The Verenian Watchers
We are a proud people. We would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.
-Queen Janella Eldersong
The nation of Silverwood is the oldest in all of Verenia. Established over a century before Emperor Tyrellius I united the east to create the Great Elandrian Empire, Silverwood has long been a realm of proud tradition, and creative expression. Its people, who call themselves ‘silverite’, are resilient, and view togetherness as the key to survival, as was taught to them by their god of the daylight: Solus.
Their togetherness can sometimes be rather exclusive, however. The silverite people have a reputation for being uninviting at best, and downright hateful of other cultures at worst. Much of this development comes from the fact that Silverwood as a nation survived on its own without interacting with other cultures for many years, but more recently, the Treaty of Elysium has caused tensions between Silverwood and Elandria to rise to brand new heights, and many feel that a war between the two is all but inevitable.
Silverwood is comprised of the northwestern portion of the Verenian continent. Three regions of the area make up the nation of Silverwood as a whole, and while they are technically all connected as one massive forest, the ecosystems and cultures differ enough that each ‘feels’ distinct from the others. The regions are called Feywood, where the majority of the silverite people live; Mistwood, where many small communities make up the population, surrounded on all sides by a far less inviting environment of the more unsettling creatures in the nation; and Winterwood, which is a colder climate that does not see many sentient inhabitants, instead primarily being populated by creatures that are more suited for the snow.
Feywood is home to the largest population center of Silverwood: Del’Anarei, the nation’s capital. It tends to be the safest and friendliest region of the entire nation, as it is heavily patrolled and policed by the Vedaren Rangers, moreso than any other region, and the creatures and beings that spawn their are far more likely to be of a peaceful, if not mischievous bent. Stories are often told about mischievous pixies and spriggans who play gentle pranks on the people who pass through their woods. While they have the potential to do great harm, they generally only lash out if they feel they are threatened.
Feywood is home to the druid circle know as The Circle of the Faerie Trees, who focus on keeping the balance to nature primarily through magic gleaned from a sacred grove which lends its name to the region as a whole. The druids of the Circle of the Faerie trees do their best to maintain a good relationship with the fey spirits of the wood, bridging the gap between man and nature even further.
Mistwood is home to many small communities dotted throughout a mysterious and often treacherous territory. Mistwood is considered by some to be the most dangerous region in Silverwood, but that is generally because the stories that come out of it are more grim and terrifying than the stories that come out of Winterwood. Will’o’wisps attracting travellers off of the roads and insidious hags stealing children are a real threat in the area, and most people are careful to not stray too far from their home settlements without trained defenders such as the Watchers or the Vedaren.
Mistwood is home to The Circle of the Dancing Stones, a druidic circle who maintain the balance in the region through a set of magical stones that appear to have a mind of their own. The druids of the Circle of the Dancing Stones tend to favor blending in with the woods around them, preferring to go unseen amongst it’s denizens, and only making themselves known if truly atrocious acts are performed against the people of the region.
Winterwood is the largely untamed northern part of Silverwood. There are settlements throughout the region, but they are fewer and farther between than those in Feywood and Mistwood. This region seems to be teeming with the most natural life, with wolves and bears being the most prolific natural predators in the region.
The reclusive Circle of the Frozen Starlight frequent this land. While most druid circles keep to themselves, the Frozen Starlight druids go for years at a time without making contact with people, having perfected their order’s beast shaping abilities and preferring to live as animals over living as the humanoid races. Many people have had interactions with this antisocial order without knowing it, seeing a snow hare darting through the bush or avoiding a lone wolf travelling the woods. When this circle congregates, they do so in a sacred cave made of ice, lit by enchanted stalactites that looks as though the light of the moon and stars had been frozen in physical form.
Silverwood is governed by a mostly democratic system with an authoritarian monarch that sits above them. Each community or grouping of communities in the nation have a representative on the Silverite Senate who meet monthly in Del’Anarei to discuss issues of state with the monarch. The current monarch is Queen Janella Eldersong. The understanding is that the queen has the authority to overrule the decisions and wishes of the senate, but does not use that power except in cases where the senate is evenly divided.
Religion and Belief
The common-held beliefs of Silverwood are towards a pantheon of gods led by Astorias The Progenitor. They view their pantheon as the only gods in existence, and as a general rule are not open to the ideas of other deities, claiming that their understanding of deific beings is wholesome and complete.
The silverite pantheon consists of Astorias The Progenitor, Delarys The Queen Arcane, Elowen The Earthmother, Noctus Havoc-Sower, Rowena The Dead Lady, and Solus The Dawnbringer. Those who subscribe to the pantheon believe it to be indivisible, and that one must pay respect to all of the gods when expressing worship. While that looks different for each god, acknowledgement is the bare minimum of expression that is due to a deity.
Silverites do not appreciate evangelism of any sort outside of their own pantheon. While they do not punish discussion of ideas or imprison so-called ‘heretics’, such individuals are not given a warm welcome. They have established their faith and any attempts to subvert that faith are taken with disdain. They view themselves as ‘right’ and everyone else is ‘wrong’.
Silverites tend to believe that when a person dies, their soul is brought to a state of everlasting peace. The specifics of what that means is widely debated, while some say there is a metaphysical location where all the souls of the dead are transported to, and some just say that the deceased’s existence continues on in a state of serenity.
Since the universe was created by Astorias under Silverite belief, multiverse theory is not widely appreciated and viewed to be incorrect. Silverite belief states that all of the gods exist in the world, and there are no ‘other worlds’. As with any religion however, there are progressives. Their stance is that the multiverse theory isn’t mutually exclusive to their beliefs, that the reward and punishment for the souls of the dead could easily be other planes of existence.
Silverwood was formed around Del’Anarei. The commonly held belief is that the Dawn Tree (as it’s called in the elandrian tongue) was a gift from Solus to protect the people from Noctus and his hoard of monsters. It was granted to the people of Silverwood on the condition that they worked together to keep the peace.
The silverite calendar is measured in ages. The first age, commonly called the Age of Astorias, was the age in which the gods took ownership of their domains, and no civilization could exist due to the terrible battles that raged between monsters and humanoids. The second age, the Age of Silverwood, began when Solus granted the Silverite people Del’Anarei. The third age, the Age of Exploration, began when the silverites discovered Elandria to the east. The fourth age was called the Age of Divinity, and is the age in which the silverite pantheon and religious canon was formally recorded (people believed the same things before the advent of the fourth age, but there was no official record until then). The current age is the fifth age: The Age of War. It began forty-seven years ago when the Greevale Alliance struck out against Silverwood, starting The Greenvale War. Many claim that this age was prematurely named, as there has been peace for the last twenty years, but those that do are usually unaware of the building tensions between Silverwood and Elandria.