Scheming, vendetta and intrigue rules the Kingdom of Varrunna, a land to the east of Serroya. It is also bordered by the Eastern Sea to its east (unsurprisingly),and the Marcher Principalities to the north. It is a land of warm humidity due to the great incidence of rivers, fens and marshlands, and its capital city of Tietto sits on the banks of the Lake Pasi. Tietto is a city of canals, bridges and baroque architecture, where it is said life is cheap and death even cheaper. The problem is, that it is currently a Kingdom without a King or Queen; the last monarch was the Dowager Queen Imeldri, who died childless in her 50’s over 10 years ago and left no clear successor or heir named. Her death WAS rather sudden, and rumours of assassination and failed coup have been bandied about in the taverns and salons of the land.
Be that as it may, now within the already impetuous and overproud land is even more so, as various noble houses, nobles and adventurers try to lay claim to the throne, resulting in a perpetual round of backbiting, infighting, assassinations, feuds and plotting amongst everyone from the middle classes and up. Life for the commoner is as wretched as it ever was though, being as commodities and playthings of their suppose betters.
Some kind of authority is in place, even if it is largely a veneer; this is enforced by the Sable Guards of the Marbled Palace (the traditional seat of government), led by Marshall Mascalli Torti, the Former head of the Queens personal Guards. Loyal to the land and the throne, he does what he can to keep some kind of order, and sits as a counterpoint to the worse excesses of the aristocrats and houses. Unable to take power himself (and more importantly unwilling) due to his comparatively low birth (son of a merchant), he tries to hold the land together against internal and external threats whilst the bickering nobility try to fight, threaten, murder and plot their way to the Alabaster Throne. Thankless work to be sure, but for a patriot with the unquestioned loyalty of the Sable Guards, sadly necessary.
The main source of food comes from fishing and seafood, as well as the extensive rice crops that grow in the watery landscapes. Trade as ever is also important with local partners being the Marcher principalities and the Easterly Isles; the coastal oysterbeds provide the best quality pearls within the continent and the dryer areas of the mountainous and hilly uplands provide excellent sources of stone.
Militarily, it is a mess. When the Queen dies, much of the army promptly deserted due to pay arrears, many of them joining the personal retinues of nobles and the houses. Just as many others left the land entirely and became mercenaries, with roving mercenary companies of Varrunnans finding employment despite the reputation for mischief and treachery that their desertion from their homeland has given them. The only standing force now is the Sable Guards, a force of masked soldiers who await a new monarch and serve the nation until that day as best they can. A fine tradition of boating and watercraft has seen Airships gather only a little purchase here for now, also given the costs to build and maintain them eat into the coffers and funds of houses, monies that could be better spent on intrigue and gaining the throne. The Sable Guards wear black coats and uniforms with clever mailed underlays and their famous pale full face armoured masks that lend an intimidating air to their precise movements. Skilled swordsmen and adept with both crossbow and firearm, they make up for their smaller numbers with precision, ruthlessness and excellent esprit de corps.
The most notable noble house currently on the rise within the powerpoliticking are called the Majestic Three, namely House Carro, House Metti and House Lombardi; all are ruthless, all are powerful and all are regarded as suspects in the death of the late queen. Their star may wane in future years as others rise, but for now, they each believe their claim is potent and their right undeniable. Needless to say, Marshall Torti despises them all.
The national character is best described as a treacherous, moneygrabbing, disloyal smiler who will embrace you as soon as stab you. This stereotype is often applied to the middle and upper classes, with the commoner regarded as a mistreated, careful and slightly paranoid individual. Varun, the language, is clipped and stacatto, and can often sound like an argument even when between friends.