How Best to Use a Sword is set in a fantasy world called Nova, which is too large to visit in its entirety. The main action of the story currently is set on a continent called Menechit, which is home to two large kingdoms, Dolovai in the north and Kyaine in the south. You can find some very detailed maps of Nova done by my good friend GayWhiteBoy here. For a lot of background information about the world and history, you can browse through all my world posts, featuring a lot of lore, background and profiles of the characters! If you want a detailed history of the world of the story, you can find that here. This page will contain a lot of basic information about places and who lives in them, with links to posts with more detailed information, where available.
Dolovai is a fairly mountainous country that is bisected by the imposing Amaran mountains, home to dragons and all other manner of monsters, including a fortress built by demons at the dawn of civilization. Politically, Dolovai is an amalgam of what used to be three different countries, until the other two were conquered by Dolovai about a thousand years ago. It’s ruled by the ven Sancte family, with Gerard and Georgina ven Sancte being the current king and queen.
The capital of Dolovai is called Three Hills, a large, old city built upon the fossil of a smaller, older and much more haunted city. The ven Sancte family rules from here, and here you will also find the mages’ academy, the First Church of the Blessed and the headquarters of the country’s order of knights.
Pelican Bay is Dolovai’s largest city and its most important port, a coastal city with a huge impact on trade and a long mythic history of housing saints. The other major northern port is White Cape, which serves as the usual landing point for ships sailing over from the empire in the west and also an access point to the far north. Merket is a small city that serves as a home to adventurers and quests, and is known to house two assassins’ guilds and numerous mercenary companies. In Merket, as in much of the north with the exception of White Cape, human slavery remains legal, a holdover from an older northern kingdom that was conquered ages ago. Merket is the former capital of the old northern kingdom of Porean (or Tenchere, depending on which history you read).
Dolovai is also home to a large forest on its eastern edge, home to witches and centaurs, and the longest stretches of the Saint’s River, the longest marine thoroughfare on the continent.
In southern Kyaine, the capital is Hawk’s Roost, a fortified city that served as a bastion for House DiGorre and others during a series of civil wars that make up the nation’s history. Backing onto the Shrike’s Lake, it’s defended by both land and water.
Kyaine is a combination of two former kingdoms that violently came to be one under a unified monarchy, but with many noble houses who don’t get along. House DiGorre recently fell to House Fyrhawk, a far southern noble house that has long been shut out of governance due to old feuds, but King Stephan’s hold on power was tenuous and he lost it upon the arrival of Hans DiFueure, who seized power for himself under the guise of serving as regent for his missing nieces, but was stymied by his niece Dahlia’s return to the throne and her marriage to a political rival, weakening Hans’s power.
Bright Harbour is the largest city in Kyaine and on all of Menechit, with a population of over a million people. It’s arguably the busiest port in the world and controls most of the continent’s commerce. Other major cities in Kyaine include Endwan, Josef’s Boon and Glassheart Castern.
The other major area of note in Kyaine–depending on who you ask–is the Fury Plateau. Called Ech’kent in the native Chez’n, it has a long history of resistance to Kyainese rule and is home to seemingly indefatigable sovereigntist movements. For a long time Ech’kent has been ruled by House Arkhewer, which was a concession to Kyainese rule using western terms to designate a leader from among their own people. House Arkhewer was overthrown recently by Solomon the Sorcerer King, who set up his territory in the plateau because it is isolated and strategically unimportant to Kyaine and therefore unlikely to be fought for–a supposition that was proven right. Lately, it seems like House Arkhewer has started to regain some power in Ech’kent, and a growing rebel movement was recently crushed after a failed attack on the unified front of House Arkhewer and the Sorcerer King. Since this time, efforts are being made to restore old Akar culture and religion, which has been widely met with positive responses from both humans and dragons.
Geographically, the plateau is a plateau, mostly flat and without a lot of arable land. It is bisected by the Chavekma river and home to many gem and iron mines. The Roe Range, the mountains in which the plateau is situated, are home to a great many dragons, revered as deities in old plateau religion. When the Catechism, the main religion on Menechit, moved into the plateau, they built a monastery on Rh’eyltakak, a famous mountain, and renamed it Mount Saint Bernadette.
Menechit is not the only continent in the world; across the western ocean is the Imperial Demesne of Aergyre on the continent of Aergyre, a large and diverse area filled with many different peoples coming together under one imperial, militaristic and colonizing banner. Up in the far north there is a continent called Enjon, home to two nations. The nation of Enjon is run by a federation of five leaders, many of them elected, and the nation of Yassar is a theocratic monarchy whose divine king keeps the kingdom prosperous through pacts with other gods in the pantheon. The continent of Enjon is home to all manner of mysteries to people not from there, and is also home to Nova’s most visible werewolf minority. Aergyre is attempting to colonize it. Aergyre also has colonial presence on the continent of Yavhore, which lies east of Menechit on the same landmass. Yavhore is home to eleven nations in the north and one large alliance of city-states called the Bet-Haren Alliance in the south, as well as a sizeable Imperial colony. To the southwest of Menechit is a mysterious and undiscovered continent called Djyekkan, which is home to two large nations, Tundj and Hvyyk, and which has never been discovered by either Menechit or Aergyre, thanks to impenetrable and permanent storms surrounding it, though a few individual people have been there and back. The southern pole of the planet contains the frozen continent of Tossec, which is uninhabited but wasn’t always.
The main religion of Menechit is called the Catechism, a monotheistic religion centered around a deity understood to have come and banished demons from the world during an event called the Apocalypse, which was followed by the Catechism Wars in which the demons were defeated by the angelic armies. The Catechism is led by the High Presbyter, a political and spiritual figure who can influence kings and make proclamations about belief and doctrine from his or her seat in Three Hills. The Catechism’s beliefs are filled with saints and angels, not only their singular God fighting demons and the devil, in their endless quest to have humanity return to the fabled Gated Land, where they were created and where they will be led at the end of the world after a war between the messiah and the Leader. Prior to the Catechism Wars and the Apocalypse, many gods were worshipped the world over, because they lived among their subjects and maintained dictatorial rule over all other forms of life on the planet before being destroyed in the apocalyptic war that nearly destroyed the world.
For humans, magic on Nova is split into five parts. Witches, wizards, mages, sorcerers and necromancers use different types of power, are trained differently and generally cannot access one another’s powers, though all magic-users are theoretically capable of learning necromancy. Witches‘ and sorcerers‘ powers are hereditary and they live in clans where they teach their offspring magic, but mages, wizards and necromancers are educated either in schools or by individual teachers, depending on the location and culture of the people in question. Various non-human species have access to different types of magic as well.
Nova is home not just to humans, but to various other species as well, including dragons, werewolves, merpeople, elves, faeries, centaurs, orcs, dwarves, harpies, goblins, and spirits, as well as many others who may not be recognized as sentient by the others. There are two kinds of demons on Nova. One group used to be human before an experiment changed them (and a corresponding group of angels as well), experiments which they then extended to others. The second group are intruders from a different universe and are anathema to all that exists in this one. It is for this reason that Nova is also observed from afar by an alien species called the Escever, who are watching the planet out of scientific curiosity, but also in the interest of intergalactic security, as the galactic community broadly defined has been at war with the higher demons for millennia. The Temporal Bureau, an agency dedicated to preserving the temporal fabric of the universe, also has an agent permanently assigned to Nova, a planet with a simultaneous history and future of temporal incursions.
If you’re curious about anything from the world that isn’t covered on this page, free free to ask me a question. Enjoy!