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The Waverunners Setting

Welcome! The kingdom of Waterlight is such an unusual place, I felt there needed to be an extra page just to explain how things work here. Here you'll find information on magic, the Waverunners, and the history of Waterlight and the surrounding lands. This page is especially important for you to read if you are interested in submitting a character for the Waverunners roleplay. So read on!

The Order of the Waverunners

There are three military groups in Waterlight: the regular army, the city guard, and the Waverunners. Anyone wishing to enter a branch of the military must enter into basic, general training for one year, and they must be at least twelve years old. There are different courses of training, depending on the age of those involved. After the first year, the most promising students who meet the necessary requirements are offered a position as a Waverunner trainee. The Waverunners look for good fighting skill, intelligence, being observant and having good judgment, good health and eyesight, etc. They tend to prefer speed and agility over brute strength, skill over power. Those who do not meet this requirements, or those who turn down the offer, may choose whether to train for the army or the guard.

The army is the main military defense force of Waterlight, and it is responsible for defending the kingdom against all outside threats. They were the primary defense against the dwarves in the Dwarven Wars many years ago. As Waterlight is a fairly isolated kingdom, however, they normally have little to do, aside from dealing with raids and border skirmishes in the north, and occasionally with desert raiders to the south. They are also responsible for leading evacuations and setting up shelters in the event of a natural disaster, plague, or famine.

The city guard has a unit in every city and small town, and the smallest villages usually have at least one guardsman. They are basically the police force, dealing with lawbreakers and domestic threats. The recruiters look mainly for good judgment, patience, quick thinking, and people who think carefully before they act and are able to keep their heads in an emergency. The guard is much like any other police force, viewed skeptically by some, but seen as protectors by many.

Those who are skilled enough to become Waverunners, however, belong to the elite fighting force of Waterlight. The Waverunners serve many purposes: they serve as the royal guard, protecting their king or queen; they run messages for the monarch and the Council; they are responsible for much spying and scouting and keeping the monarchy and the Council informed of the state of affairs throughout the kingdom. Above all, the Waverunners swear to do two things: to protect their ruler, and to protect their people. As for the people of Waterlight, they see the Waverunners as people to look up to, kind and virtuous and always helpful, people who are there to protect them. Everyone knows they can always go to the Waverunners for aid, and most praise them highly.

There are, of course, some exceptions. Lady Reyva was lost in the mountains at the age of twelve, separated from her entourage in a blizzard. Her Waverunner guard tried to find her, then took shelter to keep from freezing to death and looked again after the storm was over. Reyva was nowhere to be found, no matter how hard he searched, so he had the guard in the nearest village send out a search party, and he returned home with the news of the disaster. Reyva turned up again months later, well and uninjured, but she always resented her Waverunner guard for "abandoning" her. During her months of absence, her father was out on horseback, inspecting his holdings, when a snake startled his horse. The horse reared, bucking Reyva's father out of the saddle, and he broke his neck. The Waverunner accompanying him tried to grab the reins and calm the horse, but he was unable to prevent the tragedy. There was nothing he could have done, but when Reyva heard the story, she blamed the Waverunner anyway. Reyva has hated the Waverunners ever since, though she has done her best to hide this sentiment.

When one is chosen to train as a Waverunner and accepts the offer, training usually begins at the age of thirteen or older. Trainees, officially termed "squires," are called Walkers by other Waverunners and most of the populace. Full rank Waverunners are, in turn, called Knights officially, and Runners in everyday speech, and Knight Commanders are usually referred to as Riders. This is because in the Dwarven Wars, when the army needed all the help it could get and the Waverunners sent in reinforcements, there were only enough horses available for the Commanders to be mounted—hence the name, which stuck. Most Walkers and Runners will call a Rider "Commander So-and-so" to his or her face, however, to show the proper respect to a superior officer.

The Waverunner uniform is loose enough to be comfortable and easy to move around in. It consists of a tunic and pants of soft but strong cloth, leather boots and belt, and a sleeveless, high-collared robe of about knee length, hanging open in the front. The Waverunner insignia is embroidered on the left breast, a white circle with a blue wave. Walker uniforms are white, Runner uniforms are blue, and Rider uniforms are green.

For the first two years of training, Walkers study a wide variety of subjects: woodcraft, strategy, history, scouting, subterfuge, siege weapon use, weapons repair, field medicine, human behavior and psychology, etc. They are expected to know something about a wide variety of subjects, to prepare for any eventuality that may arise, since a Waverunner serves many purposes and does not always know what will be required beforehand. Trainees also study several types of combat. Each learns the use of a bow, dagger, and sword, as well as going through intensive training in the Waverunner style of handfighting, a unique art which makes use of several rather unorthodox gymnastic moves. It is called handfighting, but just as much use is made of the feet, as well as any other part of the body that can be used for attacking and defending. After the first two years of such study, a Walker usually chooses one area to focus on, such as medicine or strategy, and one weapon to train with extensively. Usually the choices are dagger, sword, longbow, or handfighting, but there are exceptions. Some choose crossbows or other typical types of weapons; other choices are more unorthodox. Dax Querran, for example, had a weaponsmith help him design two wristblades, blades which attach to his wrist with snug, leather straps and may be retracted. He developed his own unique fighting style with this weapon, combining many techniques of handfighting and dagger use. The Riders agreed to let him focus on this weapon, and many have been watching his training with an eye on the possibility of exploring this weapon's uses in greater detail.

By the age of eighteen, if a Walker has been in training for at least five years and is deemed ready by their instructors, they undergo the Waverunner trials. They are locked for a period of time in a magical chamber, one of the last remnants of true magic from a previous age, and must undergo a test inside. The test varies, and it usually tests at least two or three major skills needed by a Waverunner; combat skills are usually one of these, but others may also be necessary. The two Riders in charge of the test may use a special artifact to watch the proceedings. When the test is over, the candidates are told whether they passed, and if they have they are given a uniform and new quarters in the Waverunner wing. In special circumstances there may be an official investiture, but usually the presentation of the uniform and insignia is enough, as many come to watch the trials, which are held as many as four times a year. If there are no candidates at the appointed time, no trial is held, so there are often fewer trials than this. Depending on how many candidates are ready, the trials may be taken by one person alone, or as many as five at once, which has happened on occasion.

If the candidate fails the trial, the Riders will hold a meeting to discuss the test. If it is determined that the failure is due to some inner flaw of the candidate, something they cannot overcome (such as cruelty or dangerously poor judgment), they may be requested to go into training for the guard or the army, or to choose another profession. If the failure was due to something that can be improved on, the candidate will go back to training and will be allowed to take the trials again after at least half a year has passed. If the candidate's instructors do no believe he or she is ready, this period of time may be extended. A candidate may take the trials as many times as necessary, though it usually only takes once or twice, or in some extreme cases, three. Because failures that cannot be improved upon usually leave the Waverunners, it seldom takes so many tries.

Once raised to full rank, a Waverunner is placed under the command of a particular Rider or group of Riders, from whom they will receive their assignments. Riders, in turn, receive their orders from the queen or the Council; the queen's will overrides the Council's when there is a conflict. The queen may also give orders directly to lower ranks without going through the Council or the Riders, but the Council must usually consult with the Riders before giving instructions to a Walker or Runner.

Magic and the First Golden Age

Waterlight is unusual among fantasy worlds in that magic is extremely uncommon here, and a handful of people do not actually believe in its existence. Some magic is still in use, but very little true magic, as it is called, remains left over from the golden age.

The first golden age was long ago, several centuries in the past. It is called the first golden age because the present can also be called a golden age; Waterlight has been at peace ever since the Dwarven Wars ended almost 200 years ago. Hunting and farming have flourished throughout the kingdom, and there have been no major famines or disasters for quite some time. The military groups train vigorously, as they know that peace may end the moment they relax their guard; besides, there are usually plenty of raids and border skirmishes to deal with in the northern mountains and the southern deserts. But magic is almost unheard of in the present, whereas the previous golden age was filled with it.

Not much is known about the past; the Dwarven Wars resulted in the destruction of several important cities, and the dwarves maliciously burned most of the libraries they came across. All that is truly known is that the powers of magic were once used for many things, and those powers are said to be inherited from the ancestors of Waterlight's people. Exactly who—and what—these ancestors were is not certain. The only magic that remains today is mostly illusionary magic, magic used to create images without substance, or used in fortunetelling that is not always accurate, but has a reasonable chance of being correct. Thus, magic has become mostly the realm of street performers and market stalls.

There is some true magic left over, but mostly there are only tales and legends of lost artifacts or talents. There is one spell and one artifact still in use today. Anyone of Waterlight can cast a very simple spell that will allow them to breathe underwater, which is how the kingdom has managed to spread its influence so far out into the gulf. Some say that those who live out in the deepest parts of the gulf, bordering on the open sea, know the more advanced version of the spell, which allows a Waterlightian to turn themselves into a merperson. The artifact still in use is the Waverunner trial chamber, a magical room which can be used to make an illusionary event and location appear. This would not be counted as true magic, except for the fact that the illusions have substance; they can not only be seen and heard, but felt, smelled, and tasted as well. Any injury taken in the chamber does not last upon exiting it, however, and it is doubtful whether anyone can actually die inside the chamber.

Some have managed to discover old writings and books that mention magic. Lady Reyva, in particular, discovered such a book in an old, abandoned room of her father's library. She has begun to teach herself magic, a fact known only to her best friend, Lady Analiese. Other, similar instances may have happened in the past, but if they did, the fact was not widely known.

Other Lands and Races

Waterlight is an isolated kingdom. To the west lie thick forests and tall cliffs, which no one has ever been able to pass. The south lie thick, dangerous jungles and long stretches of burning sands. Desert tribes wander the south, occasionally raiding Waterlight's borders; their presence would make crossing the desert dangerous and difficult, even if it weren't so impossibly huge. To the north lie the mountains and hostile dwarven country, where no one has any desire to go. Although Waterlightians have populated the gulf to the east, the open sea beyond is filled with dark and dangerous places and huge, vicious sea creatures, making it suicidally perilous to sail or swim beyond the gulf's borders.

As for races, the desert tribes to the south are, as far as anyone knows, human, though no one has ever really gotten close enough to have a good look, so it is possible they may be a near-human race. The dwarves to the north are unpleasant and hostile, and they have shared an enmity with Waterlight for hundreds of years. No one knows when or how this began. As a result, few have anything good to say about dwarves. They try not to start wars with them if they can help it, and they have successfully kept the peace for many years, but if the dwarves were to make an overtly hostile gesture, war would not be far behind.

No one has ever crossed into Waterlight, for the same reasons no one has ever left of it. Some say it is possible to navigate the eastern sea, but few believe it. However, maybe someday someone will manage to do it...or perhaps they already have. There are many frontiers in Waterlight, and frontiers were made to be crossed. The possibilities are endless.

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The Waverunner Chronicles ©2001 Amy Unfred