This time I’m going to focus on the lower half of the prompts.
The members of the Ascended Host are nearly omnipotent, but don’t mistake them for infallible. They still hold all their flaws and desires from their mortal lives, for all their airs and graces.
The Host are also not impossible to remove. The Garden of Lost Gods in Queenstown holds altars from several abandoned temples, and legend says the area predates the founding of the city. Whatever the story, plenty of folk leave offerings to any Ascended there who might listen.
The footsoldiers of the Fiend are undead. His officers are demons.
These strange beings stepped out of plenty of nightmares, somehow made real. They are as unique as the minds that conjured them, and terrifying in countenance.
According to some of the Oathed of the Black Lady, they are crafted from souls of animals, those that displease him, and those he is able to capture in the Deadrealms before they cross the Great Ocean. How true this is depends on the depths of a listener’s belief.
The priests of the Ascended dedicate their lives to the worship of various members of the Host. Some swear Oaths to individual members of the Host, but most work to aid others in their worship of whichever of the Host’s attention would most benefit the worshipper.
The world is ruled by ritual, whether arcane or divine or mundane. The basis for most magic is slow and methodical ritual.
Truly skilled craftspeople employ such dedicated ritual in their work that their wares can become awakened after a time.
Since the War of the Graves, when the Fiend awakened the dead as his soldiers, an almost universal tradition has arisen to burn the bodies of the dead.
Those that don’t follow this tradition are either devotees of the Fiend, extremely misguided, or have an Oathed of the Black Lady nearby at the moment of death to ensure the body cannot rise up against the living.
Sacred texts are rare, though some worshippers of Ascended have codified their beliefs. The favour of an Ascended tends to hold over a very limited field – i.e. that which interests them.
There’s no point calling to the Many-Eyed for help with the harvest, or the Green Lady for protection of the soul of a recently departed loved one.
Though many might not admit it, Queenstown society is rife with secret societies of one strain or another. The Guilds might provide a merchant with training and connections, but a secret society might provide him with patrons and power.
And of course, some secret groups are dedicated worshippers of the less-beloved members of the Host – the Fiend, the Burned, or the Outsider.
With so many different secret societies purporting to give followers the power to Ascend, there’s plenty of inhabitants of Queenstown who act… strangely, compared to their friends and neighbours.
Perhaps they’re correct, and their strange ideas will give them eternal life and endless power.
Then again, one group secretly dedicated itself to the Fiend and consumed the flesh of their compatriots, so maybe it’s not always the best idea to get invovled with these groups.
Few groups are truly ostracized by the inhabitants of the Old Crown.
The beastkin in Slateleaf Forest live a hermit lifestyle away from most other settlements, but a few have been known to leave their tribes and venture into Queenstown.
The darklings of the northern marshlands interact happily with outsiders, but those not used to their appearance can sometimes be put off.
The so-called ‘bandit kings’ of the Redwood are perhaps the closest to being ostracized by the rest of Old Crown society, though they’re said to have links to members of the Queenstown nobility through Lady Redwood, and no one outside of Redwood claims to know the identities of the kings themselves.
The Lord Protector rules the Old Crown from Queenstown, though most of the power still lies in the Senate. The Protector’s ancestor took over following the disappearance of the last Suldaana.
Of course, most of that power resides in Queenstown. Out in the plains, various vassal families rule in the stead of the nobles that own the land, usually a close cousin able to wield power out in the world but barely noticeable in the capital.
The poor of Queenstown all live in Outwall. This is a commonly held truth.
What most people wouldn’t think to note if their presence on some of the rooftops of the Market Ward, or the habitation known as the Rookery atop the rooves of the Temples Ward. Still others would point to the many that sleep in an abandoned warehouse near the wharves that has become known as the Beggar’s Temple.
The youth of Queenstown experience vastly different childhoods, depending on their fortunes and circumstances.
Many children in Outwall fall into running with ruffian gangs, and some may be recruited later by a member of the Broken Circle. Still others might make their way to the docks and take to a ship and see the world.
The youth of the Markets have a choice between the life of a ruffian, a life on the sea or training by the Guilds, though the last requires money or a decent patron.
The few youth of the Temples Ward are the children of priests or courtesans or both. They might enter a priesthood or become Oathed, or find patronage by Guilds or a Colloquium of arcanists. Many join the Broken Circle through circumstance.
The children of nobles are well schooled and fit for many functions in life, even those of distant cousins to the inheritor of the family’s title. They might become priests or Oathed or arcanists. Few take to the sea, though more than a few end up in the Broken Circle.
In order to become an Oathed, sworn to a certain member of the Ascended Host, often involves a long and involved ceremony, with different rites for the different Ascended.
Strangely, the Oathed of the Black Lady rarely invoke a ceremony at the start of their service. They simply report one day to the nearest barracks of the Black Order where they are welcomed as brothers- or sisters-in-arms.
The high holidays of several Ascended involve feasting, though not all. Whilst not everyone can celebrate in this way, plenty of people gather together to break bread in worship of certain members of the Host.
The Feast of the Green Lady is held to mark the end of harvest each year. The Muses’ Feast is held during the first full moon of the new year. The Travellers Feast is taken at midsummer.
There is always conflict in the world, armed or not. Whether the political machinations of the nobles, piracy on the seas, banditry on the roads, or the small-time street scuffles in the cities, there are also those that work to stop it.
The nobles work constantly to undercut each other and ensure their own power, whilst new money and the Guilds begin to raise up others from their own class to ensure their own interests are represented.
The current protectors of the seas are the Imperial Navy and the Festivalian Fleet, however the soft power of the seawitches is infinitely greater.
Bandits attack travellers on the roads but the Oathed of the Traveller patrol most routes and regularly chase them off or hunt them down.
The Wardens of Queenstown maintain order in its streets and ensure the Broken Circle doesn’t flaunt their transgressions of the law too openly.
The Utari Militia, sponsored by various noble families, also maintain order and act as a military force if needed. Realistically, they tend to guard the holdings of their patrons and their allies much more zealously than the common folk of Queenstown.
Several important events are celebrated over the course of a person’s life. Their birth and death are the capstones, their marriages and the birth of their own children are also important.
Some folk also place an emphasis on a coming-of-age ritual. The noble families often hold large celebrations for several of these events over the course of a person’s life.
And that’s it for my worldbuilding prompt rundown of the Old Crown. Been a while since I went there, and nice to visit and think about these things. I’ll have to try and get back again soon, I like that place.