A book falls to the ground. It is large and holds a sigil of the city of Gladius on its face. It flops with a flump. Near a pile of dirt. A man looks on, his face scraggly with a wolf's beard. The plain is quite. The book flumps again. Out of it crawls a mouse. With a wizards hat on. He mumbles to himself.
"that was a certainly interesting departure." Suddenly he notices the mans. In an instant a mirage of many monsters and spectacle appeare. A beast of wild terror wields an axe menacingly and a dragon lands with a kathoom! A single star drops from the heavens before the mouse realizes that all is truly quite and the visiage of a demon god revaporates into a watchtower like perimeter. The dragon returns to its original moonlight and the mouse hrumphs.
"that probably wasn't .. well .. he shouldn't have startled me. I'm a terrible bit of a mood. Where was that world link. Wheres my book!?"
I try to be amusing, sometimes it comes off wrong. In between the lines its just hope and dreams. This is really just shameless self advertising. "Fearless" if you would. When my ego pops everything has a tendency to get wet.
For about three days I thought I had got myself banned, but no it was my browser and the day the server went down, and I get silly headed every now and again. BUT! I decided to "go where I dare not go" here. and "show everyone mine" Its been there the whole time, and who knows if anyone ever saw it. Have you seen it yet?
It has its own forum .. no one posts there. It has its own book, not quite finished, BUT Still For Sale!
Precursor to the Technometrics practiced by the Tolonese, Astrometrics was the art practiced by the Diplomancers. Once the Diplomancer discipline was considered to the most important and necessary facet of society. Modern Technomancers utilize ancient Astrometric terms in their nameology, but in general scoff these ancient traditions as not only nonsensical, but dire and dangerous. While Technometrics is the codified study of refined soul and mist – Astrometrics is the refined art of reweaving the web of connections that exist between the greater powers. Astrometrics was based first and foremost around the powers of the Seven Greater Isles. (Ergo..niania…. hrmph), Monteria, Taurnia, Elendria, Arconisti, Cardonia, and Tolonia. Seven isles that have taken new names in the centuries since they were categorized by the long lost Diplomancers.
All true Diplomancer schools of old have been truly and utterly lost to the ravages of both the Tree Wars and the Ascendancy. It is known that the Trees were the first teachers of Diplomancy, though their strange methods of magic are not truly Diplomancy. Leaf handed magics and blood borns sorceries are rarely constructed the same. The inversion of Bark and Blood in the Arconistic equation creates a dissonance of impractical proportions. An ancient Diplomancer saying sums the simple impossibility into a single statement. “The Trees cannot walk, and Mans cannot fly” to understand this phrase implies that you understand Arconistics well enough to have foregone the attempts to weave wyrd as a Tree would. Nonetheless the original Diplomancers’ words (“born of leaves” were created with the Trees’ assistance.
Trees have long since foregone helping Mans or Taurn with Arconistics. The Tolonese and the Trees have concurred with no small protestation that Astrometrics is a dangerous practice. For the Blood Born Arconistics is a path fraught with peril and in all likelihood the death of not only the practitioner but anyone nearby when their lost gift returns. The Dragons claim that once this was not so. They declare calmly that the Ancient Acronistic Academy of Astrometrics and Mathmatology was the finest point of light in all blood born history … next to the accomplishments of the High Dragon Lords. In the accomplishments of Arconistic Wonder there are 8 that contend for the most miraculous. The raising of a fragment of the Bottom Lands higher even than High Skies during the first great Dragons’ Rising, of course, stands apart and above all others.
Mans’ most amazing work of Arconistics was the physical binding of the (Ergo..) and Tolonia (known as Dargonia and Tolon in modern times). Some assume that the connection of these isles is simply that of superior cord. “The Tether” that ties these two is more than a mystically enhanced metal. It is the literal manifestation of the Astrometric connection between the two isles of Mans. Once upon a time Mans and Gnome could create transitory tethers between the lesser isles and via swinging and climbing made a living and a home in the middle skies. The majestic Imperial City is commonly thought of a true wonder. Its creation was most certainly impressive, but the Tether is a far more profound and unfathomably powerful act than that broken city will ever be.
Technometrics feeds off of the breath of the gods, the mists. Astrometrics creates it. All creations of true Astometrics are infused with soul and are alive. The natural creations of nature and miracle breathe air and consume blood or water. The wondrous creations of Astometric Arconistics consume substance and breathe mist in the fashion of the gods. Technometric Arconistics inversely consume mist in order to make substance. Since the time of Ascendancy the mist reducing faculty of Technometrics has been the only grace that saves this last form of Mans Arconistics from being persecuted by the allied temples of the empire. The strange fact that the giftless Tolonese are the only Mans able to effectively manipulate their devices only lends credence to the popular belief that the discipline of Technometrics itself is the gods' gift of the Tolonese.
The Tolonese reply that the gift is not of the gods, but a phenomena occurring in regions due to the lasting impact of overused Astrometrics. The few trees that maintain Arconistic communication with modern Diplomancers are silent regarding such matters. Trees have powerful reasons for limiting how much of their knowledge they share with the hidden councils of Diplomancers. Long ago Trees told Mans the secrets of words and sealed the doom of their empire. The allied temples of Imperial City consider Leaf Weaving and Technometrics the only sacred forms of Arconistics, and are still somewhat leery of the Elder Trees of the Bottom Lands. Aquamancer Trees are welcome in the broken city, as well as Vivomancers. However, creating water and light are far from the terrors of Astromantics that only the great and powerful Elder Trees can currently wield.
Now you know what the word Astrometrics means. Forget it. Those who have never heard it, shouldn’t. Those who know it are either like yourself, or seeking to persecute those who would pursue Arconistic knowledge. Since Ascendancy the Diplomancer colleges were systematically routed and burned. Divine fire and miraculous destruction have left little for modern Diplomancers to recreate their lost discipline. The elder dragons are our most secure ally, but even they cannot be trusted with our protection. Even as you read these last words this page is fulfilling the meaning of the life that I gave it. The words are transubstantiating into flame. The paper into soot. Keep your secrets safe. Diplomancer.
OK, every tree, bush, and vine in the Wonderful World can walk and talk. Well in a “so to speak” and … “if you call that walking” kinda way. What is more important is that they are alive and a PC race. The average merchant Tree travels “potted” and has a number of allies assisting it with business and travel. Trees develop allies easily; it is their very nature to succor small creatures of the forest with their disciplines. In exchange the small creatures of the forests lend their eyes and voices to the trees. As a tree ages its ability to commune with other life forms grows stronger.
Some trees can literally walk. Very very ..very slowly. Quite literally more like a tottering lumbering than walking. They can bend their branches enough to whack someone hard, if slowly; and they can throw things like .. apples and acorns. A war band of trees is literally a sea of spiny wood creeping towards a city with the speed of molasses, but when the powerful wooden men reach a city gate they are an unstoppable force that can uproot walls and buildings.
Only the biggest and more powerful trees walk like this. Well the “Kraken Tree” is very mobile, walking at nearly animal speeds, but their “walk” involves no small amount of dragging themselves along the ground instead of actually stepping like the tall walking trees. Snakes are actually plants (vines) in the Wonderful World with vicious razor sharp roots that plant in living creatures and feed off their blood waters. Bushes are bustling little fellows that glide and roll amiably through the world.
The standing trees are more common than the walking trees, and they “cannot walk” but they can instantiate an ephemeral form such as a dryad communally. Similar to a lich the dryads are immune to destruction unless their secret grove is decimated. Furthermore any item or creature that has spent time in a dryad’s grove has a more potent
The flower people though, they are the real busy bodies. “Blooms and Shrooms” are the most common walking plant. They are roughly similar height as Mans and Orcnin, but their bodies are rubbery “snake like” plant matter. Bloom merchants are known for their cheap prices and their easy deals. Commerce is a pastime for a plant. Trees are known for their emmense greed, but the walking flowers are generally less concerned with their “horde” than their wooden cousins.
Pixies “the singing plants” look more like ‘Ayads, but are organically more closely related to the Blooms and Shrooms. The little plant people are often confused for Elendi largely due to the fact that they are so rare there are few who are aware of how to identify a Pixie as a plant instead of an animal.
None of the plants save the ‘Ayads and the Pixies are able to speak, and “plant sign language” is the typical trade language of the modern world. While most blood born races are able to decipher and comment in plant sign, true mastery of the language requires more digits and limbs than most Mans or Orcnin have wave around.
The mists are one of the most important aspects of the Wonderful World. The mists are literally the “paradoxical presence” of the gods when they walk the face of the Wonderful World. Deities have the ability to reshape both lands and creatures, and they do so without active intention. The mists are the reflexive presence of the many eyed gods. The mists are the emanation of any powerful arconistic work. The forests of the wonderful world are misty with the minor workings of the many trees. Astrometric laboratories are full of misty fumes, and storm whales swim through the skies in miniature seas of their own mystic creation. Entire towns have been swallowed by the mists only to be returned without the inhabitants noticing. There is said to be a city in the mists, and many have claimed to have spent time there but the name of the strange shrouded port town is ever forgotten upon return.
Entering the mists intentionally is something only the mad or desperate would dare contemplate. Magic may be predictable and the gods may answer prayers, but the mists are a capricious natural phenomena that smoothes the erratic impact of the gods. Keep in mind that divine spark is relatively easy to come by, but harder to keep … and the most magnificent deities are at odds with their eternal opposition the elder dragons. The most powerful single deity in the wonderful world is the Dark Lord Jakenar. Despised foe of the elder dragons Jake has been able to gather more divine spark than any deity save for the original triune, and has even become forced to distill his divinity into obfuscated containers. These containers hide in mist filled caves throughout various locations. Other gods hide their powers from the elder dragons in similar fashions, but it was the Dark God Jakenar that first split apart his soul to hide his spark from those who would devour it.
Dragons devour creatures based on the energy value. The powers of the seven elements are intermixed with all living things, and dragons feed on that energy. To clarify, dragons do not eat meat, they ingest it and extract the elemental energies of the creature devoured. Dragons devour creatures for their energy, but elder dragons devour gods. In the first dawn of the wonderful world the triune molded mist like putty and drew pictures as with paint. The dragons were their aids, and attendants. When the speaking things came to the wonderful world of their own accord the dragons took favor in them and taught them things. When the Triune began to war over the speaking things the dragons became the protectors of the speakers. They taught the speakers how to become like the triune.
As a mortal attains divine spark they come to understand the mists that are an extension of themselves. They become manifestly aware that “Dwaren” is grey fumes that mingle in the dirt, “Elendria” is the moist and comforting “blue mist” in which Port Unknown can be found and from hence to a potentially larger cosmogony one could be bound or from. “Ogran” is the sickening fog that hangs in dark corners and blots out the former orbit of Taurn and Arconisti. Any “faces” of the triune that have ever been seen were in actuality avatars or allied lesser deities. The triune are not gods in the same manner that Jakenar is. Instead the triune are the literal substance of existence. They are the mists.
Once a deity gains the spark to see the three mists they learn their place within them. The countless lesser deities are bridges that flow the elemental energies of the universe throughout the sublime intermixing of the mists. Over time the dragons took it upon themselves to monitor and influence these bridges; building them up or burning them down as they see best fits the greater harmony of existence. The smallest of deities need worry little for elder dragons’ ire, but the more powerful a god becomes, and the more they disturb the mists … the more likely that an elder will seek out the errant deity and either set him on a path or devour the sparkling soul stuff that makes the god more than mortal.
Insomuch as game play is concerned,
The mists are meant to give you leeway. Sure that smacks of “lazy” dming but used properly it is not. In the setting of the wonderful world absolutely anything could happen with very little explanation. The divine red crested falcon could fly by and drop fireballs on the players ifn ya wanted. Stones can rearrange themselves under their own motivation, and you can never be certain a pesky plague isn’t catching a ride in your cohort. Basically… nothing is very predictable in a world that’s one part Eldritch Laser Beam, one part Bantering, and one part 1/2 elven theif mage.
The mists though, they provide “a visual” indication that the “many eyes of the gods” are present in the scene. Which god? Who knows. Spellcraft (or equivalent) can be used to analyze the mists for clues of the intruding deities intrusion. The divine casters can often see the personalities of gods they are allied or opposed to in the mists, though the reliability of such visions is circumspect. Creatures and items are swallowed by the mist and returned improved, destroyed, or eerily unmolested. People are drawn into the mists to meet with their destinies … or their fates.
Simply enough – the mists are the supra-fantastico. They are the fudge that you can use to make the wonderful even more unpredictable.
“My hometown was right here … damn mists … OH! The town moved to the other side of the mountain!” ~ Survival roll ... failed? "Oh musta been the mists." is a valid statement. Made by the gm ... or the player
The lost Island of Taurna. Remnants of the fallen Island litter the Bottom Lands. Entire villages were destroyed by burning mountains hurtled through the three skies. Once the home of the True Taurn; the Tyrn, as the two legged “Taurn” are properly called in the Annals, believe themselves cursed with their failure to protect their native homeland. Some say that they have been doomed to the Bottom Lands, and other claim that when they have passed through the curse they will regain their original forms. This fanciful notion is not shared by the majority of the “Tyrn” who have heard it. We know that the Taurn is one people, and the silly term Tryn is almost an insult to many Taurn. At least it is not commonly used by Taurn. The Taurn have embraced the Bottom Lands as a new Taurn, but there are also many that still seek the high skies that their ancient homeland flew in. Taurn have made new homes throughout the Islands, yet none of the greater isles can match the mythical expanses of ancient Taurna. The largest Island that ever flew through the skies, Imperial war zone, and the world’s most tragic loss.
Taurna was a high sky island. Larger than both Dargonia and Tolen combined. Larger than the general expanse of the Sky Lakes. In ancient time the Imperials would lumber their grand ferries, and metal clad armies, to Taurna to do battle in a civilized fashion. The Taurn did little to stop this, they didn’t have nations on Taurna in the same fashion as the Imperial council. Representatives of the greater tribes of Taurna were welcome in the Imperial council, as were all civilized nations in the time before the Wizards War. Orcnin even sat in the council prior to the Wizard’s War, but of course the Arconistic Isle has been lost as well. “Tyrn” are welcome in council, but without a Greater Island as their homeland both Orcnin and Taurn have lost their seats in the Imperial councils. This of course was the intent of the Dark Mist. The spell that Turned Light Blue to Dark Green, and created the Dark Skies where Taurna and The Arconistic Islands once flew was most certainly meant to remove the Orcnin Hoards and the Tribes of Taurna from the politics of the overreaches of the Imperial Councils.
Pieces of the two Islands are indistinguishable when they are found in massive craters, mostly in the Pride Lands of the Bottom Lands. Some spectacular artifacts of Taurna can be found on all the greater isles of mid and low sky. A rarely seen Taurn, the (worm) lived not on the surface, nor the reverse, of Taurna, but inside the Island. These Taurn live much as the Flame Elendi of Tolen. There are many seekers that hope to find one of the “hidden chambers” of the “Burrotarun,” as Mans commonly knows the (wormtaurn). In ancient times they stored many mighty artifacts in their deep chambers. These reinforced caverns miraculously seem to remain mostly intact. More than one fortune has been made by those who have found such a remnant of Taurn. The city of Raniel *** made a fortune selling ancient Taurnin tapestries to Dargonian nobility, and more than one Bottom Lander settlement has been formed around the impromptu “castle” that the fallen (wormtaurn) cavern became when it crashed. Some of these falling fragments crushed cities and villages, and the remains of these lost Bottom Lands enclaves are also considered prizes worth searching the shifting wastes for.
Above the ridge on Taurna was said to have been mostly like the Pride Lands of the Bottom Lands. Expansive and mostly flat, there were forests and plains as far as the eye could see. The lakes of Taurna were brought by the storm whales, and Taurna never swung close to the Deluge. According to many legends the Ronians were originally of Taurna, but they were seated amongst the councils as from the moon. Since the Gnomes have overtaken the Moon, or “Ball Island” as they have renamed it, the Ronians have been without any true homeland. The Ronians have never acclimatized to the Bottom Lands the way that the Taurn have, and have mostly settled along the inner ridge of Dargonia and the outer ridges of the Sky Lakes. When Taurna still flew the Ronian net cities hung from the sides of the Island much the way the Bloom settlements color the underridges of the Greater Islands these days.
According to the reports of Imperial expeditionaries and the Taurn legends the Island was populated with an abundance of life similar to Wild Home. Fantastic creatures such as Horses and (… were lost when the Island was knocked from the sky. The Bat, and the Taurn, are only two examples of how many of the creatures once unique to Taurn managed to survive the destruction of their native island. Bats originated from Taurna, and these cave dwelling creatures were flung across the skies and littered amongst the bottom lands. Once upon a time there were no Bats anywhere but Taurna, now, like the Taurn, Bats are found on almost every island in the skies. The valiant animals have found their way into the deepest Dwaren caves, and the flutter around the Gnomes Moon Ball. It is a curious phenomena that must have held the Bats on Taurna before the Wizards War. Just as they have over the last few centuries the Bats have migrated from Island with little trouble. They are now regular pests in the high skies (***) … when once they were an all but unheard of creature, they have become a staple food for hunters worldwide. The Bat, and the Taurn, are only two examples of how many of the creatures once unique to Taurn managed to survive the destruction of their native island.
The Catman, the Purrin, the Felin, the Fara. The Felintaurn are a common sight around the world. The most startling thing about them is the vast differences between one tribe of Pherthan and another. “Pherthan” itself is a recent appellation to the Cat-taurn, a sign of the times and “Tyrn’s” return to the Imperial councils. Amongst the Orcnin the Pherthan are known as the Hoc’Fara, the scions of Fara. Those who are not familiar with the church of Fara are unfortunate, and honestly rare. The Pherthan are a traveler people by nature. The Kattan, Felien, and Ocelan tribes of Tolen are the most familiar to Dargonians, but dozens of tribes of Pherthan have speckled the Greater Isles and the Bottom Lands since the time of the Mans-Tree wars. Pherthan are almost as common a sight in an imperial region as a Bloom, a Mans, or an Elendi. Those Pherthan that live amongst Mans are quite the imperials despite being Taurn. The Pherthan that live outside the bounds of the Empire are an entirely different story, and always unique amongst the Taurn.
Most Pherthan households are made up of one or two adult males, a number of females, and various other relatives of the primary family. The elders of the Pherthan are kept safe within the homes of the nomadic people along with the children. The males are expected to stay near the house while the females hunt and explore the territory around their encampment. Pherthan families that live amongst Mans will usually live much as their neighboring Mans, forsaking the nomadic lifestyle and living in a building instead of a mobile camp. Pherthan that make their homes with Mans will usually affect the clothing habits of their neighbors, but those Pherthan that live outside the cities of Mans rarely wear more than a loose harness and some form of cover against the wind such as a cape. Some tribes of Pherthan wear shoes and boots, but most Pherthan find footwear as uncomfortable as other Taurn. Specifically the Katur tribe of the Bottom Lands is known for their extraordinarily Mans-like appearance. Most Katur wear not only shoes, but pants and shirts as well.
The variety of Pherthan in the world is due, most likely, to their wandering nature. The Pherthan were the first of the Taurn to meet with Mans and Elendi. Long before Taurna was lost the Pherthan had begun settlements on Tolen, the Bottom Lands, and the Sky Lakes. Over the centuries apart the Pherthan diversified. The Katur tribe has nearly Mans feet, while the Felien tribe of Tolen has the () foot of most Taurn. Some Pherthan have thumbs, and some do not. Then there is the question of the Pherthan pelts. Brown, orange, yellow, mottled, and gray. The Pherthan are as multicolored as Mans, and at times there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why a litter of Pherthan children will match or not match each others’ pelts. At least amongst Mans their coloration has some elemental connection, blue for water, red for fire, yellow for wind, and etc. The pattern of a Pherthan’s pelt appears to have no meaning whatsoever, other than the cosmetic value that is. Unlike most Taurn Pherthan are known to take lovers of other peoples, despite the physical complications involved, and also unlike most Taurn they are often considered attractive to Mans, Elendi, as well as other Imperial peoples. The Orcnin of course cannot stand the smell of any but another Orcnin, and most Pherthan agree that Orcnin stink.
While the Pherthan have an excellent sense of smell it pails in comparison to the olfactory abilities of most of the other Taurn, and comes nowhere near the stupendous noses Wolfen and Barkin have. Their hearing however knows no comparison, and their vision is most excellent. Most Pherthan are more than capable of operating in the dimmest light, but there is some diminished ability to discern subtle colors. Their diet is finicky, and if it changes too rapidly a Pherthan can suffer greatly. Most Pherthan eat the same meal everyday, and most Pherthan tribes eat mostly fish. Bottom Lander Pherthan, in particular, favor birds or other small game. Those tribes that cook their food will commonly mix rice or other grains with their meat, and like many of the Taurn tribes the Pherthan must eat meat. Mans may be able to eat like Elendi, but the tragic tale of Galien Felien, the “Starving Felien” is one of the oldest tales of the Mans-Tree wars. A diplomatic envoy that curiously managed to starve to death despite eating three meals a day with his hosts. In that ancient time the Taurn knew nothing of the Elendi and assumed the worst. The tragedy of Galien Felien is one of the many disasters that lead to the eventual loss of the Taurn homeland.
Pherthan, perhaps more so than the other Taurn, are flighty and eager to anger. A thousand Elendi paid in blood for the death of Galien, thousands more for other slights. Insulting a Pherthan is the same as drawing a weapon on them, and unlike most Taurn Pherthan have retractable claws – not horns. Their very hands are weapons equal to any Orcnin paws. Only the Wolfin are regarded with the same apprehension as Pherthan, and of course Wolfin have razor sharp claws as well. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the Pherthan have always been intrigued by interacting with non-Taurn. The Pherthan tribes of Tolen consider themselves Elen, and part of the Dune Elf society. The Pherthans actually make most of the contact with the Tolenese and other Mans for the Dune Elves. The Pherthan that make their homes on the Sky Lakes have positioned themselves as a de facto policing authority that is effectively more powerful than the Imperial Dragoons. On the Bottom Lands the Pherthan are a major force both in the Pridelands, but also amongst the Silestrians and the Oceanic League (a loose confederation of water sailing Mans with strong ties to the Thalians). Wherever you go be it Orcnin or Imperial territory – you will find Pherthan keeping watch and a keen ear.
Visiting a Pherthan camp is rarely done, and the Pherthan are not known to maintain large settlements of their people. A noble may, however, find themselves in the position of requesting aid of an encamped Pherthan family, or in need of approaching a war band of Pherthan (usually the largest collection of the Pherthan at any given time). In such a situation there are a number of things to keep in mind amongst these touchy people. In their own domains they do not appreciate being looked at directly, they detest any attempts to make physical contact, they disdain those that wear clothes save for physical protection, and are usually willing to make a snap decision based off of a first impression. The key being that Pherthan do not welcome others to their homes. They will occasionally bring the lost or the wounded into their camps to heal, but most Pherthans would prefer to visit you – or meet you at a predetermined location rather than invite a retinue to their private demesne. The time that it is best to contact a Pherthan family is actually during one of their celebrations. During a birth, marriage, or coming of age Pherthan families will gather together and party louder and harder than most. The agile Pherthan will dance and “sing” for hours – even days, and all are welcome to participate. On such an occasion, however, any talk of business must wait until the end of ceremonies.
Inviting Pherthan to your household is again something that can be troublesome. Imperial Pherthan are of course an outright exception, but those Pherthan that do not ally themselves with the Imperials can be the most intractable house guests. If your pets happen to be in their diet – they may go missing, and while the Pherthan will gladly compensate you for “the meal” … trying to explain to a Pherthan why a pet is different than a free range food is simply frustrating, particularly since you know they know what a pet is, and are trying to get away with it simply because they have retractable claws. They will invariably be unable to keep the same resting schedule as the rest of the household, or at least one of them will. Even more disastrous in an Imperial household – most Taurn Pherthan will slink into as many beds as possible, try to buy or sell their or your children; often to each other. And! There are numerous reports of Pherthan “diplomatic” envoys whom have come, enticed the youngers of the house, and slipped off into the night with a dozen or more formerly Imperial citizens in chains. Or! Not in chains. The Pherthan have a strange effect on people, and due to their lack of larger ethnic government – the best advice regarding Pherthan diplomacy – is that there is no such thing.
A Hart, or an Antelope. There are many antlered beast that runs through the forests of the world. They have many names and are hunted from Bottom Lands to High Sky. They are not the most intelligent animals when set beside the Golden Dogs of Karn, nor the Squirrels that live amongst the Mans of Dargonia, but their alphas keep herds of wives and children safe from predators. The alpha of a deer heard is a formidable opponent. His head a rack of spears, and his hooves as deadly as swords. The herd will learn the layout of the territory the family lives in and use this knowledge to its advantage. Deer keep their sons and unlike lygers they keep their brothers and their wives within the herd. The mobile community that is a Deer herd will often have a white doe. This doe is a chosen similar to the chosen of the named, and is capable of elemental attacks. Hunting a herd with a white doe will bring renown to any who seek a true hunt. It is the rare explorer that finds such a herd however.
The cats that roam the wastes. Often mistaken for a brawny Pherthan the Lygers are a race of animals with powerful claws, and terribly huge jaws. Like a snake the Lyger can unhinge its jaw and eat its prey whole. They travel around a range or in a migration pattern, and a pack is made up of a single male, his wives, and their children. An adult male of age is driven from the pack by the parents and may or may not take others of his generation with him when he leaves. With his once sisters the potential alpha Lyger will forge its own territory or its own migration, its own hunting grounds. Amongst Lygers the women are the hunters, like their named cousins the Pherthan, and the male the ultimate home protector. Like their chosen brothers, the Lyger is a fearsome creature. It is powerful and more deadly than even a Troll. The Barragan Hoard of Bottom Lands keeps Lygers and uses them during their tournaments. Only a Troll or a Giant would ever look forward to fighting with a arena trained Lyger, and most consider it a death sentence.
The green guest, the luck dragon, the pond guardian. Frogs are an odd little creature, and were originally of from the Lost Arconistic Isle. Before the Wizards Wars the Frog was a favored pet of the Orcnin, and in modern times the Bottom Lands are literally teeming with the friendly creatures. Generations of development on the bottom lands have changed the Frogs, and they have diversified. According to legend the original frogs were small, usually green, and able to carry the thoughts of their masters to others. Those frog breeds that have grown on the Bottom Lands have developed strange Bottom Lands abilities, and found various niches to fill in the ecology. To this day most Orcnin keep Frogs as pets, and those Orcnin that live on the Bottom Lands have been breeding the larger “Thunder Frogs” and a fire Frog they call a “Salamander” as guardian animals – much as many Mans keep Dogs or Bats.
A rare breed of Taurn. You find them in small settlements on Dargonia, Montara, and Wildhome (most likely). The fall of Taurna was disastrous to the Centuarn. There were very few of these hoofed runners living anywhere but Taurna itself. In ancient times they were said to be the most dominant tribes of Taurna. Their territories spanned entire valleys and mountains. The Centaurn were legendary for their speed, but the Centyrn are not the highland runners their ancestors were. The tribes that exist on Dargonia are found *north of the Elven Forests. They live in the rocky foothills between the forest line and the *southernmost area of the Old Imperial provinces. The Centryn are a simple people. The fact that their ancestors were rulers of the Lost Taurna is not reflected in their simple lifestyles. Of all the Taurn, they have taken the faith of () that says the change of Centaurn to “Centyrn” is a form of curse for failing the homeland they supposedly ruled. The Centyrn tribes of Dargonia have embraced the “Tyrn” name suggested by (), and to a greater and lesser extent so have the Centaurn of Montara. Whether the Centaurn of Wildhome are even aware of such literate constructions is unknown and unlikely.
Centaurn have an ancient and well maintained miraculous method of communication. Similar in many ways to some Elendi charms the Centaurn are able to communicate over vast distances using sacred braids made of their mane. This allowed the Centaurn to communicate across the vast plains of Taurna in antiquity, and is still used to keep close watch on their families to this day. With braided beads wives will give their husbands locks of hair, their’s, their children’s, and their family member’s. Using this charm the father in the family can keep track of his herd. Actually, the Centyrn of Dargonia no longer run in herds, and in fact have rarely see even the ridges of Dargonia. The tribes of Montara live on the surface of the Island and live a much as their ancestors did. The tribes rove the islands, slowly as Tyrn when once they ran faster than the wind. The Centaurn recognize the Dwar’s supremacy of Montara, and regularly attend the councils of the Dwar that rule the island. The Dwar care little for the upper side of the island. To date there has been no major construction or actions taken to improve the top of Montara by the Dwar that the Centaurn did not request.
The Centaurn of both Dargonia and Montara are reclusive, and other than keeping regular contact with the officials of the Empire, the Centaurn (or Centyrn) keep to themselves. They keep fields of various grains and seeds that are their primary diet. Like Elendi they eat solely plants. Unlike Elendi they prefer grains and breads, tubers, and eat sweet grass for their desserts. However they are more than able to survive on the bark of Trees and lesser grasses. Slaughtering food is actually something that Centaurn are loath to do. If, once upon a time when they ruled Taurn, the Centaurn prepared meat for their guests; they are no longer willing to do this. Perhaps it is an affection of the massive guilt they experience as a people, not just from the Loss of Taurn, but also a number of other “transgressions” as described by the () faith. Ideally the Centaurn – the bastions of Taurn – should have “driven themselves like a spear into the heart of their transgressor” – to quote the (). The fact that not only did the Centaurn fail to protect their island, but also failed to revenge the loss, has turned this once proud warrior race into indolent farmers. Most Centaurn seem to carry this burden of “why” with them constantly, though nicely in an entirely rhetorical fashion.
The () faith is not the only force amongst the Centaurn, certainly the Wildhomelander Centaurn could not have heard of it. Some of the Montaran Centaurn follow the gods of the Pride that their Taurn brethren have made contact with on the Bottom Lands, but more powerful than the Bottomlander faith is the general adherence to the Triune. Triunism recognizes the (), and the Pride Gods, and of course all deities as potentially actual Arcons. Regardless of the manifestations of the gods the Triunists amongst the Centaurn are certain that their people are not cursed for eternity. In quite dissension with the majority of the Centaurn, the Triunist Centaurn seek prophecy and omen that may bring their people back to their former glory. If they have made any progress toward this regard they have not made the knowledge public, and the ()ite Centaurn are particularly spiteful toward their hopeful brethren. They claim that the stain of failure will forever haunt the Centaurn, and that those who seek to undo the curse are dishonoring those their ancestors that died in defense of Lost Taurn. In such a dispute who can truly say what is right and what is wrong? Regardless, such things are best left to dragons and the Arcons themselves.
Any Mans that seeks to visit the Centaurn should either be prepared with their own provisions, or be ready to eat unbuttered bread. Of the Centaurn’s general fare only their coarse bread is palatable to Mans. Elendi guests, of course, find Centaurn cuisine delightfully exotic. Beyond the problems of feeding, the Centaurn are a placid people and are not very interested in pomp and circumstance. Sending heralds ahead would be considered rather overbearing, and even the standard retinue of minstrels and assorted assistants could disturb their peaceful existence. Neither the Centaurn of Dargonia or Montara hold councils, nor do they have recognized royalty. If there is an unofficial understanding of prestige or superiority amongst the various tribes of Centaurn it has been kept secret from their Imperial allies. Visiting even the most renowned of Centaurn tribes, () of Montara, is an experience far more similar to dining with an old Asperian Sheppard’s family than it is attending court. In comparison to the other breeds of Taurn the Centaurn are extremely rare, and many attribute their general apathy to their lack in numbers. Considering the legends of their majestic ancestors, Lords of Taurn – as they were called, this may be true.
It is an interesting fact that there are no known Centaurn tribes amongst the Pride Landers. Some say that the Centaurn prefer the skies, the () claim that since the Centaurn are the ones truly responsible for Lost Taurn they are not allowed the blessing of a new homeland, and yet the real answer would seem to lie with their paltry numbers. At the time of the destruction of Arconistic and Taurn the Centaurn were populous, but only on Taurn. The Centaurn that have settled on Dargonia were ferried there as survivors from Lost Taurna, and the Montaran Centaurn are the only known colony of Centaurn. Before the loss of Taurna the Taurna Centaurn considered their brethren of Montara to be a strange and starstruck collection of outcasts and dreamers. Perhaps their dreams prophesied the coming catastrophy, perhaps they were simply lucky. Regardless the few remaining Centaurn, or Centyrn, are a cautious and even timid people. Haunted by the specters of their past failures, and fraught with questions as to their place in a world without Taurna. Most scribes say that any glory to come of the Centaurn must come from the independent, and ancient, colony on Montara. The Centyrn of Dargonia, and the savage Centaurn of Wildhome, are assuredly far too complacent in their niches to resurrect the glory of the ancient Lords of Taurna.
Kings of the skies and masters of the Moon. The word “gnome” is actually a Dwarn term used to refer to anyone that uses arconistics. Throughout the history of the Dwar there has been more than one instance of the Dwar ejecting entire clans of “once-Dwar-now-gnome” from their Bottom Lands caverns. The Dwar that began the original colonies of Montara were once such a group. They had embraced Orcnin Arconistics and were thusly exiled. Several centuries later, during the Wizards Wars, the second largest exodus of arconistic Dwar became the people known by the rest of the world as the Gnomes. To the Bottom Lands Dwar that exiled both the Montaran and Gnomish Dwar – all Dwar from beyond the deep caverns are usually considered gnomes; that is unless they are considered Goblins. “Goblin” is the Dwarn word for Orcnin. The Dwar of Montara refuse to abandoned the name Dwar, whereas the Gnomes have embraced their separation from those that cast them out. To those that are not Dwar the linguistics of the matter may seem imposing, but: calling a Gnome a Gnome is correct, calling a Montaran Dwar a Gnome is not, and calling a Bottom Lander Dwar a Gnome is a dire insult that could very easily lead to a duel for the Dwar’s honor.
The Gnomes are Dwar in both appearance and mannerisms, and in general there is no way to distinguish them from other Dwar. The identifier is the fact that the Gnomes keep with them the trappings of Arconistics. It is strange that in an age when practitioners of Orcnin Arconistics are literally hunted and hung in many Imperial territories the Gnomish Arconistics are allowed to roam freely through most Imperial territories. The simple fact is that control of the skies is divided between the Tolenese and the Gnomes. The Dragoons of the Empire are certainly a powerful force to be reckoned with in all the skies, but they do not busy themselves with mercantile endeavors. The Gnomes, however, are extraordinarily interested in trade. With every passing season the Gnomish merchant fleet grows in size. A not-so-secret contest exists between the Tolenese and the Gnomes to dominate inter-island commerce, and the Gnomes are clearly winning. The Tolenese ships require careful upkeep and a team of Tolenese engineers to maintain their proper function. The Gnomish ships are capable of functioning with a properly trained pilot, and little else. Yearly, or even simply regular, upkeep is all that is necessary to fly a Gnomish ship. The Gnomes charge a high price for the overhaul of one of their ships, but they do offer an alternative option to some.
The Gnomish crews are a fair bargain. The crew is staffed partially with Gnomish sailors, and partially with the captain’s crew. The Gnomish crew is paid a large sum upon return to the Moon. Their “tour” of service is usually 4-8 years depending on how much money they are aiming for. Their duties are to keep the ship running, and learn about the world that they see little of from the Moon. In return the ship captain feeds and watches over them during their travels. The Gnomes only offer this to certain captain’s and the selection process is a strange, unclear, process. There is some oath involved that obfuscates the details of the full arrangement, but there are no record of captains who have petitioned for any form of retribution or grievance against the Gnomes and this arrangement. There is an entire district on the Moon dedicated to the Captains who have sailed with Gnomish crews. They are treated as Gnomes to the extent any non-Dwar could be, and the “captain’s district” is a deep well of information from around the world. Retired captains full of stories and friends from their old crews share glasses of ale and wine. A captain cannot simply “move-in” to this district – they must purchase their plot inside the Moon the same as any Gnome would. Non-Dwar living on the Moon only happens in two places. The Captain’s District and the Moon Deme, a forest being grown by the Kinder Elen on the outer surface of the Moon.
The epic comedy of the Gnomes capture of the Moon is told in taverns throughout the skies. Tanzian players have created countless valiant Gnomish adventures seeking ever higher skies for love, money, or simply wanderlust. The truth is that an exiled people made their way carefully, and with little help from any allies, to highest skies. There several clans of Gnomes first attempted to match with arconistics the miracle of Dolor. The various disparate clans of exiled Gnomes were unable to hold the pieces together, and eventually the confederacy of settlements of Gnomes in the High Skies came together in a council. They agreed to work together to reach the Moon, and within a generation they had. The Ronians controlled the Moon at that time, however the Gnomish arconistics proved more than sufficient to overpower the Ronians. Within another generation all the Ronians on the Moon had either been driven off – or eradicated. Since that time the Gnomes have been plunging the depth of the Moon and carving a symmetrically arranged series of caverns. Generations of Gnome have now labored inside the Moon, and the (), as the Gnomes call it, has not been completed. Of course, there are portions of the extant caverns that have not been inhabited yet.
Since the Gnomes overtook the Moon they took the Ronian seats on the Grand Imperial Council they have asked for little more than the rights of trade necessary to sell their ships to Imperial nobles. The Gnomes are the newest members of the Grand Imperial Council and are the only peoples that have not served a writ of war. The Gnomes seem more than content to simply remain a nation of merchants. Beyond just their ships the Gnomes also move delicacies from island to island, building materials, and a
The tragic stories of the subjugation of the Healer Mans are enough to make even a Darien cry. The Healer Mans have been persecuted and literally hunted by most Imperials since the Mans-Tree wars. The Healers once had their own cities on the Sky Lakes, but during the formation of the Empire the Healer Mans refused to comply with the order to war. They sided with Trees in many occasions, and eventually a Ronian army descended from the High Skies and laid the Healer City to waste. It is believed that refugees from the Healer City made their way to the Bottom Lands with the aid of their Tree allies. From there the tales of the Healer Mans moves out of history and into legend – or fancy tale. The Healer Mans have been demonized and ostracized almost universally regardless of where they find themselves. The reason for this is their miraculous ability to steal souls.
There is no one alive that wants their soul removed from their body and used as some sort of food. This is exactly the ability the Healer Mans are born with, but unable to use save they are either killed or driven off. There are those that call them “Vampires” referencing ancient Karnian tales of soul eating monsters that can walk only at night. There are those that claim the Healers keep the arconistic arts alive and teach the secrets of arconistics in order to undermine the Empire and bring about a new Wizards War. There are those that believe the Healer Mans are a unified conspiracy dedicated to devouring the souls of every living creature in the world. Those who have met a Healer Mans find that impossible to believe. The Healers are simply a breed of Mans. They have a gift more ancient than the ones given Mans in this era, and those that condemn an individual for the powers granted them by the gods are worse than any vampire out of a Karnian fancy tale.
Those Healer Mans that survive to this day are known to travel together in secret. Families ally themselves with open minded caravans and other nomadic peoples. The Healers’ gift is powerful as well as scary. The act of removing a soul from a body allows the Healer Mans to cleanse or defile the soul. They are able to make wounds vanish from the body through manipulating the soul, and they are able to mutilate and deform as well. Tales aside most Healers spend their lifetime without so much as manipulating even one soul, and many simply save their gifts for when it is absolutely necessary. The truth of the Healer gift is that manipulating a persons soul is as dangerous to the Healer as it is to the subject. A powerful soul can override the Healer’s own mind, or a powerful wound or curse can transfer to the Healer from the subject. Those that protect the Healer Mans often misunderstand how dangerous it is for a Healer to use their gift, and many Healers have sacrificed themselves to save their protectors so that their families will be able to stay within the shelter of their adopted social group.
Societies such as the Dune Elves, The Watchers, and the Guides of Miria are all friendly toward the Healer Mans. Asking any of these groups if you could use the services of a Healer is likely to result in not only a dismissal, but also yourself being watched in case you intended the Healers any harm. The powers of the Healers are of such a nature that most consider them more frightening to imagine than the Savage Pherthan of Wildhome or a battle crazed Karnian. The reality is that for every hundred Healers that have been put to death simply for being a Healer there have only been one or two Healer Mans who actually intended to cause anyone harm or even use their abilities for anything other than healing. The Dune Elves in particular are adamant that the Healer families they protect are of no danger to their people or any else. The Healers that live with the Dune Elves are the source of the most accurate information about this scattered people, and the origin of the true tales of Healers sacrificing themselves to bring one of their adopted brothers back from the very brink of death.
The Healers of the Bottom Lands face even steeper trials. The Orcnin of the Bottom Lands actively seek out the Healer Mans families in order to force them to use their powers to benefit the Orcnin’Sa, and the Karnians have an absurd hereditary abhorrence of the Healers. Fancy tales aside, the Karn’s hatred of Healers most likely came from some form of territorial dispute dating from the first Mans-Tree wars. The destruction of the Healers’ City and the migration of the Karnian people to their current homeland could easily have happened at the same time. The details of the Karnian migration, including where they came from, is lost to history. There are some scribes who speculate an even deeper connection between the Healer Mans and the Karn. Allowing that the destruction of the Healers’ City occurred at the same time as the Karnian migration – perhaps the Karn are an offshoot of the Healer Mans breed. The powerful vivomancy that is the Healer Mans gift could have transitioned much as the Taurn did when they came adopted a new homeland on the Bottom Lands. The Karn are also similar to the Healers in that the Healers have an invariably monochromatic skin tone. Similarly the Karn are uniformly a light pinkish brown. The connection is tenuous and supported mostly by the fact that Healers (in this case called Vampires) are featured more regularly in Karnian fancy tales than in most cultures.
In some perverse twist of fate, the same Healers that are vilified worldwide are at the same time worshipped by cults of swamp born. According to legend a Healer of immense power revealed to them that a god would be born of the Healers, and that it would be through the guidance of the “true doomsayer” that this godling would be found. Since that time, the cult has spread from the southern swamps of the Bottom Lands to the Crosslands and via the Crosslands into Dargonia. The sad fact regarding this cult is that they have been significantly influenced by the Doomsayer religion of the Dariens. Only very little is known about the Healer Prophet, other than what his followers claim he said. If the Healer Prophet set out any guidelines of behavior they are most likely forgotten or replaced by the Doomsayers that consider the Healer’s Cult a subset of their own faith. The Dune Elves and the Mirians refuse to deal with Doomsayers or the Healer’s Cult, and most Healer Mans scoff at the idea – those that have foolishly put themselves forward attempting to gain the “royal treatment” from the cult have found that the secret “trials” outlined by the ancient Healer Prophet are quite deadly.
The first of the mist blessed races. The Elendi were created from Mans before Mans truly became Mans. At least, so says most legends. The stories say that Mans came to the world without precedent. A natural occurrence that came as a surprise to the Triune. Elendria and Ogran’s reaction to the unexpected species was to collect all the Mans, split them in half between them. Elendria transformed her Mans into Elendi. A race of “Mans” both animal and plant. Mixed of both worlds and entirely dependant on neither. The greens and browns of their skin, and the yellow of their blood betrays their near plant physiology, but their form is wholly that of a Mans … with obvious subtle adjustments. Most are familiar with the Elendi and their Demes, but to review.
The vast majority of the Elendi live in what is called a Deme. The combined sacred powers of the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs create a protected region in which hostile creatures and dragons cannot enter – save in dire need or great numbers. The sacred area of a Deme grants all those that live there a communal ability to communicate with the Trees and other plants that will invariably grow strong and quick in the realm of the Elendi. In addition to averting potential predators the sacred power of a Deme encourages life and growth – ensuring all that live within the Deme (Elendi and Bloom alike) grow healthy. Blooms are the most common non-Elendi found in the Demes. The second most common non-Elendi residents of Elendi Demes are the Kinder Elen. These “gnomes” are mostly adherent to the Mother of Light Elendria, and are readily welcome at most Demes. In the skies however it is more common for the Elendi to create a smaller “lesser” Deme specifically for their Kinder Elen allies. Mans are also found in the Demes – particularly those who wish to extend their lifespans, even if only by a couple of decades.
Elendi industry and mathmatology has never truly compared to that of the other gifted races. They live long lives, but mostly under the shade of friendly Trees. Their ability to use Arcanistics is renowned in legends, but in modern times the civilized world would rather not know of such things. If the Demes harbor the remnant of the ancient Arcanistic Masters, or simply the remains of their ancient Acronistic traditions is not common knowledge. The truth is that each Deme, as each Mans nation is different. Many, particularly Bottom Lands Demes, maintain Arconistic practices that have served them since the dawn of civilization. In the skies there are Demes that never bore the Mages ill will, and perhaps harbor the remnant of the Arconistic Masters. Nonetheless speaking of such things in an Elendi Lord’s court would only be seen as the height of boorish ignorance. Sacred works are readily available to the Elendi, despite any Arconistics that may be practiced in their Demes. The Elendi are (after all) the favored, and eldest, child of Elendria and Mans.
Food and drink amongst the Elendi is provided most willingly by the Trees. Fruits are very common flavorings, but the most important part of the Elendi diet is leaves. With leaves and the sap of Trees an Elendi could survive indefinitely. Despite this simple sufficiency the Elendi also eat meat in roughly the same degree as they do fruit – mostly for the taste, and for their company. The fruits found in a Deme will be determined by the region, but the meat will most likely be dragon. The (Dargonian) Deme is famous for its small willow dragons. The docile dragon’s fur is spun into cloth, its skin makes sturdy leather, and the meat is sweat with a fruit juice diet. (Bottom Lands) Deme is famous for the rearing of large caravan dragons that not only serve to carry travelers and goods, but also provide such a surplus of meat that the (Name) Elendi are renowned for its export. Again the sacred power of the Demes makes the Elendies’ meat exports stand apart from that harvested by Mans or Taurn. The highly nutritious meat sells for nearly ten times the price of similar meats exported by other races.
Fruits are rarely exported by Elendi, as they are kept primarily to feed the Elendi live stock. Most merchants must take great pains to travel to the Demes themselves and purchase the legendary fruits of the Demes. In addition to prize meats the Elendi also export some of the finest craft work and art. The long lives of the Elendi predispose them to creating supremely intricate and detailed tapestry and sculpture, as well as some of the finest clothing and metal works available in the world. Some say only the Dwar surpass the Elendi’s craftsmanship. The Tolonese would disagree, but that contrary breed of Mans considers their technometrics a superior craft to any in the world. The weaponry and armaments of the Elendi has rarely been shared with other races. Most Elendi are given sacredly imbued swords and armor that has been handed down through the generations of their family. To give or sell such personal items is considered tantamount to selling children, a practice uncommon in modern times.
In ancient times the Elendi were second only to the Trees in maintaining “owned” servants. Armies of Mans and Orcnin were kept by the Elendi during the dawn of ancient civilization. The abolishment of the practice was simply due to the Orcnins’ refusal to allow such a practice. The hordes of short lived Orcnin were relentless for centuries. Again and again the stories say the Orcnin laid claim to the Elendi slaves, and this was no small part of the reason for the war between the two civilizations. The Orcnin claimed Ogran’s Right over all of their people, and the Elendi claimed sacred charge over all “lesser beings” in the world. An Elendi general named (Name) is classically attributed with bringing an end to the practice of Elendi owning Mans as slaves. The formation of the Empire, some 200 years later, was the result. The exact reasons (Name) freed their Mans servants is lost to legend, but most assume the Mans refused to fight for the Elendi even to the peril of their own lives. (Name) released them to their own sovereignty in order to then bargin for their aid against an attacking Orcnin horde, at that’s how most tell the tale. Since that ancient time no less than five Mans nations have claimed to be that nation formed by the Elendi.
As a commoner visiting the Elendi one has little to worry about insomuch as etiquette. Elendi are a loving and forgiving people that take pains to accommodate their visitors. Many say that Elendi are elitist and superior in attitude, and while that is often true when dealing with the nobility of Elendi – the common Elendi is far from it – at least in public. Perhaps the most pertinent facet of Elendi life is the phenomena known as Heart’s Tongue. The various Elendi languages that one might learn in a school or from an Elendi are all trade languages. The Elendi retain a special and secret language that is spoken only by native Elendi. This language is not unified, and varies greatly from Deme to Deme. The knowledge of how to speak a Deme’s Heart’s Tongue is considered sacred. Teaching anyone that is not native to the Deme (even another Elendi) is considered forbidden, and those that have betrayed that trust have historically suffered greatly. Reactions ranging from duels to imprisonment, or worse, can result. The story of Tain Ewin (a Mans scribe) who learned the Heart’s Tongue of Tala Deme – and his subsequent execution is an oft told cautionary tale.
For any Nobility that plan to make visitation to an Elendi court the first and foremost matter of concern is to ask first. Elendi hold little to be outright offensive other than presumption. Prior to the arrival of the your personage and envoy should be sent with a request of ceremonies. The long lived and easily amused Elendi will often bend over backward (literally in the tale of … to appease their honored guests. Left to their own devices an Elendi household can become rather creative with their welcoming ceremonies, and on many occasions outright prankfull. Any renown or fame that your household claims may become a ready target of light jest, or regal production. The Elendi of the Dargonian Island are well known for creating theatrical performances honoring the guests of their ancestors. And never even attempt to speak the strange phrases of the Heart’s Tongue.
The legends of the Karn are told worldwide. “From High Sky to Bottom Lands” as they say. These Bottom Lander Mans live in the most inhospitable region of the Bottom Lands and deserve the reputation they have as being unstoppable warriors. As the stories say, the dead walk in the Karn Lands, and the Karn settlements are in a constant state of warfare against the dead. Animals, people, everything that dies in the Karn Lands raises. The Karn destroy the bodies of their dead. This prevents the bodies from returning, but the ghosts of the Karn ancestors are a regular part of a Karn’s life. Due to the honors given to these spirits they protect the Karn cities and teach their descendants. The phenomenal luck attributed to the Karn warriors is actually the protective spirits that accompany Karn seeking adventure outside their homeland.
A visiting Karn is usually a delightful guest. The spirits that accompany him will guide and scold the warrior, and the ingrained sense of duty and honor prevent a Karn from reacting inappropriately even when they are offended. Beyond treating the warrior with respect the best way to get in good graces with the Karn is to honor the dead that accompany him. Traditionally this is done by placing a bowl of blood underneath the Karn’s chair. Another point of interest is the Karn’s golden hounds. These extremely intelligent dogs often accompany a traveling Karn, and should be treated with the same respect that is given to the Karn. These hounds are perfectly capable of understanding complicated ideas and are often smarter than the Karn. The “Karn’a’Karn” Girin is said to have brought these golden hounds from another plane of existence to be the guardians of his people before the generations of ancestor spirits had grown powerful enough to protect the Karn cities.
Visiting the Karn, other than being extraordinarily dangerous, is a treat. The society is built on respect and the weight of still present history. Ancestor spirits support the authority of the rulers, and have no qualms decrying a ruler that fails in their eyes. The ancestors and the manifest danger of their land means that Karn settlements are tight knit and generally free of internal conflicts. Visitors are treated with all the honors of family, and only outright hostility or evil intentions will change that. To truly gain the favor of the ancestors one should always make a toast to Girin before drinking, and the most respectful gift a non-Karn can give to a Karnian host is the tip of their sword. If you consider yourself a warrior breaking the tip of your sword on the hearth stone is the proper act, a noble or craftsman should have a broken tip properly prepared with hilt and handle. A warrior will receive the ceremonial blade back with hilt and handle, and be honored forever after with the title Karn.
It is important to clarify that “Karn” is the term Imperials use for the Mans that descended from Girin. The word Karn means warrior. Girin the “Karn’a’Karn” is simply “the warrior of all warriors” or “the greatest warrior” and to be called Karn is the highest honor the children of Girin can apply to an outlander.
Doom and Woe befall anyone who would seek audience with the Orcnin. The discussion of manners amongst Ogran’s children is … tacit at best. Dominance is the only rule of behavior. Commands are the only respected form of communication, and threats are a kindness when lethal force is used wantonly. Amongst the Orcnin there is a strict racial hegemony. Unlike the Elendi or the Taurn the many breeds of Orcnin are drastically different. Goblin and Kobold, O’Sa, O’Ha, Gnoll, Troll, and more – each breed made for a purpose. Each species a component in the prophesied army of Ogran. The “Army of Ogran” is perhaps the most direct translation of the word Orcnin, at least as it is spoken amongst the Orcnin themselves. It is a Mans conceit that has stolen the word (actually) “Ogran’s” and transformed it into Orcnin.
The initial meeting with an Orcnin (of any sort) is best when full of bluster. One Orcnin has no real compunction killing and eating another Orcnin. In fact, most ‘Sa keep the teeth of Goblins as jewelry, and it would be considered outright shameful to wear the teeth of any creature you haven’t killed and eaten yourself. It is considered pathetic to back away from a fight – even one you know you will lose. Amongst the Orcnin there are a thousand subtle rules of engagement. Paramount to any attempting to integrate or gain influence in an Orcnin hoard is the recognition of the racial Hegemony. At this time the Sa, usually Orcnin’Sa, are the dominate species. How this is determined is a mystery to anyone not chosen by the Elder Dark Lord Ogran. What this means is that the Sa will always win. If a Goblin could kill a Sa – he will instead surrender. This divine mandate is the only thing keeping the Orcnin hoards intact. Without it, the internal strife would tear the Orcnin asunder and leave the world a safer and less dangerous place.
No Orcnin needs to be explained how to deal with Orcnin, but the first thing that any non-Orcnin needs to be aware of is that they are Goblins in the eyes of Orcnin. Goblins are the least of the Orcnin, the servants and messengers of the army. Goblins may not wear any teeth save those of other Goblins, or non-Orcnin. Entering into an Orcnin hoard for the purpose of business is easy. Keep your weapons sharp. Sneer at everyone, and threaten (or use) physical violence against Goblins wantonly. Assuming you properly impress the watchers – you will be lead to the Sa or their proxies. There you make your bargain, and are ideally allowed to leave unmolested. Those foolhardy enough to seek a deeper connection with the Orcnin have a more difficult task ahead of them. They must transcend their Goblin status in some manner or another. There are numerous ways and all involve death and destruction. The simplest method is to “become a Troll” though that “path” is not pleasant. To become a Troll you simply need think of nothing but food and death. Loose all sense of reason, attack first last and always, and you may be able to earn a “Troll Mark” amongst the Orcnin. That is … the Sa will give you (or more accurately allow you to keep) a Troll tooth to serve as a sign of your place in Orcnin society.
The elders of Orcnin society are eaten as a delicacy. All food is served raw or seared for flavor. Children are eaten on a regular basis, but it is a taboo to eat of your own breed save for special ceremonies. It is not uncommon for a Sa to force a Goblin to eat his own foot, and a routine punishment for failure is having one of your eyes removed and eaten in front of you. The worst place to be in Orcnin society is missing an arm or an eye. To have lost either means that you are simply waiting for your turn to be turned into stew. There are pins found in any Orcnin hoard where the doomed are kept until the time comes for them to be eaten. It is considered an honor to be allowed to make a selection from such a pin, and traditionally the chooser is allowed to keep the teeth of their chosen meal.
The Kinder Elen are something of an anomaly in that they are not technically Elendi. They are born of Dwar, but as Gnomes they have been forsaken. Unlike those commonly called Gnomes the Kinder Elen have embraced the ways of the Elendi. The Term Kinder Elen translates the “Child Like Elendi” in classic Elendi phrase turning this means both that they are small and that they are similar to the Elendi. Most Mans are unable to tell the difference between an adult Kinder Elen and an Elendi child, particularly since the Elendi readily welcome the Kinder Elen into their Demes. Unlike the other Gnomes races born of the Wizards Wars the Kinder Elen have found peace and a place in the world that existed before the Wizards Wars. Kinder Elen have taken a true name, and in this age are born of Elendria.
Kinder Elen are most often found as guardians of Elendi households. Often Kinder Elen will masquerade as an Elendi child, or simply allow potentially hostile onlookers to consider them a child in order to better maintain the upper hand. The strange affinity that Kinder Elen have for diplomancy allows them to keep more than enough emergency provisions and weapons, and tents, and shovels, and etc other things that could be useful all while appearing unarmed and defenseless. It is a rare Kinder Elen that does not have a pair of mittens with the miraculous ability to stow a sword unseen. While others can suffer dangerous arconistic disturbances simply having a diplomancer’s bag the average Kinder Elen will have a pair of mittens, a belt, and even a diplomancer’s hat. All without generating any mist. The belt in particular is a point of interest. Similar to Mans Kinder Elen exchange an object in their marriage ceremony. The girl makes a belt, and the boy gives a hat.
As far as diplomatic relations with the Kinder Elen there are no particular rules that need to be complied with. They are a flexible and free spirited people. They are usually more concerned with your feelings, and will often vanish into their hats if they think they have offended you. Their pallets are almost identical to Mans, in that they eat fruits, meats, nuts, and vegetables. Unlike their Elendi allies whose main diet is grass and leaves. The only point where a Kinder Elen may become touchy or put out is if the discussion of what they smell like comes up. They consider their scents are very private and personal matter. This is most pertinent due to the fact that despite their taboo of speaking of it – they take great pains to smell very strongly. Again, Kinder Elen are a very affable people, and would most likely say nothings the matter should the conversation happen. They will however be extremely embarrassed, and polite hosts should avoid the topic.
Asperians are mostly familiar with Kinder Elen, and affectionately refer to them as “half elves” or “halflings” even in polite company. When making listings Asperians usually refer to them simply as Kinder, leaving off the proper Elen. What many Dargonians are not aware of is that the Kinder Elen of the Bottom Lands are warlike. These Bottom Lands half elen have a capitol deme of their own, and they maintain it in one of the most unlivable and hostile areas of the Bottom Lands. Kinder Deme, as it is simply known, is situated just to the south of Troll Country, north of the Goblin Mountains, and is on the shore of the pirate infested Inner Sea. The Kinder Elen of Kinder Deme have successfully held their city from countless assaults from their neighboring “countries” and have never sought aid from the nearest Imperial nation. In fact the people of Kinder Deme often say that they would sooner hire pirates than ask the Revalians for help. Though, despite this, the Kinder Deme representative in Imperial City have arranged for military aid from all the Cross Lands nations in the case of open warfare with the Darians.
The Sea Born Elendi are considered the most beautiful creatures that walk the earth. Dwar, Mans, even Taurn find themselves fascinated by the lithe and agile movements of the mere-elves, as they are sometimes known. These elegant Elendi make their land locked cousins seem clumsy. Even on land the Sea Born Elendi appears to float, and in the water they fly. Their fashions are “different” than the Elendi of the land, favoring gems and worked metal jewelry in comparison to most Elendi’s preference for natural accessories such as flowers. A noble Sea Born Elendi in preparation for council is a sight to behold; brilliant eyes, a stately bearing, long strait hair cascading over a svelte sea and sun toned skin. Majestic only barely begins to describe the Sea Born Elendi, and odes have been written to their fingers. Ballads sung to their toes. Tales are told of Sea Born Elendi starting wars with one word, and those that have beheld them have no question as to this truth. The Sea Born Elendi are no fools either, and they use this irresistible allure to their advantage whenever they deal with others.
The Sea Born Elendi as a society are equally as accommodating as most Elendi. They conform to the lay of the land, or as they say “we flow with the current.” Unlike their land and sky cousins the Sea Born Elendi eat meat, mainly fish, as well as what they call “sea grass” – a strange plant that grows underwater in the Endless Sea. The carefully worked jewelry they wear is crafted under the water, and it is due to the lack of heat that gives the items their unique beauty. On land the Sea Born Elendi wear thick cloth wraps that hold water to keep their skin moist. In the water these robes are discarded and they reveal the slim skintight outfits that the Sea Born Elendi wear in their natural environment. Unlike land dwelling Elendi the Sea Born rarely have more than a couple of suits of clothing. Their apparel is necessarily more resilient than land walkers’ clothing, and most Sea Born Elendi wear the same outfit for around a fortnight before going through the process of extracting themselves from the suit – that serves a Sea Born Elendi for warmth, modesty, and no small amount of armor-like protection from the various sea dwelling beasts.
The children of the Sea Born Elendi are never seen on land. Their young lungs are not able to handle the air until they are at least a hundred or more. In the deep grottos protected by the Sea Born Elendi, hidden amongst the unfathomable space in the endless sea, schools of young Sea Born Elendi learn to fly through the water and speak the language of the sea creatures. After the young Sea Born masters the movements of water they are sent out into the endless sea to find new grottos and new homes for the Sea Born to inhabit. The Sea Born will not say how expansive their confederacy of hidden grottos is, but from rumor and tales Imperial scribes have reason to believe that the Sea Born Elendi nation may very well be the largest nation of people in the world. The Sea Born Elendi’s calm presence in even the most heated council sessions supports this belief, but the fact that they know no other nation in the Empire could make any use of their territory may be reason enough to alleviate fears that other nations would have. The Sea Born Elendi have also refused to put forward armies – even at the height of the Wizards-Wars, claiming that they have troubles in their own world.
The troubles they speak of are the curious breed of Taurn called Shaketaurn. These Taurn, if they are truly Taurn, must have dived directly into the endless sea when the Island fell – if they ever lived on Taurn at all. Regardless of where they came from the Shaketaurn, or Shakaer, are a vicious race that by all evidence has no written language, and only the barest spoken communication. When the Sea Born Elendi speak of their difficulties with the Shakaer they simply say that they have encroached on their territory, or have cost them much this last year. What the scribes have been able to gather, is that the Shakaer are actively seeking out the hidden grottos of the Sea Born and violently destroying them. What and why the Shakaer are after by attacking the Sea Born is a real mystery. The Elendi confirm that the Shakear are not using the grottos once they take them, and in one particular case the Sea Born were able to return to a lost grotto and found that not even their valuable were missing. The Shakear normally live in the shallow waters surrounding sea isles, and yet they continue to seek out these grottos and attack in mass. The always calm Sea Born Elendi say that they need no assistance from the rest of the Empire; “The seas are ours, and we will master them” they say.
Despite the Sea Born’s mastery of swimming they do have carriages that are drawn by beautiful creatures known as Sea Horses. These creatures are quite bizarre indeed. With a single bulbous head that is also their body, and no less than eight swimming arms to propel them through the water. The Sea Born train these Sea Horses to draw their carriages, though “carriage” hardly seems like the proper term. The undersea vehicles are shaped more like sleds, and are designed to be backed onto the beach or ship they will be unloaded on. With minor miracles the Sea Born are able to create air seals for the cargo that might need to stay dry, including a visiting Mans. The hidden grottos of the Sea Born are not truly hidden so much as they are secluded and nearly impossible to find. Under many circumstances the Sea Born Elendi have welcomed visitors to their homes, using what they call bubble charms to provide their air breathing guests with the ability to survive in their grottos. Trading with the Sea Born Elendi is almost entirely a matter of minerals or novelty. The food they harvest is unedible to land dwellers, and the same is true in reverse. “The sea is a bounty that will never end” is an oft quoted Sea Born saying, and leads one to wonder why they bother to trade at all.
Those that see plots and plans behind every curious question accuse the Sea Born Elendi of using trade goods to collect a hoard of crystals greater than any before. What they would do with this hoard is a serious question that has not been adequately addressed by those that accuse the Sea Born Elendi of such nefarious plots. More likely the Sea Born Elendi trade with the land dwellers because there are many crafted items that cannot be made under the sea. Steel being a prime example. Artwork and other novelties are major trade goods amongst nobility throughout the Empire, and there is no reason the Sea Born Elendi would be any different. While the bulk of the Sea Born Elendi’s exports are rare minerals that the Sea Born find readily on the bottom of the sea, the most sought after Sea Born product is their wine. It is assumed by many that the wine is made from some form of undersea grapes, but this is not the case. The wine is created from a fruit that has no land equivalent called the Luscious Darn. The wine is called Sea Born Wine, but is properly called “the Luscious Water.”
Fire Elendi are perhaps the most unusual of all the Elen. The largest collection of their demes are found in the heart of Tolen. They are rarely seen even by the Dune Elves that live above them. The Tolenese generally avoid dealings with them because of a historical hostility of questionable origins. Most Tolenese consider the Fire Elves outright savages, and most Fire Elves consider the Tolenese woefully stupid. Admittedly through some strange circumstance the Tolenese refuse to use Arconistics or call upon miracles of any kind, but it is the opinion of this author that the Fire Elves are underestimating the miraculous nature of the Tolenese Technometrics. Luckily the Tolenese have no interest in the subterranean realms beneath them. Luckily for the Tolenese that is.
The Fire Elendi are the most hostile and warlike of all the Elendi. Their Demes are circular arrangements surrounding a large sacrificial alter, and they have long standing allegiances with dragons from the deepest heart of Tolen. The sacrificial pits are used to feed the dragons and their whelps, as well as punish those the Fire Elendi feel have offended the gods, or their honor. While not nearly as concerned with honor as most Dwarn the Fire Elendi do not allow a slight to pass easily. Blood duels and family feuds fill countless tales around their cooking fires. Despite their appellation of Fire Elendi they do not surround themselves constantly in flames or particularly worship fire in any particular way. Their immunity to the flames and their affiliation with the deities of fire mark them as Fire Elendi. The true and stark difference between the Fire Elendi and the rest of the Elendi is their cultural attitudes.
Most Elendi are never in a rush, but the Fire Elendi are constantly preoccupied with various games and sports. Sometimes wars disrupt their play, but the heart of Tolen is a quiet place. In the last four hundred years there has been one major conflict with migrating (burrotaurn) and six ascension wars. The Fire Elendi are generally a monarchy, and roughly 24 houses of noble blood rule the various demes of Tolen. Links exist between their nobility and that of the other Elendi, but the Fire Elendi are extremely secluded beneath the surface of Tolen. Most of their contact with the surface, and the rest of the world, happens through interaction with the Dune Elves. The Dwarn like jewelry that the Dune Elves sell is actually purchased from the Fire Elendi. The Fire Elendi barter their crafts with the Dune Elves for food and stories from the surface world.
A rarity in the world today – the Fire Elendi do not trade in crystal. The fact that the Tolenese are the foremost crystal traders in the world (and the mutual antagonism the Fire Elendi share with the Tolenese Mans) may have something to do with their aversion to keeping gold and silver crystals for trade. (name), a Fire Elendi king, has declared that the crystals of Tolen are obviously Arconistic. Most of the nobility have followed suit and overtly confiscated or destroyed gold or silver crystal currency. Interestingly the Fire Elendi have a form of currency that they use only amongst themselves. There is a certain blue stone that can hold the fire created by many of the Fire Elendi. This flame can be drawn out by those Fire Elendi that can sing fire, and it is said that in ancient times the dragons were the ones that taught these Elendi how to join the fire stones into statues and jewelry.
Just like the forests full of watchful trees and wise birds the Fire Elendi demes are under the careful watch of living stone statues. Most Fire Elendi patriarchs wear an earring that allows them to hear the sounds of their home from the other side of the deme. Statuettes adorn kitchens, and their blue stone eyes shine with a miraculous light when the cook wants to watch the kitchen. Fire Elendi children are taught to keep the stones with them, and many learn to control their gifts simply and naturally through using the stones. As they grow older they are taught the names that will release the powers locked in the stones. An exploding fire stone can be a nuisance or a lethal attack – depending on the Elendi who throws it. Many elders of a deme are able to use a supply of the stones to create a ring of fire in order to protect their family. The kings of the Fire Elendi are able to communicate through special fire stone statues.
Traveling through the subterranean caverns of Tolen can be confusing. A traveler knows they are getting close to Fire Elendi territory when they meet the sentries, a statue race that the Fire Elendi have created to guard the outskirts of their caverns. The sentries are carved in outlandish unnatural shapes and are brought to life via a combination of the Elendi fire stones, and dragon magics. The carved and adorned statue is lowered into the depths of the sacrificial chamber and weeks later the living stone climbs its way out of the well and joins the others. They speak the silent language of dirt and will either aid or hinder a traveler from finding the actual Demes. They have the ability to alert the Elendi kings instantaneously through the fire stone statues when hostiles are noticed. Most of the sentries spend their time standing at the crossways of the more commonly traversed cavern ways. Some are designed to blend into the cavern walls, and others appear as giant statues.
The sports and games of the Fire Elendi are no mere child’s play. Races through treacherous caverns and fighting tournaments are the most common pastimes. The elders of a deme will gamble on the performance of the participants, and the children will be given carved emblems of the contestants. The victors of the contests are rewarded with numerous honors, and, in stark contrast to similar sports amongst other Elendi, the loosers could easily die. The games the Fire Elendi play are treacherous and extreme. The most common contests are the footraces. Sentries watch warden and the strongest youths of the deme race through the underground passages, up sheer cliffs, and across deadly crevasse. They say that the deepest caverns will hold the bones of those who slipped until Tolen falls. Most likely the deep crevasses are linked in some manner to the same depths that the Fire Elendi’s shrines lead to. The dragons that live down there may feed on the failures as well as the sacrifices, and the attitude of the Fire Elendi? “Tough”
The honors of the Fire Elendi are usually fine crafted jewels, though a resplendent chambers and companionship are not uncommon prizes. Food is mostly a non-issue as the Fire Elendi eat primarily in communal meals. Daily meals are served in the center of the deme, and the established homes welcome less fortunate members of the community into their public dining chambers. Sculptors that can tame stone are highly sought after, as the Fire Elendi make their homes in the hard unyielding stone that surrounds the golden heart of Tolen. Like arboreal Elendi the Fire Elendi fit themselves into the space they live, instead of trying to force the surrounding to bend to their will. Nonetheless, stone singers are honored members of the community. When they are not rewarding contest victors the Fire Elendi stone singers are sculpting new murals into the walls of the communal chambers of the deme.
Making a diplomatic envoy to the Fire Elendi is far more complicated than simply visiting one of their demes in the course of travel. Weary subterranean explorers are welcomed so long as they pass the sentries, and given a share of the communal space and food. Visiting dignitaries and their retinues are held to a higher standard however. The most pertinent and potentially disastrous point of protocol is matter of the sacrifice. When one Fire Elendi king visits another it is consider a time for the execution of prisoners. The ritual of two lords condemning those criminals that have been held in sanction for the last season is very solemn and not to be disregarded. To make the best impression as a visiting noble, bring at least one condemned prisoner that you are willing to sacrifice to the dragon lords of the Fire Elendi. Other than that gruesome detail the rest of making a good impression amongst the Fire Elendi is fairly standard. They appreciate delicacies and tales of foreign lands, and share the general Elendi aversion to speaking with non-Elendi in or about their Heart’s Tongue.
Large scale trade with the Fire Elendi has proven impossible for Imperial envoys. Their visits usually end in some form of polite disaster according to historians. The Fire Elendi claim no serious grievances with the Imperial council, and the names of more than one of their dragon lords has been entered into the Annals. Mentioning the names of these dragons amongst the Fire Elendi is similar to speaking of their Heart’s Tongue, and should be avoided. The food that the Fire Elendi produce for themselves is mostly moss as well as a sunless breed of Heather tree. The only goods that they produce worth shipping are their enchanted jewelry, and this is readily available (at a minor markup) from the Dune Elves on the surface of Tolen. Given the simple ways and needs of the Fire Elendi, their most marketable commodity is actually a vacation location. Visiting the caverns of the Fire Elendi for the times of contest is worth hiring a cabal of Dwarn stone singers, and bringing accomplished stone singers is most likely your best bet when attempting to barter with the Fire Elendi.
The Crosslands, Imperial Territory of the Bottom Lands. The territory is named as such due to the grand crossroads created during the original settlements of the Bottom Lands by Imperial Mans and Orcnin. Two roads were created. One leading from the Inner Sea to the Western Shores (the “Short Road”, and one leading from the Western Shores to the heart of what is now called the Pride Lands (the “Long Road”. A third grand highway (the “South Road” was created, but it was never connected to the Long Road. The South Road was never enchanted in the same manner as the Long and Short Roads, but has served well to aid those traversing between the Goval region and the Pride Lands. The difficulty involved in connecting from the South Road to the Long Road is further complicated by the Pridelanders themselves. The region is not so much “hostile” as it is rigorously taxed.
The Long and Short Roads can be seen from most of the Mid-Sky when the Low-Skies are clear. The ancient diplomancers of the Empire worked mighty miracles and arconistic enchantments into these roads. They created an aversion to violence that protects those that travel on the roads from harm. No arcane activation is required, but those who know arconistics are able to quicken defensive and offensive magics while traveling the roads. Once Orcnin could walk these highways, and the Orcnin houses were in fact the builders of the short road. However, when the Orcnin lost their seats in the Imperial Councils the sacred power of the roads turned against the traitors to the Empire. To this day not Goblin, nor Sa, nor Troll may set foot on the roads. Trees as well back away from the roads, which is why the Long and Short roads are clearly visible from the Mid-Sky and the South road has been nearly devoured by the forests.
In the Cross lands four noble imperial families are housed and continue in a grand scheme as old as the cross roads that give the territory its name. The Bottom Lands is an expansive place. Not only is the Crosslands larger than any of the greater isles. It is larger than the three largest islands in the sky combined; Dolor, Wildhome, and Montara. Vanira, Merran, Relion, and Haaron forged an alliance of blood dating to the original campaigns of the first Mans-Tree wars. During the era of the Mans-Tree wars the house Reval was considered part of the Imperial Territory of the Crosslands, post Wizards Wars era the Imperial House of Reval declared dominion over the Goblin Forest region, and their independence of the Crosslands Councils. A representative of the Revalian house is present during Crosslands open chambers, and advising the Crosslands Councils as to Revalian interests. Any Imperial envoy to the Crosslands will find the eyes of Reval on them at all times, and unfortunately as foreign diplomats you will be invited to all the same parties.
Thankfully a commoner needs worry nothing of Revalian spycraft when visiting the Crosslands, and travel by ferry to the Crosslands is a common pastime amongst both nobles and regular imperial citizenry. Unlike the stout and rarified air of Reval or the “very Elendi” (name) city, the Crosslands are the picture of Imperial life from architecture to meal times. Ground beef, noodles, bread and cheese. Four meals a day in wood walls. Bunnies in the barn and the Dogs watching the fence. Dragoons watch the roads that are not the Long or Short, and familiar Imperial standards mark shops and inns. Then of course there is the beach, and the Crosslands major export - fish. The Western Shores have more beach than all the Sky Lakes combined, and the Endless Sea that stretches farther than the eye can conceive. The Crosslands are a beautiful place, and alive with Bottom Lands beasts of momentous size! Imagine Asper, only bigger.
The Haaron family has held the first seat in the high council for dozens of generations, and have lead the Crosslands to achieve significant progress in the realms of sea power (an odd craft) and the fortification of their Bottom Lands settlements. The security of a Bottom Lands city is no small matter. Silestrian villagers are capable of literally moving their cities over the spans of miles. One particular village, Rolling Rock Shire, moves seasonally in and out of Crosslands territory. In the summer time Rolling Rock transports itself to the Shores of Silestra and in the winter it returns to a reserved location near the cross roads itself. Miraculous land movement like this is one of the most profound differences between the Skies and the Bottom Lands. The miracle is that Mans have been able to tame the upheavals of land, and the slipping of space that is this strange island that floats on water instead of air. Other than a few villages like Rolling Rock the Crosslands has been mostly tamed, at least from the cross roads to the Western Shores.
As one travels further east from the Crossroads the leering Trees and the familiar habitation fades away. Taurn habitats and habits become apparent in the cities that lie east of the cross roads. The territorial skirmishes of the Taurn tribes that have made their new homes in the Pride Lands leave their mark on Imperial houses in the form of banners. As far as the Taurn are concerned the Pride Lands extends to the cross roads itself, the Empire sees the Crosslands as somewhat larger. Thankfully for the Imperial settlements in eastern Crosslands the Taurn are loath to drag non-Taurn into their private conflicts. They lay claim to certain regions (and the Imperials within), but the claiming is little more than the request to bare the standard of the tribe. Foolish Mans meddle with the squabbles of the Taurn war tribes and end up dead. Smart Mans smile and nod at the beast men and fly a flag, and take it down if another beast man tells them too. Only twice in the Crosslands Annals has the Haaron declared war with the Taurn of the Pride Lands; both times at the behest of the Merran, and both times due to Merran’s meddling with Taurn politics.
Strangely the Haaron have reported more difficulties dealing with the Revalian border than the Pride Landers. Mostly Orcnin incursions from the Goblin Forest, but there have been some mutterings of bad business with the house of Reval. The occasional apology for “misunderstandings near the border” has appeared in the Annals of the High Imperial Council. Those that watch the interplay of the houses see clearly that Reval’s excusing itself from the Crosslands Territorial Alliance (and the blood dept they paid to do so) was a move made to sever the sacred bonds of the Empire that would prevent them from getting away with independent councils. Reval is the only Imperial territory on the Bottom Lands that is ruled by only one noble house. At least, Reval is the only Imperial territory watched by one noble family, that has survived through all three Mans-Tree wars and the Wizards Wars. The House of Reval are of old arcanists, and most attribute their withdrawal from the Crosslands pact one of tact. The minor arconistics of one of the ancient and honored houses of the Bottom Lands campaigns (and one that has envoys in most Imperial houses throughout the skies) is of little concern to the rest of the Empire, and perhaps it should be.