Dark Lords of Praemor
The Enlightened Monarchy of Numen
The Enlightened Monarchy of Numen traces its origins to the humiliating surrender of the elven Sovereignty of Coreithelon to the First Glorren Empire. For centuries the elven people had assumed that their superiority to the shorter-lived humans was obvious, and yet now the humans ruled over them.
Some elves accepted human rule with equanimity, knowing that they would see the far-reaching empire reach its end in their long lives, but other elves were troubled by the surrender, by their failure. Perhaps the elven people were not as great as they had initially assumed, if, despite all of their obvious advantages, the humans had managed to accomplish so much. Further thought confirmed their initial fears: humanity was a race of great accomplishment.
But the elves of northern Coreilethon were not deterred by this thinking; rather, it motivated them towards change. They began to abandon many elven traditions and philosophies considered to be outdated, and embracing human ones, with the goal of improving themselves. They opened their borders and encouraged successful humans to settle within. When the Glorren Empire finally fell, the Speaker of Coreilethon ordered that the elves of Numen cease their experiments, they refused, taking the opportunity to throw away their antiquated customs and eternal ruler once for all.
What followed was a brutal civil war, yet in the end the elves of Numen were successful, and a peace treaty was created that formally recognized the people of Numen and whatever government they cared to create. Thus, the Enlightened Monarchy was created.
The elven and human peoples of Numen wanted a strong central leader, but thought that the unchanging Speaker was a weakness; new people brought new ideas, after all. And traditional monarchies had their own flaws, made evident every time a weak or foolish monarch took the throne. So a test was created, to ensure that all monarchs of Numen were worthy of their crowns.
The Nildagor, more commonly known as the Ordeal of the Crown, is conducted when one of the two monarchs passes. The royal family has the first opportunity to attempt the Ordeal, but success, or even survival, is by no means assured to them. The test is conducted in pairs, typically husband and wife, and is generally limited to the elite of the nation by custom; the winners of the Ordeal are adopted into the Numen royal family and become the new monarchs of Numen. All details of the Ordeal are a state secret.
Today, the Enlightened Monarchy of Numen is ruled by King Drehelan and Queen Tiakash, both half elves; Queen Tiakash was the daughter of the previous monarchs of Numen. Rumors persist that she’s afflicted with disease, but if so she hides it well in her numerous public appearances before her subjects. Numen favors peaceful relations and trade with the other countries of the Heartlands, although it keeps its armies in a high state of alert along the border with Coreilethon. The Monarchy of Numen also fears the increasing dominance Nexus has over the river trade, and works to cripple the power of the great city whenever possible.