a worship of 6 root elements, and their personifications manifest in the world: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Light and Dark. A combination of ritual, alchemy and nature worship, it is most easily compared to druidic practises, and puts great emphasis on nature deities and folk tale creatures like the Fey and the Little Folk. Ped-Pagans believe in the existence of a shadow world known as Tuatha, a semi-tangible world where the Fey have nations of their own as ruled by Seelie courts of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, each of which is headed by a Moon Queen and Sun King. Weather phenomenon, disasters, misfortunes and mysterious occurences are all believed to be caused by the decisions and activities of these Fey beings. The location of the governing Seelie Court is a (some say mythical) place called Lorien Isle. It is said those who go away with the Fey often never return or do so only after years have passed. While there are not specific deities in the Ped-Pagan collection of faith, superstition and mythos, there are a number of prominent figures that recur in their sagas, including: Nimue the Deceiver; Taliesan the Wizard; Bedwyrr the Errant Knight; Brigette the Huntress; and the Wilde Hunt (a collection of warriors' souls that run the Gloaming - the space between night and day, death and life, and catch up the spirits of worthy heroes to join in their never-ending primal journey as they hunt ancient spirits, wicked souls, and reclaim that which has been flung out of the sacred balance).
Major Cities: Talesin, Bird, Gwalcha, Maelyn, Fynn, Bedwal
The Peds have warm brown tones of hair, ranging from strawberry blond to auburn, with pale skin (frequently freckled) and wide variance in eye colour (with the exception of green). They are typically spry and lightly formed, relying more on their wit and speed than brute strength. This said, those who do become brawny and large are often revered as living folk heroes, while their maidens are desired to have milky complexioned skin and glossy hair, with pear-shaped bodies ideal for childbirth.
Highly superstitious, the people of Pedwyr are often called Ped-Pagans due to the high relevance they place on dreams, signs and omens. Witches often hail from Pedwyrr, and many of their folktales and legends centre on powerful wizards or witches, both malevolent and benign. While often considered 'children playing at the world's game of politics', in recent years they have cemented a position on the world stage - if only for the strength of their northern ports.
There are a small number of families that have been controlling the fate of Pedwyrr for generations. These Houses, as they are known, have over the centuries ammassed great and widespread lands, political power through resources, armies and influence over the people living on their land. In a fuedal culture such as that of Pedwyrr, Kings may rise and fall in a day during the frequent wars. Alliances are bought and sold through arranged marriages to daughters, blackmail and mismanagement of wealth. The many serfs keep to their small plots of land with little care for whose name graces the deeds this week or month. Many are stolen during raids and made slaves at other courts or even for different Houses entirely. A common occurence and a life not necessarily poorly lived, slaves are equal with serfs and indentured servants in rights and status.
The Houses of Pedwyrr:Edit
Kay ~ "Where Hearts Quaver, We Dare"
The current King of Pedwyrr is Camacht Kay.
A heavily militaristic family, the Kays were one of the first to hold the title of King of Pedwyrr. Very independant and solitary in nature, the Kays often put brawn over brain and tend to be very superstitious - though many attribute this to the fact that Morgana Kay, one of the most notorious witches in history, came from their line. Even when not in power, the threat of the Kays is never far from the Throne. Their rule has been at times tumultuous and at others peace-loving, depending as much on the political climate between the Houses as it does on the personality of the Kay in power.
Pendragon ~ "Heed the Call of Glory"
While just as strong in warfare as House Kay, the Pendragons are more concerned with feats of valour and nigh-impossible quests than meeting on the open field. They have provided a number of just, peaceful Kings to Pedwyrr's history. Their usual downfall is that all of the Pendragons dabble in magic - whether personally, through marriage, or agreement with the more potent magical Houses - and certain periods of history have not looked kindly on Witch Kings, who are accused of splitting their alliances between Pedwyrr and the otherworld.
Bristlethwaite ~ "Chastity, Temperence, Prudence"
Though rarely aspiring to the Throne themselves, the much more clerically-minded Bristlethwaites keep their eyes (and often their grasp as well) firmly on the country's coffers. While there are no banks in Pedwyrr, the Bristlethwaites are the most common source of money for those in need. Prudent, miserly and fantastically wealthy, the Bristlethwaites hold no prejudices, merely ledgers. Once in their debt, the costs are dear, and their House has the reputation and foundation to block those who owe them at every step of the way until accounts have been settled.
Hampshire ~ "Prosperity, Longevity, Liberty"
Though lately somewhat diminished by a few successive generations of wastrels, the Hampshires are one of the oldest-blooded families. In their day, they held the Throne for many long and prosperous reigns, holding one of the few dynasties of Pedwyrr. It was Redwald Hampshire, afterall, who solidified Pedwyrr's boarders and thereby shaped the country as it is known today. The issue now, of course, is that they won't let anyone forget all they did for Pedwyrr. Nostalgic and pompous, most of the other Houses will gladly point out that they haven't done much of note lately.
Felton ~ "Tempered as Honest Clay"
Despite the fact that this family isn't one of the old bloods, during the revolution, the Feltons were catapulted all the way to the Throne from working class obscurity. They held a short and bloody reign, but while in power initiated some small but historic changes on the treatment of slaves (elevating them to the class of indentured servant, thereby giving them basic human rights). While they have not held the Throne since, they retain a huge amount of popularity with the commoners. Their House head, Bracka Felton, or Bracka the Golden as he is adoringly called, is the current society darling. As a sort of social barometre, the Feltons have proven useful to the reigning Kings, even if they also pose as a thorn in the side, calling for social change.
Connach ~ "Born of the Wild"
This wild family is one of the oldest in Pedwyrr and hails originally from the boarders of Toltana where once the Gothans held lands (which is said to account for their typically dark hair). It is believed no amount of civilizing will ever beat the wildness from the hearty Connachs, but their love of the wilderness and skill with the hunt has endeared their sons to the Kays, Bristlethwaites, Fletchers and Galahaghns all. In current years, it is often the Connachs that are appointed head of the Pedwyrran navy, yet also from their lesser sons have come many a pirate.
Galahaghn ~ "Steadfast and Steady"
The Galahaghns have long been the steadfast supporters of the Kays, and usually are posted as their advisers when the Kays are on the Throne (as they are now). Generally considered thoughtful and level-headed, the Galahaghns are typically well-liked, though they tend to inherit the enemies of their friends. While the Galahaghns are slow to anger and extremely tolerant, once they have finally been crossed, their wrath is swift, cruel and decisive.
Morgaine ~ "The Heart Laughs in Moonlight"
The Morgaines are undeniably powerful and magic has long flowed through their veins. Indeed, the historic star-like rise to power of House Pendragon has been attributed to then-King Aedh Pendragon's wife, Nimue Morgaine - better known as the Witch Queen. As potent as they are, there are rumours that this family has Fey ancestors, and many do not trust them. While it is unwise to spurn them, it is equally dangerous to be in their debt. Spending too long in a Morgaine's company is like being slowly intoxicated, and it is only a matter of time before they become irresistable.
Brega ~ "Rejoice in Life"
The Brega family, though old, has never held too much power. They are a handy House to have in your pocket, as they provide obedient military clout, weath and resources, while not posing any threat or danger. Known for their good sense of humour, they have a habit for infidelity which has been the chagrin of their friends and the delight of their friends' wives. Their daughters are universally considered the gayest companions at court, even if the paternity of many of their House is often thrown into question. While they won't win any battles of theory, few throw a better feast than do the amicable Bregas.
Mide ~ "Let a Ready Mind Crown the Body"
Ambitious and conniving, the cleverness of the Mides is an invaluable tool to their friends and a serious challange for their enemies. Masters of court intrigues, the Mides make good use of information, and considerable profit as well. Between their seductive daughters and sly sons, they are a bedfellow to keep with care. The benefit is that the Mides prefer to direct from behind the scenes, rather than rule themselves, so one never need fear being overtaken by their Mide advisers - merely from being steered into conflict with enemies that have nothing to do with personal tallies.
Fletcher ~ "Let the Arrow Fly True"
A family of huntsmen and gameskeepers, these Highlanders are some of the finest horsemen in all of Pedwyrr. Their cavalry is often the deciding factor in war, and their lands are prosperous under industrious heads of House. At times ambitious and at others reclusive, the temperamental Fletchers can be fair-weather friends unless bound by strategic marriages. There are few things that can rouse a Fletcher to action as effectively as defending a damsel in distress.
Chauncy ~ "Tend the Gardens of the World"
Brilliant businessmen, the Chauncys rival the Bristlethwaites for money-lending. While they have few natural resources, they control a number of industries, including leathercraft, ore smithing and (most importantly) minting the country's currency. While not especially loyal, they are easy to buy and see no reason to betray contracts unless the opposing offer is a good and safe investment. The Chauncys, despite their name, are not fond of taking chances.
Fidaig ~ "Let Always Music Lead True the Heart"
Known more for their sparkling wit and animated conversation, the Figaigs are brilliant minstrels, poets and troubadours. They are a decidely non-political family, and yet they are the guests of every court and hear everything happening in the Houses. Luckily for those involved, a Fidaig's silence is most easily purchased with a night or two in the bed of a son or daughter that best catches their eye than any shining coin. Perhaps because of their romantic trysts, they are also the authors of most of the ballads, sagas and romantic novels in Pedwyrr.
Gwalcha ~ "Let the Horizon be Known"
As may be assumed by the shared name of the town and Household, the Gwalchas are one of the oldest families in Pedwyrr and have many times held the Throne. Known for their great courage and valour, the Gwalchas have travelled extensively, fighting dragons in the Dragon Sea, seeking riches in the Sea of Pearls, fighting monsters in the Wild Lands; they always have tales to tell. This international, hands-on learning has landed them in an ambassadorial role of late and often foreign delegates are hosted by the Gwalchas as an impartial middleground for the King to meet with other nations.
Talor ~ "Safeguard the Hearth"
The only Household in Gwalcha tenacious enough to compete with the powerful House Gwalcha is the Talor family. As detail-oriented as the Gwalchas are far-reaching, and as clever in investment as the Gwalchas are liberal with their spending, sooner or later everyone owes the Talor a debt. Non-political, the Talors are ready and willing to come to most anyone's aid, though some more covertly than others. They have no sights on the Throne; they merely concern themselves with safeguarding and perpetuating the Talor family line and its prosperity. They will often allow the debts owed them to lie fallow for decades only to be called in when most advantageous to the Talor - at sometimes devestating costs.
Braeford ~ "Honour is Everlasting Gold"
The Braefords have long been steadfast supporters of the Pendragons, and as the latter have railed against the Kays, so too have the Braefords railed against the Galahaghns. Though loyal to a fault, the Braefords often find a slight in every comment or jest and are ever-ready to challenge any who besmirch their good name. While sometimes blustering, their strength of arms and considerable navy is nothing to scoff at. They are extremely generous to their friends and equally unforgiving to those who cross them. The favour of a Braeford, once lost is often lost forever.
Briswalde ~ "The Pursuit of Knowledge is Unending"
Often referred to as the Family of Scholars, few are so well-learned as the Briswalde, and indeed their libraries have at times eclipsed the Royal Library for their precious collections. Often considered dour, humourless and rigid, their calculations and sciences are second to none. While they themselves may not undertake adventure, those ships outfitted by them, courses they plotted, or battles they planned are always victorious wherever skill and prudence hold the day. A caution - their services and assistance do not come cheap.
Grisholme ~ "Let our Thirst Be Slaked in Death"
The blood-soaked Grisholmes have a heavy history, including some of the bloodiest Kings ever to rule anywhere in the world. Even their womenfolk are trained in battle, and once the fighting begins, little can slake their thirst for slaughter. It is often purported that the deadly Riastarté has a hold on their bloodline. Of late, they have been easing their bloodlust at sea against foreign enemies and the reigning Kings are grateful to be spared their attentions. While they cannot be controlled, their services are to them a joy and are easily procured, if only for a chance to ease the constant itch for conflict.
Mire ~ "The Soul Will Be Weighed"
The name Mire has come to be synonymous with failure, madness and ill-fortune. There are many tales and Sagas of the fall of the Mires and their once-prosperous reign. Some say they spurned a Fey lover, others claim that they incurred the wrath of a potent witch, yet others that some black doom swims through their blood. Whatever the cause, a shadow has dogged them for generations, with untimely deaths, sudden onsets of madness, freak accidents and financial misfortune. Successively, the Mires have been whittled down to a husk of their former glory and have become a byword of caution to the young and foolish throughout Pedwyrr. "Mind the Fey, or you'll end up like the Mires..."
Bragathair ~ "Set Ever Sights Long and Ambition Higher"
Sharply ambitious, keen for battle and clever with money, it is no wonder that the Bragathairs have been steadily increasing in power and influence through the generations. While they have not yet sat the Throne, it is clear that their sights are aimed no lower than the Crown. The late Count Bragathair nearly bested Kay for the current Kingship. There was great hope for his eldest son, Adair, to succeed where the father failed, especially with his advantageous marriage to a Bristlethwaite - and then tragedy struck.
Bedwyrran ~ "Towers are Only So Strong as Their Stones"
The Bedwyrrans are hard-workers through and through, and were one of the only Houses to support the Feltons during the revolution. They treat their slaves well and are law-abiding, upright men and women. Their incorruptibility has irked competing Houses (the Mides, Morgaines and Chauncys especially). Whether shining knights or gallant naval officers, their first loyalty is to what is right, their second to their men. While it makes them beloved leaders, in the turmoil of politics it makes them a dangerous ally to hold close.
Chalthain ~ "Seek Ye to Reconcile All Differences"
Chalthain might be synonymous with coward in matters of battle (and indeed they have never held the Throne) but in issues of state, they write brilliant policies. They have a knack for mediation, and have never been far from the elbow of those signing peace treaties - both within Pedwyrr and abroad. Idealists and poets by nature, they would like nothing better than for all the family Houses to simply get along. Deeply religious, the Chalthains have built as many temples as they have penned authoritative works in the many libraries of Pedwyrr. They idolize the arts, and thus have long been patrons of the Fidaigs.
Bristol ~ "Guided By the Nordern Star"
Like all of the Bedwal Houses, the Bristols peddle their magic. In recent years they've gained notoriety for the world-feared Pirate Siren and her ship the Lady Bristol. Historically, the Bristols traversed the Black Sea, and there are some who claim they have a stronghold in Tundraspere, though they are vague as to its purpose there. There are still others who claim any such Bristol Stronghold is otherworldly in nature - even going so far as to claim it is a place of sacrifice or for the Fey to steal away children and leave Changelings in exchange. Whatever the truth of the Bristols, it is likely never to be known, as they have always been shrouded in mystery and rumor.
Waliste ~ "Know Clearly the Way"
"Never trust a Waliste" is a common proverb in Pedwyrr, though none would willingly say it to directly to a Waliste. That this family has made the annals of proverb attests to the constant truth of these words. Duplicitous, back-stabbing (sometimes literally) and mercurial, the Walistes look to their own skins, even at the loss of fellow Walistes. Their House Motto ought to be 'Every Man for Himself', the way they divide and scatter at the first sign of trouble. Liars, cheats and philanderers, the Walistes are widely disliked, but far less trouble to entertain and keep busy than to openly make conflict with.
Namthorne ~ "Let Life Be a Path to Lorien"
Impartial, level-headed and practical, the Namthornes seem a strange choice for the ambassadors to the Fey. However, it is these selfsame qualities that enable them to keep their heads in the twisting logic and trickery of the otherworld. The Namthornes have a habit of staying away in Seelie Courts for decades at a time, only to show up unexpectedly and often at inopportune moments. It is said only the Namthorne ships can navigate to the shores of the Lorien Isle, seat of the Fey Kings.
Lismore ~ "All Omens, When Heeded, are Good"
While potent in magics, the Lismores are utilitarian and practical in their use of it. They run their magic like a business rather than an art or a religion. Their influence and their alliance, while greatly decided upon by the casting of runes and omens and stars, is a much coveted bedfellow. They are currently in league with the Kays - and some claim it was the Lismore tamperings that have enabled the Kays a relatively unmolested reign. While the Lismore men are more visible, it is their strategic marriages that put their influence at many ears of key men in politics through their clever women.
(Influences: Welsh and Wales, pagan England, Ireland)