Thorne is an agrarian kingdom in a temperate region with farming, cattle, and fishing along the coast as its major sources of commerce and income.
Gunderland to the North is, at least near the border, largely concerned with mining and logging.
For the last thirty years, the Kingdom of Thorne had been ruled by King Phillip III of the Barbans, a noble house that has held the crown for over two centuries. News of his death has only just reached the remote areas of the kingdom and trouble is brewing.
Phillip had an heir, Isobel. The princess had been raised to rule and was widely thought to be a most suitable heir, but she was killed in a storm at sea several months earlier. Phillip has held out hope for her return, so he delayed naming a new heir.
Rumor says there are two main contenders for the throne. The first is the king's cousin, the Contessa Blanche of Fenley. She is late in years, but is the king's closest living relative. She is also wealthy and connected at court. Her son, Edward, would take the throne after her death.
The other aspirant is Charles of Montou, a minor noble from Gunderland. He is the a distant cousin of the late king but is the male in the most direct line. As a foreigner, there are deep concerns about his claim, but it's said he is willing to take up arms to enforce his claim. Dynastic change has only happened a few times in Thorne's history. Many fear war is brewing.