Last Kingdom
“From the plains we came, to achieve mastery over the mountains- until we learned that truth can raise the former, and lay low the latter.” - The First Truth of the Kingdom

Capital: Unity
Settlements: Discord (350), Gemport (1,000), H’sing Rao (5,000), Teng Rai (2,000), Unity (18,000)
Ruler: The Fivefold Truths
Government: Gerontocracy
Races: Human, Kitsune, Ratfolk, Samsaran, Tengu, Tiefling (Onispawn)
Faiths: Kurofu the Shadow, Neria, Paletius, Shade, Shankhil, Tulis
Resources: Art, gems, textiles
Languages: Giant, Samsaran (Samsariyu), Sylvan, Tengu
Border Conditions: Limited (the porphyrite fields act as a natural godswall)

History
The title of this mountainous nation can be seen as both a prophecy and a warning. The great Shogun Toshiro “Old Crane”, holder of the Rising Sun Banner of the human tribes of the Lotus Blossom Steppes across the Bay of Jade, announced that “When the new land across the green waters has its first king, then it shall indeed by the Last Kingdom on this world.” Those were his last words on the Steppes, before his fleet of tribesmen and tengu servitors made their colonization journey. It stuck in the minds of the colonists as they strove to make a land that included the contemplation of all viewpoints and potentialities.

The colonists landed in the Shadowlands, a region of broken hill and mountain-borne storm. They immediately clashed with the races of oni that haunted the area, and their oni-spawn and ratfolk underlings. The oni, led by a Dark shogun of great martial skill, waged constant, vicious war against the first settlement, nearly overrunning it on several occasions. If not for the whimsical kitsune, who lived on the other side of the Rai-tao Mountains, the Last Kingdom would have breathed its last.

The kitsune bravely sent emissaries to the forces of the other four races warning of the approach of an elementalist fleet, the expelled forces of the dying Al’Mahk Empire from the south, across the Opal Sea. The geniepowered ships, crewed by giants and elemental-kin withnothing to lose, were described with such poetic and powerful detail that the five races ceased their squabbling, and actually came to a consensus. They selected the oldest and wisest among them, from the ugliest, scarred oni-spawn to the whitest furred kitsune, and bade them tell the unified group what to do. The advice from the old ones was nothing but truth: Five Truths.

• Pray to the gods for deliverance.
• Send the strongest to meet the strong.
• Use the land to your advantage.
• Flee if you cannot fight.
• Use your enemy’s confidence to your advantage.

That the Truths were the summation of the philosophies of the human, oni, kitsune, ratfolk and tengu races was not lost on the Saigoto. The assault came the next day, with balls of pitch and elemental fire burning defending positions. The evil, but determined oni suffered greatly, but met the first wave of attackers in a terrible clash. Most of the spirit-giants met their end, and indeed are rare even in the Shadowlands today. The shock action allowed the other races to draw the invaders into their own lands, and fight a guerilla war that wore down the attackers. The prayers of the elders, in their far-off mountain retreat, were then answered.

As if the universe itself was decreeing that their newfound unity was too precious to lose, the sky opened up and the ’Rain of Heaven’ started to fall. This rain of raw, magical porphyrite saved the kingdom, wiped out the elemental attackers, and sealed the isthmus to the Dry Peninsula, allowing the new nation to develop on its own, a coalition of five unlikely races, the Saigoto, who made the top of the heavens, Unity, their capital and spiritual center.

Current Events
Since the formation of the Last Kingdom, it has prospered due to its unusually strong spirit of acceptance and cooperation. There are no castes or classes among the people, with the sole exception of the Virtuous Monasteries. Those who abandon all worldly ways and train as monks and sage-priests are regarded as enlightened beings superior to other citizens. Only these wise ones can serve in Unity as members of the Five Truths or its advising body.

The Five Truths, one elder from each race, rule and guide the people of the Last Kingdom and keep their representative race’s traditions alive. The word of the Truths, once voted and upon decided, is law, and their decrees are written on enchanted wind-chimes that hang all over Unity. As the years have passed, these musical edicts hang on every building in the city. The citizens call themselves Lastfolk, which in their dialect of Samsariyu is Saigoto.

While the Last Kingdom enjoys peace few others can even imagine, there are cracks in the peaceful façade. Crime still exists (the tieflings and ratfolk are not entirely docile) and their nation is not completely cut off from the world. More specifically, the Last Kingdom has had to deal with Mâlite raiders along its hilly western cape for decades. As a result, the Last Kingdom has an advanced naval force and excellent, if almost entirely defensive ground soldiers.

Settlements
The major settlements of the Last Kingdom are:

  • Discord is a new settlement, little more than a village comprised of those citizens who have begun questioning their societies’ traditions. The Five Truths do not force their teachings on others, but their tolerance has its limits.
  • Gemport is a pretty little place, overlooking the green waters of the Bay of Jade. Mindful of its dark predecessor, Blackport, beauty is the rule here, and the junks that make their way into the bay are in all shades of the rainbow. Kitsune are more than half the port’s population.
  • H’sing Rao was founded very early in the kingdom’s history. It houses the Shrine of Many Paths, a multidenominational that embraces the worship of all of the New Gods. The patron of H’sing Rao is Neria, who provides visions of the other gods to enlighten its citizens.
  • Teng Rai exists as a living riddle, a monastic enclave built one building at a time against the side of a cliff face more than six hundred feet above the Rai River. Its buildings are connected by rope bridges and narrow walkways. Though Teng Rai is the largest, it is not the only monastery in the nation, and its graduates are respected for their skill and wisdom. Recently samsarans have begun to appear in number around Teng Rai.
  • Unity is a temple city with rings of villages around it, all built atop the peak of the kingdom’s tallest mountain. It is the capital of the Last Kingdom, and the center of culture, wisdom, and learning, revered by all Saigoto. Any visitor to the Last Kingdom is directed to come to Unity as the approval of the attendant Five Truths is an endorsement that will open any door in the land.

Intrigues

  • Though the power of the oni was broken during the NewGod War invasion, the numbers of oni-spawn tieflings moving north has military-minded Saigoto worried. Are their demonic erstwhile masters returning to the Shadowlands?
  • A cadre of revolutionary bards and Tulite oracles has been stirring up trouble on the south shore. Is it possible to stop or hinder them without resorting to slaughter? Martyrs are even worse than revolutionaries…
  • Hill giants from The Steadings with amulets made of porphyrite have begun to raid farms around Hsing Rao and the river delta. The mystery of where they got them from is worth sending an investigative party used to dealing with these powerful brutes.

See Also