In the North and East, man rules the Five Kingdoms: Foraoise, the forest Kingdom, once ruler of the Five; Ternyn, far to the north, whose great ships rule the seas; Alae, in the scrub plains of the south and east – she is almost an outpost of man rather than a kingdom; then there are Cahál and Tuhál, the sister kingdoms: separated by a swamp and a mountain they still trace their lineage back to the two brothers who founded them.
The name Mawr is a corruption of the original name for the Island, which was in the Foraoise tongue. The new name, “Mawr” means “big” in the language of Tuhál/Cahál. Ironically, the names of those kingdoms remain the Foraoise-style names of the two founding brothers.
Humans share the Mother with other creatures of the land, the sea and the air.
Servant to man and conquered into slavery shortly after Invasion are the Saren, the lizard-folk. They differ in kind more greatly than humans. Some stand taller than the tallest man, so strong they can rip trees from their roots. Others are small and swift and more commensurate of strength with humans.
Also among men, though not subject to them, are the Flit. They are small and squirrel-like Their agrarian culture offered no resistance to human settlement and blended with it with remarkable ease. The Flit are as a whole good-natured and excellent workers and astonishing craftsmen. They make fine allies, though they are not fools.
Not all races are amicable to humankind. To the west, beyond and within the forest of Teinwood and past the mountains of Cahál are the P’ntri. They are a race of cats, feral and untrustworthy. They are the enemies of Man and will never rest, it is said, until their black coats run red with the blood of the last human child.
In the plains to the south roam the Vulfen in their packs. They are fierce warriors, but caught up in their own rituals and concerns, hardly bothering the world of man now that he has shown them he is their better, save for those taken as pups and raised among humans to whom they give their loyalty.
Sometimes on the rivers or the shores of the sea one can meet one of the Salkaí – the water people. They trade with man but have never fought against him. Nor has man molested them. For they are masters of the water and lords of the sea. They need not breathe the air and wield powers over water beyond human ken. It is said that their God lives on Arcodd among his kind, ruling from below the islands to the south. Few have gone there and fewer have returned. But with them have come stories of a great Sorceror-Lord. Surely there is a mighty King among them, but how could he be a God?
Occasionally, high overhead one can see one of the Avaen, the Great Hawks, winging to some distant path. They have no dealings with men and make their eyries in the highest mountains. They are an enigma and perhaps best left to themselves.
5 Human Kingdoms
The 5 kingdoms are mostly wild, and the twin gods of wild paths provide a great bounty to those who respect their domains. There are many small holdfasts – just as many empty as there are occupied in the country where people live close to the mud and the green, green grass of Mawr.
Along the cowpaths and ways of the Kingdoms are the traditional Safe Halls called Dúns where little lords (Tiarna) hold the Kingdom’s peace and keep the traditions of hospitality alive to honor the goddess of hospitality, Macháin, and her peace.
There are the few towns of the kingdoms, mostly organized around the great fortresses built in the first wave of colonization.
There is no legion or common army in Mawr. Each Tiárna (lord) is responsible for training and maintaining a set of able-bodied men who can fight (fíanna). Each of the ruling Families (Tywys) keeps a small standing army and some Arwr (Heroes) to help run their lands and manage house and kingdom relationships.
Magic is treated with caution in Faroaise, and public unlicensed use of it is illegal.
In Ternyn and Cahál, magic is forbidden but heads are turned, especially for those with a license from one of the Scóillai of magic, who brand their graduates.
Tuhál formally abhors magic. Any with marks or known talent are encouraged to depart Tuhál unless they have been enslaved or bonded to one of the great Families.
Foraoise “for-EE-shuh” (Arddbyn “ARTH-bin”)
Once the High Seat of the 5 Lands of Mórlaedd (now called Mawr), the Kingdom of Foraoise is home to the only gathering of buildings deserving the appellation ‘city’ in Mawr.
There is a beautiful Builder structure called The White Tower that forms the heart of Ionad, the capitol city. Many buildings of concrete and pale brick and massive stone blocks were built in harmony with the Tower, spreading away from the tower in whorls like a seashell.
The High King (Ardrí) rules from the Bone See, so called because all around the open-air throne room (heated by thermal vents) are views of the burial tombs and monuments of the Crossing and the Invasion and the War of Brothers that divided the Kingdoms almost as soon as they were formed.
The dark river Ión runs out of the forest of Pinefrost, and little tributaries run in Builder canals through Iónad, gracing the city with water and transport to the Sea. The Great Trade Road runs out from Ionad and into the other kingdoms. Its byways are well patrolled and protected within the High Kingdom, and many public houses, each with an honored Fila ancestry dot the trade routes, providing welcome and good fortune for travelers and traders. All culture seems to flow from Iónad.
The town of Crest lies at the other end of the Ión River. Protected by high cliffs overlooking a deep harbor, it serves as a safe harbor and port for trading with Ternyn and lands afar. It also features the peculiar Builder structure called the Bridge to Nowhere, an enormous arch of the blue-white builder stone emerging from the cliffs and arching out high over the sea.
Alae is called the “fallen kingdom” because it is more like a collection of homesteaders. Alae has its own heroes (Arwr) and trades with the Vulfen and the Salkai and the Meren. But is a wild place where each person carries their own law or lack of it.
Tuhál is the Southern Kingdom, standing between Faraoise and the wild lands of ruined Alae. On its borders are also the dark bulk of the Teinwood, and the empty lands of the Great Swamp.
It is ruled by 4 great families
The Tuhál, the Founders, hold court from the great fortress of Caer Cuval. Their symbol is the eagle, great and proud and their lord is Cerhyn of middle years. They work gingerly with their lords and have held the peace in the kingdom for many years.
Magic is forbidden in Tuhál, and any who hold the power of it do so in secret, and in fear for their lives.
Most recently, the great northern family of Cyrdaen suffered a great loss of prestige when their only son was found to not only possess the gift of magic, but went on a quest to pursue its power – never to return.[learn_more caption=”Clans “]
Next are the Braedd, neighbors to the east. Of small holdings they rule with great prestige from Caer Braedd. Their symbol is the stag, swift and deadly. Their rules is Lady Yrhan, unmarried 10 years since the death of her husband.
Following are the Faen of Caer Faen in the south. Their lord is young and untried in battle. Some say he is sly and cunning. Others that he will fall some day for his lack of experience. His family are the Horse clan.
Finally of the great houses are the Cyrdaen, ruling from mighty Tar Tranwyn, second only to Caer Cuval in age and strength. The Cyrdaen keep the North and East borders of Tuhál by the shores of Lake Mwrost, which is split in the center with Foraoise. Many are the wars fought on this border and great the casualties. Were it not for the Lion of Cyrdaen, Tuhál would be less than she is.
The smaller houses are the Bear, the Wolf and the Boar.[/learn_more]
Ternyn guards the northern shores of Mawr, standing between the kingdoms of Cahál to the West and Foraoise to the East. She is a kingdom of the seas, and her might is in her ships and mastery of the waves. While the Meren rule underwaves, the great lords of Ternyn master the trackless surfaces of the changing sea.[learn_more caption=”Details “] Ternyn encompasses the lands east of Afon Toriad, north of Elderwood and west of the furthest edge of Rowanoak. The high seats of Ternyn lie some miles from shore atop the Ynys Mawr.
7 High Lords rule Ternyn, one from each of the great Families. One High Lord throne stands empty, anticipating the return of Ternyn from the waves.
4 Wave Marshals secure the seas:
- Landless High Marshal: Pensaren – Sirin
The Continental Marshals:
- Agyrr – Shark
- Gwendun – Manta
- Rhys – Dolphin
The three continental Wave Marshal families keep trained beasts of their family name.
- Particle ‘an’ shows house membership.
- Particle ‘ap’ shows lineage
E.G. : Gwain ap Gwair an Agyrr
Only the High Lords, the Marshals and the Houses may use the particle ‘an’.
The kingdom of Cathal is ruled from its ‘new Capitol’ (many centuries old) on Ynys Mawr, an island off the north coast of Ternyn – but far from its recently-sunk capitol.[learn_more caption=”Clans “] [/learn_more]
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