The kingdom of R’Tal (short for Regio Talea ‘the region of the rod’) was once a bustling nation of commerce and trade, until the king and queen were slain under mysterious circumstances. Their daughter, Shannon Bridlehorn, took over the nation, and under her rule the region transformed. A dark shadow had fallen over the queen, and with it, the land. Within the last few years however, the curse that afflicted the queen and her nation seems to have lifted, and the place has begun to heal. The kingdom of R’Tal is a land that balances between light and shadow. During the day, the people of R’Tal are busy and pleasant, performing trade with anyone willing to enter the region and being friendly. After the sun sets however, the doors are closed and will not open for anyone, those within remaining in large numbers for security. The people of R’Tal are called Talea.
R’Tal is a land touched by the Shadow Realm, drawn part-way into the land of darkness from the curse that once afflicted the Queen. The borders are perpetually surrounded by a strange, clinging mist that misdirects those who attempt to pass through. Only the Sinti, the gypsy-folk, are able to travel the mists, somehow able to penetrate it and pass into and out of R’Tal without incident. At twilight, the connection between R’Tal and the Shadow Realm grows stronger, and the land seems to become twisted as the shadows come to life.
The nation of R’Tal is growing quickly. They have claimed territory that once belonged to Aranous, and have beaten the demonic forces back some distance. R’Tal has a powerful trade partnership with Tarantis, and has been advancing in the arts and sciences, using the technology gained to help combat demons and undead on the borders of R’Tal.
A few years ago, a powerful ritual was performed on the Queen of R’Tal, to help purge the curse that was afflicting her. With this ritual, the Queen – and the royal line, have become touched with a powerful, primal essence. This essence has granted powers to the royal line that could be considered divine. When a member of the royal line is recognized as the ruler, they gain the following powers:
• They gain the Abilities of the Eyes of the Mist. The royal line have become the leaders of this Order, and those who join the Order become the servants of the royal line. This is not, however, obvious, and the rulers of R’Tal keep this a close secret.
• The ruler can sense those who pass through the mists and into their domain. They can extend their senses to any location with R’Tal, viewing anything that happens within their borders. The mists respond to the wishes of the ruler, who can shape the mists and shadows of R’Tal to appear as anything they desire. These are shadow illusions that respond to the ruler’s wishes.
• The ruler can possess or control the thoughts of anyone within R’Tal. The ruler can possess only one at a time, but can control a number of people at once equal to their Growth x 10. In addition, the ruler can telepathically speak to anyone within R’Tal’s borders.
• Any Eyes of the Mist, regardless of where they are in Kith Kanaan, can be influenced by the above powers, and the ruler of R’Tal can project the above powers through the Eyes of the Mist, including on anyone the Eyes sees. The ruler is peripherally aware of all Eyes of the Mist in Kith Kanaan, and knows who they are the moment they learn their first Ability.
The powers granted were usurped from a faerie of nightmares and the Demon of Silence. These influences were transformed and bound by primal energies, and bound into the royal line. While the source of these powers are dark in nature, they are not a corrupting force. The powers granted are effectively a mandate of heaven, and anyone who takes the throne and is recognized by the people as the rightful ruler will be granted these powers. All powers used have a Potency of 15.
The people of R’Tal are nominally Joshuite, and the Queen (though this is not common knowledge) follows the Shekhina Heresy that filtered in from Tarantis (see Tarantis).
The people of R’Tal believe in hospitality and are friendly, up to and until the point that the sun sets. After that, the citizens of R’Tal suddenly become suspicious and will not trust anyone that they do not know themselves. This change of personality is more than a little influenced by the strength of the realm of Shadow, but is also a strong survival mechanism. People who enter R’Tal under the cover of night are met with suspicion during the day unless another citizen can speak for the outsiders. The Sinti are seen with a sense of superstitious awe, and are never treated badly. Unicorns are treated as nobility, as the Queen is a unicorn, and griffins are treated with a powerful prejudice and universally hated due to R’Tal’s war with Cordona.
Architecture in R'Tal is somewhat gothic, with many tall buildings with flying buttresses, pointed roofs, intricate wrought-iron gates and railings, narrow windows, and gargoyles on many rooftops. Most streets are cobbled, and lit by gaslight from early evening to late morning.
Among the middle and upper class, the men and women of R'Tal are known for dark clothing, usually violet, navy, or black. Fog coats are common among men with high collars and buttons on the front, and elaborate hats exist for both sexes. Women tend to wear tight-waisted dresses often buttoned down the front. They also wear long full skirts with bustles. Men and women often wear gloves.