Empire of Lightrune
The lands around the River of Gold. Once wealthy and prosperous thanks to the trade that plies down the river, the people of the Tradelands have recently fallen onto hard times thanks to harsh Imperial taxation. Equally galling (to the minds of the Tradelanders) is that their money is being spent elsewhere, especially the amount of money diverted to the north and west for conquests that barely add anything to the empire, and the maintenance of earlier and similarly unprofitable conquests.
River of Gold: The River of Gold is named for both its yellowish colour, and the large amounts of wealth that flow through it (although literal gold is not panned in its waters). It has its source in the Darkrazor Mountains and reaches the ocean to the north of the Blue Tar Desert. It cuts the southern portion of the Empire off from the rest.
Swordfall: The closest port on the River of Gold to the Imperial capital of Runehold, and as such a major centre of trade. Swordfall is administered by one of the Imperial clan, Benjamin Lanalar, a man famous for his artistic talents. He is constantly surrounded by artists, poets, and bards of every sort.
Rivergate: Rivergate is built on an island in the very mouth of the River of Gold. As such, it is wealthy and prosperous thanks to the constant shipping that passes by. Rivergate is actually two cities: a human city above water, and a merfolk city below. The merfolk city is comprised largely of exiles from other merfolk communities, who swear Imperial citizenship in order to receive pardons for past misdeeds. Despite this magnanimity on the Empire’s part, the merfolk are far more loyal to the rulers of Rivergate, both their own and the human governor, than they are to the Emperor.