There are 5 major players in the eastern part of Kanethar:
1) The Gnomes – The Gnomish kingdom of Grégollis spans from about 200 miles west of Walraven, 200 milles south of the Skrij Depths, east to the foothills of the Windless Peaks, and just south of the Blackwood to the north. They currently lay claim to the city of Madhabrand, and Duke Kristof Ratna of Madhabrand has sworn fealty to Grand Magus Cosmo and Seer Aniela, the rulers of Grégollis. The Gnomes trade liberally with the High Elves and Zikiri, but tensions are high with both the Zikiri and the Wood Elves, due to the border creep that is encroaching slowly into the Blackwood. If a border dispute breaks out, it is likely that Madhabrand will be one of the early targets.
2) Zikiri – The Zikiri prideland takes up the northeastern third of the Blackwood. Although small in scope, it is home to rich resources, so trade with the southern kingdoms of Wood Elves and Gnomes is fairly brisk. As the Gnomes claim more and more Wood Elf settlements, the Zikiri’s interest in maintaining their position in the region is being gradually threatened. Eventually, they will need to come to aid of their Wood Elf allies militarily, but for now they rely on diplomacy and wait for the right moment to go on the hunt.
3) Wood Elves – The elves of the Blackwood and the surrounding farmlands have never sworn fealty to any king. Since they laid down their arms after the Battle of the Blazing Plain, they have scattered into a myriad number of small settlements all over the Blackwood and surrounding plains. They have adopted the Way of the Green, a philosophy developed by a Cleric of Jorna named Bojan. The Way requires that Elves make their way only by coexisting with their neighbors and with nature. They are allied to the Dryads and Zikiri, with whom they share the forest’s bountiful resources. They dislike the magic wrought by the Gnomish elemental mages, considering it an “abomination of nature.”
4) High Elves – The elves of the Karoshen Kingdom are artisans of the finest silks and magic-forged arms and armor in all of Kanethar. Their kingdom stretches south into the Wickanian Jungle, east to the border with Grégollis, north to the Skrij Depths, and west to the capital city of Harujen on the Sunyi Peninsula. King Calian and Lady Dragomira, the rulers of the High Elves, have trade agreements and alliances with Grégollis. They are tolerant of the Wood Elves, Zikiri, and Dryads, but their disgust for the elves of the Valterri is apparent. Slavery of the Jungle Elves is not only legal, but sanctioned in High Elf lands, and so they have pitched a continuous war against the primitive Valterri tribes, capturing and enslaving entire settlements along the northern border. Deep in the mithril mines of Karoshen, thousands of Valterri labor for their wealthy kindred above.
5) Humans – Even as diminished as the Human kingdoms of old have become, the citizens of Necropolis, the last Human city, remain. The bulk of the remaining humans are isolationist, hiding behind the impregnable, fortress-like walls of Necropolis while their “Afflicted” servants do their bidding. Despite all of this, Humans have begun to exert a certain amount of political influence among the wealthy and elite of Kanethar due to their prowess in the harvesting, refining, and trade of rare metals and gemstones. The merchants of Necropolis come and go in most major cities and settlements where there is a wealthy upper class. There are usually 1-2 “Minders”, or low-level Necromancers, accompanied by 6 or so Afflicted workers. Humans are not officially allied with anyone, since even after 500 years since the war with the Zikiri, the Humans still have a deep negative stigma against them, made worse by their “Afflicted” servants. They may meddle in the affairs of the rich elite, however, if the result is sufficiently profitable.