The kingdom of Drachen is ancient, and it shows in the architecture and the very land itself. A sprawling region of plains and forests, nestled against the mountains to the west and north, the nation of Drachen has existed for a thousand years. The people of Drachen are strong, stoic, and stubborn, set in their ways. They are practical, having faced countless invasions from the monsters and cannibals of the Northern Wilds, and do not plan to yield to anyone.
The ruler of Drachen is the Dove Queen. Her husband, the queen's consort, is the Shadow King. Both are archons of Arion. While most true archons are unable to influence mortal affairs, the position of ruler was granted to the Dove Queen by a mortal, thus giving her the permission to rule this land. Under her, the people and land itself has flourished, renewed by the Archon of Life. Sickness and famine are a thing of the past under the rule of the king and queen.
The Dove Queen is favoured by the people of Drachen, having handed most of the day-to-day control of the kingdom to parliament. Here, the nobles discuss important laws or settle disputes in an attempt to ensure the kingdom operates smoothly and any cases brought before the parliament are settled. Any laws to be passed are presented to the Dove Queen for final approval, while the Shadow King's silent presence ensures that corruption is kept to a minimum.
The Shadow King is the spymaster of Drachen and the grandfather of assassins. He is the leader of the Horsemen, a servant of the goddess Mika, and is the Archon of Silence. His spies and assassins are deeply entrenched in Drachen, searching for threats to his beloved queen, and he tolerates no insurrection. It is fortunate that his servants are subtle, allowing the people of Drachen to go about their lives, acting to preserve the peace only when necessary.
Drachen exists as a large kingdom, nestled between the Northern Wilds to the west, Tarantis to the north, and the Shire to the south. The nation has a humid climate, with a warm, humid summer and a severely cold winter. There is rainfall evenly scattered through all months, and regular snowfall in the winter. The summer is known for thunderstorms. In the summer, temperatures remain close to 21C (70F), while winters can fall far below -3C (26F). Drachen has a thick, boreal forest, with birch, alder, willow, and poplar trees being common in the north, while oak, elm, and maple are more common in the south. The forests of the region are largely coniferous, dominated by spruce, fir, and pine trees.
The region is home to the caribou, elk, and roe deer. There are also squirrel, mountain hare, snowshoe hare, and vole. The black and brown bear are common closer to the mountain range. The wolf is recognized as a symbol of Drachen, and the timber wolf flourishes in the region. Other hunting animals of note include the fox, weasel, and lynx. Among the predator birds are the raven, owls and eagles. Falcons are raised for hunting.
The Drachen are a very serious people when it is time to work. They are strong and stoic, used to heavy labour and treat their duties seriously. When it is time to work, a Drachen becomes dedicated to doing their best and getting the job done. Only once the work is done can a person relax and enjoy themselves - and the Drachen are as serious about their relaxation as they are about their work. During the night, the inns and taverns of Drachen are filled with song as the workers unwind and drink and fight.
The Drachen consider fighting to be a natural part of the culture. Brawling is a sport and entertainment, while duelling is left for serious breaches of etiquette. A well placed jibe or insult may result in a brawl, taken to the streets until one yields, or may expand into a full tavern brawl with everyone involved - often ending with the instigator paying for everyone's drinks. Fist-fighting is used to show endurance and strength and courage, all traits that a true Drachen can appreciate.
Duelling is another matter entirely, and is a serious business. A duel is settled between only the challenger and the challenged, and does not involve proxies. When engaged in a duel, the weapon of choice is often the longsword, and involves both combatants standing within arm's reach of each other. Feet remain firmly planted, and yielding ground or moving during a duel is a show of weakness. Both duellists try to slash each other's clothing and skin, leaving shallow cuts along the arms, chest, and face of the opponent. Only after three cuts is one allowed to yield with their honour intact, but most duellists who are serious about their honour will continue until they faint from blood loss. Anyone who shifts their feet, attempts to dodge out of the way of a blow, or who yields before the third cut is seen as a coward - and often killed for the audacity or shunned by the community. Parrying with the blade is acceptable, but can be difficult due to the limited movement.
Some of the finest metal smiths in Kith Kanaan come from Drachen, and the culture of steel is ingrained into the people. The horses of Drachen are huge and powerful, and the warriors of Drachen often wear chain or plate armour. The weapons of choice are the zwei-hander -- the two handed blade, the boar spear, and the heavy mace or hammer. Shields are either the kite shield or the tower shield for the larger warriors, and the ground shakes when the cavalry rides into battle.
The Drachen have two codes of chivalry - one code is held by the warriors, while the other is followed by the nobility. The warrior's code is generally recognized as 'The Drachen Code' while the noble's code is called the 'Code of Courtly Love'. Most warriors disdain the noble's code, seeing it as a conceit for those who have never engaged in battle, while the nobles consider the warrior's code to be outdated, more a thing of the past than the present. Some warriors are willing to follow both codes, and are often called 'The Dove's Knights' because they are said to hold to the ideals of the Dove Queen.
The Code of Chivalry
The Drachen code of chivalry was written hundreds of years ago - some think it may have even been written at the founding of the kingdom. Those who wish to join the knights must swear this code before the Shadow King, and the popular rumour is that those who do not hold the code in their hearts when they kneel before the crown will be dealt with immediately - the Shadow King sees all lies.
- Thou shalt hold faith in the Crown, and follow the Word of the Queen and King.
- Thou shalt defend the Queen and Crown.
- Thou shalt respect the people, and shall be the defender of those who can not defend themselves.
- Thou shalt love thine country and thine fellow countrymen.
- Thou shalt not show fear, not retreat from an enemy.
- Thou shalt make war against thine enemies without cease, but grant mercy when asked.
- Thou shalt perform thine duties faithfully and honestly.
- Thou shalt never lie, and shall always keep thy word.
- Thou shalt be generous and help the poor and weak.
- Thou shalt carry the code with thee always, and let it guide thine every action.
Code of Courtly Love
The code of courtly love was written shortly after the enthronement of the Dove Queen, by a love-struck noble. The code teaches the rules of courtly love and romance, and is quite popular among the nobility. Many who attend the court of the Dove Queen attempt to espouse the virtues of the code, in the hopes of winning her favour.
- Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite.
- Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest.
- Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.
- Thou shalt not chose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry.
- Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood.
- Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair.
- Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love.
- In giving and receiving love's solaces let modesty be ever present.
- Thou shalt speak no evil.
- Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs.
- Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous.
- In practising the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.
The Drachen monarchy was created by one of the three Dragon Queens, specifically to replace the dragons as rulers of Kith Kanaan. The laws and duties of the kingdom were laid out, and later reinforced by the Blue Wizard upon the return of the monarchy in the recent past. The purpose of the Drachen crown is to perform three duties for the people: to act as judge and enforce Drachen law, to serve as priest to the gods during religious festivals, and to serve as leader of the armies during times of war. In recent times, Queen Dove has placed most of the demands of the court into the hands of the dukes, allowing them to dictate policy and the running of the kingdom, with the Queen giving the final decision on most policies. Conflicts between the crown and the court are settled through forum, while the King acts to ensure that the interests of the crown and the integrity of the court are not compromised.
- Kaiser (Emperor, female: kaiserin (empress))
- The ruler of a kaisserreich (empire), the title of emperor has not been used in hundreds of years. The title is granted to the ruler of multiple nations, usually through an act of conquest. It is possible, however, that a marriage between the heir of Tarantis and the heir of Drachen will create a new empire.
- König (King, female: königin (queen))
- The ruler of a königreich (kingdom). The ruler of Drachen is given this title, though the current queen is considered to be the true ruler of Drachen, while the current king is seen as the queen’s consort. The king and queen have absolute, divine authority, greatly enhanced by the fact the two are true archons.
- Erzherzog (archduke, female: erzherzogin (archduchess))
- The ruler of an erzherzogtum (archduchy). The title of archduke is reserved for the immediate brothers or sisters of the crown. In this case, the current members are Tarken von Drachen , brother of the queen, Kyle von Drachen (archduke of Threshold), brother of the queen, Jhazza von Drachen, sister of the queen, and Amber von Drachen, sister of the queen. It is not known if the king has any living relatives. Each archduke is given a province of Drachen to rule in name, though in most cases the dukes are responsible for looking after the provinces. The child of an archduke is a grand duke or grand duchess.
- Kronprinz (crown prince, female: kronprinzessin (crown princess))
- The heir to the throne of Drachen. This is currently Prince Jerec von Drachen, who will take the throne once the king and queen have abdicated. Considering the nature of the royal family, this could take some time. It is expected that the children of the crown may marry the children of the royal line of Tarantis, uniting the two nations into a single empire.
- Prinz (prince, female: prinzessin (princess))
- Specifically, this title is reserved for the sons and daughters of the royal line. The current title is held by Prince Deveron von Drachen, and Princess Miseo von Drachen, and Princess Reya von Drachen (now Queen Reya of Tarantis). Upon Crown Prince Jerec von Drachen claiming the throne. The children of a prince or princess is a grand prince or grand princess. It is possible for a prince to become an archduke, if the title is presented by the crown.
- Herzog (duke, female: herzogin (duchess)
- The highest ranked noble not of the royal line, the duke rules over a herzogtum (duchy). It is the duty of the duke to represent the duchy within court, and to further the interests of the duchy while attending to the forums. The duke spends much of the summer months attending court, while the autumn and spring are held in the duchy. During the winter, a duke will attend a special winter court event, visiting with nobles of prominence, or holding a winter court in his own estate, entertaining prestigious guests.
- Markgraf (margrave, female: markgräfin, (margravine))
- The margrave is a special type of count, charged with ruling a region on the borders of the nation called a markgrafschaft (margravate). The region controlled by a margrave is usually one that is unruly or that is at risk, and the margrave is needed to keep firm control of the region, ensuring the borders of the nation are safe. These positions are either given to those who are known to be firm and powerful rulers, or alternatively, handed to those who the crown dislikes would rather avoid. Either way, the margrave is normally placed into the position, and then promptly ignored unless there is danger coming from that region.
- Fürst (prince, female: fürstin (princess))
- The ruler of a fürstentum (principality), this title is currently not used in Drachen. When a new region is colonized or inhabited, a prince is sent to establish a region of control by the royal family. As Drachen is not actively expanding, the need of a prince is absent. If Drachen were to expand into new territories, then the title may come into use once again.
- Graf (count, female: Gräfin (countess))
- The ruler of a grafschaft (county), the count serves as the voice of the royal family and acts on behalf of the crown. The count is in charge of enforcing the crown’s laws, and acts as the royal family’s presence in the region. The count has incredible authority, acting directly as the presence of the royal family within the county, and may punish or reward as he sees fit. A duke may intercede if the county is causing too much of a disturbance, but such intervention is rare.
- Freiherr (baron, female: freifrau or freiin (baroness)).
- The ruler of a (freiherrschaft), the baron is given control of a region without interference by any higher nobility. In many cases, the baron is a free lord, and only answers directly to the crown. The title of baron is often given as a reward to one who has served the crown well, but is not of enough peerage to be allowed a higher title (such as a count). The estate granted to a baron is limited, normally a village and some farmland, with the baron’s estate constructed there.
- Herr (lord, female: frau (lady))
- The ruler of a herrschaft (dominion), this title is often given to high ranking knights or the lowest of the peerage. The lord will often be given an estate and expected to survive off of the money earned from the estate granted. Most clever lords often hire individuals with some form of talent or trade that the lord can subsist off.
- Ritter (knight)
- Not a proper title, a knight is someone sworn to protect the crown and serve the crown’s interests. The knight is a noble, but holds no higher station. A knight, in the service of the crown, may gain the position of herr or even potentially the title of freiherr, but this is the exception and not the rule. The knight is one of the lowest positions among the nobility.
- Edler (nobleman, female: edle (noblewoman))
- A nobleman is an adult who is related to someone of higher peerage, but does not hold a proper title in their own right. This is often reserved for cousins or brothers of the noble in question. If the noble in question is not a full adult, then the title is often junker (young noble).
The title of count is a specific and detailed position within Drachen. There are many different titles related to the count, depending on the duties needed from the particular noble. In many ways, the title is similar to that of the margrave, which may also include the name of the region controlled by the count. (A rheingraf controls a rheingrafschaft)
- Pfalzgraf (count palatine, female: pfalzgräfin (countess palatine))
- This title is reserved specifically for the permanent representative of the royal line. The palatine acts as a guest to the duke whose province he has been assigned to, and acts as the king’s voice and as an advisor to the duke if the king is not present. While the palatine can not give orders to the duke, he can ensure that the king’s will is specifically done. In other nations, the title is sometimes referred to as a paladin.
- Burggraf (burgrave or burgher, female: burggräfin (burgravine))
- This title is given to a count who has been assigned to a fortified town or castle. The specific region is one considered to be hostile territory or near hostile territory, where assaults on the crown are expected. The region is called a burggrafschaft (burggraf or burg). In most cases, a burgrave will be assigned to a region which has been claimed during a period of war, with the count expected to hold the region and establish order.
- Rheingraf (rhinegrave, female: rheingräfin (rhinegravine))
- The title of a count who controls a rheingrafschaft (rhinegrave). This is a river port town or riverside town. The count is expected to ensure smooth flow of trade along the river and to ruthlessly deal with pirates in the region. The town will often be of strategic importance, either for trade or for the nation’s military forces, and the rhinegrave must ensure that there is no interruption in the flow of goods or troops.
- Wildgraf (wildgrave, female: wildgräfin (wildgravine))
- The title of a count who controls a wildgrafschaft (wildgrave). This region is along the borders of the Northern Wild, and the count must ensure that the region is kept clear of cannibals and other horrors which erupt from the wilds from time to time. Some bandits slip into the wilds to hide, and the count is responsible for having these individuals brought to justice.
If an heir is destined to take the noble title, the prefix erb- is added to the title. The heir of a prince is an erbprinz, while the hair to a duke is an erbherzog. The heir to a lord would be an erbherr, though such things are less common for untitled nobles.
For quite a long time, the kingdom of Drachen was predominantly Joshuite, but with the rule of the Dove Queen, the Arin Faith has risen into popularity once again. The kingdom is a blend of Arin and Joshuite tradition, with churches dedicated to the worship of Adonai mingled with some of the practices of the Arin faith - while Arin temples have developed some Joshuite ceremony. The largest such temple is the Cathedral of Mika, found in the city of Drachenkeep, and the Grand Library of the Bortherhood, found in Threshold.
Tension between the Joshuite and Arin faith has been on the decline, more so with the wedding of Princess Reyala to king Jason of Tarantis. The blending of Joshuite and Arin tradition in the royal wedding has done much to ease the conflict between the two faiths, and the two kingdoms have grown closer. Some think that the two nations may become united within the next generation.
Drachen is home to the elite organization of knights known as Die Drache-Ritter
- Drachen: Das Drachekönigreich
- Drachenkeep: Drachenhalten
- Threshold: Schwelle
A character will usually be named (name) (father’s first name) von (province). Thus, someone from Threshold will usually be von Schwelle. Only the royal family is allowed to take the title von Drachen. Others from Drachenkeep will take the title von Halten (of the Keep). So, if a person is named ‘Adolph’ by their father, who is named ‘Josef’, and they are part of the ‘Griswald’ province, the character’s name is Adolph Josef von Griswald.
Male: Adolph, Auberon, Bernt, Bruno, Casper, Charles, Dieter, Dirk, Ehrin, Ermen, Ferdinand, Fritz, Gerald, Gunther, Hansel, Hugo, Jaeger, Josef, Kaiser, Kiefer, Louis, Lukas, Mandel, Mikkel, Norbert, Novak, Oberon, Otto, Romy, Rune, Seifer, Sigfried, Tanner, Ulf, Ull, Varick, Wendell, Wilhelm, Yaeger, Zelig
Female: Adelle, Annalise, Berdine, Bertha, Caroline, Crescentia, Didrika, Elsie, Emera, Freida, Fritzi, Greta, Grizelda, Hedwig, Heidi, Ilse, Irma, Johanna, Katrina, Kristen, Lise, Lorelei, Marlene, Minna, Nixie, Odele, Rosine, Rune, Sanja, Stefanie, Trude, Trula, Unna, Verena, Viveca, Wenda, Wilda, Zelda