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As one might imagine, conquering peoples and assimilating them into a startup empire is bound to create tension and resentment. The huge clash of ethnic diversity, cultural background, religious affiliation, and natural heritage led to generations of inter-communal conflict and has prevented true unity. Even during Agavres' reign, infighting amongst nobles and officers was common as Agavres' portfolio emphasized this characteristic in most of his followers. As such, the Kilden people are often vigilant of political strife and the feuds shared with different ethnic groups. People of this nation tend to tread carefully in social situations, and often make the most cautious of neighbors.
To make matters worse, Agavres paid no heed to any individual kingdoms or entities within his vast nation. Dissolved into regions and chopped up into fiefdoms, Agavres himself ensured that their histories would be wiped from the archives. Victors write history, and the state of perpetual war brings out both the best and worst in humanity. If one wishes to exist beyond their conquest in the failed state, they must face the test of time. Conflict and struggle are necessary evils, and as Agavres intended, refining the peoples he chose to conquer the world.
With conflict driving its growth, Kilnholdt has remained at the forefront of multiple industries, especially firearms. The nation, however, is trapped in an endless cycle of production that rarely evolves, but cyclically repeats itself as techniques are invented, lost, and then re-invented. There are some, such as those of the Arbiter's Consortium, who see the conflict in Kilnholdt as a way to understand error, and adjust accordingly. Responsible for backing many would-be rulers, their plans for a long-term global dominator are frequently sabotaged by Pureborn influences, ironically seeking to instill a similar leader under their own terms.
Interestingly, anarchy does not exclude the nation from international interaction. Kilnholdt’s natural state of flux can be quite the profitable enterprise, and foreigners always seem interested in visiting the nation at one point or another. The Daidamese often find themselves in the land of gunpowder, usually working in tandem among The Bloodfeathers, attempting to bring in a far-off bounty – or hiding from one among the many warring factions. Vori in search of adventure have been known to travel further north into Rasgald, hunting for quests, treasure, and still more stories to tell to captivated audiences. Although the Gennaian and Kilden cultures rarely agree, and likely would have destroyed one another were there not a continent between them, several bold Gennaian heroes have attempted to slay savage fire drakes, often resulting in untimely ends.
Runaways and fugitives from other nations are quite common in Kilnholdt. The warring nation is known for its abundance of accepting factions, hiding places, and potential for power. The cities are havens for people on the run, albeit the chaos of the region tends to create as many refugees as it harbors. With sprawling undercities and hidden fortresses built centuries ago by now unnamed rulers, black market trade has never been more profitable. Such industrialists and merchants are a key part of the cycle of rule. They bring the nation valuable attention through the sale of guns, armor, and artillery. The simple act of trading resources and building connections are always welcome in the shadowy abyss. Few barriers exist to hold one back from power, violence, and greed. Kilnholdt is truly a land of unparalleled opportunity, and a home for whatever dark fantasies one may wish to explore.
"Power belongs only to those that claim it. All others are just wheat to the wind, blowing wildly with no sense of structure."
- Ivan, the Despot
The nobility - and those that command self-sufficient factions or regional fiefdoms - provide soldiers, supplies, and taxes, at the cost of avoiding further conflict and a blood-painted region. That said, warfare and military service are not all that waits in store for the average Kild. Although conflict has plagued a significant percentage of Kilnholdt's populace, it does not necessarily mean there cannot be pockets of security. As with most decent people, the average civilian desires an environment where they can live and thrive in peace. In a majority of the nation, there exist peaceful areas full of economic potential, filled with ordinary people trying to live their lives. With a consistently weak or scattered central government, Kilden nobles of certain fiefdoms take law and order into their own hands. Bloodfeathers and mercenary groups can sometimes be seen patrolling a region's roads and byways, their very presence a telltale sign that justice is desired within the nation.
Kilnholdt is in a period of constant change, and conflict eventually does paint the countryside red with blood. Warlords are few and far in between what it takes to rule the nation. While taking Korth may be a task easily completed in a fortnight or two, holding the city is what truly tests a conqueror's abilities. If a rival army does not annihilate the opposition, the city's inhabitants will. The Kild are a fierce and skeptical people, and gaining their trust often proves a greater challenge than facing them in combat.
"In this world marble will shatter, canvas will burn away. All that is beauty must live beyond physicality as words and songs within the memories of the people. That’s what makes my family powerful. We write the stories that you peasants swallow. "
- Eleonor vran Klainthal
In the few times of peace, the Kild take part in recreational activities. From music, drama, and the arts, to simple pleasures such as games and gambling. Games have often sprung up between military men, including one based on luck, called Kreisch. Played on a wooden board set inside an open box, the playing surface is marked by four sets of elongated hexagons, three in each quadrant. Utilizing dice to represent the arrival of reinforcements and to contest hold over the quadrants, the spine of the box serves as the resting point for pieces that have been “slain” when the opponent conquers an occupied point. The object of the game is to slay off all of one opponent's pieces first. It is an extremely lengthy game that lends itself well to wagering. Craftsmen of Kreisch boards and pieces command immense prices for the most exquisite sets that use rare woods and semi-precious and precious stones set in elaborate and complicated patterns.
Writers are widely renowned for their ability to sway international opinion, and are sometimes more popular than the nobility that seek to dethrone them. What Kilden literature that has survived is often philosophical, known for focusing on the ideas of good and evil; arguing as to what circumstances merit the justification of violence. In the realm of staged plays and traveling caravans, Kilden theatre tends to favor melodrama, a noticeable contrast from Gennaian heroic theatre and adventure, Kilden works tend to express a wide range of emotional turmoil, desire, and tragedy. Such stories passed down through the generations trace most of their origins to the vran Klainthal bloodline, a family of storytellers, poets, playwrights, and dancers. In Kilnholdt, stories are what keeps the nation's history alive. Bards and minstrels can be found on nearly every major thoroughfare, and are popular in most regional settlements. There are countless tales, more so every day from Atvoria and abroad, but the classics always make their way back to the Kilden people.
The artistic and musical scene has evolved rampantly throughout the latter portion of the Age of Balance. From roaring war drums and Pureborn choral pieces, to quick street performances for everyday crowds. The buskers in Korth will often devolve into a cutthroat competition amongst participants, reflecting the degree of perfection and refinement the Kilden populace faces. While sculpture and similar visual arts rarely took hold among the Kild, foreigners’ focus tends to emphasize on capturing the beauty of the nation's landscape with vibrant brushstrokes and lifelike busts of its most dangerous beasts.
- Kaath Hodges
After millennia of conflict, the Kilden people share mixed feelings over magic users, and all aspects of the arcane. The Bludvahn have an extensive history of slavery under the magically pure Synnharck; and are the first to remind others of what cruel people with power can do to those without. In contrast, magic is celebrated by the Pureborn Faith. The organization has advocated for the further study of the practice since its establishment, and schools are often constructed in towns alongside Purist Shrines. Most mages tend to flock to such schools, pursuing the art under the guidance and security of the Faith.
Mages can be found in nearly every market, selling their skills, products, and services to any potential buyers for an expensive cost. Their colorful, majestic caravans can sometimes be seen traveling through the Kilden countryside heading to another town. Every year their business improves their relationship and public opinion of magic. With great freedom, however, often comes great cost.
When rogue mages wreak havoc on the Kilden populace, retaliation comes swiftly and fiercely. There have been notable times throughout Kilden history when mages and magic users were purged for their strange gifts. The Lords of Glass are but one of countless examples of the destructive power of magical potential. It is only through the careful political and religious backing of powerful and influential groups that keeps Kilden magic rooted in its secure place in the nation.