Nerin occupies the southern border of Adylheim, with Longmoor to the east shielding it from ogre invasions and Andragoria to the west. For the most part the landscape is flat and plainslike, broken up only by the Starflow river that winds through the kingdom. With the dae'vol volcanoes to the south ensuring a biannual ashfall which makes the plains one of the most fertile regions of Adylheim, Nerin is often referred to as the breadbasket of Adylheim.
As with Andragoria, Nerin traces its roots to a confederation of tribes and cities that deemed themselves the Great Kingdom Under Heaven. The two heirs apparent fought a bitter battle over who would inherit the rule, till the priests of Therium and Arthium brokered a peace treaty (according to Nerin accounts this was more to spare to the unnecessary bloodshed of Andragorians than any desire of theirs for peace). The weakened kingdom was still a relatively easy conquest for Alexandrios I's troops after the strife it had endured. The bountiful fields of Nerin were an easy conquest during the Snake Wars, with several of the nobles, worshippers of Thissies suspected of collaborating with the Naga. A group of nobles naming themselves the Silver Heart in Chains, their relentless guerilla warfare against the superior Naga forces made sure to tie several Cobra Legions up in holding Nerin. While the net benefit for Nerin was relatively small, without Nerin tying up the Naga's soldiers, the empire would not have been able to muster a decent counterattack. The Naga invasion set its marks on Nerin and when the empire tried to reassert itself, the nobility of Nerin resisted. The leader of the Silver Heart in Chains, Sokhor the Brave, declared Nerin to be independent of the Empire, becoming the first Khagan of Nerin. Since the liberation from the Empire, Nerin has done much to return to traditions that predate the Empire's influence over Nerin. The veracity of these traditions is somewhat dubious however as they largely rely on the sources left behind by imperial scribes.
Diplomatic and Trade RelationsEdit
While Nerin enjoys a relatively amicable relationship with the majority of the fiefdoms, it has historically enjoyed something of a strained relationship with Andragoria, with disputes along the border being a common occurrence. Nerin exports foodstuffs to the majority of the other fiefdoms, it produces more wheat and cereals than any other fiefdom. In addition Nerin is known for the quality of its horses, generally said to be large, powerful and temperamental breed. In addition Nerin's weavers keep an iron grip on the source of silk, their most sacred weavers even managing to produce the extremely rare spider silk.
Nerin is ruled by the Khagan whose court is situated in Kerait. His full title being the True and Glorious King of Nerin, the Silver Heart Without Chains and Celestial Master of the Moon. Under the Khagan are a number of Khans, who are in charge of parts of the kingdom.
Each Khan is supported by a number of Jinongs, whose jobs are to oversee the administrative tasks of the fief, leaving the Khans to deal with the martial tasks. Many of those who can trace their ancestry to Arameian nobles from the imperial days are now serving as Jinongs, with the ranks of the Khans being filled almost exclusively by Soilien.
The most important task of the Khan is to ensure that there is a standing martial force at all times. The Khans are also supposed to take care of the breeding of horses, an important task as the military might is based on its cavalry. Horse archers, and light cavalry forming the core of Nerin's armies. While the culture of Nerin places a lot of importance on mounted warriors, these warriors rarely see a lot of practise with Nerin being spared most excursions from the outside, and the only border with Andragoria mainly consisting of the Moon Lake. As such, prisoners are sometimes released and given a head start (not to mention weapons) precisely so the warriors can run them down and have practise fighting them. This practise, coupled with aforementioned lack of experience, has occasionally lead to bandit princes starting small pocket states within Nerin itself. Of course these rarely last for very long, although a few of these bandits have eventually managed to impress the Khagan enough to be turned into Khans in their own right.
This disparity between tasks of the Khans and their Jinongs usually mean that there is some question as to just who wields the more power in the relationship. While the Khans are technically the leaders of Nerin and the Jinongs their subordinates, the relationship between the two is often far more complicated than that, with the Khan often taking little interest in the day to day workings of their estates, leaving the Jinong in charge of the entire estate with the Khan serving as little but a figurehead.
Beneath the Khans can also be found the Noyans, who serve as an intermediary commander between the troops and the Khan himself. While they are sometimes considered the equal of the knights in the more northern fiefdoms, their titles do not entail anything outside of military duties. The exception to this is the Noyans of the Khagan, who serve as his agents throughout the land, often as messengers, but just as often as judicators. A Noyan to the Khagan is a very different beast to a Khan's Noyan, and are often seen as the Khagan's eyes, ears and occasionally hands on the political scene of Nerin.
Nerin's towns are all formed around manors with few permanents residents, commoners move around the kingdom a lot as their labour is needed, outside of the central keeps and manors of Nerin, the shelters tend to be relatively shoddy and temporary in nature for this very reason.
Kerait is a vast, sprawling city. It hosts one of the most elaborate administrative complexes in Adylheim, with all of the trading that takes place in Nerin being routed through the Khagan's palace eventually. Of course, the palace itself is the size of a small city, with all of its artisans, courtiers and servants housed inside it. It is said to be one of the most luxurious places to live in Adylheim, with the Khagans only ever setting foot outside the palace in times of dire emergency. Many live their lives entirely inside the palace, rarely ever stepping outside. It contains luxuries imported from all across Adylheim, with trophies of ancient battles to be found most everywhere. There are, however, very few portraits or sculptures of the Khagans as these are banned and there are very few who even see his face. Khagans will generally demand that the daughters of the Khans attend to his courts in Kerait, at least partially as hostages against the peace, with many ending up as concubines and wifes of the Khagan, and others being wedded to other Khans (with the Khagan's approval of course) to create political alliances. The tall walls surrounding the palace has never been intended as a serious obstacle against military incursion and is more intended to keep peasant uprisings and thieves from entering the palace, nevertheless the white marble walls make a pointed contrast to the city outside. By comparison only a relatively small portion of the city lives inside the palace walls, however. The majority live outside of the sprawling central palace, in a shantytown of varying levels of permanency. While the Khagan occasionally sends out soldiers to ensure that the rabble outside his gates keeps the ruckus to a minimum his interest in policing the streets outside his palace is generally minimal, leading to it being largely run by a series of semi-criminal organisations. Kherait has a fluctuating population usually averaging somewhere between 40 and 50 000 inhabitants, the palace's inhabitants remain somewhat more stable at a total at approximately 5 000 though.