Secrets of the Inner Sea
[This is what you know so far. The ordering of this information could be better, sorry. This is mainly addressed semi-IC, except for notes in backets, like this.]
Once it was its own Earth, but the remaining bubble is called Merovia. Once a country in the original world, most of what was captured in the bubble was of the country of Merovia, plus some other bits and pieces, which became part of Merovia. The capital of Merovia is Lutetia, which resembles Paris.
It is said when Ys rises, Lutetia will sink. On your own Earth, Lutetia was an older name for Paris.
Its Queens are elected upon the death of the previous Queen from the royal family by the members of the royal family, though usually the first daughter of the last Queen serves as the queen. Rarely, an election has happened when a Queen has retired, abdicated, or been usurped. Merovian Queens claim lineage from the Queens of unconquered Carthage, which destroyed Rome in ancient times, before the world was destroyed in the creation of this bubble.
Only you seem to have noticed that since becoming a pocket dimension, the history of Merovia became cyclic. The names changed, but the shape was the same, particularly at the highest level. There's an abdication every 173 years, a retirement every 143, and so on, to match the previous shape of history, and the personalities of the Queens are similar, if not exactly the same. Technology advances, and things change at the personal level. However, since the portal to your Earth appeared in the Royal Gardens, history seems to have ceased to have been cyclic, though it is tough to be 100% sure.
The Earth that became Merova was inhabited by wolkri rather than humans.
Basics: Wolkri are feathered lizard people who come from a world that the Faerie had invaded previously, right before the current world (yours). The wolkri destroyed their world to try to break away from Faerie, creating the pocket dimension ("bubble") of Merovia, but some of the fae were caught in it. Wolkri are matriarchal and matrilineal; men are not especially powerful in their society. The iron of their world doesn’t harm or even discomfort faeries, and Wolkri Earth had no magic.
Wolkri reproduce only rarely. Because an egg can remain dormant while fertilized for some time, it isn’t clear who “fathered” a child. Fatherhood therefore isn’t really a social concept that is used, although brothers are expected to take an interest in their sister’s children. They are feathered all over, with a notable ruff at their necks which is pronounced in both genders but more flamboyantly colored in males.
Industry: The wolkri are in many ways, except computing and maybe war, more technologically advanced than your own Earth. [For players, think a dieselpunk society similar to our 1920’s, with a strong art-deco and art nouveau influence.] They use cereulium as a fuel or energy source, either in raw form (blue glowing crystals) or in a refined fluid form. They call cereulium fuel “blue” or just “fuel”. Cereulium also allows for anti-gravity effects and flight.
Fashion: [For players, again, think the 1920s, though working with their natural feathers.] Upper class women wear things that resemble human feminine wear to show they don't have to do manual labor. Male clothing is more colorful and perhaps contains elements from earlier centuries from a human perspective. Military uniforms are a little more drab [typical of the 1920s], but women serve instead of men, wearing what you would consider to be male uniforms. Their military and exploratory scouts often wear very little clothing, just toolbelts and insignia, for convenience, especially in warmer weather. In general, because of the feathering, a low amount of clothing is more acceptable for outdoor / wilderness settings, but indoors / more formally not so much. Males have slightly prettier plumage, and like to show it off. Some wolkri, mostly males, enhance the coloring of their plumage with cosmetics. Because older wolkri sometimes lose their feathered neck ruff, an artificial neck ruff is an acceptable fashion accessory, like a wig. Some of you have one now!
Language: The primary academic tongue of Merovia is Latin, almost exactly like the Latin as you understand it, though the vernacular is Lutetian, which is similar to, but not exactly like, French. Lutetian is like French with some annoyingly different vocabulary words here and there spoken with a thick Portuguese accent. A lot of the differences from French reflect the difference in gender politics, biology, and technology. For example, gendered nouns for objects are often gender-flipped, and a lot of the technical terms sound (frustratingly) like nonsense.
Before the portal to your world opened, there were a variety of political parties and factions in Merovia. Since the portal has opened, these many, many groups have organized loosely into two major factions. These two factions are still unstable, and even the wolkri can get confused about them at times.
Opportunists – Want to connect to the outside world. Leader is Queen Cardette, a young queen who was chosen by vote after her mother’s death. Queen Cardette is falsely accused of colluding with the Sea Witch. If she is deposed or dies, since she is too young to have any children, her cousin Julia is likely to be elected to the throne. Cardette's younger sister, Lily, who has a crush on Rho, is too young for the throne.
Citizens – Want to re-close the portal and generally remain isolated from other worlds. Led by Julia, Cardette’s older cousin by her mother’s younger sister. Julia is trying to get Cardette charged with treason in the hopes that she’ll be chosen to replace her. Julia was impressed by the hunting prowess of the humans, and after a kidnapping attempt, has requested humans as her bodyguards.
Before the Opportunist / Citizens divide, there were many other sub-factions of politics in Merovia, which are now grouped under one umbrella or the other. One of those sub-factions called in a debt with a Fall Court faerie to create the (hasty) plot to frame the humans, without Julia's knowledge.
Because the iron of Wolkri Earth did not harm the fae at all, despite the lack of humans, it was like a paradise to the fae. The Unseelie (and those of a similar temperment) had a field day. The lack of magic only sweetened the deal; the Wolkri literally had no way to make the fae even uncomfortable. This is what led to their radical solution to the problem (see further below).
There are early, passing mentions in the wolkri histories of the Seelie and the Unseelie, but in general things were so chaotic in the early days that the wolkri did not distinguish between different courts of Fae. It was not until after they cut their universe off from all others that they spoke to faeries in earnest, "discovering" the Fall and Spring Courts.
The wolkri fear and distrust faeries. Even though they have a shaky truce with the Fall Court, it's still illegal to directly collude with them, especially the Sea Witch.
Fall Court – One of two courts of faeries known to exist in Merovia. The Fall Court is pro-industry, tho this is in part due to the unusual properites of wolkri iron. They believe it’s valuable to keep the wolkri around for their own purposes, such as industrial work, and so “farm” them rather than trying to wipe them out. The Sea Witch, aka the Autumn Queen or the Overseer, is the leader, and might be a Tuatha like Oberon or the Adversary. If the Sea Witch is actually Tuatha, this could have a serious effect on the balance of power in Faerie now that the Fall Court is no longer trapped in Merovia.
Spring Court – The other court. The Spring Court is expansionist, and wishes to move into as many realities as possible. They’re also romantics who prefer a pristine, rural world. They are opposed to industry, and sometimes come to grips with the wolkri over the destruction of natural land for industrial purposes. Led by Dahut, Lady of Ys, also known as the Spring Queen or the Queen of Bees. The Spring Court has a beautiful city, the underwater city of Ys, on the shore of Merovia. If Dahut is also Tuatha, things could get very interesting indeed.
And other miscellaneous facts!
The iron of Wolkri Earth doesn't bother faeries at all. There was no magic in Wolkri Earth.
( Note: There was also no magic on the first Earth (human-occupied) that faeries appeared on thousands of years ago, yet there were pulled into the world by a ritual. There's no magic on our Earth, but a person was plucked from there by a ritual on another Earth. Rituals can rarely be a different matter than standard academic magic. )
When it looked like the faerie were going to either destroy or control the entire world, the wolkri grew desperate. While later histories try to pass it off as a grim decision made in co-ordination with the world leaders, it's pretty clear that the decision to create the bubble was made by Queen Anne II of Merovia and the mad genius Marchesa Isabella II Gonzaga of Mantua, aka "Little Isabella," who had taken refuge in Merovia after her lands had been overrun by feral fae.
Iron: It seems that wolkri iron works in all way physically and chemically like any other form of iron, but does not harm faeries or make them uncomfortable. It retains this property even when brought to your own Earth. Similarly, iron brought from your own Earth to Merovia makes faeries uncomfortable and can harm them. One assumes the same would be true of cold iron (star iron) brought from your home.
Cereulium: The super-fuel cereulium only exists on Wolkri Earth. Cereulium occurs naturally in the form of glowing blue crystals and can be processed into a blue liquid fuel. The amount of power even one cereulium crystal can produce is massive. Cereulium energy resembles faerie "magic" (energy, glamour, powers) in strange ways.
The device that created the bubble used a lot of ceruelium.
The Bubble: "Little Isabella" of Mantua seems to have been the wolkri equivalent of Leonardo di Vinci. She created a device that destroyed most of her world, indeed most of her universe, leaving only a tiny sphere, a "bubble", intact, mostly encompassing Merovia. To her dismay, the bubble did not extend far enough to include Mantua, as she has intended.
The bubble was a pocket dimension, a loop of space-time cut off from the rest of the multiverse. Most importantly, it was cut off from Faerie, which connected the various Earths. Most of the faeries were ejected from the bubble, as intended, but some were trapped in it. The faeries who were not trapped in the bubble forgot about the existence of Wolkri Earth.
The Portal: Recently, a glowing blue portal has appeared in the Royal Gardens in Lutetia, connecting your Earth to Merovia. It is believed that the Spring Court is responsible for the portal to your Earth, but no one is sure. Magic is pouring in through the portal, allowing sorcery to be used in Merovia, at least while within a few leagues of the portal.
Horses: Horses in Merovia are ridable, flightless birds rather than equines. This was true even before the bubble went up.