Monday, May 20, 2013

Regions of Desylinn - The West

The Library of Salastria
The original capital of the fallen Mariean Empire, Salastria is now a major city and entity unto itself due to the Grand Library maintained by the Shards, the living golems of Desylinn. The Shards consider Salastria their home, for it was in the capital they were created as body guards, and it is here they earned their freedom from the elves, and from death. Though a small city surrounds the Library it is the Library itself which is the center of Shard culture. Originally built by Sorcerer-King Aries the First to educate all elves, regardless of status, it is a suppository of knowledge for the world. The ability to confiscate all documents that entered Salastria, as well as dedicated scholars submitting research directly to the repositories both made the Library the source of knowledge for the Empire. The Library is built like a giant staircase, one side having three large steps and the opposite a long drop to the ground. The Library is the largest structure made by mortals in Desylinn, visible for miles on the tundra surrounding the ancient capital. The building is still the major repository for knowledge and the Shards living there still collect research and confiscate documents as the elves did before. The massive structure contains vaults, warehouses, libraries, and multiple shrines to Nhoj and The Oldest. The Surface has hothouse gardens and additional structures on of each of the three steps: the first tier holds hothouse gardens and menageries, the second has large amphitheaters and numerous fountains for public performances, and the top tier, the Third Step, contains training grounds and barracks for the Shards. The interior of the library is restricted to the living golems. They will allow non-shards on the surface of the first two tiers (or Steps) where concerts, plays and oratories are regularly performed. Like the interior though, non-shards are never allowed on the Third Step.

Ruins of Old Mariea
Mariea was the first Empire in the lands of Desylinn. Created by the Elves who journeyed south from the Lands of Mari’es, it only took one of their generations before they conquered the chaotic tribes of the Vok-lyn to the south. What became the Empire of Mariea started here, and remnants of the once great cities of ice still line the frozen coasts of this land. In the extreme north is hostile tundra and great glacial inlets. A large taiga forest spans the center of the region, hiding small cities and villages of the once noble elves. To the south of this boreal forest lay the Mariean Wastelands, a salted and uninhabitable area created as a barrier and deterrent by the Kindred races, a reminder to the Elves of their new place in the world. Though small, even by Kindred standards, a few noteworthy cities exist in the region: Tribute in the far northeastern part of Old Mariea, near the foothills of the northern range of the Dragon Mountains is a mining town with unprecedented ore. The residents of Icehome, on the northern coast, see it as their grim duty to send their dead brothers and sisters back to the Northland in bricks of ice. All are also devote members of the Chantries of Mar, and help outfit pilgrimages to the frozen god’s throne as well. Crossroads, the most accessible city in the region, sits at the junction of the Great Imperial Highway and two smaller tracks, one leading north to Icehome, and the other east to Tribute. While not technically an Elven city, it has a significant elven population, many of which are still loyal to the idea of the Mariean Empire. 

The Vok-lyn
The original homeland of the Kindred races, the Vok-lyn spans the center of the western half of the continent. It spans from the west coast to Bai Qiang -the great white wall built by the dwarves- on the plain that divides the ranges of the Dragon Mountains in the east. The region still bears traces of violent volcanic activity, reminders of the Brothers War that was fought in the ages of the gods. The volcanic scars are notable along the coasts and in the bordering mountains to the north and south of the region. Near the center of the Vok-lyn is the giant caldera known as the “God’s Head.” Visible for leagues in all directions, it is all that remains of the broken skull of the Nameless One who crashed to the world in the ages before. From here the Kindred and the Unkhan clans gather the “Tears of the Dead God” a curative that, while painful, is effective at treating injuries and diseases.  The largest of volcanic scars serve as natural walls and barriers from some of the less abundant, but more dangerous fauna that roam the region. The most abundant fauna are the giant aurochs which roam the eastern grasslands, and the dire lions following their herds. The eastern portion of the Vok-lyn is claimed by the Kindred, building small towns around the artificial mounds used to build the “pits” that are central to their culture. Most of the towns are built along the Imperial Highway, others along the Snakes Highway that lead out of the Dragon Sands to the south. The western regions, particularly past the God’s Head, are claimed by the Unkhan, those who do not practice Kindred culture. The Unkhan have a tendency for brutality, especially those tribes encountered furthest from the influence of the Kindred. Many of these tribes still hunt each other for food, practice blood rites and revere the Brothers (particularly Daikado), frequently making sacrifices to appease them

The Dragon Sands:
Surrounded on the north and east by mountains and the west and south by coastline, the Dragonsands are one of the more isolated regions of Desylinn.  Created by the goddess Tiala as a birthing bed, it is separated into ten distinct regions and ruled over by the Lash-ti-Nowish, or Snake-people. Each of the regions is held by a different group of snakes corresponding to a different color of dragons. The regions are mostly desert, rocky and scrub like near the mountains, with massive sand dunes near the center and sandy tropical beaches along the southern coasts. The lowest, central portion of the region is known as The Black Sands, and this is where those that have broken the edicts of the Lash-ti-Nowish are sent as punishment. This is also where the Temple of Water is located. Those sent into the Sands can exonerate themselves by returning to one of the border cities with a cup of water from the temple, A feat almost unheard of. The cities of the Snake-people are built around the oases scattered through the desert. Called Mirages by the snakes the cities are created out of Dragonglass and are only visible at night under the light of the moon and the stars. The exception is the coastal cities of the Coppersands. It was these cities where the copper Snake-people would bring the humans gathered on the southern islands to sell to the elves during the time of the Empire. These cities are where the Snake Highway ultimately lead, the long roadway built and maintained by the Snake-people to transport slaves and goods through the Dragon Sands to the Mariean Empire.

Southern Island
Just south of the Dragonsands, off the coast of the mainland is the first of two archipelagos that make up the Southern Islands. Mostly tropical, the islands are home to the humans of Desylinn. The northern islands, nearest to the coast are called the Sha-lish-otah by the Lash-ti-Nowish, who still have a few small cities on the largest islands. The majority of the population is the human islanders who revere the goddess Ariga and form small coastal villages. The villages form loose confederacies ruled over by a high chief, usually not more than a day or twos journey by boat away from each other. Messages are sent by fast kayak, while entire war parties will amass on multi-hulled boats aided by both sail and oar. Since the fall of the Empire there is a relative peace in the region, as the war parties no longer have a reason to turn over captives to the Copper Snake-people. Trade is still robust though as many of the fruits and animals of the islands are valued by the Snake-people, as well as the wood and bone crafted jewelry and tools (which are often traded to the dwarves as exotic goods). The interiors of the islands are wild and untamed. Villages send hunters inland, though most do not stray more than a mile or so from the coasts. Wild creatures, bizarre forgotten monsters and terrible giant lizards roam the interior of the largest islands. It’s rumored that on the largest island, called Go’Daiki’e by the tribes that live along it’s coast, a long tunnel burrows from the foot of a dormant volcano  to the face of Daikado himself and a great temple to the imprisoned god guards the tunnel. Many of the tribes of the island break tradition and venerate the imprisoned god, and lone visitors to the larger villages will often go missing.