First, a caveat. I am not going to talk much about the antagonists in Emergence because I don’t want to give too much away. Info about most bad guys is revealed slowly as the story progresses, and there are only a few story segments from a baddie POV. And of course there are secret baddies, spies, and people who look evil but might not be. That said, though, I can certainly talk about the dark and twisty kingdom to the west of the Black Mountains, MasMindon.
MasMindon has been a thorn in the side of the Greystone Protectorates since the dim, prehistoric era before the Northern Migration hundreds of years ago. The two countries fought several major wars and numerous small battles since that time, with only one clash among the many initiated by the armies of Greystone. MasMindon, despite covering the known Land from Cronia to the Western Flow and from the Black Mountains to the Theron Sea, is resource-poor. But instead of pursuing trade, they have chosen conquest. If not for the nearly impenetrable barrier of the mountains, there might have been endless war between Greystone and MasMindon.
The current King of MasMindon is the aged but strangely vigorous Balon Horncrest. He rules as an absolute dictator from the capital city of Maradon near the Gray Marshes. Directly beneath King Balon in the power structure are his twin sons Ardeman and Tamaric, known as the Blood Princes. King Balon keeps very few within his circle of power, but there is no doubt that his chief advisor Pinneron is a key figure. MasMindon is divided into counties that are each ruled by a Warlord. The Warlords are typically selected from the ranks of the Mindonite army by either the King or the Blood Princes.
At the heart of the current rancor between Greystone and MasMindon is the attempted Mindonite invasion of RC 1260 (the current year is RC 1299). During that invasion, assassins killed King Darren Greystone, his wife, and three of their four children. King Balon denied that he was responsible for the assassinations, but his credibility is suspect.
Since the borders between the Greystone Protectorates and MasMindon remain closed, most current information that is known about MasMindon comes from secretly gathered intelligence. Rumor has it that Queen Lorillin Greystone’s Chief of Security, Jaymes Baron, operates an extensive spy network throughout the known Land. While all royal officials deny the existence of such a spy agency, several new facts about MasMindon’s ruling family have recently been learned.
The Blood Princes have secretly fathered sons (as many as a half-dozen, maybe more) and had them raised far from Maradon near the mountain village of Garon. Neither Blood Prince is married, and there has been no sign of the women who gave birth to these young men. There has also been conversation in the town of Garon about an organization called the Blood Knights, but little is known about what this name means.
Another oddity involves reports of wagons, apparently full of prisoners, being delivered directly to Maradon Castle. This is quite strange, since the design of King Balon’s red castle does not include extensive prison facilities, and Mindonite legal matters are usually (brutally) handled within each local Warlord’s jurisdiction. Further, none of these large groups of prisoners have ever been seen leaving the castle. Recent reports also claim that many of the prisoners appear to be asleep or dazed upon arrival.
On an unrelated note, a disturbing new development in baddie-dom has come to light within the Protectorates themselves. For the first time in Greystone’s history, a widespread organized crime ring has developed. They call themselves the Trax, and reports suggest that their ranks are managed from within Greystone City itself by a ruthless leader called the Hilt. Some royal officials believe that the Trax is directly responsible for the recent dramatic increases in crime throughout the duchies. Local patrols across the nation have been instructed to be on the lookout for potential Trax activity.
That’s it for now! Proofreading of Emergence continues. Hoping to be done in another week or so.