Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Profile: Seyona

Seyona (the water nation) is the easternmost nation on Contel. It is by all accounts a feudal nation, with a large number of noble houses, and also a nation of trade and commerce; although they are a large importer of goods, they are also a great exporter, usually of finished, enchanted, or refined goods. It is structured in many ways as a magical-industrial nation, with large, offensive, and opaque structures along the main trade routes which are dedicated to some industrial or magical task. All the main cities are walled, and most are controlled by some noble faction or other, often to the exclusion of outsiders. Most frequently, a given citizen's allegiance is not to the nation of Seyona, but to their local Lord or Lady.

Merchants are, according to some, a separate and higher caste in Seyona, but this does not appear to be literally or legally the case. The only particular accommodations which Merchants receive over others is unfettered access to cities, and this is still, in some cases, restricted only to market districts. Nonetheless, crime by travelling merchants is a frequent problem, as they are likely to be gone from any given city before the crime is discovered.

The magic of Seyona is predominantly Water, consisting largely of enchantments, bindings, magic circles, and manipulation of an object's magical self. According to reports widely circulated in the Yunian Order, it is also by far the least balanced nation of the seven, elementally speaking, to the point where most Void-element casters do not wish to live there.*

Seyona has a substantially above-average population of necromancers, although they are forbidden by the Yunian Order, largely based on the misconception that Necromancy is, in practice, a form of enchantment (and therefore Water magic). Such practice remains a criminal activity, but as there is no small amount of corruption in the nation, in many places it gets by under the radar.

Seyona is also home to a sororal society known as the Keystones. They keep their organization, members, and practices heavily secret, mostly by use of special Water and Earth magic to create out-of-plane meeting spaces. The magic in question, collectively called Wardwalking, allows travel into objects, although in order to hold even one person completely, the material used must be carefully prepared with Earth magic. These out-of-planar meeting spaces are dangerous, and essentially impossible to detect, when planted within existing architecture. They are typically expansive pieces of stone, which are likely to have several places which can serve as a viable entrance or exit. These locations can also be entirely inaccessible physically, and only can be accessed magically by skilled (and well-informed) use of the Wardwalking spells. (The Yunian order also uses Wardwalking as a means of fast transit across the continent, by making use of leylines, which seem to serve admirably in this capacity)

There is also a substantive problem of human trafficking in Seyona, due to the problems of high population density, Wardwalking as a common practice, high crime rates among traders, and many locations that are off-limits to investigators. Some effort is being made, but by all accounts it is not a high priority. The Keystones, as one of their founding premises, do not tolerate such crime if they detect any hint of it, but it is a particularly difficult crime to track down even once you have the proper knowledge and tools.

*Elemental balance, it is generally understood, requires equal usage of the six elements, and the balance of a location affects the way casters see the world. A heavily imbalanced place will, in fact, allow you to see and understand certain elements better than a perfectly balanced place, but at the expense of losing clarity with other kinds of magic. Void magicians must maintain both internal balance, and some amount of external balance, to maintain their non-elemental clarity, which is a daunting task.

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