"Prior to the four kingdoms, there was naught but chaos..."
“The Four Kingdoms” is the name of the landmass comprising the kingdoms of Sunsgrove, Aisling, Navran, and Kishar. Before a treaty ended countless years of war and racial strife, the many races of the land found themselves constantly at odds, unable to maintain even the simplest of alliances.
This all changed when the Canid – a strong and ambitious race from the frozen and bitter Northern Wastes – invaded Ermehn lands in what is now Aisling. Battle lines were drawn, and all races in the land were pulled into a massive war that claimed thousands of lives.
The Treaty of Cenolau, named for the neutral city at the very center of the continent, ended the conflict, drawing borders around the kingdoms for the very first time.
Since the dawn of history, civilization has begun to take root.
There is little hope it will succeed.Beyond the Western Deep
follows the Tamian (squirrel) Quinlan and the Lutren (otter) Dakkan as they try to prevent a war between the Canid and Ermehn (wolves and ermine). Meanwhile, Hardin the Ermehn is determined to right the wrong he believes has been done to his people after the war.
Provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Kenosh shows he's not above at least threatening to hit his son. Of course, Dakkan's reaction implies it wouldn't be the first time.
- Badass Grandpa: Kenosh is stated to be in his late fifties, but is a well-respected and highly skilled warrior. Ashtor is implied to be one, but this has yet to be seen.
- Big Bad: Hardin
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Lutren are otters and Tamian are squirrels, for a start.
- Duel to the Death: How Hardin is introduced
- Evil Counterpart: Ashtor to Kenosh. Both are the oldest members of their respective groups, both believe in diplomacy over violence, and both will speak out against it.
- Fantastic Racism: Even the protagonists aren't above it.
- Five-Bad Band: Hardin's group, though some characters see them differently, making them a Five-Man Band in some cases.
- Four-Fingered Hands
- Gray and Gray Morality: The story presents two major differing opinions on the results of the second war, specifically whether or not the Ermehn got what they deserved or were unfairly and disproportionately punished. Neither is seen as right or wrong (out-of-universe, due to the fact that everyone has a bias that affects their view on what exactly happened), but the question (and the answers the various characters have chosen) is a huge driving force behind the conflict.
- In the Hood: Bevan
- Jerk Ass: Crim, Quinlan's rival
- Non-Action Guy: Quinlan tries to invoke this by deciding to be a scout for the Tamian army, much to his grandfather's displeasure
- Parental Abandonment: Quinlan's parent's are confirmed by Word of God to be deceased
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Early in chapter two, Quin and Dak aren't paying attention while on watch and get ambushed by a trio of bandits while Kenosh is sleeping. In the ensuing fight, Dakkan is taken captive and Quin can't fight back or the bandits will kill the Lutren. Meanwhile, Kenosh has woken up and managed to sneak around the bandits and get the drop on them. The fight goes un-shown, instead cutting away to the trio discussing what happened.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: Inverted with many of the Ermehn who, despite living in the frigid northern wastes, wear sleeves without shirts
- Smug Snake: Crim. He teaches Tesque (the Tamian local martial art) and early in chapter 1 challenges Quinlan in an attempt to humiliate him due to him not thinking Quinlan deserves to be captain of the Tamian military. Despite a rocky start, Quin is able to come out on top in an awesome way.
- The Archer: Quinlan and Bevan
- The Chains of Commanding: Quinlan is not happy about inheriting his grandfather's position as captain.
- Those Two Guys: Quinlan and Dakkan
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Nearly all the male Ermehn
- World of Funny Animals