Kandor and Arafel are the central Borderlands, located to the east of mighty Saldaea in the west and populous Shienar in the east. They are two of the lesser-known nations of the land, with relatively little interest or influence in southern nations, but are still important nations charged with the defence of the Blightborder.
Kandor and Arafel’s histories are very similar to that of Saldaea.
In terms of their recent history, Kandor and Arafel allied in 953 NE to send an army to relief of Malkier. They are unable to arrive in time to save the nation but, allied to the Shienarans, they inflicted a devastating defeat on the Shadowspawn forces which had sacked the Seven Towers at the Battle of the Stair of Jehaan. The Shadowspawn were broken and routed, but Malkier had been effectively destroyed, and attempts to hold back the Blight failed.
Kandor and Arafel also both mustered large armies to march to the relief of Tar Valon during the Aiel War, but the army of Kandor was recalled to deal with a fresh Trolloc incursion in the north. Arafel’s army, however, successfully took part in the Battle of the Shining Walls, with 21,000 troops (the fifth-largest contingent) commanded by Lord Hirare Nachiman (presumed to be the brother of King Paitar). Lord Nachiman was killed during the battle.
In 979 NE Kandor was visited by tragedy when Prince-Consort Brys, the husband of Queen Ethenielle, and their son Diryk both died, apparently falling from the Aesdaishar Palace to their deaths. Foul play was suspected, but never proven.
Kandor is approximately 500 miles wide from east to west and between 250 and 300 miles across from north to south. Murandy and Mayene (if counted as a nation rather than a city-state) are the only kingdoms which are definitively smaller than Kandor. Kandor counts its borders as the Blight to the north, the Plain of Lances to the west, a tributary of the Erinin to the east and a more flexible border in the south, where settlements give way in the face of the open, empty countryside north of the Black Hills.
Kandor is mostly flat with temperate countryside located in the south and more mountainous terrain in the north.
Kandor’s capital city is Chachin. Although not usually counted as one of the great cities of the Westlands, Chachin is said to rival Tear in size. It is located around several hills with three great mountains rising out from the centre of the city. The Aesdaishar Palace, the location of the Throne of Clouds, is located on the peak of the tallest mountain, some 5,000 feet above the rooftops of the rest of the city. The city is surrounded by an immense drymoat which completely encircles it, with twenty-four bridges crossing it to gates. Each bridge is overlooked by guardtowers and formidable defences.
Other towns and villages in Kandor include Canluum, Ravinda and Manala.
Arafel measures almost 700 miles across at its widest point and 300 miles from north to south, although the border with Shienar cuts a large swathe of territory out of the south-eastern part of the kingdom. Arafel’s borders are the River Mora to the east, the River Erinin to the south, a tributary of the Erinin to the west and the Blightborder to the north.
Arafel’s capital is Shol Arbela, the City of Ten Thousand Bells. It is the fashion in Arafel for people to wear bells in their clothes and the city is reportedly home to many other bells as well. Shol Arbela is not counted as one of the great cities of the Westlands and may be one of the newest capitals, as it was built after the Trolloc Wars (as it is neither Ogier-built nor built on the ruins of an Ogier-built city). It is notable as one of the largest non-Ogier-built cities constructed since the end of the Breaking.
Other settlements in Arafel include Tifan’s Well and Jakanda.
Both Kandor and Arafel are hereditary monarchies, like Saldaea, with the monarch supported by the noble families of the realm. The current ruler of Kandor is Queen Ethenielle Cosaru Noramaga and the current ruler of Arafel is King Paitar Nachiman.
Military and Population
Both Kandor and Arafel are nations mobilised for war, with a string of heavily-defended fortresses and watchtowers along their northern borders. Both nations have strong military forces, with Arafel specialising in the use of swords in battle. Some Arafellin schools of swordmastery train in style that uses two swords simultaneously. This style is less practical against human opponents, but against slower Trollocs allows for a considerable amount of damage to be inflicted in a short space of time.
In terms of population, it is known that the four Borderland nations combined can muster about 400,000 troops, suggesting that their combined population is around 40 million. Kandor, as the smallest of the four kingdoms, almost certainly musters the smallest force but this is unclear. It is known that Arafel was able to spare 21,000 troops to send to the Shining Walls without weakening their defence of the Blightborder, whilst Kandor’s army had to return to meet a renewed raiding threat, suggesting that Arafel is the militarily stronger of the two nations.
Kandor thrives on trade, particularly trade extending along the Blightborder from Maradon in the west to Fal Moran in the east, and thence south to Tar Valon. Kandor has a powerful merchants’ guild which ensures the smooth flowing of trade via Chachin’s trading houses.
Arafel’s economy is less defined, although it does seem to have a native bell-making trade and is also located on key trade routes between the other Borderlands and Tar Valon. The River Erinin flows along Arafel’s southern border, giving it easier trade access to the rich markets of the south.
Kandor and Arafel, like Saldaea, are made up of straight-talking, military-minded people, but Kandori merchants buck this trend somewhat by being shrewd negotiators. Kandori are otherwise straightforward and modest.
The Arafellin are a slightly more flamboyant people, noted for the bells they wear in their hair and clothes which jingle merrily (apart from in the military, where they are removed to ensure their position is not given away). The Arafellin are also noted for their obsession with honour, taking umbrage if their honour is impugned and admitting fault and even requesting punishment if warranted. Outsiders find Arafel’s obsession with honour to be unusual.
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