The people of Cardavia dwell under the rule of one king. That said, any fool can see that we are a people largely divided. We will never overcome our cultural differences with the conquered Endine, and we are forced to choose between the Slaked struggle for liberty and the Bloodletters’ intentions to crush them – never mind our fire-haired invaders or the man-eating succubi who prowl the forests. It is quite remarkable to me that war didn’t break out any sooner, and I am hardly naïve enough to believe it will end any time soon.
Vincent Sterling of Haute-Ondes
The King’s Far Army & Forty-Seven
The King’s Far Army – sometimes referred to as the King’s Army of Ringreef – is a division of the Royal Cardavian Army devoted to the protection of lands outside of Haute-Ondes. Mobilised nearly a decade ago, we occupy Ringreef in an effort to combat the city’s giant invaders; however, as the army is comprised of countless family-funded Companies and nearly one hundred smaller squads, our officers don’t do much but squabble like children over money and tactics. Considering the youth and relative ignorance of our highborn captains, however, that fact shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Of course, I should exclude myself from the above description, for I am neither young, ignorant nor a captain. Nigh stricken from my family’s records since birth, I came to Ringreef to satisfy my father and to find my grave – with the former goal dependent on the success of the latter. Instead, I found Belden of Sous-Champs, a fighter and tactician of impressive talent despite his farmboy heritage. Belden had already paid back his commission by the time I arrived, but he was loyal to the King (and, probably, to his pay) and so he stayed. While he wasn’t particularly well-spoken or even capable of reading, he was a good man and an excellent leader. With our combined resources we formed our own squad, for which I act as Corporal and Belden as Lancepesade – though he is wont to argue the point when I’ve upset him.
Belden, Dorian, Dahl, Adrien and I made up squadron Forty-Seven. While we were entitled to a proper name and a Field Letter, such formalities were trivial and cost much more than we cared to pay. The result, of course, was that we were referred to only as Forty-Seven, and that our Endine Sergeants had extra money to throw around at The Carriage.
Northerners, Midlanders & Endines
These terms become somewhat relative depending on the allegiance and location of the speaker, but the connotations are the same: Northerners are those who dwell in the city of Haute-Ondes or in the immediate surrounding countryside – or anyone who lives towards the Northern end of Cardavia. Colloquially, the term is often used for pale-skin blonds or for the wealthy – many of whom occupy the capital.
Endines are those who dwell in the southern city of Ends or in the villages scattered in the surrounding countryside. Though they, too, swear allegiance to the king, there are many separatists who would see Ends free from Cardavian rule. That said, they are generally regarded as a peaceful people and we expect no insurgence. They are often, more disrespectfully, referred to as Enders.
Finally, Midlanders are those who inhabit all the rest of Cardavia – or anyone who doesn’t seem to belong in either Haute-Ondes or Ends.
The Slaked & the Dry
The Slaked are magicians – those whose ancestors partook of Uldeen’s blood – though the name is used rarely, and the term “magician” seems fitting enough for most.
The Slaked live mostly in seclusion in Blackrock, an establishment hidden in the mountains near Haute-Ondes, for it is only there that they are safe from the Bloodletters’ interrogations (thanks both to the King’s word and to the fact that the place is nigh inaccessible). Those magicians who are bold enough to walk among the non-magical generally keep to themselves in order to guard their secret, though there are some who make their presence and their talents incredibly (and unfortunately) well-known. As for the rest of Cardavia, non-magicians are sometimes referred to as the Dry, though this term is rarer still.
The Slaked are identifiable thanks to the effects of Uldeen’s Crying Eye, which has been their banner and their bane for centuries since Uldeen’s death. Sight of any image of the Eye will cause a magician to weep, and while there are certain measures that can be taken to diminish the Eye’s effects, most Slaked never have such an opportunity.
Backed by noble families from Haute-Ondes to Ends, the Bloodletters exist to seek out and prosecute criminal magicians or their affiliates and helpers, and they do so with the impunity granted to those of great power and number. Though the majority of their backers remain anonymous, they are not a force to be trifled with, and even the King does very little to stop them aside from forbidding their work within Haute-Ondes. Their blue-clad soldiers roam Cardavia in two major groups – one with the Inquirer and one with the Enforcer, who, respectively, seek out and punish magicians and their allies. Of course, should one have nothing to do with magic or magicians, one has nothing to fear. At least, not from the Bloodletters.
Little is known about the invaders aside from the facts that they come from afar, wield exemplary weapons and all have hair the colour of fire. They are a giant people – even their women are taller than most Cardavian men – and excellent seafarers. They speak their own language, and their society, from what we have learned, is democratic; luckily for us, this fact has granted us extra time to prepare defenses during the war. I have heard that they know of Uldeen, though thus far they have not shown themselves to have any magical talents.
Even more mysterious than the invaders are the succubi – monstrous but clever she-creatures who dwell in the forests and lure men to their deaths. Rarely described due to the lack of people who have ever returned from a succubus encounter, the succubi have inhabited Cardavia since before even the Endines, and are creatures of legend and horror.