Randan

From afar, the seawalls of Randan glisten like mother-of-pearl. Every brick is glazed with
fabulous images of monsters and gods in a hundred colors.
In the city markets, stinking of fish and cinnamon and foundry-smoke, one can distinguish the native Randanese by their garments’ rich hues—even common folk wear linen ablaze with madder, saffron and indigo, while their betters don rainbow silks flashing with jeweled embroidery. And as soldiers parade before the craft-lodges of the aristocracy, their leaders stand resplendent in armor of brocade as resilient as bronze or coats of ceramic plates as hard as steel, their masked helmets shining with silver, gold and gems.

Randan is ruled by hereditary lodges of artisans, each practicing a different craft. Artificers study the mysteries of their trades alongside the arts of war.
Only those who master both martial and craft skills ascend into the ranks of the pekumi—the warrior caste that commands both the lodges and the state.
Randan’s reputation comes from the quality of pekumi masterworks. Artisan-nobles incorporate thaumaturgy into their greatest creations to manufacture perfectly clear glass, indelible dyes, swords that never dull and bronze armor light as silk.
But the pekumi create too few masterworks to support Randan’s economy, and too few nobles master their crafts to fill out the officer corps’ ranks.
Most of the nation’s real wealth comes from commerce. Randanese merchants—their
ships carved with talismanic signs and hung with unbreakable sails—obtain hardwoods, incense, dyes, ivory and spices amid the farthest Western archipelagoes through trade, slave labor and plunder.
But mercantile rivals and increasing pirate activity are cutting into Randan’s profits. The
island state is in a slow decline—and in the path of the Realm’s expansion.
Still, the Randanese have hope for the future. They place their trust in their leaders, even as the pekumi are distracted by offers to join the Guild, campaigns against nearby Lintha strongholds and intrigues to see which lodge will ascend after the death of their aging queen Dove White Sky.
They place their trust in their gods, even as the war-gods and craft-gods continue a centuries-long feud. And they place their trust in their three great mystic treasures, not understanding those treasures are themselves a source of peril—that their theft or destruction will open the way for the return of the demon queens of old.

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