It was found long ago that mages could combine their powers to create even more powerful feats. They often connect physically to channel the energies better, but strong triumvirates rarely do so. When this ability was first discovered, there were experiments to see if larger groups would give more energy, but it was quickly found that any more than three was highly unstable and extremely dangerous. Pairs, on the other hand, simply didn't provide enough extra energy for noticeable results. Or perhaps it's all psychological, due to the Taydan obsession with threes.
Tayda was traditionally ruled by the strongest triumvirate, determined through a series of tournaments and challenges. The resulting winners were declared the Triptych, and held this position as long as they could defend it. They HAD to answer any who would challenge them with in nine days, at the Triptych's discretion, of course. While they had leagues of bureaucrats to deal with the details of running Tayda, they set the main policies.
The ruling body of modern Tayda is a voting council composed of 33 nobles, 33 merchants and guildsmen, and 33 elected representatives of the people, with 3 mages- "the Triptych"- as nonvoting "advisors". These members are selected by their groups in terms of 9 years- the nobles choose their representatives one year, three years later the merchants/guilds choose theirs, in three more years the common folk select their 33, and in three years the nobles choose again.
Marriage is an officially sanctioned institution in Tayda, as is divorce. The majority are heterosexual, although one can always find alternative churches somewhere willing to perform ceremonies. The stance of the main church of Quietus (God of love) is that any who can pay for it will get a marriage certificate and services.
The kingdom of Tayda is located in a valley on the northern end of the continent Vespur, just south of a tundra. The woodlands surrounding the main city are mostly conifers (spruce, fir, and similar pine trees), with fairly consistent, moderate rainfall. Several rivers wind their way through settlements, where farming provides much of export profits.
Due to the very collective nature of Tayda and its background, one can expect to see any variety of racial backgrounds when walking down the street. While it is inevitable to encounter the random bigot, for the most part Taydans of any era simply don't give a damn about what color a person's skin is.
The exchange system, of course, is based on three. The lowest denomination is the Leo, a square coin of blackened silvery metal stamped with the image of a housecat. Nine leos are equivalent to one Shak. The shak is a reddish metal coin, rounded to resemble the bloom of a rose. Six of the shaks make up the undecorated triangular Rai, which is made of a metal the color we would consider blued steel. In ancient Tayda, there was one more exchange. Three rai were worth one Sa, a coin manufactured only through magic so a common clear crystal (generally quartz) formed a small cylinder containing an amount of mercury. Thanks to magic, they were made unbreakable, but since the downfall of magic in the land, these coins have virtually disappeared from the market, their value skyrocketing as curiosities from the old days.
While Tayda has the usual spread of arts, one significant fact must be pointed out. In ancient Tayda, it was traditional to have a portrait painted of every triumvirate. Yet many modern citizens have commented that the painters of the time were highly unskilled, especially those that created the portraits of all the Triptychs. The truth of the matter was that some rare mages could use highly detailed, extremely accurate portraits to focus malignant magics. So as a safety measure, no one with magic worth their salt would have an accurate reproduction done of them. This developed multiple stylized, abstract artistic styles rather than realism. Modern Taydans are unaware of this factor, and therefore have developed skilled realist artists.
In most of Tayda, basically all but nobles in the modern era, and in ancient times the Triptych and their relatives, people have patrilineal family names. These are often related to jobs or significant ancestors (particularly members of long ago Triptychs). The exceptions also have a family name (chosen the same way), but in public it is assumed that everyone knows who these individuals are- or at least their house colors/emblems. Therefore, they go by the name of a parent (generally the one of greater power, though it can simply be the one the child would prefer to be associated with), preceded by naht, a word used by the elves to indicate lineage. For example, Cara, daughter of Balthazor, would be "Cara naht Balthazor". Even when a Triptych fell from power, their children and immediate family would still have the rights to use that naming process.
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