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Before the coming of Night, the Dragon's Claw Canyon was a typical medieval feodality — not a unified empire per se, but a collection of noblemen swearing allegiance to each other and, ultimately, to the High King who ruled in Avamere. More than the bonds of politics and feudal vows, the Knights of the Chalice were instrumental in maintaining the unity of these various baronies and principalities. They, like the High King, stood as symbols of a unity which transcended petty human differences, a unity of faith and ideals which resulted in a unity of purpose.

The political structure of the canyon has changed little since the arrival of Night. In many ways, Night has replaced the High King, while the various demons and other fiendish beings that serve as Night's minions have replaced the barons, princes, dukes, and earls that swore fealty to the High King. What is missing from the new arrangement, however, are the interconnected bonds of loyalty and service that formed the feudal system, and the unity of ideals symbolized by the Knights of the Chalice. Without these two elements, the politics of the canyon begin to look much more like an anarchy where the strong seize power and exert it over the weak, beholden to no one and serving no one but their own interests and the overarching evil of Night.

Night itself is a deeply mysterious figure, ruling in majestic silence from its black marble palace in Avamere. The fiends that rule towns and villages throughout the canyon are referred to as its minions, and they enforce some common rules, but it is unclear to what extent Night issues any commands, as well as how readily those commands are obeyed.


The Dragon's Claw canyon used to be governed by a benevolent set of laws promulgated by the High King and enforced by his vassals as a part of their oaths of fealty. These laws were designed to promote the common welfare of all people, from the richest noblemen to the humblest peasants. They emphasized mutual service and respect, loyalty and truthfulness, honor and piety.

All that is but a distant memory in the minds of most of the inhabitants of the Dragon's Claw canyon. These are people who have seen service become slavery, respect turn into antipathy, loyalty transformed into backstabbing treachery; they have heard lies pour from the tongues of the most respected priests and seen honor trampled in the dust. Piety is now a capital crime. The vast majority of the canyon's residents view the virtues of the Knights of the Chalice as deadly naïveté.

The most important law of the canyon under Night is "might makes right." The powerful get that way by seizing power, proving themselves stronger than those around them, often by means of assassination or intrigue. Few can challenge the minions of Night for sheer power, so these fiends rule uncontested in most of the settlements of the canyon.

The minions of Night do enforce a small but important set of laws designed to maintain Night's hold on the land and its people. Primary among these is the banning of worship. Any practice associated with the religion of Javen is strictly prohibited, and offenders are summarily executed. Further, any mention or discussion of the High King or the Knights of the Chalice is a capital offense. Assembling in groups of nine or more is prohibited, and large demons are often on hand to break up such gatherings. This tends to make taverns and other places usually associated with public gathering into unusually quiet places full of suspicious and fearful people. Finally, burying the dead is prohibited, as is any other means of disposing of a corpse. Corpses must be brought to one of Night's agents, who generally either eats them or animates them as servants. This has a profound demoralizing effect on the population.

These rules, and any others issued by local rulers, are enforced primarily through the work of well-paid informers. All citizens are strongly encouraged to betray their neighbors, rewarded monetarily and with tiny morsels of power.

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