Tucked into a pleasant broad valley, dealing with seasonal storms, open to the Sea of Tears through eh Sea of Storms and to the Red Sea, where they tend to be more frequently dealing with Lemuria, there is the realm of Lyonese, and it is often thought of as the happier, livelier counterpart to its neighbors – Durango to the north, Qivira to the southeast.
The City of Lyonese is the smallest of all the great Cities, with the countryside having far more villages and minor lordlings than nearly any place else – and they can afford to do that. Villages almost always have streets that are laid out with precision, and frequently laid out with bark from the cork trees and others that are very common around the realm. They are generally cleaner than most, and the shops are very close to each other with wide awnings that reach out into the road and provide extra care from the rain or sun, for Lyonese is also warmer than some places.
The Kingdom of Lion’s Rest
Find A Better Way
Smile while placing right hand on left shoulder. Hand Clasp to seal a bargain.
Loitering is a sign that one doesn’t have something to do, and not having something to do is heavily frowned upon.
Most Lyonese have something they habitually fiddle with in their offhand. It is unusual not to.
Indulgent, Ostentatious, Rude.
Friendly, Pleasant, Hard Working
The houses are pretty much the same everywhere, often made of plastered Wood and stone or wood and brick, decorated brightly, the fronts always having a shop or some sort of area, a few having a side area for crafts and ovens and even large clockwork contraptions. Lyonese is a land of order and creativity, unmoored from the history that shaped it and the Empire, and less concerned about the people around them than whatever is being worked on at the moment.
The Clockwork City is often joked about, somewhat mocked, and yet to see the bright lights of even the Villages and towns, the wide streets, the number of simple magical items used, well, there is a reason that the realm’s motto is “finding a better way”.
By some estimates, as much as a third of the populace is engaged in some way with the products that are exported out of Lyonese, consisting of Wines, Magical Artifacts, Alchemist Brews, and the Clockworks that are in such vogue these days. It is the clockworks that gain the most attention, for they have produced problems in nearly equal number to solutions, but the spirit of Lyonese continues to try and do better, in the spirit of what they call “Innovation”.
Kayer Wikof: A mining and quarrying town that is famous for having the Witch of the Western Waste pass through and splurge.
Kayer Lundum: Port town that handles the bulk of goods passing through southern Lyonese – and is also a frequent target of raids.
Kayer Leon: A mining town known for the Mint, gold, silver, and platinum, that is also the primary base for the combined Armies of the Empire – Leon guards the most likely course for overland invasion.
One of the larger kingdoms in terms of sheer size, it is also one of the strangest overall. They have absolutely no fashion sense whatsoever.
Lyonese are fussy people, selective and practical and focused on the idea of “do your job” and “get on with it, then”. They tend to be in a hurry and are known for being friendly, polite, unwilling to make or take a bad bargain. They are a people for whom fairness is deeply important.
They are also prudish, to a degree that even Durangans approve of, though their style leaves much to be desired. I mean, can you imagine me in a plaid dress? I would look like a sheet ghost with some kind of disease.
They value home and family and work, and for them, that is usually enough, because they have a border that is open to Lemuria, they often have to deal with that kind of stressor as well, and even in combat they have a can do, get it done, finish for the day and head back home attitude.
Lyonians talk fast, with longer than normal vowels and a lot of the use of ”like” and “dude”. “So, dude, do you ever, like, go swimming, or, like, boarding?” They are either distracted or not, but most are thinking about the future, or a game of Kress, or perhaps who they will bet on during the next grand games. Strangers in Lyonese are known to often be upset because Lyonians don’t typically stop to chat, and don’t give much attention to others.
From indentured to nobility, Lyonians are a people who find the concerns of strangers unimportant – they are a task focused people, who only begin to relax and unwind and become amenable when their workday is done, and then that time is important. Lyonians dislike decadence but love aesthetics – even if the many varied styles they have are a marked difference from each other.
The villages of Lyonese are a wonderful example of how the people are. They value cleanliness, and day and night there are groups that work to clean them, depositing detritus in vast, smelly piles that are mixed with many other things and ultimately used for fertilizer. They are open to others as a matter of course, and value hard work and dedication to it, though perhaps not to the obsessive near single-mindedness of the Qivirans. But once that is done, they retreat to the place of their personal sanctuary, and unlike most other realms, a Lyonian home will often have a shrine within it, for the Shadow Host is far more popular in Lyonese than elsewhere.
Those homes, hidden behind tall, windowless walls, are where the love and life of Lyonians shines, for they are gregarious and loving people among those to whom they are close.
The Guilds have a great deal of Power in Lyonese, but this is because they are operated and run by Lyonian craftsfolk. They do this in a collective and representative manner, and as a result Lyonian Guilds tend to annoy and bother those guilds from elsewhere, and there are fewer circles in Lyonese than other realms.
This is because Lyonians are craftworthy folk, a people who do things, who use their hands and their minds to create, to make, to build, to grow. Masters always have at least three apprentices, and competition is fierce, but the thirst for the best made products in the world is huge, and so there is always work, always value, always a buyer for a loaf of the crusty, soft interior loaves and the unique pastas, always a place for the chillchest held fish, always a market for the brightly dyed and intricately woven textiles. It is said that they are collectively upset that they have a hard time getting silk that isn’t already woven, for they want to use it to weave tapestries.
But once the workday ends, they set it all aside and focus on families, who always eat together, who talk about their days, and the homes behind the shops of Lyonese are large, open spaces shaded and shielded from the weather, with small, gorgeous gardens and frescoed walls, warm baths and shared everything. Modesty and privacy are not something one encounters among Lyonian families, though they are excessively so – and lechery is an unwritten crime that can result in a visitation in the middle of the night that ends bloodily.
Lyonians have parties often and love their entertainments – it is said that the Grand Ballroom in Lyonese itself is available to rent by anyone, and that all three stories offer some diversion while the dances and masquerades happen – a benefice of the prior King, who got tired of complaints that there was no place large enough to bring in all the people who mattered to formal occasions. Lyonians are the sort who care about nobility only if it means there is more coin behind it, and otherwise they say that they can pay their own freight.
Lyonians are not the cutthroat traders that the River Merchants or Aztani are. They seek fair value and equity. This makes some think that they are easy marks, and Lyonians will allow them to think that. And then send lesser quality material or spread the word among the guilds about that buyer.
Lyonian families are large, boisterous, and multi-generational. Marriages are often arranged, but with the consent of the parties to ensure success and equity. The courtship is alternated, with men making the first move and women making the second, giving the overall feel of an equitable exchange and ensuring that all can have the feeling of being desired.
They are very free with emotion among family, and they stay such for multiple generations and across lines – siblings will often trade festival hosting and cousins will often be well known. Lyonese families are very strict about their lineage, though, and often that will have an enormous impact, as they seek to ensure a beneficial marriage. There is no bride or groom price beyond a nominal, and the families will often work together to share an immense ceremony, bringing family and friends and collectively wishing the couple a promising future, complete with gifts.
It would be easiest to say that in Lyonese, families are “spoiled” – they are given immense leeway within the walls of the home and expected to be deferential and show proper manners outside of it before others. A friend of mine once said that Lyonian homes are full of housecats that run around on two legs and need to be herded like cattle and watched like lambs, save for when there is food to eat.
It is quite different from other places. One never sees it outside the homes, however While they are genial, it is a politeness and courtesy, and their smiles may not be real or merely tolerant – a requirement of polite society that can be restrictive and daunting at times.
Jarl Farfegnugen IV of House Mall, the current ruler of Lyonese, is a close friend of the Emperor and the Seneschal, and often said to be the third most influential man in the Empire. He is a huge fan of the Grand Games, is a martial sort who is said to have personally fought with Lemurians along the western borders in his youth. He is a hefty man, who loves the outdoors, hunting, and tends to be what many consider progressive, though he has his moments.
Lyonese maintains a standing army, heavily relying on a militia of former adventurers (much like the Jarl himself). They have five huge Destroyers, and several Warships, with a standing Army of 5 regiments. They tend to use ambush tactics and are stationed outside the main city in small Forts that often support a hamlet or are supported by it.
Law is mostly a matter of a court system that follows the Sibolan model, but there are no jails – the worst punishments are Exile and Indenture. Lyonian indenture has a strict limit of one year and enables the criminal to stay at home and not forfeit his belongings. They fine heavily, and they tax slightly higher than most, around 10%, but they do not accept barter.
They rely heavily on Reeves and the Agency for policing – something that in a surprise neither particularly mind, as it is said that Lyonese is the least likely place for a crime, unless it be sabotage and undermining a rival Guilder. Which is not to say that crimes like murder do not happen – they do, and usually through assassination. Guards are not an uncommon thing to find in towns and cities at homes in Lyonese, especially among the wealthier or more powerful, and it is the usual assignment of those who are indentured, knowing that they may have to fight for their lives and the lives they guard.
Lyonese is blessed with one of the most important resources one can have: iron. They cannot produce a great deal of it, and making steel is more difficult, but nearly all the iron ore in the Empire comes from the Iron Mines of Kayer Wikoff.
This is further aided by their skill in mining – it is not that they are bad at getting ore out, as shown by the other metals importuned and mined, but rather that they have a limited amount of it – iron is forever one of the rarest metals.
Their facility with metal has led them to become good at things often made of metal, such as clockworks, and sculpture, and the crafts people of Lyonese are considered to be a different style of artisan from Qivira, but no less devoted to their craft.
This last bit is compounded by the Tower of the Outcast, which sits in a ruined heap at the center of the industry of creating everyday magical items that places them on conflict with Akadia. Nowhere else in the Empire can you find a shop that specializes in magical items – though some Incarnates are disappointed to learn that they only sell the everyday items that make life easier for others, such as candle wands.
Lyonian Tanjins teach a lot more about clockworks and rituals than most and tend to select those who have an aptitude for either and place them in separate schools. The Jarl actively encourages these areas, being quite aware of the value of them.
The Ritual Tanjins are said to rival Akadian Colleges, and it is hard to argue with the idea when one sees the number of wands, potions, and assorted paraphernalia that Lyonese creates when compared to the output of Akadian efforts. Where Akadia is a place of solitary magic, Lyonese is a place of collective magic. One good example is a Candlewand. An Akadian Candlewand will light a candle just as well, and often resemble a twig. A Lionic Candlewand will be fashioned and shaped, intricately carved, and beautiful to behold, made perhaps of multiple woods. And it will be cheaper.
Lyonian Virtues are: Hard Work, Fair Value, Equity, Cleanliness. Lyonian Vices are: Lechery, Impoliteness, Rudeness, and Cheating. What no one will tell you openly is that they have a high value for modesty and propriety.
Lyonians usually use wool and cotton blend in their fabrics, tightly woven, and set for flexibility and fluidity. It is very soft, but frays easily and tends to pill.
This matters only somewhat, because they also weave multiple colors together in complex and complicated plaids that are enough to drive someone nuts.
Pink and Red are the colors of choice at present.
Peitur & Gwenna: These two inventors exposed a plot to kill the nobility of Lyonese shortly after the last Skyfall and revealed that the ikon of Pallor was behind it, capturing her and turning her over to the Agency. They used some special creations the pair had worked on together that were inspired by the calling card of the ikon: webbing.
Docsav Vager: A renowned adventurer who made a fortune and retired to end up giving nearly all his wealth to those in his then village. These days it is called Diones.
Ethan Blunt: A hero of the Goblin Wars, who defended a refuge by using his wits and the terrain as weapons since no one in the refuge had any and would have been slaughtered or enslaved had he not.
Lyonians are a sturdy people by and large, but they have a marked dislike for getting dirty. This is reflected in the weapons they use, which are rather fascinating. First, they may carry dirks, but the primary weapon of Lyonian troops is a cross braced Spear fit to their shoulder height. It has an elongated leaf-shaped blade, sharp and wide at the base, like the sort used for killing boars. It is a heavier than normal spear, with a counterweight at the base much like a Sibolan glaive, but not nearly as useful. To go with it, they use a dozen light, metal tipped javelins, hurled using a thrower that leverages their strength and has been known to pierce armor.
Lastly, they are often equipped with light crossbows of a distinct design that only requires a cocking mechanism and can be handled even by children. At close range, they are devastatingly powerful, and each typically has a load of a half dozen bolts, and they carry around 18 to 24 in carts of six that fit into the crossbow. To date, only a handful of the Lyonic crossbows have been seen in the wild, but rumor says they are preparing to sell them in mass.
For armor, they tend to rely on fitted metal breastplates and light helms, with stiff, oiled leather sections at other points. This is called Lyonian Half-Plate. It is heavy, and expensive.
One other aspect of Lyonian military forces is that they are always flying something they call a pinnon. It is a small, triangular flag that drapes off the end of a lance, marked by assorted Guild and House elements, defining the unit’s sponsor.