No Man's Land
The Sea of Swords is a novel body of water formed when the continent of Malaan was cleaved down the middle during the Apotheosis. It is straddled by two mountain ranges: the East Wall, and West Wall. The creation if this sea wreaked havoc on the peoples that inhabited the region, the Gnomish kingdom, the Goblin kingdom, and the remnants of old Melkalund, which though decimated as a power centuries before still had thousands of people.
The Cape has a long history. Before the Apotheosis it was a loose confederacy of baronies, sometimes called the Horse Lords. The raising and training of horses is a tradition that goes back centuries. The baronies were part of the duchy if Melkalund, once a center of the great empire. It was isolated after a war with the undead, known as the nabon, that occurred after the fall of the Bank of Vashung. When its lords and gentry joined the pilgrimage to the holy lands, the people were left without lords and without the center if their culture, the horse-trade.
The people who are left fall into two groups. Those left behind by their lords, and those refugees who either fled their homelands, or never quite made it to the holy lands due to lack of funds, or other issues. Those left behind often have ambivalent feelings of anger towards their former lords, and a feeling of patriotism and superiority towards those newcomers. The refugees attitudes run the gamut from gratitude, to industry, to sincere attempts to integration, to self isolation.
Sprinkled throughout the Cape and neighboring lands are Elves, Enduirians, Ruhrians, Talisians, Fey Porians, and others who find a location close to the two great powers but not wanting to be in either.
Freeport: Freeport, being basically lawless, also attracts a fair number of fences, pirates and others outside the law. Despite this collection of brigands the city itself is fairly crime free in equal parts due to arrangements by the local 'legitimate business leaders', the need for stability and a trustworthy neutral zone, and the random vigilantism of the Valenor. For many in Freeport, despite all the changes on Malaan in the last centuries, little has changes.
Les Pays Sacres: (aka the Holy Lands, the Faithful Realm, the Western Theocracy) is a large country stretching from the Sun Sea in the South, to the Mer Brulant (The Boiling Sea) in the North. It is home to the Deh'wheri gods who are the sovereigns of the realm. Velrey is the supreme goddess, and direct ruler of the lands. The other gods are effectively members of her court, but in practice never journey to her home in Merusalaam. The goddess rarely appears before the people, except on holidays, instead sending her high priests to explain and carry out her will. As a result the priesthood maintains a strict Hierarchy, with the Deh'malaan Lombard IV, the mortal in charge. The priesthood is organized like a military, and is strict in its rules. Parallel to this system is the ancient monarchy, and the large courts of nobles. These predate the Faithful Realms and still inspire some loyalty among the people, particularly the native Enduirians. They were also able to sequester a fair amount of wealth by declaring it the kingdom's. The King of Enduir, Soutiere III, is a fairly savvy man, and does little to antagonize the priesthood. The priests know better than to directly challenge the royalty, and prefer they deal with the day to day running of the realms (enforcing secular laws, collecting taxes, etc..) . The royalty are careful to avoid challenging the direct authority of the church.
Lately, there have been some cracks in the union of the Faithful Realms, pressures due to unlimited immigration, competing claims on resources (water in particular), and lack of much external trade has caused some people to quietly question the various leaders. Still, such criticism is always in terms of failures on the part of the mortals, not the directives of the Gods, who are perfect in their aspects.
Deiçaeseldé: (Aka Everwood, or the Elvish Empire). The Elvish Empire extend from the Sea of Swords to the Urasian Sea, from the coast to the south, up into the Great Wall Mountains to the North. The elves have always operated on times scales beyond the ken of the shorter lived peoples, and even many dwarves and gnomes. As a result it is difficult to describe the elvish lands to outsiders. Since the Apotheosis many would claim that little has happened. The Elves swarmed out briefly to scatter or kill the more monstrous of Gods from the surrounding areas, then retreated. They sent out Druids (Saran) in the hundreds to plant seeds, prune growth, and redirect streams, only to retreat after an initial decade or so. To the untrained their efforts had little effect on the swamps, and coasts, but to those more aware, the changes created a buffer that will better protect the elves from external forces. Of late, there are rumors of the Elves pushing past their old borders and settling further afield. The Elves are ruled by the Ultimate Azmaniul Xaruun, the perfect aspect of Yaverhé (the winter), but rumors of a spring have spread through the neighboring realms. Xaruun, has held watch over the changes, and prepared the land for the next great change in the long cycles. Neighboring realms such as the Faithful Realm and the Fifth Empire watch nervously unsure how to respond the quixotic elves.
Part of the Elvish Empire, but seen as a bit of a satellite is the realm of Kiteras. It is also known as the youthful realm, many young elves (less than 200 years old) find themselves in Kiteras, and the realm has attracted non-elves, humans, gnomes, goblins, including many immigrants from the former city of Talis (destroyed in the Apotheosis). Here you may find a group of elves more like humans than their brothers deeper in the woods.