Until the conquest of its capital city of Talsh by the Talaran Witch-Queen, the nation of Kaldeshan was the most powerful political and military force in the southern half of Avornea. Kaldeshani soldiers kept the northern empire of Capasia from influencing the south, enforced stability in the Lake of Steam region, and prevented the infernal nation of Dakmiir from expanding its power.
When Talsh fell to the armies of Talara, however, Kaldeshan’s influence vanished. The remains of the nation broke into two halves, one centered on the city or Naera and the other on the city of Nells, while Talsh remained under Talaran control. The Kaldeshani agents working to maintain its influence abroad were forced to either flee home or find new patrons.
The city of Naera, situated at the northern end of the Lake of Steam, controls the southern third of Kaldeshan. Because Naera and the surrounding settlements rely on trade along the Narus river, the city’s government was forced to negotiate a trade pact with the Talaran governor of Talsh in order to re-open trade routes into the Azure Gulf. This pact has kept trade flowing along the river, but it has made the city’s rulers unpopular with both its citizens and Nellsian Kaldeshan.
Before the conquest of Talsh and the death of Emperor Sadayan Alhastain, House Alhastain controlled all of Kaldeshan and had a powerful influence throughout the entire southern half of Avornea. When Talsh fell, much of their power evaporated, but under the leadership of Oldaren Alhastain, they consolidated their power and retained control over Naera.
The noble house and its supporters believe that they have a blood right to the throne of a united Kaldeshan, but lack the power to overtly challenge Talara. While they have entered into a trade pact with Talara, they continue to scheme and plot in hopes of shifting the balance of power and re-establishing the Empire of Kaldeshan.
The nobles of House Mulayen built their wealth on trade goods travelling up and down the Narus River. They were strong proponents of entering into a trade pact with Talara, and unlike the members of House Alhastain, they sincerely hope to maintain peace with Talara.
The Red Blades
Once no more than a minor street gang, the Red Blades have grown wildly in popularity after taking credit for the murder of several nobles working closely with Talarans. The gang has now grown in ranks and is threatening any Naeran citizens that cooperate with Talara.
Where the city of Naera has been forced to recognize Talaran control of Talsh, the rulers of the coastal city of Nells have vowed to continue fighting against Talara until Talsh is liberated. In recent years, the city of Nells has become increasingly militant building fortresses along its eastern border and amassing a large armada of warships. These preparations were put to the test when a Talaran army invaded in 3787 AC, breaking through the defenses and laying siege to the city.
The nobles of House Ulsayen have long ruled over the city of Nells, and when the death of Emperor Alhastain left a power vacuum, they expanded their domain to cover as much of the surrounding area as possible. High Lady Jasarelle Ulsayen has led the house and focused on strengthening the military of Nells while expanding the influence of its merchants.
The second most powerful noble house in Nells, House Delenos has assembled a faction under its leadership that seeks to make peace with Talara. In truth, the leaders of the house simply wish to unseat High Lady Jasarelle and seize control of the city.
Knights of the Hawk
Once the elite soldiers of Kaldeshan, the Knights of the Hawk have not sworn fealty to either Nells or Naera. Instead, they have waged a guerilla war against Talara by raiding border posts, disrupting trade, and targeting Talaran nobles and officials. Since House Alhastain entered its trade pact, the Knights have been attacking Talaran ships travelling along the Narus River. These attacks have led Talara to force House Alhastain to provide Naeran troops to help defend merchant ships.