Skies of Arcadia
The Empire of Valua
Valua is a large mountainous continent (roughly the size of Texas) that takes up most of the northern hemisphere under the Yellow Moon and is bordered by fierce mountains and ridges that stretch from the boundaries of lower-sky to the cloud ceiling. The electrical resonance between the Moon and the yellow moonstones that permeate the substrata of the continent charges the upper atmosphere, leaving the land permanently shrouded by a never-ending electrical storm. The clouds occasionally thin long enough to provide Valuans with brief glimpses of the Yellow Moon or the sun, but only those who sail the skies outside their homeland have ever seen the stars. Most Valuans aren’t even aware that the sky is blue. Despite Valua’s vast size, most of the population is concentrated in the capital city located in a natural harbor located on the southern edge. The city is surrounded by nearly impenetrable mountains on all sides that rise beyond the cloud-ceiling, blocking all ship passage except through a large valley that opens up on Mid Ocean.
Technology & Military
The Nature of the Yellow Moon & its moonstones is not without some benefit, as yellow moonstones provide Valuans with electricity, and also provide superior levels of power output when processed for use in engines. This allows Valua to build massive metal hulled & armored warships whose power requirements are beyond the other factions. The ships of the Valuan Armada possess durability and firepower superior to any other faction. To balance that out however, they are slow, ponderous ships that are easily outrun or outmaneuvered by their more nimble and lighter weight wooden hulled competitors. Nasrins have long referred to Valuan warships as flying bathtubs. However, the Valuans have been steadily improving their technology over the years. Their designs have become sleeker over the years, and more and more powerful engines have been developed to increase their speed and maneuverability. While still not as nimble as a wooden vessel, the newer class of warships about to be unveiled is far from clunky or awkward, and anyone who underestimates one will do so at his or her peril.
Spanning and blocking the single valley allowing access to the capital city is the Valuan Grand Fortress. It is a massive metal construct that stretches across the entire valley from side to side and from the boundaries of lower-sky to the cloud-ceiling. It is said to extend down the valley a half-mile thick. It is the largest, most advanced structure of the new world, and is widely recognized to an engineering marvel equal to the feats of the Old World. It is the only modern structure to be afforded such an accolade. It is clearly not without merit, as it survived a 3-day bombardment by the entire Nasr Navy during the Valua-Nasr War 20 years ago with no more than superficial damage.
The Imperial Valuan Armada is divided into 5 fleets, each commanded by an Admiral. Although the Admirals and their fleets are numbered, this is merely a convenience for keeping track of who’s assigned where. All five Admirals are considered equal, and lead by the singular authority of The Grand Admiral, who reports directly to Empress Theodora I. The Current Grand Admiral is the military genius Lord Galacian. He has assigned responsibility for Middle Ocean to The 1st Fleet under Admiral Alfonso. This deployment has caused a great deal of tension in the Middle Ocean region, as this area is considered to be international skies, and this is seen as a most unwelcome claim staking gesture by Valua.
Ruled by Empress Theodora I, the Valuan Empire is on the rise. It has been extending its influence more and more into mid ocean, expanding exports from other lands and generally making a pain in the ass of itself for everyone else. The Valuans call this “growing pains”. Nasr calls this a prelude to military expansion. The Blue Rogues just call it downright rude. However… The increasing range of Valuan patrol ships so far from their main base of operations has provided some dazzling opportunities for these daredevils – opportunities they have not been hesitant to exploit. Black Pirates are noticeably less thrilled about this than their roguish counterparts are. Preferring to plunder the unarmed and helpless, the increased presence of armed warships in their hunting grounds is most annoying, and many have begun moving their hunting territories to Nasr. Unfortunately, this just give Nasr something else about Valua to bitch about.
Relationship with Other Factions
Nasr – Being the two premier economic & trading powerhouses of Middle Ocean, Valua and Nasr have long been competitors. Twenty-one years ago this competition erupted into a shooting war between the two that lasted for a full year. Despite this, normal relations were quickly restored after the war. The two governments sit across Middle Ocean spitting at each other like two territorial cats, while their various merchants and businessmen conduct an uninterrupted flow of business that is highly profitable for both nations.
The Air Pirates: Valua makes no distinction between Blue Rogues and Black Pirates. A pirate is a pirate, and it doesn’t matter if they follow a supposed code of conduct or not; they’re still thieves. Nor does it matter if they only attacked armed vessels or the helpless, the victims of the battle are just as dead which makes them all murderers. Any pirate caught by Valuan forces is subject to summary execution. However, most pirates that are caught are taken back to Valua for public execution in the capital city’s arena.
This show of force is something that Black Pirates can understand, even if they dislike being on the receiving end of it. Most Black Pirates therefore avoid Valua and its armada like the plague, and have begun to concentrate their efforts on Nasrin vessels, much to the chagrin of the Nasultan and his navy.
While they understand that Valua has good reason to dislike them, most Blue Rogues take it as a personal insult that Valua holds them in the exact same regard as Black Pirates. This, added to the already irritating expansionism, plus the fact that Valuan warships have the most advanced ordnance to commandeer, and especially since Valuan military ships are often richly (usually lavishly so) appointed, The Valuan Armada has become the favored target of many Blue Rogues. This, of course, has started a spiral of mutual antagonism that threatens to get out of control. Nasr considers this to be almost suitable recompense for the flood of Black Pirates fleeing the ever-expanding Valuan military influence into its own territories.