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Empyrium2

Map of the Empyrium.

The Empyrium is the home of the Arkn race in Universe X. It is one of the two largest Sub-Realms within the Lathrym, and consists of four regions and an independent kingdom, each with its own capital and ruler. The sub-realm as a whole is overseen by the Arkn Eldric.

Locations

The Empyrium is divided into four regions: Distalia, Mistria, Shallus, and Destrus. Alongside this is the independent monarchy of Avantas'tol, which lies on the border of Distalia and Mistria. The regions vary in size, and all spread to the edge of the sub-realm before dropping off into the Silulis. Each region has its own unique geographies and ecosystems, right down to the creatures that live in it.

Each region is overseen by a Thani, who governs from a personal castle-based city within their region. The one exception is Avantas'tol, which has negotiated with the Eldric to remain an independent traditional monarchy. Armies led by the Thani tend to be present as guards throughout the region, stationed in each of the hold cities (with at least one hundred soldiers per city). While the Eldric allegedly has no public army, legend tells of a private king's guard: the Army of Nothing, the ranks of which are filled with highly-skilled, nameless Arkn.

Distalia

Distalia is a region in the northwest of the Empyrium. Because it is downwind of Destrus, the soil of this region is rich in ethri from past volcanic eruptions, making it extremely fertile. Most of the region is blanketed in ethri-absorbent, tree-like plants known as aela, which hide away many settlements (some of which are unmarked) and a variety of flora and fauna. It is the hub of food and lumber production in the Empyrium. The region is renowned for Fab'rasi worship, as well as its Arknza feast day observations.

Settlements

  • Vinaya: The largest hold city in the Empyrium, boasting just around 1,005,000 residents. It is located mainly within the tallest aelas of Distalia, with the structures built in, around, and atop the giant plants (with aerial bridges connecting certain portions together); only the farming, manufacturing, and labor districts (with their low-income housing) are located on the ground. The city is known for its college, as well as its large Fab'rasi temple, which hosts worshipers from all over the region. Heliocus rules over Distalia from her floating castle, Distran, which floats high above Vinaya (using specially designed sigils as boosters).
  • Sivrica: The second-largest city in the region. Home to about 415,000 residents, its structures are located both on the ground and in the aela. It boasts a rather large marketplace, a post office, a hospital, a theatre, a blacksmith, and a tanner (among other things). Where the city meets the Shallus, it boasts a harbor with a number of fishing piers, as well as a boat motor repair shop and supplies shop. The western border has a large farming district, with several independently owned farms.
  • Katsure: A village which grew out of a former logging camp. With just over 2,300 residents, it has a small supplies store, small Fab'rasi temple, and a repair shop. Recently, it has also acquired a pub.
  • Touve: A mining city with around 92,360 residents. It has a marketplace, a small hospital, a blacksmith, a jeweler, a tanner, several taverns, and a theatre.
  • Avrigai: A town with 13,400 residents. Boasts a marketplace, a multi-purpose temple, a doctor's office, a post office, a tanner, and a blacksmith. Surrounded by a number of ground-dwelling produce farmers.

Avantas'tol

Avantas'tol is an independent monarchy located on the forested, mountainous border of Distalia and Mistria. Home to just under 2,000,000 citizens, it is known for its beautiful architecture. One of the most glorious examples is the grand temple of El'lepagi, which has become one of the main draws of the city for tourists and residents alike.

Avantas'tol is the home of the Irinith family. Sevar'khai Elistros Irinith is the current Indazari; he lives in the Avantas'thern, a citadel at the city's center. The castle is heavily fortified, with its fortifications disguised under its stained glass windows.

Mistria

Mistria is a very mountainous region located to the East of Distalia. It is populated by many Arkn villages and towns, many of which are built on (an, in some cases, into) the sides of the mountains. The region is home to the largest dormant ethric volcano, Mortavrest, and a number of aela forests (due to past volcanic eruptions). It sustains a number of farms, which thrive in the ethri-rich soil.

Settlements

  • Windecayn: The region's third-largest hold city, boasting roughly 310,000 residents. It is built within the walls of Mortavest, and surrounded by aela forests. Most of its technology is powered by ethric steam. The city features a marketplace, an armory, a hospital, a theatre, a large marketplace, a tanner, a blacksmith, and a jeweler. It is surrounded by (and serves) several small farming communities. The Thani Maalficious rules over Mistria from Castle Volca, which is located within the super-heated core of Mortavrest. The castle is protected by sigils, which keep the heat from destroying the building and its inhabitants.
  • Takesuro: A mining town of about 15,000 citizens, built into the side of one of the great mountains. It has a blacksmith, a marketplace, a public school, a post office, a doctor's office, and a jeweler. It is surrounded by several farms, and has a supply line through the mountain connecting it to Windecayn.
  • Neoel: A mining city with around 100,600 residents. Built at the base of one of the great mountains between two mines, it includes a hospital, two public schools, a metalsmith, a tanner, a marketplace, a theatre, and several jewelers. It is surrounded by a number of farms.
  • Callum: A small city located at the base (and across the mountains) of Mistria. Home to around 87,000 Arkn, it has a small hospital, a blacksmith, a marketplace, a jeweler, a public school, and a tavern. The mountainside buildings are connected through (and sometimes built upon) great bridges. The ground-dwelling sections contain a great many Relkpo farms.
  • Alish: A village of 3,000 Arkn, nestled in between two mountain ranges. It includes a marketplace, a doctor's office, a post office, and a tanner.

Shallus

Shallus (often referred to as "The Shallus") is a shallow, oceanic region surrounding the eastern side of Mistria, located above Distalia. The "ocean" itself is made of a dark, thick liquid known as aebys; the beaches (particularly those in the southernmost part of the region) are moist with ethric runoff from Mortavrest. Many creatures live in the aebys, and the ocean is the source of much of the food in the region. Most of the settlements in the region are located on, or in, the aebys.

Nevilith, the Thani of the region, dwells within Castle Bellnacht. Strangely, the castle is located not within the region's hold city, but in a crater in the deepest part of the Shallus. The structure extends above the surface of the aebys, providing an open-air entrance; its walls are built with rethryc crystal alloy, which maintains integrity of strength while emitting a glow (which helps illuminates the submerged portion of the castle).

Settlements

  • Hazedya'kuro: The second-largest hold in the Empyrium, with around 615,900 residents. Located on the southern shores of the Shallus, it is the hub of culture and art (as well as Fab'rasi worship) in the region.
  • Gabeg: A fishing village which floats above the Shallus. Home to a mere 250 residents, it has a post office, a pub, and a small boat repair shop.
  • Parvus: A small city with around 85,000 residents. It is located next to the surface entrance of Bellnacht, floating over the crater on Ethric boosters. Home to an armory (which also serves Hazedya'kuro), a business district (with a marketplace), a small hospital, a public school, a blacksmith, a tanner, several repair shops, and a theatre.
  • Levris: A large town of around 36,800 residents, located on both an island on the Shallus and the aebys itself (floating on ethric boosters). Includes an armory, a post office, a blacksmith, a tanner, and a public school.

Destrus

Destrus is a former section of Distalia. Once covered in aela forests, it is now reduced to a wasteland due to Dekn invasions and past volcanic eruptions. Destrus is located south of Distalia and Mistria, and to the west of the Shallus. The region is walled off by uniquely gigantic ethric crystals, sigiled with an energy field (similar to an EMP blast) that resonates throughout Destrus, disabling any potentially active ethric tech from Dekn invaders. The wild beasts here tend to be more fearsome and ravenous. Additionally, there is the threat of the Scarred Marauders.

While no cities are located in the region (aside from the ruins of the past), the Eldric, Eldrici Lazros, has a great fortress here. He dwells within a castle that borders Destrus. The castle is made entirely of metallic alloys, which allow the pulse from the Wall of Ethric to pass over without any interference to the magic items within. The castle is known as Diamus to the Arkn, and is rumored to be guarded by the highly-trained Army of Nothing.

Flora and Fauna

The Empyrium is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Some of it evolved organically (albeit rather quickly), while others evolved from specimens that survived The Cataclysm.

Plants

  • Aela: A tall, sturdy, tree-like plant. It provides a spongy, yet sturdy wood substitute (which is used as a building material, and was used by early Arkn to construct plate armor and shields); it also yields an edible fruit (known as aela fruit), which may contain a minor ethric boost. Aela are most common in Distalia, where they blanket the region in forests; however, they can be found growing sporadically throughout the realm, wherever the soil is rich in Ethri.
  • Caweed: A small, low-growing plant that yields edible flowers. Both the leaves and the flowers are used in salads; the flowers are sweet (eaten raw), while the rest of the plant is terribly bitter unless boiled. Native to Distalia, they can be found growing throughout the Empyrium.
  • Rauo: Another tree-like plant, smaller and less sturdy than aela. It yields softer, more pliable wood, which is commonly used to make bows and arrows. It also produces edible, nut-like seeds; easily cracked open by hand, these nuts have a savory meat, and a substantial yield for their size.
  • Relkpo: A low-lying plant that produces hairy, brown, clustered pods, which yield edible seeds. The pods are very hard, and must be softened (by soaking) or cracked open. The seeds are large, starchy kernels, and are used much like corn (being boiled, baked, mashed into a paste, or ground into flour for bread). The empty pods yield coarse fibers, which are often woven into rope, fabric, and items like baskets.
  • Viecal: A wall-crawling weed. The leaves are edible, and cause a numbing effect (like mint). Often eaten raw as a sweet treat, this plant was historically used in a processed form as a pain killer.

Beastiary

  • Alagis'ra: Giant sand worm creatures that live in Destrus. They look like massive armored worms with a multi-segmented mouth and no eyes. They see via vibrations in the earth. Their stomachs are bigger than entire cities, and they have three main hearts; one is located in the head, one is surrounded by the stomach, and one is near the tail end of it. They are slightly intelligent, and can be tamed to be ridden. They eat structures and dead corpses, as well as living entities.
  • Banka: Highly intelligent creatures that live on the Shallus shore. They are herbivores, consuming the herbs and vegetation on the shores of Shallus. Enormous, floating beings, they often have vegetation growing on their scaled bodies, and can grow to be the size of full islands, causing them to look like turtles with islands on their backs. They reproduce very rarely. They have two arms and legs that curl down, and an innate connection to the Ethric force, which enables them to float gently. They can channel huge amounts of Ethric energy, but only do so to float, as they hold a reservoir of Aebys inside of them. This reservoir must be refilled once every three decades or so, else they topple to the ground and die.
  • Cavaca: Bird-like herbivore creatures that come from the Silulis and have spread out all over the Empyrium. They have extremely wide frames and massive wings, but smaller bodies, resembling stingrays somewhat. They have multiple eyes covering their whole body, and 360° vision. They have two stomachs, with one huge combined brain/heart that they cannot live without. Their migration is the only area in which they show any intelligence, as they are extremely punctual at knowing when and how to migrate. They are difficult to kill; the Arkn meal known as cavaloca is made from their flesh.
  • Vetterga: Mistria-dwelling beasts that evolved from the Cavaca to live on the ground. They feed on the rocks from the mountains, and have curved blades on their “wings” so as to slice rock off. Aside from having legs (which Cavacas lack), they look much the same as the average Cavaca. They have stomachs that can melt rock into lava for digestion, as well as the ability to see in the dark. Their legs have extremely sharp claws, and they can tuck in their wings to burrow into the rock and eat more. However, they are unintelligent and unruly, and cannot be trained to tunnel through rock.