Tales of Tolara
Places of Interest
“Forget about the map! Just think Bear; roads unmarked by foot or hoof, ways unspoken since the dawn of time. We may be the first to-.”
“We’re lost, aren’t we Abel?”
-Minstrel Abel and Bear
The Emperor’s Domain, the link between worlds, the seat of reality. The last remnant of Aeon floats suspended above the wreckage of the golden city. The sun reflects the crumbling remains below to make it seem like the Spire is amidst a molten pool of gold. It is connected to the rest of the continent by a The Emperor’s Highway. The road is untouched, the magic used to forge the connective tissue of the Empire still holding despite all that has changed.
The Spire stands tall, grey and imposing as ever. Within however, a great change has been affected by the influence of the Bound One. The Spire is now the home to the Order of Tension, those who keep the world stitched and whole. It has, as such, become a place of worship and meditation. The Golden Academy that once resided nearby has moved into the ground floor of the Spire, and its vast stores of knowledge are open to all who make the journey. Finally, at long last, this is a place of peace.
The Ferryman’s Commonwealth
What began as a business venture between three merchants has become one of the strongest coalition of nations within the Empire. The Commonwealth comprises of three major nations, Unar, Ren Amar, and Tol’amas, each controlling one side of the passageway across the Eiltha Lake. Through some rather clever negotiation and business practices, these three nations now have a monopoly on the travel along the banks of the lake. In fact, the Ferry is the only ship sanctioned by the Emperor to travel Eiltha safely. The Commonwealth, as a result, is a stirring spoon to the Imperial economy, always keeping the money flowing. Besides the mercantile business, the majority of the lower class within the Commonwealth are fishermen or swamp farmers.
While the rest of the former Empire is crumbling around it, the Commonwealth is experiencing an economic boom unlike any in its history. Reclamation means supplies, medicine, and most importantly, accurate and effective trade routes; and the Ferryman’s Commonwealth is more than happy to oblige. It has become home to the best scientists and sculptors the world has to offer.
A collection of farmlands and untamed wilds between Eiltha Lake and the Heavenstooth Mountains, Lorond’s Pass, more commonly known throughout the Empire as Folly, is a little liked, little traveled part of the Empire. It is very loosely controlled by traveling magistrates, wardens, and tax collectors who resolve the minor disputes of the small groupings of hamlets, villages, and towns that are scattered in this area. Despite all this, due to the Winespring river passing through the center of this area, farming and fishing is remarkably prosperous here. The majority of tobac and sugar cane comes from here. The people are simple, farming folk, and they’ll never admit to anything otherwise. However, legend says that many heroes were born here like Oliver the Mad.
These ancient mountains live up to their name spectacularly by seeming like a giant maw from as far away as Folly. Even in Unar one can make out the massive range on a day with good weather (if Unar could ever be said to have good weather). One peak in particular, Heavenstooth itself, reaches even past the clouds. These mountains are the eternal dwellings of the dwarves and, legend has it, the Drugar or Deep Fei. Drow as well make much of their homes in the darkest places beneath the halls of stone. There are several nastier dwellers of the Toothrange and there are some deep places within the mountains that not even the dwarves dare delve. It is the largest ore resource for the Empire, providing the Emperor with near limitless supplies of minerals and gemstones. The Miner King and the Emperor therefore have a very good working relationship. This being, he provides ore, and the Emperor doesn’t enslave his people. Very polite about the whole thing too.
The great Wall. The final bastion. Created by Demi magic beyond the powers of even the greatest mage, Lorowal stands as a testament to those lost all those hundreds of years ago. Extending from the Sea of Eyes to Heavenstooth itself, Lorowal and those who guard it serve as the greatest and strongest defender against the blight of the Zexek desert and the fabled Dread Gate. Within this massive wall dwells the nation of Bastil which extends many miles in either direction inside its magical fortress.
The only nation to not succumb to the Emperor’s grand design, Erronade was the original home of the Halflings and they still dwell within their hill-homes in the area. Deemed unimportant by the Emperor, Erronade has been left alone for the most part and as such has become a foster home for those who no longer want to live under the “crushing rule of the Tyrant”. Any who live here that were once citizens of the Empire may never return to their home nation under penalty of immediate execution. As such, Erronade is a veritable melting pot of cultures and races, all living in relative harmony.
The Gnomish city has seen a great expansion in recent years. With newcomers fleeing from the ruins of the Empire by the day, Erronade had to expand to maintain its influx of travelers… and it did with zeal. Now the capital of a growing nation, Erronade has became a center for technology that eschews the thaumaturgical, and as such one may find inventions there that cannot be found anywhere else. As a nation, it has begun to mine away at the roots of Heavenstooth and the weakened Lorowal that is nearby its borders. What its citizens cannot find within the borders of Erronade, they obtain through a trade pact with the Mercantile Lords of the Commonwealth.
The farmlands to the south are fairly unremarkable, miles upon miles of farms, orchards, and many, many goats and cows. However, what separates this section of the Empire from Folly is Cross, the cultural capital of the Empire. Besides that though, not much goes on here. Very good view of the Crystalseed Forest though.
One of the wealthiest nations in the land, in part due to controlling the largest sea port in all of Tolara, Clarion is a nation that is largely centered around its capital of the same name. The economy of the nation is largely top heavy, with the top one percent controlling eighty percent of all the wealth in the nation. The Maesters that rule beneath the Lord-Knight appointed by the Emperor are constantly in conflict with each other, vying for petty gains. The peasants beneath the nobility mainly live in poverty, tradesmen and successful merchants mainly succeeding in living a modestly affluent lifestyle. Those living outside of the capital are mainly grain and olive farmers, a large part of the nation’s wealth coming from selling the oil to other nations. While the majority of the peasantry living outside the capital are human, within the capital the races are more mixed than most cities.
A vast wasteland, the harshest environment known to mankind, a treasure-hunter’s sandbox. Located in the former Aven’dorano homeland, the Zexek desert is all that remains of the Immortal Elves’ civilization. And what does remain is ash, sand, and a nearly limitless amount of old magic if one looks hard enough. The treasure has led many creatures to take up residence here despite the climate. Of the desert’s few permanent sapient races are the Ssarians and their Efreet overlords. Their warrens can be found scattered throughout the desert and hunting parties are common. A warning, unless you are a merchant, a bard, or on official business, expect no help or kindness from the Ssarians you meet. They’re very particular.
The genies are back in their bottles. The cruel Efreet that enslaved and eugenically altered the Ssarian race has been overthrown by their “creations”. The Ssarian clans have now overtaken the city. Slavers from the Guild of Scattered Blossoms are in the process of being expunged, and an artistic and magical renaissance is in full bloom. There is a problem however, the Ssarian clans cannot agree to a new form of government. There is an uneasy peace for now, but eventually, especially with pressures from raiding parties outside and the Wallguard knocking on the gates, the City of Glass seems sure to shatter under the pressure.
So much has changed for the curators of the Crystalseed Forest, and yet so little has changed besides. Rejoined with avatars of their gods, the Crystalseed Elfen have found new purpose in life and have begun to reconnect with their roots, if you’ll pardon the expression. They have always been the most friendly of the Elfish clans, but now they are sharing lore and music with those around them. They, who so carefully guarded their panacea, are now giving life to the world in a whole new way amidst the cataclysm. As for the Crystalseed itself, it is flourishing, the forest expanding out to the West inexorably; a fact not unnoticed by the barbarian tribes.
The ancient Aven’Dorano city has found itself the home for those displaced by the conflict within the City of Glass to the West, deserters from the East, and sympathetic and curious Aven’Cumulae from the North. A cosmopolitan society has arisen in Mas’rosa, with cultures and prejudices melting away. The city itself has undergone a similar transformation, its five-pronged structure serving to segregate not peoples, but academic, artistic, and magical disciplines. In the center of the city, the core lies dormant and the city unpowered. But it is only a matter of time.
In the past ten years a new saying has crept its way into common parlance: “every cloud may have a silver lining”. This fearful idiom warns against the Aven’Cumulae and their flying city: Maxima. Not content with resting in their mountain homes for eternity, the Aven’Cumulae have come to take the magic of the world for themselves to regain their former glory. In their cloud ships, the Cloud Elves seek out those with magic in their blood along with those of rare Elfen ancestry, and abduct them; the younger the better.
The Rose Isles
Very little is known about the archipelago located to the west of the Zexek desert. This is true for mainly two reasons. One, the desert is nearly impassable unless you’re a Ssarian or some other native dweller of Zexek and those who could cross have no desire to make the journey by ship which would be required afterwords. Two, those who have made the journey despite the odds, dangers, and warnings have either never returned or come back stark raving mad. Weather seems nice though.