The Middle Isles
The Island Kingdom of Aquona
-Aquona is located in the middle region of the Middle Isles. The island is just over ten miles long, and barely six miles wide. The population is a few thousand at most, having been unfortunately reduced in the last occurrence of plague years. A majority of Aquonans live in or near the port town that shares the island’s name, at the south point of the island.
Aquona has rolling green hills in the north and center of the island, with craggy overlooks bordering the sea to much of the north, west, and east, though a few small coastal fishing villages dot the shores. In the interior, there’s little flat landing, as the elevation progressively sweeps up to the north. Aquona (town of the same name) is located in the island’s best harbor, and is the largest settlement of note on the island.
Aquona also claims sovereignty over the small islet of Gate Rock, though there are no current settlements there.
Aquona’s rolling hills are suitable for pastureland (cattle and sheep), but the soils is only marginal for most crops. Legumes, radishes, apples, grapes, and a particularly hardy type of wheat (often used for beer) comprise most of what is planted by farmers. There are scant resources of iron from old mines on the isle. Fishing remains plentiful and a key staple of the Aquonan diet. There are some formerly excellent high forests on the hills, which are carefully reserved by the King and his agents for shipbuilding. Aquona does import much in the way of metals and additional hardwoods.
The first great king of Aquona was Arcas, who took his throne some 1200 years ago. Part of the original island was said to be lost in the Second Breaking of the World, but Aquona endured. The small island and her people took a primary role when the fallen god Vaor threatened the world again, with the mighty hero Joram the Blade rising to slay him some 750 years ago. For a time after this, Aquona had a primary place among the nations of the world.
Time, however, moved on, and tiny Aquona was largely forgotten or dismissed as new, larger nations and empires rose. Although always enduring, Aquona often struggled, such as the terrible war with Tinves a century and a half ago.
In recent years, Aquona has seen increased raiding, a terrible plague nearly a decade ago that destroyed many lives, and the uncertainty of being a tiny nation in a changing, angry world.
Aquona has had several warring disputes with neighbors in recent years, though King Rorem has made peace with many. Generally using longboats or similar ships, Aquonan warriors will sail either to protect trade and fishing, or prey on their enemies. Aquona can levy a few hundred warriors, and generally are trained with axe, spear, and shield, as well as often the bow and dart as well. Some warriors also favor swords.
Aquona’s armies were once larger and quite feared, but today they are considered another petty force in a sea that is full of them.
Who’s Who in Aquona
Rorem, named the Deliberate, King of Aquona
-Rorem has been King for two full decades, having been chosen for succession when his father died. He has lost all his brothers, his middle son, and his wife from sickness. He has been called the “Deliberate” due to his generally cautious outlook, when compared to his fiery predecessor. He is steadfast, thoughtful, not given to either brilliance or foolishness. He is a powerful, bearded fellow, who despite being in the waning stages of middle age, brings to mind his former renown as a warrior.
Acca the Sage
-Elderly and opinionated, Acca has served three kings of Aquona, and loves nothing more than to opine on the state of the Middle Isles and the nations and peoples therein. He is generally against any many of foreign involvement, due to several slights and (rumored) rejections by other learned bodies of some his works and plays. He is frail for an Aquonan.
Boddin, conscript and middle of three brothers
-Boddin is a newer conscript, having previously worked as a smith (although he lacked the skill to produce finer weapons) in his village. Along with his brothers Oddin and Noddin, he has been called to military service for King Rorem. He is a thin, unsmiling, wiry man with an air of permanent dissatisfaction of the world, and is quite sensitive about his balding head.
Brand, second son of King Rorem, Prince of Aquona
-Some six years younger than his older brother Ethred, Prince Brand is a notorious drunkard who is often delegated with relatively unimportant commands. He has an unserious attitude quite a bit of the time, though it is said on the few occasions when he has done battle, he acquitted himself well enough.
Chara, mystic and midwife of Aquona
A cousin of King Rorem, Chara’s husband fell in battle not long after they were married. Since then, she has not remarried, but pursued her own interests, including herbalism and some mystic rites. She also does some work as a midwife, and is greatly respected by the folk of Aquona who know her. She is a clever, extremely competent woman somewhere in her mid-40s, with a heart for the helpless. She often seen in King Rorem’s hall, and will often tend to the wounded after a battle.
Ethred, firstborn of King Rorem, Prince of Aquona
-Serious, brooding, and militant, Ethred is given to fits of rage and passion more akin to his grandfather than his father. He is warlike and proud, and cares deeply about loyalty and honor. He has gone on as many multiple raids and armed trading missions as allowed, and is often dismayed or even disgusted at his brother Brand’s lackadaisical, inebriated behavior. He is tall, dark-haired, given to grim facial expressions and sudden outbursts when agitated.
Felg, conscript and shepherd of Aquona
-A young shepherd from the rolling hills of Aquona, Felg is a recent conscript with no real combat experience. He is pleasant and helpful, but almost helplessly naïve and innocent. He is a huge hit with the ladies due to his demeanor and good looks, although he is a bit confused by the attention.
Holmar, great warrior of Aquona and King Rorem’s Warleader
-The greatest living warrior of Aquona, Holmar was a childhood friend of King Rorem’s, and now serves as leader of all Rorem’s martial forces. His legendary battles are many, with the time he cut down three Krenag champions in a single flurry of blows the most recounted. He is aggressive but realistic, and unfailingly loyal to King Rorem. He is a massive, red-haired beast of a man, who is built as firm as a stone dwelling.
Noddin, conscript and youngest of three brothers
-Youngest brother to Boddin and Oddin, Noddin is a carefree type who is almost relentlessly cheerful and optimistic. This generally drives his brothers a bit insane. Of a medium build, dark-haired, with a jovial and somewhat dashing air, Noddin is quick to make an impact in any company. He was an apprentice carpenter to Oddin before being conscripted.
Oddin, conscript and oldest of three brothers
-Oddin is angry. He’s angry about leaving his carpenter’s shop for conscription, he’s angry at the perceived stupidity of everyone else, and he’s angry he isn’t recognized as the brilliant fellow he sees himself to be. His shock of stiff black hair and unruly beard seems just as angry. As short and stout as a badger, he has the temperament to match.
Old Dorvi, veteran raider of Aquona
-Dorvi served as a raider and warrior of Aquona for over 20 years. He thought himself finished with battle, but finding his King in need and himself a poor farmer (the profession he had attempted after his last battle), he has put on his armor and sharpened his sword once more. A scarred, aging man, Dorvi is written off by the younger warriors as somewhat over the hill. For his part, his experiences in battle have left him somewhat taciturn and philosophical.
Thurgin Troughborn, keeper of pigs, and conscript of Aquona
-Thurgin is thought by his village to be just better than a total half-wit, and with his stammer, shyness, and general awkwardness, has helped a farmer keep pigs most of his life. Despite this, he is a huge (though surprisingly gentle) mountain of a man. None doubt his physical potential, but his mental capacity when it comes to being a successful conscript.
Tiro, warrior of Aquona
-Tiro is the son of Holmar, and good friend to Prince Ethred. He is generally condescending to all but the most accomplished warriors, and is obsessed with finding his own glory. Somewhat vain of his looks, he can be mocking and cruel, but is devoted to Ethred. He is immensely proud of his armor, which he obtained from one of his earliest victories.
(See the Characters page for images and more).