Nightmares of the Last War
Aundair is a land of earth and sky. On the ground, common folk plough fields and raise crops, toiling to make the land’s villages and communities thrive. The nation’s fields and vineyards are among the most bountiful in all Khorvaire, tended by the same families for generations. Although the nation’s largest cities attract traders and adventurers from across the continent, most of its citizens live a simple, rural existence. Yet for all their earthy wisdom, idealists inspire the citizens of Aundair, including the nation’s arcane mages.
Cynics scoff that powerful wizards act as the power behind the throne of Queen Aurala, but there is little evidence that the arcane has an undue influence on the crown. While the nation utilizes master mages for its defence, the common folk are quite capable of defending themselves. They are steadfast, trusting to what they know, what they can make, and what they can defend by themselves. The trials of the last century have only strengthened their resolve.
Without magic, the average Aundairian works long and hard to succeed. With it, she is even stronger. While the nation has orders of knighthood, militias drafted from the common folk bolster its standing armies. This is as much out of tradition as necessity — large and extended families are common, and any threat of danger can bring distant relations running to help. When war looms, young men and women gather in the fields to train with simple and martial weapons. Like a thunderstorm rolling across the plains, a noble’s call to battle can marshal armies overnight, mustering commoners willing to fight and die for their land and queen.
When the martial wizards of Arcanix, the Starpeaks Academy, and other secluded schools emerge from their studies, their combined force is undeniable.
Enemy tacticians can prepare for an assault against an Aundairian army, but predicting the ways of wizards is far more difficult. To this day, wizards, sorcerers, magewrights, and artificers are held in high esteem.
The influence of wizardry and sorcery has fostered respect for intellect and wit here. From commoners to kings, most Aundairians have strong opinions and enjoy a spirited debate. A typical peasant may possess an encyclopedic knowledge of local and natural lore, while a lord or lady can often regale listeners with local history. Although labour offers its own rewards, the average Aundairian believes that intellect and dedication can overcome nearly any problem. Magic merely empowers and exemplifies these traits. In fact, respect for quick wits and intellectual discipline may very well be one of the reasons so many talented wizards come from this country.
Aundair, the land of wizards in floating castles, ivy-covered universities, fragrant vineyards, and golden wheat fields, struggles to reclaim past glories in the wake of the Last War. The nation isn’t what it once was, having lost land and people to the Eldeen Reaches while trading territory with Thrane. Still, it is a proud land, full of proud people, led by a proud and ambitious queen.
The common folk of this largely agrarian country stand fast to defend their land, valuing wit and bravado and demonstrating a powerful connection to knowledge and magic.
Before there was a Galifar, the human settlement that would eventually become Aundair grew up along the northwestern shore of Scions Sound, in the approximate location of modern-day Thaliost. In fact, that city carries the original name of the nation as a reminder of its beginnings. It wasn’t until later, as the nation spread to the west, that Fairhaven became its capital.
Today, Aundair holds a long sliver of land that stretches from the Eldeen Bay and Scions Sound to the Blackcaps in the south, and is bordered on the west by the Wynarn River. The eastern border is harder to identify, and is hotly disputed with Thrane.
Five Things Every Aundairian Knows
1. The names of fine wines and other liquors. Not every Aundairian can afford Bluevine wine or something from the Mount and Moon cellars, but everyone can name his or her favourite labels and engage in animated conversations about the relative merits of each.
2. Some signature dueling moves. Aundairians love the flash of swordplay, and even the clumsiest citizen can slowly emulate the “twisting lunge” or “dragonhawk riposte” that he sees in the swordfighting demonstrations common in village square entertainment.
3. A bit about horses. With its rolling verdant hills, Aundair is horse country second only to Valenar in Khorvaire.
4. Several “add-a-verse” songs. Popular as everything from children’s lullabies to drinking chanties, rhyming songs where a verse is added each time (such as “The House that Galifar Built” or “The 12 Days of End Year”) are an Aundairian tradition. Some run for nearly a hundred verses.
5. The Epic of the Valiant and Vigilant. Popularized some forty years ago by Aundair’s bards, this tale takes about forty-five minutes to recite — and most Aundairians have heard it so many times that they can recite it from memory. The Epic of the Valiant and Vigilant describes the twin sieges of Tower Valiant and Tower Vigilant in 951 YK, told from the perspective of two lovers, each trapped within one of the castles but believing the other to be safe.