One day I logged in to find that my total holdings had dropped by several hundred acres. This not being the usual sort of thing I saw, I immediately began a search through my lines, and I finally found who had left. I sent her (now former) liege a message that basically said "ouch! I see she left, is there anything I can do to help?"
When she replied, she said that the subject had left with no message or warning, and that she hadn't responded to an IM asking what was wrong. Then she added that she wasn't too surprised. The Duchess had come to her after getting into an argument with her SL boyfriend, who had aparently been her liege. But time passes, and either the rift had healed or she had found someone else she liked.
It merely underscored the words that Ellie had told me all of those months ago. Tiny Empires is a "game within the game". The things that happen in TE do not happen in a vacuum, or solely in relation to other things happening within TE. Quite the contrary. People form TE kingdoms most readily among groups of friends or people who are already associated with each other in SL. And the SL drama and events that happen can easily change what happens in TE.
No one seeking to observe the patterns and movements within TE can avoid this conclusion. TE is, at its core, a game of social networking, and its networks are mostly formed on existing SL networks. (Not that lots of new friendships aren't formed, which is always fun.)
As I view the Kingdom of Caledon, I see these groups, these networks, these parts of a Kingdom that make up the whole. If I want to find TE Caledon players, I know several places I can go to. The most obvious places would be:
The Dome in Caledon Cay
Cleopatra's (in particular if you're searching for our Queen)
Heart of Dragons
--and our new 'HeadQuarters' in Caledon Cay!
...and this list is far from complete, it's just a highlight of some of the most common spots. But in each of those places, you'll find at least one person, and usually a group, of Tiny Empires players who are all Caledonians. The reason for these spots? Because they all know each other there! They're friends, they like to play together, they're probably all lieged under the same person, and that group is lieged within the kingdom of Caledon.
Thus, we find that our single kingdom is a variegated quilt, made up of many pieces, all interwoven together by a common thread of cooperation and understanding. If one part encounters the other, they know that the other person is a friend-- Caledon is where their friends are, so this must just be a friend they haven't met yet.
...and to the extent that is true, the Kingdom of Caledon is assured a good future.
Now, enough of my babbling about my kingdom... what about yours? What are the foundations it rests upon? What places, what groups, make up your kingdom? What methods of operations does it use? After all, Caledon is a rather small kingdom, one among nearly a hundred... how much more varied and interesting is the full Terra Aurean Empire!