|People of Note:||Prince Farquhar|
Maard is currently geographically the largest city state. But the borders are constantly changing. It is beset on all sides - to the north the building threat of Wetland. To the south the chaotic carnage of Lands End. To the east it is raided from Dominion.
Maard is the strictest of the city states with tight controls on who and what comes into and out of its borders. Its people are close to being repressed by the overlord who calls himself Prince Farquhar. The Prince is known to be a telepath and he is said to control a network of telepaths who control the state with an iron rod. The border crossing points are always manned by soldiers who are "advised" by purple robed fellows in the name of the crown. The enforcers are known through Maard as the Thought Guard as they are believed to be telepaths who constantly read people's minds to ensure that law and order is kept. People entering the city state are questioned about their motives and destinations and members of the Thought Guard are always present or nearby during these questions.
The Thought Guard are feared amoung the local populace and it is routine for farmers and the like to be picked up for "questioning" by these enforcers and never returned, or returned to their families sometimes months later, but refusing to tell of where they have been or what they have experienced. The culture of fear here is a strong one.
Maard is the Wildland's biggest producer of food, having the greatest land mass of farmable areas. The hills also produce some of the finest grapes in the western portion of Rodinia and Maard vintages sell well and make good money.
Maard's navy is under funded and under manned. Its navy is relatively small and quite badly trained and equipped. It is believed that the Prince has a phobia against the sea and does not care much for it. Hence the sea side ports and villages of Maard suffer badly from raids from the Lands End pirates and also from the north. The area of Maard known as The Alley is so called because it is almost beyond the reach of the Prince and his Thought Guard and you as much take your life into your hands by setting out there as you do when stepping into an alley in any slum. It is constantly raided by Lands End ships looking for slaves. Westport is more like a Lands End type settlement than a Maard one, where law is thin on the ground and it's every man for himself. People living in the area are as likely to be carried off by Lands End slavers as they are to be press ganged into the Maard Navy.
Religion is outlawed in the state of Maard and there are no known temples or shrines here. There maybe some underground temples in existance but given the repressive nature of the state and the Thought Guard this is unlikely. Anyone openly wearing religious symbols in the state of Maard will be arrested and taken for "questioning". Any clerics using religious symbols to call upon their god's power will be forcably restrained and removed for intense questioning. It is unlikely they will survive such questioning. Note that religion in this context includes the worship of the god Hex, the god of magic, so wizards and sorcerors cannot openly ply their trades here either. This state is basically a non magical state, except for psionics, which is under the control of the Thought Guard. No normal citizens of the state, nor outsiders, can use any form of magic, including psionics, without risk of interment and worse.
Slavery is common in Maard, but most of the slaves here are educated and skilled slaves - artisans, musicians, scribes and the like. They tend to be owned by wealthy land owners and nobles of the state and as such their standard of living is often considerably better than the peasants who farm the fields outside. Map faces are rarer in Maard than south of here in Lands End, but there are a fair number of labourers in the city, in the fields and in the vineyards of the Maard Uplands who are slaves.
Prince Farquhar came to power some twenty years ago. At that time Maard was a fairly liberal society, but it was a weak city state. Slowly Prince Farquhar has squeezed the populace, making his control over them stronger and stronger. he personally trained the first of the Thought Guard - who were at the start simply his personal bodyguards. Now their numbers have swelled such that they control the whole city. They are fanatically loyal to the Prince. Two years ago the Prince had a son called Ethan. He has not been named heir yet - possibly so as to afford him some protection from people who might wish to see him harmed and possibly because Prince Farquhar has no intention of ever releasing his grip on the country. It is generally considered likely that he will name Ethan heir if and when his telepathic potential becomes realised. It is also considered that if Ethan shows no such power his life expectancy may well shorten considerably.