The Shattered Messiah Trilogy takes place in Esharia, the largest continent in the western hemisphere of Toerth and home to a dozen different nations. Over the last century, Esharia has endured three major wars, all between the Darenthi Republic and the Ebaran Confederacy. Only now, ten years after the last full-scale conflict, is a peace treaty finally on the table.
The most prominent nations in Esharia are described here.
Roughly a thousand years ago, a mage named Kendera Darenthi founded the First Darenthi Empire upon the ashes of Septuria. Her legacy has endured ever since, and Darenthi remains the largest and most powerful nation in Esharia. Up until a century and a half ago, Darenthi was ruled unquestioningly by a hereditary monarch. Empress Myral, a devout worshipper of the Goddess Edeh, brought her faith and democracy to Darenthi and established the first true republic in the world. Today the Darenthi Senate wields the majority of official power, and the Empress is typically little more than a figurehead.
The driving conflict in modern Darenthi society is the ongoing struggle between the Balorites and Edehans. The Senate has largely been sympathetic to the Balorites since the end of the First Ebaran War and the subsequent creation of the Faceless. The royal family, however, has maintained their strong Edehan ties, and the population is split almost directly down the middle.
Often called the “land of godless plutocrats” by outsiders, Ebara is ruled by a cabal of powerful merchant families. It is the only Esharian nation with no official religion, and its people take pride in their spiritual pragmatism. Ostensibly, Ebara is a true meritocracy where the smartest and hardest-working folk get their just rewards, but in practice the merchant families take great steps to squash all competitors.
While Ebara has been involved in three brutal wars with their northern Darenthi neighbors over the last century, as a rule they are not a violent people. The plutocrats much prefer to conquer an enemy with coin rather than swords, but they are not above funding enormous mercenary armies when it suits their purposes.
The people of the northwestern island-nation of Kimpera are ambitious and creative, and they have almost single-handedly driven the advancement of “mundane” technology in Esharia over the past century. Kimperans worship Illyria, and many believe their goddess has charged them with saving the world through technology. The second-generation of Kimperan flintlocks have just hit the shores of continental Esharia, and many believe these firearms will finally tip the balance of power away from the Faceless.
The great western forests of Esharia are watched over by the matriarchal, tribal people called the Sylethi. Eschewing sprawling cities in favor of smaller, nomadic camps, the Sylethi are at once the most and least unified people in Esharia. As a culture, they stand united in their reverence of Edeh and the natural world she protects, but without a central government the tribes rarely act with a common purpose. Both Darenthi and Ebara have attempted to conquer Sylethi over the years, but in every case the incursions were unmitigated disasters.
A land of artists, hedonists, and minstrels, Sunoa is considered a cultural mecca or gaping pit of depravity depending upon who you ask. Its people venerate Shakissa above all the other gods, and their lifestyle reflects her teachings. Their chief export is entertainment—no other nation in all of Toerth produces as much literature or music.
Situated on the far north-eastern corner of Esharia, Tethelia is land of faith and fervor where worship of the Six Gods is not just common, but mandatory. The country is ruled by an ancient theocracy with power split between six Abbots/Abbesses (one for each of the Gods) and the central ruling figure, the Septurion.
Tethelia is legendary for its civil strife. While the Septurion preaches equal worship of the gods, the individual Abbots and Abbesses constantly vie for influence for themselves and their deity. Tethelians whose faith is deemed “lacking” by the leadership—often for purely political reasons—are banished until they prove themselves sufficiently devout. These exiles, called shiani, often wander Esharia preaching the faith in the hopes of one day returning home. Few ever do.
The Tethelians have waged something of a cold war against the Darenth Republic ever since the Abbess of Abalor, Maya Soril, publically denounced the Faceless and the Siphons decades ago. Numerous border skirmishes have flared up over the years, with the Tethelians typically coming out on the losing end.
A small nation on the southwestern edge of Esharia, Vakar is a mountainous land of hearty people who pay homage to Zandrast. Vakari are a proud people driven by a competitive warrior culture and ruled over by an ancient aristocracy. The more “cerebral” Vakari who don’t fit the cultural mold often leave the country to study magic or serve as monks in one of the many monasteries within the mountains.