WELCOME TO DIRE
Welcome! ♥ Dire is an original medieval fantasy project originally set in the year 1476, centering around an age-long feud between half gods, mankind, and everyone and every thing caught in between.
Similar to a D&D adventure, Dire will only reveal what your characters ask for. Will they spend time stealing thrones or hunting for dragons, or will they go looking for the unknown?
- Please welcome our newest member, Gavriel
All OOC boards centered around the site news, lore, leader updates, plotting and more can be found here. After reading the Guidebook, it's recommended that you head here to get started with the community!
All site updates, be it IC or OOC, will be posted here. You can find IC recaps, site update notes, feature additions, and IC/OOC event signups here!
Interested in the extended, detailed passages and supplemental lore that frames the world? This is the place!
Contents include lore on legends, prominent languages spoken in Gilead, bestiary information and extended lore on both the races and the nations as written by the leaders who have left their marks.
All regulations, resources and how-to information surrounding Lead Writers will be found here, as well as a subforum for leader-made announcements. It's advised that both current and aspiring leaders take a look at the expectations and the tools they have at their disposal to meet them!
Here is where Lead Writers will post their updates be it OOC reminders of changes or IC recaps of events or happening. A must-watch forum!
This is both the General Forum and the Character Resource Forum! You can play IC and OOC games here, just chat, ask for advice or whatever you want! You can also find a subforum to place your shippers, wanteds, adoptables, art shops, requests and more. Anything that helps cement you OR your characters and plots into the site will go here!
Plotting, wanteds, shippers, adoptables, trackers and more can go here!
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“Gilead's Crown,” the Northernmost continent, is a vast frozen expanse that in ratio to its size is considered largely uninhabited by civilization. Snelandia is an oblong landmass which is roughly 3,500 miles long and only 300 miles wide. Long, relatively straight and narrow, it is surrounded by glacial, iceberg-heavy waters that threaten vessels of all make and model. The nearest continent is Cörzya, merely distanced by 75 miles of water, and Svalbarð is relatively close as well, with only 175 miles separating the two. The majority of the continent is covered in ice and snow all year round, and daylight moves differently here than anywhere else in the world. Snelandia is without a doubt the coldest, driest, and windiest continent in the entirety of Gilead, and for this reason is considered a desert. Resources are scarce outside of the 2 established Dynasties, including fresh drinking water. There are few large terrestrial creatures that call this place home, but the wide range of taigas, tundras and ice floats offer a multitude of animals if one knows where to look.
Geographically known as the Kal’aat Region, the ___ Dynasty has ruled this frigid eastern terrain for centuries. Surrounded by ice and snow, the people of this eastern dynasty are hardened by the inescapable cold. They are surprisingly known internationally for their culinary arts, specifically their pastries and deserts, of in which are gifted only to the most deserving of kings and queens.
Art imitates life here; the city is pristine, the infrastructure tall, graceful and almost crystal in nature. Much of the city is built up on itself like a tower to make the most of the sparse level earth as possible. It is often called the "Hidden Dynasty" because of how it intentionally blends in with the white terrain surrounding it. A great many travelers have been known to perish in harsh storms with safety less than 50ft away from them."Kal'aat is the heart of the north. Keep it pure. Keep it safe." — Kateu, City Guardsman.
The ornate beauty of the Capital is rivaled by very few things in the north. Well known for their culinary arts, prevalent art culture and many Oriental cultural festivals, Jaah Kipu-tuga is a staple landmark for foreigners to visit. A vast majority of people live in stacked structures to conserve space, where every one to two stories constitute a single individual's home.
Because of its climate, this Capital has not seen a warm summer for as long as anyone can remember."We survive in the harshest of continents because we adapt with the world, not against it. The rest of Gilead could not say the same." — Pau, Merchant.
The palace of ___ Dynasty is nestled in an alcove of the mountains where it overlooks the Capital. Seemingly innocuous on the outside due to the age-long tradition to preserve its 5,000 year old appearance, many in the past have tried to take it by force only to realize a moment too late that the palace is a trojan horse that houses some of the Dynasty's greatest warriors.
The traditional zen gardens are a staple landmark of the palace grounds, as well as the hot spring and indoor koi ponds."We are like the bear. If you leave us be, we sleep. If you poke us, we will rain fire down upon you." — Pashang, The Frigid
Taru-Tau is a massive underground system beneath the Capital that has historically been used for a great many operations. From swiftly escorting citizens en mass during an invasion to isolating the highest-priority prisoners from ever seeing daylight, this underground world has been a prominent advantage of the dynasty.
There are people who have never left this place, building small settlement where they can live under the dynasty's protection, but without the bustle of the above city. A vital vein of the dynasty for thousands of years, there are many channels that have not yet been fully mapped out yet. Who knows what treasures have been long buried beneath ice and snow."We do not let foreigners enter Taru-Tau for the same reason you would not ask a stranger to hold your gold." — Feit, Banner Lord.
Translating roughly to "Two Points", Malġuk Tanaak has long become an unmistakable landmark because it can be viewed from any point across the frozen expanse. Central to the continent and incredible in size at its every direction, this natural monument acts as a compass for those who are traveling. The directions between the curl of the landmark are directly north one way and south the next, and from its right and left are east and west respectively.
Isolated in a long and desolate terrain of virgin snow dunes, Malġuk Tanaak stands unmistakably above every rise and fall of the smooth wind-torn land. Accurate down the to the very coordinates, Malġuk Tanaak has led a great many iconic voyages and pioneers who looked upon it with hope that they are never entirely lost. As it is the continent's version of the north star, it is a very popular meeting point where many strangers meet other passing ships."You do not need divine providence, a miracle, when you have Malġuk Tanaak to answer your prayers." — Yukiu, The Longrunner.
The vast expanse of wilderness located just north of the Hinterlands. This region is host to the majority of terrestrial prey, including musk-ox, caribou and other smaller rodents, which can commonly be found roaming the surrounding areas. Arguably one of the most difficult places of the north to survive in, the Yuukon is large enough that it deviates from a taiga environment to a bare arctic the farther one travels to its north. Prey becomes scarcer upon the shift of environment, signs of life few and far between and those who travel in these unforgiving lands are met with lack of resources and unending snowstorms: a massive contrast to the forested portion of the Yuukon.
It is here in these perpetually-roaring storms and whistling winds that a variation of Snelandia's native tongue has been formed and adopted to combat the inability to hear one another; a language of hand signing, all so that the natives who make their homes in the Yuukon are still able to communicate. Despite its lack of predictability and unforgiving nature, the Yuukon is home to a striking amount of natives who manage in a place so far from trading routes and shops, eateries or other such modern things. Considered the more primal of Snelandia, the indigenous Yuukon people track their food for miles instead of merely ordering it at a tavern, and they treat wounds quickly rather than with leisure lest they grow cold and die."There are two options in the Yuukon: you either succeed, or you die. We do not have the leisure to be poor or unfortunate." — Taniqu, Mahneign Dynasty.
Translating roughly to "Choppy Water," U-na-jux lives by its age-old reputation with its consistent coastal hostility. Aside from its heavy waves and lack of tranquility, this region of sea is home to a great many perilous predators that intentionally hunt footsteps beneath the inclines of ice that act as a sturdy bank much in the way sand might do for a beach. They tend to drive beneath the ice and, when the moment makes itself known, strike up through the ice and take their prey down into the frigid unforgiving cold.
This region is very rich in marine mammals, fish, and seabirds, and both foxes and large polar bears frequent the solid earth around the sea so that they might hunt. This diversity of animals offers a plethora of valuable resources for those skilled enough to take them for themselves. A great many legends and recent sightings to credit such stories speak of not only a great sea dragon which resides here but a moccasin or two who migrate between here and elsewhere, luring in the unsuspecting and devouring them like tiny snacks."The waters are troubling for a native as myself: for foreigners? Impossible." — Calio, The Onlooker.
At the far west of the continent lies the surprisingly-warmer, thicker climate where the ___ Dynasty rests. While the warmer climate of the massive continent is noticeable, it is not enough to foster the lush greenery that the western dynasty sports: and that is why the dynasty acts as a greenhouse.
Surrounded by a large dome that keeps out the harsh winds, ___ Dynasty maintains an almost consistent spring and summer throughout the year; a contrast to the east. The humidity is born from the sun's constant heating of the glass above the settlement. The people of Western Snelandia are excellent curators of exotic creatures and plants alike, and are known for their animal symbioticism."I came from the East. I do not miss the winter, however; far from it. If I never go back, there will not be a single regret." — Mauk, Former Yuukon Inhabitant.
A beautiful traditional work of art, Hisheng is surrounded by Sakurai trees that are seemingly always in bloom. This is where the Emperor/Empress dwell with their most trusted guards and samurai. Similar to its Eastern counterpart, the Western Palace is also not as easy to penetrate as it appears to be.
The estate is surrounded by countless bells in the trees around it, tethered to near-invisible spider silk threads. Even intruders with the softest feet will eventually misstep, and the warriors within the palace are famed for waking from a dead sleep the moment the bells chime. In order to traverse safely, one must be led through the well-lit paths that are always guarded."The key to any good protector is first learning the difference between a bell rustled by the wind or animal, and a bell rustled by a criminal." — Ganda, The Hawk.
The beauty of Ettero is in the way it can be easily missed by the passing eye. Blended almost entirely with the nature around it, the temple has been curated with as few disturbances as possible; candles and torches, the rooms carved into the stone it's made from, the waterfalls above it allowed to pour through the aqueducts so as not to disrupt the delivery of water to the salmon waters below.
Many come to train their minds here alongside the monks and the peacekeepers, often coming to live in silence for months at a time until they emerge enlightened and new. It is an immersive experience where Magic is banned and technology is scarce. The homeless, the orphaned and the unfortunate are typically taken in without second thought...even if they're on the run."We have no power to change you. The change is from within. All we do, is teach discipline. From it, you can be your own master." — Hashteru, Senior Monk.
Otherwise known as the Kapoa District, this area is heavily devoted to agriculture; namely rice, duck and chicken farming. Much of it is traded to the East to feed their immense culinary culture, and in exchange they typically receive resources with which to expand the dynasty farther into the lush rainforests around it. Honest but hard work, the workers of Kapoa Tau often find solace in the sheer beauty of the humid surroundings from the cloud-capped mountains to the rushing waterfalls.
Many travel through here on their way deeper into the wilds. Workers do their best to dissuade them, but often words of warning to not sate the curiosity of adventurous souls."I once was a duck farmer, but then I grew to love my ducks. I then became a koi keeper, but could not bear to rid of them. Finally, I found peace in the tiny grain of rice...so much less guilt." — Tomada, The Wise.
Corzya is a moderately-sized continent nearest to Snelandia, sitting at roughly 75 miles from its Easternmost side. Notoriously known for its historically large saturation of criminals and banished prisoners, it is no surprise to any that Cörzya has evolved into a nation of pirates and traffickers. Because of this, much of the mainland itself, generally known as Gibrantt, is still underdeveloped or undeveloped entirely, with only the coastal rim heavily inhabited. The rest of the nation lives at sea, and the moving Capital known as The Vatican travels the 7 seas unhindered by the anchor of the continent itself. Cörzya is a very arid territory with hot days and frozen nights, and houses the largest saturation of nocturnal species. Much of the inner land is inhospitable but is largely ignored in terms of development, as the seafaring population at large often prefer to be near their vessels. Geographically fostering a very sea-heavy culture, most all the cities in Cörzya are explored entirely by boat.
Also known as The Pirate King's Sailing Castle, The Vatican is an internationally-known masterpiece of a city...because it moves.
Nestled on a severed piece of landmass and tethered to massive sails and vessels, the Capital moves with a mixture of physical and Magic-based elements. The Vatican sails the seven seas at the Pirate King/Queen's command, and its potential destinations are endless. As a mobile hub for pirate ships, Corzya is able to move towards its prospective spoils without hassling with long travel back to the mainland.
The very pinnacle of extravagant Corzyan culture, The Vatican welcomes all into its posh lifestyle who serve Corzya with their best work. Politicians and Royals who have visited (and managed to leave freely) tend to describe Corzyan politics here to be "incredibly uncanny.." close, but yet not at all conventional. Typical of pirates."She's a right beaut, aye? Well, unless yer' the spoils we keep in the dungeons, hah!" — Bracka, Slaver.
Valleta, the Pirate King/Queen's Seat, is nestled in the very center of The Vatican. Its beauty is said to be contributed to the many countless, priceless spoils that were melted down into pure precious metals which were then used to construct the castle. From the golden floors to the reflective silver columns and trimmings, the stained glass made with gemstones and other peculiar artifacts, Valleta is a sight to behold...at least for those who haven't found one of their old treasures now on display before them.
While Valleta is considered a palace by international standard, it is actually a helm of sorts. From here, much of the controls necessary to manipulate the direction of The Vatican's sails, movement mechanisms and the convenient means to distantly change the Magical means of its movement can all be done at the very tower-like roof of Valleta. Its high vantage point gives an unobstructed bird's eye view in every direction for ease of good decision-making."Prettiest thing about Valleta? The fuckin looks on the faces of poor bastards who recognize an artifact or two in it. Ours now, mate." — Sonego, Gunner.
The Phon Coast is a simple band surrounding The Vatican, an intentionally-slumping bank that acts as a docking point for ships and a safe dismount for smaller personal dinghies and canoes. Marinas dot the coast for ships to come and go, and when The Vatican ceases travel, many citizens take to the water for a refreshing dip while they can. When on the move, the smaller ships are pulled onto the stone docks of the city themselves, and larger vessels are hauled into covered, underground channels and stalls where they are tethered securely to the walls and allowed to drift with the speed of The Vatican without incurring damage.
A prime fishing and short vacation spot, many come down to the coast to best experience the world around them as The Vatican sails through it. Depending on the area and the time of year, the species of animals that can be pulled in from the sea varies sharply anywhere from lobsters to seals to penguins. Because of this, commercial fishing is a fairly lucrative business...that doesn't directly relate to piracy."The seawater's good for ya, ya know. Soothin', good for the sinuses too!" — Simon, Junior Sailor.
Whether deployed from The Vatican's docks, rolling in from Gibrantt, or simply personal vessels seeking spoils from the seven seas, Corzya's lifeblood are the vessels that carry them en mass. Be it for nameless riches from sunken ships, plundering other ships or taking hostages to sell off to auction, The Fleet is nevertheless a priceless part of Corzyan life. The heavy sea-faring culture of the continent is embodied in the ships it has given birth to, and a Corzyan without a ship or at least access to one is often considered less than half a life.
No matter where they are or where they're headed, fleet ships are foreboding shapes on the horizon for anyone."Not a fan of carryin' more bodies than I need to. The captives have awful manners—nothin' a little controlled shock won't fix, aye." — Buel, The Breaker.
Also simply referred to as The Mainland, much of the continent of Corzya has been left to the wilderness. All along the coast, however, is the city of Gibrantt, a settlement that rounds the entire continent. Streets are replaced with waterways, which are traversed by gondolas and other smaller personal ships. Given that pirate nation's commerce relies on the ocean and the spoils that can be found across it, living on the coast drastically reduces travel time of resources.
Much of the slaves that are captured from overseas are brought to Gibrantt, where some of the most qualified trainers condition them for their life of servitude. Whether they are kept in Corzya or sold, they will be trained regardless."Donnae be fooled, mate. We may be on the ground but we ain't sittin ducks." — Josephine, Captain.
Heavy rapids funnel through the risen land on either side, rushing dinghies and sailboats through with startling speed and chaos. A skilled set of hands can navigate well enough to prevent capsizing long enough to hit land; and from there, one is left to the quiet of the perilous Unclaim. Some say that the waters are crueler for sparing a life than it would have been for taking it then and there in the rapids.
Alder Pass is the only way into the maze-like path of the mainland from the sea. The land itself is untamed save for the coastal rim, barren in some patches as though large-but-unseen beasts have stripped the foliage dry long ago. The plains are long and wide and the forests dense, the canopies reducing the sun into droplets of light. It's better to stick to the civilized coastline"Huh, what's out there? Fuck all if I know! Dead men tell no tales— ask me mates who went out there n' never came back." — Penny, The Shrike.
As the largest continent in terms of hospitable territories, it is about 2,150 miles across and 1,000 miles from North to South. It is historically believed to have once been a single landmass many thousands of years ago before a cataclysmic event that separated its north pole from the south pole now known as Dorsum. Both ends of The Mainland are separated from it by the Dire Strait. Svalbarð is the most diverse in terms of ecosystems and climates, which ranges drastically across the continent from subarctic at the Northernmost to subtropics at the Southernmost and everything in between. For the most part it is generally temperate and easy to survive its climate range, which has allowed an incredible ease of colonialism. As a result, Svalbard is one of the first and largest inhabited landmasses in the world.
Svalbard's Capital is easily the largest, most economically stable and secure city within the nation, if not the world itself. While the military is distributed throughout its kindred states, Stadarfell holds the highest quality of units to ensure that the capital, its people, and its leader is untouched by the grisly world beyond.
Simply magnificent, Stadarfell needs not a particular eye to look upon it in order to appreciate it, for it is readily stunning to both new and old acquaintances. With skies clear and sun bright, wide stone walls standing strong against time while its insides cater to both the rich and poor, Stadarfell holds grace in age. Stadarfell is in itself a fortress, with only two stone bridges at the north and south wall, leaving there only two ways in and out of the powerful capital. These walls are laden with military coursing through its halls, and with artillery trained to the ground. There is no chance for it to be conquered from the outside.
An estimated 50,000 foreigners are said to come to those great walls every year, begging for entry. By their discretion, knights reportedly turn away more than two-thirds."Stadarfell is an ark boxed in with four great walls. ..only a fool would let diseased animals into the fold of it." — Baldwin, The Queen's Court.
With gilded gold floors, yawning hallways and incredible acoustics often filled with opera song, Forséign Castle is internationally known as one of the most beautiful man-made structures in the world. Historically, The Unconquerable Svalbard was said to build upon the castle with each of its victories. This celebratory practice has led to a beautiful complex of governmental buildings huddled around the brilliant castle and its many gardens, sparring grounds and vantage points above the masses of royals congregating beneath the watchful eyes of armed men and women.Security is heavy, and those without permit are thrust into the ugly unseen underbelly of the Forséign Castle; the dungeons, where it's rumored that they've intentionally been left stripped, primitive, and inhumane. "They should be thankful. The ones we've crushed; their resources have contributed to something infinitely beyond them."— Baldwin, Magistrate.
Nestled in the center of Stadarfell's upper class, the marketplace is a vast network in which passing peddlers with the proper permits come to sell goods from their finely-crafted carts, competing for sales with some of Svalbard's most prominent merchants and their businesses permanent businesses. Separated into many sections consisting of antiques, treasure, apparel markets, produce and meats, Stadarfell's marketplace is visited by a great many travelers and natives alike who wish to get their hands on the highest quality goods.
The scenery is particularly divine; lanterns keep it well lit at night, commotion never ending even when the day is done. Street performers and bards beg the rich to reward them with coin, and many lush parks dot the area for civilians to rest as they watch peddlers make sales and guards on horseback move through the streets."People often lead such simple lives. I enjoy coming here to see their novellas play out." — Halin, Philosopher.
An integral element to Svalbard's entire success, the academy is a cluster of research and educational facilities dotted along the bluffs of the eastern side of Stadarfell where the mountains greet the sea. Svalbard's legacy for Magic started and continues here, where Magisters dabble in the treacherous science of Magic while students learn the ins and outs of casting, writing spell books, and proper decorum as representatives of Svalbard's higher education. "The gift knows no age," they say, and for that reason the academies do not bar students based on it. The issue of money, however..."Strict. They call ME strict--but I'll have you know, there hasn't been a student-related explosion in the past 30 years. You're welcome."— Lucci, Grandmaster.
Once a sturdy, covered structure that slithered down south across the Dire Strait and straight into Dorsum, the highway has since been left in ruins after the One War They Lost--a war that subsequently led to Dorsum's successful revolution from Svalbard's grip. The war on the highway has shattered the infrastructure, and Svalbard has abandoned control over the vital vein. As a result, vagrants and Rogues largely travel the highway now, and the once heavily monitored path is treacherous."The Highway is both a gift and curse--it depends on how you use it. If you're a witless traveler it's nothing but a curse, and therefore, nothing but a gift to people like me." — Konan, The Serpent.
Being one of two massive trading ports underneath Svalbarð's state, Durrës handles imports and exports of maritime shipments be they of medicine, food, fruit, cattle or newly bought slaves. Whether national or international business, Durrës handles it quickly and effectively, distributing and feeding back its rewards to both Kheim and the Capital.
Strong hands and hearts dwell here, for it is a place of labor - primarily a series of ports merely attached to a city which exists to feed and house its dedicated workers. Nestled so near to the ocean, Durrës is worn by the salt and sea, sturdy still, its civilians skilled at managing both the sea and their economical state, as they most all have a hand in its fate."Aye, you won't find a meadow of posies layin' about Durrës. 'Too busy dealin' with the sea and her sirens to go gardening." — Machein, The Firehearted.
Being one of two massive trading ports underneath Svalbard's state, Kheim handles imports and exports of ground transport be they of food, cattle, weapons and equipment to better the lives of Svalbardians. Kheim once funneled all resources to Stadarfell from the agricultural half of the once-diarchy, Dorsum, when still it belonged to Svalbard. After the revolution, Kheim now relies on a mass of other industries to simply replace Dorsum. As a result, many visiotrs and immigrants flock here during the countless trades Kheim relies on to keep quota.
While the merchants hold the most of the city's wealth, the city itself benefits from it surprisingly well; walls and streets periodically redone, and its buildings sturdy against the arid winds of the region. Kheim has very little unfortunate weather - crystal blue and kind, the sun hot and desert region harboring a crisp heat. Despite what sits just outside it, Kheim is lush and beautiful, its gardens vast and fauna surprisingly diverse."Kheim may sit in a desert, but her parch is just as refreshing as a shot on the rocks." — Cadin, Merchant Lord.
To the very far west of Svalbarð is a place of lush greenery, deep forests, narrow freshwater lakes, waterfalls and tall snow-capped mountains. The Hinterlands are named so for both their beauty and uncharted land, and very few are able to navigate cleanly through the walls of vines, deep woods and dark caves. Braver souls intend on thrusting themselves into the uncharted land for search of arcane treasure that has said to have been left here by Dire long since gone.
While it is easy to grow attached to such a place that provides ample shelter, meat, fruit and wild luxury, it may also take lives as easily as it lures them in. Despite that, however, skilled survivalists (and notorious criminals) have managed to make their homes here, away from Svalbard's rule and knights highly unwilling to tread here for those who escaped their hunt.
Other than the perils well known, it is rumored among Svalbarð natives that there is a native guardian of the Hinterlands who hunts intruders the very moment they step into its unknown. Many are banished here as a result to feed this cruel thing. While it's never been seen, the people sent as tribute never return."If you seek refuge from Svalbarð in the Hinterlands, so be it. Its judgement will save us from dulling our blades." — Sanjin, Magistrate.
Known as the Southernmost pole of The Mainland, Dorsum is the bottom half of the landmass separated from Svalbard by the narrow Dire Strait and The Adas Highway that passes across it. Dorsum rests roughly 800 miles away from Khogate on its east and roughly 800 miles from Ballasburn on its west, an interesting geographical predicament whose outcome is entirely influenced by the leaders during the era. The most fertile farmlands are found here, and as such, it acts as a crucial point of both local and international trade. Centrally situated, Dorsum is marked by its often-demanding climates, which extends across the continent. This Southernmost pole of The Mainland is classified as a mixture of tropical and humid rainforest climate, with the northern areas best described as arid, desert-like in nature, and Sub-Saharan. Home to many forgotten civilizations, it more famously harbors the forgotten Ruins of Poreux, a once-great city built by an ancient civilization which was then later inhabited by pre-Conversion Dire.
Across the Dire Strait and into Dorsum's heartland does Adas Highway lead to Marshmoor, the Capital where the King dwells. Surrounded by thick, stony terrain that appears barren and void of life, the massive city and its surrounding territories are far from without their resources. Once said to have fathered a massive channel of freshwater rapids, the territory that Marshmoor has been built is raw and teeming with valuable, exclusive materials for armory, weapons and many other contraptions, making it a very well-guarded and treasured city of the King's empire.
It not only houses very few who are not wealthy as a result, but is home of those who tame fire to weld and mend to their will. The greatest blacksmiths can be found here, said to have forged their greatest pieces from dragons' willing flames.
Given that the city has been built in the crevices of a canyon, it is well guarded by infrastructure and placement; with only the sea at its back and the difficult crevices at its front."Marshmoor may look a fright, but do not let our wear fool you. We are as valuable as the ores in our walls and as majestic as the dragons who once ruled here."— Ashton, The Dragonwife.
Distanced well from Marshmoor's low earth that cradles it below, Edelhaus Arx stands massive upon its perch of high land doused in lush, low greenery. Mountains corral its views of east and west, overlooking south at the countless mountains and caverns below its own placement upon the cliff. More than merely the estate belonging to the castle itself, Edelhaus Arx owns its own district in which multiple high-ranking royalty live upon the shared land of stilled temperatures and calm climate.
Nestled around the castle of Edelhaus Arx itself are placements of handsome villas in which the highest men and women of both the King and Viceroy's approval are able to live on the sizeable estate that keeps its own services, resources and entertainment. Edelhaus Arx is where the royalty of Dorsum come to clash and drink and dine one another with gallant events and shows and political duels.
"Can't tell you how good it feels to be out from under Svalbard's thumb. Now I can actually fucking swear during a debate without getting my goddamn throat cut." — Mark At'ain, Marquis of Dorsum.
Deep within the very center of Marshmoor lies a massive mountain that is said to have been carved and cratered in by a dragon who once roosted with her hatchlings upon its head. Now, after she has gone, early Marshmoor natives perfected the structure of the sturdy mountain and have since used it for their own: Thunderhearth, a place of a great many stories and where a great many legends are made, is a massive armory and stadium in which the greatest weapons and armors within both Svalbard and Dorsum were forged and then tested in battles told of for centuries.
Holding fast onto the lore of the dragon who once roosted here, warriors who succeed the greatest of trials within Thunderheath's bloodstained marble and stone faces are remembered and commemorated as dragons of their own accord. It is here where a great many fill the stands to watch the warriors of such high esteem decide which has lead a life of victory and which has lead one of defeat.
"If you look for Gods, look no further than Thunderhearth. Look here and see, that we Humans are not the weakest of the three." — Jared, The Dragon's Horn.
Nestled directly into the face of minute mountains peeking from the stilled waters lies a dainty affair of clustered buildings. Intentionally minimalist in their designs, materials and location, foreigners tend to make the mistake of looking upon the cluster of establishments and houses and consider it as one of few squalid places within Marshmoor. On the contrary, however, E'telá Quay is a highly sought district of businesses and homes connected from mountain-to-mountain by bamboo walkways.
E'telá Quay overlooks the many docks that are accessible by those coming in or out from the west coast: it is here that those who import and export shipments do their business. Far safer to travel to Marshmoor by boat than by the long Adas Highway, E'telá Quay is teeming with foreigners and therefore its many taverns and esteemed eateries are often packed.
"There is more to E'telá Quay than docks - it has everything! Clothing, excellent food, music, entertainment... now if only we could do something about all these pesky foreigners..." — Petri, Spoiled Brat.
To the west of Marshmoor, the fissures in the earth only grow deeper at every turn until they are guiding hapless travelers either to their deaths...or to the hidden city of Porthcrawl. Canyons become caverns and caverns become underground channels that house their own water systems and coves that lead out to sea.
Beneath the abyss is where Porthcrawl lies, its cold climate and hushed winds an eerie trait for foreigners. Illuminated only by the light of the sun and moon that softly pierce through the crystal stone above the city of meticulous design, Porthcrawl appears as though it is perpetually night illuminated by a heavenly glow from above.
A single channel of rushing freshwater runs between the city to split it in two, leaving a tantalizing divide between the richer and the poorer. The natives of Porthcrawl are said to be meticulous and secluded, sending slicing stares into the faces of foreigners who come from ground level cities."If we wanted new friends, we would not have traveled miles beneath the earth to nest." — Zun'he, The Red Duke.
The entirety of Dorsum's northeast is covered in a dense greenery, and is arguably the most important aspects of the nation. Fields bloom and valleys stretch their limbs across the east of the continent, with level earth sprinkled with ponds and babbling brooks elongated into chaotic hills. Khorl is the agriculture center of Dorsum, and is where it makes the vast majority of its revenue. The common land is shared by ranchers, shepherds and farmers alike, and their products are fed into the Capital. Many choose to live here rather than in the less-than-green Capital, enjoying the nearly endless amount of space between their neighbors.
In deep, treacherous jungles that hardly stir, there is said to be tigers of a rare breed that lurk just behind the tendrils of plant life, who once competed as apexes with the Dire who once dwelled here. This is one of the last places that Dire have freely roamed."Why were we ousted? For what do the Humans use this place for now but to let their horses strip it bare? .. I am sure it misses us as well." — Hakke, The Halfbred.
Deep within the southeast, long past where the canopies devour rays of sunlight, a pristine bay feeds into the concave of Dorsum's structure. Minuscule falls trickle down the high walls that surround the secluded and once-sacred place, filling the quiet with an enticingly gentle call of water. The heavy canopies of the deeply-forested jungle ease above the bay's face, allowing a gentle glow of sun and moonlight to pierce the undergrowth and leave the bay illuminated in a heavenly light.
Intertwined with both salt and freshwater due to a geographical reformation that has not yet leveled itself out, while A'took Bay is not drinkable but is a refreshing place to bathe in waters once considered an altar in which to speak to the Gods.
Wishing to avoid Svalbard's vicious atheist crusades, this holy place had long been taken over by the remaining native animals and is used as nothing more than a secluded spa or fishing hole. Lanterns no longer gently light the way and protect it from prowling predators, and the stone walkways are ruined by vines and time. Many have said to witness Caspian tigers roost here, for their competition in the wolves have long gone."We took this place from those who deserve it - for what? And now it has no use to any of us at all...A little late for forgiveness." — Arthur, Rancher.
In the very heart of the jungle lies a secluded area where long-gone structures have been stripped of glory. Left behind from an era long gone are these ruins; skeletons of buildings that were once magnificent castles in their own right. It is impossible to decipher what they were for or when ease was last found in this place, for its eerie quiet and sense of unease grip all visitors.
Once thriving with Dire, it was the first place that they'd not only been found but nurtured by Man, who went as far as to build them a city of their own. Poreux's mere ruins are still of such heavy, passionate debate: even those who have never been here desperately swear upon its grave. This is where the genocide of Dire first began. They were slaughtered in the night by surprise, for the wolves did not see the glint of Svalbard's blades until it was already within them. As the story often goes."The wolves wished to betray their guardians - they wished to leave, so we let them leave. We...merely took back what we gave them, in the same way they took back what they gave us." — Fain, Svalbardian Duchess.
Khogate is a largely undomesticated landmass that is distinguished by qualities akin to primary rainforest climate. Kho’gate is the second smallest continent and is situated approximately 800 miles off the Eastern coasts of The Mainland and 1600 miles from Ballasburn. It is incredibly remote and because of its incredibly low level of development, it does not have a major port of trade or travel. Any marinas or well-carved bay areas are nonexistent, and vessel docking is rough and treacherous. Although it is considered commercially uninhabited, sparse roadways, totemic monuments and unnatural clearings suggest evidence of civilizations both past and present. The inhabitants which presently reside here are primarily nomadic in nature. The densely vegetated land offers a wealth of beauty, resource and secrecy. Often shrouded by mist, there is a foreboding air of practically impenetrable mystery and exoticism which surrounds Khogate.
Deep in the center of northern Khogate lies the sacred grounds of Dire kinfolk. Hardly well developed, Tal'Tuk is a moving city situated upon a network of ephemeral dwellings crafted into dense treetops. A web of dirt roadways, paved by the feet of its inhabitants, seem to funnel those who seek ritual, worship, knowledge and lore towards the ever revolving heartland.
This is the way of the Gods' Wolves.
Tal'tuk is said to be where the Old Gods came to rest, sacrificing themselves to Yggdrasil to give birth to the Dire. The Dire drawn to this place are said to carry the Old God's blood more than others."There is no home without heart. There is no heart without Tal'Tuk." — Akando, First War-chief.
Within the very heart of underground Tal'Tuk lies the shrine that the indigenous Dire work endlessly to protect from outside contamination and the constant threat of magic abuse. Héilta lies in very center of the Wa'Tasi Temple, through all the traps and riddles and mazes that are best traversed by native Dire and none else. Pure, pristine and untouched by outer influences, Héilta Shrine is a place where Magic thrives in excess, the very air thick with life and mystical presence. It is here, in the gardens that rest over the carved relics of the shrine itself, that only Tal'Tuk's appointed Chosen are considered clean enough to enter without causing detriment to its harmony.
The shrine is rumored to have once been an ancient city of those who have lived long before even the humans themselves, for buildings can easily be distinguished from the lush vines and greenery that overflow. True to their nature, Khogate has refused to make changes to this place, going only as far as to place lanterns in the moist soil to light their paths as they move through. The Sovereign is the only one allowed to enter the very heart of Héilta Shrine, and does so to perform rituals that consists of unspoken things."What resides deep within the Shrine protects all living things. And we must defend it even if it means we must outright kill those who try to taint it." – Il'Vashane, former Tal'Tuk Apostle.
At the very edge of the mountainous northwest coast lies The Watch, aptly named for its level ground and high altitude. From here many have taken up their calling to carefully watch both the waters and distant Dorsum coasts for any hostile movement. The winds, geological placement and other such forces at work make this place a prime area for Khogate's protectors to apply their honed senses along with nature's provided assistance in order to act as effective patrols.
Here they make their homes, a peaceful village consisting of only strong beings dedicated to keep Humans under careful watch should ships or any such attempts be made towards Khogate soil. With scopes at their disposal to see easily across the waters, the watchers are Khogate's second line of defense in case those watching from Amisooku Mountains fail to notice movement. Those who dwell here as watchers are rumored to be powerful, gifted former warriors and hunters who have met tragedies so great that they are often left grounded away from the battlefield."Humans are only trustworthy when you either watch them or you put a spear through their skulls." – Kin'shall, The Watchman.
Where the lush, humid forests thin out into relics and treasures are where Tal'Tuk gives away to the Wa'Tasi Temple. Precisely carved with tools that rival even Human design, the temple is hard to discern from the heavy forest itself, making it elusive and its traps are often lethal the moment a misstep is taken.
Contraptions are built within it, from arrow traps to pitfalls and the like. Most Dire are wise enough to avoid this place as surely it is not for them. The Sovereign and their Apostles are currently the only ones who can maneuver it without fail, as though The Wood itself guides their feet to safety."Why do we protect the temple this way? If you've ever been inside, you know that it can definitely protect itself." – Te'ci, The Innocent.
The massive body of freshwater centered slightly north in Khogate is known as the Kok’ari Falls. Being the largest body of freshwater in Khogate, it is a staple landmark for all natives. The pristine drinkable water is constantly circulated by multiple falls which prevent stagnation, and its lengths below teem with a myriad of fish and crustacean. From its body it distributes its resources to the rest of Khogate in narrow channels like veins, which gives it the apt title of "Khogate's Heart." Animals and hunters alike flock here for its paradise, hunting grounds and lovely climate. With a lush field and forest surrounding it, Kok’ari Falls is an ideal place to forage, fish and rest.
It is said that the fish here are of the best size, health and succulence, and therefore many hunters travel a long way to procure from the falls and return home with their catches. As it is nearest to Tal'Tuk, its natives consider Kok’ari Falls as their responsibility to ensure that hunters and foreigners do not disturb or damage the environment by overfishing."Good water, good food...what more could you want?" — Kanoshi, The Hunter Queen.
Separating Ti'Shina Wilds from the rest of the continent are the Amisooku Mountains, a sporadic band of mountains of varying size. Mostly known not only for their endemic ecosystems but their impressive acoustics, it is said with certainty that a howl at the highest peaks can be heard from here to Tal'Tuk. These unique acoustics are used by natives to alert and take entire control of Khogate in case an unexpected invasion by either Humans or Eximius arise.
The common humidity of Khogate diminishes exponentially the higher one scales the mountains. With sturdy footing of stone and minuscule fields along their faces, the majority of the mountains are easily crossed by even the least experienced of natives, though foreigners may easily be disoriented by the constant shifting of the hardened winds. In the winter, the Amisooku Mountains become a lovely white adornment that can be seen from anywhere on the island."From here you can see where the Humans dwell; we watch and we wait, for we no more trust them to stay at bay than we trust any other disease." — Kin'shall, The Watchman.
Within the far eastern coast of Khogate lies the concave known as Manago Cove. With the island walls riddled in caverns, the cove's territory easily travels deeper than one might expect. The caverns that feed into the island from Manago Cove are said to travel deep; winding like channels before meeting up into a wide clearing below the surface. With perils vast and pitfalls many, it is heavily advised for natives to keep not only clear, but be mindful of dangerous wildlife or outcasts who hide just out of sight.
The waters of Manago Cove are brilliant and mild, making it one of the safest places to dock ships when coming in from the wild seas. For natives nearby, it is an excellent place to scour, for many things wind up washed upon its smooth, tame beach. While its allure is far more than tempting, elders make an effort to warn the reckless not to go alone."So much to see! So many things come by here, and I wonder what lives their owners led and if they still lead them. So WHAT if it's dangerous? Nothing bad's happened yet!" — Te'ci, The Innocent.
The massive southeastern region is aptly named after the Dire term "Ti'Shina," which roughly translates as something or someplace that provides a worthy, formidable and satisfying hunt. It has been named so for the sheer size of its forest--very easily the largest on the island and one of the largest in Gil'ead itself. Ti'Shina grows on a gradient, with the bottom half of its region a thick, dark forest full of venomous perils and minuscule prey hiding behind walls of poisonous thorns. The northern half, however, is entirely different, for it is far more welcoming and contains rolling hills, neat forests and stampedes of hoofed prey, wild horses and other creatures that Khogate's natives tame as hunting partners. Ti'Shina Wilds is the staple area for all to hunt if they truly wish to be challenged by healthy, thriving prey.
It is here that many youth are taken to either hone or prove themselves by trial. Though Ti'Shina Wilds is another large landmark aside Kok'ari Wilds, Ti'Shina needs no protection from overhunting, as it is quicker to replenish itself than hunters are to drain it. This impressive ability is what makes it one of the most popular places on Khogate in which to hunt."There is no need to mother these wilds like a child, for it will not only care for itself...but if you are not the utmost careful, it will take care of you as well." — Minksa, Master Hunter.
Ballasburn is a deceptively-small island that lies off of the South Western shores of Dorsum separated by the vicious Kasiéan Sea for 800 miles. It is approximately 700 miles long from one tip to the other, not including the Vanderhal Islands, and is quite narrow in form. Damense, the Capital, takes up a proportionally large portion of the continent. Historically, this once-uninhabited landmass was where the Eximius originally settled upon a forced relocation brought by Svalbardian Decree, and presently it remains the heart of Eximius ingenuity. Ballasburn is geographically located where cooler air currents collide with the warmer flow found along the tropic line. This contributes to unpredictable and violent weather patterns, including hurricanes, resulting from tumultuous currents of both air and water alike. These geographical and climate elements add to the isolation effect of natives here, and as a result the cultures and technology of Ballasburn are another world entirely when compared to The Mainland.
Both Queen and Capital of Ballasburn, Damesne has remained one of the most hospitable areas for Eximius to grow, thrive and continue. Historically being the first city the Eximius had ever made on the then-inhospitable island, Damesne has grown extensively over time, now captivating an immense amount of territory on Ballasburn. From its north to south walls, Damesne is roughly 220 miles, easily dominating most cities of Gilead. Even more breathtaking than its size is its ingenious design: businesses and homes alike built tall so that they reach the skies and wear clouds like a skirt, the cobblestone tight, clean, and fitted properly. True to Ballasburn nature, Damesne is spotless and pure, radiating a culture of raw intellect, power and exclusivity.
Historically, the Eximius who were first isolated and placed upon Ballasburn by their Svalbardian creators remained grouped in colonies as they hunted, foraged and searched along the treacherous continent for a suitable place to remain. Having become well adjusted to the vicious, unpredictable and uninhabited Ballasburn before at last finding a suitable region to found their first city, it is therefore known that those of Damesne is mostly comprised of those who survived the most difficult trials of survival on Ballasburn. It is praised as the only city which captures the entirety of the Eximius history, culture and enlightenment both, and it is also home to The Speakers, making it the capital for international politics and business."We are the face of Eximius - we are where the highest breed have come to thrive." — Ak'vashal, former Speaker
At the very center of the Capital, upon the highest point of land within it, lies the Speakers' shared estate. Given its immense size and (beyond) appropriate number of corridors, libraries and other such facilities, the Speakers are capable of coexisting without glimpse of one another or their personal guards unless said meetings are strictly sought out.
At the highest point, where all hallways and staircases merge, lies The Speaker's Council. It is here that they decide the fate of their politics and discuss the nature of their bonds between Ballasburn and other outside forces. It is here that issues and agendas are revealed long before they reach the ears of the public they represent."We are here because the people asked for us. Let their votes always count to something good." — Cal'rad, Former Speaker.
The Ballroom remains to be the very representation of Damesne culture. Planted firm in the face of the mountain that most of Damesne is build on and around, Hadién Ballroom is a massive and bold facility that overlooks the entirety of the city. Its events are grand, worldwide affairs, and the happenings that take place within its walls are spoken of for decades to come.
To come here with the assumption that a simple dance awaits you is to risk your life, for the Hadién Ballroom is used in the most unique of ways; it is the place where politics begin, scandals are exposed, and assassins creep through corridors and its higher stories. It is where the most prominent of Houses make their cases and where new ones engrave their name in the minds of the thousands who attend. All is judged here from apparel to preferred type of wine or dance, and reputations lifted during such events can go as far as to save one's life. Kings meet and wars can either be started or finished here, and scandals heinous and salacious are at last revealed."People can be conceived here, and people can be killed here. Never boring - in fact, you know where to find me next year." — Matsada, The Sprightly.
Thousands flock to The Conserve every year, if not every month. Considered one of the wonders of the world, this dome-covered territory is an incredible facility that can be closely described as a zoo. The Conserve is home to an estimated 19,000 different species, pandemic and endemic both, animal-based, plant-based and even microbe-based. It is Ballasburn's effort, albeit unconventional for its time, to counteract the mass extinctions caused by The Blackening. Protecting endangered or threatened species is simply a must.
While visitors cannot actually enter The Conserve and potentially contaminate or stress the wildlife, there are indoor and outdoor walkways both above-ground and on-ground that allow people to observe through the reinforced glass. A large portion of Damesne's global income comes from foreigners paying through the teeth to visit this marvel."It's an excellent place for a first date, to be sure. Can't say I like all the people around...can we put those in The Conserve, too?"— Milly, Snarky Scholar.
While significantly smaller than its sister Damesne, Oxenford makes up for both its exceptional academies and military strength. While the farthest city to Damesne, some hundreds of miles away, it is far easier for foreigners to overlook the dwarfed but powerful city. Its size and construction is harshly misleading, for it shares little with the stunning Damesne. Instead, it resembles a more human kingdom; with cobblestone old, peddlers pacing about. For those who have seen it from the inside, it is said that Oxenford's academies rival even the grace of the castle that sits in the center of the richer district - and while the academies are excellent, the scholars from them are even more so.
Also nestled underneath The Speakers' watch, Oxenford readily lends what scholars, military and economic backing the powerhouse state can afford to lend Damesne whenever necessary, earning it the cordial title of "the unsung conqueror," for it is primarily its military which handles all discrepancies. Despite being held under the same government, the people of Damesne and Oxenford are at an equilibrium of competition. Despite its size, Oxenford is strong and proud; it boasts its mind over matter and is deserving of its praise, for it fashions excellent scholars and powerful Eximius."Oxenford has two hands: the scholars on one and the military on the other. .. We get along...sufficiently." — Aemon Fels, The (Lying) Warden.
Afiel Ca Sein, "Place of Ailes," embodies Ballasburn's inhospitality and the general isolation of those who live there. Having once been left stranded on the Ballasburn coast by Svalbardian exile, none know Afiel Ca Sein quite like the Eximius who first touched its land.
Afiel Ca Sein is aptly named due to its treacherous geological state and predators, including experiments who have succumbed to the madness coursing through their veins. Described as a thick band of territory around all of Ballasburn, it fleets about an even 45-50 miles inland, making the trial of survival long and grueling for the untrained. Suspended in a perpetual state of thick fog, sparse landscape, venomous flora and fauna as well as large predators, Afiel Ca Sein was a treacherous trek that less than half the Eximius who were first placed here had survived.
While it was once an enemy, it is now considered a guard from foreign invasions - for visitors to avoid being forced to travel here, they must send request to dock into Damesne's safer, heavily monitored waters."Never mind the Humans who stranded us here - Afiel Ca Sein is my worse enemy." — Ka'Suval, former Speaker.
The massive western sea that envelops all maritime routes to Ballasburn has been named the Kasiéan Sea by those who coexist with it. One of the most vicious bodies of water in the world, Kasiéan is very rarely clear and calm. Rather, it furthers the isolation effect that bind the majority of Eximius by protecting Ballasburn from foreigners who are not prepared for the perils that lie.
Riddled with sharp stones just below its powerful waves and frothing face, even the greatest of navigators will have grave repairs to attend to upon their ship once they find land. With storms cast overhead, navigators who use the stars will be useless here, for the sky is blocked both day and night. The waves themselves are unpredictable, for they can go from rocking a large ship to growing in a size great enough to capsize it. From there, those left to the mercy of the Kasiéan are ripped underneath either by riptide or Siren.
For the many Eximius who were first transported to Ballasburn by human vessel, a greater amount were lost at sea due to the humans' inability to manage the sea. Even now, of the percent of people who can navigate these waters properly, the largest majority are Eximius of both Ballasburn and Vanderhal. Their skill unmatched and their unique ships properly fashioned, their vessels are the safest to hire for a trip through the Kasiéan.
But only the naive would assume this guarantees safety.
Ouroboros is truly one of its kind. The only steam engine to ever exist in Gilead, this Eximius technology runs across Ballasburn tracks with exceptional speed, delivering its passengers across the nation faster than any other mode of non-Magic transportation. The cozy insides of this free-to-ride machine leaves passengers often riding for the sake of the joy of it. Passenger and resource cars are separate but often ride together on a single trip, making Ouroboros an invaluable transport and infrastructure resource.
Plans for expansion of its railway are rumored to be on the table for Ballasburn, but no headway has been currently made. Understandably, any treaties that result in Ouroboros' travel expansion could be a gift...or a very nasty disaster waiting to happen. As a result, Precious Ouroboros is regulated to only Ballasburn-controlled territories where it's safe.
"Easily our best invention. ..well, you know, aside from a sustainable democracy the likes of which our "creators" have never seen. But anyway..." — Quela, House Hearts
The Vanderhal Islands mark a series of islands separated by roughly 50-100 miles from one another at the most, with the island nearest to Ballasburn a mere 30 miles away. While they are officially known collectively as Vanderhal, many around the world accept the common name "Giruvaga," on account of the Vikings whose successful grip on the unpredictable land grows tighter and tighter each year. Giruvaga consists of 9 islands and 6 atolls, all of which are connected by partial-freshwater channels that flows into the Kasiéan Sea. Because of its placement and the lack of landmass that would act as a buffer against vicious maritime events, Giruvaga is very difficult to intentionally travel to, although many are shipwrecked here each year. Current Giruvagan inhabitants merely take to the sky as a compromise, however, upon the backs of Pegasi and other winged companions. Minus the brush with death at the hands of Kasiéan, the islands are unforgettable places of endemic beauty. Each island fosters a different landscape and group of people, and the naming system of areas simply group together somewhat-similar terrains beneath the same name.
Giruvagan reputation harshly deceives the development and beauty of Halha. Full of massive homesteads, gilded halls and sacred feasts, Halha is the pinnacle of Giruvagan culture. The safest settlement by far by way of placement and reinforced security, the areas surrounding it are heavily policed and very few come through without watchful eyes searching for behaviors familiar to true Giruvagan people. It is raised upon mountains and is surrounded by waterfalls and treacherous falls, which prevent most attacks unless aerial... and an aerial assault against the Pegasus riders of Giruvaga would be immensely foolish, of course. Halha is historically home to the Khans, although not all Khans necessarily must live here.
Most of Giruvaga's exported politics are decided and carried out here in the Capital, naturally. The population is immense and while few non-Giruvagans are openly welcomed here (without trouble), to partake in their world renowned feasts is an unforgettable time. If only for one night. "The Outsiders complain that I monitor the halls of the inns as they sleep. So I tell them, be glad you still have the ears to hear me." — Lastos, Sentry.
The Crossing surrounds around Halha in a consistent band of territory. It acts as a buffer between the heartland and the treacherous Midnur. While The Crossing is a heavily policed property to ensure Halha is secure, a fool would consider it safe. Narrow walkways at the summits of waterfalls give way to chasms of whitewater rapids below, leaving little space between travelers and the sentries on duty who are prepared to force threats into the waters below. Deeper down the paths away from Halha slowly descends into the deep forests laying in wait on ground level where the air thickens. Large predators thrive in the canopy-heavy wildwoods, feasting on abundant prey and the occasional distracted hunter.
Mild but certainly dangerous if one lets it, The Crossing is where many safely go to hunt. Many who prefer a more solitary manner of living also set up shop here where they can focus on themselves while help is still not too far away. Because The Crossing is far more mild compared to Midnur, many shipwrecked intruders attempt to crawl their way as far into this band of territory as possible, staying just out of sight.
For only a moment.
The vast majority of all land split between the Vanderhal Islands is known singularly as Midnur, the untamed middle ground of the isles. A blanket term used to describe The Unclaim of these areas, Midnur knows no true geographical placement, but yet all locals know exactly where it begins and where safety ends. A place of severe trial, Midnur is a misleadingly beautiful expanse of thick forests, sloping valleys and fields that burn gold when the sun sets upon it. What makes it dangerous is that it is the perfect climate for a multitude of deadly creatures and wanderers crazed enough that they've been pushed out.
Midnur is very often crossed with nary a word. Anything can be dangerous, everything can be deceiving. Strangers are best let ignored no matter how much they cry for help, bodies of water and even food should be passed on. The quicker you leave Midnur without pause, the better."Keep your head down, Boy. Even the hares aren't hares here." — Grestel, The Proud
Naturally similar to the tumultuous sea below, the skies above can equally be just as venomous, unpredictable, and deadly. Gilead's stratosphere is riddled with twisting cones of clouds just waiting to pierce the atmosphere, and a maelstrom of lightning sparking about as moisture collides with a crash. At times the horrible weather here may never touch the world below, and at other times the only thing separating a peaceful flight from the monsoons below is a floor of pitch dark clouds.
Most comfortable in the sky, Giruvagans claim the stratosphere with little to no competition. Skilled riders and skilled mounts make for an impenetrable pair, but just as with the sea one can always lose their life the moment they become too comfortable. Despite its turmoil, a throng of high-flying fauna species can be found in this network of clouds, but hunting here requires an agile mind and an agile mount. Hunting aside, Giruvagans perfect a myriad of skills here, and at times prefer the sky for fast travel."Freezin my ass off in the clouds is worth the look on their faces when hundreds of us descend right on their damn doorstep." — Bettler, Nod
Similar to Midnur, Gritnur is a general name throughout all the Vanderhal Islands. It is typically characterized as narrow passages between massive stones and shattered mountains that create seemingly-impassable walls on whatever island it is found on. By traveling through the narrow passages, one is able to cross through safely but there is typically barely enough space to ride a mount side-to-side with another.
Gritnur is integral to Giruvaga's foothold on the isles. It is a highly strategic element that the proud nation has exploited many times, historically leading enemy forces who foolishly charged with 10,000 men into the face of Gritnur, thereby reducing their full force into nary a useless trickle of dazed and confused units. For this reason, Gritnur is a safe zone when used properly. At times, the only thing separating one from safety and the cruel jaws of a Chimera charging in from Midnur...is Gritnur."Lost my bloody-fucking-leg to a beast 10 years ago. How?? 'was the only part of me that didn't quite make it into Gritnur." — Burnns, Exotics Hunter
Fautsairi is incredibly humble in the way of infrastructure, but looks can be deceiving. A fool would consider the settlement's worth to be measurable by the sizes of the homes and the way it is run. Fautsairi is the name of both the modest villages and their surrounding coastal and woodland areas. For every person in the established settlements there are an estimated 10 who live outside of them on their own. The only true line blurred between them is the amount of sentries deposited throughout the area; patrols and guard rounds are wider in circumference throughout Fautsairi during the day, and concentrated specifically around the villages by night.
Unlike Halha, Fautsairi settlements are far more in-tune with nature and the baser nature of Giruvagan lifestyle. The people here tend to be far more gristly in nature, and are less tasked with the global politics that the Capital contends with. Intruders may assume them to be far more susceptible to siege but...that would be a mistake."Fautsairi is home to small settlements not because it is all we are capable of, but because it is all we need." — Prada, The Notorious "Ripper"
The Offworld is both here and not at all, both tangible and inconceivable, of memories true and false. It is said to be distanced by no number of miles from any continent, any city, any palace or any home. Here lie dreams meant to be forgotten, memories meant to be remembered, and serves as a place to visit something that sits on a fine line in between both those things. Strange places blink in and out of existence in The Offworld, canonically so, and even intangible experiences that are shared between people all around the world.
Here lies a nameless place with no location that millions of people around the world have nevertheless seen and yet cannot fully describe it. It is a feeling more than a place, like nostalgia or deja vu, that people sometimes visit during sleep. At times they are fully alone, at times they experience reams while in the realm of this place, and sometimes they cross paths with others who are presently dreaming within this place.
If anyone can explain this worldwide phenomenon of a shared dreamscape, they've not yet done it. At the very least it appears harmless, and things that take place here do not seem to have a physical impact on the dreamer upon waking."Asnath du elan porta bal hin." — ???