Rune is the largest and most powerful human realm on Iiosia.
It was formed when the scattered tribes who dwelt there were faced with dual invasions of both gilth and ghreal forces. Faced with their own destruction, they united under the legendary figure of Braithia and his wife, Eishion. The alliance was later sealed with a parchment - which survives to this day - upon which each tribe made their mark, or rune, pledging themselves to the alliance and to their new king and queen who led them to victory.
It has been over six hundred years since those events, and with each passing generation the significance of it is watered down slightly. The separate Holdings within the country vie for power and the favour of the royals, and barons seek to make their cities richer through taxation and even more nefariuos means. The current queen, Tarsis, must not only contend with rival noblemen, but also the bandits an monsters which wreak havoc within her own borders.
Rune is largely a flat, densely forested land. The cooler north sports more rugged terrain; small mountain ranges create valleys and rivers, which lead onto vast, flat floodplains covered in fertile soils. In the warmer south the land is comprised of parched, largely barren lands which largely lie uninhabited.
Because of its large size, the climate across Rune varies drastically when comparing the extreme north to the very south of the country. In the north, in the realm of Cenal and Viracur, chill winds whip down from the frozen land of Orondor, bringing with them sleet and hailstorms which bite with bitter cold. In the south, however, blazing sun blasts the settlement of Ghorn for most of the year, with the sea breeze being warm and offering little relief from the constant heat. For the most part, however, particularly across The Heartlands, the climate is a mild, temperate one, with mild winters and cool summers. However, due to the extremes of hot and cold on either side, tornados do occur from time to time, particularly in the summer months, and flooding along the Redwater and Ibona rivers are both quite common as they have such large catchment basins.
Humans are the dominant race of the land here. Rune is largely regarded as the homeland of humans, though those from Oun would dispute this, as they formed their own civilization from the ruins of what lay before. Many of the people of Rune live a peaceful life, and make their way as farmers, merchants, and craftsmen. Rune is home to a large centre of learning, and within its borders can be found people who have mastered all manner of skills, from fishing and sailing to farming, music, art and even magic. Rune has come to dominate trade and commerce, and even the Runish calendar is now widely used throughout the world of Iiosia.
Because of their relatively easy lives, the people of Rune are often thought of as soft by the people of Oun and Magador, and this may well be true of most, but not of all. For dangers still threaten Rune’s borders, and so there are still fighting men stationed to protect it. Sailors, horsemen, hunters and men at arms all find place within Rune’s vast and highly organised military.
Rune’s people are a diverse mix, and exhibit a vast range of skills and abilities the like of which isn’t seen anywhere else on Iiosia.
Dwarves, atia, grellkin, halflings, ferian, and humans from other lands also come and go from Rune as well as make their homes here also. Rune is perhaps the most diverse land on Iiosia when it comes to the mix of races that are to be found there.
Gilth, ghreal, and other unsavory creatures can be found skulking in dark caverns and abandoned towers throughout the land. These are stragglers from invasoinary forces that came to Rune long ago, attempting to conquer but ironically forming a lasting alliance between those who dwell here.
Bands of tar'tchii also are also known to skulk within the mountains of the Jagged Teeth, along Rune’s southern borders.
Rune has a number of large cities which control areas of the land. The capital is Eishion, and there are eight other city-states which are operated by a baron who answers to the royal ruler in the capital. These are: Arador, Laithior, Ghorn, Charis, Cenal, Braithor, Bastion, and Pen Daka.
(Formally Lakeheart, renamed Eishion in the year 35 after the woman Eishia; Rune’s first queen.)
Eishion is built between two lakes, on a strip of land running between them both. This not only offers natural protection, but also makes the city looks as if it is floating. It is a major centre of trade, learning, and the arts. Many of its citizens are well off and enjoy the finer things in life as the city has a strong, rich economy. However, the wealth is not shared out evenly and there are still those who live in squalor in some areas of Eishion. These people often are the underpaid fuel that drives the fire of the city's industries. The land of Eishion’s district is largely made up of rolling hills and sparse woodlands, much like the land surrounding the city itself. It is good for farming and fast flowing rivers flowing through the district allow the mass use of mills to grind grain as well as providing copious amounts of fish within the lakes. To look upon, the city is quite beautiful. The walls are made from marble, the surface of which reflects the light shining upon the water. The result of this is that, when viewed from a distance, the city sparkles. It has since been dubbed “The Shining City” for that reason. Each year, the barons meet in Eishion to discuss the running of the country and the provinces. Such meetings are often heated as disputes over funds, taxes, bandits and trade often break out, but the king or queen always has the last say in matters.
(Officially formed in the year 250.)
Charis is a fortified mountain city-fort and the major centre for military training for the army. In the mountains surrounding the fortress recruits are put through rigorous training regimes, and on the plains nearby the cavalry are trained to ride long and hard. The keep is a mountain in itself, and is a fine example of Runish military engineering.
(Formed in the year 38, named after Aradan, the second king of Rune, after he defeated the undead horde in the events of The Blight)
Arador is a major centre of learning, magical studies and agriculture. It is a picturesque city set in a wide valley, surrounded by trees and fields and on the shores of the tranquil Lake Shimmerwater. Its wealth comes from its prosperous farming and from the schools which teach the children of those wealthy enough to send them here. Arador is maybe the most desirable place to live in Rune. However, its close proximity to Kakeri Swamp means that it sometimes becomes the victim to kakeri raids, and, despite these being made mostly against livestock, people living within are generally advised not to venture too far from the city walls because of this.
(Formerly Núin, re-named Braithor after Braitha, the first king, in the year 35.)
Braithor is a large, ancient city which most regard as Rune’s second city. It sits within the outskirts of the Blackbark Forest; its imposing high stone walls rising high above the trees around it, which are well guarded against the creatures deep within the surrounding woods. As there is no road leading east to Bastion, the Redwater River is the only way to travel between the two cities. Braithor houses a major docks and warehouse district which stores goods destined to and from Oun. Braithor is also used as a base to train archers and foresters for the Runish army, and woodcutting and hunting are skills of value there as wood and meats are the resources found most abundantly there.
(Formed in the year 174)
Bastion is Rune's western port, and is the centre for bringing trade into Rune via the inner sea from Oun. It is a small city, dominated by a large sea-fort known as The Bastion on the outskirts that protects the harbor from assault from the sea and guards the mouth of the Redwater River, which flows deep into the Heartlands of Rune. So indicative is the fort to the place that any other name given to the settlement that nestles around its walls has been lost, and the entire settlement is collectively now known as Baston. Pirate attacks on vessels around the port are reasonably common, and thus the city has stationed a large array of warships to combat any that are sighted from the fort’s high watchtowers. The city is filled with shops, markets, inns and taverns for the travelling sailors and traders, and at any one time is the home to thousands of passers-through as they make port there. Therefore there are not as many permanent residents there as one may think. Because of all of the mixed races, creeds and classes milling and mixing about there is often trouble on the waterfront or in the taverns, and the Watch here is known to be exceptionally hard on trouble makers. If they deem it necessary they will lock people for a few days in the prisons beneath the fort, to let them have some “cooling off” time.
(Formed in the year 200)
Cenal is the northern-most city of Rune proper. A compact city, Cenal is known largely for its cold climate and barren surroundings. Perched atop a bleak, cragged rocky outcrop, Cenal sits within a vast area of barren grasslands and windswept planes. Its people, largely clothed in furs and skins, have a reputation for being blunt and brutish. Yet they are just a manifestation of their harsh surroundings. The hides of animals and precious rocks from nearby mines are two of its main assets, and the ironsmiths of Cenal forge the strongest weapons and armour in the whole of the country.
(Formed in the year 38, named after Laithia, the second king of Rune’s sister, after she defeated the undead horde in the events of The Blight.)
Laithior is a relatively small but well-formed city. It sits in a large bay which houses well-kept and ordered dockyards, with the city itself nestled behind it behind strong, fortified walls. The city is built largely of granite and as such is not only very strong and defensible but lends the city a white and grayish colour scheme that makes it appear clean and ordered. People within the city are largely merchant-folk, craftsmen, or the families of soldiers stationed there. Laithior has a large military presence as it is home not only to the majority of Rune’s Navy, but also a large garrison that maintains and patrols the road within Kakeri march, which supplies a valuable trade route with Pen Daka to the north.
(Formed by the Ghreal during their invasion in the year -3. Formally became part of Rune in the year 322.)
Ghorn, in the southernmost extent of Rune’s borders, was originally settled by the Ghreal when they invaded. It was set ablaze and largely destroyed due to mysterious circumstances, which was one of the factors that led to them abandoning the invasion. Since then, the site of Ghorn became a refuge for criminals, religious deviants, and other nefarious individuals. It was only in the year 322 that The Purge took place and Rune’s authorities gathered together and cleansed the city, killing or capturing every single man, woman and child within it, and raising Ghorn to the ground for the second time. After this act, Ghorn’s third incarnation is that of a penal colony and mining town. Ghorn’s population is largely made up of prisoners, who work the huge nearby mine network of The Maw, and the guards that hold order there. Ghorn is covered in a permanent layer of stone-dust from the mines, giving the place a gloomy, dirty look. The surrounding landscape is as bleak and barren as the city itself with the only signs of life being the thousands of carts that return laden with ores from the mines. It is a wholly unhealthy place to be, and criminals within Rune largely prefer travelling north, to the cold barren wastes and lawless city of Hendakk, to facing a duration of time within The Maw.
(Formed before the creation of Rune, approx -300).
Pen Daka is a merchant and sea-farers' city in a remote corner of north-eastern Rune. The city sits within a large, natural bay with the same name, which protects its docks from the turbulent waters of the Whitewater sea. Pen Daka is often regarded as a subsidiary of Rune rather than a region of the kingdom proper. Whereas the other towns and cities grew up out of the ruins of the gilth and ghreal invasions that led to the foundation of the country, Pen Daka existed long before that – as many as three hundred years, and only signed the Treaty of Runes which unified the country because it was in their best interests to do so. They speak in a thick accent which marks them instantly from any other people, and are a tall, strong, fair race of people. Pen Daka’s people are a proud people of sailors; the sea dominates all aspects of life within Pen Daka. They farm their food from it, as the soils forming the hinterlands around the area are thin, dusty and dry, and so ill-suited for crop farming or raising livestock. Worship for the Sea-God began here and has since been adopted by the other people of Rune.
As well as the city-states, there are some other settlements within Rune which do not fall under its governance due to their lawlessness: Toruga and Hendakk.
(Formed at an unknown time, but generally accepted to be officially recognized in the year 654.)
Toruga is a small rogue city that has quite recently sprung up on the remote western shore of the Inner Sea. It is almost impossible to reach via land, as it is surrounded by the densely packed and wild Blackbark Forest, and situated in a sheltered cove surrounded by high cliffs. As such, it has made an ideal den for the pirates who now live there. Formed by the infamous pirate Hack Marrow, Toruga has grown from a small smugglers' den into a fully fledged port within which pirate vessels can come and go as they please. Ships out of Toruga normally head south, aiming to strike at merchants travelling between Bastion and Melas Lonoth in Oun. The Runic authorities have once attempted to take the city, launching a large naval attack in the year 657. The attack was a crushing defeat for the navy of Rune, as they found the pirates united and in a well defensible position.
(Formed within the country of Orondor around the year 5 by those who fled from the gilth invasion. Now unofficially recognized as part of Rune purely due to its human inhabitants.)
Hendakk officially lays beyond Rune’s borders, which end at Viracur, and as such is really the last city within Orondor that’s occupied by humans. It is a sprawling, unclean and largely poor place. Few have any reason to go there, although it does hold attraction for some. Undead monsters and other freaks are captured from the wilds and brought into the fighting pits of Hendakk’s underbelly, pitted against each other or against gladiators who have ended up there via their own will or not. It is also a refuge for criminals and other scoundrels on the run from Rune’s authorities, as few in authority in Rune would wish to pursue anyone there. A lawless place, and forever under threat and attack by the undead that roam around, the city employs a “survival of the fittest” mentality. Many in Rune feel that it is only a matter of time before the place is destroyed by the undead or consumes itself in its own wickedness.
This gigantic, imposing and inhospitable fortress is the mainstay of the defense against the undead threat that looms from the fallen kingdom of Orondor.
A large castle that sits at the entrance of Pen Daka Bay, guarding the ships within from hostile intent, and housing within it the garrison and prison of Pen Daka city.
A small settlement that thrives on trade flowing along the Ebon River, between Eishion and Pen Daka.
This area, which comprises the cities of Braithor, Eishion, Arador and Laithior, is regarded as the heart of Rune. It is along this area that loyalty to the crown is at its most feverish. This reputation has lead many other settlements to feel ostracised and has led to growing resentment towards those dwelling within “The Heartlands”.
A region beyond the Pinefrenzy Woods, where the first Lich Abhorrian amassed his armies in the events of The Blight. The area is still abandoned to this day, with the remains of the farms, villages and small towns still standing as a stark reminder to what occured here six centuries ago.