Location: East-northeast of the Known World. The Divide separates Benguison from The Alliance of Clans to the northwest, and the nation claims all of the lands east of the divide between the northern edge of The Great Desert and the lands once occupied by the nation of Kioferia.
Climate: Cool temperate. Benguison occupies a pleasant area of land, sheltered by the Divide on the west, and striking a balance between the chill of the north and the scorching heat of the Great Desert.
Government: Aristocracy. The individual counties of Benguison are independently ruled by a variety of dukes and barons, all staking some claim to the throne. National policies and affairs, however, are handled by a Minister speaking for the crown. The role of Minister is life-long, with each choosing his or her own successor.
Prior to The Collapse, Benguison was best known as a principal supplier of semiprecious stones and metals, as well as the finest horse stock in the Known World. Recent history has since tied it most closely to aristocratic bickering and political skullduggery. A cold war between countless claimants to The Orchid Throne has existed within the country over the past centuries, and continually threatens to tear it apart.
Benguison is also one of the first places affected by the Slave Rebellion, as the private slave guardians of King Tevrian, the young ruler of Benguison, freed themselves in the night and proceeded to murder the monarch in his sleep. These presumably broken-willed elven blademasters are still commonly referenced when referring to foolishness or trust throughout the Known World. One can regularly hear references to “Tevrian’s choice” or “Tevrian’s mistake” when someone is being urged to caution, or untrustworthy individuals being referred to as one of “Tevrian’s guardians.” Despite these events however, properly broken (presumably, at least) blademaster slaves remain a prized possession of many nobles throughout Benguison.
This midnight killing has left its bloody legacy throughout the history of Benguison since the breaking. From the very first morning following Tevrian’s burial, multiple nobles stepped forward to claim his throne (as he had not yet born an heir). Since then, these nobles, their descendants, and new parties claiming some obscure, stronger bloodline to Tevrian himself have argued and fought to reign over the entire kingdom. It is said that Benguison nobles play at politics in their sleep, and with more claimants appearing with every generation, this may not be far from the truth. The battle for the throne does not always take such open political paths, however. Alliances are often made in secret, and assassinations and the occasional open war have marked some darker moments in Benguison’s war of succession.
Nobles in Benguison guard the lands in their charge carefully, attempting to carefully manage every aspect of governing their territory to the best of their abilities. This system keeps day-to-day life in the kingdom operating tolerably, even if it is a bit chaotic, as a noble’s estates can change hands quickly in Benguison. Control of the capital and the lands immediately surrounding it, as well as the royal estates, goes to the Minister of the kingdom. Ideally, a Minister is chosen by the reigning king and serves only as an interim leader for the nation as power switches from one monarch to the next. Without the presence of a true king, however, each Minister has had to appoint their own successor to take care of foreign affairs as the endless power struggle within the nation grinds forever onward.
The lowborn citizenry of Benguison have long since become flighty by nature, leaping to praise of whomever their current patron is, and speaking with utter disdain for former masters and the enemies of their present one. Foreign visitors may find this behavior quite odd and erratic, and have been known to find themselves in stocks (or worse) for speaking ill of the wrong person or even references things done in the service of another noble.
Benguison (capital): Built where the Golden River forks from the Silver River, the city of Benguison exists within a tiny island of stability within its home nation. Patrolled by the vigilant officers of The King’s Cohort, the streets of Benguison weave haphazardly between inns catering to mercenaries seeking their fortune in the nation; over massive, arching bridges; and around huge horse markets. The true center of the city, however, is the Palace of Glass, the resting place of The Orchid Throne. Empty except for its guards, cleaning and maintenance staff, and the Minister and his family, the Palace of Glass gets its name from the elaborate works of carefully stained glass occupying any exterior wall large enough to hold a window. One of the greatest sights in the world is the Palace as the first light of the morning sun catches its windows, reflecting cascades of color all around it, like a giant prism.
Tredosh: Located where the Golden River spills into the Eastern Sea, Tredosh stands as the center of a large province claimed by the Lioph family, one of the first bloodlines to claim The Orchid Throne. Duke Alivar, current head of the Lioph House, has dedicated most of the wealth of his family’s gold mines toward the training of soldiers and the purchase of mercenaries. Encampments encircle this otherwise un-noteworthy port city. Duke Alivar has always lacked the social graces of most of his competitors, and with each passing year it seems he gets more and more ready to take the throne by force of arms. To this end, he employs numerous advisers from the west to train his soldiers, and his standing army of mercenaries grows in size every day.
Welboun: The Silver River forks to either side of Welboun’s location on the shore of the Eastern Sea. The Segari House line has controlled this city for the past several centuries through careful manipulation of its vast networks of spies and informants. Baroness Eganda is simply the latest in a long line of Segari manipulators. She seems to know everything happening in the kingdom, but shares only a little. Those seeking information about the struggles in Benguison should travel to Welboun, but these visitors must be careful, as even the commoners of this city are deeply mired in deceit and illusion, and the truth you hear may not be the truth that was spoken.
Revia: The small city of Revia has become famous throughout the Known World within the past century. Located in the southwest of the nation, in the midst of open plains, even from a distance one can see Revia’s most well-known landmark, the hulking Revian Autoscribe. Contracted from the binders of Quelios by Duke Secenna Hurelios, one ruler of this region, the Autoscribe stands several stories tall, and almost resembles a fortress, with tall, smoke-belching pipes emerging from behind its outer wall. Within the workings of this vast machine, bound elementals work to enable the users of the Autoscribe to copy any written work. Initially intended to provide funds for his own machinations, the Revian Autoscribe has survived Hurelios’ death, maintained by the secretive Operator’s Guild established by the late duke to operate his device. For a tiny fee, the Autoscribe can make multiple copies of any letter or manuscript desired.
However, the Taleweaver’s Guild, a recent offshoot of the Operators, are the ones who have truly made the Revian Autoscribe famous. Relying on the rapid mass production capabilities of this device, the Taleweavers have set out to produce The Revian Herald, a periodical document full of reports on the current political situation in Benguison distributed every month. Over the past few decades, the Taleweavers have expanded the scope of the Herald, attempting to cover events throughout the Known World. To this end, Taleweavers have begun regularly journeying abroad, often employing the assistance of adventurers in their search for intriguing stories.
The Revian Autoscribe does have one unfortunate problem, however. It is starting to show to first stages of awakening. Currently, only the Operator’s Guild and a few of the crafters who occasionally maintain the device are aware of this situation, but if such a widely well-known bound machine were to become self-aware, it could undo all of the work on the part of the crafters to conceal awakening items of their construction throughout the world.