By the Blade!
Ascaia, Amazons Island
Ascaia is a small island, not far from the mouth of the Elephants River. It has tall reefs and a single port, but the weather is very good and the land fertile making it an excellent place for growing crops and breeding horses.
The Amazons’ Island is very easily defended and has wide terraced fields; the island is fairly self-sufficient, only lacking one fundamental resource for their survival: men.
“The Borderlands people know the barbarians well because they are of the same breed”, as the ancient saying goes. And it is at least partially true. The Borderlands were once part of Northeim but were taken by the Imperials with war, treachery and cunning diplomacy and their inhabitants slowly mixed with the Imperials, thus becoming the Borderlands people. These people have the better of the two cultures: the knowledge and rationalism of the Imperials and the energy and vitality of the barbarians. When the true Northlanders attacked the Empire, the first people to withstand them were the Borderlands people.
The border between the Borderlands and Northeim is the Godaxe River, where a line of forts manned by soldiers from the Borderlands stands. These forts are vital since every year the Northlanders, Cairnlanders or Nandals launch violent attacks on them but, so far, no fort has fallen. When this happens, the barbarians invade Borderlands again and it becomes a grim day for all the civilized populations.
The Cairn Lands are a vast, wild area of deep forests and rolling hills. No city or other civilized settlement is visible because many of the seemingly natural hills are in truth artificial mounds built by the ancient dwellers of this region. The Cairn Lords, today’s inhabitants, live in the Cairns which make for excellent houses, stables, and fortresses, if you don’t mind living side by side with your dead ones, whom they call the Ancestors.
This is no wealthy region and the Cairn Lords are not an advanced people. They live off hunting, herding, and occasional raids on nearby lands. But when darkness falls, the Cairnlanders enter their underground tunnels and lock themselves in, since during the night a strange fog appears and wicked things, best left undisturbed, emerge from the oldest, still unexplored Cairns.
Caldeia is a city state around the mouth of the Buffalo River. It has one heavily defended city, Caldeia of the tall towers, and some smaller fortified settlements in its surroundings. Caldeia was founded several centuries ago by an exiled Priest Prince of Tricarnia, Caldaios the Cruel, and today it is still a monarchy, de facto ruled by the nobles and a cast of priests.
Caldeia is very rich because it trades the two most precious goods produced in the south of the world: Khav and slaves.
Let us be honest: no one has ever explored Caledland. It is a vast, ancient forest inhabited by primitive savages, the Caleds. The only ones who dared enter the forest were the Tricarnians, during the war, and some Imperial Phalanxes, when the Empire was so strong that it considered conquering the Caledlands. Yet, none of them ever came back. The Caleds aren’t invincible — after all they are only naked, tattooed barbarians, who fight with stone-tipped spears — but their strength lies mainly in their druids, a caste of very powerful sorcerers. During the Tricarnian-Caledian Wars, many acts of foul sorceries were committed by both parties and the part of the Caledian forest bordering Tricarnia is now an accursed place, where terrible abominations lurk in the shadows of ancient trees.
The Cannibal Islands are a group of medium- sized landmasses not far from the Lush Jungles. The first travelers who came here thought they had found a true paradise with pleasant weather, strange fruit plants, colorful birds and crystal-clear water full of fish.
In truth, these islands are home to one of the most ferocious people in the world, the black cannibal tribes. These primitive men attack and eat any stranger they meet, and the first explorers, caught by surprise, ended their lives in the greasiest of ways.
Ekul, the southern part of former Zandor, is mainly a desert. The industrious population always fights to farm the scarce good soil, and great resources are spent in reclamation and irrigation. Thanks to this enlightened policy, Ekul is now a fairly pleasant place to live and enjoys good trading relations with Kyros, Syranthia and Jalizar.
Faberterra was the heart of the Iron Empire, the place where the destinies of very far countries were decided. Today, Faberterra is only a shadow of its former glory. The rich countryside, full of large estates and prosperous farms, is slowing decaying, because the landowners spend more time indulging in personal pleasure than looking after their properties. Commerce is still prosperous, but only because Faberterra is at the center of the world. The tide is turning and more and more ships choose Askerios to dock.
Gladiators Games. Faberterra City is the biggest settlement of the known world: almost a million people live there — and the situation is growing tenser by the day. Bad news from the north, less commerce and a stagnating economy cause turmoil among the people, whom the Emperor tries to appease by distributing free food and organizing great shows of gladiators in the arena. Today the Arena of Faberterra is greater than the one in the City of Princes in Tricarnia and its gladiators are real celebrities — all of which has been achieved by almost depleting the Emperor’s coffers. Many wonder how much longer the situation can hold out.
Fallen Kingdom of Keron
The Fallen Kingdom of Keron was that part of the Keronian Empire that, being quite far from the center, wasn’t directly affected by the terrible impact of the Dread Star and its high location on a plateau protected it from being flooded.
Yet, this doesn’t mean its people survived.
The consequences of the cataclysm, clouds of dusts, earthquakes, famines and pestilences wiped the local population away, and Keron is now only an arid place full of crumbing ruins. The Fallen Kingdom is believed to be haunted. The mariners sailing near its coast report seeing strange lights at night and hearing the sound of spectral songs. For no reason will a captain dock on these cursed shores.
The Fingers of the Dead Ones, or simply Fingers’ Islands, are a group of islands north of the Fallen Kingdom of Keron. They were once part of the Keronian Empire, but the Dread Star disaster separated them from the mainland. The islands, surrounded by treacherous shallows, are dotted with ancient Keronian ruins engulfed by the jungle. They owe their name to the common practice on Tricarnian galleys to cut off the pinkie of lazy oarsmen, and “fingers” is usually the nickname given to mutineers.
The Fingers’ Islands are indeed a base for pirates, who from here launch attacks on merchant ships and raid the Iron Empire or Tricarnia. The navies of civilized states have often tried to wipe them off, but getting to their base has always been extremely dangerous and costly. The Fingers’ Islands are just a few days’ voyage from the Independent Cities, the perfect place where to sell stolen goods and spend one’s looted coins. They are also very close to the Fallen Kingdom of Keron, but the pirates avoid that haunted land.
Gis, Free City of the Alchemists
There is a legend saying that the day Fabron, the Iron Priest of Faberterra, discovered iron, on the shores of the Drowned King Sea a wandering warlock built the first hut of what, centuries later, would become Gis, the Free City of the Alchemists. The initiators of the Alchemists were a group of foreign mages, probably from Lhoban. Today, life in Gis revolves around the business of the supernatural. Cairnlord relic sellers have their stalls next to those of the Caldeian Lotus masters, and Valk prophets of the steppes offer their visions side by side with black-skinned dancer witches, worshippers of Etu. There is only one law in Gis: all magic is possible, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone and isn’t detrimental to the business, of course.
Gis is a place of wonders, but it is also full of supernatural dangers.