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PostSubject: Land of the East   Land of the East EmptyThu Sep 09, 2010 3:01 pm

Land of the East Halta

The kingdom of Halta exists in the Northeast within the large redwood forest that dominates the area. It is connected by several river tributaries to the rest of the Scavenger Lands, including the city of Nexus.

The Haltans have long been at war with the Linowan, a group of plains-dwellers that live to the west of Halta. This is a brutal and long-standing war that has involved both the Realm (on the side of Linowan) and the powerful Solar known as the Bull of the North (on the side of the Haltans).

Haltan settlements are built in the trees. The reason for dwelling within the trees is due mainly to ancient pacts with the Fair Folk. The Haltans are safe from raid and attack by the Fair Folk so long as they remain in the trees. Should they touch the ground, however, the Haltans (or visitors to Halta) become fair game and the Haltans cannot retaliate against the Fair Folk in this case. The reverse also holds true. Haltans cannot attack Fair Folk on the ground, but if one of the fae enters the trees, they are bound by Haltan law.

As a result of this pact, the Haltans have adapted over the centuries to living within the trees. A common spice, known as Monkey Tea, that is used to flavor nearly all Haltan dishes and is also drunk on a regular basis by Haltans, have given nearly every Haltan citizen, and anyone that spends a large amount of time in Halta, more flexibility than other humans and human-like beings. Their toes are more prehenstile (helping to grip tree branches and the like) and they tend to be double or triple jointed, and cases of arthritis in Halta are extremely rare. Monkey Tea is even shipped abroad, and is favored in some Nexus brothels to keep their prostitutes more nimble and flexible, capable of performing complex positions.

Layout of the Cities
Haltan cities are sculpted from both living wood and dead wood by special arboreal sorceries. Most cities contain several dozen platforms, formed by woven living tree branches and supported by ironwood (see below) or sturdy peices of dead wood trimmed from living trees. Roofs of structures are similar, being made of hundreds of living wood branches woven together. Depending on size, a living platform can hold dozens of houses, shops and businesses and often connect two or more redwoods into one large community. The living platforms are warded by magics against fire and decay.

Some of the redwood trees that communities are built on (and communities are only built on redwood trees) have hollows in the upper portions of the trees. These hollows make confortable living spaces for the rich and prosperous.

Most communities have six to a dozen different levels, with counter-weight elevators that carry citizens from one level to the next. Some communities, like Chanta, have taken a few First Age elevator tubes, taken from the ruins of one of the three known First Age city ruins, that operate by themselves.

Haltans are capable of mass producing popular books, as they print using carved wooden blocks. Most people own one or two books, and most are at least somewhat literate. The Haltans have also learned to grow and harvest a special luminescent fungus to provide lite in Haltan cities and towns. This fungus is known as a glow-pod. Specially-grown vines can be tapped to provide water for communities not built on rivers.

Travel between communities is done over huge branches, connected by wooden bridges when necessary. Because it is so difficult to ride mounts on these branches, almost all travel is done by foot. Travellers can generally get in a good 20 miles of travel per day. Close to settlements, the branches are kept mostly free of debris, but the forest is large, and travellers who are away from settlements generally have to clear off their path while travelling. In the more populated western areas of Halta, settlements are generally no more than 2 1/2 weeks from one another.

Metal is somewhat-scarce in Halta, though wood is plentiful. Many tools are made from ironwood, imported from the southern areas of Halta. This wood is magically treated to be as hard as iron or steel.

The forests of Halta are plentiful, and food is not scarce. Because the forest is so large, and food is so plentiful, there are no farms in Halta; the surrounding forest can easily provide for even a large city such as Chalta. Plants of all sorts, both mundane and magically altered, are common and less expensive in Halta than in much of the rest of Creation. Messages can even be sent by attaching them to large seeds that float on essence currents between villages.

Never touch the ground unless you want to face the wrath and devious desire of the fae. Treaties between the Fae and Haltans have secured the trees as the only zone of safety for living. There are disputed areas of open warfare outside of the protectorate of these treaties.

Beasts and Animals
Animals hold a special place in Halta, and Haltans are widely known for their pets and domesticated animals like giant wolf spiders and strix. Animals, such as strix and forest baboons, perform much of the simple manual labor in Halta. Trained animals harfest food, carry messages, stoke forge fires, clean and so on. Some animals are smarter even that trained animals, as smart as a human child, and are called san-beasts (for example, san-forest baboon or san-strix). Both mundane animals and san-beasts are considered property in Halta. Almost every Haltan has a pet, and most have several. Food animals have no san-beasts, and eating a san-beast is considered only slightly less distasteful than cannibalism.

Thanks to First Age sorcery, even more intelligent beasts, called ata-beasts (ata-forest baboon, etc) live among the Haltans. These creatures are as intelligent as the Haltans around them and can even speak and understand human speech with perfect clarity. These ata-beasts are treated as citizens and are given the same rights and priviledges in Haltan communities.

Religiously, the Haltans are very open-minded, worshipping a plethora of forest gods and not looking down upon the so-called "anathema" that are the Solar and Lunar Exalted. The Shaman-Priests of Halta expect everyone to worship at least some of the many forest gods, though ancestor cults, cults dedicated to the Celestial Exalted or even the worship of the Dragon-Blooded are permitted, but anyone who does not openly revere the gods of the forest tend to be both highly suspicious and potentially treasonous.

Common Goods
Common gods include Caltia the Eternal, Yesryk the Hawk God, animal avatars of serpents and monkyes, the local forest walkers (the most powerful of whic is Glorious Jade Branch, the god of the entire Haltan forest) and the dryads of the trees that form an intrigal part of the worshipers' homes. Most Haltans deeply love their forest, and their worship is sincere and universal.

Cities of Halta
Chanta is the capital city of Halta, and the city in which the game initially takes place. The arboreal city of Chanta is the largest city in the Haltan Republic and one of the wonders of the Threshold. In addition to being the capital of Halta, Chanta is also the center of Haltan life and cluture--it is the residence of the Haltan queen, Chaltra Evamal, and the meeting place for the Council of Nobles. Many of the finest craftsmen live here and allthough it is far from any ofHalta's borders, its location on one of the larger rivers means that it has access to imported goods from all over Creation. Chantra is also a center of Haltan military activity and the location of the Varigeth Military Academy, where Haltan commandos receive specialized training.

Chanta has a population of over a million people, and they reside in the trunks and on the branches of hundreds of huge redwoods that are all at lest 300 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter. The weathiest residents live within the naturally hollow upper portions of some of hte trees. However, most Haltans live and work on the large platforms that are either anchored to the trunk of one tree and supported by two or more branches or that stretch between several of the forest's closely spaced trees. The largest of these platforms are almost 1,000 feet across. Chanta consists of many thousands of these platforms

Other Haltan Cities of Import
Kajeth--Kajeth is located on the headwaters of the Rock River at the souther nedge of the Great Redwood Forest. Much of Kajeth sits in the branches, but the foreigners' quarter rests entirely on the ground; the treaty with the Fair Folk does not extend this far south and mortals may safely walk upon the ground. Kajeth is a trade city.

Resplendent Peak--Resplendent Peak is the northernmost Haltan settlement, and center for trade with the Haslanti, icewalkers and elk beastmen. Many visitors to Resplendent Peak arrive by air, and the city contains a mooring mast for Haslanti airboats. Like Kajeth, Resplendent Peak is a trade city.

Sal-Maneth--Sal-Maneth is a floating city, a ruin of the First Age, many of its' towers laying on the ground or still floating but twisted and ruined. Of the intact towers, nearly a third remain sealed. It is home to about 100 scholars, several madmen and damngerous beasts.

Last edited by yanamari on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:46 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Land of the East   Land of the East EmptyThu Sep 09, 2010 3:01 pm

Diving Heron --Birds traine dto dive from trees, catch and swallow and then regurgitate all but one fish.
Emerald Monkey --Small monkeys used as pets, guards and simple workers.
Flying Serpent --Arborea snakes that can fold out their ribs and glide between trees. They are mostly used as interesting, exotic pets and sometimes by performers.
Forest Baboon --Green babboons that are the most common domesticated animals in Halta. They are used as pets, hunting companions, food harvesters and other simple tasks.
Giant Bat --These bats ae large, with 5-7 foot wingspans and are used to carry messages and small packages or to gether fruit or small animals.
Giant Spider --Spiders as intelligent as dogs, they are used as hunting animals, pack beasts and guards. San-spiders are used by the infirm to move safely around town, and the military uses them as living weapons. They tend to range in size, depending on species, from 3 feet across to seven feet across.
Haltan Horse --Dwelling only on the fringes of the forests, Haltan Horses are raised mostly in the city of Kajeth and are used almost exclusively by diplomats, performers and traders.
Hatra --These creatures are the size of small dogs and can stretch out membranes in a manner similar to flying squirrels. Think really vicious prairie dogs. They are used by paranoids as bodyguards and the military as strike teams.
Strangler's Serpent --A deadly lizard ussed as guards and attack beasts by the paranoid and military. They are also sometimes used by hunters, or as assistants to blacksmiths, carpenters and the like.
Strix --Large owls that are capable of carrying up to 50 pounds, they are used as messengers and cargo transport.
Tree-Pard --Leopard-sized cats that are adapted for life in the trees. They are used as companions for scouts, hunters, commandos and traders.
Tree-Slinger --These monkey-like creatures are used as a form of entertainment, and are owned by many wealthy Haltans.

General Biome:
Birds: hawks, owls, whooping cranes, heron, vultures
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PostSubject: Re: Land of the East   Land of the East EmptyThu Sep 09, 2010 3:40 pm

The City of the Makers

Denandsor was one of the most prestigious cities of the First Age and Shogunate. While many other locales and settlements were bastions of the unrivaled craftsmen of the First Age, Denandsor was a place of artistic expression and experimentation. Many strange and wondrous things were made there, not necessarily as useful or new as other inventions, but beautiful and innovative none-the-less. The city was particularly well-known for its vast arrays of automata, crafted creatures of all shapes, sizes and uses.
Oddly enough, the sensibilities of the Age waxed and waned in such a way that during the High First Age, automatons of breathtaking beauty were most popular, while later, shortly before the Usurpation, most crafted beings were of a mechanistic, primitive mien to reflect their maker's disaffection with the old styles. Thus the most advanced and deadly of the remaining guardians of Denandsor are usually the more simplistic looking.

After the Usurpation, the City of Makers remained a hub of artifact creation and maintenance. Though nothing could rival the works of the vanquished Solar Exalted, the Terrestrials maintained their devices as best they could. Since there was very little fighting or retribution in Denandsor, the city remained one of the better-equipped in the Shogunate.

The Fall of Denandsor
Denandsor today is a place of death and sorrow. Its ruins overgrown in tangled vines, its sentries standing silent and murderous, waiting for the foolishly brave to come questing for ancient treasures. A choking dread overcomes those who visit the city, or even approach too closely. This is the legacy of the Shogunate's care of the city after the Great Contagion.

As with most highly populated areas of the Threshold, Denandsor was hit hard by the Contagion. In desperation, the daimyo of the city searched for some way to save himself and his people, eventually activating any artifact he could find that he had not already determined a use for. Luck was not with him, as he activated a devastating device, or possibly two devices in quick succession that had incompatible effects.
Nearly everyone within Denandsor went violently insane, slaying loved ones, strangers and themselves. Some sorcerer-technicians activated murderous directives for the guardians of the city, leaving the abandoned wonders to be watched over by violent, immortal machines. Only a few Dragon-Blooded escaped to tell the tale, and they shortly perished due to the Contagion.

Whatever drove all those people mad still has some lingering effect. A miasma hangs over Denandsor and extends for miles beyond its walls. A constant, unending feeling of terror assaults those who enter the area; few are capable of resisting its effects for long, and no known magic will shield an adventurer from it.

Denandsor Manse
Denandsor Manse, the heart of the city, is one of the most elegant and beautiful structures left from the First Age. It is also the source of all that makes Denandsor deadly today. In the vaults below are two chambers of particular importance. One contains the artifact intelligence that directs the murderous creations that stand vigil over the city; any soul brave enough to pierce the manse's defenses and deactivate or reprogram it would make the ruins exponentially safer.

The more interesting vault lies open and ready for plunder, occupied only by a confusing array of devices and the collapsed skeleton of the old daimyo. One of the artifacts there is the dissonance engine that disturbs the minds of those who venture into the city. Its deactivation would open the city to much safer exploration, flooding the world with forgotten devices and piles of more mundane treasure.

Last edited by yanamari on Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Land of the East   Land of the East EmptyTue Aug 30, 2011 4:27 am

Land of the East Water_Dungeon_Entrance_Concept_by_ANTIFAN_REAL

Sijan, City of Tombs

The city of Sijan is a quiet place. No festivals mar the silence save those for the dead. Around the city, the Plains of the Dead stretch for miles in every direction, filled with tombs and mausoleums. The city itself is built in shades of black, gray and white, age trapped in time, death frozen and unchanging. Graceful towers rise above low-built tombs and wide empty roads, while taverns and feast falls for the living lie deep beneath the city. Life pulses through the tunnels under Sijan, but death walks its streets and goes about its daily business.

A Brief History
Sijan is so ancient that no one knows when it was first built. Some scavenger lords and scholars of First Age history claim it already stood before the Solars ruled. When the first Solars perished, Sijan arranged their funerals. Other savants deny this and suggest that the city's inhabitants promote the myth of an "eternal Sijan" merely to increase the city's mystiqu. A few crumbling tombs outside the city walls may predate the First Age, however, including mausoleums so ancient that not even the morticians' archives record their age or who lies in them.

Sijan escaped most of the warfare that wracked the River Province through the centuries. The mortuary city remained consistently and prominently neutral, offering its services to all who could pay for them, and aid to none. Only once has a foreign army occupied Sijan, in RY 75, when the Imperial Legions posted a talon of soldiers. The Morticians' Order granted the Realm's request, so long as the garrison did nothing to interfere with the day-to-day business of the city. The garisson vanished in RY 77. Nobody is quite sure what might happen is Sijan were roused to anger and to military action...and nobody is in a hurry to find out.

(For more on history, we can chat in game).

Sijan lies between the River of Tears to the west, the Avarice River to the south and the shadowed forest called the Black Chase to the north. Two bridges across the Avarice lead to the Plains of the Dead, as the vast cemetaries of Sijan are called. Only the living may cross the Rising Bridge to the east, also called the Bridge of Mortals. Only the dead cross the Setting Bridge to the west, also called the Bridge of the Fallen. Countless hearses cross the Bridge of Mortals, as do parties of young morticians sent to cut back weeds and brush in the Plains of the Dead. The Bridge of the Fallen also sees heavy traffic, but only in the night.

The Plains of the Dead
Across the Avarice, the Plains of the Dead stretch for miles, almost to the horizon (15 miles). Enormous tombs, some the size of small towns, ride up from the earth. Some of these massive structures are built for a single hero or ruler, to honor or appease them. Other mausoleums hold the populations of towns or whole cities, or all the warriors who fell in great battles. From such huge structures, the tombs grade down to villa-sized crypts for noble houses to modest family plots. Sijan offers burial for every income.

The valley of Sijan was once musch deeper and steeper, but millennia of building and overgrowth have stacked tombs, crupts and bones on top of one another in such profusion that the valley floor has risen more than 100 feet. Expert morticians periodically descend into the labyrinthine spaces beneath the crypts to maintain these underground tombs and propitiate the buried ghosts.

The Black Chase
The Black Chase is a Shadowland, an eerie and still forest of dark hued pine and black ash that begins a mile or so north of Sijan. Sounds are oddly hushed in the Black Chase, and it is easy to get turned around or lost in these woods. The paths change and seldom cover the same ground twice. Any attempt to blaze a new trail fails, as marked trees shift to new locations.

Two roads pass through the Black Chase. One follows the eastern shore of the River of Tears and is relatively safe, at least in the daytime. The other road which few mortals willing travel, leads deep into the heart of the forest. If anyone alive knows what lies at the end of the second road, they do not speak of it. Stories tell of those who strayed from the river and road and wandered so deep into the Black Chase that they could no longer see Sija or the River of Tears. The details change with each telling, but all such stories agree that those who enter the forest seldom return.

Ghosts sometimes manage to make their way from the Underworld and through the shadowland to reach the world of the living. Some immediately journey to Sijan, while others have business elsewhere.

Sijan in the Underworld
The Underworld's version os Sijan rises in terrifying glory. Much as in the living world, the living and the dead mingle in the ghostly city. In fact, the chief difference between them in the Underworld's Sijan is larger and grander, while its walls and towers rise much higher.

The Observances rule the Sijan of the Underworld, just as they do the living city. In fact, the living Observances serve their dead elders: careers in the Observances do not truly begin until after death. Through the Deadspeakers, Sijanese ghosts contact their living associates, pass along messages, request offerings and involve themselves in living politics.

The dead throng in Sijan of the Underworld-- not just the ghosts of those buried in Sijan, but immigrants from other parts of the Underworld. The ghosts buy and sell offerings and looted jade, while desperate ghosts from across Creation pay vast sums of funerary gold to have messages carried to the living Observances.

In addition, Sijan contains several shadowlands entirely free of Deathlord influence. The largest is, of course, the Black Chase. Ghosts with enough courage and strength can pass into the living world through the eldritch forest. The labyrinth of catacombs and long-biried vaults that spreads out and down from Sijan also contain a number of tiny shadowlands - single chambers where the worlds of the living and dead intersect.

~ FOR MORE INFO, RP it in game, or ask Lori. ~

Can we visit?
The living are most welcome in Sijan. Daily, the city is extremely busy. Families come with their recent dead to lay them to rest. Some to visit their departed dead on a yearly anniversary. Others to make arrangements for their deaths in the future, sometimes as part of a dowry (very common). There are many fees for just about anything.

When you visit, you are placed in taverns and inns located at the very center of the city. Visitors are given a guide and strict rules. Those who break them, are not heard from again.
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