The Animal Kingdom has gotten too vast to be ruled entirely from Pride. That is why, ever since the time of Maw the Red hundreds of years ago, it was divided into separate regions, each of which rules with a degree of autonomy.
Each of these regions are under the governance of a noble cat family – in very broad geographical terms, the lynxes rule the north from Clowder, the tigers rule the south from Streaks, the leopards rule the north-west from Cluster, and the Cheetahs rule the east from Leap. Of course, things are never as clear cut as that, and certain regions are smaller, larger, richer, poorer, or have control over certain important resources or southern colonies.
As King Lav sought to consolidate his rule and realign the political setup, he moved the capital from the centrally placed Blackbark to the southern city of Pride, closer (in terms of roads and trade) to both Streaks and Leap, which in term made them a much stronger force than the (notoriously rebellious) northern regions.
For the cheetahs, this still holds true, as they have been placated not only with increased trade but also with the administration of the immensely profitable southern colonies. For the tigers, however, Lav’s greatest allies during the Lav Rebellion, this is less and less true. Nicholas the tiger has grown restless and is ever more vocal about the need for substantial change in the way the Kingdom operates.
This map shows the major cities of the Kingdom and the rough lines indicate the domain of each noble family (the yellow line encapsules areas under the direct domain of the crown):
The history books are full of royals and nobles, as these castes are the ones ruling over the Kingdom and generally believed to be deciding the course of history. So it is interesting to discuss the most famous historical figures from the commoner caste – Dabrovit.
Born in The Dams to a wealthy family
Dabrovit was born in The Dams to a wealthy family of beaver woodworkers. His father Drvovit was an engineer well versed in woodwork and the science of lumber. He was so good at it in fact, that the bear owner of the lumber mill almost never interfered with him. To young Dabrovit, and others living there, it might seem that the Dam was run by him. And to keep on top of the newest developments in the industry, Drvovit had many books imported from the nearby capital to study and keep informed. As the oldest son, Dabrovit was expected to continue his father’s legacy and was given all the books and papers to read and research.
As the game begins, the Animal Kingdom is far from its humble animalistic beginnings. It’s a brewing civilisation on the very beginnings of the industrial revolution and (possibly) a social revolution as well.
As for science and the scientific method, it has been steadily advancing since at least King Valent. However, in the Animal Kingdom, there is no difference between science, engineering, history, and other intellectual pursuits – all thinkers are called “Scholars”, whether they are scholars of botany or scholars of machinery or scholars of the Ark myth.
You play the game as Charles, one such scholar of the Kingdom. A botanist by trade and son of the famed scholar Herbert, you have always been in the spotlight which you’d rather avoid. Here’s a peek at Charles’ lab:
Through the past several weeks we have talked about all the kings who have ruled the Animal Kingdom. Some were noble and kind. The others wanted to explore the world and give it all to science. But some rulers were brutal, tyrannic and only cared about the industry and power.
This is the last Ark Lore about the line of kings, and ends with the current king. That would be King Lav the Rebel who deposed the Tyrant King Leopold.
During King Leopold, many animals saw their wealth and health diminish in newlyfound harsh industrial conditions. This, combined with Leopold’s cruel and non-diplomatic approach to many royal issues, led to a bloody rebellion. Leopold was finally deposed in a rebellion led by his younger brother, prince Lav 30 years ago today.
Leonard’s son Leopold started off his reign as a direct continuation of his father’s footsteps as King. However, his main preoccupation soon had to shift to stability and centralisation of power in the Kingdom.
The steam engine changed much of the industrial landscape of the Kingdom… This, along with the vast resources coming from the newly discovered colony, all gave rise to new powers. Not all of these new powers were satisfied with their newfound wealth, and some wished to secure even more power.
Add the proliferation of the press, and you have a Kingdom filled with various ideas. These ideas, when left unchecked, could unravel the Kingdom itself. This is perhaps what Leopold feared most- the undoing of his predecessor’s life’s work.
Kings of the Animal Kingdom: King Valent the Scholar
As we wrote about Michaël the Zealous in our previous lore article about the Kings of the Animal Kingdom, today we are continuing the saga with King Valent the Scholar who cherished the science and exploration during his ruling.
Prince Laurent was oft ill and short-lived, and so he died before he could succeed to the throne. His son, Valent, took on the Kings mantle at a very young age, and was thus the longest-ruling king in historical memory, being known as The Scholar King.
Even as a child, King Valent was tutored by Master Dabrovit, and fell in love with science and exploration from an early age. He funded many great expeditions to all sides of the Kingdom during his long reign and remade the kingdom in the image of science.
In today’s Ark Lore Tuesday (check out our other Ark Lore articles) we want to talk about the Lynx Rebellion. This is an event that took place hundreds of years before the game takes place and therefore does not feature in the game (bar a few history books and fireside tavern songs). However, the event is one of the bedrocks of the current social order of the Kingdom and has shaped the Kingdom into what it is today.
The relative autonomy
While the Animal Kingdom is a monarchy ruled by lions, the other noble families still have a degree of control over their own territories. This relative autonomy came about hundreds of years ago as the aftermath of the Lynx Rebellion. This rebellion started after a series of imposed regulations and levies in the Kingdom by the lion king Red.
The lynxes pushed back on this, declaring complete autonomy from the crown and thus a long struggle ensued, sometimes called The Third Northern War. In the beginning, King Red believed the rebellion will be squashed soon and gave it no thought, but similar rebellions were soon beginning to spark in other regions of the Kingdom as well. That’s why Red decided to send his son Nathaniel to help the royalist soldiers squash the rebellion.
The Animal Kingdom counts years from the day of the Ark Fantastic marooning on land. This is an event that signalled the end of a great flood and of course holds a big significance in their society and mythology.
The years before the flood are lost to everyone and unmentioned even in the oldest tales, but in art and literature it is usually portrayed and referred to as an idyllic heaven-like state where animals lived in harmony as there was no conflict and everyone knew their place. The game begins in 1883AA (After Ark), which is 1883 years after the flood subsided and the animals founded the Animal Kingdom they live in today.
You can read more about the day of the New Year in the Animal Kingdom in our blogpost about the Day of the Bells here!
While the counting of years and the year of the Ark myth is firmly established, the exact date when the Ark was found is based on pure speculation, and therefore the date of the new year is calculated purely based on ceremonial reasons.
Usually, it is the birth-date of the current king, but there are a few instances in recent history when this wasn’t so – during King Michaël, the date of the New Year was set to the discovery of Ark Island (corresponding to our mid-June), and the current New Year coincides with Pride’s Day of Bells.
This day marks the beginning of the Lav rebellion, and is a holiday festivity across the Kingdom, in celebration of Lav’s victory over tyranny and oppression. It corresponds to our own late September.
There are no Santas or Christmas decorations in the Animal Kingdom, however, there is one tradition held for over three decades now – the Day of Bells is celebrated at noon by ringing all the bells in the entire Kingdom, which you will be able to experience yourself in the game (be careful about the volume on your earphones though!)