Ihn Gallad

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Ihn Gallad
Plane Names Ihn Gallad
Author Yanmato1
Major Natives
(?)
Notable Visitors
Renn Winmoore
Availability
Open
Link to Full Guide

Ihn Gallad is a flat world, partially unexplored, with a populated area stretching about 153,000 kilometers from east to west. The level of technology is pre-industrial. Feats such as the aqueduct and comprehensive medicine are in place, but steam power is not. Magic is alive and well, and about 10% of the population practices it in some form.

Ihn Gallad is populated by 8 civilized races, 6 of which form their own homogeneous governments. Humans are split into two separate societies, and cinders have no need for government. The people of Ihn Gallad have a recorded history of nearly 1,000 years (Over 1300 years in Earth time). This history has resulted in each race having its own distinct culture and heritage.

Setting For

IF YOU INCLUDE THIS SECTION MAKE SURE TO ADD A CORRESPONDING "STORIES OF" SECTION TO THE ARCHIVES

Ihn Gallad appears briefly in:

The Dead City (Wiki Page for this story)

Plane Information

Sentient Races

8 different intelligent forms of life populate Ihn Gallad, including the familiar human race.

Humans

Humans are the most populous race of Ihn Gallad, populating the central plains area in greatest concentration. Humans have a lifespan of 50-60 years.

Humans are a superstitious people with a tight-knit but relatively open culture. They are one of the most outward reaching races of Ihn Gallad, boasting amicable relations with Flamekin, Aven, Elven, and Vedalken societies. Their enduring nature and omnivorous diet lend them to agriculture, hunting, and fishing- trades that contribute greatly to the humans’ sense of identity.

A majority of humans practice a monotheistic religion called Tartanism, which teaches that souls are generated in sentient beings through life experience and, in death, detach themselves from the body float above the sky into a second world/being known as the Tarte Dium. Some northern practicers of Tartanism ( known as “Tartans” ) separate themselves from society and live in the high peaks of the Cilian Mountains to be closer to their Tarte Dium.

Unlike their neighbors, human leadership is divided between the guidance of the Notarade family and the rule of Valhertia.

Flamekin

The Flamekin are a semi-magical race generally populating the mountainous northeastern region of Ihn Gallad. Flamekin stand 5 to 6 feet tall, with smooth, stonelike skin and magically generated flames burning from the backs of their heads down to their shoulders and around their wrists. This is naturally a cool, smokeless, and nonconsuming fire, but it can be made to burn hot at will. In fact, some Flamekin train themselves to expel hot flames from their bodies as part of a martial art called Sho Cho. Because of their nature, flamekin are not harmed or even made uncomfortable by fire or very intense heat. They do, however, avoid water, and rightly so. A flamekin’s fires can be temporarily put out by excess moisture, and such conditions can cause discomfort, weakness, and sometimes, even death. Flamekin have a lifespan of 60–70 years.

The flamekin are passionate and sometimes quick to act and judge, but always nonviolent unless their adamant values are crossed or their way of life threatened. Flamekin usually hold themselves and others to a very sparse but strict moral code of respect for one’s peers and a live-and-let-live philosophy. By nature, flamekin require very little food and water.

Flamekin have a long history of oppression at the hands of vedalken and elves, bringing about their fierce advocacy of freedom, and many will defend their homeland to the death. Flamekin are also a very spiritual people, and often make long pilgrimages of personal enlightenment as a sort of right of passage.

Elves

Elves generally stay on the vast wooded island Sealeaf, off the southern coast of the mainland. Elves have a lifespan of 120–140 years.

Some would call the Elves prejudiced. Others would call them isolationists. Few outsiders have seen Sealeaf beyond the northern port city of Halfleaf, but it’s well enough known how strict the elves are in keeping the natural environment untarnished and undisturbed. It is said the elves live in huts made from gathered wood hanging off of massive redwood trees, careful to never over-harvest or over-hunt any living being or upset the existing balance.

The scorn the elves express toward outside races is well known across Ihn Gallad, and has led them so far in the past as to enslave the Flamekin and to try to invade the Nezumi wetlands to the east.

Leonin

The leonin are a very reclusive race inhabiting the distant islands south of Sealeaf. Leonin are carnivores. Strong and quick, leonin are natural acrobats with a stealthy disposition. Leonin have a lifespan of 40-50 years.

Outsiders know little about leonin culture, but they are known to be proud of their feline roots, and it shows. Much like their presumed ancestors (It’s unconfirmed whether the leonin descended from cats or if their origin is magical in nature), they are reclusive, aloof, and have a keen predatory instinct. They have a proud hunting tradition, often stalking and killing their prey with nothing more than their bare hands.

In addition to the Galladic Tongue, leonin speak a unique language called Sh’ia: a songlike language utilizing rhythm and timber in addition to phonics.

Aven

Aven, also known as “bird people,” have a cultural center in the vast city of Ava, but a majority of aven wander Ihn Gallad without tether or home. Almost all adult aven can fly, but hatchlings and children cannot. An aven’s first flight marks their passage into adulthood and the anniversary of this accomplishment is celebrated instead of an aven’s birth or hatching. An aven’s birdlike face, featuring small black eyes and stiff beaks, hinders most forms of facial expression. This makes the prospect of reading an aven’s emotions exceedingly difficult, which brings about most of the avens’ reputation for being mysterious and enigmatic. Aven have a lifespan of 60–70 years.

Aven enjoy a rich and vibrant culture. An aven’s soul is said to be created in a higher plane known as Aria, planted in Ihn Gallad at their hatching; that this place is their home. Aven say that one is in touch with Aria as long as one is moving from place to place. But these vague spiritual ideas are difficult to grasp. As such, traditional aven religion has fallen out of fashion in recent generations, and because of this, the central city of Ava has grown with citizens who choose to live in one place more and more rapidly.

Nezumi

The nezumi, sometimes called ratfolk, reside in the far eastern regions of Ihn Gallad. Their hardy constitutions make them exceedingly resilient and resistant to disease. They feel most at home in the dark and gloomy wetlands of Ihn Gallad, which contributes to their ill-deserved reputation for being dirty, spiteful, etc. Nezumi have a lifespan of 100–120 years.

Nezumi generally have a poor reputation among the other peoples of Ihn Gallad. Much like their tiny brethren, they are seen as filthy and diseased. But again, much like their brethren, they are actually very intelligent, and friendly to those who approach with an open mind. Nezumi have a very distinctive culture- exotic, as some say. Nezumi have a disciplined military tradition, and a unique martial art centered on swordplay known as Kentiro. They follow a down-to-earth atheistic belief system involving shamanism and bone reading: the practice of divining things like one’s future by snapping bones in half and studying the break pattern.

Though the environment in which they live is admittedly unpleasant to the other races, the nezumi are a kind and peaceful people.

In addition to the Galladic Tongue, nezumi speak a percussive language called Kamitô.

Cinders

Cinders are violent and malicious beings who inhabit the dark, distant edges of the world, said to be a dark mirror image of the flamekin. Unlike the flamekin, a cinder’s fires are always hot and produce a great deal of smoke. Cinders do not have an expected lifespan; they simply live on indefinitely- some question whether cinders are even alive.

Cinders have little culture other than a tradition of spite. They live only in dark, unhappy places in the far ends of Ihn Gallad, where the trees grow tall, twisted and leafless and the sun is blocked out by black stormclouds- always rumbling in the distance. These dark places are exceedingly dangerous to outsiders; nameless horrors lurk in the shadows and any living thing that doesn’t keep its eyes peeled ends up maimed or eaten. Cinders often wander the edges of these territories, attacking and murdering other living things on sight. There is little explanation as to why they do this other than that they seem to enjoy the infliction of pain. Occasionally, cinders form warbands and march far into places where the sun shines, under the cover of night. Cinders, though not evidently harmed by the sun, will go to great lengths to avoid its light.

Though they generally refuse any and all attempts at meaningful communication with other races, cinders do speak in the Galladic Tongue as well as a harsh cacophonous language called Karstchall.

Vedalken

The vedalken are a reclusive, mysterious people who inhabit the frozen western reaches of Ihn Gallad. Vedalken stand about 6 feet tall with Despite being relatively weak of limb, vedalken are highly intelligent. Vedalken have a lifespan of 80–100 years.

The vedalken are a secretive people, devoting much of their time to scholarly pursuits: historical research, chemical and physical science, the arcane arts, and so on. Though they reveal little about their own lives, vedalken believe in the sharing of knowledge and are known to share all their discoveries with the rest of the world. At least, all their discoveries as far as the other races know.

Vedalken live straight, cold, efficient lives. They value intellect and reason above all things, and are often seen as cold and unfeeling for it: a judgment not too far off base. They are rarely seen outside their tall cities- despite the fact that vedalken generally ignore matters of art and beauty, their architecture is said to be the most beautiful in the world. Travelers come from all over Ihn Gallad to see the intricate filigree of the Spires of Des.

Significant Flora and Fauna

A majority of the wildlife in Ihn Gallad is mundane- no different from what you’d find anywhere else. Deer, trees, wildflowers, grasshoppers, lions, tigers, bears, etc. The list below is of the not-so-mundane life in Ihn Gallad that you might not find in your own backyard.

Blood Pitchers

Blood pitchers are named for the red fluids, once thought to be the blood of their prey, filling the tall, pitcher-like bodies of the plant. Blood Pitchers are carnivorous plants found in the Cilian Forest, the Nezugawa Forest, and the more heavily wooded areas between. The plants’ bodies consist mostly of a tall cup of sweet red fluids, called a pitcher.

Unlucky woodland animals happen upon the sweet fluids and draw near, and the pitcher tightens over them, smothering and drowning the prey. The fluids inside are digestive in nature, and through them, the prey is absorbed into the plant. This prey could be anything, from flies and other insects to rabbits or songbirds to people, depending on the plant itself. Blood Pitchers continue to grow for their entire lives, simply growing larger and larger, gathering bigger and bigger prey as they do.

The plant itself is very useful to civilized races: the hardy, waterproof flesh of the pitcher can be cut away to make everything from umbrellas to light armor. The “blood,” that is, the digestive fluids, is very corrosive, and finds a variety of uses from weapons to medicine.

Drakes

Drakes inhabit the Cilian Mountains and the Baraul Mountains further north and have an expected lifespan of 20-25 years. Drakes can usually be found brooding in the air, circling their vast subterranean nests, or “lairs,” or hunting large birds and other animals to satisfy their carnivorous diet. While they generally avoid civilization, drakes have been known to stalk and kill human and aven travelers. Drakes are opportunistic feeders, and will eat anything if they think they can get away with it.

Vedalken and humans have been known to domesticate drakes in the past. Wizards often keep drakes as familiars. In fact, in many northern vedalken cities, drakes can be seen circling in the sky, waiting on standby for their absent masters.

Frall

Frall is a low-growing shrub found in the deserts of Ihn Gallad. It’s a hardy, biennial shrub with narrow, spiny leaves and small red flowers that bloom from First Flower to Last Lark. The plant’s roots, when ground into a powder and properly treated, can be burned; its smoke is a potent hallucinogen to most races. Before considering this dangerous use, keep in mind that if handled improperly, frall can become a deadly poison, and outside of the Aven Mountains, its use is generally scorned, if not forbidden.

Gadarri

Gadarri are herbivorous mammals found grazing in the rolling plains of Valhertia. A Gadarr stands about five feet high on six legs ending in split hooves. Gadarri have no eyes and rely entirely on their exceptional hearing, using their long drooping ears and a constant inaudible hum, unique to each Gadarr, to perceive the world around them. Vedalken suspect gadarri also sense and interpret all vibrations and tremors, including footsteps and even wind patterns.

Many Valhertians raise and ride Gadarri alongside horses. Gadarri can direct their sonar forward to “look” much farther ahead than other animals, and can gallop just as fast as any other steed.

Leviathans

Leviathans are exceedingly rare sea creatures, found in the southern ocean and in the Baraul Sea. Leviathans are gigantic plate-shelled crustaceans, often more than a thousand feet long, with at least four large lobster claws and squid-like tendrils, which seem to come from their mouths. Seafarers have made very rare, very sparse observations of these undersea titans, so very little else is known about their appearance, behavior, or diet. It is believed Leviathans spend most of their time very deep underwater, at the sea floor.

Spiders

Spiders in Ihn Gallad come in a vast array of sizes. There are the tiny spiders that spin webs to snare insects, found all over the world. There are spiders the size of your splayed hand, which hunt down mice and even birds. Then, there are the spiders of the Nezugawa Forest.

These spiders are as tall as a man, with a legspan twice that long. They spin enormous webs across the treetops, waiting for birds of prey and other large game. Fortunately, because of their almost complacent nature and their wait-and-watch hunting behavior, these giant spiders are totally harmless as long as you don’t agitate them or fall into their web.

The nezumi have been known to gather the discarded giant webs of these spiders and fashion netting and clothing out of it. No other race knows their guarded secrets for treating the sticky substance and make it workable.

Tree People

It is said that the forests of Nezugawa are so dangerous that even the trees can steal you away. Foreigners assume this is nothing more than a saying, but those who have seen tree people know otherwise.

A “Tree Person” (for lack of a better name or thorough observation) stands about 10-15 feet tall, has a narrow woody body and multiple appendages, each with branching extremities. These extremities are usually covered in leaves. As you might assume, a tree person looks exactly like a tree when standing still. They have no apparent sensory organs, but they seem to be able to see and hear the environment around them. At any time, they can remove their root-like feet from the earth and walk for great distances. The only practice tree people have been observed in is waiting for passerby to draw near, grasping their bodies in their massive limbs, and carrying them deep into the forest. No one can say for certain what becomes of them, but no one whisked away by a Tree Person has ever been seen again.

Regions

Aven Mountains

These mountains surround the plateaus of Ava and fill an intersection between Valhertia, Brightrealm, and Nezugawa. While not as tall as the mountains of the Great Wall, the Aven Mountains are just as steep, and anyone trying to scale them without an aven escort is unlikely to succeed, or even survive. The interior is dry and rocky, but hardy shrubs such as the infamous frall plant are in abundance.

Baraul Mountains

The mountain range forms the northern boundary of the Long Valley and reaches into the Frozen Expanse. The mountains are tall and jagged, and filled with screes of massive stones made unstable by seasonal frosts and thaws that heave the stones in every direction. Drakes nest here. But despite this perpetual danger, many ancient temples to the Tarte Dium are built here.

The Baraul Sea

This is the large body of water in the northern reaches of Ihn Gallad, just over the Baraul Mountains. In all of Ihn Gallad’s history, this place is likely the least explored. Occasional vedalken expeditions have revealed nothing other than frigid sea. Icebergs and sudden, unpredictable storms of wind and snow make travel even on the southern ends of this body dangerous.

Brightrealm

The land stretching from the valley between the Cilian Mountains and the Great Wall the Aven Mountains, between Valhertia and Nezugawa, is referred to as Brightrealm. The climate is somewhat arid, with a very low annual rainfall, but it’s well suited to the hardy flamekin who call the region home. In fact, the area is populated by more flamekin than all other races combined. The ecology consists mostly of tall grasses, with only a few species of tree that cluster around the more fertile southern areas of the region. Many grazing animals travel through Brightrealm, as well as the big cats who hunt them. In the north, the region is craggy, even mountainous. Travelling through the steep valleys and rocky slopes near the Long Valley can be exceedingly difficult for any land bound traveler.

In addition, Brightrealm has a deep, rich history. Many great wars were fought on the same soil, and many heroes of legend were said to wander the same paths.

Cilian Mountains

This mountain range forms the southern border of the Long Valley. The hills are low and in the summer, wildflowers fill every crag, forming a beautiful burst of color across the landscape. Cougars stalk prey here, and unwary travelers have been known to fall prey to them on occasion.

The Cinder's Maw

The Cinder’s Maw is the opening of the Valley of Sorrow in the distant east of Nezugawa. Cinders prowl here, at the edge of the greasy dark cloud cover from their home. Anyone finding themselves here is in mortal danger, even during the day.

The Deep Sea

The Deep Sea is at the foot of the Aven Mountains, between Ava and the edge of Valhertia. This large freshwater sea is named for the remarkably deep trenches that scar the sea bed. There are some parts of coastline where the solid land simply drops away, and the water covers a cliff that appears bottomless in the murk. Local humans tell legends that the underwater fissures lead all the way down into the afterlife.

Durim

This seldom-visited plot of dry grassland sits between Gerril’s Trench and the Elven Sea. Because it forms one side of the Strait of Marl, it has been seen as a strategically valuable space in many wars of old. Ruins of old fortifications dot the landscape. The entire grassland is said to be haunted by spirits of old soldiers. In modern times, it’s unpopulated by even a single permanent settlement.

Eastern Badlands

In the distant Northeast, beyond the Great Wall, the land stretches outward as far as anyone has travelled: flat, arid, uniform, and nearly devoid of life. Near civilization in the Southwest, the climate is hot and dry, but livable. Many low-lying shrubs grow in the areas at the feet of the Great Wall, where the earth is relatively soft and moist. But at nearly a day’s travel away from the sheltering mountains, the ground turns dry and cracked, and no living creatures, plant or animal, can be seen. It is said that in the East, the badlands turn dark and cold, shifting into a dark realm where cinders lurk. As far as the residents of Ihn Gallad are concerned, the Eastern Badlands are the end of the world.

The Elven Sea

The Elven Sea is the span that separates Sealeaf from the mainland. The sea is a highway between east and west, so trade and travel are abundant through here, as is piracy. The sea is gated in on either end by the Strait of Sorcast in the west and the Strait of Marl in the east. While the latter is all but abandoned, the former is guarded and protected by a small Valhertian navy, though many are right to complain the area is as watertight as a colander. Dangerous pirates are almost never caught during travel through this passage, even unbelievably so. There are whispers of corruption in the navy.

The Frozen Expanse

In the distant Northwest, beyond the vedalken cities and the dark regions of the cinders, the cold and lifeless tundra is referred to as the Frozen Expanse. The land is much like the Eastern Badlands: flat, dead, and seemingly endless. The key difference is that the Frozen Expanse is far too cold for most civilized beings to survive for long. Close to civilization, near the Baraul Sea, the land seems caught in perpetual winter: snow gathers without melting in the summer and the water remains frozen for the entire year. Moisture in the ground never thaws, creating a unique soil condition referred to as permafrost. The ecology in these areas consists of hardy lichens and low-lying plants and even hardier mammalian fauna.

Further from the coast, the situation worsens. In the farthest charted expanses, the terrain is endless snow and ice, with absolutely nothing to serve as shelter from the constant shrieking wind. While many expeditions have been made in history to seek out life in the Badlands, the Frozen Expanse has been far less thoroughly charted.

Gerril's Trench

Named after an Elven General who sailed his men across the inlet during the elven invasion of Nezugawa.

Gestili

Gestili is the name for the island system in the distant Southwest as well as the sea around it, as only vedalken are allowed in the sea or on the land. When it was occupied by Leonin, Gestili was coated in dense rainforest, but for the last 25 years, no one has set foot in the area, save very few vedalken.

The Great Wall

This mountain range forms the northern boundary of Nezugawa and runs from Brightrealm into the Cinder’s Maw. The mountains here are the highest in all of Ihn Gallad and are so steep they form a massive wall in some places, which is where they find their namesake. These mountains have been the beginning of countless journeys- mostly by hardy flamekin- into the endless desert beyond. None have returned with word of livable land.

The Jade Sea

Named not for is greenish hue, but for the abundance of jade in the earth around it. This sea is a vital intersection of travel to and from human and vedalken territories, and boats can be seen all across the coastline at all times of the year. The abundance of trade makes the Jade Sea a popular hunting ground for pirates and smugglers.

Leonin Islands

The simply named East Island and West Island are south of Sealeaf, and, unfortunately for the leonin who call them home, the only connections to the rest of the world are through endlessly long sea travel and the elves. Because of this, leonin here live a small life, and the affairs of the mainland rarely reach their ears. The islands themselves are tropical, and a rich variety of flora and fauna live here, large and small.

The Long Valley

This valley sits between the Baraul Mountains to the north and the Cilian mountains to the south. The region is temperate, fertile, and unpopulated by Ihn Gallad’s larger predators. The region is one of the most peaceful and comfortable in the world, and humans loyal to the Notarade family make their livings here. Hunting is good, so farmland is sparse; all the better for the hunting to keep the land outside city walls wild.

Nezugawa

In the east, Nezugawa covers a wide swath of land, from the Great Wall in the north to the Red Desert on the southern coast, and running from Brightrealm clear to the Cinder’s Maw in the east, leading into the Valley of Sorrow. Partially due to its size, Nezugawa has a wide variety of terrains and climes. In the south, desert and steppe regions in the west give way to wind-battered sea-cliffs in the east. Plains and forested wetlands cover the central regions of Nezugawa, and most of the northern areas are filled by vast, partly uncharted forest and deadly wilderness. The Nezumi have called this region home since time immemorial, and it is said that every piece of earth holds the blood of Nezumi who gave their lives defending it- from elves, cinders, and the wilderness itself.

The Red Desert

This desert fills the gap between the wetlands of Nezugawa and the Aven Mountains. Named for the red soil, legend tells that the blood of thousands of elves and nezumi in the ancient war stained is permanently. Dozens of tiny poisonous creatures live here. It’s generally avoided by sentients, save the occasional aven making a long flight to or from Ava.

Sealeaf

In the South, the large island separated from Valhertia by the Elven Sea is referred to as Sealeaf. The area is one of the most vibrant and densely populated regions in Ihn Gallad; nearly the entire island is covered by trees that grow so thick, in some areas they let no light through to the ground. The southern coast of the island rises steeply from the water into the Sylvan Mountains, and from them, the Wood River divides the island into two segments and flows into the Elven Sea. The ecology of the area is vast and complex. Countless exotic species of plant and animal thrive on the island that can be found nowhere else.

Sealeaf is populated almost exclusively by Elves, who consider themselves the stewards of the island’s intricate ecosystem. Very few outsiders have seen the majesty of Sealeaf with their own eyes.

Valhertia

In the central area of Ihn Gallad, between the Elven Sea and the Jade sea, the kingdom of Valhertia stands, separate from the rest of the human race. The land itself consists of highly fertile plains and wide estuaries, as well as settlements of varying size, populated almost entirely by humans. Unlike most other governments in the world, which are little more than loose hierarchies connected by blood and tradition more than contract and law, Valhertia is an ordered nation led by something not unlike a parliamentary monarchy; the king makes decisions of law and expenditure at the approval of a small group of officials known as the Circle. Valhertia has generally maintained amiable relationships with other humans.

The Valley of Sorrow

This valley is at the eastern end of Nezugawa, and of all the dark zone where cinders emanate, this one is closest to civilization. Nezumi have been trained by hardship and necessity to defend against cinders since the beginning of recorded time because of this valley.

Zugan

This lake is fed by the river of the same name in the forests of northern Nezugawa. It gets its name from local myths of a leviathan nezumi call Zugan the Lonely One, who is said to live at the bottom of the lake. Many believe the stories are true, and some claim to have seen him, but no one knows for sure.

Greater Cities

Again, this does not list every last village and settlement in the world, but it includes the most populated and the most significant cities of every race.

Anchor

Situated in the seat of the Jade Coast, the large trading port Anchor is regarded by many as the center of human society. But despite the overtly human culture, Anchor is one of the most racially diverse cities in Ihn Gallad. One can easily find flamekin, nezumi, vedalken, and aven walking next to humans in Anchor’s busy streets. Even elves and leonin have been seen the bustling port. Many see Anchor as an example of the growing unity of the people of Ihn Gallad, and a sign of prosperous times ahead.

Anchor and the surrounding settlements are governed by the wealthy Notarade family and a democratically elected parliament.

Ans

Ans is found on an island off the coast of Ihn Gallad’s mainland to the west. The vedalken who make up the population of Ans research biology- the nature of life. The scientists of Ans have brought about advances such as the Werginston-Homes classification system, showing that many “animal races” had similar organ systems to their uncivilized counterparts, bringing up the theory that they are mutated descendants of those very animals.

Ans’s province has an exemplary government system of vedalken- an intricate network of senatorial branches and sub-branches, governed by various laws and bylaws. Few can follow the complicated law system, and many say it is intentionally confusing: to maintain peace and order by preventing people from practicing rash or questionable behavior, out of fear for unknowable repercussions.

Ava

Ava is an aven city on a tall plateau in the center of the Aven Mountains. It may seem strange for a nomadic people to establish such a large city, but the vagabonding nature of the Aven is slowly disappearing. Ava boasts very unique architecture- a sort of three-dimensional plan requiring one to fly to reach the structures carved into the living stone one the sides of the great plateau. There is a ramshackle ladder and pulley system for wingless visitors, but this system is cumbersome. Most non-aven ride from place to place, arms in the talons of professional ferrymen.

Ava is governed by a council of citizens, selected at random in cycles each year. Ava is famous for its lax rules and regulations surrounding the use of frall: a hallucinogenic drug aven are said to have a notorious taste for. Some outsiders come to Ava just to freely use it without fear of repercussions.

Blackleaf

This elven city is called Blackleaf because of the rare species of birch tree that grows in the area with black leaves. Blackleaf is a large elven city at the northern foot of the Sylvan Range on the island Sealeaf.

Des

Des is a vedalken city located far into the northwestern tundra. It is a mecca of science and engineering, as well as architecture. Most of the city consists of towers (known abroad as the Spires of Des) of heights other races find difficult- if not impossible- to achieve. The impossibly narrow and fragile towers reach hundreds of meters into the sky.

Des’s government, like most vedalken provinces, is a dizzying maze of bureaucracy few can claim to understand. Ask any citizen who’s in charge, and less than half can tell you.

Edge

Called Edge because it is said to sit at the edge of the world. Edge is located on the far side of the Great Wall mountain range, almost directly between Stoneheart and the dread citadel of Rix.

Edge was established in the year 735 as a base of operations for daring expeditions into the endless badlands beyond the Great Wall. Countless such journeys were made, but the few who returned spoke only of miles and miles of barren deserts, tundra, and “dark places.” Few venture beyond the mountains of late, but the town remains, barely staying afloat from nearby mining operations.

Fort Gestile

Fort Gestile is a fortress on the archipelago called Gestili, in the far southwestern ocean. No outsiders have ever been allowed in the fort, or even in Gestili itself, ever since the fortress was built in the year 828.

Little else is known about the fortress or the surrounding area.

Halfleaf

It is said by the elves (with some derision) that Halfleaf is a half-elven city. Located on the northern tip of the island Sealeaf, Halfleaf is somewhat different from other elven cities. The buildings are conventional wood and stone and brick, built on the barren ground. Halfleaf was built as a sort of spokescity for the elves in the year 649, to justify the staunch repulsion of outsiders from the rest of the island. It remains the city through which almost all people, goods, and information comes and goes about the island. Halfleaf is a popular spot for travelers.

An elder council of 7 ancient elves governs Halfleaf.

Nezawa

Nezawa is the capital of the nezumi nation, located in the eastern mainland, between the eastern fjords and the Aven Mountains. Nezawa is surrounded by marshlands, rife with flies and disease. This creates an appearance of dread and gloom in Nezawa, but the nezumi who live there, while they often sport stoic or morbid demeanors, live well with the nearby aven and flamekin. Ever since the Elven Wars, nezumi and flamekin have been close allies, and many flamekin residents can be found in Nezawa.

Nezawa is also home to the great Nezukaga Dojo, where nezumi (and sometimes other races) come from all over Ihn Gallad to train under the Kentiro master to become samurai. One can see hundreds of young nezumi in the courts surrounding the Dojo performing strenuous exercises in unison, training their bodies and minds to follow the way of the sword. It is said that the Nezukaga Dojo was founded by the nezumi hero after whom it was named: Nezukaga, the first samurai.

Nezawa and its surrounding settlements are ruled by Daikura- kings who choose their heirs rather than simply pass on power to their offspring. (While one’s children can be selected as heirs, it’s frowned upon.)

Pamat

Pamat is one of the largest cities in Valhertia, found straddling the Fertile River east of the Aven Mountains. A majority of Pamat sits on the giant Pamat Bridge, arching over the Fertile River at one of its widest points. Though it sits at the heart of a human nation, many aven fishermen settle in Pamat for the remarkably vast variety of freshwater fish known to swim in the river. These fish are also the reason Pamat is famous for its cuisine.

The history of Pamat says there used to be two cities on either side of the river at war, and two lovers, one in each city, would send messages to one another in tiny paper rafts across the river. On one fateful night, one of the lovers tried to take a raft across the river so they could be together, but he lost his oar on the rocks and drifted down the river toward the rocky rapids. The other lover heard news of his demise. Horrified and overcome with grief, she took her own life by throwing herself into the same rapids. In honor of their love, the cities ended their war and built a bridge across the river, and the cities became one.

Pridehome

Pridehome is a leonin city on the East Island, one of two islands south of Sealeaf. Pridehome, as its name would indicate, is the capital of the One Pride, the nation of the leonin. Very few outsiders have ever seen the great dome buildings, but not because of any isolationist mentality, but merely because of its distance from the mainland. Occasionally, ships from Sorcasti will embark on the long voyage, but such an expedition is rarely called for.

Settlements in the One Pride follow a sort of structured feudal system: each settlement is governed by a Kha- an individual or small group of leonin, elected at the time of death of the previous Kha, and each Kha answers to the island’s council of ancients: a group of incredibly old former Kha who left their smaller prides to govern in their current positions. Each council of ancients resides in the city of Pridehome.

Rix

Rix is a cinder citadel in the Valley of Sorrow, east of the Great Wall mountain range. Most cinders must come from across the badlands in the northeast, and require the three-day night at the end of each year to make the journey. However, cinders can emerge from the Valley of Sorrow year-round. Nezumi and flamekin must repel most of these attacks, which are thankfully infrequent.

In the past, great generals have led campaigns into the Valley of Sorrow, intent on sieging Rix and eradicating the universal enemy once and for all, but none have succeeded. What few armies actually make it past the dark hellscape to the citadel are confronted by a seemingly endless wave of giant cinders.

The city itself consists of towers of metal and stone, blackened and twisted, filled with swinging guillotines and flaming boilerworks, at which dozens of slaves- human, elf, nezumi, etc., toil at the hands of their burning taskmasters.

Sorcasti

Sorcasti is a human port city at the southern end of the Wide Peninsula, just across the water from the elven city Halfleaf. Sorcasti is known for being the origin of many expeditions into the unknown sea in the past. What it isn’t so well known for is its seedy underbelly of crime syndicates, frall trafficking and illegal giora fighting rings. Many believe Sorcasti to be the origin of much of the piracy throughout the Elven Sea and the Jade Sea.

Sorcasti is a part of the human nation of Valhartia, and is governed by its king.

Stoneheart

Located at the end of the lower Cilian Mountain range, Stoneheart is a great clay city populated mostly by Flamekin. To the flamekin, Stoneheart is the spiritual center of the world: the birthplace of Tirrel the Wise. Most spiritual pilgrimages begin or end here. Tartanists also have a peculiar interest in the city; they believe it is a holy place, to some extent.

A small citizens’ council governs Stoneheart.

Telvet

Telvet is the largest city on West Island- one of the islands to the south of Sealeaf. The city consists mostly of leonin families whose descendants were displaced by the incidents with the vedalken in Gestili.

Udvale

Udvale is a human city in northern Valhertia- its capital city and, famously, the first settlement to fall to Valhert the conqueror in the year 219. Udvale is a massive bustling metropolis at the foot of the great Valhertian Castle, home to the royal guard and the king of Valhertia. Swaths of farmland surround Udvale.

Brief History

Ihn Gallad calendars follow a twelve-month system, each month consisting of 42 days (Meaning a year is 504 days long). The months are:

First Sun, Last Frost, First Leaf, First Lark, First Rain, First Flower, Last Rain, Last Flower, Last Lark, Last Leaf, First Frost, and Last Sun.

Each year, the new year is marked by the first dawn after three days of uninterrupted darkness, known as the Last Night.

The following record of history is complete to the contemporary date of 879.

The Ages of Myth

In ancient times, as long as 500 years before the arrival of the vedalken, humans were subsistence hunters and farmers, settling in small groups in the wide plains around the Fertile River. Elves were a peaceful but withdrawn people, living in treetop huts in the Cilian Valley. Flamekin were nomadic, wandering the mountaintops of the Great Wall, where the climate was driest, bringing the gift of fire to their neighbors.

Leonin have little history that can be confirmed. Living on the island of modern day Sealeaf, their first contact with mainland races would be with the elves during the Night of No End, and would remain all but unknown by other races for hundreds of years afterward. No one can say what the leonin did or said before this detached, hostile contact.

Aven have been spiritual wanderers as long as anyone has ever remembered; no one can be sure of their origin.

Nezumi lived as gatherers until they developed written language. One of their first applications was epic poetry and storytelling. The fables recorded in this era remain universal classics, even in modern times.

The Dark Years

The beginning of the Ihn Gallad calendar, the year 0, is generally regarded as the year the vedalken arrived from the distant west and taught the other races to record days and nights. No one knows where the vedalken came from originally, but most think the vedalken do.

In the year 108, the period of Last Night did not end after three days. The sun did not rise for what would’ve been recorded as forty years. This time was known as the Night of No End. It was at this time that Cinders first appeared; though no one knows from where. The cinders terrorized all other races. Cities became citadels, heavily guarded fortresses, perpetually under siege by fiery demons.

Elves, who had once resided in the Long Valley in the north, migrated to the southern island-continent populated by leonin. In the process, they drove out the leonin, leaving them to live on two small islands, cut off from the world. This conflict is known as the War of Tears. Unfortunately, records of any events during the Night of No End are sparse and inaccurate. We cannot be certain exactly what happened during the War of Tears, but the outcome is clear.

It was during the Night of No End that the great flamekin hero Tirrel the Wise came into power. Tirrel was a great and powerful flamekin shaman who, in some way or another, was thought to be responsible for the return of the sun, marking the beginning of the year 109. The flamekin speak of Tirrel the Wise in the Touro, the book of flamekin legends. It is said in the Touro that no cinder could touch him from birth. This is not very likely. Most accounts of Tirrel’s life confirm that he was related somehow to the nezumi hero Nezukaga. Every race has a local tale of their exploits. Nezukaga is said to have written his own memoir, in which he described Tirrel as little more than a successful warrior shaman who defended Stoneheart for many months. But this memoir has been called into question in recent years, as the original text, written in Kamitô, was in a dialect not native to the northern forests of Nezukaga’s presumed home, and translations are not completely clear.

The most compelling argument for Tirrel’s hand in the Night’s ending is his disappearance. Tirrel the Wise was last seen in the center of Stoneheart, mere moments before the Great Dawn. The Toura’s account indicates Tirrel the Wise flung himself into the heavens, breaking through the night sky and revealing the sun behind. Some interpret this as a metaphor, and others take it literally. Nezukaga’s account indicates he merely left the area at a coincidental time. There is also a third account, by the great human general Berkholt of the Vale. His soldiers speak of cinders bursting out of the earth itself, grasping an ornately dressed flamekin and dragging him underground. It isn’t confirmed whether this flamekin was Tirrel the Wise or his brother, Sirion, who some say never actually existed. None of these accounts can be trusted entirely.

In the year 219, the human conqueror Valhert made his big appearance in the fabled Rape of Udvale on the ninth of Last Flower. Valhert was a human warrior with a band of soldiers at his side, who traveled out of the Cilian Mountains, burning villages as he went. After defeating each village, he established one of his own soldiers as governor and demanded regular tribute. Word of his terrifying exploits spread quickly. In fact, Valhert generated so much fear that even though his war band was relatively small that no one rose to oppose him before he controlled all of the Wide Peninsula.

Such a task was accomplished fairly easily. Most villages he came to simply surrendered. By the year 226, the empire of Valhertia spanned from the Cilian Mountains along the entire coast to the Fertile River, which marked the border of his military nation. At this time, Valhert’s army had expanded nearly five times over.

Humans on the other side of the river formed an alliance to defend their homes, but when their bluff was called in the Valhertian Wars (226-239), they only invited invasion. Valhertia expanded to the Aven Mountains.

On the first of Last Sun in the year 244, Valhert was publicly assassinated by his own son and second-in-command, Goriam. He assumed control of Valhertia and ceased all expansion efforts. Valhertia soon became a peaceful and prosperous empire and Goriam became its first king.

The Elven Years

In the year 489, elves began an ambitious campaign of expansion, building small sylvan settlements in wooded areas all across Ihn Gallad. They believed it was their destiny to oversee the entire world as shepherds of the natural order; an order they saw themselves at the top of. Most races saw the elves as peaceful, but the flamekin, who valued their land as their own, regarded the elves with hostility. In the year 495, the flamekin forbade elves from entering flamekin territories under threat of military action in a document called the Writ of Expulsion. The elves ignored this threat and built three settlements along the eastern side of the Cilian Mountains. In reaction, in the year 495, the flamekin burned the villages to the ground with their own bodily fires in the night, on the thirty-first of First Flower.

The elves had a vast army of disciplined soldiers who were itching for a conflict with the flamekin. As though they were expecting the torching of their villages, the elves marched on Stoneheart itself the very next morning. Flamekin fought valiantly and famously, and were known to charge straight into elven ranks fully ablaze. But this courage was not enough. Outnumbered and outclassed, it wasn’t long before flamekin were defeated. By the year 497, elven military forces occupied every flamekin settlement. Flamekin were laborers, as the elves put it. Slaves, as others said.

For 113 years, flamekin were an enslaved people, under the thumb of the elven nation, which many flamekin today refer to as “the first great strife.” Flamekin were bought and sold like cattle. But while their cities and their bodies were broken, their spirits were not. Flamekin did not work in fields because the moment their overseers looked the other way, the crops would be ablaze. They did not work in elven cities because the forests would be torched. Flamekin always rebelled, and their overseers always treated them harshly, all across the world, and because of this, were not very useful as laborers. In fact, many flamekin were simply left to rot in cells in prisons and dungeons, not working. Elves didn’t know what to do with them.

But despite their fierce natures, the elves kept their hold on the flamekin, as an example to other races who would cross them.

In the year 605, flamekin outbursts were growing more and more violent. Flamekin were actually killing their overseers and escaping, and frequently. Many fled to nearby human settlements, where the humans gave them sanctuary from the elven nation. (This did not go over well with the elves.) But most formed rebellious underground movements. These groups burned down buildings and freed flamekin in the night. In the year 607, one of the largest movements, the Tongue of Flame, marched in daylight on elf-occupied Stoneheart, and on that day, on the fortieth of Last Rain, the War of Flames began.

The other races never acted against the powerful elves outright, but no one approved of their actions, and many outsiders supported and aided the Tongue of Flame. With this help, mostly from nezumi, the flamekin quickly freed themselves from the elven yoke of oppression. Cities and elves were all burnt to ash, and in the year 610 on the sixteenth of Last Rain, the last of the flamekin were finally set free, and the elves were driven from flamekin cities in the north.

In the year 630, tensions between elves and nezumi were high. Elves, driven out of the northern valleys, had been establishing settlements on the eastern mainland, driving nezumi from their century-long homelands. On more than one occasion, elves and nezumi living on either side of low stick fences resorted to violence, ending in death. The elves saw the “rat-men” as beasts that did not know their place, and the nezumi saw the elves as interlopers who had to be stopped.

In the year 632, the elves marched once again, on the eastern nezumi territories, marking the beginning of the long Nezumi War. The response was swift and unexpected: nezumi swordsmen, or samurai, were highly disciplined and unmatched in their skill, and it was a common sight on the battlefield for one samurai to face 4 or more elven soldiers at once. And while this edge in training was a great advantage, the nezumi were simply too greatly outnumbered to defend themselves. By 634, the great city of Nezawa was under siege.

Flamekin had an unhappy history with the elves, and had not forgotten nezumi aid during their enslavement. For these reasons, flamekin were quick to come to the aid of the nezumi. Flamekin forces were legendary in the previous elven war for their incredible tenacity, fighting to their very last breath, regardless of the odds. This assistance against a familiar enemy was why many flamekin called this war “the second great strife.” Flamekin armies struck into elven armies at Nezawa from the south without warning on the third of First Rain, referred to as the Battle of Long Marsh. This conflict was the first time the elves were forced to retreat since the war’s inception, and marked the turning point in the war.

The conflict wore on for 11 long years. Thousands of flamekin, nezumi, and elves lost their lives, but eventually, elven forces were pushed to the southern coast and cut off from their home, and the flamekin army actually moved onto the island of Sealeaf. The elves quickly surrendered. In the year 645, the Nezumi War ended in the Treaty of Brightleaf. Signed by the elven generals Ragard Tieldas and Bretin Valhard, the nezumi general Torikawa, and the flamekin general Cilstiae, the treaty commanded that the elves retreat from all nezumi cities and eventually, from the mainland entirely. As part of the treaty, the elven nation swore to never plant a flag on the mainland again, bringing about great celebrations, especially among nezumi and flamekin. To this day, some areas still celebrate Island Day, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Brightleaf on the fifth of Last Frost.

Ever since their return to Sealeaf, the elves have been a reclusive people, rarely letting outsiders onto the island beyond the city of Halfleaf, established in 649, shortly after their retreat.

The Era of Discovery

In the year 709, nezumi territories were growing crowded. During the seemingly hopeless Nezumi War, a “no tomorrow” mindset had spread within nezumi culture and birth rates rose sharply before the war was over. Shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Brightleaf, nezumi borders expanded significantly, and each generation grew larger than the last to fill in the new frontiers, reaching as far as the Aven Mountains and even the edges of Valhertia. The nezumi nation was at its peak. But just as this expansion did not begin overnight, it did not end overnight. Overpopulation choked the nation beyond its people’s limits. In this year, a band of intrepid nezumi explorers led by the esteemed general Masitaki Toregawa set out into the southeastern ocean, seeking out new lands to colonize.

For over a year, the fleet of ships, known to history as “Toregawa’s Fleet,” sailed out, charting miles and miles of empty ocean. The stars overhead became strangely unfamiliar, confusing and disorienting the fleet. By the twenty-second of First Rain, 710, Toregawa’s Fleet was utterly and hopelessly lost, and the ships had already had several close encounters with leviathans. The ship’s crew whispered of mutiny. General Toregawa had become obsessed with the idea of finding new land. On this day, Toregawa’s Fleet found this land. Sailors described the sight as the most beautiful image they had seen, and countless artists have created renditions of the famous sight: General Toregawa raising his hands to the horizon; a great snow-capped mountain rising over that horizon to touch the setting sun.

The Fleet spent three days on the southern mainland, which stretched on as far as anyone could travel or see. No other civilized creatures lived in the strange new world, but there were many exotic flora and fauna, never seen before, as well as large and spectacular ruins- hinting that while no one lived there at the time, someone used to. Toregawa ordered the entire fleet to turn around and return home, despite the protests of the crew. Toregawa’s navigators, who had been so dumbstruck by the entirely unfamiliar stars, claimed the stars had righted themselves somehow, and that they knew exactly where their home was.

The return journey, while swift, was marked by an exceedingly strange series of events. Crewmembers, who had been perfectly healthy the previous day, were found in the night dead. No one could determine the cause. Other crewmembers were coming down with a mysterious illness, characterized by weakness, a lack of any degree of stamina, and a constant cough, bringing up a foul-smelling black ichor.

The survivors of Toregawa’s Fleet were greeted in Shinjio Harbor by thundering crowds on the third of Last Sun, 710. Cartographers placed new land on their maps for the first time in over 500 years. However, plans to colonize this distant continent were cut short. The illness Toregawa’s crew had brought with them, deemed “Blacklung,” ran rampant through overcrowded nezumi cities, decimating the nezumi race. Toregawa’s Plague laid waste to the nezumi nation for six years, convincing the nezumi, as well as the other races, to think twice before returning to the “cursed south.”

While the ill crewmembers were accounted for by the new and exotic illness, the shifting stars and dead crewmembers were not.

In the year 713, a darkness arose in the northwestern tundra, on the border of vedalken territories, and cinders began to emerge to torment the vedalken people. Vedalken had never had to deal with cinders or the dark places of their birth in the past, and they were set off balance by the nightly attacks. At the year’s sunless end, cinders stormed Des and nearly brought the vedalken city to its knees. The vedalken entreated the flamekin, great warriors of history, to protect them. Flamekin and vedalken had had few dealings in the past, but on the nineteenth of First Sun, 714, the flamekin of Stoneheart agreed to defend the cities of Des, Rels, and Oms, which was dangerously close to the cinders’ homeland. This agreement was called the Alliance of Des, and lasted for three years.

In those three years, flamekin soldiers developed a sense of paternal identity as the protectors of vedalken, but vedalken, witnessing the destruction flamekin were capable of, grew to fear them. This fear sparked invention, and vedalken developed potent weapons of destruction powered by magic, known as the War Machines. The vedalken believed they no longer needed the flamekin, and tried to break the Alliance. The flamekin refused, feeling it was their duty to rule over the vedalken for their safety. The alliance of defense became a military occupation, and in 716, the War of the Machines began.

Flamekin soldiers practiced a form of Sho Cho that utilized the fires of their bodies to destroy their enemies. But the vedalken War Machines were monsters made of iron and steel, and fire could not harm them. Flamekin armies were forced out with little difficulties. Though there was little hope of victory, the proud flamekin never retreated, and because of this, many more lives were lost than necessary. By the year 717, flamekin armies had already been pushed back to the Baraul Mountains at the edge of the vedalken tundra. At the time, they had an opportunity to surrender in peace, but once again, their pride worked against them.

All the vedalken’s fears had been realized: the flamekin were clearly a violent, destructive society. The vedalken decided they had to be contained. War Machines moved into flamekin settlements and in the year 717, flamekin were enslaved for the second time, marking the beginning of the “third great strife.”

In the year 714, a plague of Blacklung had spread across nezumi territories that the hardy nezumi could not fend off. Hundreds of nezumi died off, and the nation was left weak, unable to act outside itself. For this reason, the nezumi, old allies of the flamekin, could do nothing this time, and for 10 years, flamekin were forced to build the War Machines that oppressed them, and nezumi recovered from their plight.

Humans did not approve of this enslavement, but the people of the Long Valley had a long history of friendship with the vedalken. The Notarade family refused to act against the will of the vedalken. But the southern nation of Valhertia was under no such obligation. The Valhertian king Wells III demanded the vedalken leave the eastern side of the mountains. The vedalken ignored Wells’ demands. Instead of attacking the vedalken in the occupied flamekin cities, Wells III realized that the fearful vedalken had over-fortified in these cities; vedalken territories were defenseless. In a ruthlessly effective strategy, he ordered his generals to take the vedalken cities of Des and Ans. On the third of Last Rain, 719, Valhertian armies arrived in vedalken cities and took control with almost no resistance.

Wells’ merciless tactics did not end here. Instead of truly occupying the cities, Valhertian armies created a barrier around the cities, cutting off their food and supplies, slowly starving the inhabitants to death. Wells stated this “suffocation” would continue until flamekin were free. Vedalken forces could not retake the well-established cities without destroying them. But the vedalken would not free the flamekin until their cities were freed, and the Valhertians would not leave vedalken cities until the flamekin were free. This attrition wore on until finally, King Wells III and the vedalken prime minister Vorial Harringson signed the Harringson Treaty of 727. Valhertian forces retreated and the War Machines returned to the tundra.

In the year 735, expeditions past the edges of the known world were common. Flamekin and nezumi established an explorer’s camp, now called Edge. From this camp, a legendary troupe of flamekin set out into the seemingly endless northeastern badlands. They traveled straight out for a year, recording nothing but rocky deserts and wasted tundra, until they reached a vast country of black rolling clouds and boiling swamps. Cinders set upon the party, and only one flamekin, Rerric the Brave, returned alive. Knowing dark places were in the distant west as well as in the distant east led to the prevailing theory that darkness surrounded civilization in Ihn Gallad.

Ships that set out into the southern and northern seas rarely returned, making people believe this darkness circled around civilization, even across the water.

In the year 740, vedalken biologists in Ans began an experiment involving aven, leonin, nezumi, and their animal counterparts. Vedalken had believed for centuries that there was some connection between the animal people and the animals.

The story tells that on the thirty-third of Last Lark, Jasper Telling, the vedalken scientist leading the experiment, was carrying a phial of aven blood to his library when he tripped and broke the phial on the street cobblestones. The blood ran between the cobblestones in one stream, then split into two streams between the stones. This image inspired Dr. Telling, and the next day, he tested blood from all six species groups.

The vedalken came to the conclusion that at some point in the distant past before civilization, these animals split into two groups. One of the groups changed over time- grew tall and intelligent- while the other group became the animals we see today. To this day, this is the accepted theory on the origin of the animal people. Though whether this was merely natural progress or unnatural meddling remains unknown.

The Age of Prosperity

In the year 792, aven were not a well-liked race. Their nomadic nature left them with few viable means of support. Many aven took advantage of the their mysterious reputation and sold exotic trinkets- magical charms, love potions, etc., which were fake more often than not. Aven were often seen as swindlers and cons because of their trade. Many towns would not allow aven within their borders, or treated them very harshly.

In this year, on the twentieth of Last Frost, a gathering of aven arrived on a high plateau in the center of the Aven Mountains. The brutally vertical landscape had long served as a barrier against all grounded races. There, they built a settlement where aven coming from all directions would be guaranteed safe haven and a place to rest.

The aven settlement, called Ava, was looked upon with scorn by other aven. They believed no aven should stay in one place so long: that it was against their nature. Very few aven came by Ava, and the settlement was almost forgotten by aven society.

That is, until the Blood Riot of 799. The story involves an aven merchant selling a fake potion to an enraged human. The issue escalated until the entire street became involved. The confrontation became a riot, and nine aven were murdered.

The riot was viewed as an illustration of aven hatred, and aven and aven sympathizers rallied for a safe haven for aven wherever they go. When the tiny, squalid settlement of Ava was brought back into light, many elder aven claimed it was an embarrassment to the aven community to overlook such an important establishment. Ava quickly became a popular stop for countless aven wanderers, and it has only grown since then.

In the year 828, the vedalken built a great fortress in Gestili, forcing out nearby leonin settlements. This aggressive theft of land without explanation or negotiation almost led to a confrontation between leonin and vedalken. The vedalken have kept the fortress’s purpose a mystery, even to this day, and no one has ever been allowed on Gestili.

Secrets

NOTE: This section may contain spoilers! Proceed at your own risk!

Not everything about Ihn Gallad is common knowledge. Everyone has their deep secrets, and the land itself has more than its share. Keep in mind, even this near-omniscient list is INCOMPLETE. There are some things no one can know.

The Edge

Most peoples of Ihn Gallad believe they live in the populated center of a world that simply stretches on infinitely. Endless waters to the north and the south, frozen tundra to the west, and badlands the east, leading to dark places. This is not true. Ihn Gallad is a finite world with an edge. To the eyes of a giant, it would appear to be an abnormally shaped plate of earth and water, floating in a much, much larger sphere of darkness set with points of light, made from raw mana. If this sphere were just large enough for a man to stand upright in, the land would be no larger than his fingernail. Compasses can only work because of a band-shaped magnetic field that wraps around this outer sphere, caused by its own slow revolutions. The sphere revolves once each year, which may somehow cause seasonal changes. The sun, a globe of light about the size of the metaphorical man’s fist, circles the plate vertically, from east, over, to west, under. The moon follows a less simple path, slightly offset to cause its path across the sky each night to slowly shift clockwise. Once each year, the sun and moon collide beneath Ihn Gallad. The moon moves on, but the sun, knocked to a standstill, requires three days to be caught again in the supernatural forces that draw it across its course.

The Night of no End was also a predictable event. It began on its own and, contrary to popular belief, it ended on its own. It will happen again in the year 1368, and again in the year 2628.

Several small “islands,” called Gariens by the vedalken, float about the “mainland” of Ihn Gallad. The vedalken know of the edge (though they’ve told no outsiders), and Fort Gestile was built to guard one such Garien just off the edge of the sea, which Gestili sits remarkably close to.

The Origin of Ihn Gallad

Ihn Gallad is not the extent of the universe. Ihn Gallad is one world in an infinite multiverse. A powerful being who wandered the multiverse came across Ihn Gallad- at the time, a world empty of sentient beings. This being gathered creatures from other places and put them into Ihn Gallad and encouraged civilization to flourish.

The mysterious being, called the “Bringer,” remains on Ihn Gallad to this day, on a particularly large Garien guarded by vedalken. (Vedalken, and vedalken alone, are privy to almost all of Ihn Gallad’s secrets.) But no one on Ihn Gallad, as far as the Bringer or the vedalken are aware, knows what Ihn Gallad was beforehand.

Prehistoric Ihn Gallad

There is one secret even the vedalken do not know: far to the southeast, in the ocean, there is an island continent, once landed on by the nezumi, then forgotten. On this continent, the remains of an ancient civilization can be found: a race of humans who disappeared before the Bringer ever arrived. But they did not vanish entirely...

Secret Cities of Ihn Gallad

Beyond the Valley of Sorrow, there is a vast area of darkness, where a majority of cinders live. In this dark land, there are two citadels much like Rix. One is called Kran. The other is called Zellus, and is a great distance from the world of sunlight. In fact, it sits on the very edge of Ihn Gallad. The cinders living in Zellus are the only people other than the vedalken to know the edge exists.

Southwest of Gestili, the sea tapers into a narrow sound, the narrow band of earth around which (no more than a few miles wide in some places) keeps the sea from spilling into the void. From the end of this strip of land, an enormous Garien can be found. In the eastern area of this floating continent, the Bringer lives in a gigantic self-sufficient tower referred to as the Sanctum. The tower is populated by a group of sages, made up of every race found on Ihn Gallad as well as a few strange races not found anywhere else, from the distant reaches of the universe. While everyone in the Sanctum realizes the extent of Ihn Gallad, only the Bringer has ever crossed the void into the mainland. And while the sages are certain the Bringer remains, he has never left his sanctum or made his presence known since the Elven Wars.

In the distant south, south of the unnamed island continent of prehistoric Ihn Gallad, there is a small settlement of ancient humans, who had populated Ihn Gallad even before the creator’s arrival, on the strip of land at the edge of Ihn Gallad. The village is named Kartal: just as the plane had been named long before the Bringer had come to it. The Kartalians never settled beyond the continent in the south, but they lived well. That is, until something happened, thousands of years ago- something that modern Kartalians have no record of. Whatever this event was, it left no trace in the Kartalian ruins on the island- it’s almost as if everyone had just disappeared. The survivors live in unique hut systems that hang off of the edge of the world itself, such that someone on the land would have to peer over the edge into the abyss to see anyone at all.

Pre-Kartalian History

Ihn Gallad sports secrets within its secrets. Even though no Kartalian has ever set foot on the mainland, nor do they know of other civilized beings in the world, they have maps of the entire world, and speak in the same tongue as the people of Ihn Gallad- a language all intelligent races develop on their own. Anyone who spends more than a few years in Ihn Gallad, regardless of whether they speak to anyone, simply comes to know the Galladic tongue. No one knows how the people of Ihn Gallad are connected to lead to such strange phenomena. It also remains unknown why Kartal is hung so dangerously over the edge of the land. Who are they hiding from? Modern Kartalians don’t even remember, but it may be connected to the reasons behind their disappearance from their island continent thousands of years ago.

Some of the answers might just be somewhere in the ancient Kartalian ruins on the island, but the ultimate truth will never be found on one island alone...

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