Gestalt:- Army of Light
A Flamethrower against the fall of Night.
Maelrhyss is a land with very few laws. The people obey almost religiously only 11 laws, passed by the earliest Draconic rulers. As these are fairly common sense (and begin with “The rulers aren’t allowed to interfere”) no one objects over much to following them.
All of the races of Maelrhyss tend to share a few common traits – almost all are individualistic and self reliant. They also love art – although perhaps in a rather rougher way than more civilised people would understand. Most Maelrhyssians are fascinated with songs, and most will sing during their daily activities.Even if – in the case of the Kobolds – people wished they wouldn’t. They also approve of learning and knowledge. Violently approve.
The Maelrhyssians speak a form of Draconic that includes a large number of dialect terms and flat out etymologically silly buggers rendering it almost impossible for others to understand. They tend to find this quite amusing.
They are ruled by a triumvirate:- The Draconic King, The human Warqueen, and the Kobold Emperor. The terms are not gender specific, although Maelrhyssians are aware that ‘queen’ tends to be. Male queens are occasionally joked at. In theory, the three leaders are equal. In practice, however, the Kobold Emperor is ignored and everyone defers to the Dragon anyway.
Maelrhyss is a fen. Except where there is marsh. Understandably, there is little overland travel. The country is only about a hundred miles wide at its widest, but is nearly four hundred miles long, following the course of the river Endless Aria. At the coast, the river falls nearly three hundred feet down sheer cliffs into the sea bed. Around the mouth of the river is built Maelrhyss’ one city – The City of the Silver Wing, and on an outcrop of cliff just off the coastline was built the Great Library.
This was once a wonder, a repository of hundreds of thousands of books, and at its height, served as a worldwide university. That is long ended, as much of the library was destroyed or cannnablised during Malachii’s war.
The City itself is actually a cunningly constructed trap. Few permanently live there, and every house is fortified and inhabited by at least one member of the Maelrhyssian guard. Only the Warqueen’s palace has a non-military staff.
Rather at odds with the rest of the terrain, some distance south of the city, a single solitary mountain rises out of the bogs. The Maelrhyssians treat this dormant volcano as sacred, saying it marks the resting place of the founder-dragon Maelrhyss herself. This is the home of the religious order, the Scale of the Everlasting (usually just ‘The Scale’)
The entire country is linked by a series of deep tunnels dug by the Kobolds that is called the Underways. It provides access to the various villages, as well as each fortified house in the City of the Silver Wing.
The humans of Maelrhyss live in tiny settlements, cunningly hidden away behind earthbanks deep in the fens. They are rather insular and very superstitious. By order of King Scatha Aeon Scribe, each village contains a school and a small library.
Every Maelrhyssian is expected to be able to protect themselves, and the humans take this very seriously. Druids and landsmen cultivate the rather aggressive flora of Maelrhyss into defensive mazes, while the warriors train constantly. Both genders are expected to be able to fight or contribute to the fight. Teaching is always considered to be a contribution, even if it’s teaching something apparently unrelated.
An odd tradition exists amongst the Maelrhyssian humans, that of ‘Greeting the Dawn’. An old warrior, who has outlived their mate, will often choose to Greet the Dawn. They gather their friends, their descendants, and their village, and hold a nightlong party and celebration. Toasts are made and stories told of the valor of the warrior, and the joys of the young and the wisdom of the old. And at the dawn, all will go quiet, from the oldest to the youngest, warrior, scribe and animal. And the warrior will stand, silently, and walk out into the sunlight. And as the sun crosses their face, they die, quietly and smiling. Their soul ascended to Maelrhyss’ embrace.
The Kobolds are above all else, a quick people. They scurry about, altering this, adjusting that. On the surface, they will often adopt the clothing and customs of the community they happen to be nearby.Underground, they usually wear very little – often just a loincloth and the black sticky substance they call Mother’s Blood – Everyone else calls it Pitch and keeps open flame away from the Kobolds. They are born engineers – or rather, tinkerers, as no kobold can ever explain how the thing s/he just made actually works. It just does.
This is often incredibly annoying to the Keriathain and the Scathain, who know damn well that it shouldn’t.
They love to sing even more than other Maelrhyssians, singing The Mother Song – a semi-sacred and occasionally somewhat irreverant song about Maelrhyss – constantly. This wouldn’t be a problem at all – Maelrhyssians love music – expect for one small issue. No Kobold is capable of singing well. No one knows why. They may be doing it on purpose.
The dragon breeds of Maelrhyss are distinguished by the King they have closest blood ties to.
The Maelryth are the rarest – only the royal line itself claims this as a family name. They have no common personality features.
The Scathain are the descendants of Scatha, the Aeon Scribe. They tend to be aloof scholars. While they realise they have no superiority to the shorter lived creatures, they find it very difficult to get involved with them. After all, how can you learn much from a creature that dies before you can have a really good debate with it?
The Caraghain descend from Caragh, the Spear at Fate. They feel it is a divine right for dragons to rule over others – they won’t force it, but will tend to look down on those who aren’t ruled by dragons. All of the children of Caragh feel the tainted blood very strongly, and this tends to stir their passions. While this makes them zealous warriors and righteous champions, every hundred years of so, one of them fails to control his/her darker impulses. The dragons accept this, do everything they can to mitigate it, and deal with it when it occurs.
The Kerithain are the youngest, the children of Keriath. They are idealistic to a fault, tending to believe that whatever their chosen field is, it can fix everything. They feel emotions very strongly, and find humans and kobolds endlessly fascinating (some of them extend this to the animal life of Maelrhyss).
All of the Maelrhyssian Dragons bear tainted blood – blood that was not fully cleansed when Bahamut sanctified Maelrhyss herself. This is felt in varying degrees by the Arhain – the breeds – but all do feel it somewhat. The Keriathain feel this curse the least – perhaps because their progenitor expunged his own darker side into Ryath – and the Caraghain the most.
There are a large number of half dragons born within Maelrhyss, of winged and unwinged varieties. MAelrhyssian Half dragons tend to resemble larger, scaly versions of their mortal parent, rather than the more lizardlike found elsewhere.
They usually follow the customs of the people that raise them. Many join the Scale.
Almost all Maelrhyssians are faithful. Few are religious outside of the Scale. The country itself is just too aggressive for their to be time for living AND learning AND training AND playing AND worship. So they prioritise.
The Scale itself is incredibly structured and rather clannish, with specific rituals that need to be followed at specific times. They keep trying to ban the worship of all non-draconic deities. Everyone ignores them, except the Draconic King (or, rather, his regent, since Keriath has been outside of Maelrhyss for a very long time) who has to be more diplomatic and engage in some of the rituals.