Kingdom of Longai
The Kingdom of Longai was, 500 years past, for all practical purposes an empire, but as the Royal family slowly relaxed their rule, the Dukes began to act as rulers in their own right, and the Kingdom became more of a loose confederacy of princedoms, with the Dukes barely loyal to the Royal house. Under the present reign of the 16-year-old boy-king Roshen, things have gone from bad to worse. Roshen is not simply an easily manipulated child; he is also stupid, paranoid and weak-willed, yet sociopathic and sadistic. He has a crippling fear of two things, the chiefest of them being his nephew, the Archduke Krux. The Archduke is actually older, an adult even, by virtue of being Roshen’s older sister’s progeny. Furthermore, he is saner, wiser and a better administrator by orders of magnitude, and possesses something Roshen does not: skill in magic. This is the other thing he fears. Lacking both the intellect to be a wizard and the natural power of a sorcerer, Roshen fears and hates that power which he cannot posses, but others have.
At the bidding of his Dukes, he stripped the Archduke of all but the Duchy of the Black Mountains, considered to be the back-water of the Kingdom until the Archduke managed to turn it around. Furthermore, Roshen has actually had the audacity to (or at least try to) ban
all magic in Longai. To a degree he has succeeded. The royal government has confiscated huge amounts of magical items, magical businesses have been shuttered, wizard colleges shut down and sorcerers and wizards either forced into state employment or driven into hiding or exile. Of course, Starari is a magical world, and so it is to be expected that for the most part the ban on magic has been largely ineffectual, as there is now a flourishing black-market in magic. Some state-run enterprises allow limited public access to magical services and low-powered products (like rods of healing or alchemical concoctions).
To protect himself and enforce his oppressive laws, Roshen has bolstered the royal capital’s and palace’s defenses and security, and hired thousands of constables to round up those who break the magic ban or even speak ill of Roshen. This is greatly expensive, and the new taxes he has imposed to pay for everything have the peasants, merchants and minor nobility groaning under their weight, while the Dukes, who have been encouraging Roshen’s behavior and manipulating his paranoia to enrich themselves and put the Archduke, who’s political astuteness they fear, in a position where he cannot harm them.
The whispers of war are spreading across Longai, and it won’t be long before the powder keg is lit.