Foreigners refer to Ren as the “Land of the Sovereigns.” This continent is divided up into just under a dozen countries, each of which is lead by a monarch. Under their rule, Ren has lived in a quiet isolation for many years, but with the emergence of global trade, these countries have grown ambitious. Now, six sovereigns fight for control of Ren to rule in an absolute, uncontested monarchy, but in the shadows of the war, a revenant threat has emerged. Travelling to Ren promises opportunities for grand warfare and the tenebrous struggle between safety and freedom.
The continent of Ren is completely surrounded by water and is located to the east of the Lussian-M’Qaran coastline. Though most of the continent is contained in a single landmass, its northernmost point breaks off into the Ohena archipalego. These islands lie right near the equator, and their high heat and humidity have cultivated multiple tropical rainforests. The northern coast of the Renian mainland, however, consists mainly of temperate steppes. The country of Bhavia is a large island in a bay below Ohena, and unlike most of Ren, is home to a semiarid desert.
In the centre of Ren, broadleaf and monsoon forests are prevalent, but these give way near the south coast to a strip of taiga. Mountains bisect Ren along the centre, providing a natural boundary between the eastern and western sovereigns with montane forests in the centre and alpine tundra in the south. Toward the southeast, past the taiga, an isthmus of polar desert connects Ren to the uninhabited southern landmasses. This pass is within the territory of the country of Olokov.
Thousands of years into Ren’s history, several settlements began to grow across the continent. In each of these settlements, one person was selected to lead, either by lineage, democratic means, divine will, simply brute force. Though the tradition of the monarch emerged at a different time in each country, the rule of the monarchs persisted into the modern period.
For many years, Ren was a peaceful place to live. Though wars every so often broke out between political antagonists, there was, at large, and understanding and will to maintain the peace between the monarchs. To this end, the countries of Ren fostered self-sufficiency to proactively prevent wars for conquest and resources. In some countries, this even instilled a strong sense of self sufficiency in its citizens, and a fear of relying on others. As a result, Ren locked its borders to travellers from other continents. Though they were aware other lands existed, and some would travel to and from in the interest of discovery, Ren retained near isolation for generations.
This came to an end with the fall the M’Qaran port city of Verune. The loss of this city, which was a major centre for trade, had a lasting economic impact across the vestige. Former Lussian merchants took advantage of the trade vacuum and began to spread out across the world, building free-trade outposts on every shore of every continent to bolster their economic status. In one famous instance, the monarch of Kasaki, also known as The Divine, authorized the creation of the first two trade posts in Kasaki’s twin capitals, Xian and Zian. Though generally intended for expedited shipments of resources between the northern and southern regions of Kasaki, the trade ports eventually opened up to intercontinental trade.
This angered some of the other countries in Ren, while others were inspired by the possibilities that intercontinental trade had developed for Kasaki. New posts began to spring up about Ren, and tension began to rise between the countries once more. This was the start of the War of the Sovereigns. A few of the countries have chosen to fight for the freedom to realize global ambitions while others fight to defend Ren’s solitary traditions. To this day, the war persists and for the first time in several hundred years, Ren’s borders are shifting.
Due to its strong tradition of isolation, Ren’s cultures developed in very distinct ways. The manners of one country will be unrecognizable in the next, and so even the citizens of neighbouring countries may experience culture shock if they choose to travel.
In Kasaki, for instance, the reigning sovereigns were, for many years, diarchs. The diarchs were twins, each a different sex. Two people, through the will of fate itself, were chosen to lead the people of Kasaki as the Divines. They were the creators of the earth given mortal form. Each divine had a city in which they ruled, separated from one another by many kilometres, where they would spend their lives apart. But during one such reign, one of the two Divines was slain unexpectedly, and so the remaining Divine absorbed the role of their sibling and considered themselves bigender. With time, the notion of gender itself became obsolete for the members of Kasaki as they aspired to the state of the divine that ruled over them.
In Olokov, however, just across the border, gender remains very much a celebrated aspect of Olokovian culture. The sex of the Olokovian citizens is not determined until the age of eight, during which the child’s proficiencies in labour, creativity, and sociability lead them into one of three respective genders and social castes. A peculiar organization, however, has emerged and contradicts the practice of Olokov’s gender tradition. In response to the social unrest and the rising numbers of feral revenants throughout Ren, the No Ones have established themselves as a radical group of vigilantes who, through a rigorous training ceremony, cast off their identities in their entirety. This, in effect, absolves the No Ones of their past crimes as they look toward a more just future.
As you may have already noticed, the revenants are, in many instances, an unwelcome presence in Ren. In recent years, the frequency of recalls has lead to an aging population extended beyond natural human and harathi life. Many treat the revenants as abominations and as a result, groups like the Olokov No Ones, the Kasakin Inquisition, and the Bhavian Black-hunt have brought about a revenant genocide. Some, however, act specifically to protect the people from feral revenants that continue to haunt small towns and settlements and new organizations like the Ohenan Second Knights advocate on behalf of suffering and victimized revenants. Given the cross-continental tensions emerging between these groups, it appears as though Ren is on the cusp of a revolution.
The city of Dashii is the capital of Bhavia and is home to the headquarters of the Black-hunt. The city has recently come into wealth through the dissolution of trade borders and Dashii is undergoing significant renovations as a result. Dashii is quickly developing into a trade complex with a strong interest in channelling of energy.
Nowhere is a notoriously elusive airship fortress that periodically moves about the country of Olokov. Its gates are only open to No Ones; those who have cast off their identity in its entirety. The people of Nowhere operate without a governing body and exist outside of Olokov’s laws and to many their existence remains a mystery.
This string of small islands is the warmest spot in all of Ren. Ever since trade borders opened up, Ohena has become one of the most popular vacation destinations for the wealthy. Ohena is one of the few countries who wish to remain entirely neutral in the war of sovereigns.
This ancient monastery sits on the mountains at the border of Olokov and Kasaki and was recently dedicated to collecting and preserving all the birds of the vestige in one place. Some believe that when the world ends the people of the vestige could learn to fly away as well.
Xian and Zian
The twin capitals of Kasaki are bustling religious centres whose peace hinges on the Inquisition, an elite royal guard and revenant hunting force. The Divine, a god made mortal, ritually alternates between these capital cities, moving from one to the other every two weeks and residing in the Tower of Ascension. The country of Kasaki is quickly expanding its borders, and the expansion of the capital cities is matching its pace.