The Free Nations are a coalition of city-states, known as Taifa, based in and around the Roiling Seas. Most are based on islands in the Seas, but a few still remain on the northern shores of Meridionalis.
Each city-state is independent and governs itself internally, be it the large Slarrizan Nation ruled by the Lizardfolk and Snakekin, or the tiny, unnamed villages barely clinging on amongst the tiniest of islands. There is, however, a central ruling council made up of members from each of the Free Nations which makes decisions that affect the Nations as a whole.
The council resides within the decks of Freedom’s Wind, an enormous ship that serves as the capital of the Nations. The ship is about the size of a small city and constantly moves, never docking at any port. It is instead refueled via smaller ships from any of the city-states in the Nations that it passes. This refueling is one of the two major requirements of all members of the Nations, the other being sending citizens to serve in the Avenging Wind, the military arm of the Nations.
Each city-state has its own military and resources, but has to contribute a portion of each proportional to the size of the Nation. The bigger the nation, the bigger the military and resource commitment required to be an active member of the Nations. In order to prevent entire regiments from being loyal to one nation or the other, the Avenging Wind mixes and matches soldiers from various nations to create a more neutral military force dedicated solely to the preservation of the Nations as a whole.
The islands that now make up the majority of the Taifa of the Free Nations are based around intersections of magical ley lines that cover the world. Those little nexuses of power held the land around them together during the Fracture, like the roots of a tree in a great flood. The ley lines exist in every plane of existence, so even a drastic event such as the Fracture could not fully destroy these magical verticies in the material plane.
The larger islands that were further away from the Fracture’s epicenter are home to various Taifa of the Free Nations, the populations of which are largely non-humans. Some are descendants of those that fled the creation of the Innovo Imperium during Nocte Cineris, but a majority of the populace is descended from those forced to live in the slums of Lux Citivae.
The largest slums of the once-great city happened to center around some of the largest intersections of lay lines. Some say it was fate, that the gods of old knew what was coming and guided those that had been persecuted to the areas that would be safe. Others say it was the natural attunement to other planes that many beastfolk have that drew them to the lay lines to create communities. Still others claim it to have been pure chance.
Whatever the reason for their survival, the communities on the islands eventually became something akin to city-states, and after several decades of conflict centered around what few resources were available, pressure from the Innovo Imperium to the north, and Libertain to the south, the Free Nations were formed in the name of preserving every Taifa’s freedom.
Now, the great city-ship Freedom’s Wind sails the Roiling Seas without destination, taking whatever ways the Seas present to it, an incredibly apt symbol for the tenacious and adaptable people that make up the patchwork nation.