The world (Arthia)

A Snapshot of the Southlands

‘The Southlands is the kingdom of fire and flame, of smoke and ash. Creation and destruction walk hand-in-hand here, and everyone rides dragons in their dreams.’ – The Draken Queen, Penelope III (989 AC)

‘All Southerner’s are ruled by fire’s spirit – being conservative isn’t something they can stand or tolerate for long.’ – Ruby Garland (1019 AC)

‘Ah! The South… how I adore thee. Where else can you find a land covered in golden sand and snow-peaked mountains? Sprawling coastal cities, where the smell of salt, brine, spices and lemons can be found on a daily basis. Market bazaars, yearlong bonfires and red-jasper beaches… proud warriors in lion skin, chariot riders of the wind and dragons… Oh! They are ferocious beasts, of claw and tooth, and of wing and molten flame… casting shadows against the moon. Their arrival is the sound of thunder, their prey quakes in their wake and all bow down before those god-like creatures.’ – Librus Scholar (1000 AC)

The Southlands
Elemental Association: Fire.
A masculine, active, light energy associated with the qualities of brightness, thinness and motion.
Type of Energy: Projection, transforming, cleansing, energetic, forceful, sexual, purifying, destructive. Heat is a manifestation of this element.
Ancestor: The Dragons.
Associated Traits: Passionate, independent, creative, blunt, genuine, lovers’ of freedom and true pioneers. Dramatic, argumentative and impatient.
Magical Associations: Light, fire, time, star, candle.
Population: 700,000.
Ruler: The Draken Queen, Lorna II.
Spiritual Beliefs: Naitura, The Four Pointed Star.
Regional Deity: The Archer
Culture: Positive, individualistic, non-traditionalist, heterogeneous.
Languages: The common tongue, bastardisation of latin, arabic, leonese, italian and hebrew.
Military: predominantly focused on archery and cavalry.
Season: summer.
Associated Holidays: midsummer. Expect street festivals, where bonfires are lit from coast to coast, and they sing to one another through the flames.
Climate: hot, dry and arid. Rainy season is in autumn and winter.
Capital city: Draken.
Other cities of note: Roma (Librus), Isildra (Draken), Sunstone (Leos).
Towns: Whitelion, Apolis.
Main exports: spices, mercenaries, wheat, cocoa, iron ore, meat, wool, coffee beans, steel, explosives.
Notable Southerners: The Knights of the Southern Bow, the Dragon Riders of Pendrake.
Geography: deserts, hot springs, volcanoes, grass plains.
Areas of Natural Beauty: the red jasper beaches, the lava caves, the lightening pits and Archer’s Bow mountain range.
Music staples: guitar, all stringed instruments.
Sports: chariot racing, horse racing, gladiator contests, surfing, running rapids.
Art staples: the theatre, particularly fond of the comedic or adventure genres.
Local Creatures: lizards, desert horses and lions.
Local Monsters: giant scorpions, chimeras.
Colours: red, gold.

A Snapshot of the Eastlands

‘The Eastlands is a kingdom of contrasts and extremes, in its climate and in its culture.’ – Leonida III of the House Leos (878 AC)

‘I have heard some say that Easterner’s are humourless creatures, which is most definitely a falsehood. Although it is true that we are more likely to appreciate the fine wit of a sophisticated mind, rather than the bawdy jokes that one might find in a local tavern.’ – Margaret of the House Aros (974 AC)

The Eastlands
Elemental Association: Air.
A masculine and active energy associated with thinness, motion and darkness. Sound is a manifestation of this element.
Type of Energy: projective, moving, masculine, suspending, intelligent.
Ancestor: the Fae.
Associated Traits: ethereal, intelligent, curious, cultured, wise, detached, stoic, disciplined, efficient, traditional.
Magical Associations: visualisation, wind magic, divination, astral, sky magic.
Population: 450,000.
Ruler: Markus II.
Spiritual Beliefs: Naitura, The Four Pointed Star, Cosmology.
Regional Deity: Oranos.
Culture: hard working, family-orientated, traditionalistic, and pessimistic.
Languages: the common tongue, bastardisation of latin, gaulish, old chinese, old turkic and old high german.
Military: focus on archery and mixed martial art infantry units.
Season: spring.
Associated Holidays: spring equinox.
Capital City: Aradia.
Other Cities: Gorgon, Vaykance.
Towns: Balvard, Hawking, Hollow Crown.
Economy: slaves, gemstones, sheep, goats, rice, bronze, jade, specialised bows, paper, books, glue.
Notable Easterners: The Philosopher Kings, the Stargazers.
Geography: mountainous region, grass plains, rainforest, desert.
Climate: dry in the summer months, monsoons, storms, hurricanes in the autumn months. Freezing cold temperatures in the winter, and occasionally the spring.
Areas of Natural Beauty: the IronHoof Mountains, Tamar Oasis.
Music staples: flute. All wind instruments.
Sports: art of war, base-jumping, cliff-diving and martial arts.
Art staples: writing, glass-blowing and philosophy.
Local Creatures: birds, particularly skylarks and dragons.
Local Monsters: horned insects.
Colours: yellow, white.

A Snapshot of the Westlands

‘My heart yearns to be surrounded by the rush of stream and rivers, to feel the salt breeze on my face, to swim naked in Lita Lake with the moons’ light caressing my skin. I won’t be myself again, until I go back.’ – Rya Garland (1008 AC)

‘The west is a land of creative freedom, artistry and play. There are no rules, except one, live with no regrets.’ – Unknown.

‘There is nothing more evil than building a kingdom on the bones and backs of slaves. The Westlands is rotten to the core; poisoned and cursed.’ – Librus Scholar (1006 AC).

The Westlands
Elemental Association: Water.
A feminine, receptive and passive energy associated with thickness, motion and darkness. Taste is a manifestation of this element.
Type of Energy: receptive, feminine, loving, purifying, healing, soothing.
Ancestor: The Merpeople.
Associated Traits: artistic, empathetic, intuitive, a lover of beauty, sensitive, vain, sensual.
Magical Associations: psychic awareness, ice, snow, sea magic, mirror.
Population: 370,000.
Ruler: The Aquan King and Queen.
Religion: Naitura, The Four Pointed Star.
Regional Deity: Orcá.
Culture: positive, family-orientated, non-traditionalist, heterogeneous, lovers of fine cuisine and the arts.
Languages: the common tongue, bastardisation of Latin, Italian, Leonese & Old French.
Military: focus on naval units.
Season: autumn.
Associated Holidays: autumn equinox.
Capital City: Haven.
Other Cities: Pescar, Nazaria.
Towns: Pisino, Sussux, Waterford.
Climate: cold winters and hot summers in the northern sector. Warm and dry summers, with heavy rainfall from Octis – Aprelis in the southern sector.
Main Exports: silk, cotton, cosmetics, clothes, shoes, wigs, slaves, timber, perfumes,
Notable Westerners: Bérénice and Antoiné.
Geography: lakes, rivers, beaches, streams, islands, rainforest, swamps.
Areas of Natural Beauty: the bioluminescent water spirits, Lita Lake, the floating villages of Mazuri, Sussex swamps, the Rainbow Mountains of Aquan, the limestone cliffs of Nazaria.
Music staples: Harp, shells and all resonant instruments.
Sports: swimming, sailing, kayaking, cliff-diving, deep water diving and surfing.
Art staples: painting, fashion, dancing and music.
Local Creatures: dolphins, seahorses, fish, otters, seals.
Local Monsters: the giant squids.
Colours: blue.

A Snapshot of the Northlands

‘There is no higher purpose than to be of service to others.’ – Adam Capran (437 AC).

‘People should not be ruled through fear or taught to hate from birth. Wulfrun stands against that. I stand against that.’ Aris Wulfrun (1019 AC).

‘Loyal until the end.’ – Unknown prisoner of Aros (992 AC).

The Northlands
Elemental Association: Earth.
A feminine, heavy, passive energy associated with the qualities of thickness, darkness and quietness. Gravity and touch is a manifestation of this element.
Type of Energy: stability, fertility, prosperity, healing, strength, wisdom and growth.
Ancestor: The Green Folk.
Associated Traits: patient, kind, strong, independent, stubborn, practical, loving, hard-working, resilient, tough, cautious, loyal.
Magical Associations: healing, tree, earth magic, knot, binding, stone.
Population: 600,000.
Ruler: Aros Wulfrun, Guardian of the Northlands.
Religion: Naitura, The Four Pointed Star.
Regional Deity: The Great Mother.
Culture: traditional, family-orientated, reserved, suspicious, community-centred, patriotic, driven by ideals of being of service to one’s country and family.
Languages: the common tongue. Bastardisation of old english.
Military: Focus on siege warfare and swordsman.
Season: Winter.
Climate: permafrost in the furthest north, with freezing temperatures in the winter and mild summers.
Associated Holidays: Winter Equinox.
Capital city: Wulfrun.
Other Cities: Béarson, Minso, Kirkwall.
Towns: Treefall, Hazlemere, Greyfort, Pinevale, Getterling.
Main Exports: lumber, medicine, potatoes, carrots etc., salt, steel, iron, gold, gemstones.
Notable Northerners: Adam Capran, founder of the healing house. Aris Wulfrun, hero that broke the northern sieges.
Geography: woods, valleys, forests, rivers, fields, mountains.
Areas of Natural Beauty: The Staraya Glacier, The Black Stone Mountains.
Music staples: drums and all percussion instruments.
Sports: jousting, wrestling, fencing.
Art staples: pottery.
Local Creatures: éawins, wolves, bears, the farm animals.
Local Monsters: the mounted bears, trolls.
Colours: Green, black.

 

The Houses

 

Draken, founded in 98 AC

Draken is renowned for its emphasis on bravery, equality and compassion. This house was responsible for the last three generations of Southland rulers. They have always governed from their seat in Isildra, a city set among the mountains. Long ago, Southerner’s nicknamed it the city of starlight, because from sea level, it is easy to confuse the lights that shine there for the night sky.

The home of the Draken’s is named the Aurelian Roost, or just the Roost. It perches atop a mountainside, over-looking the Endeleas Sea and the ancestral dragons live near by, curled up near the Archer’s Crown volcano, closely guarded by the Firehawk clan.

The Draken blood runs in the Houses of Leos and Librus. However, due to the indiscretions of former members of the household, there is a saying in the Southlands that goes like this, ‘every man, woman and child claims to have Draken blood and most of them are probably right.’

Their official motto is, ‘Born to fire, born to rule.’

Their house colour is red.

 

Leos, founded in 121 AC

Leopold I created this house; he is known for creating the Leosian creed; ‘Be brave, be bold, but don’t forget to be kind.’

The House of Leos is often referred to as the high noon of the Southlands; they are the purest example of what it is to be a southerner, brash, daring with a lion’s spirit and a hot head. Those born into this household and the people they govern in the city of Sunstone are not known for mincing their words. Yet, they have always had a reputation for chivalry, despite their tendency to act first and think later.

The most notable Leosians are the Knights of the Southern Bow, founded in 343 AC. They were originally outlaws who became a chivalric order dedicated to preserving fairness and justice in society. Although the fellowship’s bloodlines are now said to be extinct, they are still held up as an example of what Leosians should stand for.

The rulers of Leos can be found in their castle by the sea in the city of Sunstone, famed for its beauty. The stretch of coastline that Leos stands on is called the Lion’s Mane, a mass of golden sand, turquoise seas and dangerous reefs.

Their official motto is, ‘A light in the darkness.’

Their house colour is yellow.

 

Librus, founded in 478 AC

Librus is the only household to have been created by scholars, and not by bloodlines. Their collective knowledge became so valuable that the southern houses eventually funded their creation and left them to rule themselves.

The population of Librus lives and works in the Temple of the Blessed and in the local city of Roma. The people there are known for how much they value the arts, learning and magic.

They are also the only household to provide sanctuary to runaway slaves, prostitutes and beggars. They have a strong belief in the ideals of equality, and like Capran, Librus is not run by a family, but by a council of scholars, mages and locals.

The Temple of the Blessed contains the largest repository of books, scrolls and magical knowledge in all of Arthia.

Their official motto is, ‘Blessed are the wise.’

Their house colour is indigo and silver.

 

Pyros, founded in 632 AC

This is one of the smaller households in Arthia; it is the house built by fishermen and pirates. As for the nobles, no one can remember which one they started out as, although underneath the surface Pyrosians hold similar principles. Work hard, but have fun while you’re doing it.

Pyros is known for its lawless ports; however, none of them can hold a candle to the infamous Pescar Bay. Once referred to as, ‘the heaving underbelly of the black market. A pit, a valley of excrement and the most exciting place I’ve ever been.’ Pescar is also home to the fellowship of pirates, ‘the Cutlasses,’ and the feared Iron Teeth, a band of mercenaries 500 strong.

Their motto is, ‘Our word is our bond.’

Their house colour is silver and black.

 

Delphan, founded in 378 AC

This is the household known for its playful attitude; they’re the ones who want to do what they like, whenever they like. The Delphan House is known for its charming, open-minded and adventurous nobles. The people living in their cities are no different. If you go down to Nazaria at night, you might even see a fisherman or two trying to seduce the local merpeople.

But the Delphan’s kingdom is much more than just a home for lust and debauchery, it is without equal in beauty and elegance with hundreds of artists, musicians and actors in permanent residence. It is built overlooking beaches, waterfalls and most precious of all, Lita Lake, which is said to be the birthplace of Orcá and Oranos’s child: Archer.

Their motto is, ‘To dare is to win.’

Their house colour is turquoise.

 

Aquan, founded in 121 AC

The kingdom of Aquan is infamous for its appreciation of the finer things in life, and their general disregard for decency or boundaries. In fact, they have a saying in Port Haven, ‘if you can shock an Aquan, you’ve done the impossible.’

The House of Aquan has also long been rumoured to have a vein of instability running through their blood, however, they are also valiant defenders of tradition. They are one of the few houses to have kept their old language, Francá, alive.

The nobles in Aquan are often in fierce competition with Delphan, because they practically breed artists and musicians in this part of the world, and the aristocracy is judged by how many artists they have in residence at any given time. Furthermore, no one could say that anyone in this household doesn’t make a good host. They’ll let a guest stay for as long as they want, as long as they’re doing something worthwhile.

However, they are not known for being as kind to the people they serve, and Aquan has a darker side, as like their Pyrosian counterparts, they are profiteers in the slave industry.

Their motto is, ‘Blood of the Divine.’

Their house colour is blue.

 

Wulfrun, founded in 46 AC

This is the house known for its backbone and its jawbone. Locals are known to be strong, resilient and with an unerring habit for stalwart loyalty. They are also prosperous and have a fierce respect for nature, because of this they have avoided sliding into reckless greed.

They also have a reputation for stubbornness and heroism, which helped them survive during the Dragon War, when they were under siege for over a year. They refused to concede to Markus’s forces, even when they were all starving, Aros included. Their iron wills were eventually rewarded when a signal came from the sea; reinforcements were arriving from the Southlands. Aros’s two brothers had beaten back the Eastland forces in their own country, and now they had come to break the impasse between Wulfrun and Markus’s forces. Due to Aros’s patient nature and the belief he had in his family, he was able to lead a group of warriors through hidden mines under Hearth Mountain. He had chosen the right moment, because instead of being pushed back into the mines, they were able to meet the Eastlander’s on both fronts, breaking their lines. And so, it was on the plains of Wulfrun that the North and South met, and together they brought down Markus’s armies and the Dragon War was finally ended.

Their motto is, ‘Together we stand.’

Their house colours are black, green and silver.

 

Capran, founded in 78 AC

Before the Capran Household became known for the healing arts, they were a family of wealthy farmers. But then earth magic started to appear in the Northlands and the Green Folk came out of their forests to teach them what they knew. This caused a lot of anger to spread among the Northern aristocracy, and before long Capran was selling off their land in order to placate the nobles and be left in peace. Historians and scholars have estimated that if the family hadn’t made this sacrifice, their land would stretch from the family home on the banks of the Endeleas to Kirkwall in the eastern province of the Northlands.

Ever since 684 AC, Capran has been run by a community of healers and does not recognise the leadership of any of the original members of the household. Capran stands for equality, kindness and respect. However, some would also say that they have a tendency towards isolationism.

Their motto is, ‘We endure.’

Their house colour is white and green.

 

Béarson (founded in 765 AC)

Built by woodsmen, Béarson was founded on the principles of hard work, discipline and strength. Unsurprisingly, their homes are nearly all built from wood and they live in and around the Etborn Forest. There is a small town that is named after the Béarson Lords, but most of its population can be found in Pinevale or Kirkwall.

They’re a simple and pragmatic household; in the past this has led to tension with their more outwardly magical and open-minded neighbours. They are also said to be the most traditional of all the northern houses, which is why they have never allowed a woman to rule over them.

Northerner’s often say that if Capran had never given up the vast amount of their resources and power, Béarson would never have risen to become one of the most prominent houses in Arthia. Only never mention that to a Béarson dweller, they’ve been known to head-butt people they don’t like.

Their motto is, ‘Ever-strong.’

Their house colour is pine-green and brown.

 

Gemina, founded in 238 AC

No outsider has seen the inside of this house in years. There are rumours that they’re protecting something. But for those who still remember the people and the kingdom of Gemina, they tell tales of a welcoming and prosperous city built into the mountains.

The house was recorded as being built by merchants, and because they continue to trade and send representatives to the other houses, it is believed that Gemina is still one of the richest kingdoms. They are also famous for their breed of messenger bird, who are said to be able to fly 800 miles in a day.

Their motto is, ‘Just is our calling.’

Their house colour is sky-blue.

 

Aros, founded in 156 AC

Centuries ago, Aros was very similar to their Southern counterpart, Draken. They shared a close relationship, one made evident when they chose similar emblems, reflecting their respect for their ancestors, in particular the dragons. The Arosian kingdom was known for its culture and the sophistication of its people. But after a couple of truly hideous kings and emperors, the kingdom turned into a warmongering country and their people fell into ruin.

Nowadays, a madman rules them by the name of Markus II; their upper classes are bloated and corrupt, whilst many of the Arosian people are currently in chains.

Their motto is, ‘We rise, and you fall.’

Their house colour is red and black.

 

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