People's Republic of Welfenbach
A progressist dictatorship that relies on technology over magic
"There is a land to the East of here, where the ground is barren and the people suffer under a rule of iron. I fear for the planet if they manage to grow even larger..."
Welfenbach is one of the largest, but also one of the most closed-off nations in Europa. It followed in on the steps of the pre-Calamity world, focusing on old systems and technologies, but what it turned into is a frightening shadow. Welfenbach studied aether and started using it as a power source for new technologies they created, which is what moves their development forward. For them, magic is a barbaric way of using aether, shunning all those who go down this path. But to maintain the power for these technologies, they have to remove aether from somewhere, the environment, which has caused terrible results to the lands around the cities. As the ground turned black and the vegetation died, the government had to use force to control the revolting population, eventually turning it into a dictatorship "for the good of the people", and closed itself to the problems of the rest of the world.
For a long time, Welfenbach was not worried about territorial expansion, but as the land died, the people were pushed farther and farther from the center of the country; also, the need for new fertile land to harvest aether from has forced the government to slowly and steadily push its borders farther. This has been of special concern to the Artalgnian Empire, which lost a considerable amount of territory to Welfenbach.
Dark plains plague Welfenbach, with large, iron tubes spreading across the land, taking aether to the cities. These cities are mostly made out of metal and have large slums, where people are trapped in poverty forever, giving an even darker feel to the nation.