The kingdom of Southlands is split into twelve distinct baronies governed by barons. Each barony consists of multiple counties, towns, cities, etc. and the government trickles down to a smaller level. But over his barony each baron rules, answerable only to his Eldest and fellow barons.
And of these twelve, Middlecrescent is the strongest.
It lies in the center of the nation on fertile ground with good access to all the other baronies. Were its baron less powerful, this central location might make it an easy target among rival barons. But Middlecrescent has, since ancient times, dealt with this very issue of vulnerability (as we will see come Starflower . . .), and has grown up a warlike people, fierce enough to not only keep hold of their own land, but also to reach grasping fingers out to others.
Of course, in Veiled Rose, we see a unified Southlands with a ruling Eldest and, for the most part, peaceable barons. But that doesn't mean the rivalries of ancient times have been entirely forgotten. Not in the hearts of those barons.
Least of all, in the heart of Baron Middlecrescent.
[His] desk was more like a throne really, a true seat of power from which the baron controlled his barony and, truth be told, the baronies of more than a few of his peers. All in the name of good King Hawkeye, of course. Middlecrescent was unbendingly loyal. If ever his views crossed the Eldest's, it would only be because Middlecrescent was best positioned to recognize benefit to his liege lord. If he pulled a few strings here and there, subtly gainsaying his master's wishes, manipulating his pawns into positions he deemed more suitable, it was only with the best interests of King Hawkeye at heart (p. 168).
Who doesn't love a man like that?
Of Middlecrescent itself, we learn little enough in the course of this book. If seen from an aerial perspective (perhaps from dragon's flight?), it would appear like a huge crescent arching across the landscape. It is shaped by the gorges which cut all of Southlands into a series of deep ravines and tablelands. The capital of Middlecrescent is a center for the arts.
[Daylily] was used to spending her holidays with friends in Middlecrescent City, enjoying the society there, the balls and assemblies and theatrical performances (p. 109).
It is also a center for conspiracy. But we will have to wait until Moonblood to learn more of that . . .
In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy seeing small glimpses of the life, history, and development of Southlands as a nation. I look forward to sharing more in future books!