Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Shrouded Lands

If you were to sail south through the Ruined sea, navigating between the numerous islands of Eusebes, past even the shores of the Lion Empire, hugging the coast as to avoid the perils of Drowned Calaus, you would eventually reach the dour coasts of Oschei. Although still pleasant in the summer months, these lands and waters are noticeably colder than the warm seas of Eusebes.

Moving inland from the shores, the land quickly slopes upwards, rising into a great mountain chain stretching from Oschei to Nardag on the Haunted Sea. This mountain range forms an almost impenetrable barrier between the Empire of the Peacock Throne to its north and the cold, vast and unpleasant lands of the Venvard nomads to the south.

Along the shores of Oschei, traces of Eusebian culture have been introduced by sailors and traders. Some temples of the Assembly have been built overlooking the sea and Eusebian currencies and artifacts are not uncommon.

Deeper inland, along the foothills of the mountains, the Lion empire holds its sway with a string of mountain fortresses which are constantly at war with the Peacock Throne, whose monarch are always trying to spread their influence further east and south.

The mountains however, have never been conquered by any great kingdom or empire. Its people are scattered and their tribes isolated and incredibly diverse. Almost each village speaks a wildly different dialect or an entirely different language. There are dozens of ethnic groups throughout the area. Their religious practices are however surprisingly similar. They revolve around the worship of a divine being who gave mankind knowledge and skills, against the will of its brethren, and is being eternally punished for it. Worship is a thing of everyday duties and rituals, but some members of society retreat into remote mountaintop monasteries, where they delve deeper into the mysteries of their faith.

Many villages are at war with each other over petty feuds, while others enjoy peaceful alliances or an existence completely isolated from outsiders and each other. Because of various attempts at incursions from both the Lion empire and the Peacock Throne, some villages have been built like fortresses, while others have retreated further and higher into the mountain valleys. Some people have carved their homes into the softer rocks of some hills or cliff sides, containing whole underground complexes.

People's subsistence depends largely on flocks on sheep and goats, fish from mountain rivers, gathering, hunting and some small-scale farming. The area has the highest density of ethnicities on the continent, many of them native, but with numerous small communities of settlers coming from as far as Béné.

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