The Kingdom of Waterfalls
Capital City: Bellefountaine
National Bird: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
National Animal: Cabbit
National Flower: White Rose
National Fruit: Rose Hip
National Colours: White, Gold, and Red
A capitalist monarchy, Fontis holds a reputation of being the greatest nation in the world; the poorest people in the kingdom are middle-class. Fontis attributes its success to keeping its division of wealth even amongst the citizens. Powered through history primarily by springs found in waterfalls, its flourishing state is now also partially attributed to Eflasia, a mortal spring herself. Population-wise, a variety of common forest and plains species can be found here.
A Brief Overview
Kingdom Fontis is located on land that is a peninsula during most of the year, and an island during the rainy autumns. There are tall bridges leading from mainland Europe to Fontis for when the land bridges submerge.
The waterfalls in Fontis give life to this kingdom and its thriving forests. You can't go anywhere without seeing the water channels, water wheels, and fountains that help draw power out of the waterfalls; the magical springs located in and around the waterfalls also help keep them from freezing over in winter. There's a fountain, one of the national symbols, in almost every city square.
Castles and mansions sprawl to paradise beaches with port cities on all the sides. Seaships and airships from all nations import and export exotic goods daily. Nyxis likes to go to the ports to listen to sailors talk of their journeys.
The first day of spring every year marks the celebration of the founding of Fontis.
Legend has it centuries ago, the mainland continents chose to rid society of the worst people in the world. This "purge of evil" was executed by gathering the convicts charged with the most horrific crimes and sending them in a sinking grand ark to a truly cursed island. Birds would not land there, fishes would not approach the shallows, and all manner of beasts upon being placed on the land turned and drowned pursuing the ships that left them. The criminals were stranded on this thorn-infested, withering island to die tortuously if not of dehydration and hunger, than of insanity to an unknown sickness of the island: madness, diseases of the mind, hallucinations just from stepping forth into the tangle of the dark briar forests beyond the skeleton-littered sands and the ocean.
Ofelia Kade the Albino Cabbit was among these convicts, and it is said that the Spring of the Island saw her heart was innocent and pure. The Spring manifested itself to Ofelia in the form of a Goddess, and led Ofelia and those who chose to follow Ofelia to the Spring in the center of the labrynthic wasteland itself.
On this first day of spring in that century, Ophelia and her followers were on the last legs of life and sanity when she came upon the Spring. The Prophet Ofelia gathered the unstable power of the waterfalls and molded the blight into a blessing; and she said to her people, "We who took a lifetime of abuse for doing what we thought was right, we were forsaken and put here because we could see the world for what it is.
From our suffering arises a light, with which we can piece together all the things the others could not. From this light arises a truth, with which we can ignite the torch of transcendence and run with the glorious flame one step ahead of the world. If anyone is going to make a change, it will have to be us.
Hence, we will make a new life for ourselves here. Separate, sublime from the chains and castes of society; we will rid the world of evil not by closing our hearts, but by opening them."
And thus the greatest Kingdom in the World was born.
Under Fontis lies one of its greatest treasures, a pocket of powerful healing liquid believed to be blessed by the Spring Goddess herself. An underground temple with a small antechamber above the surface has been built as the main access entrance to the liquid.
An egg-shaped dome with small skylights surrounds the central temple room. At the center of the temple stands an wisteria tree with pure white bark and pink petals that give off a radiant glow, lighting the area even at night. Four white stone pathways, each as wide as a highway, connect to other exterior rooms of the temple. These pathways plunge deep into the Earth, dividing the surrounding pools into four. The pools themselves are a light green liquid, much like water but described as being more gaseous with a sweet taste and always slightly warm. No one knows how deep these pools reach. Despite their incredible clarity, it is impossible to see the bottom, and any attempts to measure them have been unsuccessful.
Whether a body is cremated or buried in Fontis, traditionally a single bone (often the pinky finger) is saved. The is flesh charred off until the bone is blackened, and then the bone itself is cast into a pool, usually the one the bones of the deceased's ancestors had been placed in. It is believed that by doing this, the deceased can be embraced by the Spring Goddess and absorbed back into the natural cycle of life-and-death, and provide life for future generations.
Government and Politics
Fontis is divided into counties and shires (the land divisions before the existence of counties). Counties and shires elect their governors, and the monarch finalizes the people's decision. King Kade also decrees and amends federal laws, and can do the same for county laws. The governors and sometimes mayors of large cities are tasked to bring the people's disputes before Kade, although they arrive before the king more often than not asking for advice instead.
Fontis has formed trade relations with both established kingdoms and outlying tribes. Despite its general wealth, Fontis itself is relatively small, so establishing trade supplies additional food and resources. For the most part, such relationships have contributed greatly to the well-being of both parties, though naturally the kingdom takes care not to rely too greatly on any one trade partner.
Kade selects governors, mayors, and aristocrats from their areas or the capital Bellefountaine to act as international diplomats. It is not rare to see Eflasia, often accompanied by Nyxis, traveling as a diplomat outside of castle and kingdom. Exploration teams' members often serve as representatives of Fontis themselves, so ambassadors are usually not also sent unless traveling into hostile territory.
Squires who train in Fontisian academies are usually knighted at sixteen years of age. Soldiers are strongly recommended to retire at age fifty when health naturally starts to decline with old age, with the exception being that one is an extraordinary element user. Such casters can be kept in the military as solely mages until the age of seventy.
Those not entering the Fontisian military from local academies must pass rigorous training that tests them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Citizenship in Fontis is difficult to obtain, and joining the military is one of the ways to earn it. However, to Fontis's highly esteemed community, those earning citizenship via the military are establishing themselves as a citizen most barbarically. A citizen soldier is frowned upon, though technically acceptable.
Kingdom Fontis’s military has traditionally been composed of fifty-two divisions, each named after a card in the standard fifty-two playing card deck.
In reality, there are fifty-four divisions, including the Joker Cards. The Joker Cards have varied in history from being unconventional divisions such as pirates, snipers, or bards (that are actually snipers) to being highly-talented single individuals. They are sometimes present in the military and sometimes not, and usually only the ruling family and a War Council, if assembled, would know of their existence. Each division has a different specialty: air force, amphibious, aquatic, stealth, husbandry (beast-handling), and so on. As a result, the divisions’ sizes can vary greatly. The divisions themselves are all of equal rank. Thus, organization during wartime largely depends on the royal family: the king or queen usually chooses the military leaders (who may be of any rank and come from any of these divisions) to direct during wartime.
The terms "element/magic wielder" and "element/magic user" are more commonly used than "element/magic bender" in describing the Fontisian Military, as they signify that Fontis allows those who cannot channel magic to be on magic casting divisions as long as these individuals have other methods such as potions or machinery to achieve or complement the abilities of natural element benders.
During times of peace, volunteers can join the military. Fontis sees many who join because they are expected to, whether it is because they are from prestigious families or generations of knights. The military trains regularly to be ready at a moment's notice to defend the kingdom. Acting as Fontis's civil force and bodyguards for VIP, the military are also engineers, firemen, chaplains, doctors and morticians, meteorologists, mechanics, and much more.
During times of war, Kade can put a weapon into anyone's hand and send them into battle.
The Fountain penny (plural: Fountain pence) is the official currency of Fontis. It is a copper coin about equivalent to the value of an American dollar circa 2017. Ten Fountain pence make a silver coin, and ten silver coins make a gold coin. The coin head usually features the profile of one of the previous albino cabbit rulers of Fontis, and the coin tail features a fountain that varies depending on the county the coin was minted in.
There is no minimum wage in Fontis; the need has never risen to push for one to be set.
Salt water taffy is a prevalent treat among commoners and tourists.
The national dessert is Dragon Custard: crème brûlée traditionally saturated with Fontisian rum, then set ablaze in front of diners and snuffed out with the bell of the dinner tray.