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Benalia and Avenant

Benalia is a powerful nation with a long history on the continent of Aerona on Dominaria. It was conquered during the Phyrexian Invasion and held for the duration of the war. After the war it recovered, and became sometimes known as New Benalia.

History[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Shortly after the Ice Age, the Sheoltun Empire, a militaristic and expansionist nation, collapsed. From its ashes would rise Benalia. The knight Torsten von Ursus, in exile since an evil mage conquered his homeland of Wrenna, founded Benalia at the spot of the blighted city of Benfosa which he took to be a perfect place to implement his gathered wisdom and philosophies.[1]. He took up the reins of the great Horse Civilization and guided the ancestors of Benalia out of the ruins of the once-great Sheoltun Empire. Torsten chose the name Benalia, which meant "aspiration", proclaiming the new nation's intent to rule the world.[2]

Using sometimes-brutal tactics, Torsten brought an entire nation into being using nothing more than the force of his will and the brutal charisma of a natural leader. After succeeding in much of his goal, he died at the age of seventy-two, leaving behind the legendary Lost Edict, proclaiming that none of his seven lieutenants would succeed him as sole ruler of Benalia. Instead, Benalia would be ruled via a complex system in which the seven clans of the country each bore a different responsibility.

Nation[edit | edit source]

A Benalish coastal tower. Art by Don Hazeltine.

A powerful military state influenced by the Churches of Serra and Gabriel Angelfire, Benalia was long Dominaria's preeminent white-aligned human nation, and was the birthplace of Gerrard Capashen.

Invasion[edit | edit source]

During the Phyrexian Invasion, Benalia was the first nation victimized by Tsabo Tavoc's specialized killers. By 4300 AR, Benalia City was in the process of being slowly rebuilt.

Time Spiral[edit | edit source]

During the era of the Time Spiral crisis, Benalia City was besieged by slivers. Even when the time rifts opened, Benalia was one of the few places to survive the dust storms and catastrophes. Benalia City weathered the attacks and eventually became the seat of New Benalia.

Influence of the Cabal[edit | edit source]

More recently, the expansion of The Cabal has corrupted great expanses of Benalia.[3] New arrivals were a flock of Aven, which fled Otaria after the cataclysmatic events on that continent.[4].

Geography[edit | edit source]

Benalia is located on the west coast of Aerona,[3][5] bordered to the east by the Hurloon Mountains, Kb'Brian Highlands, and Ironclaw Mountains and to the southeast by Llanowar Forest. To the north of Benalia lies the isle of Avenant, itself once part of Benalia.

To the south of Benalia lies Andrion Bay, and to the north the Red Iron Mountains. Benalia City lies on the tip of a small, west reaching peninsula in the north. The Atrivak Mounds once were Benalia's greatest penal colony.

Somewhere within Benalia is the Caligo Forest, now converted into the Caligo Morass.[3] On the west coast lies Capashen Manor.

Culture[edit | edit source]

A hero of Benalia. Art by Douglas Shuler.

Benalia had a complex caste system that changed with the lunar year; the highest caste would then become the lowest and the process repeated. The lowest caste of Benalish women had to submit to higher casted males on a whim.[6] The only caste that could be attained by neither heredity or money was that of the Hero. The Heroes were neutral guardians of the realm, trained to place Benalia's interests above clan politics. Gerrard was a member of the Masters of Arms, an elite group of Heroes that had shown examplary skill and courage in the service of the Empire.

The Clans of Benalia[edit | edit source]

  • Clan Rosecot
  • Clan Deniz
  • Clan Tarmula
  • Clan Ternsev
  • Clan Capashen
  • Clan Joryev
  • Clan Croger

New Benalia[edit | edit source]

In the Modern Times, Benalish knights can be recognized by their white and silver armor, and their quartered shields. The mage-smiths of New Benalia have perfected the art of blending fine steel and enchanted glass into weapons that are both beautiful and deadly. Benalish glazeplate is stained with salts from the Rift Era and enchanted to deflect blows. Only elite knights are entrusted with these martial works of art.[7] Stained glass is predominant in all artistic expressions.[3] Benalish citizens born under the same constellations share a star-clan. Their loyalty to one another interlaces the Seven Houses.[8] Serranism is now the state religion in Benalia, but House Croger are still Angelfire traditionalists.[9]

In-game references[edit | edit source]

Represented in:

Associated cards:

Referred to:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Encyclopedia Dominia - Torsten von Ursus (archived).
  2. Encyclopedia Dominia “History of Benalia”
  3. a b c d Martha Wells. (March 21, 2018.) “Return to Dominaria, Episode 1”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Flavor text for Aven Sentry
  5. Ethan Fleischer. (April 20, 2018.) “Dominarian Cartography”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. William R. Forstchen (1994). Magic: The Gathering - Arena. Harper Prism.
  7. Flavor text for Knight of New Benalia
  8. Flavor text for Call the Cavalry
  9. Squirle. (June 11, 2018.) "Legends of Dominaria & Magic Story Podcasts", Multiverse in Review, Tumblr.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Artist: Pete Venters
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