Abergaron is the principal town of the Ovantae Clan. It is situated on the northeast coast of Northern Tarania, where the River Anree flows into the Endless Sea. As well as an established fishing industry, Abergaron is also known for its university and military academy. Novices from the clansguard caste of all six clans spend three years at the academy before embarking on a tour of duty on the southern border of Taleni.
Aderyn (Ad-er-rin) is the adopted sister of Kaine and is the only member of the First who is not a scion of Velak's original warband. Like all her comrades, Aderyn learned her skills at the Sept of Shadows and proved to be second only to Kaine—one reason why she is his second-in-command.
Lord Aedan (ay-dan) Taleni is the chieftain of the Taleni clan. In 1160, he married Zorana of Kelaris and went on to have two children: Yanna and Amira. Unfortunately, Zorana died in 1182 under suspicious circumstances.
Alun Swordstorm is the Champion of Taleni and is considered to be one of the greatest warriors of Northern Tarania. He, and his close friend, Tarek Grimbard, were presented with spectacular armour and weapons by King Rodric after the Mendari War for their unmatched bravery on the battlefield. Despite Tarek's banishment after the Day of Sorrows, Alun refuses to believe his friend is a traitor. After finding Cai shipwrecked on the Taleni coast, Swordstorm adopted him and trained him to become a clansguard.
Alvar is one of the Scions of the First. He grew up as an orphan in the slums of Gol Zaram until Kaine discovered him and sent him to the Sept of Shadows to learn his deadly trade. Although not as tall as Banan or Kaine, Alvar casts an imposing figure on the battlefield. In his own way, he believes he is a man of honour. His weapon of choice is a double-headed axe, similar to the one his ancestor, Praetorian Rasmusson wielded.

The town of Amaryth is situated at the centre of The Unified Tribes of Mendaria. Up until Kaine's violent subugation of the Mendari tribes, Amaryth withstood many attempts by its neighbouring tribes to invade it. It's success was mainly attributed to the martial arts of warfare taught to its children from an early age—a tradition introduced by Amaryth's legendary founder, Praetorian Masuda. His ancestor, Okita, is known as the Child Warrior of Amaryth and was chosen by Kaine to join the Scions of the First.

Amira (Am-eera) Taleni is the youngest daughter of Lord Aedan Taleni. Unlike the other clan chieftains, Aedan chose not to instruct his daughters in the ways of a warrior, instead guiding them towards academic study and courtly pursuits. Amira is an exceptional student, with a voracious hunger for knowledge. Although she lives in Vedana, Amira often visits her maternal grandfather, Vasska, at his fortress home of Kelaris.
Found in the northwest corner of Northern Tarania, the Anree Valley slices diagonally through the mountainous land of the Ovantae Clan. Famous for its abundance of salmon, the River Anree reaches the Endless Sea at Abergaron, the capital settlement of the Ovantae.
An archwarden is the most senior official of the Communion responsible for a Clan. They are second only to the Grand Archwarden, who is the spiritual leader of the Enorian religion. Their main function is to provide spiritual guidance to the chieftain, but this role has diminished since Rodric became king.
The Armour of the First is the mythical armour that Velak and his warband of god-like warriors wore during the war with the Hen Rai. Known only through the stories of the bards and a handful of passages from the Book of Enora, the armour gave the wearer powerful abilities during combat.
Belanore (Bell-an-or) is a small town located a few miles north of the Fortress of Keld. Before King Rodric reoccupied the fortress, Belanore was little more than a hamlet. As the garrison grew, so did the number of taverns, gambling houses and brothels occupying Belanore's infamous Main Street. Due to the concerns of inter-caste socialising,  the Communion reestablished the dilapidated Sacred Grove of Belanore. Fearing the Communion's intentions, King Rodric built a jail in the town, policed by veteran clansguard.
The Belgar clan occupy the lands to the far east of Northern Tarania. Glanmorden, the capital, sits within the expanse of the Borgen Forest. Dominating the north are the Garron Peaks, the highest mountain range in Northern Tarania. The Belgar's three main industries are timber export, ranged-weapon construction and herbal medicine.
The Belith (bell-ith) mountains are spilt into two ranges by the Carran Pass—the Northern Belith Range and the Southern Belith Range. The northern range is home to the Mines of Belith, where Northern Tarania's iron ore, copper and tin supplies come from.
The sheltered Bay of Borgen lies north of the Valtara Estuary. Due to its protection from the storms of the Endless Sea and its accessible pebble beaches, the bay is frequently used by Wildland smugglers for two main purposes: to smuggle illegal goods into Northern Tarania, and to transport political and religious fugitives out of the North.
Borgen Forest occupies the vast majority of land belonging to the Belgar clan. Although many species of deciduous and evergreen trees are found in the forest, the Yew is of paramount importance to the Belgar. Over the centuries, Belgaran foresters have cultivated vast sections of the forest for the exclusive purpose of expanding the yew population. It is from the Borgen yew that the legendary forest bow is constructed.
The Bwgan is a legendary creature (Northern Taranian folklore) that emerges out of the shadows of the forest to steal children from their beds. It is one of many creatures that are believed to live in the Netherplain. One famous poem says:

“A creature as old as the ancient Hen Rai, Its home is the forest, in slumber it lies.

It waits for a movement, a scent or a sound, Then out of the forest, the Bwgan crawls out.

As silent as a tomb, it nears its prey, All tucked up in bed, sleeping they lay.

Then out of the shadows, it stretches its limbs, Slithering and shimmering on the ground they skim.

It worms through windows, chimneys and doors, Slipping past those it knows to ignore.

Until a child it finds, that brings it delight, And steals them away, in the black of the night”

Caerniras (K-ai-r-nir-as) is the capital of Northern Tarania (and of the Niras clan). It is located at the head of the Southern Belith Range on the banks of the River Hythe. The fortified settlement was built during the Mendari War when King Rodric moved the Nirasian seat of power from the infamous Hythe Hillfort. The grandeur of the throne in the Great Hall is comparable to those belonging to the warlords of the Wildlands.
Cai (k-ai) is the adopted son of Alun Swordstorm. He suffers from long-term amnesia. His oldest memory is that of being rescued by Swordstorm from a shipwreck on the Taleni coast clutching a superbly crafted longsword. The only other clue to his past is a mysterious tattoo inked onto his back. He fears the tattoo is linked to the Mendari religion, so hides it from everyone apart from Alun. Cai's ambition is to become a Named warrior like his father.
Carran (Karan) is the capital of the Galgari clan. It is situated on the far western coast of Northern Tarania at the foot of the Southern Belith Range. Its traditional industries are whaling, fishing and shipbuilding. It is also from Carran that iron ore, copper and tin are exported to other parts of Tarania. Ships return to Carran laden with timber, livestock and other essential goods.
The Carran Pass cuts a diagonal path through the Belith mountain range. Although partly a natural feature, many sections were excavated by the Galgari clan to provide a faster and safer way through the mountains. The road connects Carran with Caerniras and the Great North Road. It is within the Carran Pass that Lady Orla Galgari and all but one of her family were assassinated during the Day of Sorrows. The only survivor was Sorcha, who replaced her mother as chieftain.

The Carreg Isles are four small islands located around twenty miles north of the Northern Taranian coastline. The towering cliffs of the islands accommodate many species of bird and the surrounding waters are home to seals, whales, dolphins and orcas. Apart from the ruins of whaling stations and makeshift dwellings used by smugglers, there is little evidence of people inhabiting the islands.

The caste system was introduced by the Communion just after the end of the war with Velak. It is believed that before her death, Enora had instructed her inner circle to divide the people into groups based on their involvement in the war. Those who commanded were given the highest honours, closely followed by those who fought the First and assisted Enora in other ways. Thus, a hierarchy was created. As the rhyme says:  

The monarch*,

the noble,

the clansguard and the priest,

the skilled, the farmer,

and all that dwell beneath.


* Added after the first monarch, Queen Tara of the Ovantae, subjugated the other clans in the year 245.

Apart from the monarch and nobility, all other caste children must receive their identifying brand on their thirteenth birthday. There are many rules regarding caste, with the lower castes bearing the harshest restrictions. Caste interactions are strictly regulated and those deemed in breach of the rules are punished. The most serious cases could result in the perpetrator and their family being banded 'casteless' and sent to camps run by the Communion's Grey Cloaks. The Caste Uprising of 1185 by the People's Alliance was in response to the failure of King Rodric to uphold his promise to abolish the caste system.
Clansguard are highly trained professional soldiers who dedicate themselves to the protection of Northern Tarania. Only children born into the clansguard caste can become warriors. Once they receive their branding at the age of thirteen, a novice will attend Abergaron Military Academy for three years and then complete a further year on the southern border of Taleni. In rare cases (such as The Three Orphans of Treharne and Alun Swordstorm) a clansguard can be raised into the nobility caste by their monarch or chieftain. Due to a shortage of warriors after the Mendari War, intermarrying between clansguard and a member of the skilled or farmer caste is permitted if agreed by the chieftain and the archwarden of the clan.
The Communion is the organisation that defends and regulates the Enorian faith. After Enora ascended into the Void at the end of the war, it is said that the Communion was established by her inner circle of commanders. As well as promoting the Enorian religion, the Communion acted as advisors to the clans and to the handful of monarchs that ruled over the millennium. This role diminished when Rodic Shieldbane became king. He and Queen Isabelle introduced reforms to lessen the Communion's power. However, the most controversial change of ending the caste system never took place due to the assassination of the queen. There are now concerns that the Grey Cloaks, the military arm of the Communion, could become a threat to King Rodric's rule.
Dagan (Day-gan) is the twelve-year-old son of Tarek and Runa. He lives in Nabaya, which makes him a Wildlander. However, his father is Northern Taranian and his mother is Mendarian—a union that, if discovered by their homelands, would endanger Dagan and his parents.
This is the official name for the mass assassinations carried out on the nobility of Northern Tarania in the summer of 1174. In all, 36 high-ranking clan members were killed. The Galgari clan lost their chieftain, Orla Galgari, her husband, Sean, and two out of their three children. The most notable death was that of Queen Isabelle Niras, who was betrayed by her champion, Tarek Grimbard. To this day, the banished traitor refuses to admit his guilt. Although never proven, it is highly likely that the Mendari employed the services of the Sept of Shadows to carry out the attacks.
Derwedd (Der-weth) Forest is a narrow, mixed forest that stretches from the east coast to the west coast of the Taleni clan. On its northern treeline stretches the vast Plains of Keld and to the south, the land undulates until it reaches Vedana. Treacherous hidden tar pits lie in wait for those foolish enough to venture off The Great North Road. Once reaching halfway, travellers must cross Midway Bridge to gain access to the other side of the forest.
Praetorian Draganov was one of the First who fought against the Hen Rai. His scion, Rask, wields his ancestor's pair of gruesome jagged blades and is said to be just as cruel as his forebear.
The Dunree Marshes are located in eastern Northern Tarania, running along the border of the Belgar clan. Enterprising locals charge travellers a fee to guide them through the marshes. However, during the winter and periods of heavy rain, not even the locals dare to enter the marshes.
Eleri (El-e-ree) was Rodric's younger sister. In 1155, at the age of nine, she tragically died in a fire when their village of Treharne was attacked by Banan the Giant and his Mendari raiding party. When Rodric became chieftain of the Nirasian clan he chose the wren as his sigil in memory of Eleri.
As the name suggests, the inhabitants of Tarania believe that the sea surrounding them has no end to it. This belief is strengthened by numerous stories of maritime explorers returning after days at sea without detecting any other shoreline.
The Goddess Enora is the principal deity worshipped by Northern Taranians. After her ascension into the Void, Enora's inner circle proclaimed her to be the goddess who defeated Velak. Although the Communion plays down his role, it could be argued that Gaius Galerius' relationship with Enora turned the tide of the war. Much mystery surrounds the infant child born to the couple. Some say the child ascended with her, whilst others believe it was taken with the other children of the Hen Rai, never to be seen again.
Fergus Finesmile is the younger brother and champion of Kilien Belgar, chieftain of the Belgaran clan. He is also Kilien's interpreter when communicating with people unfamiliar with sign language.
The First were a warband of god-like warriors who fought against the Hen Rai. Led by Velak, they defeated and persecuted the Taranian people until one of their own turned against them and destroyed their power. His name was Gaius Galerius.
The forest bow is the principal weapon of the elite woodland warriors of the Belgaran clan. Its construction method is a closely guarded secret. Belgaran children of the clansguard caste begin their mastery of the bow at a young age. The forest bow is most effective when used en masse.
Tribune Gaius Galerius was Velak's second-in-command during the war against the Hen Rai. However, an encounter with a young Taranian woman would turn his life upside down. The woman was Enora. She chose to face survival in the wilds than surrender to the First. Galerius was tasked with tracking down Taranian fugitives. Hot on the trail of a fleeing Taranian, he quickly discovered he was the one being hunted. For Enora had learned to hide from the 'all-seeing' First and lured Galerius into a trap. However, instead of killing him, Enora could see that Galerius was a tortured soul and realised that there was goodness buried deep within him. Over time, she helped Galerius to come to terms with his bloody past and gave him a new purpose—to free her people and defeat Velak.
The Galgari clan occupy the lands to the far west of Northern Tarania. Carran, the capital, is a coastal settlement where whaling, fishing and shipbuilding have been the traditional industries for hundreds of years. Recently, Carran has also developed into a busy port servicing the mining industry. In 1174, tragedy befell the clan when its chieftain, Orla Galgari, and all but one of her family were assassinated on the Carran Pass. Although Orla's surviving daughter, Sorcha, is a popular successor, financial calamity has forced her to sell a share of the clan's mining industry to outside interests.
The Garron Peaks are the tallest mountains in Northern Tarania. Many people visiting the healers of Glamorden will continue north on a pilgrimage to the lower slopes of the mountain to offer prayers to Enora for their successful recovery.
Glanmorden is the capital of the Belgar clan. It is located at the centre of Borgen Forest. The majority of the settlement is constructed off the forest floor on wooden platforms, linked by a web of walkways. Many people visit Glanmorden's famous healers to receive treatment for their ailments.
The Glenway Firth is a narrow channel of water that flows between the eastern Zirani coast and the island of Westholm. It is used as the main shipping route from the port of Carran to the clans situated along the northern and eastern coasts of Northern Tarania. It is a dangerous route to navigate, but sailors prefer to use it than risk the open waters of the Endless Sea.
Gol Stolrem is located on the southwest coast of Mendaria. Although no records exist, the inhabitants believe the town was founded by Praetorian Draganov after the First were defeated. Unable to return home, the survivors of the First fled south. Without Velak to lead them, many of the First left their comrades, resigning themselves to their fate. True to his nature, Draganoz found a settlement he liked, killed its leaders and set himself up as the local warlord. During the remainder of his life, Draganov kept close ties with his friend and fellow First, Praetorian Lynch—the founder of Gol Zaram.
Gol Zaram is the spiritual capital of the Unified Tribes of Mendaria and was founded by Praetorian Lynch. Located on the southeast coast, Gol Zaram has flourished since Kiane's rise to power. He calls it 'the city built by the people, for the people'. The post-war crime-infested slums of the lower levels of the city have been replaced by attractive communal apartments that are supplied with clean water and protected by the city's militia. Dwarfing all buildings is the Sanctorum—the most sacred place of the Mendari Religion. Gol Zaram is also rumoured to be the home of the Sept of Shadows.
Govannon was chieftain of the Nirasian clan before Rodric Shieldbane. Although allowing the Three Orphans of Treharne to join his wardband, Govannon became increasingly wary of them. And as their fame grew, so did his jealousy. He colluded with Banan the Giant to kill the warriors, but incredibly, the three survived. When Govannon's warband heard Rodric's account and saw Luis' shattered leg, they turned on their chieftain and raised Rodric to become their leader. Rodric's first command as chieftain was for Govannon to be beheaded. Many believe his spirit haunts the abandoned hillfort of Hythe.
The Grand Archwarden is the highest office in the Communion. Once elected from the priest caste, they will remain in office until they die. They live in The Great Nemeton of Tremadon where they hold weekly ceremonies for the hundreds of pilgrims that make their way to the shores of Lake Tolos. On rare occasions, the Grand Archwarden will travel to other parts of Northern Tarania to visit a sacred grove or to carry out a ceremonial duty. The Grand Archwarden is protected by an elite group of Grey Cloaks.
Grey Cloaks are warrior priests who serve the Communion. Up until the Mendari War, the position was considered a ceremonial role. However, after King Rodric's refusal to eradicate the Mendari, the Communion began to recruit clansguard into the Grey Cloak order. Although not confirmed, there may be as many as several thousand Grey Cloaks stationed throughout the Sacred Groves of Northern Tarania, with a further elite unit guarding The Great Nemeton of Tremadon.
Up until 1161, Hythe hillfort was the capital of the Niras Clan. Its final occupant, Govannon, was overthrown by the Three Orphans of Treharne. Rodric became chieftain and had Govannon beheaded. He then moved the Nirasian seat of power 60 miles west and named his new home Caerniras. Abandoned, Hythe fell into disrepair and is now only home to the local wildlife. Many travellers passing the hillfort report hearing strange whining sounds coming from inside its walls. Many believe this to be the haunting cries of Govannon's spirit, desperate to be reunited with its head.
The River Hythe (Hy-th) is the second-longest river in Northern Tarania. It begins its journey in the Northern Belith Range and winds its way east across Nirasia until it empties into the Endless Sea. Along its path, two stone bridges allow The Great North Road to cross over its wide channel.
Before marrying Rodric, Isabelle Niras was chieftain of the Zirani clan. Despite her inexperience, Isabelle ruled the Zirani with great wisdom. The Zirani clan were the most devoted of all the clans to the goddess, but Isabelle questioned many of the policies of the Communion—especially that of the caste system. After marrying Rodric, Queen Isabelle convinced the king to propose a range of reforms that would end the caste system or at the very least bring greater parity between them. Although opposed by the Communion and her Zirani family, she worked tirelessly lobbying the other chieftains until she was allowed to address the Council of Clans. Tragically, Queen Isabelle Niras was assassinated on the eve of the meeting. Her two children were also attacked but were saved by their father.
Juran is a member of the Scions of the First. From Kelaris, he grew up as an orphan, sleeping on the streets and living on scraps. After his survival skills were noticed by the Sept of Shadows, Juran was taken to Gol Zaram where he learned the art of the assassin. After a few years, Kaine approached him and revealed to Juran that he was a descendant of one of the First. It was then that Juran first dressed in the Armour of the First and became a scion.
Kaine is the military leader of the Mendari. He answers only to Velak. When he was younger, he accompanied his father, Banan, on many raids into Northern Tarania. It is rumoured that he was present when Banan tried to kill the Three Orphans of Treharne. After his father's death, Kaine fled south and stayed with Vasska in Kelaris. It was at this time that Kaine is said to have encountered the spirit of Velak and was given his divine calling. Kaine's mother is the High Priestess of the Sanctorum.
Kelaris is the largest and most powerful fortress in the Wildlands. It was built on the remains of a Hen Rai structure and overlooks the valleys full of mines that extract every precious metal imaginable. And from that wealth, Vasska's ancestors built a home that celebrated their power and wealth. Many believe that Kelaris is even more impregnable than Keld.
Divided by the Valtara Estuary, the Keld mountains are split into two parts: the North Keld Range and the South Keld Range. Jutting out on a plateau at the foot of the South Keld Range are the sacred Stones of Valtara. This is believed to be the first place the Hen Rai set foot on the land they named Tarania.
The Fortress of Keld was built as an imposing warning to all would-be invaders. And for centuries, it did its job. However, during Govannon's rule, the garrison was removed from the Nirasian fortress. Over time, it fell into disrepair and was even used by Mendari raiding parties as a camp. When King Rodric returned from the Mendari War, he not only restored the fortress but improved it. The rotten drawbridge was replaced by an ironclad version and the southern walls were strengthened and increased in height. It is said that not even with ten thousand warriors could an enemy breach the walls of Keld.
Lord Kilien Belgar is the chieftain of the Belgar clan. He is known for his quick wit and even quicker temper. He is popular among the other chieftains and is a strong ally of King Rodric. Kilien is proud of his refusal to give in to interrogation during his capture by the Mendari, and will often show his tongueless mouth to anyone interested in his gruesome story. He adores his younger brother and prays that Fergus will one day marry Lady Manon Ovantae.
The kladimos is a short sword preferred by clansguard fighting in close quarters. This is especially true when part of a shield wall. The scabbard is fastened to the sword arm side of the belt. This minimises the risk of elbowing a comrade when drawing the weapon. Belgaran woodland warriors prefer to use a gladius when fighting in a dense forest.
Lake Grimlin is a narrow body of freshwater located inside Taleni clan territory. It is approximately 40 miles long from north to south and in some parts, its depth descends as much as 100 feet. Travellers journeying along The Great North Road often camp along the southeastern bank; although in the summer months, swarms of midges often drive all but the hardiest of travellers away from the water's edge.
At just over 35 miles wide, Lake Tolos is Northern Tarania's second-largest lake. It is located in Zirani territory within a large evergreen forest. To the Communion, it is the most sacred body of water in the North. It is the site of Enora and Galerius' last embrace before they parted company to carry out their plan to defeat Velak by setting fire to the sky. To commemorate this event, the Communion constructed The Great Nemeton of Tremadon. Many Enorians wash in the waters of Lake Tolos as part of their final act of pilgrimage. It is also recorded that in the early centuries, the Communion conducted human sacrifices on the banks of the lake. The ceremony was known as The Three Deaths.
Lars is the son of Garin and is best friends with Dagan. Although he helps his father with their smallholding, Lars would prefer to be playing and fighting with Dagan and his other friends. Like Dagan, he would love to become a warrior and serve in a warlord's warband.
Luis Ironfoot was born in Treharne and grew up as part of the clansguard caste. From an early age, it was clear to his friends that although Luis was a good fighter his best weapon was his mind. After the massacre of his village, Luis joined Govannon's Nirasian warband and quickly grew in status as a skilled warrior and an excellent strategist. Even after losing his lower leg during the fight with Banan, Luis continued to impress Rodric, the soon-to-be king of Northern Tarania. Along with Rodric and Tarek, Luis would lead the combined might of the Northern clans south and defeat the Mendari. Many consider Luis Ironfoot to be one of the greatest generals of all time.
Madoc is the old healer who saved Prince Tomos' life. After returning the infant prince to the king, Madoc offered his services to care for Tomos and to tutor him. Madoc will often spend weeks away from the royal household, travelling through Tarania and exploring Hen Rai ruins. There are many who believe Madoc to be a sorcerer, and some, like Lord Zirani, consider him to be an insult to the goddess.
Lady Manon Ovantae is the chieftain of the Ovantae clan. After her mother was removed as chieftain by King Rodric, Manon took up the unenviable task of not only becoming chieftain but leading the Ovantae clansguard during the Mendari War. Despite her young age, Manon led with wisdom and great courage—although, her eagerness to earn her warriors' respect almost killed her during one assault. It would cost her a bolt through an eye. Witnessing her bravery, King Rodric awarded Manon her warrior name. He named her 'Fearless'.
Mari is the owner of the Renegade Tavern in Belanore. Originally from Abergaron, she saw an opportunity to capitalise on the increasing numbers of clansguard being sent south. Her skilled caste status allowed her to move to Belanore to build her tavern and brewery. Her best-selling ale, Red Renegade, is sold all over Northern Tarania and is even exported into the Wildlands. There are rumours that Mari has connections with The People's Alliance.
Mendaria is located in the south of Tarania. Only recently have the tribes of Mendaria been considered a unified body. Kaine is responsible for that achievement—an achievement stained in blood. However, since his rise to power, the tribes have flourished and renewed their devotion to Velak. All Mendari must worship Velak and are commanded to declare their devotion by taking his mark. They are united in a single purpose: to spread the word of Velak to all unbelievers. Those who reject or renounce the religion must flee Mendaria or risk capture and execution.
Mikkel was Runa's first husband. He was murdered along with his son, Nils, when their northern Mendari farm was attacked by bandits.
The mines of Belith are located in the Northern Belith Range in Galgari lands. They supply Northern Tarania with iron ore, copper and tin. The majority of miners are from the lower castes. Conditions in the mines are grim, with the constant threat of injury or death. After the caste uprising in 1185, Lord Zirani, now owning a large part of the mines, established a garrison of Grey Cloaks at the mines—an act, that although powerless to oppose, sickens Sorcha.
Nabaya is a small Wildland farming town situated approximately 25 miles from the southern border of Taleni. The town supplies livestock and grains to the warlord fortresses located on the eastern side of the Wildlands. Nabaya also benefits financially by providing hospitality to travellers journeying along the Great North Road. This has allowed the town to build defensive earthworks and a timber palisade to protect itself from raiders. Although, since Aedan Taleni's alliance with Vasska, there has been little trouble along the border.
The Named are the honoured clansguard of the clans of Northern Tarania. If a clansguard impresses their chieftain or monarch during a battle, a warrior name is given to them. Some of the most famous names awarded are Bloodrage, Severedtongue, Shieldbane, Swordstorm and Grimbard. A chieftain will select the very best Named to become part of their Elite Guard.
A nemeton is an Enorian sacred place. It comes in many forms, including a grove, a lake and a stone shrine. The largest and most sacred of all nemetons is the Great Nemeton of Tremadon located on the shores of Lake Tolos. Built around the site of Enora and Galerius' last moments together, the Great Nemeton receives hundreds of pilgrims every day. On the outside, a large wooden palisade separates the lower castes from the skilled and farming castes. There are also many merchants selling food, drink and various religious souvenirs to pilgrims. Further inside, protected by a solid stone wall, is a place of worship reserved for clansguard and priests. Then, within that, is the holiest of areas where only nobility and senior priests of the Communion may visit. However, there are rumours that underneath the Great Nemeton is a network of subterranean passages that only the most senior members of the Communion may visit.
The Netherplain is an Enorian concept. It is a place of sorrow, filled with terrifying creatures, that people go to if they are judged unworthy to ascend into the Void. Many folklores tell of nights where the Netherplain merges with the world of the living, and out of its belly emerges all manner of foul beast to bring terror to all living things. The Northern Taranian legend of the Bwgan is one such creature.
Nils was the son of Runa and her late husband, Mikkel. Both Mikkel and Nils were murdered during a raid on their farm by bandits.
The Niras (or Nirasian) clan occupy the central lands of Northern Tarania. Caerniras, the capital of the clan and of the kingdom, is the youngest of all the major settlements in Northern Tarania. Nirasia's three main industries are mixed farming, commerce and construction. Although Nirasia is more prosperous since King Rodric's reign, Zirani is still the wealthiest of all the clans.
Okita is a member of the Scions of the First. From Amaryth, she grew up learning the ways of her ancestor, Praetorian Masuda. When her town was attacked by bandits, she made her first kill while defending her home with Masuda's legendary sword. She was only 10 at the time. Four years later, she was sworn in as her town's protector. To enhance her skills, she spent a number of years with the Sept of Shadows. Eventually, she came to the attention of Kaine and became a scion.
The Ovantae clan occupy the northeast lands of Northern Tarania. Abergaron, the capital, is located at the mouth of the River Anree and is home to Northern Tarania's only university and military academy. Although most of its wealth is generated by these two institutions, the Ovantae also have a successful fishing industry. However, salmon cannot be caught unless part of the sacred winter festival of 'Passing of Knowledge.
Penglas is the capital of the Zirani clan. It is located at the tip of the Zirani peninsula in the northwest of Northern Tarania. Although mixed farming is the traditional industry of Zirani, the clan has made its fortune by developing a successful financial and investment sector. It is rumoured that three-quarters of the wealth in Tarania is shared between Penglas and Kelaris.
Rask is a member of the Scions of the First. A proud Gol Stolrem warrior, he and his kin ferociously opposed the advancing Zirani clansguard during the Mendari War. No quarter was given on either side. Eventually, the superior discipline of the Enorian army broke Mendari resolve. The Zirani, taken by the Red Mist, tore through the city, executing any Mendari they found. Rask witnessed his father's beheading by a Zirani Named warrior, but was saved from the same fate when General Luis Ironfoot put a stop to the mass killing. Ever since that moment, he has vowed to inflict pain and death on any Enorian he comes across. Before delivering death, Rask flays a section of tattooed skin off a clansguard's body and adds it to his book of skins.
The Red Mist is a condition that affects many Taranians. It is most evident in warriors, for they are more likely to experience it during the stresses of close combat. They describe the experience as losing control of their wits. It is a rage that makes them a passenger in their own bodies. Some, like the Named of Northern Tarania, spend years learning to control it; but there are a handful of warriors who have discovered how to bend it to their will. The most famous person to achieve this is Tarek Grimbard. Scholars at the University of Abergaron propose that the Red Mist is just one of a number of conditions that have been inherited from the Hen Rai.
Red Renegade is a popular ale brewed by The Renegade Tavern, in Belanore. It is consumed across all Northern Tarania and in the Wildlands.
The Renegade Tavern is the oldest and most popular drinking house in Belanore. It is owned by Mari, a successful Ovantae businesswoman of the skilled caste. It is rumoured that Princess Seren is a frequent visitor to the tavern.
Rodric Shieldbane grew up in the small village of Treharne with his mother, father and younger sister, Eleri. His idyllic family life was destroyed when the Mendari raided Treharne. After witnessing the death of his father and mother, Rodric tried to save his sister from their burning roundhouse but failed. Rescued by Govannon's warriors, he and two other survivors (Tarek Grimbard and Luis Ironfoot) were accepted as novices in the Chieftain of Niras' clansguard. After building a name for himself as a charismatic leader and skilled warrior, Govannon tried to have Rodric and his friends killed. He survived the assassination attempt and overthrew Govannon. Soon after, he managed to unite the six clans of Northern Tarania and take the fight to the Mendari. After accepting the Mendari surrender he returned north and began to build his kingdom. He married Lady Isabelle Niras and became the father of two children: Princess Seren and Price Tomos. In 1174, Isabelle was assassinated during the Day of Sorrows. The event plunged Rodric into a deep depression that lasted for almost a decade. Although Rodric found his way back from despair, he struggles to open up to his children about their mother. He blames Tarek Grimbard for betraying the queen for Mendari coin.
Rory Swiftblade was born in Penglas and serves Kurzon Zirani as his champion. He is profoundly religious and follows Communion law to the letter. Lord Zirani honoured him with his warrior name, Swiftblade, after witnessing Rory's ruthless culling of Mendari prisoners after the battle for Gol Stolrem.
Runa lived with her husband, Mikkel and her son, Nils, on a farm in the far north of Mendaria. It was there that she first met Tarek. He arrived at the farm one day and asked if he could work for them. They agreed and found Tarek to be a hard worker and good with Nils. Then, a few months later, the farm was raided by bandits. Mikkel and Nils were murdered, but Runa survived due to Tarek's intervention. After hunting down the surviving bandits, they travelled north to the Wildland village of Nabaya and eventually got married. A year later, Dagan was born. Runa is a member of Nabaya's town council and she is the only person south of Northern Tarania who knows about Tarek's past.
The Scions of the First are a group of handpicked elite warriors who are also devout followers of Velak. Apart from Aderyn, all other scions can confess their ancestral right to wear the Amour of the First. All scions understand that the longer they wear the armour the less chance they will have to survive without it.
The Sept of Shadows is a clandestine organisation of assassins who operate out of the city of Gol Zaram. Children are brought to their base from all around Mendaria and the Wildlands to become students of the art of killing. All of the Scions of the First have studied at the Sept of Shadows, and Northern Tarania holds the organisation responsible for the assassinations carried out on the Day of Sorrows.
Princess Seren is the oldest child of Rodric and Isabelle Niras. At the tender age of 5, she not only witnessed her mother's death but also saved her father's life by killing the assassin with their own blade. Since then, Seren has wrestled with the trauma associated with experiencing such events at a young age. She is a fearsome and highly-skilled warrior, who has led many specialised missions with her handpicked warband of elite warriors. However, her recent heavy drinking and unsavoury behaviour have made many people question whether she is a worthy successor to her father. She deeply desires to find Tarek Grimbard and make him pay for betraying her mother.
Shieldbane is the war hammer that belonged to Praetorian Lynch and was passed down through the generations until Rodric took it from Banan. Standing at three-quarters the height of the average Taranian, Shieldbane is a weapon designed to instill panic and inflict carnage on the battlefield. On one side of the metal head is a hammer that is used as a blunt-force weapon, and on the other end is a long, vicious spike, designed to puncture plate and mail.
Lady Sorcha Galgari is the chieftain of the Ovantae clan. She is the sole survivor of the attack on the Carran Pass in 1174. Consumed with the Red Mist, Sorcha was found hacking off an assassin's head with her father's longsword. At 13, King Rodric honoured her with her warrior name. He called her 'Bloodrage'. Her decision to sell part of the Mines of Belith to the Galgari's old enemy, the Zirani clan, has made her unpopular with her clan.
The Sword of Velak is a relic believed to be the actual weapon used by the god during the war with the Hen Rai. It is made of an unusual alloy that contains swirling patterns of smoke trapped within the blade. On the top of the hilt is an engraving of the Circle and the Cross.
The Taleni (Tal-ee-nee) clan occupy the southernmost lands in Northern Tarania. They are the only clan to reside outside of the natural border on the River Valtara, and thus have borne the brunt of incursions by Wildland and Mendari raiders. As part of King Rodric's military reforms, all warrior novices must complete a tour of duty on the southern border of Taleni before graduating as a clansguard. The capital, Vedana, is protected by walls almost as impressive as that of Keld or Kelaris. They have never been breached.
Tarek Grimbard grew up in the village of Treharne. After the massacre, he joined Govannon's clansguard and quickly became the most feared warrior in Nirasia. Where others lost their minds to the Red Mist, Tarek found he could bend his dark companion to his will. It was as if the world around him slowed, yet he was able to move faster and predict his opponent's next move. Rodric honoured Tarek with his warrior name, Grimbard, and made him his champion. He was further honoured after the Mendari War by receiving a gift of exceptional armour as well as his legendary sword, Red Mist. However, Tarek's love of drinking, gambling and women is said to have made him vulnerable to Mendari bribery. After Queen Isabelle's death, Tarek was found in bed with two prostitutes and a bag full of Mendari gold. Rodric banished him from Northern Tarania. Leaving his old life behind, Tarek found love with a Mendari woman called Runa. They now live in the town of Nabaya and have a son whose name is Dagan.
The Stones of Valtara is an ancient place of worship that incorporates three stone circles erected on multiple tiers of earthwork mounds. It is located on a peninsula at the foot of the South Keld Range. The Book of Enora provides an account of its origins. It says that after the Hen Rai shaped the land to their designs they constructed the stones to commemorate their old world.
Prince Tomos Niras is the youngest child of Rodric and Isabelle. If it were not for the intervention of the mysterious healer, Madoc, he would have died on the Day of Sorrows. However, Tomos still suffers from the assassin's wound which stops him from achieving his greatest desire—to be a great warrior like his father. The medicine he takes and the strange amulet he wears drains him of his strength, but what he lacks in physical vitality he gains in intellect. From learning about the Hen Rai, Tomos has been able to develop new technology that has improved the lives of Northern Taranians both domestically and militarily.
Treharne (Tre-harn) was a small Nirasian village found in the northern regions of the Plains of Keld. It was a settlement largely comprised of veteran clansguard and their families. Its most famous inhabitants were Tarek Grimbard, Luis Ironfoot and Rodric Shieldbane. In 1155, the village was destroyed during a Mendari raid. The three boys were the only survivors, which is why they are known as the Three Orphans of Treharne
The Valtara Estuary is located in southeast Northern Tarania, and forms part of the natural border between the Nirasian and Taleni clans. It has one of the largest tidal ranges in Tarania making it extremely challenging to navigate by ship. Its most iconic landmark is that of the Stones of Valtara.
The River Valtara is the longest river in Northern Tarania and is also the widest. It begins its course in the Northern Belith Range and ends its life as the majestic Valtara Estuary in the southeast. It is the perfect natural defence for Northern Tarania as the river is a logistical nightmare to cross. Even the most seasoned Galgari sailors would prefer their chances in the open sea than navigate the Valtara. The only crossable section of the river is guarded by the mighty fortress of Keld.
Although Vasska now prefers to find peaceful ways to get his way, his standing warband is second only to the Named of Northern Tarania in skill and courage. His rivals in the neighbouring Wildland fortresses know this and avoid trouble with a man whose bloody reputation is a match for that of Tarek Grimbard's. His epithet is well-earned as Vasska is known to shift his allegiances at the most opportune moment for his benefit. This is demonstrated in 1160, when he sealed a treaty with Aedan Taleni by offering his daughter, Zorana, to become the chieftain's wife. While this act was criticised by Banan and the other Mendari tribal leaders, none dared to oppose Vasska militarily. He has never recovered from Zorana's death. His granddaughters, Yanna and Amira, are his only source of comfort.
Vedana is the captial of the Taleni clan. It is located less than 10 miles from the southern border of Derwedd Forest. The inhabitants of Vedana boast that their walls have never been breached by an enemy. Vedana is the last stop on the Great North Road before it heads into Wildland territory.
The Veil is the Enorian concept for death. Once a soul passes through, it will be judged by the goddess. If it is found worthy, it will ascend into the Void. However, unworthy souls will be cast into the Netherplain and live forever in utter torment.
Velak is the god of the Mendari. He descended from the Void a thousand years ago with his warband known as the First. Feigning a message of peace, he deceived the elders of Tarania. As it says in the song:

Far in the past, when the world was young,

The gods came down from the Void above.

They spun their lies, and they promised us hope,

Of a home in heaven, with lives full of love.


While he seduced them with false promises of travelling the Void, the First hunted the young. They enslaved them and carried them off to their chariots. When the elders realised what was happening and tried to resist, Velak slaughtered all of them. The Book of Enora says that Velak was eventually defeated and killed by the goddess during the final battle. However, the Mendari believe his spirit endured.

The Void is the world that exists above the land. Northern Taranians believe that those who pass through the Veil ascend into the Void if the goddess deems them worthy. They will then become one of her children of light and live with the goddess for all eternity. However, the Mendari believe that the Void is an infinite expanse of blackness that leads back to Velak's home, which is known as heaven.
A warden is a senior warrior priest of the Communion. They typically lead Grey Cloak warbands and lead the sacred groves. A warden may progress to the office of Archwarden if selected by the Grand Archwarden
Westholm is a group of islands located off the northwest coast of Northern Tarania. There are many legends around the island. The most alluring tale told is that there is an undiscovered Hen Rai structure buried somewhere on the island. The Galgari and Zirani have fought over ownership of the island for hundreds of years. To ease tensions, King Rodric decreed the islands to be off-limits until a peaceful solution can be found.
The Wildlands is the name given to the area of Tarania that separates Northern Tarania and Mendaria. Stretching down the east side of the Wildlands are the mountains and valleys carved up between three warlords, the greatest of which is Vasska of Kelaris. Their vast wealth comes from mining gold, silver and other precious metals and stones. On the southwestern side of the Wildlands, lies the Amaryth desert which eventually gives way to the rolling hills and farmland of the northwest.
Yanna is Aedan Taleni's oldest daughter. When she was 24, she married Kurzon Zirani and became Lady Yanna Zirani. She is exceptionally intelligent and shares her husband's commitment to the Enorian faith. She is devoted to her younger sister, Amira.
The Zirani clan occupy the lands to the far northwest of Northern Tarania. Penglas, the capital, sits on the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the Endless Sea. Ziranian's are goddess-fearing people and are proud that the Great Nemeton of Tremadon lies within their borders.