Iviradelle is often considered most beautiful of all the countries in the Silverlands. Neither a very large nor a very small country, its size is dictated by the Shining mountains to the west. The long, wide, slow river called the Siradass – the black river – marks the easter boundary, beyond which lies Rhyador’s unpopulated, stone fields where the dwarves, when they do appear, claim to live. There is little evidence of them and many say they stay beneath the ground and do not often open their gates to any but another dwarf.
To the north are the frozen lands which no-one claims, for they are wild and dangerous and the weather has quick, vicious tempers. To the south there is the wide, flat lands of Ilysiam, which once were part of Iviradelle. The king of Iviradelle, for there was a king, once, had heard the petition of the farmers to have their own laws, for it was difficult for the king or his men to get there. The king granted it happily, for it often cost him more men than he could afford to guard the open borders of this southern land.
Over time, everyone simply forgot that Ilysiam was only an annex of Iviradelle and it became its own country, often considered the largest source of simple foods, like corn and wheat, in all the Silverlands and their lord is careful to keep enough of an army that none, not even the weavers of Iviridelle, would consider invading.
Iviradelle is known for its long, sloping mountains, which may be called mountains, if you were in a poetic mood. These high hills are covered with a forest which is not so old as the elder forest, but much more beautiful, for they are hung with vines that flower with the lavender chemisa, for it can be boiled to make a sort of tea, or, in its common name, lamia’s skirts, after the name of the girl said to have first planted them under the tall, slim trees.
This forest, which lies in curves and swaths across the whole of the country, is called the cloud forest, for always a mist lies upon it and the ground is soft and treacherous. There are great, wooden paths laid across the ground and it is at your own risk to leave them, for wagons quickly sink into the mossy, loose earth and will not stop, for there is no bedrock here and the tree roots are wide, thin fans. The sinking is slow and easily escaped for even a large horse; it is only loose earth, not wet, sucking mud. However, the wagon and whatever goods it carries will be forfeit A man might walk, if he is light footed, across the mosses, but there are pools here, hidden beneath the soft growth and mist, which might give him a good dunking. The water is clear and has a particular light, refreshing taste, but the pools are deep and clothes do not dry quickly here.
The villages and cities in Iviradelle build their streets up with the wooden plank paths used in the forest itself, for cobble stones will sink, even out on firmer ground, into the soft, loamy soil and those that don’t will become slick with moss. The houses sit on stilts and there are usually kitchen gardens, in the case of the poor, or lovely flower gardens, in the case of the wealthy, beneath.
In happier times, this was a land of plenty, for the soil is rich and grows so easily that it takes effort to murder the plants. The people lived an unhurried life, for no-one really had need of much; the forest produces a sort of greenhouse heat that keeps the winter from ever biting too hard, though summers can become damp with the wet heat, and most who lived there, before the last king died, enjoyed long, midday rests in the shade beneath their houses.
When the last king took to his bed with fever – and some said it was poison – his advisors took over, claiming that they would look after Iviradelle until the king’s son was old enough to take his throne. All the kings of Iviradelle had wielded the natural magic of the weavers, but none had given their magical brethren more power than the position of advisor. It was quickly clear why, as the weavers closed their ranks, forming the council driven Coven and set into power the Enforcers, men from a foreign country who were large and of an ill tempered nature.
They imprisoned the young prince and his mother, but she was of Liranam, the strange country to the south east, where many, even the women, learn the skills that some would say belongs to thieves. As it happened, the young queen had been raised to be a Shadow Blade, one of the empress’ own guard, who are only of the royal houses. Though she had been charmed by her husband and agreed to go to his land as his queen, she had never stopped being a warrior. She quickly escaped the dungeons with her son and fled east. There are rumors that she was taken in by the elves and that her son did grow up there, but none are certain exactly what happened to them; Liranam is a country of secrets and they are not easily found out.
The taxes The Coven places upon its people are steep. Their Enforcers are given free rein and this means that all but the rich have become downtrodden. Many have lost their homes and homelessness and starvation have become a major issue, especially for children too often left orphaned in the streets. For young girls, this is treacherous, for the Coven is male only and they view the fairer race as worth only one thing. Women may not have jobs, other than the oldest of all professions, and the younger girls are often snatched off the streets by the Enforcers and forced into these positions where they are neither paid, nor cared for.
For young boys, there is only a little more hope, for an orphaned child is more likely to die from exposure or starvation than grow to an adult and orphans are Iviradelle’s most abundant resource, or so say the lands that do not like the Coven and would see them unseated, if they had an answer for the magic the weavers control.