Factions

In this section I provide information about the factions, i.e., countries, orders and guilds, occurring in the books.

Please note that the books follow only the protagonist whose knowledge of the world he is living in is rather limited, in particular at the beginning. Since I do not want to spoil this veil of ignorance, I will only rarely give information which would go far beyond what the protagonist could know. In fact, this section should rather be thought of as a glossary for the books. It is meant to help you look up details, in particular when you read later books and may have forgotten details from the earlier books. The information here may, however, include spoilers if you have not read all books. Please read at your own risk.

Please also note that there might be slight inconsistencies between what you read here and in the books. The reason is that the books are translated into English by a professional, not by myself. However, In all likelihood I will add information here which concerns a book before its translation is finished. That is, the translation in the books may eventually differ from how I wrote here. If I spot such inconsistencies I will remedy them, but I may overlook some.

Territorial Factions

This section is dedicated to the relevant feudal states within the Realm. As the story progesses we may also encounter countries far to the south, outside the Realm.

The Realm

The Realm is a huge collection of smaller feudal states, usually prinicpalities or duchies, seldom smaller independent counties or even free cities. While the regents enjoy a high degree of independence they still answer to their liege, the King, who resides in the southern city of Zundaj. However, there are indications that the current king may lack the strength necessary to hold together the Realm's various factions. Anyway, most people say that the true power lies with the Arcane Order, which is rumoured to have no intrest in a collapse of the Realm.

Hocatin

Hocatin is a tiny landgraviate on a high plateau in the mountains that separate the Duchy of Khondharr in the north, the former Duchy of Hymal in the east, and the Grand Duchy of Thordám in the south. The landgraviate's capital is Hocatin City, the residence of the Landgrave Firót of Hocatin. Unlike other regents in the region Firót's house is not indigenous to the north. Indeed, the throne of Hocatin was granted to one of his ancestors in appreciation of the family's longtime loyal services to the Realm and the Crown.

Hocatin is rich in natural resource and the land is fertile. However, the landgraviates centerpiece is undoubtedly the Iron Citadel, a mountain fortress which provides a handsome income from tolls of the ore trade with the south.

The tiny landgraviate owes his longtime independence mostly due to its function as a buffer zone between its ever competing neighbours, the Duchy of Khondharr and the Grand Duchy of Thordám. None the less in the past both have made claims to throne of Hocatin.

Hymal

The former Duchy of Hymal is located east of the Landgraviate of Hocatin, across the Vyldam Pass and borders the Duchy of Khondharr in the north, and the Grand Duchy of Thordám in the south. However, due to the nearly unsurpassable mountains there is no overland connection between either of them and Hymal. While Hymal had been ravaged in wars centuries ago, its demise dates back only about a hundred years. The reason is unclear.

Nowadays Hymal is home to orcs and maybe worse. Despite of this fact the Landgrave of Hocatin sent a trade expedition into the forlorn country in search for new ore sources. With the fortuneless expedition went his later-born son Fydal, who is rescued by Nikko and Danuwil.

Later on the king will appoint Fydal Duke of Hymal, who will set out to rebuild the Duchy starting with its old capital Sinál.

Hymal, which is rumoured to once have been coverd by a huge forest, is now mostly plain grassland. From what Nikko knows, there are woods left only in the very north and, according to what Danuwil has reported, also around Telgâr.

Khondharr

Khondharr is a large and wild duchy to the north of the Landgraviate of Hocatin. Its regent, Duke Rhobany of Khondharr, who resides in the duchy's captial Khond, is rumoured to be a somewhat bellicose character that would defy even the king. The fact that Rhobany has renewed his house's ancient claim on Hocatin does not bode well for the tiny landgraviate.

It is perhaps not a surprise that Khondharr eventually invades its southern neighbor and forces Nikko and his companions, who are in Hocatin City at the time of the assault, to escape to the Iron Citadel.

Thordám

Thordám is the only Grand Duchy within the Realm and owes this appellation to its strength during the wars that forged the Realm. While the Duchy of Zûldaján turned out to be a little stronger and its dukes were henceforth crowned kings, the dukes of Thordám were named grand dukes. The current regent is Grand Duke Arlenn of Thordám who resides in the duchy's captial Terys.

Even though house Thordám maintains a claim to the Landgraviate of Hocatin, too, relations between Thordám and Hocatin have usually been friendly. Apparently the grand dukes prefer Hocatin in its role as a buffer zone to the hostile Duchy of Khondharr in the north.

It is perhaps not a surprise that Thordám will be the strongest ally to Fydal after he is appointed Duke of Hymal. Though even this alliance will not come without a price.

The landscape and vegetation in Thordám seem to be very diverse. Deep forests in the north, pastures and farmlands in the south, and increasingly barren lands near the border to Zûldaján.

Zûldaján

The Duchy of Zûldaján is the heart of the Realm and the residence of His Royal Majesty, the King, who is also the Duke of Zûldaján. Accordingly, the city of Zundaj is both capital of the Duchy of Zûldaján and of the Realm.

From what Nikko gets to see in Zûldaján the whole region is rather dry and dusty. In particular the Steppes he and his companions have to cross on their way to Zundaj have left a negative impression.

Zûlifa

The Principality of Zûlifa is a smaller province of the Realm, though as a principality still much larger than Hocatin. Zûlifa is located south of the Duchy of Zûldaján.

Zûlifa appears to be a rather indigent province. When Duke Fydal wants to buy serfs to populate his new duchy, the Prince of Zûlifa will be one of the only regents to agree.

Arcane Factions

In this section I will give an overview of the known factions of sorcerers.

The Arcane Order

The Arcane Order was founded a few houndred years ago, after an initially common war escalated through excessive use of sorcery by a number of court mages and thereby brought mankind near the brink of annihilation. The basic idea was to prevent mages from ever interfering with mundane warfare again. Back then one hoped to achieve this goal by bringing all mages left in the realm together into a guild like structure, the so-called Arcane Order. The Order would then decide to what extend magic may be used without endangering the world again. All members were obligated to abide by these rules. Contraventions were punished severely.

At first the notion of restricting use of magic to whatever the Order deemed allowable was not too well received amongst the sorcerers, who after all were generally individualist. However, they were not asked for their consent. Indeed, the first years of the Order were marked by hunting down renitent mages and either forcing them into collaboration, to eliminating them. Only very few could not be subdued. In fact, nowadays only the so-called Necromancer appears to be fully independent of the Order, at least inside the realm.

Even today the Order remains true to its intial doctrine of controlling and regulating the use of magic throughout the realm, officially still to prevent another magically fought war. However, over the centuries the concentrated will of all mages, as elaborated within and uttered by the Arcane Council, the Orders leading board, has become an imperative whisper in every regent's ear, a voice that does not tolerate opposition. Indeed, the inconspicuously acting Arcane Order is rumoured to be the single most powerful faction in the whole realm, and possibly beyond.

While the true power appears to lie with the secretive Arcane Council the Order is officially headed by Master Gilhatán. Other noteworthy positions are Head of the Order's Main Chapter in Zundaj, being held by Gilhatán's internal adversary Master Sahil, Royal Court Mage, being held by Master Makûl, and Archmage of the city Zundaj, being held by Grandmaster Peryndor.

The Masters of the South

Little is known of the mages from the far south, beyond the borders of the realm and outside the Arcane Order's sphere of influence. While the Order does not explicitly prohibit exchange with the Masters of the South, contact is certainly not encouraged. However, many of the Order's mages appear to know the teleportation pattern for the south.

Mundane Factions

In this short section I will give an overview of the known mundane guilds.

The Guild of Bounty Hunters

It appears that the Bounty Hunter's Guild has not only the king's permission to hunt down people which are wanted for some reason but, apart from governmental prosecution, holds a monopoly on it, too. Even the Arcane Order is rumoured to employ their services for arresting apostates. However, since the Bounty Hunter's Guild itself has no permission to bear or use arms they are dependent on the Mercenaries Guild's services in this regard.

The Guild of Mercenaries

Other than governmental troups and noble individuals the Mercenaries Guild is the only entity to hold a Royal Grant of Arms permitting them to maintain several ten thousand men bearing and using a broad variety of weapons. This makes the guild very popular amongst those who are in need of protection and do not want to or simply cannot rely on regular troups. It is rumoured that the guild is not particularly picky about customers, as long as the coin is right.

The Guild of Merchants

The Merchant Guild regulates all aspects of trade throughout the Realm, which makes it a truly major power, and a major customer of the Mercenaries Guild, too. There are actually quite a few factions within the Merchant Guild, not seldom competing for a go at the same lucrative opportunities. Some of those factions are rumoured to dabble more into shady business potentials than others.
The Right Side Gallery

People

Places

Maps