**CHECK BELOW FOR A COLORED VERSION OF THE SIX KINGDOMS WITH RIVERS**
Certain followers/other bloggers - aka bloggas ;) - enthusiastically requested more about The Six Kingdoms, so here it is!
The Six Kingdoms
The following is what each of the Six Kingdoms is known for. These are the prided values of each kingdom.
Northern: defense and war
Sunset: mining and farming
Central: peace and order
Eastern: law and military enforcement
Sunrise: philosophy and freedom
Southern: commerce and prosperity
Amethyst Islands: an extension of the Southern Kingdom rich in finery and jewel mines
Lands of Exile: criminals and pirates
Wild North: savages and raiders
With such different goals and outlooks it is bound to be that not every kingdom gets along with its neighbors. Shared borders are no guarantee of civility, while others form lucrative partnerships. These are the Rivalries and Alliances of the Six Kingdoms.
The Northern Kingdom thinks all others are weak and sheepish in the face of danger. Were it not for their spilled blood and honed blades the North is sure that the remaining kingdoms would fall to the Nordes. The North holds a wavering, professional respect for the military might of the Eastern Kingdom, but is also resentful and feels that the East does not do their part to defend the northern border. The North has closest ties and kinship with the Sunset Kingdom who provides men and supplies to the cause.
The Sunset Kingdom consists of a rustic folk who appreciate the sweat and toil of hard work and the harvest. They keep themselves and the Northern Kingdom fed with the products of their fields. They are mostly peaceful and more at home with a tool in their hands than a weapon, but many – mostly young men seeking adventure – have given up farming to defend the northern border. They are a varied people in their trades, from the farm fields of the north to the deep mines in the south. The settlements along the Kings River and western coast are mainly fishers and freighters transporting cargo up and down the waterways. The Sunset Kingdom is resentful of the lavish Southern lifestyle and philosophical “lay-abouts” of the Sunrise Kingdom. They also disapprove of the Central and Eastern demands for taxes and military service, but they agree that both are necessary for the well being of their kingdom and others.
The Central Kingdom is in many ways similar to an empirical core. They hold the unofficial authority of a throne/king-like reigning power, although no true monarchy exists in any of the kingdoms. They rule over the surrounding kingdoms with an arrogance that only comes from an inflated sense of security and supply. They are dependent upon all the other kingdoms for taxation, yet they hold none is as high regard as themselves. Only the Eastern Kingdom possesses the manpower to overthrow the government of the Central Kingdom – made up of “bought” men from all over the empire – but because the core keeps their armor polished and their pockets heavy the East stands to lose more than they would gain by bucking the system.
The Eastern Kingdom is both noble and corrupt and unyielding in the application of rigid laws. They have sometimes been accused of being overzealous and even brutal in the enforcement of discipline, but they assure all that it is absolutely necessary for the safety and prosperity of all citizens. They regard the Northern and Sunset Kingdoms as being tough and hard-working, but also believe them to be in serious need of a stable, governing law. They are the eyes, ears, and enforcers of Central will and granted jurisdiction/amnesty in every kingdom. The Southern and Sunrise Kingdoms are uncomfortable with such an overbearing presence, but remain hospitable to avoid punishment. It is the Eastern Kingdom that serves to patrol and protect the south from exiled criminals believing that any crime, no matter the severity, is a constant rot destroying and decaying civil society.
The Southern Kingdom is pompous and gaudy and only interested in a rich, lavish lifestyle gained through trade with other kingdoms. Their biggest interest is in the profitable mines of the Sunset Kingdom and Amethyst Islands, but many barons also have investments in shipping firms and hold deeds to lands of the Sunset Kingdom. They are regarded as lazy and corrupt by the Eastern Kingdom, but they are also granted immunity/leniency by the Central Kingdom who receives handsome payment from the vast coffers of the Southern lords. While the South pretends at adhering to Central law it is really greed that runs their world. They care not for the Northern Kingdom, believing that they only consume supply from the Sunset Kingdom that ought to be channeled south. They are certain that the Northern and Eastern Kingdoms would protect them from any wild enemy. The bloodthirsty Nordes are more monsters from children’s tales than any real threat to the south; however there may come a time that south will have to face the Nordes and they can only pray their riches will appease the savages.
The Sunrise Kingdom is a lush paradise of hope, freedom, and philosophy. They are entirely peaceful and perfectly happy to live in harmony, open and appreciative of nature. They are a kingdom of soothsayers and sages, poets and artists, and often naked wandering beggars making their way through the world sure in the fact that universe will provide all that is needed to live. The Sunrise Kingdom is seen by all others as a naïve nuisance, but easily ignored unless one has to travel through their country. The Northern Kingdom is all too happy to be separated from the free-loving Sunrise by a great distance. The Eastern Kingdom is eagerly awaiting the day they can bring permanent order and discipline to the Sunrise Kingdom. The Central Kingdom is content to let them be, but wishes they would pay more taxes and serve a purpose. And the Southern Kingdom has not yet found a way to turn a profit from their neighbors, except the occasional slavers’ raid to shanghai Sunrise citizens into a life of labor and servitude. A common problem the other kingdoms – especially the Eastern – have with the Sunrise is that they often allow banished criminals re-entry and safe passage/hospitality. The Sunrise refuses to acknowledge that any man has the right/authority to deny another man his desires; therefore they risk their personal safety and stiff punishment to allow exiles to slip in and out of their lands. They think all land belongs to all men and thus ignore the border established between the Sunrise Kingdom and the Emerald Marsh/Lands of Exile. Some Sunrise citizens have lost their lives by granting amnesty to the wrong passerby who turned out to be a dangerous criminal, but others rarely heed the warning stating simply that “it was meant to be this way”. Besides this occasional tragedy the Sunrise knows nothing of violence, especially the hard fought life along the northern border.
The Lands of Exile encompass everything south of the Southern and Sunrise Kingdoms. Beginning in the bogs and swamps of the Emerald Marsh, the Lands of Exile prove to be harsh and unforgiving; hence they are the perfect prison/punishment for banished men. However, they also make the perfect breeding ground for desperate and dangerous men. Those that survive being exiled into the swamps and rugged mountains often cluster into loose bandit societies governed by tribal law. These gangs are composed of bitter men, vengeful towards the outside world that shunned them. Many draw on the criminal lives they were forsaken for and form thieves’ guilds and pirate crews and raid back into the empire. Pirates prefer the easy prey of the western coast, which is rich in treasures and supply from the Southern and Sunset Kingdoms, while others have discovered the narrow passage through the Hidden Gorge to the eastern coast where they can easily take captives from the Sunrise Kingdom. Some bold pirates have even dared raid against the Eastern Kingdom hoping to come away with better weapons and armor, but not all are so foolish as to tempt inviting the wrath of the powerful military. It is uncommon but does occur that some criminals – mostly those who were harshly judged for minor crimes – still hold an affinity for their home kingdoms and try to make their way back into those societies by slipping through the Sunrise Kingdom. The only kingdom actually know to take people back in is the Sunset Kingdom, but unspoken law dictates that accused/convicted criminals serve time defending the border in the Northern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom is always desperate for more men in their fight against the Nordes, and although they appreciate the extra arms they don’t like that their lifestyle seems a fitting punishment for criminals and outcasts. Not all who come to the North for penance see it as punishment – some enjoy being part of something larger and the brotherhood shared among Northern soldiers. Nearly all view a few winters on the northern border as better than a lifetime in the Lands of Exile.
The Wild North is home to the marauding Nordes who want everything south of the Norde River, especially the rumored riches of the Southern Kingdom, but it is the Northern Kingdom that they absolutely hate with a burning single-mindedness.
The Outlands (aka the Southlands) are geographically separate from the Six Kingdoms, even more so than the Northern Kingdom, and are unknown to all but exiles and pirates. All that is known of the lands to the south is that climate varies from arid to tropical. The Southlanders have only very recently been introduced to the existence of the Six Kingdoms, but some have heard tales of the Amethyst Islands. A few dark or olive skinned Southlanders are members of pirate crews.
Nordes: A Mongol-like people. They ride great shaggy yaks and mammoths. Some ride a stocky, hearty northern pony and stories tell of them even taming/riding large bears. They are an ancient and violent people who continually attack the border and raid across the Norde River. They steal armor, weapons, livestock, and slaves from the Northern Kingdom. Their stone and wood tools/weapons are poorly matched against the stronger forged metals of the Kingdoms. Thus they rarely stand and fight in a matched battle. These harriers rely on savagery and guerilla tactics to constantly peck at the defending order of the Kingdoms. Their “disorganized” attacks keep the border in a state of constant warfare – splitting the main fighting among two areas between the Warr and Front rivers. A large wall is under construction from the Warr River to the Front River to better defend the open border. It has been a timber palisade under constant guard and repair since shortly after the establishment of the Northern Kingdom. It is now being reinforced with stone quarried from the mountains. It is planned to span even the most rugged terrain where only scattered guard/signal towers stand now, but the effort and manpower needed will take decades to complete.
The following is a concept/reference template for the people of the Six Kingdoms loosely based on real world cultures.
Amethyst: Central/South American
Southlanders: African and Mediterranean