Kingdom of Tenebron
The Kingdom of Tenebron is a major nation in Alatoria, located in the south of the main continent. It is a majority Human-Elven population, with the royal family themselves, House Vredroth, being a mix of Elven and Human. The current monarch of Tenebron is King Dolenn II Vredroth, a human who took the crown after his Elven father was murdered at sea. His Queen is the Elf Andriel Vredroth. Tenebron is a nation built on a strong naval presence, with emphasis on trade along the Silver Sea. They are also the only nation to have a connection via land to Annwyth, through The Old Way, an ancient bridge constructed by the Fae. People born into Tenebron tend to have strong aptitudes towards symbol-based magic, particularly dealing with control over water and shadow, which is reflected in their culture and religion. The Drowned Palace, the seat of the Tenebronian monarchy, is where most noble magical instruction takes place, with the kingdom's Court Sorcerer overseeing gifted nobility. Commonfolk who are born with gifts are either self-taught or sent away for instruction elsewhere, such as the academy in Obscura. Tenebronian magic is a highly curious sub-class of magic with many practical applications. Though not a war-hungry people, Tenebron often seeks to expand their land into the Tribal Territories, and thus comes into occasional conflict with the Fothonian Empire. They also regularly deal with pirates from the Veiled Isles who seek to plunder the wealth of the Shadowed Kingdom, and with Icesinger raiders from the South Pole. They mainly employ privateers and a strong core of sorcerers and magic-users to augment their relatively small numbers with great power. The Kingdom is most notorious, however, for a highly-competitive and cutthroat noble class. Many highborn families living in Tide's Shadow are in conflict among one another covertly for greater power, wealth or influence. Intrigue is the greatest theatre of war in Tenebron. This dark underbelly often finds its way into the light in many unexpected ways. For one, it is a cultural norm in Tenebron to be targeted by your political rivals violently, and nearly every matter of succession related to the Tenebronian throne has been due to assassination. It is, in fact, more odd to find a monarch who has died of natural causes as opposed to poison, back-stabbing or throat-slitting. As it was the philosophy of the first King of Tenebron that if a monarch had the blades of his people turned on his own body, then he was no longer worthy to wear the crown and thus was an illegitimate sovereign, this right of the people of Tenebron is enshrined as one of the Kingdom's oldest laws. So that no monarch would forget this, the words of this pledge were carved into the base of the Tenebronian throne, situated in the grand hall of the Drowned Palace. And, as a result of these shadowed wars between rival dynasties becoming such an accepted way of life among Tenebronian aristocracy, the Order of the Revenant was formed to provide these houses with protectors and counsel who were absolutely politically neutral. The Order eventually outgrew the Kingdom, yet their main guildhall is still in Tide's Shadow. Naturally, however, this ancient practice has led to many succession crises and cultural forks. For one, polygamy is regularly practiced among Tenebronian nobility as a family without an heir is at extreme risk of extermination. The King in particular keeps an impressive harem in the Siren's Halls, a private court within the Drowned Palace where only women and the King may tread. The child of a second wife is considered to be the child of the primary wife, however, leading to some exceptionally confusing family trees where biology might be disregarded maternally. Due to the sheer amount of heirs any given King might have sired, succession is not Primogeniture, rather it is a Lateral Succession; the Queen selects her husband's heir from among his sons and they are invested as the Crown Prince. Only males have inherited the Tenebronian throne as the regnant monarch, and there has never been a reigning Queen.
Tenebron has nurtured a culture that believes in strength, natural selection, and the power of an individual's will. With their oldest law sanctioning regicide, there has always been the belief in the Shadowed Kingdom that if a person is not strong enough to keep a firm grip on power, then they are undeserving of it and must be cast aside. The practice of polygamy is oftentimes overlooked when visiting Tenebron, but this is mostly because it only occurs among the most wealthy and influential families and is almost never flaunted outside of a family's estate. The average Tenebronian household has no need of multiple wives or a dozen children, as they are not seen as those needing to be held accountable and thus at risk of their legacy being destroyed. Within the royal family, the King having multiple wives is regularly accepted, though all but his first, the Queen, are confined to their own court within the Drowned Palace and are not permitted to be seen by outsiders. It is argued by many that the accepted practice of murder within Tenebron does more harm than good. A King may be well-suited to rulership but may be killed solely for political purposes, not because of him being a poor leader. Any parties who try to overturn this ancient decree are usually unsuccessful, however, as the aristocracy are absolutely unwilling to surrender their free pass to murder any ruler they dislike.
The history of Tenebron begins with the Drowned Palace, the oldest structure in the Kingdom's domain. It is believed to have been built by the Elves who would eventually become Tenebronian Elves, who were migrating from Annwyth across the Old Way and into the mortal lands. Even though the palace was itself a small city, it was around the Drowned Palace that a settlement sprung up, what would eventually become Tide's Shadow. Humans flocked to the wonder of the Drowned Palace, desiring to see the Elven constructs with their own eyes and to live among them. It took many centuries of intermingling for the two races to become comfortable with one another, learning to co-exist with their different customs. This desire for peace did not sit well with some, however. Tenebron had been intended to be an Elven settlement, and it was not hard for the two peoples, so alike and different at once, to find problems to argue over. Arguments then turned into battles which easily turned into small wars, and before long the countryside was more likely to be razed than sown. The Kingdom itself did not form until the first Tenebronian King, Damios Vredroth, a powerful Human sorcerer, took the Drowned Palace as his seat and united the errant factions of the land. Damios came from destitution in the north, and through his strange magic-- later identified as shadowmancy --beguiled his countrymen. Coupled with his natural charisma and a desire to rule, he began to unite the various squabbling factions of the southern peninsula together under his banner, the silvered eye and moon, in a bid to bring order to the area at long last. Followers of Damios were usually inspired by promises of policy and peace, though most were enchanted by his raw power. His motives are questionable through the lense of history, as there was little to differentiate him from the other would-be rulers in the area who also desired what he did. But all agree he was most effective in winning the hearts and minds of the people he wished to lead, telling them of the Empire growing to the North that would destroy their desired way of life as one people. When his party came to the Drowned Palace, myths say the Elf maiden at the gate, Isrelle, was enough for him to lay aside thoughts of taking the castle by force, even though he had men prepared for such a possibility. Damios instead took her to wife, and was named the Lord of the Drowned Palace through the union; though later the same day, he was crowned the first King of Tenebron with his Elven queen, uniting the two errant halves of his new Kingdom. The sigil of the Drowned Palace, the hand of water grasping the sky, was merged with his own to be the banners of Tenebron and the newly-founded House Vredroth. According to the oldest tales, it was Damios who first laid down the promise to the people of Tenebron that they were 'free to strike down any King or Queen born of his body that became unworthy of the throne', the oath that was later carved into stone at the base of the Tenebronian throne. It was also his wife, the first Queen, Isrelle, who was blessed with visions of the Tenebronian gods, Arawyll and Erewyr, and brought together the first sorcerers to found the Church of the Depths. She was believed to be a seer of some sort, able to witness visions of the future. It was during the rule of Damios' grandson, the Elven King Zeles Vredroth, that the Old Way was sealed to Annwyth on the orders of the-then Master of Annwyth. At the time, the Annwythi Elves had become distinct enough from the Elves in Tenebron to classify them as different groups entirely, and the Master of Annwyth no longer saw value in trading with the Shadowed Kingdom. The bridge that once served as the island's only link to the main land became shrouded in the same magic that repelled foreigners from their shores via an Elven covenant between the Master and King Zeles. The covenant still lingers to this day. Zeles was also the King who instated the Siren's Halls, the harem that every subsequent King of Tenebron would inherit and utilize. His wife, a Human noblewoman, could not give him children after sickness robbed her of her fertility, and his grandmother, now the Dowager Queen Isrelle, foresaw that he would have many wives and many more children. Zeles took this vision of prophecy literally, and turned a wing of the palace into his harem, taking wives from the daughters of aristocracy to give him heirs. This embracement of polygamy was at first unpopular, especially among the Human population of Tenebron, but it became a cultural acceptance for the nobility, at least, in time. His Queen, not willing to be muscled out of the inheritance altogether, demanded that she and Isrelle be given dominion over the harem, and that the children of his secondary wives be considered her own. Zeles agreed, and this decision also, inadverdently, led to The Coterie being born.
Demography and Population
The Kingdom of Tenebron has two major centers of population -- The capital, Tide's Shadow, and the portside city Obscura. In total, it is estimated there are anywhere from three million to four million citizens of Tenebron, living either within the capital, the city of Obscura, or in smaller towns, villages and settlements scattered across their territory.
The majority religion in Tenebron is the Church of the Depths, a religion centered around two deities; a Goddess of the Moon, Arawyll and a God of Day and Night, Erewyr. The core tenants surround the safe passage of ships and in darkness and the release of the soul in death, and also play into the magical bias present in Tenebris when it comes to elemental and umbral powers. As the church is the state religion of Tenebron, citizens are expected to partake in regular religious obeisance to Arawyll and Erewyr. Practicioners of magic are often seen as 'blessed' by either Arawyll or Erewyr, depending on their gifts. Not all sorcerers are clergymen, though any magic user is expected to be somewhat religious in order to thank the gods for their powers. During religious festivals, the King and Queen of Tenebron take on the roles of Erewyr and Arawyll in certain ceremonies, in order to pass the will of the gods onto their peoples. Though this might lead people to believe that Tenebron is a theocratic state, the monarchy does not always intersect with their deities, and it is usually only ceremonial. The Day of Dark Waters is an example of such an intersection. Other religions, such as The Wyld Hunt, may be practiced in secret among the more strict and traditional Elven population, but rarely are recognized in public, either negatively or positively.
'The Shadowed Kingdom'
Official State Religion
Related Ranks & Titles
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