A land shrouded in twilight and fear, Ymeris is a nation ruled by Vampires, who farm the population of humanoids unfortunate enough to live there for food. Despite the repugnance of the way of life of its ruling elite, Ymeris has enjoyed a cordial relationship with it’s neighbours and much of the wider world for centuries, thanks to the lucrative trade resources that it has control over. Indeed, many nations, the Empire of Turelion primary amongst them are happy to ignore the cruelty of the vampiric regime, in order to gain powerful friends in the north of the continent of Euristan.
Officially there is no hierarchical structure within Ymeris, but the traditional deference shown by Vampires to their elders means that the oldest living Vampire resident in the nation is deemed to be in charge and commands those beneath them with all the authority of a monarch. Currently, the eldest and therefore ruling Vampire in Ymeris is Linniara Istarital, who claims to be one of second generation of Vampires to ever have been created. She has ruled Ymeris for close to a millennia by all accounts, and all manner of rumours surround her, including that she is the lover of the God of Murder Hissh. Below Linniara Istarital, the hierarchy of the Vampires generally follows the deferential custom towards age, but over her many years in power, Linniara has happily promoted younger Vampires to positions above their elder kin. Often these promotions are the product of an internal disputes within Ymeris, where an older Vampire loses favour and is exiled from the Midnight Court, with younger members of their bloodline being elevated at their expense. These promotions are almost always accompanied by a proclamation direct from Linniara declaring that the younger Vampire in question is declared to be ‘Venerable’ an honorary title which has been introduced by Linniara to denote supreme power and authority, second only to Linniara’s own of course, which transcends the actual age of the title holder. For the past 300 years, Linniara’s favourite within the Midnight Court and by all accounts her most trusted deputy, whom she entrusts with the most delicate and important of tasks is a Vampire, of her own bloodline The Venerable Synioppe Penthiosital. In addition, Linniara also frequently appoints younger Vampires to special positions outside of Ymeris, such as acting as envoys and ambassadors to foreign nations, with such appointments being acceptable within the traditional rules of vampiric society as such roles deal almost exclusively with non-Vampires.
Demography and Population
Ymeris is a nation that is starkly divided by race. The ruling class, less than 10% of the population are the Vampires that rule over the land. Everyone else that lives in Ymeris is a serf, who is directly owned by a specific Vampire, and who are viewed not as individuals but as livestock. For humanoids in Ymeris, those who have a trade are regarded as being the safest; as they are less likely to be killed to feed their Vampiric master or mistress, though they are not regarded as being in a different class.
The Vampires of Ymeris control an area of land in the north east of the continent of Euristan that is bounded by the waves of the Icefang Ocean to the east and north, the northern most peaks of the Dragons' Tears Mountains to the south, and the waters of the Black Water River to the west. This entire, was once ruled by the old kingdom of Sparos, but is now known as the Desolation of Hissh and was once, many thousands of years ago, thought to be the land that the original Elves, who were created by the goddess Sagosa, dwelt in. However, this land was ravaged in the war between the very first Vampire and the Elves, a conflict where the god Hissh intervened on the side of the Vampire and decimated the region, turning it into a twilight land, perfectly suited for Vampires to live comfortably in, without fear of the sun.
Given that each Vampire is a skilled combatant and mage in their own right, a whole battalion of the finest soldiers from any of Kelbonnar’s other nations would struggle to hold their own against them. Should the Vampires of Ymeris begin to make military moves in larger numbers, there would be few who would be able to muster the military prowess to match them. The skill and talent of their elite means that Ymeris has no official army, but occasionally when they have needed to show their military might, several Vampires have been dispatched with an army of undead, armed from the prodigious weapons stores that exist in each castle within the nation to deal with the problem at hand. For most of its long history, these military expeditions have been aimed at targets within Ymeris’ own territory, almost always to quell rebellion amongst their serf population, but on each of these occasions the ruling Vampire of Ymeris has invited foreign observers to bear witness to the might of the undead armies Ymeris is capable of summoning, to demonstrate the importance of maintaining cordial relations with the Midnight Court. As each Vampire generally prefers to live in a castle or fortified structure of some kind, Ymeris territory is littered with fortified points, which would make the prospect of trying to invade it a very difficult one indeed for any foolhardy enough to try.
Ymeris has not embraced the more recent technological developments such as Blackpowder Weaponry or Firewings that have rapidly become the stalwarts of military powers such as the Empire of Turelion. Instead the Midnight Court prefers to stick to its traditional ways of defending itself. This does not mean that Ymeris would be at a disadvantage in the unlikely event of a conflict with the Empire, as the Vampires of Ymeris are thought to be some of the most powerful wielders of the arcane arts in the whole of Kelbonnar, which when combined with the fact that each Vampire has hundreds if not thousands of years of experience and training, makes any invasion of Ymeris a frightening prospect.
The support shown to the first of their kind by the god Hissh means that all Vampires venerate the deity of murder, through offerings and sacrifice. However, thousands of years of viewing other humanoids as little more than livestock and curiosities have caused Vampires to view themselves as being semi-divine in their own right, with the result that each Vampire will try to create a cult dedicated to themselves amongst their serfs, to drive home the idea that their serfs are helpless and must rely on the benevolence of their master or mistress to survive. None of these cults have ever elevated their vampiric foci to the levels of power that belong to the Divines, something that the rest of Kelbonnar’s inhabitants should be thankful for.
Despite its vampiric rulers, Ymeris has always managed to maintain peaceable relations with most of its geopolitical contemporaries, relations which have mostly been cultivated by trade and the cumulative millennia of diplomatic training and knowledge that can be called upon from within Ymeris’ elite. As Ymeris is one of the major producers of diamonds on Kelbonnar’s Material Plane, it has found many willing trading partners and the ruling elites of most of Kelbonnar’s city-states, nations and factions will adorn themselves with one of Ymeris’ so called ‘blood diamonds’. Ymeris has the strongest diplomatic ties forged from trade and diplomatic tact to the Empire of Turelion to the east and the Princedom of Dasmarr to the west. The only exception to this general rule are nations and political entities that are majority Elven, as the long and bloody history, between the two races, beginning with Ymeris' destruction of Sparos, is still a raw topic amongst Elves, who refuse to treat with the Vampires of Ymeris unless absolutely necessary. However, Ymeris is also not beyond influencing the politics of Kelbonnar’s other nations through guile and threat. It maintains a heavy amount of influence over its nearest neighbour, the City-State of Kazkmal to the point that Kazkmal, nestled high up in the Dragons' Tears Mountains to the south is little more than a client state – with its ruling council rumoured to receive orders as to the city-states policy and activities directly from Ymeris’ ruler Linniara Istarital. Likewise, its closest large neighbour to the west, the City-State of Ristan located on the opposite bank of the Black Water river from the Desolation of Hissh, is kept diplomatically close to Ymeris through the constant threat of violence. Indeed, Ymeris have even gone so far as to insist that a Vampire envoy be granted a permanent residence in Ristan and be given a permanent seat in its governing body, so that they can monitor and moderate the city state’s activities to ensure cordial relations with the Midnight Court. However, Ymeris’ closest neighbour geographically, the Burg of Volhof, which controls access to the only bridge that crosses the Black Water River have always been suspicious of the Midnight Court and its denizens. Whilst they have never been openly hostile, for fear of reprisals, they are the most resistant of Ymeris’ neighbours on the continent of Euristan, north of the Dragons' Tears Mountains to the Midnight Court’s advances and influence.
Agriculture & Industry
Despite the fact that the area of the Desolation of Hissh is kept in a state of near permanent twilight during what should be day light hours, it is possible to still grow crops there, which ensures that the serf population of Ymeris are able to produce enough food to survive and in some cases thrive, provided that their Vampiric overlords allow it. Any agricultural or industrial activity that goes on within the nation is primarily geared to keeping the serfs alive, so that they can in turn feed those higher up the food chain than themselves, rather than the production of goods for export. Within Ymeris, the rearing of fit, healthy, and most importantly, delectable serf population is viewed by the Vampires as an agricultural practise in its own right. There are even Vampires, known as Sanguineliers who specialise in the rearing of other humanoids to produce the highest quality blood and in the creation of the finest and most delicious blends of blood possible. Whilst most of this work is likewise intended for local consumption by the vampiric populace, Ymeris does export the some of the blood it produces across Kelbonnar, primarily, though not exclusively to grace the tables of Vampires who live beyond their borders. The finest blood is said to come from the industrial scale production pens at Tricross Castle. Aside from agriculture, Ymeris’ primary industry is the mining of diamonds, with the northern reaches of the Dragons' Tears Mountains under their control housing some of the most lucrative deposits of diamonds to be found on the Material Plane. Diamonds mined in Ymeris are known as ‘Blood Diamonds’ after the particular appetites of Ymeris’ vampiric rulers and they are renowned for their quality, pureness and the large sizes that they are often found in. The extraction, refinements and cutting of diamonds is the backbone of Ymeris’ economy and represents their primary exports to the wider world.
Whilst there is no formal provision for the education of serfs, the Vampiric population of Ymeris is actively encouraged to undertake learning of all forms, and the castles of Ymeris are thought to have some of the most extensive libraries and reliquaries in the whole of Kelbonnar, so much so that members of other notably learned groups, such as the Empire of Turelion's Imperial College of Arcanists frequently request to go and study in the Midnight Court’s libraries.
The Midnight Court
Head of State
Within their borders Ymerites, both mortal and Vampiric use a system of currency known as Blood Orbs, which are small crystal containers, about the size of hazelnut, which contain humanoid blood. The currency, given it contains what Vampires need to survive is highly symbolic, which is what gives it its intrinsic value, but enforcing this currency on the enslaved humanoid populace of Ymeris, also serves to reinforce their station below their Vampiric overlords.