A valley with fertile pastures, verdant forests, and surrounded by steep mountains—Kethencio is a very idyllic and peaceful land. People live simple lives without fear of war, disease, or famine. It is a quiet and isolated place; the mountains protect the people from the corrupting influence of outsiders, and travelers and traders are nonexistent. All commerce occurs within the land, and barter is the common, accepted method of trade.

Though the young will dream fantastic fantasies of what the world is like beyond their home, the adults are content with their prosperity and happiness. However, every few years an individual (touched by madness, it is said) will wander in the deep woods searching for the witch, Chaota, who is reputed to know the way through the mountains into the lands beyond. Of those that leave, the Lost, none are seen again, and the people no longer talk of them.

The population of the valley consists of a few thousand humans, and several hundred wilden. At the center of the valley, surrounded by pastoral lands, rests the castle in which the (human) monarchy resides. The sole responsibility of the monarchy is the adherence to the compact with the wilden, in which a royal human descendent is married to a chosen individual from each generation of the wilden. As wilden live over a thousand years, such an arranged marriage is only required every dozen or so human generations. It so happens that such a wedding is occurring in four months’ time.

Many people live within the castle and the small town outside it, and others live in small communities surrounded by farms and pastures, where sheep, goats, and cattle are raised. Other communities further from the castle produce specialized goods. One such community known for its exquisite filigree and gold-work is Melk, set by a river in the foothills of the mountains.

Closer to the castle, surrounded by copses of camphor and sandalwood trees, is a monastery. There priests dedicated to Aoskar live and train novices in the ceremonies and rituals of the faith. It is only a temporary home, however, as the priests spend more time wandering among the various communities serving the people and their god.

Deep in the forests, the wilden live their simple lives amidst the trees. Though they are not craftsmen of the same degree as the humans, they weave simple garments from filament made by worms that live in the white mulberry trees of the wood. The wilden are also proficient singers and musicians, and craft beautiful instruments from fallen wood. While it is not discouraged, there is typically not much interaction beyond trading between the two races, because most people don’t travel far from their home. In addition, the wildens’ lifespan as well as their communal mentality and communication sets them apart from the humans. There is no animosity between the two races, and friendships do exist between such different individuals.

Both the humans and wilden revere the god Aoskar, knowing no other. However, they put emphasis on different aspects of the god. For the humans, Aoskar serves as a benevolent father, a entity that watches over and protects his children. He encourages mercy and compassion in his followers, and his priesthood serve the community, having taken vows of celibacy and poverty.

The wilden perceive Aoskar more as an all-encompassing verdant and protective presence rather than an individual figure. They revere his touch in all natural things—the spin of a spider’s web, the majesty of the snow-peaked mountain, the gentle mist of a spring rain. They do not have a organized church or priesthood, but rather worship him through music and song amidst the tasks of their daily lives.

Kethencio

Lorekin Plomie nwilliford futsuriai nstrom