Melnibone is home to a broken Air Pattern and ruled by an elite noble class made up of those who can walk it. So far as I can tell, the air pattern strips you of your sense of humor and replaces it with sexual perversity and the desire to ride around on dragons conquering things. You also get pale and your hair gets bleached; frankly, I think just going to a salon would be better if you really want bleached hair. Did I mention they have no sense of humor?
Dragon-Emperor Moorcock I rules over these morons, leading their armies out into shadow from the giant crescent shaped island they live on to conquer other shadows. They rule a hundred or so shadow provinces, although weirdly enough, they've ignored most of their home shadow, which is divided up into many petty kingdoms which they refer to as 'the Young Kingdoms' for no apparent reason, as there's plenty of young people in Melnibone too. Moorcock is your basic megalomaniac Shadow ruler, constantly ranting about his enemies, and no doubt spending his time torturing his slaves and plotting revenge for us kicking his ass when he tried to invade Harad a few years ago. Oh, and he married his sister, Fati. This is apparently their custom.
The Melniboneans practice slavery (until they get it right, I guess). Conquered peoples become slaves of the Melnibonean elite, working estates in the conquered shadows to support families of Melnibonean warriors. They've become pretty dependent on those slaves, who do most of the craftswork and farming, while the Melnibonean warriors and elites go conquer more shadows and play with their harems. From what I hear, some pretty disgusting stuff happens in those harems, but I won't go into details so I don't get an F again for being too explicit. Slave revolts are a periodic problem, and slaves have pretty much no rights. Slaves can never be freed.
The Melniboneans are a bunch of humorless, warmongering, perverse bastards, but it does have to be admitted that they make great art and architecture. Beautiful sculptures, wonderful buildings, and well-planned and designed cities are their hallmark. They even have several floating cities which ride around in clouds; Melnibon City itself is one such, home to the Maze of Clouds, their broken Pattern. Some five hundred thousand people live there.
Melnibonea's Dragons are crucial to their military forces and to some extent to their economy.Ê They range in size from a few dozen feet long to hundreds of feet long, providing a powerful air cavalry controlled by the Melnibonean ruling class.Ê Dragons also pull the flying boats the Melniboneans use for trade, and byproducts from dead dragons contribute to the manufacture of their nearly invulnerable scale armor worn by the elites. Anyone who walks the Maze of Clouds can control these dragons.
Melnibone also has a large army of heavily armored footmen, made up of levies from the free Melniboneans.Ê They're usually armied with pikes and halberds and crossbows. They're well disciplined and effective, although we kicked their butt anyway.
Melnibonean sorcery and religion both revolve around the gods of Chaos and Law and all their funky servitor creatures.Ê Most magic involves making pacts with such beings so that you can later summon them up or call upon their powers.Ê This tends to eventually turn most sorcerors into mad, raving twisted freaks and most priests into virtual avatars of their dieties...assuming they aren't using technological tricks to fake their powers, as many temples use steam-powered clockworks of various kinds to fake omens, make doors open 'magically', etc.
If you're looking to have some fun, visit during one of their religious festivals; they all go crazy and have fun, even if the nobles still don't understand this 'laughter' thing.
Melnibone is quite near to several other shadows with tons of dragons, including Krynn and Pern.
In 1375-7 AY, there was unrest in Melnibone, as Moorcock I grew old and died. His sons squabbled over the throne and their sisters, and in the end, the eldest son managed to win, in part by faking his own death, then waiting for everyone else to kill each other off. He then took the throne as Moorcock II, marrying his sister Michi.
Under a new King, the Melniboneans invaded Amber. Amber called upon the Golden Circle for help, and a massive war resulted. Things went poorly for the Melniboneans. While they originally took Petra, as they marched on Caerlon, Marshal Tsuwabuki united with a Kashfan force and crushed the invaders. Shortly afterwards, the Kashfan government had a financial crisis after the coastline was ravaged by Melnibonean raiders, and withdrew from the war.
Forces led by Tsuwabuki, Shinobu Major, Touga, and Drake pressed into Shadow and attacked Melnibone, sacking many of its cities, and forcing the signing of a favorable peace treaty.
Moorcock II now turned to breeding up a crop of children and conquering and oppressing shadow kingdoms. His known children were:
Other Melniboneans of note included :
However, once again, there were again murmurs of discontent, and it was widely believed that the brothers were maneuvering to replace Moorcock II as ruler. Which was absolutely true... but in a way nobody would have expected...
Apparently the Abyssal [Book of Noir]? was brought to Melnibone by Emperor Darmok, originator of many of the charming Melnibonean habits of recent years. It lurked in a closet in the palace, subtly warping the shadow and influencing people, until Darmok escaped his prison and took it with him to the Black Moon.
It has recently been revealed that Melnibone's nobility had more influence in Amberite affairs than originally supposed, and vice-versa. Prince Corum was responsible for the kidnapping of Princess Mirielle? at birth from hers and Tomos' mother, and raised her as his ward to serve as a very effective Pattern assassin with her partner, the Logrus-using Kirika. This was apparently part of his plan to destabilize Chaos via targeted killings. The Melnibonean Rabid Hatred of Aburatsubo and Orien has been explained to some that it is due to the fact that they helped engineer the downfall of Moorcock I and made trouble for Moorcock II during the Second Melnibonean War.
Two members of Amber's royal family have recently taken Jewel Demons under their care -- Princess Random currently wields Shabazz, while Princess Shiori posesses Kosh.
It was also was recently discovered that the 'noble' Hawkmoon had a potent Outsider Artifact, the Second Eye of the Violator, implanted in his forehead. This led to the destruction of nearly the entire Melnibonean Royal House in the First and Second Melnibonean Massacres, as Shiori, Orien, and their teams battled to expose Hawkmoon and foil his plans for the kingdom. There was a fair bit of property damage and the old Melnibonean nobility has been largely wiped out, although the vast bulk of the commoners survived.
Following the massacres, Yurika oversaw the rebuilding of the kingdom with help from her sister Kaname and a team of executives from [Kong Interstellar Corp]?. Chloe, Asuka, and Nanami Minor arrived after a time and helped eliminate Darmok and the Black Moon Rebels, capturing the [Book of Noir]? in the process. Chloe later returned with Anthy to remove any residue of the book's presence. With its corrupting influence gone and new leadership things are likely to improve in Melnibone, although the fact that reconstruction is being rum by Rebmans in general and Yurika in specific means that the tradition of 'keeping it in the family' is likely to stay.
It is unclear who shall rise to lead the Empire now; two legitimate heirs, Jerry and Terebithia, remain alive and could conceivably claim their birthright. However, there may develop a reasonable argument for Yurika to take the Dragon Throne, given her current work in cleaning up the kingdom, and Prince Orien may decide to claim it by right of conquest. Or possibly Harpo will ride in and declare a People's Incestuous Soviet Republic.