Kingmaker in Eberron
All folk of the brightest realm, wave the flag for victory!
Build the walls high that none can harm a land so free!
Aundair is on the move! Hold your standard high!
March on! March on!
Aundair strives on until victory is ours!
—March of Tensin, the Aundairian anthem
Aundair at a Glance
Data based on census ordered by royal decree, 997 YK.
Population: 2 million
Area: 560,000 square miles
Sovereign: Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn, heir to Galifar and Regent of the Brightest Realm
Major Cities: Passage, Stormhome
Highest Point: Mt. Colieris in the Starpeak Range, elevation 16,112 feet
Heraldry: The head and wings of a dragonhawk, on a field of blue, beneath the tome of knowledge and grains of unending wheat
Founder: Wrogar, fourth scion of King Jarot
National Motto: “What we sow in effort, we harvest in good fortune.”
Aundair is a land of earth and sky. On the ground, common folk plow fields and raise crops, toiling to make the land’s villages and communities thrive. The nation’s fields and vineyards are among the most bountiful in all Khorvaire, tended by the same families for generations. Although the nation’s largest cities attract traders and adventurers from across the continent, most of its citizens live a simple, rural existence. Yet for all their earthy wisdom, idealists inspire the citizens of Aundair, including the nation’s arcane mages.
Cynics scoff that powerful wizards act as the power behind the throne of Queen Aurala, but there is little evidence that the arcane has an undue influence on the crown. While the nation utilizes master mages for its defense, the common folk are quite capable of defending themselves. They are steadfast, trusting to what they know, what they can make, and what they can defend by themselves. The trials of the last century have only strengthened their resolve.
Without magic, the average Aundairian works long and hard to succeed. With it, she is even stronger. While the nation has orders of knighthood, militias drafted from the common folk bolster its standing armies. This is as much out of tradition as necessity—large and extended families are common, and any threat of danger can bring distant relations running to help. When war looms, young men and women gather in the fields to train with simple and martial weapons. Like a thunderstorm rolling across the plains, a noble’s call to battle can marshal armies overnight, mustering commoners willing to fight and die for their land and queen.
When the martial wizards of Arcanix, the Starpeaks Academy, and other secluded schools emerge from their studies, their combined force is undeniable. Enemy tacticians can prepare for an assault against an Aundairian army, but predicting the ways of wizards is far more difficult. To this day, wizards, sorcerers, magewrights, and artificers are held in high esteem.
The influence of wizardry and sorcery has fostered respect for intellect and wit here. From commoners to kings, most Aundairians have strong opinions and enjoy a spirited debate. A typical peasant may possess an encyclopedic knowledge of local and natural lore, while a lord or lady can often regale listeners with local history. Although labor offers its own rewards, the average Aundairian believes that intellect and dedication can overcome nearly any problem. Magic merely empowers and exemplifies these traits. In fact, respect for quick wits and intellectual discipline may very well be one of the reasons so many talented wizards come from this country.
Aundair, the land of wizards in floating castles, ivy-covered universities, fragrant vineyards, and golden wheat fields, struggles to reclaim past glories in the wake of the Last War. The nation isn’t what it once was, having lost land and people to the Eldeen Reaches while trading territory with Thrane. Still, it is a proud land, full of proud people, led by a proud and ambitious queen. The common folk of this largely agrarian country stand fast to defend their land, valuing wit and bravado and demonstrating a powerful connection to knowledge and magic.
Before there was a Galifar, the human settlement that would eventually become Aundair grew up along the northwestern shore of Scions Sound, in the approximate location of modern-day Thaliost. In fact, that city carries the original name of the nation as a reminder of its beginnings. It wasn’t until later, as the nation spread to the west, that Fairhaven became its capital.
Today, Aundair holds a long sliver of land that stretches from the Eldeen Bay and Scions Sound to the Blackcaps in the south, and is bordered on the west by the Wynarn River. The eastern border is harder to identify, and is hotly disputed with Thrane.
Aundair spent most of the Last War in battles against Karrnath and Thrane, and those nations remain rivals to this day. The Treaty of Thronehold established Scions Sound as the border between Aundair and Karrnath, and the two nations eye each other warily over coastlines that bristle with defenses. At any given time, most of the Aundairian Navy’s flotillas are patrolling Scions Sound and Eldeen Bay, keeping a close eye on their Karrnathi counterparts.
Aundairians keenly feel the loss of the Thaliost region in the east, which wound up in Thrane’s hands after the Treaty of Thronehold. Many Aundairians mutter that Thaliost is “Aundair’s by heritage” and believe that Queen Aurala’s diplomats capitulated too easily. Other Aundairians point out that Thrane’s Army of the Northern Crusade was camped in Thaliost when the treaty was signed (and have been in control of the region, for the most part, since 977 YK), so it’s not surprising that Thrane wound up with this chunk of land. Aundair would very much like to reclaim Thaliost—through either diplomatic or military means.
The loss of territory on the western border also continues to haunt Aundair and its leaders. Forty years ago, the nation lost two-thirds of its land mass and a fifth of its people when the Eldeen Reaches declared independence. Periodic efforts during the Last War to reclaim “Western Aundair” met with bloody failure, and a low-intensity guerrilla war still wages between the Aundair army’s border garrisons and the people of the Eldeen Reaches.
Despite the loss of territory, Aundair has strengths that match its strategic ambitions. Aundair’s army and navy are slowly rebuilding from their low point at the end of the war, and periodic saber-rattling about “liberating Thaliost” ensures a steady stream of young recruits. The Arcane Congress provides the country with access to arcane magic that often exceeds that available anywhere outside the dragonmarked houses. Moreso than any other nation, Aundair integrates arcane magic into its military efforts—from the magic missile-casting sorcerer attached to an infantry squad and the artificer-built arcane weaponry, to the summoned creatures and earthshaking spells of mighty wizards. This arcane potency is enough to make any enemy think twice before clashing with Aundair.
Many outsiders consider Aundairians to be fiercely competitive, almost arrogant in their willingness to display their verbal, martial, and intellectual skill. Arrogance is hardly a unique trait in the Five Nations, however. A clever commoner would instead say that an Aundairian learns from an early age to stand his ground. Those who grow up in the country with many brothers and sisters quickly learn to deal with competition. Any Aundairian who’s worked an afternoon in a trading village’s marketplace knows that making a living depends on making your opinions well known.
This doesn’t mean that an Aundairian responds to any disagreement by being stubborn; quite the opposite. Aundairians know that if they can’t settle something with a quick test of wits, a simple duel to “first blood,” or a clever quip, their neighbors are “resolute” enough to hold a grudge for a long time. Bad feelings can easily escalate into a more dangerous conflict.
An Aundairian is more likely to follow someone with a good plan or glib tongue than the largest or strongest warrior in the group. When bullied or coerced, an Aundairian patiently waits for a time when he can overcome his opponent with wits, not force of arms. This is as true for monks and bards as it is for well-armed fighters. Aundairians who are unusually belligerent are more likely to embark on adventures in distant countries, since boorish or crass behavior isn’t tolerated in local trading villages and marketplaces.
Aundairians walk a careful balance between pragmatism and idealism. Even common folk feel a
responsibility to stand up for what is right. When a hero makes a stand, an entire village steps forth to support him if he fights for what is right—or mobilizes against him if they believe he is wrong. If the world does not live up to an Aundairian’s ideals, he is patient enough to work throughout the year, or even a lifetime (in some cases), to make it right. Its citizens are ambitious without being foolhardy. They know that the nation has skilled fighters and wizards to resolve problems they cannot handle, but if no heroes are around to aid them, they will tackle the problem as best they can.
The people of Aundair tend to employ paint and rhyming verse when it comes to artistic expression. Fine art, in the form of oil paintings and watercolors, ranges from realistic renderings of landscapes and people to the uniquely developed and increasingly popular Mage-Aundist style. First seen in the markets of Arcanix, this form combines a highly stylized approach that uses mildly glamered, richly pigmented paints to create a type of expression that one Wynarn University provost called “life at its essence, as seen through an arcane haze.” Compared to its fine art, Aundairian rhyming verse tends to be crude, boisterous, and relatively unsophisticated.
The people of Aundair prefer neat, orderly construction that stresses function above style or comfort. That isn’t to say that Aundairian architecture is neither stylish nor comfortable, just that utilitarian concerns are first and foremost in mind when a building is designed and constructed.
In Aundairian cities and towns, towers of magically worked stone form the central spoke from which the rest of the community grows. Most buildings tend to be made of brick or worked stone, though wood is used in portions of the construction. Everything has an elegant look, light and airy, with ornate features that suggest the soaring spirit and outlook of the people of this nation.
Farms and villages promote a simple architectural style that one can find throughout the rural regions of the Five Nations. A traveler can tell he’s visiting a farm in Aundair, however, due to the concave gables that adorn the roofs of the houses, barns, and outbuildings. Interior design throughout the nation strives to create open, airy, well-lit rooms with high ceilings and few partitions separating one space from another.
Aundairian cuisine features a cacophony of ingredients that their classically trained chefs turn into a symphony of taste and texture. Aundairian meals consist of small portions presented in elegant fashion, each plate a beauty to behold and a wonder to savor. Sauces play a heavy role in any recipe, and the cuisine of this nation is considered to be exquisitely rich and suitable for special occasions.
Pan-seared rabbit with an Aundairian wood-nut sauce, gold pheasant stuffed with sparkle mushrooms and rice, and dragon salmon in butter and dark wine sauce are particular favorites that have begun appearing in House Ghallanda inns throughout the Five Nations.
This region also has a reputation for its premier vineyards, and the wines of Aundair are considered among the finest in all of Khorvaire. Some of the best recent vintages now being traded in markets across the land include fireburst wine from the vineyards of Arcanix, dark Orla-un wine known for its fruity sweetness, and Windshire rainbow wine, a type of mursi (red wine) that changes color and flavor as one consumes a glass.
Finally, Aundairian pastries and sweets reveal a level of artistic and culinary sophistication unmatched throughout the Five Nations. From tarts to cremfels (thin, fruit-and-cream-filled pancakes), the desserts that originated in this region combine elegance with artistry that reveals at least a portion of the Aundairian spirit.
The Aundairian taste for elegance and sophistication extend to the fashions worn in cities such as Fairhaven and Passage, where frilled glimmersilk combines with ornately decorated cloaks and jackets to adorn the rich and powerful. Those of more modest means attempt to duplicate these styles as best they can, using spidersilk or some similarly less expensive fabric in place of glimmersilk. Men and women in the cities and larger towns wear elegant party gloves in public, a style that began as an accoutrement to fashions worn for a night on the town but have become the common practice. Many feel that they haven’t finished dressing if they haven’t donned their party gloves.
The simpler folk, including common laborers and farmers, wear simpler garb. Everyday clothes for both men and women include the bard-style tunic, a pullover shirt with a V-cut neck and flared sleeves, durable cotton pants, and sturdy leather boots. Most men try to have at least one set of “best clothes,” an outfit suitable for wear to a town gathering, a special function, or holiday party. Women keep a simple dress and an elegant dress (made of glimmersilk or spidersilk if they can afford it) for the same purposes.
Aundairian Views on the Five Nations
Arwyn Clearwater, an Aundairian farmer, gives her opinions about the Five Nations.
Aundair: “We may fight among ourselves, but I’ll gladly follow another Aundairian before I’ll surrender to an invader. I was born here, and I’ll die here, if that’s what it takes to defend my land.”
Breland: “Sharn’s only one small part of their country, no matter what the Brelish may believe. Those arrogant braggarts think they’re the center of the world, but they still send their merchants to us for food and wine. I’ve talked to some who say the Brelish would have won the Last War if they kept fighting. I don’t believe that for a second, since I know Aundair would have never surrendered. Queen Aurala, maybe, but not me and my neighbors.”
Cyre: “Kind of moot, isn’t it? I heard the Cyrans who survived are all Brelish now. I don’t know whether it was their own fault or someone else’s, and to be honest, I don’t care. We survived the war, they didn’t, and that’s what’s important.”
Karrnath: “No country that refuses to let its dead rest in peace is worthy of respect. Oh, they fight well enough, and they make a mean wheel of cheese and a hearty mug of ale, but they use skeletons and zombies to fight their battles. It’s a dark and strange land to be sure, and such a land breeds dark and strange people.”
Thrane: “I prefer my religion on the side, not running the country. The people of Thrane are fanatics, and they ended up stealing land that rightfully belongs to Aundair. I say it’s time to take back what’s ours.”
The following turns of phrase are uniquely Aundairian.
“Chattering doesn’t roll the barrel.” Shut up and get to work, in other words.
“Dirty hands stroke a white beard.” As you get older, you may have to compromise your youthful ideals.
More generally used to mean “sometimes you have to compromise.”
“Have two strings for your bow.” An expression of caution and preparation.
“Without wine there is no conversation.” Beyond its obvious meaning, the phrase is spoken as a request for or promise of hospitality.
“Brightness be!” An expression of surprise.
“Aundair dares! Aundair dares!” A warcry and taunt popular among Aundairian soldiers during the Last War.
Aundairian names follow the Galifaran tradition of a personal name followed by a family-based surname.
Male: Ari, Bokk, Breyten, Daen, Dover, Erben, Fluin, Gavrin, Hagro, Herschem, Huys, Jurian,
Kamiel, Killian, Kleris, Reng, Retief, Riaan, Saal, Sarelo, Sithov, Tak, Tyman, Urik.
Female: Aafki, Agate, Baltia, Batrax, Beleth, Chantal, Fientia, Flerentia, Gwen, Hjeltia, Juliona, Levini, Margana, Marloes, Sanne, Sien, Tanneken, Vilina.
Surnames: Aarland, Acker, Adriansen, Alyea, Arendt, Bacher, Banekert, Bartell, Bateu, Crudaker, Caldamus, Corleis, Dekker, Ennes, Gerlach, Haldron, Hugrin, Jurians, Karch, Kendig, Maartel, Mantanye, Merchiot, Nagel, Ostren, Petilom, Redeker, Rhuli, Romhaar, Serontain, Shreve, Sykes, Taumen, Thiel, Toriun, Tullier, Valleau, Veseur, Yanger, Zenden.
Five Things Every Aundarian Knows
1. The names of fine wines and other liquors. Not every Aundairian can afford Bluevine wine or
something from the Mount and Moon cellars, but everyone can name his or her favorite labels and engage in animated conversations about the relative merits of each.
2. Some signature dueling moves. Aundairians love the flash of swordplay, and even the clumsiest citizen can slowly emulate the “twisting lunge” or “dragonhawk riposte” that he sees in the swordfighting demonstrations common in villagesquare entertainment.
3. A bit about horses. With its rolling verdant hills, Aundair is horse country second only to Valenar in Khorvaire.
4. Several “add-a-verse” songs. Popular as everything from children’s lullabies to drinking chanties, rhyming songs where a verse is added each time (such as “The House that Galifar Built” or “The 12 Days of End Year”) are an Aundairian tradition. Some run for nearly a hundred verses.
5. The Epic of the Valiant and Vigilant. Popularized some forty years ago by Aundair’s bards, this tale takes about forty-five minutes to recite—and most Aundairians have heard it so many times that they can recite it from memory. The Epic of the Valiant and Vigilant describes the twin sieges of Tower Valiant and Tower Vigilant in 951 YK, told from the perspective of two lovers, each trapped within one of the castles but believing the other to be safe.