|Ethnic groups||85% Serenian, 10% Adelan, 5% other|
|Colors||Silver and dark blue|
|Emblem||The rising silver sun on a dark blue field|
The Kingdom of Serendipity is the oldest of the Three Kingdoms and was built upon a wide expanse of flat country with its borders stretching from the Terrin Mountains clear to the Hivan ocean, where its port town of Cerenis can be found. Its name comes from the Old Serenian words siiri and diat, meaning 'peace' and 'land' respectively. Hence, the Peaceful Land.
Serendipity is the middle kingdom, located between Adela to the south and Connlaoth to the north. The Terrin Mountains form its western and northern borders. Because of its proximity to Connlaoth, Serendipity gets a number of Connlaothan refugees who are brave enough to scale the mountains in between the two kingdoms. That arm of the Terrins acts as a buffer zone and neither country makes claim to them. Serendipity is also located directly across the sea from Thanatos, and exports much crop and livestock to the island nation.
Serenians value academia, social progressiveness, and philosophy. Their country enjoys natural defenses in the form of the Terrin Mountains to the west and north, which are nearly impassible even for small groups, and the Hivan ocean to the east. Serendipity's only major vulnerability lies to the south where it borders Adela, its long-time ally with whom it has never had a major military dispute after Adela's secession. Any hostile force seeking entry into Serendipity from the south would first have to make it past Adela's forces. Because of its relative safety from invasion, Serendipity has formed little in the way of defenses. Few of its cities have walls and the palace in Arca was built for beauty rather than for ability to withstand a siege. Most defenses are laid near the northern mountain passes and the coast.
- 1 History
- 2 Government and politics
- 3 Geography and climate
- 4 Society and culture
- 5 Religion
- 6 Magic
- 7 Economy
- 8 Military
Serenians share a common ancestor with Connlaothians. They both came from the same people and the same original civilization, a great nation long ago that was located below the Kilanthro mountains in the far west. While the name of this nation has been lost over time, it is known that its people harnessed the power of magic--and ultimately ended up destroying itself. The mages of that nation tampered with forces they shouldn't have, and in doing so unleashed a chaotic magic unto itself. In the end, the surviving mages were able to contain that taint, but the magic left a scar on the land and it is said that, even to this day, that old, dangerous magic still lingers about the ruins of that nation, now known as Fell.
It was after this tragedy that the people of that ruined nation split. Those that accepted magic traveled southeast to the Niahi Woods. There, they mingled with the fae of the wood and produced children, and the children of these fae-human unions had children with other humans, and over time this mingling and mixing produced the Serenian people, a race of humans with a predisposition for magic.
History has lost what ultimately drove the Serenians out of Niahi, but scholars know that they surged eastward, over the Terrin Mountains. Jagged, artificial rifts in the mountainsides and towering piles of boulders in precise locations suggest that numerous passes once lay between the eastern grasslands and the Niahi Woods, and that these passes were deliberately blocked. Residual energies left by violent magics linger over much of the mountains, the reminders of some truly earth-shaking battles fought upon that land at the time of the migration.
Over the centuries their loose collection of settlements developed more and more into an organized state. Their influence spread north to the border mountains and east to the coast but the expansion halted as it moved south and the fertile grasslands turned to dense forest. Basilisks, wyverns, and chimeras ruled these midland forests, and the warlike native tribesmen there pushed ever northward, contending with the settlers for land.
Once these early Serenians reached their natural borders and encountered the dangers beyond, the need for more cohesion became apparent. Three of the most powerful clans—Siilan, D'varan, and Talii—came together in Arca, the land's largest town, and there they raised up their first queen, called Shaith the Moonspear. They began keeping written records of their history and called their kingdom Serendipity.
Growth and expansion
Efforts to further consolidate the settlements and clans of the land marked the reigns of the early sovereigns, who have been mostly queens and few kings even to this day. At the time the eleven major Houses began solidifying their realms of influence, the Serenians' natural curiosity and drive to explore pushed frontiersmen north past the mountains and south into the savage midland forests.
The northern excursions resulted in tragedy as those explorers who had survived trickled back to Serendipity with tales of a savage people in command of packs of demon dogs (or so it seemed to the Serenian explorers). These people, they said, were as poison to the mageborn and wielded cruel iron weapons and shackles, the likes of which Serenians could not abide to touch. The throne charged its northern fiefdoms to close off the passes and no further expeditions were sent north.
Explorers in the south had more success and discovered tribes open to friendship among the native peoples. Further settlers soon followed, interbreeding with the tribespeople and bringing with them knowledge of Serenian agriculture and architecture, but the constant wars between the tribal groups frequently cut off the growing settlements from Serendipity. From the never ending disputes emerged Ysaryk of Adela, who first conquered and unified the warring tribes and then demanded sovereignty from Serendipity. Faced with hostility from both north and south, Serendipity withdrew all claim to the lands under Adela's control.
The Threefold War
After enjoying decades of peace, Serendipity endured it's first and only major war when the Connlaothan army spilled through the mountain passes and into the northern provinces, aiming to eradicate all magic as Fell's Curse worsened. Taken by surprise, Serendipity at first suffered crushing defeats and the invasion pushed near to Arca. Their mageknights proved ineffective against the Mordecai-lead legions of Connlaoth, and though every major House called their banners to war, Serendipity's efforts had always been spent on training up its warrior mages, leaving its infantry and cavalry outnumbered by Connlaoth's efficient forces.
In desperation, Serendipity turned to it's southern neighbor and called for aid. Incensed by the tales of genocide perpetrated under the Connlaothans, Adela raised its banners and marched. Relying far less on magic and more on strategy, unaffected by Connlaoth iron traps, the Adelan host bolstered Serendipity's armies and halted the Connlaoth march, though being the least populated of the nations their numbers were too few to break the siege on the midland strongholds.
With the time bought by the Adelan host, Serendipity marshaled its mageknights one last time. Armed with newly developed long range tactics, the mages took the field once more and rained devastation upon the Connlaoth forces from outside mordecai range. With the Connlaoth line broken, the Adelans then took up as scouts, directing the mages to key targets until they had pushed the invading army up against the mountains.
The Adelans attempted to follow the routed Connlaoth forces into their homeland and continue the conflict, but Serendipity sued for a white peace. Relations between Serendipity and Connlaoth remained difficult for some time afterward, but the war resulted in a formal mutual-protection alliance between Adela and Serendipity.
Government and politics
Serendipity is a monarchy of equal primogeniture, meaning that inheritance passes to the oldest surviving child without regard to gender, and the kingdom prides itself on smooth transitions of power even in the event of succession struggles. An appointed regent acts as adjunct to the King and Queen.
The core of Serendipity's government lies in the eleven Great Houses who swear fealty to the throne and rule the eleven provinces that divide the kingdom. Kia's Court, the twelfth province, is always under the power of the House who holds the throne. The provinces are further divided into fiefdoms, dukedoms, and baronies. Sworn Houses oversee the fiefdoms in pledge to the the Great House of the province. The collective High Lords and High Ladies of the Great Houses are often simply called the Eleven, and they form a council of sorts that both upholds the law of the throne and checks its power. A unanimous vote from all of them can remove the sovereign from power. Once a year the High Lords and Ladies answer the Calling and travel to Arca to sit in conference with the King and Queen regarding the state of the realm.
The title of Prince or Princess of the Blood is held by the children of the King and Queen. Should the sovereign die with no chilren, their eldest sibling assumes the throne.
Prince/Princess of the Realm is a stylization held by any of the Great Lords or Ladies who have a standing blood claim to the throne through a past relation. The more recent the relation, the stronger their claim in the event of a succession vote. A relation older than five generations is not recognized.
Within the sovereign's power is the ability to grant to any person the status of heir, be they of royalty, nobility, or commoner, but if no legal heir exists upon the Sovereign's death, the fate of the Throne goes to a vote of the Eleven, in which they are required to cast their support to one of the Princes or Princesses of the Realm. It takes eight votes to lawfully lay claim to the throne. Should anyone attempt to take Kia's Court without the eight votes, all other provinces will call their banners to put down the offending House and strip the family of its lands and rights. In this way Serendipity ensures nonviolent successions. If, in one year's time, the eight votes cannot be found, then the Oracle of the Daygate shall seclude herself for a fortnight and, upon emergence, hand down a holy proclamation naming the new King or Queen.
Most nobles are nobles by birth but the crown can grant this title, as well as land ownership, to commoners should it see fit.
|Player's Tip: The lords and ladies of these powerful noble houses will undoubtedly have much to talk about with each other. Alliances, grievances...even treasonous plotting! They can exchange letters with each other, and even with the king or queen, through the Letters and Messages board.|
Ranks of nobility
- The sovereign monarch of Serendipity and the centralization of power in the kingdom. They make their home in Arca and rule over Kia's Court personally. They enjoy the stylings of Your Highness, Your Majesty, Your Grace, or Sire.
- High Lord/High Lady
- The highest rank of nobility, a High Lord or Lady rules over one of Serendipity's twelve provinces as the head of a Great House. They swear fealty directly to the throne and in turn receive fealty from all nobility who live within their province. Stylings include High Lord/Lady, Lord/Lady.
The twelve provinces
- Located in the south, Ravensway borders Adela and consists largely of forested land. It has gained a reputation as a place of illusion and fey trickery. Hosts a large population of faerie folk and gained it's name from the sentient white ravens who serve them. House Siilan has held Ravensway since the Founding.
- Located north of Whitesands along the coastline, Featherfall is named for its picturesque seaside cliffs and the large population of sea-gryphons that make their eyries there. Further inland, the land is mostly flat plains with few hills. House D'varan has held Featherfall since the Founding.
- Named for being the birthplace of Serendipity's first queen, Shaith the Moonspear. Located directly north of Kia's Court. Shaith's legendary enchanted spear is housed in a temple in this province.
- A southern province by the sea. One of the newer provinces and swiftly growing in power and influence as trade ships sailing north are docking at its town's harbors with ever more frequency. Famed in Serendipity as a paradise of mild, warm weather and lush gardens.
- Darken Vei
- In the northwest, in the constant shadow of the mountains to its north and west. Like Featherfall and Northwatch, the lords of Darken Vei are charged to be ever vigilant in their guardianship of the border. The land of Darken Vei is strong with magic and the province produces many mages.
- Kia's Court
- The center of Serenian political life, Kia's Court houses Arca and the palace of the sovereign. Whichever House holds the throne, holds Kia's Court.
- Named for its long stretches of gentle, sandy coastline. Whitesands holds the port town of Cerenis, the second largest city in all of Serendipity and traditional location of the High Lord of Whitesands' seat of governance. Whitesands contains the highest populations of Thanatosi and Essyrni to be found in the kingdom.
- A prideful province charged with protecting the only reliable pass connecting Connlaoth and Serendipity. Of all provinces, they have the largest and most elite militia, and a relatively small mage population compared to the rest of the kingdom. The High Lord's seat of governance is always in the fort town that guards the pass.
- One of the oldest provinces with a high concentration of heavily fae bloodlines. Its land lies upon a plateau in the Wester Highlands that rises far above the lowlands below. Has a long tradition of allying itself with Tirial, it's neighboring province to the south.
- The largest province in all of Serendipity and easily the wealthiest. Its land holds many rivers and tributaries and was named for the jade deposits found therein, although gold has also been discovered in abundance. A popular province for merchants, as the Ora river runs through it and connects it with both Adela and Connlaoth.
- Like Fallial, Tirial rests on a plateau in the western part of the kingdom and was among the first regions inhabited when Serendipity's founders first migrated across the mountains. It's ancient heritage is a source of pride among those who dwell here, and many families in this province have held their lands for centuries.
- Altas Verde
- The southernmost province in all of Serendipity, Altas Verde's land consists mostly of forested highlands. During the troublesome years of difficulty between Serendipity and the foundling nation of Adela, this stretch of land switched control many times before the border was finally settled along one of the Ora's tributaries. Home to a higher population of Adelans than any other province.
Geography and climate
Most of Serendipity consists of flat grasslands, snaking rivers, and sparse forests, making it ideal for agriculture and raising livestock. The most fertile regions are the provinces of Jadenshine and Whitesands, where rivers and tributaries produce floodplains. South near the border of Adela the forests grow thicker. The Wester Highlands, a region atop a high plateau, lead up to the Terrin Mountains.
The Ora River flows south and cuts the country in half. It's tributary, the Illusiath, flows out to the east to meet the Hivan Ocean. Long stretches of sandy beach mark the coast up to the sea cliffs of the coastal Terrins.
The climate of Serendipity is temperate throughout with wet springs and summers and mild winters. Because the Terrin Mountains block the westerly winds, the western provinces are dryer than the mid and eastern provinces. The climate near the coast is more changeable due to the oceanic winds coming in off the sea.
Society and culture
Serenians are a race of humans who have a unique fae ancestry far back in their past.. Serenians are not fae themselves; their ancestors were humans that mingled with fae-folk which, in turn, produced the Serenian people. Today, Serenians are their own distinct human ethnicity that is separate from the fae-folk.
Serenians typically have fair complexions and delicate features and tend to be small boned. A wide variety of hair colors are common among them, even hues such as greens, pinks, and blues. This is due to the magic and fae ancestry that runs strong in Serenian bloodlines, magic which sometimes manifests itself via physical traits. Roughly one out of every fifty Serenians will have at least some minor gift making magic a part of everyday life in Serendipity. Mages with greater power are more rare, but still occur more frequently than in other human populations. Individual height among Serenians can range from tall to short depending on their family history. Their life span averages at about 90 years, longer than most other human races.
While the glamour in their blood has given Serenians a strong predisposition for magic, it has also given them a weakness to iron. For some the aversion is so acute that the touch of iron will burn their skin. If cut or stabbed with iron they will grow weak and the injury would suffer potentially fatal infection, even though it may be a superficial wound. A Serenian's magic can be contained by iron shackles at their wrists and throat. Nets and traps with iron components iron produce similar results, and even proximity to iron can interfere with Serenian magic and weaken them physically, sapping their energy and making them feel dizzy or ill. Generally the greater their magical gift, the greater weakness they have to iron.
All free, native-born people are citizens entitled to the protection of the law and required to meet their obligations to throne and lord in the form of labor, service, and taxes. Only temple servants might be released from these obligations.
Commoners who own their own land owe no military service to the lord of the province or fiefdom, but are taxed on the land under their possession. Most commoners, however, do not own land, but rather work the land of their lord, who then takes a cut of whatever they make. Those who own no land live under the rule of their lord, who will in turn live under the rule of a barony, which in turn operates under the rule of one of the Great Houses, which serves the throne.
Slaves might own property (never land) and have a family at the discretion of their master, but they have no status or power. Very few slaves in Serendipity are Serenian, as any native-born Serenian who can prove their birth is guaranteed freedom within the kingdom's borders. Only Serenians born outside of Serendipity's borders and later brought into the country would be lawfully owned. Most slaves come in from the southern trade routes, especially those originating in the city-states of southern and eastern Le'raana.
Slaves freed within the borders of Serendipity may not lawfully be enslaved there again. Serenians free slaves liberally and often, usually as a reward for years of good service or if the slave earns back their own price.
Serendipity values magic, and as magic occurs with equal frequency in both men and women, both sexes can be found in positions of power in Serendipity society. The dominant philosophy of the kingdom espouses a need for both the masculine and the feminine if harmony is to be achieved and the kingdom is to flourish. Traditional gender roles are still in place (for instance, more men serve in the military than women), but both are valued and seen as equally necessary.
Serenians value marriage as a sacred and permanent joining of masculine and feminine power. Public displays of affection beyond hand-holding and pecks on the cheek are seen as improper, and to talk openly about sex would be scandalous. Opinions on sex before marriage can vary with the different—and often competing—branches of the Serenian pantheon. There is neither shame nor stigma attached to relations between people of the same sex, but these relationships are expected to be kept discrete and temporary, as Serenians see marriage by its very definition as a union of man and woman.
It is not uncommon for soldiers on the field to form intense bonds, nor unusual for them to turn into lasting relationships once they return home. Once home, most will still remain close friends and it's often encouraged in younger soldiers to sow their wild oats while out fighting.
Old Serenian was the language spoken at the time of the great migration across the Terrin mountains. Over time the Trader's Tongue, now simply called Common, gradually replaced Old Serenian, a process which began in the cities along the Ora River. Some commoners in rural provinces still know conversational Old Serenian, but it grows increasingly rare and is spoken mostly by scholars and historians. Among the general populace, only a few words remain in common usage.
Flowing, sleek, and elegant.
When it comes to social events, Serendipity's nobility likes to stand out. With hired mages at their beck and call to create magic-enhanced masterpieces, and with the coin to purchase bright, expensive dyes, they can. The nobility at large has earned a reputation for being showy, and many enjoy one-upping their neighbors, always keeping an eye on what the other lords and ladies are wearing so that they can outdo them. Indeed, social functions can be a sight to see (and competition can get fierce), for there is no length that they won't go to in order to be noticed.
It is not unusual for nobles to commission expensive, magical gowns that take days to make--which are only a one-time use sort of deal, vanishing back to their base materials after a few hours, typically at midnight. Many mages can make it a permanent effect--but it takes far more time to craft, and more money. These works of art are typically not daily wear and are generally reserved for special occasions.
For everyday wear, Serenians tend to favor loose, flowing designs. Though simple, many Serenians work hard to make sure their clothing is still elegant, for there is elegance even in simplicity and Serenians value aesthetics. Traditionally, women wear floor-length dresses while men wear pants.
While that is the current trend, Serendipity also imports other fashions from their neighboring countries, so it is not unusual to see citizens wearing trends from other nations if they can afford it.
Main article Serenian religion
Serenians are traditionally polytheistic and follow a specific pantheon of gods and goddesses. They have their own myths concerning the nature of the world and the origins of life. While the throne acknowledges and honors the gods of the Serenian people, there are no religious laws and people may worship or not as they choose, though anyone who engages in acts that might anger the gods would likely be shunned or even cast out of their village so as not to bring the fury of the offended deity upon the rest of the people.
As one in fifty Serenians are born with at least some small gift, magic is a part of everyday life. The most common abilities will be small and limited. For example, the ability to start a small fire, speed the healing of minor wounds, help a garden grow tall and healthy, lay enchantments on bronze tools so they stay sharp longer, or create wards to keep pests out of houses.
The greater the ability, the less common it will be. Powerful mages make up a small portion of the population, but are still more prevalent among Serenians than among many other races.
In the big cities where many of these more powerful mages are hired by nobility and the wealthy, the effects of magic are visually apparent. Magic is used in architecture and fashion to create expressions of beauty that would be impossible without mages. Most nobility hire mages to place protective enchantments upon their homes, and mages are employed by colleges and libraries to further their research in magic theory. Mages can also find work in any lord's army as a mageknight, or they might choose to open a business in the city selling their magical artifacts or hiring out their craft for anyone who needs a spell.
Further away from the cities, the role of magic becomes more subtle. A small, rural village may see a traveling mage once or twice a year who will tend to their more pressing needs, but most of the time they will only have access to hedge wizards and hearth witches and the minor gifts they have.
While every kingdom must deal with its share of law-breakers, criminal mages represent a feared and powerful force within Serendipity. Capable of devastating acts, mages who choose to use their power to harm others are hunted ruthlessly and tirelessly until they are caught. Most have learned to operate through covert means.
Certain magics are vilified in Serendipity, some with good reason. Demoncalling, the art of summoning and controlling demons, is outlawed, for the very nature of demonic power is harmful to mortals. Primal magic is likewise scorned in Serendipity, and is also outlawed in places, but for a different reason. Primal magic is difficult to control, difficult to confine, and difficult to narrow down into neat rules and orderly principles. The mages who rule over the colleges have considerable power in Serendipity, and wielders of primal magic, who defy the control of the colleges, naturally threaten that power.
The Institutionalization of Magic
There are a number of colleges and universities within Serendipity's major cities, and talented mages are encouraged to enroll. There are a variety of ways for even poor students to attend--which often results in building up such massive debt that they are, essentially, controlled by their college for their entire lives while they work to repay it. Most mages are okay with that as it gets them out of their poor living conditions. Many, however, don't even realize what they are getting into when they enroll.
These schools have been known even to purchase the contracts of gifted slaves--thus making them a slave to the system instead.
In general, Serendipity wants mages working for it and will go to great lengths to get them. Serendipity values magic and academia, but it wants it controlled, studied, and working for the nation.
The currency of Serendipity comes in the form of copper, silver, and gold coins, all of which are branded with Serendipity's rising sun on one side. Most merchants in Serendipity will also accept Adelan coin and some will accept Connlaothan as well.
- Copper coins
- One copper coin is a pip. Opposite the sun side is a wheat bundle.
- Ten pips make a copper penny, with a lily opposite the sun side.
- Ten pennies make a copper shil, with a dragonfly on the opposite side.
- Silver coins
- Twenty pennies make a silver glint, with a spear opposite the sun side.
- Ten glints make a silver moon, with a moon and stars opposite the sun side.
- Gold coins
- Fifty moons make a gold shiin, with an a portrait of Shaith opposite the sun side.
- Fifty shiin make a gold sun, with a rampant gryphon opposite the sun side.
|Player's Tip: As an example of what some common things are worth, a really good horse for a noble might cost about 200 suns. An average horse for a common farmer would cost around fifteen glints. An average dagger would cost about fifty shils. An exquisite sword made by a master smith would be 100 suns. These are all approximations and players are welcome to use their discretion when stating prices in threads.|
The bulk of Serendipity's military lies in the sworn men of its noble Houses. Every minor House controls a fiefdom, and most require military service of some sort from every family with an eligible man. When the major Houses call their banners, the minor houses answer by rallying their forces to their lord. Kia's Court is the only province that operates differently. The fiefdoms in this province are sworn not to any lord, but to the throne directly, and their forces make up Serendipity's standing army.
- Lord Knight Commander
- The supreme commander responsible for leading all of Serendipity's military. Answers directly to the king and queen.
- Cavalry Commander
- Directly subordinate the the Lord Knight Commander, this officer is in command of Serendipity's cavalry forces.
- Infantry Commander
- Directly subordinate the the Lord Knight Commander, this officer is in command of Serendipity's infantry soldiers.
- Head Mage
- Directly subordinate the the Lord Knight Commander, this officer oversees the training of mages in the military.
- Heavy cavalry, many of whom hail from noble houses, though it is possible to rise to this esteemed rank on merit alone.
- Light cavalry. Mages trained in battle magic who ride swift, clever horses.
- Infantrymen and cavalry who form the main body of Serendipity's military. Examples are archers, pikemen, scouts, and swordsmen.
- Soldiers in training. Also includes squires on their way to knighthood and apprentice mages studying battle magic.