The Nine Kingdoms
This is a brief introduction to each of the nine Kinship Thrones. The number of kingdoms was chosen because it represents the Nine Gods of Light.
To see a map of these nine kingdoms, click here.
Whitland is a fairly pastoral country with a good climate for crops. It runs on a feudal system, with land controlled by lords and other nobles and peasants working beneath them.
The Whitish High King officially rules all nine of the Kinship Thrones, and the high throne also receives taxes from each kingdom. Whitland has a huge focus on military strength, as it is constantly struggling with keeping the other Kinship Thrones in line. The high throne is frequently contested by different claimants, and lords sometimes battle one another for land as well.
Whitland is deeply religious. Historically, the kingdom had been devoted to the Nine Gods of Light, but after the uprisings led by Morvain and the Makhori (magic races), the victor of this battle--Varos--was elevated into a new god who serves the Nine. Disagreements between factions worshiping the Nine and Varos often turn violent, and the High King determines the official religion during his reign.
In general, those worshiping the Nine are more focused on serving their gods through working at the pursuits their chosen god represents, while those worshiping Varos are more concerned with austerity, obeying a strict religious code, and rooting out heretics.
The wealthiest kingdom in the Kinship Thrones, Chelt occupies a narrow stretch of coastal land. They are responsible for most shipping and trade around the coasts of the Kinship Thrones. Their cities are densely populated and each located at a harbor.
Chelt shares a very long border with Whitland, so it endeavors to maintain good relations with the high throne. However, in practice, it is far more tolerant of magic and of religious differences than Whitland.
Dardensfell is the next most influential kingdom after Chelt. Located across the mountains from Whitland, Dardensfell lies along a major trade route that travels from Chelt and Whitland through to Dardensfell, Kohlmarsh, Lostport, and Varrival.
The Twin Cities, a pair of capitals shared between Dardensfell and Kohlmarsh, are the most influential urban center in the Kinship Thrones. After existing in relative peace for centuries, the Twin Cities are far more advanced than the fairly backwards cities of Whitland, which have been hampered by ongoing war.
Apart from its capital, one of the Twin Cities, Kohlmarsh is sparsely populated. Much of the kingdom is marshy, and an unusual ethnic subgroup of people lives in the wilds of the marshes, their villages built on boardwalks. These people are descended from the magic races that once fled the Old Land, and though they intermarried with Whitish settlers and adopted a new language that draws on both Whitish and the old tongue, they rarely venture from their villages. Unusual magic talents frequently occur among the marsh folk.
Some villages have also sprung up along the Samiread River, a major trade route running south to Lostport. These people originate from the Twin Cities, not from the marsh folk.
The people of Varrival are ethnically very different from the Whitish, with a separate language. Their civilization is more advanced than elsewhere in the Kinship Thrones, but most people are wary of them, so their knowledge has not spread widely. Varrival discovered how to make glass long before any other kingdoms, and has grown wealthy from selling its glass throughout the Kinship Thrones and to Itrea.
Varrival is a desert kingdom, with almost all of its population centered around an area of lush soil around the base of three volcanoes whose glacial melt feeds rivers near the southern end of the kingdom. There is a small nomadic population as well. Varrival does sometimes expand its influence into the sparsely populated farmlands of southern Whitland, though Whitland usually sends armies to fight the Varrilan farmers back.
Whitland has always wanted to bring Varrival properly under its rule, and has sent armies to conquer the desert kingdom more than once, but they are always defeated. Varrival therefore has a reputation as a fiercely militaristic country, which is not strictly accurate.
Ruunas is ethnically Whitish, but over the years, its citizens began to disagree with the Whitish way of doing things and wanted to set themselves apart. They therefore created a completely new Ruunan language, which basically forced Whitland to stop interfering in their government since they no longer could understand its laws.
Ruunas is a very small country set in volcanic hills at the southern end of the Andalls, the mountain range dividing the continent of the Kinship Thrones. They have very little military strength, so they keep up appearances of obeying Whitish law so as not to anger the high throne, but they also trade openly with Itrea, which Whitland has outlawed.
This tiny kingdom, protected by a ring of high mountains and an enchanted forest, is the domain of magic races who settled there long before most magic peoples fled the Old Land. Some other magic races have since settled there. Cashabree does not obey Whitish rule in any way and never keeps up pretenses of belonging to the Kinship Thrones. There is no universally accepted system of government in Cashabree, as each race governs itself.
Far from Whitland, Lostport is an isolated kingdom of temperate rainforest and fiords. Maintaining infrastructure is difficult due to the extreme topography and heavy rains, so Lostport has never expanded past a small town and a few other pockets of civilization.
Originally, Lostport was the home of exiles and criminals sent away from Whitland. Later, gemstones were discovered in the fiords, washed down from the mountains as snowmelt eroded the hillsides, and the country experienced a huge boom.
Lostport eventually managed to gain independence from Whitland and made closer ties with Varrival, which is very nearby. The royal families of Lostport and Varrival have intermarried over the years.
Inhospitable Northreach has always been the sole domain of explorers, hunters, and trappers. The capital sits in a cavern protected from the snows and brutally cold temperatures of winter.
Some Northreach settlers eke out a subsistence living, while larger settlements are heavily reliable on imports from Whitland. In exchange, they sell exotic furs and fish.
Northern Northreach is inhabited by a nomadic ethnic subgroup descended from the magic races who fled the Old Land. They speak a different language but do travel south to trade with the other inhabitants of Northreach from time to time.