Formal Name: United Federation of Quenardya and Eastern Galendor
Government Type: Constitutional monarchy (federal system)
Chief of State: Queen Artela, 1453-1868 (co-regent), 1868-present (sole)
Quenardya is the second-largest nation on Galendor and the Metamor Empire's strongest ally. Named after the ancient Elven kingdom from which it is descended, the modern-day Quenardya is a federation of partially-autonomous states that all declare allegiance to Queen Artela, the fallen but still-immortal goddess of the wild.
The flag of Quenardya is composed of three horizontal stripes, a white central stripe with powder blue above and medium brown below. In the center of the white stripe is a stylized Tree of Life in forest green, representing the natural world as it exists between the Heavens above (blue) and the earth below (brown). The tree's branches and roots are all interwoven in a circle, representing the Elvish belief in the interconnectedness of all living things.
The Seal of Quenardya, used on currency and federal correspondence, is the same Tree of Life seen on the flag, surrounded by the nation's formal name in a calligraphic Elvish script. Quenardyan coins bear the profile of Queen Artela on the obverse, rather than the Seal, and various designs on the reverse side.
While the flag also contains blue and brown, the national colors of Quenardya are traditionally considered to be forest green and white, and most patriotic regalia primarily uses these two colors.
Quenardya ("the realm of the speakers") has been the name of the kingdom of the Elves for as long as government has existed. During their golden age, from the founding of the kingdom in ca. -12,000 CR to the coming of the Great Darkness in -5,000 CR, the Elves ruled the western two-thirds of the continent of Galendor, an area larger than the present-day Empire of Metamor. From -5000 to 707 CR the Elvish kingdom diminished in size and declined in influence, until it encompassed only the Forest of Aelfwood and the Sylvan Mountains. This was partly due to the expansion of humanity, but another major contributing factor was the rift between the Prime Material Plane and the so-called "Underworld" that was created by the destruction of the Elvish city of Jagoduun in ca. -9000 CR. This rift caused mana to slowly leak out of the material world, which led to decline in the strength and efficacy of magic; this in turn brought on feelings of malaise and disconnectedness in the Elves, for whom magic was as much a part of life as breathing. By the beginning of the eighth century the Elves largely felt that the world was dying around them, and few among them had any clue as to the cause of this condition.
That all began to change in December 707, when the rift to the Underworld was finally closed. Slowly but surely magic began to flow back into the world, growing stronger with each passing year -- and with it, the vitality of the Elves was renewed. The Elves became more energetic, more optimistic, and more fertile -- more children were born in Quenardya in 715 than had been born in the entire decade of the 700s. The population of half-Elves skyrocketed, as well, as the Elves formed renewed connections with the human world around them. When Talia began her campaign of conquest against the nations of the Outer Midlands, the reinvigorated Quenardya sent out its warriors to fight alongside the human armies of Metamor and Salinon. In the 800s the human nations of Eastern Galendor formed alliances with the Elves against Rukilia, which at that time was in an expansionist mode -- alliances that would one day become a confederation, and finally a full-fledged federation. By the time that Kyia assumed the role of Majestrix of Metamor in 1000 CR the Elven kingdom was once again a major power in the region and an active participant in world affairs.
Artela gained control of Quenardya in 1453, when she married the king after an unlikely courtship that had lasted five years. It was not something Artela had planned on, but her mortal body was subject to the same desires and emotions as the humans and Elves it resembled -- and during a visit to Quenardya in 1448 she and the king had unexpectedly fallen in love. Although at first both dismissed it as a flight of fancy, they spent more and more time together until they eventually realized how eminently compatible they were. She altered her avatar form slightly to accommodate the sensibilities of the Elvish people, and they married in a grand ceremony that drew together Elves and Artela's disciples from all over the world.
The King and Queen oversaw two major reforms in Quenardyan government. The first, begun in 1738, established a system of democratically-elected government in what were, at that time, called the "provinces" of the kingdom. Humans and half-Elves were declared to be full citizens along with their Elven neighbors, and all three races participated in the first elections in 1743.
The second reformation took place in the wake of the First World War (1832-1838). The nations that had existed in eastern Galendor prior to the war had been crushed by the armies of imperialistic Yamato, despite the alliance of confederation that they had shared with Quenardya. Many felt that a united military force was the only hope that these nations had to defend themselves, but the rules of the alliance forbade troops of one nation in the confederation to occupy another except as part of united military operations against an aggressor. A convention of the member governments was called, and the idea of strengthening the confederation into a federal union of states was brought up for consideration. After much debate and deliberation, the convention drafted up the Articles of Alliance and Federation and submitted them to the member states for ratification. Under this new constitution Taralas would cease to be the capital of an Elven unitary state; the various provinces would be granted statehood, on a par with the independent nations of the confederacy, who in turn gave up some of their sovereignity to a new federal government headed by the King and Queen (as co-leaders of the executive branch) and a federal Parliament consisting of ministers elected by the people of the various states (the legislative branch). Military forces were united into a single hierarchy that answered to the Crown and the Parliament, and which had the freedom to allocate forces wherever they were needed in federation territory. The new federation, founded in 1842, was formally called the United Federation of Quenardya and Eastern Galendor, but the people of the eastern states were proud to associate themselves with Quenardya's rich history and it wasn't long before the entire union was known by that name.
Artela and the High King ruled side by side over the new Quenardya until the
King perished in a tragic accident in 1868, when one of the bridges of the arboreal
city of Taralas gave way unexpectedly beneath his feet. He had been on a quiet
morning walk by himself, away from his Queen and bodyguards, and no one was
there to save him when the ropes of a little-used and ancient bridge suddenly
came loose as he crossed it.
Artela was devastated. For a time she considered abdicating from the throne,
but she had no heirs to succeed her -- as a goddess she had control over her
own reproductive processes, and she and the King had never been in any great
hurry to have children. To make matters worse, the world was on the road to
war again -- the signs were plain everywhere, and nowhere more than in Yamato,
which had thrown off its Rukilian occupiers and was now aggressively expanding
its influence throughout Fan Shoar. Without her the still-young United Federation
would fall to pieces, easy prey for either Yamato or Rukilia. In the end, Artela
decided to continue on the throne of Quenardya, for the sake of the people she
had come to see as her own. To this day she has not remarried, and has no plans
to abandon her position and its responsibilities.
Today Quenardya governs most of the northeast quarter of the continent of Galendor. The kingdom consists of 39 partially-autonomous states with their own popularly-elected governments, all of which retain certain rights of sovereignity that are described in the Articles of Alliance and Federation, the central document of Quenardyan law. The capital of Taralas is a union territory, not part of any state, and the states send elected ministers to a Parliament that works with the Queen to make decisions that affect the entire federation. Political parties tend to be united by region and ideology, and there are dozens of them throughout the states; as in the Metamorian Senate, these parties must form coalitions in order to govern. The difference is that the Senate is derived only from the people of the kingdom of Metamor, the so-called "metropole" of the Empire, while the members of the Quenardyan Parliament come from all over the federation and are stunningly diverse in their views and cultural backgrounds. It is rare for any single party to control more than 5% of the Parliament, even if it is a relatively large party that spans several states. There have been efforts in the past at creating truly nationwide parties, but most people believe that the local parties are better able to represent them and serve their interests than a large party whose leaders are drawn from other states.
Queen Artela is the Head of State and is generally recognized as a wise and just ruler. Her Privy Council is analogous in form and function to Kyia's Cabinet. She has forged a very strong alliance with Kyia, who recognizes that Artela is doing fine on her own and has never pushed the goddess to bring Quenardya into the Empire. Between them, Metamor and Quenardya control roughly three-fourths of Galendor.