. Solaris has invaded Shevat twice in modern memory -- most recently about a dozen years earlier -- but was repelled both times. Shevat's defences -- particularly their energy shielding -- are truly formidable, but they are incapable of responding in kind due to their much lower orbit. As such, the nation's agents are actively seeking out Zeboim-era technology in the hopes of uncovering something that will allow them to take the fight to Solaris for a change.

Shevat is built as a giant ring, with a central island in the centre, much like a thick-rimmed, short-spoked wagon wheel. The capital of Aphel Aura resides in the centre; it is a majestic city with towering spires and beautiful architecture. The Queen of Shevat, Zephyr I, has ruled there for more than five hundred years, her face and bearing almost unchanged from paintings commissioned prior to the Day of Collapse.

Meria Boule

Continent: Aquvy

Ruler: King James Archibald II

Notable Towns: Meria Boule, Damzen, Claiborne, Sielje (officially)

Meria Boule is a constitutional monarchy located in the northern part of Aquvy. It has enjoyed a prosperous few centuries since the Day of Collapse, staying out of the wars to the south and in Ignas. It dominates trade in the Great Sea, though it leaves the Great Sea itself to the Diggers and Drifters that venture there.

Its greatest resource is its seapower. Both its trade and its navy make it the wealthiest kingdom in Filgaia, and have stemmed the worst impulses of more warlike neighbors. Meria Boule is governed by a small Senate, which is largely oligarchic; only certain families are entitled to vote, and the monarchy still enjoys a great deal of power. Meria Boule's main concern, traditionally, is maintaining the economic prosperity that has defined it.

Notable features of Meria Boule include the Cathedral of the Sword-Magess - one of the largest and oldest buildings in the world - and the Academy City Sielje, which is the foremost centre of learning on the surface of Filgaia, notable for somehow managing to teach both Crest Sorcerers and Symbologists in relative peace and tranquility.

Sylvaland

Continent: Aquvy

Ruler: Queen Lenore XI

Notable Towns: Sylvaland, Holst, Helmetz

Sylvaland is a forested, island kingdom that maintains a traditional monarchy. Of the three great powers remaining in Aquvy, Sylvaland is the weakest: its army is small and its navy smaller. Many of its cities are semi-pastoral, located on the heavily wooded islands of southeastern Aquvy. Sylvaland is a dominant force in the region, thanks to its control of many of the most arable lands in the archipelago - combined, their agriculture rivals that of Adlehyde and Krosse, combined. Access to these lands is facilitated by a working network of Elw teleporters that link Sylvaland's disparate parts together. Sylvaland’s forces are able to use this network move swiftly and decisively in response to an attack.

While not stratified or oppressive, Sylvaland is a highly traditional and somewhat conservative society; there is a strong cultural imperative to fit within the norms of their society. This includes a strong and passionate faith in the god Granas - regular attendance at worship services is likewise an expectation that, if not met, can lead to social and economic consequences. No small number of businesses have found themselves unable to attract customers following a perceived slight to the faithful. These conservative tendencies also extend to the use of ARMs. Sylvaland's government keeps tight control of the Elw teleporter network, and maintains close relationships with Ethos monasteries within its territory; in turn, the Ethos monitor and confiscate technologies that could pose a threat to the kingdom.

This has led to conflicts over the centuries with the Aquvy Baskar, who live in lands claimed by Sylvaland. While many of the Aquvy Baskar’s core cultural values remain the same, they are a tribe distinctly apart from their brethren in Igna. In particular, the role of the Shaman is viewed considerably differently - in addition to being the world’s savior, the Shaman is viewed as a sacrifice to the fate of the world. Probably not literally.

Guild Galad

Continent: Aquvy

Ruler: The Master

Notable Towns: Guild Galad, Port Rosala, Guara Bobelo, Hallm, Parm

Until the fall of Celesti, Guild Galad was merely a powerful city-state that operated as a merchant republic. Founded after the Day of Collapse, it grew into a global center of ARMs production thanks to one simple fact: the city sits atop the site of a cataclysmic battle waged during the First Metal Demon War. Much of the city is built into the ruins of an ancient Hyadean structure, while a mass grave of Metal Dragons--the Boneyard--provides a steady stream of Dragon Fossils. The money brought in by Galadian industry has also helped finance financing major expeditions to unearth and repair ARMs found all over Filgaia - which has brought even more money into the republic. As a result of centuries of the incorporation of ARMs into the city’s machinery, Guild Galad and its citizens are almost entirely comfortable with technology and its applications. Even Metal Demons are regarded more as mythical figures and cultural curiosities than threats.

When Celesti fell, Guild Galad took control of the surviving cities. While the humanitarian efforts are undeniable, and those cities owe their marginal existence to Guild Galad's largesse, the city-state turned nation-state has largely relegated them to the role of providing resources - primarily food - for Guild Galad itself; the city’s sprawling size (and heavy metals from the Boneyard) have long made agriculture difficult, if not impossible. The clash of philosophies between rural and urban cultures - fueled by what Celesti’s former citizen regard as the outright theft of their nation, and crops, to feed the growling maw of Guild Galad - have fueled discontent in the region. As a result, the outlands of Guild Galad are nearly as lawless as any part of Filgaia - which has done much to fuel Odessa's recruitment drives.

Guild Galad is the largest city on Filgaia, a veritable metropolis that is crowded in the extreme. It is ruled by a small Council, with the head of this council called The Master. The Master - whose true name and House are not permitted to be spoken, to emphasize their role as the ruler of all Guild Galad - serves for twenty year terms, and typically comes from one of the large industrial magnates that drives so much of the nation’s politics. The current Master will see his term end in 511 PC.

St. Heim Papal State

Continent: Aquvy

Ruler: Pope Zera Innocentius

Notable Towns: Granas Grand Cathedral

The St. Heim Papal State is the center of spiritual authority, and one of the few direct fonts of temporal authority, for the Granas Church. It controls the Granas Grand Cathedral, which has seen an entire city sprout up around it, and has its own military and foreign relations. There is considerably less uniformity amidst Granasian churches than Pope Innocentius would care for, as many a bishop prefers to ingratiate themselves with local rulers than a distant papal authority.

In the Papal State, this is not true. Granas Grand Cathedral and the surrounding countryside under its control are bureaucratically managed by the church, providing the foodstuffs, population, and basic trade necessary to allow the Church its reach across Filgaia. The Ethos also have a major presence here, and act to help protect the city.

St. Heim Papal State is named after Saint Heim, who was made a saint for finding the location of the Sword Magess's death. This has since been consecrated as one of the holiest sites in Granas, inside of the Church of the Rusted Sepulchre, only a fifteen minute walk from the Granas Grand Cathedral.

Slayheim

Continent: Elru

Ruler: None

Notable Towns: None

The Kingdom of Slayheim, though located on Elru, had close political ties to Aquvy. It had been involved in several conflicts with Guild Galad, Celesti, and Sylvaland. The absolute monarchy was known for its brutality and excesses. This came to a head in the Slayheim Liberation War. That war ended when the “Hero of Slayheim,” Brad Evans, activated an ARM that turned the whole of the kingdom into a massive salt flat. Now, Slayheim is left abandoned, and is a brutal wasteland with almost no life.

Kingdom of Arctica

Continent: Elru

Ruler: None (formerly King Hadrian IV)

Notable Towns: None

Arctica is a destroyed kingdom. While located on Elru, its proximity to Ignas made it a player in politics there. It intervened several times in the war between Kislev and Aveh, usually on the side of Kislev, though it never proved decisive. It was a military nation, with its forces spearheaded by the mighty Fenrir Knights. Arctica typically eschewed the use of ARMs, preferring to rely on powerful martial arts and Crest Sorcery for its troops.

Tragically, Arctica was struck down two years ago. Arctica Castle, the seat of government for the kingdom, seemingly became a ruin guarded by powerful monsters. The towns and villages in the snowy countryside were destroyed. No one is certain what caused it. Now, the northern kingdom is a snowy wasteland, and rumors fly that it is far from a safe place to travel. Many Drifters who went there, often in search of the ruins that populated its countryside, never returned. Those who did often had scars, but no answers regarding the powerful enemies that attacked them.

The few survivors of Arctica do not know what happened, save that a mysterious and powerful foe struck them down. No one is believed to have escaped Arctica Castle, but some away from the kingdom and on its outskirts fled, often traveling to Ignas or Aquvy.

Kingdom of Ell

Continent: Elru

Ruler: King Zhotrad IV

Notable Towns: Elluria

With the destruction of Arctica and Slayheim, the Kingdom of Ell is the last remaining power in the northern Elru continent. Like its former neighbours, Ell's remote location and austere conditions has produced a nation that is devoted to martial power; Elru is a hard land, and the people who live there must be harder.

King Zhotrad IV of Ell has not been idle in recent years; his forces have scoured the countryside to wipe out bandits and outlaws; the worst of them were put to death, while the best were given a place in Ell's military and promised their freedom after ten years of service. He has also contracted the Ethos to provide military ARMs for use by his soldiers, and a trio of long-range artillery pieces are dug into emplacements in Elluria's keep. Zhotrad has seen what happened to his neighbours, and is determined that his people will not meet the same fate.

His preparations were wise -- a meteor that burned across the night sky is believed to have landed on Elru. What little news has escaped the continent is not good -- Elluria is said to be under siege from unknown forces. Ellurian citizens who were in Aquvy or Ignas at the time now face a difficult choice -- try to return home through a war zone, or sit in safety while their country bleeds.

Veruni Control Zones

Continent: Elru (mostly)

Ruler: Unknown

Notable Towns: Laila Belle

The Veruni Control Zones are less a name for the Veruni nation and more a rough collective umbrella term for all territories in Filgaia under Veruni rule. This is chiefly central Elru, but also includes domains in Aquvy and even some in the Eastern region of Ignas. The name comes from the rumored tendency of the Veruni to divide geographic territories into sectors or zones within a rigorously efficient grid. This is perhaps the only thing the common man would about the Veruni Control Zones; because of the Veruni's tendency to vehemently guard their borders - especially with the presence of enemies on all sides - and their tendency to, by and large, rarely stray outside these zones, there is not much known about the Veruni besides myth and rumor. Because of this, nothing about Veruni society is truly known except by those who were born or live within the Control Zones, and considering how difficult it is to actually leave one, largely remain as such.

Lunar

Pentagulia

Continent: Meribus

Ruler: The Goddess Althena

Notable Towns: Pentagulia, Raculi, Larpa

The Holy City of Pentagulia is the capital of the Meribus continent, and the seat of the Goddess Althena. While the Goddess Tower has been located in the same place for millennia, Pentagulia is a relatively new city, having been formed around the Tower when Althena descended from it to guide her people directly. It is home to two of the Four Heroes: White Knight Leo and Red Priestess Mauri. The siblings command Althena's Guard and its priesthood, respectively, and it is from Pentagulia that the will of the goddess is made known.

The Holy City itself consists of four towers -- each named after one of the four dragons -- with a central building where the Goddess and her Dragonmaster hold court. Pentagulia sees a brisk flow of people in and out of the city; in recent years, it has become common practice for the faithful of Althena to travel to Pentagulia and receive her blessing in person. This blessing she is more than willing to give them, and all who return from Pentagulia are overwhelmed by the Goddess's love. Some choose to stay, and the ranks of the faithful are bolstered daily.

Meribia

Continent: Meribus

Ruler: Officially none, de facto Blue Master Lunn

Notable Towns: Meribia, Dalton, Saith, Burg

Meribia is the oldest city in Lunar, and the source of the continent's name. In ages past, Meribia was a thriving port, and the centre of commerce in all of Lunar. To a degree it still is, but Meribia's influence was diminished following a series of attacks by a dark cult a dozen years ago that led to the death of the local mayor.

Althena's Guard was still a small, untested force, and the cult occupied the city for several weeks. Their control was only broken when a middle-aged martial artist named Lunn was attacked by cult agents on the outskirts of the city. After dispatching them with his superior skill, Lunn worked his way through the city and destroyed the cult's leadership in an hour-long melee in the heart of the city. The grateful populace offered Lunn rulership of the city, but the old man demurred, though he chose to stay and help rebuild.

A dozen years later, Lunn remains in Meribia, where he offers training in the martial arts to any who seek to learn. A handful of other dojos have also gathered in the city, and together their influence has stabilized the region. In recognition of Lunn's contributions to Lunar, the Goddess Althena has named him to the ranks of the Four Heroes, under the title "Blue Master." The old man accepted the honour, but continues to deny his leadership of Meribia, insisting he is only there to teach those who wish to learn.

Neo-Vane

Continent: Meribus

Ruler: Black Wizard Borgan

Notable Towns: Neo-Vane

Neo-Vane is the name given to a city raised into the skies by the power of the magician known as Borgan. Like the Vane of old, Neo-Vane is training a new generations of magicians, though its philosophies have proven difficult for some to accept. Borgan believes that a person's ability to channel magic determines their lot in life, and those incapable of becoming true magicians are forbidden to even enter. While those who have been turned away tend to grumble, the approach is clearly favoured by the Goddess Althena - she has named Borgan one of her Four Heroes, under the title of "Black Wizard."

Vane

Continent: Meribus

Ruler: Magic Guild Premier Miria Ausa

Notable Towns: Vane

A thousand years ago, when the Last Dragonmaster stopped the invasion of the Vile Tribe, the city of Vane was struck down from the skies by a blast of elemental fury. Since being grounded, Vane has struggled to retain its footing, but has lost most of its influence over the centuries. The Magic Guild boasts only a handful of students, and even they have rushed to the city of Neo-Vane now that it has taken to the skies. Vane has made a habit of accepting lesser talents rejected from Borgan's guild -- it has little choice but to do so -- but with the most gifted magicians flocking to Neo-Vane, the future of the ancient guild looks bleak indeed.

Kingdom of Hyland

Continent: Glenwood

Ruler: Chancellor Bartlow and the Council; officially, the king

Notable Towns: Ladylake, Marlind

The Kingdom of Hyland dates back some thousand years ago, forming after the collapse of the Asgard Empire. It occupies the eastern third of the Glenwood Continent. While smaller than its neighbor, it enjoys rich resources and natural defenses. It is nestled in a mountainous region, dotted by lakes and rivers, and Hyland's natural beauty is something known and praised throughout Glenwood and Lunar.

Many of Hyland's people are farmers, miners, and sheepherders, who live in small villages throughout the mountainous terrain of the kingdom. However, it enjoys an active city life; trade between the capital and the second largest city, Marlind, is active. However, Hyland's countryside has become a place of danger; both bandits and wildlife have destroyed many a small village, and armed guards are necessary for the caravans plying trade through the region. Its military is powerful; the royal knights are led by Lady Maltran, dubbed the Blue Valkyrie, but their focus is on heightened tensions with Rolance instead of those problems.

Hyland's core is the capital of Ladylake, which rests on an island in the center of a large lake. This city is built atop an ancient ruin, an underground aqueduct that still supplies the city with moving water and makes its famed water wheel spin. It is rich and well-to-do, supported heavily by the kingdom's nobility. The Council that rules the kingdom resides in Roundtabel Palace, which is in the northeastern part of the city.

Rolance Empire

Continent: Glenwood

Ruler: Cardinal Runette Forton and/or the Imperial Knights; officially, the emperor

Notable Towns: Pendrago, Lastonbell, Lohgrin

The Rolance Empire also dates back some thousand years ago, to the collapse of the Asgard Empire. It is the larger of Glenwood's two nations, filling the entire western two-thirds of the continent. Its climate is varied; the heartland in the center of the continent has rolling plains, but its eastern border is dominated by the thick Volgran Forest and high mountains, save for the pass at Glaivend Basin. The west and north are mountainous desert regions, with the far west of the empire being a swampy frontier that remains unsettled.

Rolance's people are overwhelmingly farmers. While logging is common in the east and some mining occurs in the northwest, the heartland of the empire is the breadbasket for all of Glenwood. However, Rolance's frontiers can remind people that Glenwood is the also the frontier of Althena's Boundary. The marshes and deserts at the edge of Rolance are dangerous, inhabited by monsters, and dotted by ruins that date back thousands of years. Its military can scarcely keep up with patrols, creating a need for mercenaries and adventurers. The imperial knights are powerful, but embroiled in tensions with Hyland and political intrigue.

Pendrago, Rolance's capital, is at the heart of that intrigue. It is the largest city on the continent, with a teeming population, and home to the Church of Althena and the Imperial Knights. The two factions are locked into a power struggle over the regency of the emperor, who is still a minor. The Church of Althena enjoys a great deal of power in Pendrago and all of Rolance. Indeed, the largest building in the city is not the imperial castle, but the Shrinechurch, which dates back thousands of years.

Spira

Continent: Spira

Ruler: Grand Maester Yo Mika; Cid; numerous local leaders

Notable Towns: Bevelle, Luca, Guadosalam, Home

Spira is not a cohesive political body. Due to the frequent destruction caused by Sin, Spira can best be understood as a collection of independent townships and city-states under the overall suzerainty of Bevelle, the seat of the Church of Yevon. Grand Maester Yo Mika commands the Warrior Monks, which make up the largest standing army on all of Spira. Additionally, the Crusaders would be likely to follow the directives of the Maesters.

However, Spira does not enjoy the political unity of other nations in Lunar (much less Filgaia). Town elders and city councils have much more say in the day-to-day lives of their citizens. Additionally, some groups -- such as the Guado and the Ronso -- worship Yevon, but they are also distinctly independent entities and better understood as allies of Bevelle.

The Al Bhed are a unique case. While not truly a nation, the Al Bhed are also not under Yevon's aegis. They control the city of Home, located west of Spira's mainland on its own island (though its location and existence are a tightly-guarded secret). The Al Bhed also have numerous ships, which act as independent merchants throughout Spiran waters.

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