Iveraque, Sovereignty of
The kingdom of Iveraque (Eye'-ver-ack) is a small lush nation still prone to flooding during hurricane seasons. The warm seasons dominate the year, but a steady rainfall and cool winter helps keep the land fertile and fruitful. The nation is run primarily by a vast number of Families who control their respective territories. In the past fights have broken out between them, but the strength of the ruling king or queen has consistently been able to keep these breakouts localized. The royal claim has been based off of the fact that the Nilonè Family has been dominant for the last hundred years, a fact that is coming into question lately.
Life and Society
Although it is not the breadbasket of the Midlands, a large amount of seafood, beans, and spirits are produced in Iveraque. A vast majority of the businesses that gather and produce these products are owned and operated by the Families. In Iveraque's history, competition between the businesses was as often settled by bloodshed as was by better sales. This often makes life difficult for the commoners who worked the lands and shops, for they were targeted more often than direct members of the Family (in order to not encourage a direct retaliation).
Very rare would a full-blown war erupt in the common sense of the word. Often Family Wars involved strategic hits, kidnappings, disappearances, and other criminal acts that made tracing personal involvement difficult. So many people could live normal lives during these periods of strife, and only on occasion would personal loss strike them hard. But over long years, eventually everyone became affected by these conflicts.
The rule of Montegron has quieted the Family Wars over the last thirty years (when Iveraque officially acknowledged Montegron's reign). Since then the Families have needed to be more cautious in how they deal with each other in order not to catch the attentions of those higher up on the food chain. This had made things much easier for the commoners in some regards, and more difficult. With the conflicts between the Families lessened, the Family Heads are now using their time to exploit their own workers even more than before, making their lives not much better than indentured servants in some areas or serfs in others.
The heads of the Families often try to show themselves to have religious piety matching those of the common folk, but the truth is that it is primarily just a show. They see religion as simply another way to control and manipulate the people, or as a way to put them into a better light. As such, some of the families were members of the Tashramadic church during its heyday, but beyond going out to publicly celebrate the holidays or giving a small donation to the church, they had no real interests in the Church of the Divine Ladder. After the outing of the Elder Dragons, the number of Families still belonging to the church is less than a handful. Most of the commoners have turned their backs on the organization that had deceived them for so long, and so the need for the Families to keep a connection to the Tashrama vanished instantly. Only in the city of Menan has the Church of the Divine Ladder held on to any significant following.
However, with the sudden appearance of the Tao-Shin, some of the people are beginning to turn to this old-faith returned. The popularity of the Tao-Shin is small but growing quickly, and several Families are quick to show themselves "honestly with their people" by not waiting to show their own allegiance to the true gods. Others however are hesitating. To join another religion so soon after the collapse of a previous one invites them to look foolish if the Tao-Shin proves to be another hoax. Still, the general population remains needing something to believe in, and the Tao-Shin has been the most likely candidate to appear.
Previously the government was generally ruled by whoever headed the strongest Family in the nation. Often this led to multiple powers running different regions with conflict in areas that were in dispute. This changed in 233 AD when the Nilonè Family came out on top after succeeding in manipulating three other Families into annihilating each other. Since then, Nilonè had kept dominant control. And so long as loyalty, respect, and revenue is given to Nilonè, each Family is allowed to govern their own territories internally with minimal interference. The current king of Iveraque is Gianvuoto Nilonè.
Each Family has its own militia, however the Ersciton (the Nilonè militia) makes up a large sum of the nation's armed forces. After Montegron's reign came to include Iveraque, the Sovereign Lord informed all of the lesser Families that the monarch had the right to order any of their own militia as if they were part of the Ersciton. Since then, the Families have so far obeyed that order.
The Marnalzu is the name of the nation's naval defense. When the Drowning altered Lake Aquila into the smaller Aquila Bay, it was recognized that the capital was now much more open to sea-going traffic. A small collection of ships posted near Krasevlu was all that protected the capital and the palace for a hundred years. In 380 AD, Ombrarra Nilonè ordered the Marnalzu, the navy of the ancient Iveraque Kingdom, be reconstructed. Today the Marnalzu is one of the stronger militaries in the southwest.
Magic and Mysticism
Arcane and divine magic is fairly uncommon in Iveraque except around the major cities. Most people view magic when they do encounter it with awe and suspicion. Mages in general have been proven not to be trustworthy in the long run, although they may be useful in the immediate. In Krasevlu and Menan, some businesses and government officials keep mages on staff. A majority of the populace does not understand the difference between arcane and divine magic, and therefore their views of mystics and clerics are the same as wizards and sorcerers. "Magic is magic."
Major Geographical Features and Locations
Ombra Wildlife Preserve: King Gianvuoto's fascination with the world around him led to his founding of a wildlife preserve in central Iveraque. This large swath of area contains a large number of animals and plants (both mundane and magical) from all over Adlatum. Rumor has it that he is in talks with the Corinesti, trying to get them to bring unseen wildlife from the distant lands of Krynn those land-bound on Adlatum have no access to while many believe the Corinesti do.
Although the territory allows a large number of animals to roam within the preserves borders, often some hunters have been known to illegally enter in attempts to harvest creatures, whole and in parts, that would be difficult to obtain without traveling to distant locations.
Sognasia: The crystal palace of Iveraque once stood on the shoreline of Lake Aquila, but the Drowning eroded the land around its foundation, leaving the beautiful and elaborate structure standing completely within the water of Aquila Bay itself. For over two hundred years the metallic and crystalline structure was a beautiful but unstable ruin lying offshore, but after Queen Michela Nilonè took control of her household and a majority of the nation, she started the reconstruction and rescue of the complex with the help of both human and Corinesti laborers. Now the palace is a vast complex of towers, bridges, walkways, courtyards, and wings rising up out of the shining blue water. The main entrance to the palace is a long arcing bridge connecting the gate-doors to the mainland with giant statues of past rulers and people of renown lining each side.
Tiarlasono Stadium: In the city of Vernoa, a massive stadium draws many spectators every year. The structure is one of the few standing buildings said to have been constructed during the days of the ancient kingdom. What it was originally used for in unknown, but currently Tiarlasono is used for two national loves: the sports of bullfighting and delverdo. Delverdo is a game involving two teams trying to score goals with normally five balls in play. It is only recently beginning to catch on outside of Iveraque in Mauritand.
In more ancient times, the Kingdom of Iveraque was ruled by a strong central monarchy that prided itself on power and glamour. However that era of avarice and domination passed into conflict long before the Canon Wars, and smaller territorial factions struggled against each other for the years to come. These factions were initially comprised of noble remnants of the lost age. But as years went on, large families who had gained influence through acts both criminal and legitimate in nature replaced these noble bloodlines. However it would be centuries before any of them could claim to have a majority over the nation for any extended amount of time. Many believe that when the star metal weapon of Iveraque was lost during the monarchy's downfall, it was decided by higher powers that Iveraque would never again have a true leader. As time passed, many details of the ancient kingdom were forgotten. Exactly what the star metal relic of Iveraque was, none could remember. Even the name of the royal family had disappeared from memory. Some scholars debate on whether Iveraque ever had a star metal relic.
The Canon War was a time of great manipulation, intrigue, and violence in Iveraque. Those Families who sent the most to defend the Midlands from the minotaurs were thanks by their competition with subversion and undermining. The more one group sent to the lines, the less they had to protect themselves at home. Those Families that sent little to none, they often became the stronger power within Iveraque's borders. Soon many of the Families who had sent their sons and daughters to the lines allied with each other to pool their resources against those who sought power in Iveraque at the possible cost of Iveraque itself.
The Militias War lasted from 89 PD to 53 PD. It was not a civil war in the fullest sense, but strategic attacks, threats, kidnapping, and other acts of hostility were at the highest rates recorded. The war ended when an explosion of unknown origin, presumed magical, destroyed the Ravaldi Estates when six of the Family heads were meeting together. Since the meeting was a mixture of supposed allies and supposed enemies, nobody has yet been able to sort out who or what was responsible for the blast. After the incident, those of influence in Iveraque were able to minimize activities against each other in favor of focusing on the Canon War.
In 7 PD, Iveraque's war efforts floundered. Most of the Families began to debate the need to send their own forces abroad to fend off an enemy that has not impeded on Iveraque's soil. By 4 PD, most Families brought their surviving sons and daughters home while other nations were still sacrificing their own. This was a harsh hit to the human-dwarven forces in the war, especially when it was discovered over three years later that many businesses in Iveraque had begun to openly trade with the minotaurs for goods and profit. The Empire of Dhu threatened Iveraque with military action, but nothing ever came of it. Dhu was spending all of its resources fending off the minotaurs. They couldn't afford a two-front war.
The Drowning killed many and reshaped the coastline. But other than giving an opportunity for younger weaker Families to take the place of stronger ones who were wiped out in the floods, Iveraque did not change that much. The palace of Sognasia had been occupied by many who tried to claim control over the entire nation, but it never was truly a seat of power for ages. And since the palace was now a ruin out in the waters of the reformed Aquila Bay, it was likely never to be again. Everywhere else, pieces were picked up, and business as usual was continued.
Dynamics of the usual shifted in 233 AD when a weaken family led by Harnando Nilonè successfully manipulated the three largest Families in the nation to effectively annihilating each other. Since that time, the Nilonè Family has ruled Iveraque as dominating influence on the lesser territories. Harnando's daughter, Michela, took control one-step further when she hired human and Corinesti laborers to renovate Sognasia. By 249 AD she had moved all operations into the palace and declared herself queen. None of the other Families had enough backing to challenge the claim.
Over a hundred years later, the royal line suffered from an internal coup. The elegant and alluring Ombrarra Nilonè was not expected to rule the Family when she was young, but her ability to coerce, manipulate, charm (through both mundane and magical means), and eliminate opponents and pawns eventually let her take control from her uncle Abramno, who barely escaped Iveraque with his flesh, mind, and soul intact. Most of the nation was unaware of Ombrarra's private practices, but she had a fascination with creatures of the divine realms, especially the demonic beasts of the Abyss. While not orchestrating events both within Iveraque and in other neighboring nations, she dedicated herself to the study of dark magic and the forever "living" creatures of nightmare and torment. As Ombrarra's skills in controlling the demons she summoned increased, more of those who plotted her downfall from both within the Nilonè household and without either vanished, were found mutilated, or found insane.
Yet during her reign the nation flourished, and the common people came to love her. This love she reveled in.
Her secrets were finally exposed to the public during the Days of Darkness. As the creatures of Chaos swarmed in from the southeast, she called upon all of her strength to summon the strongest creatures of darkness she could. With gods of all kinds resisting the oblivion, she discovered she did not need to exert her strength in controlling these monsters. Upon summoning them, they willingly fought to fend off the tide of annihilation for their own destruction was also at hand.
The people of Krasevlu were initially terrified, but as they saw their queen summon demonic forms to fight the invading army of horrors, they began to rally. A third of the nation's population died, but in the end credit for the survival of the city went to Queen Ombrarra. Exhausted, she did what she could to send the demons she bought to Krynn back to the Abyss. Most did, but not all. Some disappeared, making it seem as if they had been sent back, but in truth they sensed the Starfall before the night sky had even shown. They knew the world had changed, and opportunities would present themselves. Still, with the Days of Darkness too soon ended, they retreated to separate shadows to watch and plot.
In the following years, several of the demons let loose by Ombrarra appeared in various locations and caused mayhem. But the people believed them to be remnants of Chaos, and so the Queen's actions on that day were not questioned. But by unknown means this information was given to the rising star Lord Montegron. Using this information in 388 AD he blackmailed Ombrarra into tying Iveraque to his unified Midlands. Ombrarra tried to use her talents on the lord to put him under her control, but this backfired disastrously.
After Montegron had departed, Ombrarra summoned a creature of seduction and ordered it to go after the lord and undo him. Instead of leaving the capital it reshaped itself to that of a devilishly handsome male. After some time, it was able to guise itself as a young Mauritand lord who came to Iveraque to do business dealings with the Marcari Family (whom the creature had terrorized into assisting). Not recognizing the creature, and being to vane to believe one of her own servants would turn on her, she became seduced by the man.
In time, her desires for the lord began to distract her from everything else. Her own plots and manipulations fell apart, and yet due to her lust she could not see control falling from her fingers. After a single weekend alone with the creature at a get-away cottage in the east, her brother Reniar found Queen Ombrarra mentally ruined. Insane and unable to speak coherently, none could determine what exactly happened to her. Her lover had disappeared and the entire Marcari Family was found hang from nooses in their homes, all suicides. No one could even remember the handsome lord's name. It was later realized no one ever asked him what it was.
The worst matter was kept from public ears. Mystics were called forth to tend to the queen, and they made the horrifying discovery that although her body was alive and her mind operating (even if shattered), her soul was no longer present. The Queen was nothing more than a babbling empty shell. At this point, Reniar was made king. Six months later, Ombrarra gave birth to a son.
Considering what happened to his mother, the Nilonè was exceedingly cautious of the newly born Gianvuoto. The boy was raised with all of the privileges in a royal family, but it was quietly decided that Reniar's own children would be the next to rule. That was the plan, until Montegron made passing mention to Reniar at an annual celebration that he could not wait for Gianvuoto "to come of age and rightfully succeed his mother." With that one brief comment heard by nobles and royalty from several nations, Reniar's ruling lineage was doomed.
Soon after, others in the Nilonè Family plotted to have Gianvuoto killed in an accident, but Reniar heard of this plan and saved the innocent child at the cost of his own life. Montegron then sent a contingent of the Midland Guard to Iveraque to act as protector for the child until the throne could be handed to him from an appointed regent.
As Gianvuoto aged, he showed a propensity for both cruelty and incite. The talents of the mother had passed on to the son tenfold. Even before the age of fifteen he was able to guide the regent into taking directions he wanted, including ordering the deaths of some of his own allies. According to many who knew better, Iveraque was under Gianvuoto's rule when he was only twelve.
Gianvuoto grew into an extremely handsome young man (although some say he is more "beautiful in a manly fashion") with dark hair and features. The few inhuman physical traits he had were easily kept hidden. His face resembled his mother's, but his eyes were clearing that of his father. He also apparently shared his father's desire of physical intimacy. The only woman who resisted his charms was a Midland Guardsman by the name of Qialna. The Gildanesti woman was so dedicated to her duty to protect the to-be king that she resisted the desire to bed with him. This rejection only caused Gianvuoto to double his efforts, but Qialna remained pure.
In 405 AD, Gianvuoto was coroneted as king of Iveraque, but the ceremony was interrupted when a mage attempted to incinerate the young man. Qialna impaled the would-be assassin through the heart as he released a fiery spell. Both died. The incident shocked Gianvuoto who at first couldn't understand Qialna's sacrifice for him. After a week of seclusion, Gianvuoto came to realize he did have a love for the woman.
Over the following years, Gianvuoto decided he would not allow himself to simply fall into the lust for corruption and evil his parents had reviled in. He began to spend time studying humanity and decency, trying to learn how to exert his will over his urges. Using time to meditate, he was able to temper the demonic-blood in his vanes and behave more as a human would. He never sought to repent for his past actions, for he believes them to be the early steps of a journey in self-improvement. It was self-control he wished for.
Over the next ten years, Gianvuoto ruled using acts of violence only when strategically necessary, and not when it would only give him pleasure. He expanded his research to include the practices of many races and even animals. His interests in learning about the world around him matched his mother's interest in the creatures of the Abyss. In 418 AD, the king ordered the construction of a zoo near the capital and also a wildlife preserve further away in order to allow him to study different communities of creatures without leaving Iveraque.
In order to further extend his practice in restraining his Abyssal desires, he has sent out to hire a monk-master so he may better calm his blood and mind through meditation. Lord Montegron has not been pleased with Gianvuoto's recent practices, hoping instead that the king would be more aligning the Iveraque forces together for the coming war with the Tashrama. But Gianvuoto has been suspicious of the Sovereign Lord's motivations and has dragged his feet in getting his country on a war footing.
Barlona (Large City 17,638): Resting over the Acousta River, Barlona has the largest concentration of dwarves and dwarven-kin in Iveraque. It is also has the largest number of churches that used to be dedicated to the Tashrama. In 357 AD, in order to show his religious-side to his devout people, Lambra Selivè had eight cathedrals and churches built within his territories. Three of them were built in Barlona itself. Although the churches were abandoned after the exposure of the Elder Dragons, a very elderly Lambra is seeking a worthy follower of the Tao-Shin to donate the land to. Barlona is known for its architectural style along with it being the business center of several wineries, many whose vineyards lie in the Selivè territory.
Krasevlu (Metropolis 27,003): The capital of Krasevlu is nestled around the shoreline of Aquila Bay. The city has still not reached the population it had prior to the Days of Darkness, and Krasevlu has adjusted accordingly. Many older abandoned buildings had been taken down to widen the streets and line the roadways with cherry blossom trees and statues of renowned heroes and figures of the past. The Sognasia, the royal palace, rests out in the waters of the bay and near the shoreline it is the dominating aspect of any view. Near the city edges ports allow for the fishing industry to thrive along with the naval shipyard. Areas closer to the palace are dedicated to catering to the needs of Corinesti traders and other sea-bound folk.
Menan (Large City 18,320): Caspra Leonal runs the port city of Menan and a small amount of land around it. This makes her territory fairly small compared to the others while still having a very sizable and relatively secure population. Menan is a major educational center, even containing a few small schools to the different studies of magic. This city is one of the few holdovers where many in the population continue to have support for the Tashramadic church.
Vernoa (Large City 12,737): Vernoa the largest city in the southern district of Toscalise, controlled by the Pisoia Family. It is famous for being the birthplace of the sport of delverdo, the national pastime. The Tiarlasono Stadium attracts many sporting enthusiasts and tourists every year. Vernoa is also a major trade stop near the border with Mauritand, and the flux of products coming and going brings healthy revenue to both the city and the Pisoias.