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Glossary of Names & Places

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Free Provinces of Seaven
Obscure Banner
Dominion of Arx

Free Provinces of Seaven

Two hundred years ago the northern provinces of Arx seceded from the Dominion after a bloody civil war. Arx thaumaturgists were deported or executed; the single northern academy of Aspertine was razed to the ground.

Republic of the United Free Provinces of Seaven in the year 259 r.f.p.c. is a confederation of seven provinces, each governed by a provincial council consisting of 30 elected councillors. The federal government is seated in Trevally, where each province is represented by an advocate in the General Council.

The seven provinces in rough order of precedence:

Frosk & Trevally Whitemouth Blacksmelt Skrike Sheard Glowlight Sniely and the Rimeland protectorate

Map of the United Free Provinces of Seaven


The military arm of Seaven is divided into seven armies called banners, the basic framework for Seaven's military organisation. Each provincial banner is headed by a triple-gold commander nominally under the civilian authority of the provincial council. Collectively the banners are called the Sway.

The high command of the Sway is seated in the northern fortress of Frosk. 

The seven banners of the Sway in rough order of size:

Green banners of Frosk & Trevally Grey banner of Sniely Brown banner of Whitemouth, including the Merchant Navy Yellow banner of the Ordnance of Blacksmelt Blue banner of the Joint Navies of Glowlight & Skrike White banner of Sheard Obscure banner

The Sway ranks are denoted by arm bands with embroidered stripes of silver, red and gold:

Armband Rank Task
Triple-White Chosen man
Artillery Gunner
Seaman First Class
Single-Silver (S) Squad Leader (infantry, 10 men)
Sub-Section Leader (artillery, 2 guns)
Carpenter’s mate, Gunner’s mate, Cooper, Cook, Gunsmith
Double-Silver (2S) Section Leader (infantry, 30 men)
Section Leader (artillery, 6 guns)
Sailmaker, Quartermaster, Coxswain, Caulker’s mate
Triple-Silver (3S) Company Executive Officer
Company Quartermaster
Armourer, Ropemaker, Caulker, Carpenter, Midshipman
Single-Red (R) Platoon Leader (infantry, 100 men)
Master’s mate, Surgeon’s Mate, Gunner, Boatswain
Double-Red (2R) Company Commander (infantry, 300 men)
Battery Commander (artillery, 18 guns)
Master, Purser, Surgeon
Triple-Red (3R) Regimental Executive Officer
Regimental Quartermaster, Staff Officer
Captain of a sloop, a brig or a frigate
Single-Gold (G) Regimental Commander (1000 men)
Grand Battery Commander (artillery, 54 guns)
Captain of a man-of-war
Double-Gold (2G) Brigade Commander (3000 men)
Master of Ordinance, Quartermaster General
Commander of a naval flotilla or squadron
Triple-Gold (3G) Banner Commander (entire banner)


Frosty in the winter, swarmed by mosquitoes in the summer; immense and filled with bothersome natives, the protectorate of the Rime falls under the jurisdiction of the grey banner of Sniely.

Rimers are a diverse lot, and opinions differ as to who can be called a Rimer at all. Coast Rimers inhabit the northern shores, lakes Rimers live in Quavemire and plains Rimers roam the windswept tundra and taiga with their herds of reindeer or sheep. And then there are so-called bread Rimers born in Seavener cities, members of the Obscure Banner, Rimers living in Granemarch under Arxian rule and the Sunuud insurgents on the eastern coast. 

Rimers tend to make good soldiers, although opinions differ as to whether it's because they're genuinely bloodthirsty or just desperate to get out of the Rime; serving a banner for seven years guarantees both a Seavener residence permit and a citizenship.


Some male Rimers are born with extra-sensory abilities that - according to scant autarchial research on the topic - are not related to channelling. The gift is rare and tends to run in families. Rimers, being a contradictory lot, seem to be in two minds about their feys: while some are valued, others may end up discreetly drowned or strangled in mysterious circumstances.

Every fey child, whether born in Seaven or abroad, is considered property of the state and can be indentured to serve the Sway.

In Arx, feys are called espers and are mainly known for the Obscure Banner.

Map of the Rime

Obscure Banner

“Nothing but obscenity, inebriation and incest.”
− The Rose Gazette

“Our indentures are necessary. Would you prefer us to rule?”
− 1G Isaar Haala of the Obscure Banner

The normal term of service for an indentured banner soldier is seven years. Not so with the black banner, which recruits for life.

Fey boys are taken or purchased from their families, transported to Frosk, renamed and put on ever-increasing doses of swart to enhance their innate psychic abilities. These powers are carefully honed to neutralise channellers: facing a team of swart-enhanced obscures is the Dominion's worst nightmare. Salacious hearsay and conjecture surrounding the 'Obscene Banner' probably doesn't help their reputation.

Obscures are rare and precious. Under Seaven's provincial law, slaying an obscure is the only crime that warrants a death penalty.


AKA Sway Ration for Telepaths, a poisonous yet highly addictive stimulant that powers the Obscure Banner. Its manufacture and ingredients are a closely guarded secret, but rumour has it that the Sway has certain vested interests in the Gastness Whale Fishery.

Reputable sources claim that swart does not taste like chicken.


“Gaudy and vainglorious. It might as well be in Arx.”
− Advocate Bister Grimm (Sheard)

“Our colour is brown because we're industrious people;
we're gladsome but not given to excess, our hearts are humble.
We do not flaunt our wealth, nor our accomplishments, which are many.”

− The Whitemouth Examiner

“It's brown because everything's covered in shit.”
− Patron of the Mudcrab tavern

Capital of the Whitemouth Province and headquarters of the brown banner, Whitemouth is the second most populous town in Seaven and nine-time winner of the “Greatest Province” vote held annually by the Whitemouth Examiner. One of Seaven's oldest settlements, it's situated on the narrow estuary of the River White.

A bustling place of trade and manufacture, known for its lucrative fish oil industry, Whitemouth is the cultural and commercial capital of Seaven; some say it should be the capital, dull old Trevally be damned. Its colourful character is further enriched by its growing Rimer population and small but influential community of Dominion expatriates. Due to proximity of Grane Academy and its spire across the border, channelling has some limited functionality in the province.

The town distinguishes itself by its monumental fortifications and affluent homes in the district of Stoutside. As an eastern terminus of several competing railways, Whitemouth is also known for its recently built magnificent railway station.

Map of the City of Whitemouth

Dominion of Arx

The spirit withers; the rose blooms.
− Phylax Percely Joybright, Th.D (Angleshade)

All Matters.
− Motto of the Thalassians

Arx is what happens when thaumaturgists stop fighting each other and get up to the business of building an empire. Clever, elegant and sustained by Standard Dominion Magic, Arx consists of numerous provinces, some with autonomous government, all under the guardianship of autarchial academies. Despite recent economic and political setbacks, prudent provincial governors continue sending annual tributes to the capital. Political upheavals come and go, but the rose of the Dominion still blooms.

The house of Thalassian has ruled Arx for 70 years. The current autarch is Eident Thalassian, a callow youth known by the regnal name Pencellion.


Arx is a hereditary autarchy with only one rule of inheritance: by tradition, the future autarch must be able to channel fire out of the Wither. Gender, wit and aptitude are secondary. Failure to fulfil this single requirement is likely to trigger a rapid dynastic change.


“Standard Dominion Magic is the magic of equal opportunity.”
− Prospectus of Grane Academy

“In reality, their academies are but foul pismires spreading the stench of inequality and oppression.
The pleasures of the privileged are obtained by the toil and sweat of the disenfranchised.”
− The Whitemouth Examiner

Thaumaturgy is a metaphysical science of manipulating matter, whereby a person willingly acts as a conduit to bring forth charged particles from a parallel dimension called the Wither. The sequence, called fading or channelling, requires rigorous mental discipline and preparation.

Standard Dominion Magic

While anyone can fade and produce a pretty flash of light, only a method known as Standard Dominion Magic guarantees effective and safe thaumaturgy. This advanced science of channelling is taught at the eight thaumaturgical academies.

Eight academies

Where true power lies in Arx. Academies house spires that attract luminiferous aether in the Wither, facilitating effective channelling in the area. Alumni swear fealty to the Dominion and gain the prestigious autarchial channellers' license.

The eight spire-crowned academies of Arx are:

Autarchial Academy of Angleshade
Acrospire in Chainwale
Hyelidge of the Mountains
Gramarie and Lindorme in Ravenal
Dwale in Astermont
Grane in Granemarch
Hybernacle Penitentiary in Norroy

The ninth academy of Aspertine and its spire were lost two hundred years ago in what's called the War of the Free Provinces in Seaven and the Folly of the Three Colonels in Arx.