West of the Barbaric Wild lay a small island, divided into seven kingdoms, united in defense since arising in the aftermath of the Collapse of the West. The seven kingdoms are formally united by treaty as well as identical social values and customs under a common faith, each headed by a royal house controlling that realm. There are numerous petty kings, sometimes just whoever marshals the largest army in a region, but these kings maintain a system of tournaments and competitions to foster goodwill and do elect a leader in times of duress, the First Dragon of the Isle of the Mighty. The First Dragon is responsible for maintaining the peace and defenses of the Heptarchy, and the other kings accept the First Dragon’s authority if they demand his protection. Depending on the king, this compliance varies-some kings are devoted, some friendly rivals, some antagonistic or hostile. Likewise, social structures vary. The few cities are old Imperial ports and temples to Klavdivs, the emperor who ultimately conquered the Tin Isles, as well as odd temples to a plethora of strange entities important to local events. The Empire brought the Cult of Isis to their ports and the Imperial Temples of State, but the populace still practices the older rituals and beliefs save the Empire stopped the practice of sentient sacrifice, something that took centuries but remained after the Western Collapse. The Empire withdrew, leaving the Weald, currently ruled by King Oisc, an ogre mercenary for Vortigern, First Dragon and King of Mercia. Alba is home to goblyns but hobgoblins fill it's outlying islands and coasts, all of whom enjoy the taste of Man. Mountain and meadow is ruled by ancient traditions, being a goblyn kingdom under a complex array of nobles and courts, bound by traditions far older than the Empire. Ha’arna the Huntsman is Laird of Alba, the wilderness north of the Antonine Wall, and ranges the Jotunzee freely. The goblyns do venture south for trade and raiding, though they also capture Jotun raiders for food. Alba sends many representatives to the councils of the Heptarchy, but they identify themselves by court rather than land while the kings of Alba are identified by lands when they pledge troops. There are a plethora of courts to which an Alba noble may be attached, but all speak for the entire kingdom at council. The tribes that border the goblyns are subject to capture constantly, ending up as slaves until they are only good for the stewpot. Some few are given the rituals from which they emerge as goblyns, their pasts eradicated with their memories. South of the wall is a narrow stretch held by two kingdoms, Strathclyde to the west and Northumbria to the east. These kingdoms were as far as the Empire reached, but only the Weald in the extreme southeast was closely held by Imperial law. The folk here are still headhunters who display their collections in their entry halls. Strathclyde claims Lirr, King of the Inner Sea as king, but he has little to do with his kingdom save building and repairing his ships at their shipyards. Strathclyde is held by an aristocracy of baobhan sith and powerful ogre landowners. The baobhan sith are titled nobility but the ogres control industry. Their royal family is a nightmare of incestuous intrigue, with courts of nobles jockeying for status to declare oneself definitively ruler. Multiple courts complicated by powerful landowners with differing attachments makes the region as unstable as it is necessary to Inner Sea trade. Strathclyde has sent multiple representatives to other Heptarchy kingdoms from different sponsors, so it is known none among them holds the power to unite the realm. Strathclyde is nominally King Lirr’s, a powerful storm giant who controls the Inner Sea, and is oathsworn to Lyonesse where the Athling Manus, his son, rules. Lirr has legions of merrow at his command, and they dominate the Inner Sea. Lirr largely ignores Strathclyde for the Inner Sea and leaves the many courts to their own devices. Northumbria is a plateau above high cliffs that house perytons in number and whose coast holds innumerable sahuagin communities, forcing trade overland to Mercia. The land is held by trow,a dark and twisted folk that barely eke out subsistence from their lands yet still produce great wealth as moneylenders and investors. The Great Black Marsh separates Strathclyde from Powys, a fertile plain if treacherous, filled with bogs and moors filled with monsters and great beasts. The natives here are lizardfolk, but still sworn to the Heptarchy and the High King. The lizardfolk have a poor reputation but are compassionate creatures if oddly amoral. Mercia rests on a green and pleasant plain that includes the Imperial port of Londra on the Channelmouth, center of diplomacy for the Tin Isles. The First Dragon Vortigern rules here, organizing the defenses of the Isle and manipulating the rulers of the land to retain his title. Mercia is central to the Tin Isles and Vortigern has carefully manipulated all seven kingdoms to maintain the delicate balance of power which keeps him on the throne. The faeries of Mercia are renowned as masters of illusion. The southernmost peninsula of the island is the kingdom of Dumnonia, where ogres hold sway over tribes of kobold slaves. The ogres of Dumnonia hold a terrifying army, highest esteemed on the islands, and the longest standing alliance with the Empire. The Weald is a small corner of the island granted to the Divine Ivlivs long ago and they built ports to the Mare Nostrum and fine sturdy roads making the Weald plum territory. Vortigern has given the Weald to a mercenary chieftain and largely controls it and Mercia, but the Weald has a full Imperial infrastructure intact and Vortigern’s proxy is badly overmatched by Imperial priesthoods and sophisticated bureaucrats.
Seven kingdoms of the Isle of the Mighty meet as equals, selecting on among their number as First Dragon and defender of the realm. The First Dragon is charged with keeping the peace and repelling invaders, thus has authority over all the kings and armies of the Isle, retaining the wisest men of each kingdom as an advisory council. Each realm has it's own internal governance, bound in mutual defense under the First Dragon.
Preserving the standards of equality and freedom dictated by Idris and defending the population from any who would impose their will on them.
Each kingdom generates wealth, and donates a portion of that wealth-generally 40% but at least 25%-to the coffers of the First Dragon to support the joint military.
The Heptarchy begins with the Collapse of the West, a byblow of the Eternal Secession. When the Empire withdrew it's legions, the numerous kings of the land began to war to expand their territories. Chaos ensued, barely held in check by the Imperial governor at the Weald, priming the island for invasion from the mainland. This situation needed a hero, and the legendary Idris rose to the occasion. Raised in secret, his title hidden even from himself, he was instilled with a powerful sense of justice, mercy, and compassion that allowed him to disrupt then dominate a war council as a teenager then climb into a saddle and fight until he united the petty kings under the Heptarchy. His last battle was ironically against his only son and ended with the greater kings appointing another in his stead to continue his work out of respect for the man. Though many kings reside on the Tin Isles, all are mere knights to the First Dragon and know it. The office still bears all the strictures Idris observed personally, codified by tradition into the chivalric code and the cult of courtly love.
Demography and Population
See the separate entries for each kingdom.