|Rule of Archaea: Western & Island Provinces|
The Western Provinces
On the first day of Highsummer in the year 193 CE, the Mists to the west of Marjor, Talanth, Asta, and Taus shifted revealing hundreds of miles of new land. Thousands of people from across the Realm flocked to the uncharted areas in hopes to claim territory for themselves. Eventually, the New Lands became the Western Provinces.
When the Mists opened to the west, many Marjorans settled the lands now called Barag. Many years later, the Druidic Wars drove more Marjorans and even some Talanthi from their homeland and into the New Lands.
A province almost as poor as Eban, Barag was named after a village chieftain who led the Baraki against Marjoran occupation. At the end of the Druidic Wars, Marjor hoped to claim the New Lands to the west thinking that many Marjoran settlers and their descendants would welcome being joined to their original homeland. Civil war began in 379 CE and ended eleven years later after the intervention of the Sar's forces.
After hundreds of years of mingling, the Baraki share qualities of both Marjor and Talanth. They are much more tolerant of the rest of the Realm and have made all attempts to become a modern member of the Council at Sarhall. Though they still cling to the warrior ways of their Marjoran cousins, the Baraki have learned to live with the presence of magic as well as the mistical arts.
Barag is mostly forested with heavy hills that extend across the northern half of the province. Mining, farming, hunting, stonecutting, and woodcutting are the major trades. Unlike Marjor, Barag has very little metal in its land. Therefore, much of what is made is out of wood, bone, or stone. In fact, the quarries of Barag produce some of the finest quality marble in the Realm.
Baragnir is the capital. Its symbol is the stone hammer-the hero Barag's weapon of choice.
Etthar is the only other desert province in Archaea. Dry grassland, parched steppe, and sandy desert make up most of the province. The population of Etthar is made up of the descendants of immigrants from the Ashuri desert, Talanth, and some Marjorans.
Etthar was granted provinceship during the reign of Sar Regenta I and Ettharo is its capital. The Etthari continue many of the traditions of their Ashuri ancestors but have adopted some of the love of ritual and ornamentation from their Talanthi neighbors. The Etthari are known for their glassworking, gem cutting, metalsmithing, and pottery as well as dried fruits, perfumes, and scented oils.
Though much of the province is desert, the areas near the rivers are lush with fertile flood plains that produce a variety of exotic fruits, flowers, and fragrant plants. Etthar provides many reagents and ingredients needed by healers, herbalists, and spellcasters. Many researching mages have traveled to Etthar to find seclusion in the desert and access to the materials found naturally in the province.
Ettharo itself is built around an oasis where twelve springs provide fresh water for the entire city. It is said that the waters of the largest of Ettharo's springs, hidden behind the palace walls of the Lord Sovereign, possesses unique cleansing and rejuvenating powers.
The flaming sun is the symbol of Etthar.
This province still bears the name of the black mistic that founded it in the year 200 CE. It is said that Josson, the mistic, used his powers to forever brand his name upon the province so that, even after his destruction, his name would live on.
The original capital of Josson was Maga, where the mistic and his dark lord Meleager, a death knight, raised their seat of power. However, in 213 CE, a vision of Alatannin, the hero-mage, appeared outside the walls of Maga and with blinding power razed the city to the ground killing Josson and Meleager.
The current capital, Kyan, was built after the destruction of Maga. Though many attempts have been made to change the province's name, habit, tradition, and perhaps misticism has preserved the name Josson as well as its ill reputation. Even the province symbol, a black shield with a full, white moon, is derived from the personal symbol of Meleager.
Many of the Jossoni or descendants of Astan and Reiellan immigrants who fled to the New Lands in hopes of beginning anew away from the eyes of the Crown. Josson sided with the Branch of Ellan during the Druidic Wars and seceded from the Council of the Realm in 224 CE. Though presently a standing member of the Council, the province is viewed by much of the Realm as a second home for Astan criminals and Reiellan dissenters.
Josson produces very little save for farming, woodcutting, and some fishing in the southern Twin Lake. Much of its livelihood lies in the trade routes that pass through it from surrounding provinces.
During the Druidic Wars, Grand Druid Ursa of the Circle led an army into the New Lands west of Taus. In 230 CE, Ursia was declared a province by Sar Cheralen, the first woman ruler of Archaea. With the added pressure of a new front along the Shield River between Josson and Ursia, the Ellani forces were spread thin and weakened. In 246 CE, the Ursian forces defeated the Jossoni armies with the help of animen--a race of part human and part animal created by the Circle and the Academy. Though the battle in Ursia was won, the province felt a great loss in the death of the Grand Druid. Eventually, in 248 CE, the Druid Wars ended.
Ursia remains a sister province to Taus. Much of the province's population is made up of the descendants of soldiers who fought in the war and immigrants attempting to escape the fighting. Furthermore, Ursia is extremely tolerant and accepting of the animen, who have flourished after the war and begun to reluctantly travel the Realm. Ursia proudly displays its loyalties to the Circle and to the Crown. Its symbol is that of a black bear, the personal symbol of Ursa.
A province of primarily wilderness, much of Ursia is yet unexplored. Farming and hunting are plentiful as well as fishing and trapping. Some brave pioneers have begun mining the Mist Mountains to the south with success.
On the third day of Firstspring, 1193 CE, with the return of the hero-mage Alatannin, the East Wall of the Mists shifted revealing more sea and a group of islands east of Sarus. With the assent of Sar Regenta XV, the islands were quickly declared provinces.
Surprisingly, though few and far between, the Island Provinces were already settled by the descendants from the shipfuls of people of good taken into the Mists by Alatannin during the first Age of Heroes. In the stories of old, Alatannin left the Realm with ten ships of followers and adventurers. It is said that many of the great heroes of old sailed away with Alatannin. With the power of the Unraveling Stone, Alatannin parted the Mists and safely delivered the ten vessels beyond the East Wall. It is from these ancestors that the native people of the Island Provinces claim lineage.
However, since the shifting of the Mists, the Islands have become the new home of many immigrants.
The second largest island of the Island Provinces, Asara is the least populated. Warm winds bring rain to Asara's shores much of the year making the island lush, green, and humid. Little is known about the jungles of Asara except that they are home to many rare plants and unique animals.
Asara has become the home to many animen, the race of half-human, half-beast created during the Druidic Wars. The isolation of the jungle have given refuge to animen. Some of fled persecution for their mixed lineage. Others simply wish to be away from humankind.
In addition, many practitioners of magic have moved to Asara to take advantage of the lack of a rigid government. In the seclusion of the trees and mountains, mages and mistics are left to their studies and contemplations.
The symbol of Asara is a serpentine motif made up of a large s-curve and two smaller curves. The motif is fashioned after the markings of the asarangra or Asaran asp, a deadly poisonous snake native to the island.
Atana is the largest of the Island Provinces and was also named by Alatannin himself. It was the first island discovered by the hero-mage. Its population is made up of people from across the Realm, but its greatest draw is for mages and researchers of magic.
Alatannin established a new Academy for the study and teaching of magic in Atana. The largest guild hall is at Atanaeum, the island's capital, and rivals the power and resources of the High Academy at Darkwell. Though a formal joining has been made by the Academy of the mainland and the Academy of Atana, there are those who insist on dividing the schools of magic into the Eastern and Western Academy.
The Academy at Atanaeum is known for its studies in the Arche of Power. Cannus houses the largest school in the Arche of Animal and Body. Mindus is known for its Mind magics. Aerth is known for its Earth and Plant magics. The Academy at Sagan houses the largest school in the Arche of Water. Finally, Sciun is known for its Air and Fire magics.
The symbol of Atana is the falling star with nine fiery trails. The nine trails represent the nine arche of magic and the stone represents Alatannin's Unraveling Stone or the Arche of Power.
Though one of the smaller islands, Midal is the most populated. Its largest city and capital, Midal City, plays host to travelers and traders from across the Realm. Like the busy ports of Asta, Midal is home to sailor, adventurer, honest merchant, and swindler alike. Much of the island is dedicated to the purchasing and selling of goods. Ships traveling to and from the islands all stop at Midal.
There is a saying once said by a famous Midali Lord Sovereign, by the name of Deironomous Seef, who said, "If you can't find it anywhere else, it's because it's in Midal." There is also another saying, "In Midal, there is always someone willing to sell you something and always someone to sell something to."
Midal is the supposed hideaway for the Hand Macabre, a small organization of assassins and cutthroats. Though lacking the resources and size of the Masquerade, the Hand has gained a notable reputation for getting the job done, for subtlety and style, and for disliking the guild of thieves.
Midal has become the mercantile center for the east. The moneylenders of the Silver Guild have established a large holding in Midal City providing currency for all of the Island Provinces. Other than trade, Midal itself has very little to offer in the way of natural resources.
The province's symbol is a small chest--a money box.
The shipwrights of Riga are said to be as skilled as the shipbuilders of Eldun. However, the light, though far swifter, Rigan ships are no match in direct confrontation for the stout warships of Eldun. However, Rigan sailors and Rigan windjoiners have earned a reputation for speed, agility, and maneuverability on the sea. The main island of Riga, with its capital Osheron, is home to many shipyards and is one of the only places in the Realm where magical ships are built.
The tall, sturdy trees of Riga produce a strong but light and flexible wood, which makes Rigan construction extraordinary. Some believe the trees, called windwood or featherwood, to be magical, touched by the power of the Mists. The middle island, Navo, and the smallest island, Eldra, are rich in iron and other metals. Unique to Eldra are the Pits where molten tar bubbles up through the earth's surface and is used to make pitch.
Riga is also known for its amber, a yellow-orange stone (petrified tree sap) that can be made into delicate jewelry and possesses the much sought after ability to hold magic.
Riga's province symbol is a ship's wheel.
Like the province of Icuna, Teer is an island shrouded in misticism and mystery. The smallest of the islands, Teer did not become a province proper till recently with the establishment of the first settlement, its capital, Teerinteer-a settlement made up of Lakemen adventurers and Curi scholars.
In the past, the island of Teer was considered Forbidden. All attempts to settle and explore the island had failed and sailors were reluctant to even go near its shores. Strange lights and eerie sounds were witnessed by ships sailing too close to Teer. No one who had every gone to the island had ever returned except for the Curi scholar for whom the island was named. Teer, the Curi, went on an expedition to the island in Highsummer of 1193 CE against the warnings of Alatannin. He was found days later half-drowned on the beaches near Dara, nearly seventy-five miles north of the island. With his dying breath, he muttered, "Icuni."
With the passing of the Age of Silence, interest in exploring Teer has returned. With the Turn of the Year of the year 2298, Teerinteer was founded and the island was proclaimed a province. For the same reasons the Lakemen were able to settle the Valley of the Lakes, those of the same blood were able to remain in Teer unharmed. Though over ninety percent of the island remains unexplored, the Lord Sovereign of Teerinteer hopes to discover the secrets of Teer.
Teer's symbol is a vertical pair of joined crosses.