In Beauty's Veins
About: The Atwin Counties
The Atwin Counties are a conglomeration of 23 independent counties that share a military and combine legal forces when cross-border issues arise. Founded seven centuries ago, the Counties were formed when the peasantry of the Moraelen Duchy (a duchy within the expansive Keltoig domain) rose up in revolt against the upper class. Their success was largely due to oncoming Nord forces from the east that laid the rest of the Keltoig Domain to waste, forming the powerful Skälda Domain. Rather than continue conquering up north, the Nord king offered a treaty with the Counties, agreeing to leave them in peace so long as they provided open trade. The Nords were not eager to deal with the violent unrest sparked by years of unjust treatment nor did they see a tactical advantage to invading the rocky north country.
The Atwin Counties are fiercely egaltarian and atheistic. Several of the middle counties have strict laws against religiosity and are hyper-sensitive to financial disparities. The less populous counties function economically on barter systems although coin is used for cross-county purchases. The southern border counties are less stringent in their anti-religion laws due to the high population of religious Nords and they are fluent in both Nordski and Atwainsk.
Healers, a largely forgotten group of inherently gifted medical practioners, are red-headed women whose blood is able to absorb nutrition directly from the sun. Their ultra-rich blood provides them with excellent health and the ability to heal others more rapidly than a non-Healer. Before the Atwin Revolution, Healers enjoyed god-like prestige and were directly employed by only the highest members of society. Healers were also forbidden to marry since Healing was passed down from mother to daughter and they needed to have as many daughters as possible.
Aine Healer was the first Healer to forsake a life of extravagence to live among the common people. She also married, in spite of tradition, and bore six daughters by one man. She was accused of inciting the peasantry to riot and was put to death. Her six daughters scattered across the Moraelen Duchy and were forgotten. After the revolution, few Healers survived, if any, as they fell victim to the same anger-filled violence that befell the rest of the gentry.
About: The Skälda Domain
The Skälda Domain has spread its borders from coast to coast over the last several centuries. Their military prowess and travel routes are some of the best in the world. The domain is led by a royal family and each region is overseen by royalty and appointed public servants.
The Skälda Domain has a diverse population due to the country's large size, but Nords make up the majority. Their religion is polytheistic and is influential in government. Unlike the Atwin Counties, there is very little notion of equality. Racism, sexism and classism run rampant. Women have few legal rights, and even royal women can fall into slavery if they are found to be wanting by a father or husband.
The Skälda Domain is home to one of the greatest universities, which is responsible for sending trained medics, priests, and leaders throughout the domain. Foreigners can attend the university, but women are not allowed. Many cities will send their brightest young men to study.