Excerpt from the Feorhyrnan Imperial Codex:
Peace reigned for a time among the four kingdoms: Forest, Mountain, River, and Desert. But these were not the only kingdoms in the land. Others sought to claim the royal strawberries for themselves, though they had no claim by imperial decree: keen eyes from the swamps and highlands peered out with jealousy, while a tyrant king rose up from the wastes, and a great tundra wyrm began venturing south of the snows.
The peace of Feorhyrna, built on a swift and brutal competition at the very core of the empire, was in jeopardy. It would take all the strategy, guile, and luck of the empire's stewards to preserve that peace. But the determination of the outsiders was formidable. It seemed almost inevitable that a new and bloody war would break out amidst the Eight Kingdoms.
Some time ago, we explained the history of the Royal Strawberries and the Imperial Gardens that made up the setting of Imperial Harvest. Today, we're going to look at the first four of the Eight Kingdoms that make up Feorhyrna. What makes them unique? And what are their goals within the Royal Strawberries universe?
Ruled by a capricious Fairy and devoted to the natural elements that surround them, the people of the Forest Kingdom are difficult to persuade and elusive to find when they do not wish to be found. They see it as their duty to protect the sanctity of the Imperial Gardens, which they view as the most hallowed ground in all of Feorhyrna. It was they who created the first Faerie Gates, though it was not their original intent to share them with the rest of the realm.
Led by a cunning, half-human Ogre, the Mountain Kingdom values strength above all else. Preferring aggression over diplomacy, the Mountain will only yield in the face hopeless of odds. Their position in the Feorhyrnan Empire is one of necessity: were their armies strong enough to conquer all their neighbors, they would claim the Imperial Gardens for their own. Though far outnumbered by their warrior caste, a growing minority of engineers and technomancers may one day grant the Mountain Kingdom its goal of total supremacy.
Founded on principles of chivalry and honor, the River Kingdom makes the protection of its people its utmost priority. The paragon of these values is their leader, the River Knight, who rules the Rivers with measured justice and equanimity. Yet do not mistake the Knight's desire for peace as a sign of weakness. Since brokering the pact of the Feorhyrnan Empire, the River Knight would do anything to maintain the newly forged truce of the central kingdoms.
With morals and attitudes that shift as regularly as the sand it is built on, the Desert Kingdom is conniving and guileful -- and that goes double for its leader, the Desert Thief (so named for having once stolen the secret of the Faerie Gates). This crafty rogue never agrees to any action that doesn't benefit himself more than his counterparts, and the same holds for his citizens. For now, the Desert Kingdom holds to the pact of Feorhyrna. But if that alliance ever became a liability, it would be cast aside without a moment's hesitation.