Kyonin

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Kyonin
Symbol of Kyonin.
(Nation)

Land
Alignment
Capital
Ruler
Government
Monarchy
Demonym
Kyoni (s.) / Kyoni (pl.)
Adjective
Kyonin
Languages
Religions
Source: The Inner Sea World Guide, pg(s). 94–95 (1E)
World Guide, pg(s). 127–128 (2E)

The homeland of the elven race on Golarion, Kyonin (pronounced ky-OH-nihn)1 was almost completely evacuated by the elves just before the fall of the Starstone in -5293 AR. They only recently (by elven standards) returned to Golarion to reclaim their ancient homeland and became an isolationist realm, allowing few non-elven visitors into their mist-shrouded capital, Iadara.2

History

Kyonin may not always have been known as Kyonin and has not always had the same borders as it has today, but it has ever been the spiritual homeland of the elves. It is unknown exactly how long elves have resided there. Before Earthfall, the elves did not measure time in any meaningful way, only by the great astrological cycles and the ebb and flow of the seasons. Certainly, Kyonin was inhabited for a very long time before Earthfall, as numerous ruins of monuments, buildings, fountains, orreries, and sculptures still dot the forests north of the Five Kings Mountains. The elves lived in harmony with the land during this period, as the structures they built seem to grow from the landscape itself.23

Earthfall

Despite the innumerable years the elves had spent dwelling amongst the vast forests and rolling fields of their homelands, they were forced to abandon their ancient home in -5293 AR. Elven seers foresaw the coming of the Starstone and the devastation it would wreak on Golarion. Seeing no other alternative, the elves retreated from Golarion via a magical gate known as the Sovyrian Stone to the mysterious realm of Sovyrian, from which they are rumored to have originated. They left behind little more than legends and fantastical, ruined cities.32

Some elves remained on Golarion as stewards of their former homes and ancient cities, or out of a loyalty for Golarion, while others believed that they could survive the coming apocalypse or believed that the seers were simply wrong.3 Those who remained behind went their various ways after Earthfall, surviving as best they could in the new, harsher world, and slowly growing away from the old, elven culture. Many assimilated into human cultures, becoming the first Forlorn: elves who have grown up among non-elves. A few remained behind in Kyonin, continuing to watch their ancient cities and protect their cultural lore. Kyonin remained effectively an abandoned nation, watched over only by a few elven sentinels for nearly 8,000 years. Few in numbers, they largely kept to illusion-shrouded Iadara and looked on helplessly as their abandoned communities were looted, and their former homes taken over by squatters. Countless cultural and magical artifacts were taken during this time, a slight that the elves have not forgiven to this day.4

Coming of Treerazer

The Witchbole, Treerazer's moving palace.

The catalyst for the elves' return from Sovyrian began thousands of years later in the foul depths of the Outer Rifts when the nascent demon lord Treerazer attempted an unsuccessful coup against his demonic master Cyth-V'sug. While this was not particularly unusual in the traitorous politics of the Outer Rifts, what was unusual was that Treerazer was not killed for his treason. Instead, he was permanently exiled to Golarion in 2497 AR, and found himself in the southern Fierani Forest. He immediately began sucking all life from the land and poisoning its plants, water, and earth. He eventually traveled northwards and discovered shrouded Iadara. There he probed the minds of the few remaining elves and learned of the Sovyrian Stone, and immediately realized he could pervert its energies, break its connection to Sovyrian, and use it to open a portal to the Outer Rifts, from where he planned to draw a demonic horde.4

The few remaining elves in Kyonin provided little resistance, and soon Treerazer had possession of the Sovyrian Stone. His infernal manipulations did not, however, go unnoticed. In distant Sovyrian, the elves detected Treerazer's attempts to corrupt the Stone. The elves returned to Golarion in 2632 AR,5 pouring through the gateway and driving back Treerazer and his foul minions.673

Upon returning to Golarion they found it much changed. The world had recovered faster in the past 8,000 years than the elves had anticipated. Fighting for their homes, the elves pushed Treerazer back to the very limits of Kyonin, but found they were unable to destroy him completely. Content that the threat of Treerazer was contained, the elves set about guarding the part of southern Kyonin where Treerazer had fled, an area now known as the Tanglebriar. With the demon contained, the elves steeled themselves for a further onslaught, expecting the hordes of savage humans that they had been fighting with when they left Golarion. The attack never came, and when the elves began to explore the world, they found humanity to be generally far more civilised than when they had left. Instead of returning to Sovyrian, the elves decided to remain on Golarion and repopulate their ancestral homeland. Since then, the elves have continued their battle against Treerazer and struggle to re-establish themselves in a new and very different world.3

Geography

Kyonin is a haven of incredible natural beauty. The predominant feature of the country is the Fierani Forest, but Kyonin also boasts sweeping plains and the northernmost peaks of the Five Kings Range, which form its southern border. On the western border lies Lake Encarthan, and the northern and eastern borders are formed by the Glass River; the West Sellen River; and the Sellen River, which flows to the Inner Sea.89

Tanglebriar

The exception to the immense beauty of Kyonin is the Tanglebriar, the demon-haunted swamps between the southern edge of the Fierani Forest and the northern edge of the Five Kings Mountains. The area was once part of the Fierani Forest, but became something far more sinister when Treerazer settled there over two millennia ago. The demonic essence of the demon lord and his minions has corrupted the forest, turning it into a dark swamp where the light of the sun rarely reaches the ground, and evil fey cavort with Outer Rifts-spawned demons.1011

Aiudara network

An elf gate, or aiudara as the elves call them.

One of Kyonin's greatest assets is the system of teleportation gates known as the aiudara. Similar in design and function to the great Sovyrian Stone, these lesser gates connect Kyonin with locations across Golarion, and allow them to draw on far-flung resources at a moment's notice.4

Government

Queen Telandia Edasseril, bearer of the Viridian Crown, is the ruler of Kyonin. Although she is an absolute monarch, Telandia is a liberal queen who understands that freedom is one of the highest ideals of the elven race. As is the case in human courts around the world, elven courts are no strangers to factionalism and intrigue: members of her court and her advisors can question her decisions, or actively work to advance their own interests. Their advice is wide-ranging and includes urging her to retake more of their ancestral holdings across Avistan and Garund and definitively deal with Treerazer and his minions.4 In addition to members of her Iadaran court and her own advisors, independent elven groups, such as the conservative Winter Council, also hope to change the queen's mind on a number of issues.12313 Queen Telandia knows that for elves to recapture their power in the current age, they must shrug off their cloaks of isolationism and re-engage with the world, and with each passing year, more non-elven ambassadors are allowed into Kyonin to explore the mysterious nation.14

Foreign relations

Unlike the Forlorn, the elves of Kyonin have no desire to live amongst non-elves, despite the many cultural and technological advances humanity has achieved in the last few thousand years. In the eyes of the Kyonin elves, human cultures and religions are simply too diverse and chaotic to compete with their own culture's serene refinements.4

Change in policy

Until recently, Kyonin had followed a strictly isolationist policy,4 but the renewed menace posed by the re-emergent Tar-Baphon has refocused the elves' gaze beyond their borders. Elven authorities, drawing from their own experiences and historical archives, anticipate that it is only a matter of time before Tar-Baphon becomes an existential threat to the entire region. Consequently, Kyonin's leadership has initiated the dispatch of more diplomatic envoys to other nations, preparing for the possibility of a large-scale war that could devastate the continent. Simultaneously, this necessity for increased cooperation with other nations has prompted Kyonin's leaders to cautiously open their closely monitored borders to ambassadors and visitors from various ancestries and countries.15

Nevertheless, the elven passion for freedom often translates these endeavors into the actions of like-minded individuals rather than the decrees of governing bodies. In reality, even the current initiatives of the elves are less the outcomes of formal governmental mandates and more a collective determination among individuals to contribute to the greater good. The fact that Kyonin's assistance seldom arises from a national consensus, but rather represents the independent efforts of numerous individuals, has fostered a widespread perception that elves, as a whole, have little concern for the other nations of Avistan. However, the recent devastation of Lastwall has galvanized many younger elves into action, aiming to counteract their nation's image of indifference as well as confront the menace of the Whispering Tyrant.15

Some factions that express concerns regarding the wisdom of permitting outsiders into Kyonin have made a particularly compelling case concerning the Fierani Forest. This concern is especially evident in regard to the capital city of Iadara, which features several aiudara that connect the elven realm to distant lands. Consequently, sections of the city are veiled in illusions and mystical mists to discourage non-elven visitors from venturing outside their designated zones. Paradoxically, many of these same groups, while concerned about the safety of the elven capital, acknowledge the value of non-elven warriors from the north. These warriors bring experience gained from the demon-hunting campaigns in Mendev and may prove indispensable in the elven endeavors to confront the threat posed by Treerazer in the southern regions of Kyonin.15

Human neighbors

Kyonin's isolationist tendencies have led to some complicated interactions with Kyonin's human neighbors. The Iadaran government is on generally good terms with freedom-loving Andoran and the crusaders who traveled up the Sellen River to reach Mendev. Other neighbors, however, showcase the worst elements of human civilization: bureaucratic Druma, chaotic Galt, and the constantly warring River Kingdoms. The recent change in foreign policy (see above), however, has led Kyonin to establish a minor diplomatic presence in the Galtan city of Isarn.16 Additionally, Kyonin is effectively in a cold war with Razmiran to the north, because its ruler, Razmir, has declared the elves to be heretics. The war is not a particularly active one, however, as Kyonin's northern border is well-defended, and Razmiran is not eager to lose more troops. Rulers of the River Kingdoms have been known to seek recognition from the elven nation, but the elven queen has no interest in treating with such transitory realms. This has caused considerable friction, even to the point of conflict, but River Kingdom inhabitants have long ago learned to treat the elves with caution and respect after several failed incursions into Kyonin.[citation needed]

Kyonin has long desired to reclaim the human-occupied elven ruin of Sevenarches in the River Kingdoms and has established the colony of Hymbria toward that end. Kyonin's control over this outpost has been growing increasingly tenuous in recent years due to populating Hymbria mainly with malcontents and other undesirables.17

The elves have never fully forgiven humanity for the illicit trade of elven goods that were taken from Kyonin during the elves' long absence. Organisations such as the Pathfinder Society are especially reviled, and the elves have responded violently to the Society's interference in elven matters. This was demonstrated in 4708 AR when the elven queen had a Pathfinder group known as the Leaves of Talhindir assassinated.18

Five Kings Mountains

The elves have a cordial, even friendly, relationship with the dwarves of the Five Kings Mountains as both countries support isolationist policies.11 The two nations recently began vigorous defensive coordination and training to help combat the threat of Treerazer, which has improved relations and supported cultural exchange.19

Economy

A typical Kyonin settlement.

Kyonin is celebrated for the artistry of its crafters and primarily specializes in exporting finished goods. The Kalistocrats of Druma have been trying to take advantage of this market and hope to expand trade with Kyonin, striving to position themselves as the foremost intermediaries between the elven nation and the global market.20

Inhabitants

Numerous individuals in the Inner Sea region tend to perceive the elves of Kyonin as aloof and isolationist, a stereotype inadvertently solidified due to the elves' extensive preoccupation with internal conflicts. Despite increased engagement on the world stage, existence in Kyonin has remained remarkably consistent throughout the centuries. The elves persist in their reverence for profound knowledge, craftsmanship, and the arcane arts. Nevertheless, the arrival of outsiders into their realm has brought with it fresh concepts that depart from purely elven customs.[citation needed]

There are three communities where non-elves have been openly welcomed for some time. The port city of Greengold was founded to allow trade with foreign merchants on Kyonin soil, and has flourished into a cosmopolitan city inhabited by members of every civilized race. Additionally, half-elves occupy the fishing village of Erages, and gnomes have built a treetop community above the elven settlement of Omesta.3211122

Despite the fact that the return from Sovyrian happened over 2,000 years ago, the elves of Kyonin are still in the process of reclaiming the settlements they abandoned while fleeing the Starstone.10

Religion

The elves of Kyonin worship a large assortments of deities, although Calistria, Desna, and Nethys are the most popular. Kyonin is also one of the few places on Golarion where the gods of the elven pantheon are commonly worshiped.2

References

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 94. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 88–89. Paizo Inc., 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 95. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. Brian Cortijo. “Descent into Midnight” in Descent into Midnight, 23. Paizo Inc., 2009
  6. Wolfgang Baur. “The Land of Black Blood” in Descent into Midnight, 49. Paizo Inc., 2009
  7. James L. Sutter. Kyonin” in A Memory of Darkness, 55. Paizo Inc., 2009
  8. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 96. Paizo Inc., 2011
  9. Unknown author. Inner Sea Poster Map Folio. Paizo Inc., 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 James L. Sutter. Kyonin” in A Memory of Darkness, 48. Paizo Inc., 2009
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 James L. Sutter. Kyonin” in A Memory of Darkness, 54. Paizo Inc., 2009
  12. Hal Maclean & Jeff Quick. “Persona: Queen Telandia Edasseril” in Elves of Golarion, 30. Paizo Inc., 2008
  13. JD Wiker. “A Memory of Darkness” in A Memory of Darkness, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009
  14. James L. Sutter. Kyonin” in A Memory of Darkness, 49. Paizo Inc., 2009
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Tanya DePass, et al. Shining Kingdoms” in World Guide, 127–128. Paizo Inc., 2019
  16. Tanya DePass, et al. Shining Kingdoms” in World Guide, 126. Paizo Inc., 2019
  17. Elaine Cunningham. Hymbria” in Guide to the River Kingdoms, 21. Paizo Inc., 2010
  18. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 11. Paizo Inc., 2009
  19. John Compton. “Character Suggestions” in Sky King's Tomb Player's Guide, 9. Paizo Inc., 2023
  20. Tanya DePass, et al. Shining Kingdoms” in World Guide, 124–125. Paizo Inc., 2019
  21. James L. Sutter. Kyonin” in A Memory of Darkness, 53. Paizo Inc., 2009
  22. James L. Sutter. Kyonin” in A Memory of Darkness, 51. Paizo Inc., 2009

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