It is the 101th year of the Age of Chaos, a period that dawned when Shiro, the Dragon-God vanished. The land of Kaya is wild and dangerous and its native peoples, many whom have long been at war with the civilised frontier of Kato, now seek to reclaim their lands as the city’s new Monarch grows less and less vigilant in maintaining the frontier.

The only respite, was a recent period of eight decades, when the Monarch, Susano’o Yusei, united the royal families and restored the rule of Law. Under her rule, Queen Yusei managed to find a balance between the Old Law and the New, forging bonds between the people of Kato and the Unthalatu - dragon folk who dwelt in the swamps to the west. Together, they fought back against the wilderness, reconnecting distant outposts, reclaiming distant roads and, for a time, it seemed that new age of prosperity was dawning.

Following her reign, Yusei’s son, Zheng took the throne. Yusei had borne her children prior to coronation and, as a result, when Zheng sat on the throne he was already quite old. His rule was steady, even if his insatiate appetites were a drain on the city’s coffers. Like his mother, Zheng showcased an incredible aptitude to navigate the rocks and shoals of diplomacy with the Unthlatu. Rumours persisted of his womanizing habits and spendthrift ways but this was largely tolerated by the public. The aging King had no children of his own and the need for an heir was a concern shared by much of the populace.

With his Majesty’s fondness for the soft touch preceding him, it came as was no surprise that when Zheng married, his bride was barely a third of his age. Mei-Ling Susano was a woman of breathtaking beauty, with the dark hair of a soft night sky, chaste alabaster skin and features so fetching that many claimed her mother must have been a nymph, as surely no mortal woman could give birth to a beauty such as she. The two were wed after a scandalously short courtship, and, shortly after his mother passed, the effect of the new Queen-Consort was felt. The King’s interest in standing against the wilderness of the frontier vanished; now secondary to a life of luxury alongside his young bride.

Edicts proclaim Zheng ‘the Saffron King’, likening his current reign to one of abundance, in which honey and spice flood the markets. The city’s downtrodden have recently coined a new name for his bride however – the Stirge Queen, a woman whose endorsement of the King’s squandering ways are slowly bleeding the city dry. The more remote townships like Honda and White Wave see less and less support from the capital and old enemies, ever vigilant, have begun to stir again. ­

World of Kaya