Avalon is a series of islands located to the North West of the known world.
Avalon is a place steeped in magic with a long, legendary history. Humans are neither the only, first, or most powerful residents of the Isles - those distinctions belongs to the Sidhe (Faerie Folk) Humans however are the most common creatures, and the ones people are most likely to see (and live to tell about it) Avalon's history is more legend then anything else. It begins with a flood. According to Avalon legend, the whole world flooded, and all that was left of humanity was in a boat. They would have died there, were it not for a chance encounter with the Sidhe. The Sidhe, having never seen creatures such as the humans, took pity on the wayward sailors, and led them to the only surviving land - Avalon. Later, they discovered other land still existed, when Avalon was invaded by the Old Empire, lead by a general named Julius Gaius. The native Avalonians were overwhelmed by the power of the Old Empire's military technology and magic. They turned to their former saviors, the Sidhe, but they only waited and watched. For 150 years, Avalon was part of the empire, subject to it's laws and power. Then, the Sidhe acted. The Empire lost all contact with Avalon, and the entire island chain disappeared behind a veil of impenetrable storms. The island was written off as cursed and forgotten. 60 years later, the storm ended, and inside not a day had passed for the people of Avalon. Their leaders gone, no longer interested in the cursed island, the people of the empire gradually merged into the general populace.
The next visitors to the land of Avalon too came to conquer. They came in longships, armed with axes, looking for land, gold, and glory. The many kings of Avalon bickered over how to fight back, falling one-by-one to the invaders, until one king - King Elilodd - stood against them. He routed their forces at every turn, pushing them back until they were forced to flee Avalon. Elilodd didn't stop there; he used what he had learned of their ships, and built his own fleet, following them back to their home, where he waged a mighty battle against their high king. when the battle was over, the Avalon king stood victorious. Rather then claim dominion over the conquered land, he forged an alliance with the enemy high king and returned to Avalon, where he united the Isle of Avalon under one crown. The Sidhe, recognizing his importance, gifted him an artifact called "the graal" which granted he and his people great power - that of Glamour. For hundred of years the kingdom of Avalon flourished. that is until Good King Herygh, in his old age, tried to divide his kingdom up between his three sons. This resulted in a civil war, that weakened the country. As the civil war raged, the people of Avalon grew distant from the Sidhe and their magic waned until, in 1028, the graal disappeared, the Sidhe and the Glamour magic with it.
It was another 6 centuries of Montaigne conquest,noble family warfare, and more legends then can be told (from the legend of Robin Goodfellow who stole from the rich to give to the poor, to Nimble-Jack who stole from giants in the clouds, to the Green Man who was decapitated and lived to tell the tale) before the graal and it's magic returned in the hands of the once and future Queen Elaine I. Since then, Avalon and her sister nations (of Inismore and Highland Marches) have grown into a powerful coalition and political powerhouse.
The nation of "Avalon" is actually three nations acting in concert. They officially follow the rules of Avalon and for the most part do - if only because Queen Elaine has the graal. The other two nations have their own leaders - each powerful in their own regard. The leader of Inismore is "Mad Jack" O'bannon - a man who has ruled the island of Inismore no less then 3 times of it's entire history and legend. He is supposedly immortal, close to all-seeing, and entirely insane. He is known for occasionally going on "walks" for a century at a time, only to return and reclaim his throne. The Leader of the other nation - The Highland Marches - is James Macduff, the chosen leader among the mighty highland clans. Avalon has difficult relations with most. Montaigne and Castille have both tried to claim Avalon in the recent past - failing spectacularly for their efforts. They maintain a good relationship with the Vendel/Vestenmannavnjar as they have for nearly 1000 years. This distances the Vodacce, as the Vendel are their worst enemies. Eisen had a good relationship with Avalon until the War of the Cross destroyed the Eisen state - now that relationship depends on which leader Avalon is dealing with. Ussura has almost no contact with the island state - just the way they both like it. The Crescent Empire views nearly all of Western Theah as heathens - to much bad blood from the Crusades. Cathay has no relationship with the rest of Theah at all, cut off from it as it is.
Schools of Fighting
Avalon is a land home to several schools of war. They are as follows:
A school of fencing that makes use of the Rapier
An old style of swordsmanship based around the Old Empire's Gladus and a Buckler
A style of Long-Bow usage based on the legendary exploits of Robin Goodfellow
A fighting style built around the use of the Quarterstaff
A fencing style based around using the Rapier in conjunction with a cloak to feint and entangle
A style of pugilism (fist fighting) native to Inismore
A traditional style of swordsmanship native to the Highlands which makes use of the massive Claymore
Avalon is home to several major organizations, most notably The Knights of the Table - sometimes called Elaine's Knights - an order of knights beholden to the Avalon Royal Family. The Sea Dogs - part of the Pirate Nation - are rumored to work for Queen Elaine. Inismore is home to The Fianna - O'Bannon's guards
Avalon respects the authority of the Swordsman's Guild.
Avalon is tolerant of Druidism and Aesir Pantheon worshipers.
Native Magical Creatures
Unique Weapon: MacEachern Cold Iron
The MacEachern clan of the Highland Marches hated the Sidhe with such an intensity, they developed weapons specifically capable of killing them. Forged from Cold Iron, these weapons are the only weapons proven to be able to kill an immortal Sidhe. When the Sidhe discovered this, they destroyed the entire MacEachern clan; almost wiping them from history.
Cold iron can be used to make any weapon normally crafted from metal, but acquiring such a weapon is difficult since the destruction of the clan. Most come from the ruins of MacEachern castles and forges, though rumor says that some of the MacEachern managed to escape their clan's destruction and contiune to forge the weapons in secret.