As I mentioned a few weeks ago, there are a pair of nation-states north of the Water Road, along with a coalition of city states. When The Water Road begins, they’re all joined in an alliance called the Triumvirate. And I don’t mean these guys:
The where and why of the Triumvirate says a lot of what happens all during The Water Road trilogy.
More than a century before The Water Road begins the lay of the Altrerian political landscape is this:
On the west coast was the United Guilds of Altreria, a society organized around trades and vocations. Guilders don’t have families and tend to be very practical and open to new ideas. They were the first to jump on the Great Awakening, a movement during which most people lost belief in the gods.
On the east coast was the Bonded Realms of Greater & Lesser Telebria. As it suggests, the kingdom is a union of two smaller kingdoms, one each north and south of the River Teleb. It has a king (naturally), Ibel IV, but his power has largely been sapped away by parliament. Still, he’s a powerful figurehead and can definitely throw his weight around every now and then. Telebrians tend to be very traditional and stuck in old ways of doing things.
In between was the Arbor, a thickly forested portion of land consisting of lots of disparate cities and villages. Of those, seven are ancient walled cities of the most importance: Tomondala, Kerkondala, Vertidala, Maladondala, Felandala, Nevskondala, Durlandala (“dala” means “great walled city” in the ancient Altrerian tongue). They tend to be fiercely independent and suspicious of outsiders.
Around this time, a Neldathi leader named Sirilo united some of the clans and launched an invasion of Altreria. This was the First Great Neldathi Uprising. The Neldathi army rampaged across the Guildlands and threatened the rest of the continent. The Guilders and the Telebrians got together to form a defense alliance. However, they realized that without the Arbor involved that could provide Sirilo’s army a place to hide out, lick their wounds, and regroup. They went to the seven cities in the Arbor and convinced them to form a loose confederation, which became the Confederated States of the Arbor.
Thus, the Triumvirate was born, an alliance consisting of three equal partners – the Guilds, the Telebrians, and the Confederation. It established a city, Tolenor, on an island in the Bay of Sins on what was, essentially, neutral territory. It also served its purpose – a Triumvirate army chased Sirilo and the Neldathi back south of the Water Road, crushing the Rising at the Battle of the Hogarth Pass.
With the Rising crushed, the Triumvirate carried on, dedicated to keeping the Neldathi from unifying again and threatening the land north of the Water Road. Among other things, it established a string of forts along the southern bank of the river, in Neldathi territory. At the time The Water Road begins it’s been successful. But that’s all about to change.