Before its incorporation into the ancient Elven Empire, the peninsula was inhabited by long-established and more recently-settled tribes, along with numerous colonies established by the city-states of the ancient Melkart civilisation, whose maritime trade empire stretched to the southern coasts of Realmgard at its westernmost frontier.
The earliest accounts of the inhabitants of the peninsula give them the name Falcatarii, in reference to their famous and effective use of a style of curved sword known as the falcata (subsequently adopted as a reasonably common name among the Amazons due to the tradition of giving their daughters warlike names).
The falcata’s effectiveness in battle ensured its popularity and widespread use among the warriors of ancient Realmgard.
The Sea’s Edge was unified for the first time in its history by the Elves after a protracted period of conflict spent conquering the local tribes and the Melkartite colonies.
After centuries as one of the most populous and important provinces of the Elven Empire, the Empire’s decline saw the peninsula into many warring kingdoms, culminating in the almost total conquest of the peninsula by an invading army from the southern continent, the distant descendants of the Malkartites once driven out by the Elven Empire (and ancestors of the populace of the current Duchy of Tanith).
While their kingdom controlled the Sea’s Edge for several centuries, it ultimately fell into decline and civil war, throwing the peninsula back into a turbulent state of division and war. It was during this period that the predecessors of the peninsula’s current states first arose.
The Kingdom of Pelayo
Ruling over the bulk of the Sea’s Edge peninsula, Pelayo is the successor of the historical kingdoms that undertook the reunification of the peninsula in previous generations.
The name of the kingdom is derived from the old Elven name for the peninsula, “Canthus Pelagicus”, which was over time abbreviated and adapted into Pelayo as the local language differentiated itself from the original Elven.
Present-day Pelayo is renowned as a military power both in Realmgard and beyond. Pelayo’s large navies and powerful armies have allowed to extend its influence and establish colonies both throughout Realmgard, throughout the islands of the Circle Sea. Additionally, Pelayan expeditions have been the driving force behind the exploration and settlement of the southern and western continents previously unexplored by the peoples of Realmgard.
The Kingdom of Torres
The Kingdom of Torres controls the western coast of the Sea’s Edge.
Now an independent kingdom, Torres was originally a vassal of Pelayo that successfully asserted its independence and has been able to maintain its territory thanks in large part to the extensive network of fortifications which its kings have built up over the century. These fortifications are such an integral part of the kingdom’s identity that it derives its name from its many impressive towers.
Like Pelayo, Torres is involved in extensive oceanic, transcontinental exploration and trade. However, due to its land borders consisting almost exclusively of a border with Pelayo — the sole exception being a very narrow border with the Duchy of Tanith at the kingdom’s extreme south — Torres has become much less involved in continental affairs than its larger neighbour.
As an interesting historical aside, the border between Torres and Pelayo is the oldest unchanged border between two kingdoms in Realmgard.
The Duchy of Tanith
Though much diminished in its current state, the Duchy of Tanith in the south of the peninsula is the remnant of both a culture that pre-dates the Elven Empire and an polity that once ruled over much of the peninsula. Present-day Tanithites claim descent from the original Melkartite colonists and the invaders from the Wandering Coast to Realmgard’s south who once ruled over much of the Sea’s Edge.
Military defeats in recent generations have reduced Tanith’s prestige and prominence and brought about the loss of much of its territory to the Kingdom of Pelayo. Though nominally a subordinate tributary to Pelayo following its defeat by the Pelayan armies, Tanith retains almost complete functional independence in its domestic affairs.
Largely stripped of its military might as a condition of its tributary status, Tanith nevertheless remains active in maritime trade, particularly with the Wandering Coast, with which is retains many cultural ties.
Tanith now depends on Pelayan navies for protection of its merchant ships and is obliged to transfer a percentage of its annual income to the Pelayan treasury.
Though Tanith’s hold on its independence is overall tenuous, it is likely secure for at least the near future. The ruling Duchess, Elissa, has proven herself a shrewd leader and a capable diplomatic, fostering both warm relations with the other countries of the peninsula and personal respect and friendships with the kings of Pelayo and Torres.
Duchess Elissa is much-beloved by her people, to the point that many of them consider her to be the reincarnation of their patron goddess Malketa.