Return of the Burning Kings
The Kingdom of Arten: A slumbering dragon in its own right, the once strife ridden kingdom has enjoyed an age of relative peace after absorbing their neighboring nations through conquest over a century ago. The other fiefdoms of the kingdom are more or less left to their own devices, so long as they pay taxes to the crown, lend military support when called upon, and support the royal troops of Arten. There is always at least one active contingent of royal troops in every major city throughout the kingdom. For the time the current king of Arten seems content with the size of their borders, although this may have to do with the amount of effort required to keep its realms in check.
Arten is both the geographical and political center of the Five Realms. The kingdom boasts several large cities, and is easily the metropolitan hub of the land. Merchants from all corners of the realms and even exotic lands beyond can be found selling their wares in the bustling market places. Although travelers from just about anywhere are welcome to ply their trade, it is no secret that a close eye is kept on foreigners and they are subjected to higher taxes than citizens of Arten. Many forms of entertainment can be found throughout the major cities, such as street performers, renowned Ghillerrese minstrels, plays, and gambling halls. However the main draw is the gladiatorial games. A long standing tradition in honor of their patron deity, Boldarn, every major city in Arten is host to a grand coliseum. Most gladiator matches aren’t lethal and have plenty of experienced healers standing by to administer healing magics to wounded fighters. The occasional death match does occur, but only when all participants agree to a fatal bout. These are usually matters of great honor or particularly vicious rivalries.
Outside the busy cities, folk of Arten make their livings as farmers, craftsmen, hunters, and the like. For these townsfolk life is a bit more dangerous, as monsters threaten the less guarded areas. Goblins, kobolds, and even the occasional orc band sack caravans and raid towns. Those towns nearer to royal guard outposts are safer than most, but for the most part they must rely on their own militia and town guardsmen. The last great unified threat to the kingdom was that of the Black Hand, an orcish army led by the orc king, Khark the Ashen Claw.
Current Ruler: King Barrett Everdale
The Heraldic Ruins