Up From the Mud
A continent rises from the ashes of a terrible war, alive but perhaps forever changed. Centuries of social order is in upheaval, dynasties have fallen or are teetering on the brink and the common people struggle just to survive from one day to the next. Behind all this, larger and mysterious forces are aligning…
The primary focus of the story is Solevon, a continent dominated by the traditional dynasties of six kingdoms and their human monarchs. The six kingdoms and their ruling families have existed in varying states of conflict and peace, for all of known history, alongside a handful of mercantile city-states and other independent communities. No formal law binds the continent together, but a weave of traditions and common practices commonly referred to as The Custom serves to mediate conflict as much as possible.
The vast majority of humans of Solevon are practitioners of Ashoum, a faith which venerates its holy creator deity Asha while speaking in hushed tones of a devilish adversary called Upan, bringer of death and strife. A distinct minority are believers in what are commonly known as the Valorian Tales, a rich tapestry of parables featuring characters in common, with intertwining stories that all carry their own life lessons. The tales themselves are popular entertainment for most, but followers of the religion are far more sincere to them than most.
Nonhumans have their own religious practices. The high elves of Adhetu and Sausan shun the company of their lessers and ponder the secret knowledge handed down by the lords of the fey. The wild elves and gnomes of the woods and plains venerate nature itself and often find common cause with believers in the Ashoumite nature demigod Epal. The dwarves of hill and mountain practice a deeply personal form of ancestor worship.
Solevon today still reels from the effects of the lengthy and costly Crofters’ War, a continent-wide conflict that saw lands despoiled and noble dynasties brought to their knees. Barely a year has passed since the war’s end, and having survived a punishing, barren winter, the people of Solevon look to the future with a mixture of hope and dread.
The Wider World
Though the people of Solevon have little time to spare attention for matters outside their own grave concerns, the continent does not stand alone. Merchants from distant lands do come ashore with rare and exotic goods, and fantastic creatures from places far off find their way there, bringing agendas and intentions of their own.
Solevon’s closest neighbor lies just to the west, connected by the narrow ithsmus called Serpent’s Coil. Saadtu is easily twice as large as Solevon, and is populated by a diverse and thriving ecosystem of peoples and creatures. Its northern reaches are dominated by the great dragons, each of which presides over its own chosen territory and often scores if not hundreds of devotees.