A bastard son and the demons who want his fractured soul. A weapon that can slay gods and the men who will kill to get it. Discover the vast world of abandoned immortality, divine emperors, dragons, and sea witches in The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons. Join us as we explore this fascinating new world, and sign up for exclusive emails for even more behind-the-scenes details! Plus, don’t forget to check out the cover reveal on the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, and the first excerpt on Tor.com.
Author Unknown, from the library of the Academy
An Introduction to the Great Empire of Quur, featuring the Dominions of Kirpis, Kazivar, Eamithon, and Khorvesh west of the Dragonspires, and Jorat, Raenena, Marakor, and Yor east of them.
This is merely the briefest overview of the dominions that make up the Empire of Quur. Each chapter in this book will go into greater detail on the lands outlined in this introduction, from history to trade to the ruling classes.
Quuross from west of the Dragonspires typically have black hair and olive brown skin. From east of the Dragonspires, Quuros are have quite a bit more variety in their appearance, ranging from the red-skinned Marakori to snow-skinned Yorans, and of course the horse-marked Joratese, who can be any number of hues, often all at once. Quuros view the Empire as the center of the world; so much so that “going south” is a Quuros euphemism for dying. The saying is suspected to have originated with Emperor Kandor’s ill-fated attempt at southern expansion into the Manol, where he met his untimely end.
The Empire began in the city-state of Quur, which serves to this day as the empire’s capital city. The first emperor, Emperor Simillion, began the process of expansion with the peaceful addition of Eamithon, the first and oldest of the Dominions, and the most tranquil. Yor, a hard land of ice and snow, is the most recently added, and if they have their way, will likely be the first to leave as well.
A Brief Overview of the Dominions of the Empire of Quur
Ruler: Lyria Monara, the Virgin Duchess of Eamithon. She has notoriously remained single in an effort to deny a husband from claiming the Eamithonian title.
Primary Trade Goods: Coconut, hemp, rubber, hardwoods (ebony, teak, and mahogany,) pottery, jewelry-smithing and lapidary work.
Climate: Eamithon is tropical and lush. Although the area grows more arid as it nears Khorvesh, the majority of the dominion benefits from the cold current from the South and the many rivers and lakes coming off the Dragonspire Mountains.
Notable Facts: Eamithon takes a dim view of slavery. Technically speaking, slavery is legal there, but slaves who are brought there have a tendency to vanish and turn up as villagers in remote areas, with other villagers willing to swear that’s where they’ve lived their whole lives. There is also enormous peer pressure on anyone coming to Eamithon to free their slaves if they wish to continue living there.
Ruler: Kazivar is ruled by the twin brothers Allizar Nakairi and Markaem Nakairi, who are the product of a famous (and scandalous!) marriage between the rulings families of both Kirpis and Kazivar. Although technically one twin rules Kirpis and the other rules Kazivar, even they would be hard pressed to admit which kingdom belongs to which ruler. It’s only a matter of time before the High Council forces them to divide their dominions once more.
Primary Trade Goods: Wine, hardwood, and citrus. It would also be remiss not to mention the Kazivar Mines which produce the rare metals drussian and shanathá.
Climate: Kazivar benefits from a temperate climate and wonderful weather.
Notable Facts: Kazivar is home to several knights orders whose origins are rumored to have their roots in the original Kirpis vané of the region. In addition, there is much mixed vané blood in Kazivar. Occasionally vané traits, such as Kirpis cloud curl hair in pastel hues show up in children born there, denoting their mixed heritage.
Ruler: Duke Hino Sarana, who is seventy-five, and still very fond of fencing.
Primary Trade Goods: Carpets, textiles, dyes, spices, and herbs.
Climate: Hot semi-arid.
Notable Facts: Khorvesh is the southernmost of the Quuros dominions, bordering the Korthaen Blight. As such, it has often been subject to aggressive morgage attacks, and much of the area takes a military bent. It has produced famous warriors and swordsmen, such as Nikali Milligreest, who defeated Gadrith the Twisted. Even the women are expected to be skilled fighters who can defend the home in case of morgage attack. Khorveshans are also known for flouting traditional relationships and often practice polygamy.
Ruler: See Kazivar
Primary Trade Goods: Lumber, pottery, wine. As with Kazivar, Kirpis insists that only wine made with grapes qualifies as true wine. Kirpis is also famous for the distinctive blue color of glaze used by its potters, although Eamithonian pottery is also renowned.
Climate: Temperate Forest.
Notable Facts: Kirpis was taken from the Kirpis vané (and divided to form the dominions of Kirpis and Kazivar) during a period of imperial expansion by Emperor Atrin Kandor, who wanted the vané’s shanathá and drussian mines to power further Quuros conquest. The majority of vané who made their home in the area were forced to flee south. While there are officially no vané living in Kirpis, rumors of a band of Kirpis vané secretly hiding in the forest using spells and trickery have persisted. Kirpis is also the home of the Academy, where the Empire trains new wizards and sorcerers recruited from all across the empire. As such, it is a land with a diverse population that brings together many cultures and ideas.
Ruler: Duke Forun Xun, who is nineteen years old, having taken the title at age eleven when his father was killed during the Lonezh Hellmarch.
Primary Trade Goods: Horses, grains, fruits (apples, pears).
Climate: Varied, with wide reaches of grassy plains. Jorat experiences notably violent storms and tornadoes.
Notable Facts: The Joratese were enslaved to be servants of the centaurs that ruled the area under the direction of the god-king Khorsal. When Quur invaded, the humans and their fireblood horse allies eagerly sided with the Empire to overthrow the centaurs and their god. As one might expect, horses still have a place of special reverence to the Joratese and their equine bloodlines are rightfully considered the best in the world. Fireblood horses are actually sentient, and have the honor of being the only non-human race in existence to be granted the rights of Quuros citizens. Unfortunately for lovers of horses, the Joratese take a dim view of outsiders, or the magic that resulted in their original enslavement. Visitors are seldom made to feel welcome.
Ruler: None. The last Duke of Marakor was executed for failing to prevent the Lonezh Hellmarch and has not yet been replaced.
Primary Trade Goods: livestock, grains, fruits, vegetables.
Climate: Humid subtropical.
Notable Facts: Our current Emperor, Emperor Sandus, is from Marakor. He rose from humble origins to win the Great Tournament. In addition, the last terrible Hellmarch, where demons and the demon-animated dead overran the dominions and killed thousands, began in Marakor, in the town of Lonezh, eventually working its way north into Jorat before Emperor Sandus (long may he reign) was finally able to stop it. The swamps and back-waters of the Kulma region of Marakor have a dark reputation for demon-worship, and many Marakori find themselves unable to resist the lure of demonology, witchcraft, and unspeakable cults.
Ruler: Governor Vandus Nomon, who has been petitioning to be made an actual noble.
Primary Trade Goods: Gems and metals.
Notable Facts: Raenena is a dominion of transients, since most of the people who come to this dominion to work in the mines are usually planning to leave again as soon as they strike it rich. The native population is small and it is widely believed that Atrin Kandor killed all the native Vadrath who called the mountains home. Of course, if that isn’t the case, it would be very difficult to know given how inaccessible most of the dominion remains.
Ruler: Duke Azhen Kaen Duke Kaen is the grandson of General Azhur Kaen, the Joratese commander who assisted Emperor Gendal in slaying the god-king Cherthog and his wife, Suless, while adding Yor to the Empire.
Primary Trade Goods: Furs, whale meat, baleen.
Climate: Rocky and cold.
Notable Facts: It is often rumored that prior to Quur’s intervention, Yoran witches used to eat children. This is entirely unsubstantiated, and likely untrue. The rumor almost certainly spreads from the fact that many Yorans still tell tales about the God-Queen Suless, who was associated with witchcraft, deception, betrayal and yes—eating children. Yor is a bleak land, inhabited by monsters like snow giants (though they are likely now extinct,) giant bears, and even rumors of dragons. The people there are not yet fully integrated into the Empire—at least, not at the time of this writing.
Devors is a unique place, as it is part of the Empire, but does not belong to one of the eight Dominions. It is an island chain south of the Capital, off the coast of Khorvesh. It is only notable in that it is the home of the Devoran priests and their prophecies, which have often brought violence and chaos to the Empire as men seek to turn said prophecies to their favor. Such mumbo-jumbo is not the place of a scholarly examination of the Empire such as this, and as such, we will discuss it no further in these pages. For further information, see A Compilation of the Devoran Prophecies, by Cedric D’Lorus.
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