The Forgotten Throne
REGION G: Quonar – The Shaded Lands
Quonar is made up primarily of a massive rainforest. The trees here are tall and old, second only to the ancient trees of the lost Elven homeland. Beneath the canopy lies a massive wetland, much of it marsh or swampland, and for most of history the terrain made road-building and traversal more trouble than is was worth. Few people lived here save reclusive orders of clerics and the occasional eccentric elf.
But all that changed when the Vile War came. Many Elves who were unable to escape to the seas were driven down into the fens of Quonar by the advance of the Vile abominations. Though grudgingly, those who lived in Quonar led the refugees south to greater safety, allowing the Vile to be bogged down in the muck of the fens to the north.
The delay bought the elves and their reclusive allies time to make ready for the Vile’s advance. They used their mobility advantage and the elven skill with bows to harry the Vile through the fens, making the campaign as costly as possible. One of the biggest keys to the campaigns success was the secret paths that the Quonari used to evade the Vile. Keeping these a secret was of paramount importance, and many pains were taken to preserve their secrecy, up to and including the practice that many groups adopted of having their soldiers wear masks, both to aid in ambushing and to keep the enemy from being able to target individuals who could lead them back to the hidden Quonari bases.
The mythological status of masks was further elevated by the appearance of a particular group amongst the Quonari – a band of exceptionally skilled warriors whose names were never recorded, and who always wore masks. They called themselves the Dark Hand, and most claimed to be adherents of Lapatra, who had sent them to aid the Quonari against the Vile. They taught mages how to use illusions to improve their ambush tactics, and taught warriors how to strike from the shadows or from unusual angle to prevent them from being seen before they fell upon their enemies. (The stories often claim that some amongst the Dark Hand appeared to have strange proportions, leading to the belief that perhaps some of them were early examples of Whyr and Gruen.) Yet after the end of the war, the Dark Hand disappeared from all but legend, making some wonder if they were ever real to begin with.
What did not disappear was the Quonari’s obsession with masks and secrets. After all, many still revered Lapatra and believed that she had been their patron during the war. The act of keeping secrets and wearing masks during religious services became customary, and continues even into the modern age. It is also a custom for pious Quonari traveling abroad to wear a partial mask or paint their face in some manner in order to keep a part of their true self a secret from strangers.
Government: The Quonari are ruled by the Shadow Ministry. As is typical of a nation like Quonar, few people outside of Quonari political circles understand how these ministers are nominated or what exactly they do. (At the city level mayors are elected by popular vote using secret ballots, overseen by agents of the Ministry.)
People from here are called: Quonari
Population: Elven and humans are most common, along with Whyr and Gruen in significant numbers. Scalefolk are proportionately higher than average. In the cities, diversity is more general in terms of all races.
What is interesting about living here:
Quonar has, by far, the most pro-magic stance of any nation in the modern world. To some degree that is born of necessity – the construction of roads and cities in the Quonar region would be impossible without magic to clear the swampland and help create foundations. As would the growth and maintenance of the tree-villages that make up much of the outlying regions. And while Clerical magic is proudly practiced, even the average Quonari civilian may know a simple magical trick or two. It’s one of the most commonly kept secrets, and also one of the most precious to share between family or friends.
It should be noted that secret keeping is extremely important to the Quonari, who believe that there is a special bond between two people who both keep a shared secret. Close friends and lovers will often find secrets that they can keep together, and it is common at funerals for people who were very close to you to to leave tokens that relate to a secret you took to your grave. Being trusted with the secret of a Quonari is a sacred trust, in both the figurative and the literal sense.
That is not to say this is a nation of liars and cheats – far from it. In truth, the Quonari (especially those of elven decent) value truth-telling strongly. That said, concealing a secret within the truth is perfectly acceptable, and lying by omission is a staple of Quonari social circles. None the less, if a Quonari makes a deal with you in plain terms, you can rely on them to keep it – perhaps even more-so than business-folk or politicians from other nations.
And woe betide one who chooses to break faith with a Quonari. The Quonari nation was built on a mentality that one should defeat one’s enemies swiftly and without giving any chance for reprisal. The Quonari “military” would be labelled as a cadre of assassins in any other nation, and the mentality of careful planning followed by its swift and unexpected execution are the hallmark of Quonari thinking in general.
Why are people from here going to the Forgotten Continent:
Magic is an openly-studied art in Quonar, and with an all-out war against their neighboring nation of Karkoa likely to break out iminently, the Quonar may have agents searching for resources.