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Old 07-24-2008, 11:46 PM
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------------SKYCLAW ALLIANCE----------

The Skyclaw Alliance, known in Tavern Town as the Mountain Kingdoms, are led by the Three Lords, King Vellenes of the Humans, who live primarily in the valleys nearby the Skyclaws and in the Talmean lowlands, the Archon of the Moonwood just to the west of the Skyclaws, Nimroldor, and the Great Thane of the Dwarven Clans who live in the mountains themselves, Rigard. Although these three races have only one Lord, there are many beneath them who could be seen as the real lords of the people, taking care of their day to day issues, while the Three Lords are primarily concerned with defense and security.

The Valley-Folk of the Skyclaws, primarily human settlements (with a large Dwarven minority) who live, as the name suggests, in valleys, are ruled by the Barons, a collection of five rulers, each of whom rules one a township from its capitol. One of these Barons is chosen, by vote of the five, to be the Grand Baron. The Valley-Folk are hardy farmers, primarily, with simple wood and stone buildings. While they have no de jure capitol, de facto their capitol is Arra, the massive trading metropolis in the Arrian valley at the west end of the Skyclaws, which acts as the main trading point between the Valleys and the Dwarven Undercities and the woods and plains to the west of the Skyclaws. The Valley-Folk produce a good number of Sky Guards and War Masters, as they live very close to the most dangerous regions of the Skyclaws.

The Skyclaw Peaks are a harsh domain, very high in altitude and directly on the border to Skyclaw Ridge, the untamed wilderness area of the Skyclaw Mountains, overrun with beasts and goblinoids as well as other, even less friendly creatures, if the rumors are to be believed. Two of the three Orders of the Sky are based out of here, Talon Watch from Talon Keep, a fortress built by the Dwarves near where the treeline ends, and Scale Peak which is a smaller outpost constructed by Humans atop one of the highest peaks of the Skyclaws to keep watch over the Ridge. The people of the Peaks are all a part of the war effort in some way or another, and thus are ruled by the the three Grand Marshal of the the Three Orders, Warmarshal Avery of the Talon Watch.

The Dwarven Undercities, built within the Skyclaws themselves, are each traditionally home to one Dwarven Clan, with its respective Thane. The Grand Thane rules from the city of Stromhelm, a massive metropolis which is both home to the largest runesteel mines in the world and also the Undercity closest to the rest of the world. Stromhelm is the eastern end of the trade route that runs through Arra and on to the rest of the Kingdoms. Further to the east is the military city Groldar, most famous for the Groldar Garrison, home of some of the finest War Masters of the Kingdoms. Groldar is just a stones throw away from Talon Keep and is thus considered to be the last ditch defenses in the case of an eastern invasion into the Mountain Kingdoms. Groldar also holds, surprisingly, a Grove for Elven Cultivators, who have turned the forests outside the entrance to the Undercity into an impenetrable forest which has a will of its own, a will friendly to the Mountain Kingdoms. As such, Groldar has the second largest Undercity Elven population in raw numbers (next to Stromhelm, which has an elven population twice as large and a total population six times greater), and the single leargest Elven population percentage of all the Undercities. Al'Victus and Al'Drommo, on the other hand, have very large Human populations, and in fact are connected to large surface cities in the Talmea Lowlands (which bear the same names), under the control of Talmea.

The Moonwood, the massive forest which most of the Moon Elves call home, appears to have no major settlements in it even from the birds eye view granted by the Skyclaws (or the Thunderpeaks), however this is only because of the great care that the Cultivators of the two Elven cities, Meadowbrook and Moonspire, take to make their homes blend in with the forest around them, for both aesthetic and defensive reasons. While the Elves do not begrudge the Humans and Dwarves chopping down normal trees, they care a great deal for the wildlife of the Moonwood, developing an entire culture surrounding it. Their Archon is the wisest of Elders on the Moonwood council, an Elf who has achieved nearly 250 hundred years of age. Every village (and the Moonspire and Meadowbrook cities are each considered large clusters of villages for purposes of government) has two elders, one who governs the village itself, and another sent to the council in Moonspire (Meadowbrook Elves have a third councillor, sent to the Meadowbrook Council, which is subordinate to the Moonspire Council).

The Talmean Lowlands, to the north of the Moonwood, is home of the oldest Human kingdom in the world, though it is now a bit past its prime. Talmea, home of the Talmic Humans, contains not only the Talmean Plain but also the Negean Harbor, which leads out to the Phoenix Isles. The Humans here are ruled by King Vellenes de jure, but de facto are ruled over by Vellenes' Steward, Darkoss. Though once made wealthy by the Mithril trade from the Phoenix Isles, the Mithril mines are now all but dry, and Runesteel has replaced Mithril as the standard armament of the Mountain Kingdoms. Mithril weapons and armor are increasingly rare. To make things worse, over half of the Talmean Kingdom, the once proud Talmean Highlands, have been overrun. Talmea has been on a decline (and the Undercities, Moonwood, and Skyclaw Vallyes on the rise) for well over a century now.

The Stromm Peninsula reaches west from the Talmean Lowlands and eventually bleeds into the Phoenix Isles. Although Stromm was never very thoroughly settled (except for the independent port of Ravenwatch), it was almost completely abandond after the Ravenwatch pirates entered the area. The few settlements of Stromm outside of Ravenwatch are, technically, a part of the Alliance, though they have little effect on the Alliance and the Alliance has little effect on them.

To the west of the Moonwood is yet another range of mountains, the Thunderpeaks. The Thunderpeaks were not settled until after the forging of the pact, and so while technically controlled by the Moon Elves, there is no particular ancestral species to this land. There are two towns here, Blister Peak and Thundermount, which sport various orders and guilds. It is far from danger, but the mountains are themselves rather treacherous and also very close to one of the veins of Ether that run through the Earth, making these two towns a prime place for both magical and physical training.

-----------AJENDRAN EMPIRE------------

The Ajendran Empire is ruled with an iron fist by the God-Emperor Ajen. The throne of Ajen lies in the Imperial Capitol of Vokai, a place of learning and devotion as well as the trade capitol of the Empire. The Emperor is protected by his own Order of Cavaliers, the Vokai Palace Guardians, who report directly to Ajen. Also stationed in Vokai is the Cathedral of the Sun, out of which the Vokai Acolytes operate. The Vokai Acolytes are the creme de la creme, and their High Priest, Mishak, is the holiest mortal in all the Empire.

The second holiest man would have to be High Priest Kalail, of Ajendra. Ajendra is to the far north of the Empire, and is quite near the Ashpeak Mountains, and as such is more a massive fortress than a city, with the Great Northern Wall actually providing the northern wall of the city. The Paladins of Ajendra have the most unenviable but also the most respected position in all the Empire. Many of those who survive are eventually transferred into the Vokai Palace Guardians. High Priest Kalail leads the Acolytes of the Cathedral of the Protector in Ajendra, home of the most fearsome Acolytes in the Empire. The Ajendrans may not be as well read as the Vokites, but they are twice as feared in battle. Similarly, the Ajendra Apothecary specializes in combat applications of Alchemy where the Vokai Transmuters College has no particular specialty, and the Ajendra Witch Hunter Cabal produces far more dogged and ruthless Inquisitors than the Vokai Fiend Hunter Cabal. One of the most famous examples of Ajendra's devotion to keeping the Empire safe from the horrors of the Ashpeaks is the Ajendra War Labs, the massive engineering laboratory that produces more new technology, steam and otherwise, than the rest of the Empire put together, and all of it devoted to fighting the Ashpeaks.

Bedua, to the southwest of Vokai and built on top of the River Talmea (renamed the River Bedua by the Ajendrans, it is till known as River Talmea in Tavern Town), is home to the Bedua Stables and the Bedua Border Guard. These two Orders together protect the Empire from southern threats from the Highlands. They make regular incursions into the Highlands and have been thinking of seizing a portion (or even all) of them for some time, as that would put nothing other than the Skyclaw Ridge between them and the Mountain Kingdoms, and give them a border with the Deadlands as well. As it is now, however, this remains still just a dream, as the bulk of the Empires forces remains concentrated in Ajendra and the Ashpeaks. Bedua Province is also the breadbasket of the Empire, providing most of its crops and meats, as well as most of its horses.

Dacia is an industrial city, which is well within the Empires borders and which does little other than provide the other cities of the Empire with products and raw materials. There are a few Orders based here, the Dacia Cathedral of Viligance, the Dacia Grand Monument, and the Dacia Thief Catchers Guild, but these are all considered to be the least notable of their professions, easily dwarfed by the Orders of the three larger cities.

----------VITHEKA-------------

Vitheka, known to most outsiders (and even some of its residents) as the Deadlands, is ruled over by a mysterious collection of five individuals known as the Gate Council. There is one Councillor from each of the major cities of Vitheka.

The Necromancers Councillor hails from Soulforge, home of the prestigious Soulforge Academy. Although it is not actually the best funded or largest school of Necromancy (that honor belongs to Bonekeep University), it certainly holds the most secrets in the catacombs beneath its buildings. Soulforge also has the largest necromantic library. The finest Necromancers study here. Soulforge is a massive city, for Vitheka, containing over ten thousand residents. Even more so than the rest of the Deadlands, it oozes the culture of death that has taken root ever since Necromancy was accepted.

Sepsus' Order of the Eclipse sends the Councillor representing the Black Seers. Sepsus is considered to be a dark, shady town, even by Vithekan standards, and it also seems to be perpetually shrouded in cloud-cover so thick, it can make high noon like dusk. A good portion of it is built onto a lagoon, with buildings built into a pier-structure that reaches out several hundred feet into the water, and bridges in place of streets. Sepsus is also home to what is possibly the strongest Animators Order in Vitheka, the Sepsus Butchers Order. Many failed Animators' creations litter the swamps surrounding Sepsus.

The Bonekeep Dark Crusaders have kept the city of Bonekeep, built around an old Death Knight stronghold, from falling to the relentless Dreadmarsh hordes for over a century now. It was here that the ancient Death Knight crypts were plundered for their necromantic tomes, and it is here where the Death Knights now make their headquarters. The Death Knight Councillor hails from Bonekeep.

Xithan's Councillor is a Reaver, however the city is most famous for the Xithan Singers Guild, the Xithan Entertainers Guild, and other, less renowned artistic Guilds. Xithan's biggest attractions are the amphitheatre, where stage productions are held almost every day from theatre troupes from all over Vitheka, and the stadium, where undead hordes slaughter one another the entire day, only to be reanimated by their masters and do it again tomorrow. Xithan is something of a tourist town, something which is very odd for a place as grim as Vitheka.

The Great Spine is inhabited almost entirely by Bone Lords and those wishing to become Bone Lords, though it supports a sizable Animator population. It is little more than a massive, ruined tower, collapsed onto its side, which does indeed bear great resemblance to some kind of gigantic creatures spine. Oddly enough, the Great Spine's councillor is not a Bone Lord but an Animator.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:37 AM
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Hadgi Hadgi is offline
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Possible discrepancy?

It would seem to me that there may be more then 5 members in the gate council, either that or I may have misread the article.

*it's said that the Gate Council itself if made up primarily of ancient Necromancers from the old days*
-Taken fron Necro's class description
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:09 PM
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Ashen Ashen is offline
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Fortunately, with a society as secret as the Gate Council, what is said and what is are two different things completely. The original Gate Council likely was made up of almost nothing but necromancers, since no other branches of necromancy existed at the time (barring Death Knights, who wouldn't have come out of hiding yet). It's more interesting to have a mix of classes, though, so I took some artistic liberties with the modern Gate Council. Besides, you'd want to have multiple kinds of specialist on the Council, not just one.
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