Aundair

Capital: Fairhaven
Population: 2,000,000 (51% humans, 16% half-elves, 11% elves, 11% gnomes, 5% halflings, 3% shifter, 2% changelings, 1% other)
Exports: Wine, cheese, grains, agriculture, books
Languages: Common, Draconic, Elf, Halfling

One of the Five Nations originally founded by the human settlers of Khorvaire, Aundair has a rich tradition of cities dedicated to knowledge and education while the areas outside the cities are known for agriculture. Rich farmlands, pastoral forests, and excellent vineyards abound. Though the borders have changed many times over the centuries, the nation has carried the name of Aundair since 32 YK.

When Galifar ir’Wynarn united the Five Nations and formed his kingdom, an unprecedented age of peace and prosperity began. He started the tradition of giving each of his eldest scions one of the Five Nations to govern. His eldest daughter, Aundair, was given control of the nation that within a generation had adopted her name as its own (initially “Aundair’s realm” but soon shortened to just “Aundair”).

During the reign of Galifar’s last king, Wrogar governed the nation. King Jarot’s fourth child, Wrogar was a huge bear of a man who enjoyed the rugged lifestyle of Aundair’s countryside as much as he loved poring through the libraries and other depositories for books of history and religion. When Jarot died, Wrogar initially supported his sister Mishann’s claim to the throne (Mishann ruled Cyre at the time), but that wasn’t enough to keep the kingdom together. Soon, the Last War touched even distant Aundair.

Prior to the Last War, the nation of Aundair stretched across the northwestern portion of the continent, from the banks of the mighty Scions Sound to the base of the Shadowcrags that marked the end of the kingdom. Today, the kingdom consists of a swath of land bordered by Eldeen Bay to the north, the Wynarn River to the west, Thrane to the east, and Breland to the south. The current ruler of Aundair, Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn (NG female human, aristocrat 8), traces her lineage to Wrogar ir’Wynarn, the fi rst king of an independent Aundair and one of the heirs to the Galifar kingdom. Ruling Aundair since 980 YK, Aurala was among the signers of the Treaty of Thronehold. She married a young noble of House Vadalis named Sasik, who gave up his position in his family to become part of Aundair’s royal aristocracy. Despite this, he maintains close ties to his family (including his brother Dalin, the House patriarch), which sometimes leads the other dragonmarked houses to see favoritism toward Vadalis where it may not actually exist. In fact, Aurala goes out of her way to make sure House Vadalis doesn’t receive any special treatment from the Aundairian crown or its vassals.

Today, Aundair maintains an uncomfortable peace with its neighbors. Still reeling from the loss of the western two-thirds of its lands (and almost a fi fth of its citizens) to the now-independent Eldeen Reaches, Aurala reluctantly seeks to find common ground with the various factions living to the west of the Wynarn River and Lake Galifar.

Tensions between Aundair and Thrane remain high due to events of the Last War while the two kingdoms struggle to establish additional treaties and agreements that will wear down the underlying animosities. Breland and Aundair have mostly gotten along throughout the course of the Last War. Except for a handful of skirmishes and one major confrontation with Breland as the century-long conflict rolled on, the two nations have been neutral to friendly toward one another. Karrnath, sitting across Scions Sound from Aundair’s northeastern border, has made the most aggressive overtures for lasting peace since the end of the war. Aurala doesn’t trust Karrnath or its leaders, and she has her own secret ambitions concerning the fate of the Five Nations.

Industries

Aundair produces a great number of agricultural products, both for use within the nation and as imports for trade. Cereals, grains, vegetables, and wines from the Aundair countryside are considered among the best in all of Khorvaire. The cities of Aundair contain great centers of learning that at least equal the colleges and universities of Zilargo, and the arcane institutes might exceed those found anywhere else on the continent. For this reason, magewrights, artifi cers, and wizards trained in Aundair demand the highest pay scale compared to those trained in most other traditions.

All of the dragonmarked houses maintain emporiums and outposts throughout Aundair. Two houses, Lyrandar and Orien, make their headquarters in the nation. House Lyrandar’s matriarch sits in the northern island city of Stormhome, while the patriarch of House Orien runs the family conglomerate from the city of Passage, which rises from the eastern shore of Lake Galifar.

Life and Society

Aundair’s citizens consist mainly of farmers, scholars, and magewrights. Rural farmland covers much of the countryside. Occasionally enough people gather in one place to form a town or village, but only a few cities disturb the tranquility of life throughout the nation.

The life of Aundair’s farmers hasn’t changed much over the centuries. They continue to use their sweat and magic to till the land, coaxing crops from ground rich in nutrients. Central Aundair, from Ghalt in the south to Wyr in the north, is wine country. Vineyards stretch in all directions, producing a variety of grapes used to make Aundair’s signature wines, many of which demand premium prices in markets as far away as Sharn and Vedykar.

Much of Aundair enjoys a temperate climate, punctuated by long, hot, fairly dry summers with generally mild winters. The upper reaches of Aundair, north of the Starpeaks, have longer, stormier winters and shorter, cooler summers. Storms regularly roll in from Eldeen Bay to pound northern Audair before sliding across Scions Sound and into eastern Khorvaire.

Two major centers of learning command respect and admiration within Aundair. The capital city of Fairhaven boasts the University of Wynarn, the fi rst institution of higher learning ever established in the Five Nations.

Today, the University of Wynarn isn’t as famous as Morgrave University, but it is more highly regarded, offering an excellent curriculum in both mundane and arcane studies. Libraries and book traders abound throughout Fairhaven, attracting collectors and scholars of all sorts to the city. Though not quite as impressive as the great Library of Korranberg, the Royal Collection of Aundair stacks up as the second-best repository of tomes and scrolls in all of Khorvaire.

The second center of learning is devoted to arcane studies. Arcanix overlooks Lake Galifar, in the southern reaches of the nation. Once, this ancient village was part of Thrane, but Aundair claimed the village and the land around it early in the Last War. The mentors of Arcanix don’t care who claims the village; they only want to continue their studies of the arcane arts and pass along their knowledge to the dozens of apprentices they accept into their fl oating towers each season.

Additionally, small monasteries dot the countryside, in which monks devoted to any number of gods or belief systems spend time in quiet meditation and study. The warrior-monks of the Monastery of Orla-un, located on the edge of the village of Wyr, for example, are as famed for the sweet, dark Orla-un wine as they are for their doctrine of strong minds and stronger bodies.

House Orien maintains a number of major trade roads throughout Aundair, as well as lightning rail extensions that connect Fairhaven and Passage to Thrane and Breland. In addition, smaller roads and paths riddle the countryside, making travel throughout Aundair relatively smooth and easy.

Government and Politics

Queen Aurala, a direct descendant of Wrogar son of Jarot, rules the Aundairian monarchy; her family has held the crown since the start of the Last War and the shattering of Galifar. Aundair suffered more than some and less than others did during the Last War, but in general the nation enjoys a relatively safe and idyllic existence. Aurala continues to receive the support and confidence of her vassal lords, and most of the common people adore her. Aurala’s secret ambition is to quietly use the peace to build up Aundair’s strength, so that when the time is right she can make her move and claim the Galifar crown for her own. As she holds out her right hand in peace, she directs the machines of war with her left.

Beneath the royal family, a wealthy group of nobles oversees tracts of land partitioned to them by the crown. Some of these noble families go back to the days of a united Galifar and continue to oversee the land afforded them by the Galifar king. Others are newer, granted title and privilege due to actions undertaken during the Last War.

Aurala works hard to maintain the trust and support of her nobles, for they continue to provide the troops and taxes needed to keep Aundair safe and prosperous in this new age of peace. Aurala also enjoys the counsel of the Arcane Congress, a remnant of the original council of wizards created by King Galifar as the royal answer to the Twelve of the dragonmarked houses. The congress is currently headquartered in Arcanix, with an annex at the royal court in Fairhaven.

Power Groups

All of the dragonmarked houses maintain emporiums and outposts throughout Aundair. Some tension exists between the houses and the crown since the marriage of Queen Aurala to Sasik (CG male human, aristocrat 3/ranger 2) of House Vadalis. Traditionally, the dragonmarked houses and the royal families have avoided mixing to maintain a division between rulership and commerce. Even though Sasik, as the royal consort, has severed his claims to the House Vadalis fortune, he nevertheless maintains ties that make the other houses nervous about what advantages Vadalis might be gaining in its dealings with Aundair.

House Lyrandar: The half-elves of House Lyrandar have turned a harsh, storm-battered island into the seat of the house matriarch, Esravash d’Lyrandar (NG female half-elf, expert 7/dragonmark heir 2). Stormhome, situated off the northern coast of Aundair, appears on maps as part of Aurala’s nation, but there is no doubt that the place belongs to Lyrandar. Using the full extent of their weather-controlling abilities, House Lyrandar has transformed the island into a paradise. The days never grow too hot, the nights never become too cold, and a warm breeze constantly blows across the island. From here, the matriarch oversees the various operations of her house throughout Khorvaire.

She maintains a civil relationship with Queen Aurala, and the two often visit to discuss events happening around the continent and share intelligence—much to the dismay of both the Royal Eyes of Aundair (Aurala’s spies and intelligence agents) and House Lyrandar’s elders.

House Orien: The patriarch of House Orien, Kwanti d’Orien (CN male human, sorcerer 7/dragonmark heir 3), maintains a lavish enclave in the city of Passage. While a royal mayor governs the city, House Orien has an amazing amount of infl uence in the region. The majority of the population works for the house, and the leaders of the house constantly lobby for laws and regulations that favor trade and transportation. While Passage is the ancestral home of Orien, today it is but one of many headquarters the patriarch uses as he constantly travels the continent to oversee the operations of his house.

House Cannith: The holders of the Mark of Making do not recognize a single head of the family. While the situation hasn’t become as bad as the split that led to the formation of two houses for the Mark of Shadow, it nonetheless weakens the overall power and infl uence of House Cannith. Instead of a single patriarch or matriarch overseeing the family conglomerate, three leaders oversee operations in different parts of Khorvaire and only sporadically confer and deal with one another. One of these leaders, Jorlanna d’Cannith (LN female human, wizard 8), makes her base in Fairhaven, organizing the house’s efforts in Aundair, Thrane, and the Eldeen Reaches from a modest enclave in the city’s industrial center.

The Royal Family: Aundair’s royal family consists of Queen Aurala, her consort Sasik, her three children, and the extended families of her four siblings. Aurala’s brother Adal (LN male human, fighter 3/wizard 3) serves as her warlord and minister of magic, and he shares her desire to see the Galifar crown on the head of an Aundair lord. He wants that head to be his, though, and not his sister’s.

Another brother, Aurad (LG male human, aristocrat 6), serves as Aurala’s chief advisor and governor of Fairhaven. Her youngest sisters, the twins Wrel and Wrey, currently study with the mages of Arcanix. From the royal court of Fairhold, built at the heart of the city of Fairhaven, Aurala governs the land using everything at her disposal. She hopes that the overtures of peace that resulted in the Treaty of Thronehold continue at least until she has had a chance to reinforce her kingdom, but she has reservations about some of the less refined new nations. Currently, the Royal Eyes of Aundair keep watch on the activities of the other nations as Aurala plays diplomat in public and conspirator in private.

The Arcane Congress: The last vestiges of the great magical study project undertaken by King Galifar I, the Arcane Congress consists of a council of wizards and sorcerers who continue to explore the limits of the arcane arts. The royal warlord and minister of magic, Adal, serves as the go-between for the crown and the congress, though some factions within the congress distrust Adal due to his fascination with war and weapons of arcane destruction. In addition to providing Queen Aurala with advice on arcane matters, the congress oversees the floating towers of wizardry in Arcanix and helps mentor the next generation of wizards and magewrights.

Nobles and Vassal Lords: Aundair has a powerful collection of landed gentry, nobles granted land and title by the crown. From their manor houses and keeps, the lords protect their vassal farmers and provide troops and taxes for Aurala to use for the greater defense of the crown and nation. Some of the most powerful and infl uential nobles include Lord Darro ir’Lain, whose Knights Arcane have traditionally provided much of Aundair’s military punch; Lady Selini ir’Torn; and Lord Kenth ir’Kenthi.

Religion

Most of the people of Aundair follow the teachings of the Silver Flame or worship the Sovereign Host, particularly the gods Arawai, Aureon, and Olladra. Sometimes a minor cult attains popularity for a brief time in Fairhaven, and churches devoted to other gods can be found there.

Major Settlements

Farms and vassal estates can be found throughout Aundair, and most of the population lives outside the cities and towns. Three major settlements have significant populations, and one village gains prominence not because of its size but because of its ties to the Arcane Congress and the wizardly community.

Fairhaven (Metropolis, 92,500): The city of Fairhaven dates back to the days before the formation of Galifar. Its foundation was laid when the Five Nations were young and humans were new to the land. Today, the Royal Court of Fairhold dominates the metropolis’s impressive skyline. The massive complex, whose towers jut some eighteen stories into the sky, includes offices for the working government, public courts and halls, a huge hall of records, Aurala’s personal guards, and the living quarters for the royal family. Since the signing of the Thronehold Accords, the Five Nations have once again opened their embassies, and most of the other recognized nations have also found offices in the city. All of the dragonmarked houses have enclaves in Fairhaven, and it’s easy to do business in the city.

The market exchanges of Fairhaven bustle with activity from early in the morning to well past dark. In addition to the fresh produce and magewright goods that reach the exchanges from the Aundair countryside, the great Distant Exchange constantly displays goods from around the continent. Black market and illegal goods are hard to come by in this nation, so the cost for such items is higher.

The main campus of the University of Wynarn winds its way through the city’s Knowledge Ward. Though the center of learning stayed open throughout the Last War, there were times when the professors outnumbered the students. Recently, the university issued an open call to all the recognized nations, inviting students to apply for enrollment. This invitation has had the unexpected effect of bringing a large number of goblinoid and other uncommon humanoid applicants to the campus, which has called for some adjustments on the administration’s part. If the peace lasts, the university hopes to fi ll its halls to capacity within three years.

Aundair adheres to the Galifar Code of Justice, an intricate system of laws and regulations that once helped maintain order throughout the united kingdom. The laws presume innocence, provide for judgment by peers, and establish a complex legal system. If someone winds up in trouble with the law, it is highly recommended that the subject obtain the services of a solicitor or councilor skilled in the Code of Justice. Even with laws and enforcers, the Code leaves enough loopholes and gaps in the system for experienced criminals to take advantage of. Therefore, as in all of the Five Nations, a thriving underworld exists in Fairhaven’s shadows.

Stormhome (Large city, 14,280): The large island off the northern coast of Aundair was once a bleak, stormblasted outpost at the entrance to Scions Sound. In 347 YK, House Lyrandar petitioned to turn the island into a house enclave, and the crown relented—with the caveat that it could maintain a protective force there to monitor comings and goings at sea. Three years later, the weather mages of Lyrandar had changed the climate of the island. While cold weather and storms raged around it, Stormhome became a temperate paradise.

Today, Stormhome remains the crowning achievement of House Lyrandar’s skills and abilities. The city that bears the island’s name serves as the primary headquarters for the house and the seat of its matriarch. Aundair considers the island to be an extension of its nation, and House Lyrandar continues to permit an Aundairian force to use part of the island as a base. The Aundairian navy patrols the northern coast, stopping at Stormhome for supplies and to escape the bitter wind that blows across the bay.

In addition to the presence of many of the leading members of House Lyrandar and their retainers, a number of other wealthy nobles regularly visit the city. It has become something of a vacation spot, and House Lyrandar has permitted House Ghallanda to establish elaborate resorts within the city limits to cater to its guests.

During the Last War, the place was mostly left alone by attacking forces due to House Lyrandar’s neutrality and diplomatic position. It became a meeting place for spies and a hotbed of clandestine activities, a reputation that it continues to hold in the current day.

Passage (Large City, 16,300): The city of Passage sits on the shores of Lake Galifar, serving as a crossroads for commerce in western Aundair. In addition to a thriving fishing community and a center for trade, Passage contains a huge House Orien enclave. This enclave serves as one of the house’s operation centers and makes the members of the house prominent among the city’s social elite. One key feature of the city is the lightning rail station that includes a massive maintenance and repair facility.

Arcanix (Village, 800): The village of Arcanix, located along the southeastern banks of Lake Galifar, is known for the floating towers of wizardry that surround it. These towers serve as places of arcane learning, where the tower mentors help train the next generation of magewrights and wizards.

The village also houses the Arcane Congress, a think tank of wizards and sorcerers charged with improving life through the application of magic. The members of the congress oversee the towers of wizardry, advise Aundair’s queen on all things magical, and confer with colleagues in the other nations—despite a rivalry with the wizards of the Twelve. Apprentices come from all over to train as magewrights at the mentors’ sides, and much of the village’s economy revolves around providing for the students. Fewer are the students selected for wizard training, because the mentors hold every candidate to the highest possible standards. While traders and the occasional visitor pass through Arcanix, most of the common folk steer clear of the magically volatile village and the area around it.

Important Sites

As part of the legendary kingdom of Galifar, Aundair contains some of the oldest and most impressive human structures built in Khorvaire. During the Last War, parts of Aundair suffered from constant battle, but other portions saw little if any action over the long century of conflict. The area north and east of the Starpeaks, for example, saw a lot of battle during the war, as did the land between the Towers Valiant and Vigilant. A few skirmishes took place along the Wynarn River, but most of the conflicts with the Eldeen forces occurred deeper in the territory now claimed by the Eldeen Reaches.

Fairhold: The royal seat of power, Fairhold occupies a significant amount of real estate in the city of Fairhaven. The King’s Hall, where Queen Aurala holds audience with the public, is an impressive chamber capable of permitting fifteen hundred people to stand before Aundair’s crown. The Royal Collection of Aundair, housed in the south wing of the estate, provides one of the best libraries available in northern Khorvaire. The collection includes records dating back to the founding of Galifar, as well as a few older documents that come from the days of the original Five Nations. The public can view some parts of the collection, but large sections are only accessible to those who receive special dispensation. The Courts of Justice, located in the east wing of the estate, handle the various trials and mediations that require interpretations and rulings on the law. Fairhold also maintains a museum dedicated to the crown, displaying relics that examine the nation’s history—both as an independent country and when it was part of the Galifar kingdom.

Whisper Rock: Dark shapes and strange sounds fill the woods known as Whisper, located in the northern reaches of Aundair. Monsters still roam this cold and forlorn forest, and few dare venture too deeply into its ancient recesses. Somewhere deep within the woods, a ruined structure called Whisper Rock stands among misshapen trees and overgrown brush. This ruin, believed to date back to the early days of Galifar’s kingdom, remains hotly debated among scholars; some claim it dates back to an even earlier time. Some say it was a temple, others that it was a fortress set against terrors from the north. One legend says it was built within the woods and then forgotten. Another claims that the woods grew up around it long after the stones of its walls and towers began to crumble with age. Whatever the truth, it is widely believed that the Rock is the source for the strange murmurings occasionally heard on the wind.

The Crying Fields: A stretch of land east of the town of Ghalt, the Crying Fields saw battle after bloody battle as Thrane and Aundair fought for control of what is now southern Aundair. Today, no one farms these fields, no animals graze upon the crimson-tinged grass. The place has a forlorn, melancholy atmosphere, as though a thick and cloying fog hangs over it. On nights when the primary moon of the month rises full, the sounds of battle can be heard rolling across the empty expanse, and some claim that the dead soldiers even appear to continue their endless struggle for the land.

The name of the area comes from the sound the wind makes when it blows from Lake Galifar and crosses into Thrane. That’s when sounds of anguish and despair claim the fi elds. Low and distant during the day, the cries grow louder and more distinct at night. Starpeaks Observatory: Located high in the Starpeaks, a mountain chain in northern Aundair, the Starpeaks Observatory was constructed in 512 YK by King Daroon. Daroon became fascinated with the practice of charting the moons and stars, especially with the idea that these charts could provide signs and portents for the future. He had the observatory built, but he died before construction was completed. Now the Arcane Congress uses the place to study the moons and stars.

Adventuring in Aundair

Travel throughout Aundair is relatively fast and easy. In addition to Orien caravan routes, trade roads, and well-worn paths, a lightning rail connects Aundair with Breland and Thrane, and House Lyrandar constantly moves airships to and from Stormhome, with a stop in Fairhaven along the way. House Lyrandar also runs sea vessels from Lake Galifar to Eldeen Bay and along Scions Sound and the rivers that branch off it. Travel through Aundair is, for the most part, safe. Bandits and monsters sometimes attack from out of the Blackcaps in the south, and all manner of rebels and marauders regularly appear from and disappear into the Eldeen Reaches. Other dangerous regions include the Whisper Woods, certain parts of the Starpeaks, and the Crying Fields between Aundair and Thrane.

Aundair and its people believe in and follow the Galifar Code of Justice. That said, it isn’t unusual for a farmer to take matters of protection into his own hands when neither manor lord nor knight is available to help him. In the towns and cities, however, the local officers don’t believe in letting citizens or visitors enforce the law in their place. As a general rule, Aundairians are a friendly and gregarious lot. They are disposed to side with Brelish travelers a bit more regularly than with those from the other nations, and still have more than a few hard feelings for the Karrns and Thranes. While they feel pity for the displaced survivors of Cyre, they have no wish for Cyrans to settle among them and have actually turned away a wave of refugees from the ruined nation.

The people of Aundair currently have little love for the settlers of the Eldeen Reaches, since they still harbor bitter memories of the guerrilla warfare that hindered Aundair’s attempts to reclaim the western territory.

Adventurers can be found in Fairhaven and Stormhome, working for any number of patrons or seeking gear or employment. Some come to Fairhaven to engage in research, some to take on odd jobs for the Royal Eyes of Aundair. Adventuring groups containing arcane spellcasters might seek out Arcanix and the Arcane Congress at some point in hopes of expanding their power and abilities.

Though not as well known for hiring adventurers as Morgrave University, the University of Wynarn sometimes seeks out explorers to assist in relic recovery, academic research, and historical investigation. Because they do compete so heavily with Morgrave, the headmasters of Wynarn are known for making outrageous offers to get adventurers to work for their causes.

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