The Unexpected Heir
The Six Kingdoms are a group of historically feuding states in the continent of Vaestia west of Carthe. They are also the primary colonists of the continent of Carthe, and their feuds have not been left behind. All six kingdoms have a naval presence in Carthe to some extent, and many disputes over land have arisen. Although there is rarely lasting peace between the kingdoms, war is currently especially widespread.
Aestnia is the closest kingdom to Carthe, and has a large presence in West Carthe. Aestnia is also the most directly connected, with roads straight from their capital region in the Acacian Basin to Arvelmouth. Their capital is Steingard. Aestnia has recently made peace with Lethbrand and has a ceasefire with Temgrin, meaning they are the most peaceful of the Six Kingdoms, although this comes at the cost of having ceded much of their territory in their west and south. Currently Aestnia has been able to push Hendrysson around in Carthe for the time being, however outright war may break out if Hendrysson asserts itself further in Carthe. Tensions are also high with Denroth, as the two naval powers amass their fleets in West Carthe. They do not share a border with Stalbar, and the two kingdoms have fairly cordial relations.
Denroth is the largest of the Six Kingdoms, and possibly the most powerful. Although the majority of their land is in the far west of the Six Kingdoms area, they also hold territory along the northern coasts, including the Northern Isles and the Argai Peninsula near to Carthe. They have committed a large portion of their naval forces to Carthe, and have established Enspear as a local center of power. On the mainland, they are at war with Lethbrand and Stalbar. They currently have a non-aggression pact with Temgrin, while hostilities are brewing with both Aestnia and Hendrysson.
Hendrysson is currently in a state of disarray. Their king's body is barely cold, victim of an as yet unknown assassin, and hostilities are brewing within the kingdom. The three princes have all accused each other of being behind their father's death, and are amassing support in different corners of the kingdom. In addition, the late king's only daughter is wed to the second son of Lethbrand's king, who is rumoured to be considering pushing his own claim on the kingdom. Their current political situation is quite convoluted. The late king had forged an alliance with Lethbrand through the marriage of his daughter, while managing to avoid any large scale confrontations with Aestnia or Denroth, although some have taken that as weakness as those kingdoms harass Hendrysson's colonies in Carthe. Hendrysson is also at war with Stalbar, although the fighting has not been terribly severe, as the war with Denroth has kept Stalbar busy. Temgrin does not have a direct border with Hendrysson, although Temgrish raiders frequently cross through Stalbar to raid Hendrysson, leading to high tensions between the two. With the current civil war brewing, however, the different claimants are all brokering their own alliances and deals, and the political future of the kingdom is uncertain.
Temgrin has recently called a ceasefire after a long war with Aestnia after having seized much land from southern Aestnia. They have been actively and openly raiding Hendrysson due to the latter's perceived weakness and depleted defenses from their war with Stalbar. Stalbar and Temgrin have an uneasy relationship, mainly due to this raiding, and the lack of respect Temgrin pays to Stalbar's borders. They are not currently in a state of outright war, however, and Temgrin generally avoids raiding in Stalbar, finding it more useful to cross through and strike more prosperous Hendrysson. Temgrin and Denroth currently have a non-aggression pact, while conflict with Lethbrand has been limited to minor border skirmishes.
Lethbrand recently made peace with Aestnia after seizing large tracts of land from their western borders. They are at war with Denroth on the mainland, although their colonies in Carthe get on amicably enough. Lethbrand's king had an alliance with the late king of Hendrysson, although with the king's death and a brewing civil war, rumours abound that Lethbrand will take advantage of the turmoil and push their own claim for the kingdom. Despite occasional skirmishes with Temgrin, there is little risk of outright war between the two kingdoms. Lethbrand and Stalbar also have the longest standing alliance among the Six Kingdoms, and Stalbar's only colony in Carthe was established with the help of Lethbrand's ships.
Stalbar is the second largest of the Six Kingdoms after Denroth, but much of its land is poorly suited for farming or grazing, and sparsely populated. It also has the unfortunate distinction of being the only one of the Six Kingdoms to be completely landlocked. Its long-standing alliance with Lethbrand allows Stalbar access to ports, although this does put them in something of a submissive position, and makes them subject to Lethbrand's tariffs. A war with Denroth has worn Stalbar down despite the united front presented by Lethbrand. Stalbar is also at war with Hendrysson, and faces that enemy alone, as Lethbrand is an ally to both parties and therefore remains neutral. Thankfully for them, fighting in this war is not terribly fierce or widespread, as both kingdoms have more pressing concerns. Relations with Temgrin are fraught with tension, as the latter frequently stages raids through Stalbar's territory, inflaming conflict with Hendrysson and disrespecting Stalbar's borders. Relations with Aestnia, on the other hand, are rather cordial. Whether that would still be the case if the two kingdoms shared a border is another issue, however.