War of the Burning Sky
On the far side of the mountains that mark Ragesia’s eastern border spreads the Shining Land of Shahalesti, ruled by Lord Shaaladel, a middle-aged eladrin who rose from being a military commander to the nation’s ruler during the ascension of the Ragesian Empire. Shahalesti was in danger of being conquered like Ragesia’s other neighbors, and Shaaladel’s aggressive displays of force — including the conquest and destruction of two nearby elven lands that were hostile to him — are credited as major reasons why Ragesia has so far not looked east for conquest.
During Ragesia’s annexation of its neighbors, Lord Shaaladel even lent his aid, he and his trusted aides participating personally in battles by Coaltongue’s side. A canny and charismatic commander, he is respected even by the Ragesian army, and many expected him to succeed after Coaltongue’s death. Rumors say that the eladrin lord had been quite displeased that the old half-orc was refusing to die of old age.
Shahalesti is not an entirely eladrin nation. The majority of its population is human, but they live as commoners with little real power. The aristocracy is almost exclusively eladrin, as well as the higher ranks among the military. Despite a grudging alliance with Ragesia, however, orcs and half-orcs are despised and persecuted, unable to hold any public positions, often horribly exploited as nearly slave labor. A few outposts of wealthy orcs with ties to Ragesia have tried to start their own communities, and this is a steady source of strife.
The capital of Shahalesti, Calanis, is built over a crescent rift carved by a waterfall. The city is forbidden to non-eladrin except by invitation from one of the royal family which, as of now, consists only of Shaaladel and his daughter Shalosha. The population of Calanis is mixed (45% eladrin, 35% human, 10% elf or half-elf, 5% halfling, 2% orc, 2% half-orc, 1% other).
Shahalesti is viewed by most politically-minded sages as an opportunistic country. It will ally and war according to advantages it sees through the weaknesses and strengths of its neighbors. In general, Shahalesti is a good and peace-loving country that respects its borders, but as the winds of war blow, it is perceived that the Shahalesti people will seize opportunities to advance itself, even to the detriment of its allies.