The Five Kingdoms
Ravenna is the largest of what are known as the four nations, with its origins dating back to the ancient empire that is thought to be the first civilization. When the empire began its decline, it is said that the Blackraven noble family struck out into the countryside to establish its own home away from the decadence and corruption of the political machine the empire had become. When the empire collapsed in on itself in a tornado of internal strife, rebellion and violent uprisings, Ravenna was already developing into a small city. Many citizens of the empire adopted Lord Lassiter Blackraven’s new code of laws, embracing the policies of freedom and justice over the previous tyranny of the empire. Within three generations, most of the old empire was reunited under the flag of Ravenna. The Blackraven family still rules Ravenna after twenty-six generations, the royal line unbroken since their secession from the old empire. Many of the laws originally laid down by Lord Lassiter still remain, even if only enforced in spirit, and guide the citizens to an existence free of oppression by its ruling class. While there is a noble structure, the noble house in charge of any section of the country can be removed by its citizens appealing to house’s superior (so a knight or local lord could be removed by a baron, a baron by a count, a count by a duke, and a duke by the royal house). Even the Blackraven family could theoretically be removed from power if all of the nobles below it presented a united front, but that has never even come close to happening.
Ravenna is a nation primarily made up of humans, with some of the other races mixed in that have emigrated over the years. There are sections of cities that have a certain racial flair to them, but the kingdom, on the whole, is human influenced. From the ruined cities of the empire to the pastoral hillside towns all the way to the capital of Ravenshold, the wood and stone structures reflect the humanocentric lifestyle of Ravenna. The palace is made of black and green marble, in the same site where the imperial senate once stood. Dissidents tore down all of the imperial government buildings after the collapse, leaving many empty, highly defensible sites for Ravenna to use for their own purposes. The lack of borders that need defending, though, have led to a development of a very peaceful, pastoral life without city walls and high fortresses. In fact, the only land-based military outpost is on the edge of a stretch of wilderness known as the Morazi Span. The Span is home to all kinds of monsters and other horrors, but so few ever come into the civilized lands that one outpost is sufficient for defense.
Once oceanic exploration began, Ravenna’s port cities became more and more prominent. As freelancers and government vessels alike discovered new exotic places and the precious commodities they contained, more economic traffic began to flow from the coast to the inland cities. As more and more money was dedicated to the naval effort, the coastal cities grew while the inland cities gradually declined. The racial diversity also occurs more on the coast, as immigrants from other nations and islands have come to Ravenna.