Kalishin is the home-plane of Mattias the Tinkerer. In the distant past, it was ruled by the “Old Kingdom”, a highly technological regime that was torn down and buried beneath the roots of a world-forest by the planeswalker Clade. While the modern society of Kalishin is clearly “stronger” in Clade’s estimation (for he has not revisited it with ruination, and it has been quite some time) it is to some degree reliant on salvaged technology from the Old Kingdom, alongside the altered magical proclivities of its people now compared to then.
The New Kingdom
The great tree that was the center of Clade’s forest on Kalishin was one of the grander ones he created. Its boughs are now home to the capital of one of the major survivor-civilizations of Kalishin, the still-living tree host to thousands of humans of the “New Kingdom”, with all the amenities of the sprawling manors of the upper classes. The Crown, or highest boughs of the tree, are home to the royal palace of the New Kingdom, while lower branches house increasingly lower-ranked nobles, and the commoners that support the aristocracy directly live amidst and upon the roots of that great tree.
The most valuable, irreplaceable piece of Old Kingdom artifice is an intact Powerstone Engine. The secret of their creation was lost to Clade, but the Old Kingdom used them so heavily, in countless different sizes through endless numbers of machines in their massive, dense and sprawling cities, that beneath the roots of the new world, it is quite possible to locate and extract lodes of working engines and, for those less interested in turning a quick profit, useful scrap from the broken machines. The best engine mines are positioned above the buried ruins of Old Kingdom foundries, civic centers, and the like, but dig anywhere that the Old Kingdom built (which, in the lowlands, is almost anywhere) and you are likely to discover many of their entombed artifacts to be rebuilt and repurposed for modern use.
Stewardship of the Forest
The New Kingdom’s second most powerful body, after the Royal Court, is its druidic circle. The humans took very easily to Clade’s demonstration of natural power, and the druids manage what can and can’t be taken from the woodlands and the natural world. Somewhere between a religious institution (which they are), a powerful lobby, and a Parks and Forest Service, the Druids to not deny the need of the New Kingdom for game, lumber, and land, but they do strictly regulate how much is taken and from where. The people usually accept the limits the druids set without question, for fear of natural vengeance if they violate such edicts.
New Kingdom philosophy focuses strongly on the idea of a harmony between the aspects of their gods, with no one element being ignored or promoted ahead of the others. In practice, however, the New Kingdom is somewhat more inclined towards their green and blue followings, accepting the other gods as merely a matter of course. The gods revered by the New Kingdom are five in number, and each is most strongly associated with one of the five colors.
The god most strongly associated with White mana. The doctrine of the Shackler is to bring everything under control. That which is wild must be bound, that which is foul must be sealed or imprisoned. The Shackler does not destroy, instead preserving its foes. The Shackler is portrayed as a stern, mature adult male and is usually depicted holding chains or manacles.
The goddess most strongly associated with Blue mana. The doctrine of the Reclaimer is to honor the past, and use its wisdom to always improve upon the present. Each day must be made to be better than the one before. The Reclaimer is the patron deity of artificiers, engine miners, and the like and is depicted as a young woman, usually holding scrolls or machine parts.
The god associated with Black mana, the Judge holds the doctrine that actions naturally reap their fair rewards: the success or failure of mortal endeavors lies upon mortals, whether their ambitions should succeed or fail. The Judge espouses personal responsibility and promotes the belief that the group will not and should not aid nor inhibit the individual. The Judge is depicted as a male figure, his left half young and vital and his right half either withered and ancient or fully skeletal. He is depicted holding a set of scales in each hand.
The goddess associated with Red mana, the Celebant’s doctorine is to live each day to its fullest: neither the past nor the future matter, so make the most of the present. Revel, be merry, do not cling to grudges nor defer to an unknown future what you can enjoy today. The Celebrant is depicted as a young woman, usually either dressed provocatively or entirely unclothed. Her most common attribute is that she is depicted holding a sash, either of cloth or of flames.
The Renewer is, transparently, based upon Clade: He appears as a male monstrosity: a great, hunched giant, and the doctrine of his following is the strength of Nature, of living in symbiosis with the forest, lest nature rise up, destroy, and begin the cycle again. The Renewer and the Reclaimer are the chief deities of the New Kingdom and inform its culture, which seeks to blend artifice and druidic traditions
Kalishin is not home solely to the humans of the New Kingdom. The following are the other known sapient inhabitants of the plane:
The Aven of Kalishin live on high, freezing mountains. Like the aven of Tarkir, they have only four limbs. All Aven of Kalishin resemble corvids (ravens and crows) in their aspect, and are universally black-feathered. The aven have a great affinity with their non-humanoid kin and are known to be attended by both flocks of ordinary sized corvids and the rare giant ravens, birds more than large enough to carry off humans in their claws. The aven are associated most strongly with blue and red mana – they are cunning and duplicitous, but also very warlike, descending on settlements that seem to be ‘easy prey’ like a murder of crows. They worship a singular Raven God.
The Girtablilu have the head, torso, and arms of humans but the lower bodies of gigantic scorpions, much as centaurs do with horses. They prefer the depths of the deserts and hot regions of Kalishin where the forests that overgrew the Old Kingdom have themselves been worn away by sand and sun. The Girtablilu are an insular, tribal, and reclusive people. While they will fight to defend themselves and especially to defend their kin, they are more commonly shy and reserved. Their society promotes individual excellence tempered by an overwhelming devotion to the group: “No one’s claw is greater than the whole of the body. No one soul is greater than the whole of the tribe.” They are associated mostly with red and white mana. They seem to practice ancestor-worship, but are not very religious overall.
The small folk of Kalishin live among the New Kingdom some times as well as having communities of their own on the fringes of society, but they are not truly part of it. They are insular, xenophobic, and according to the populace New Kingdom quite prone to cheating humans whenever possible. They worship the same gods as the New Kingdom but mostly focus upon the Judge and to a lesser extent the Shackler (aligning the Kithkin themselves with white and black mana). In truth, their worship is part of a wider philosophy of self versus other: What a kithkin can take by any means other than violence, the Kithkin deserve. They will lie, cheat, and steal but will not kill, as killing a rival would violate the precepts of the Shackler. Though much weaker than on Lorwyn, the Kithkin of Kalishin share something of a thoughtweft, and thus usually direct their criminal activity towards other races (mostly humans), since other kithkin are more part of the “self” than “other”.
One would think the elves of Kalishin would have thrived following Clade’s coming, but the unfortunate truth is that such a thing did not happen. Though the Old Kingdom had tried to marginalize them, the Elves had adapted to its nature, and utilized their long lives to build a web of political connections and place their kin in high posts. This web collapsed when Clade destroyed the Old Kingdom, and in the reconstruction era, the human majority of the survivors quickly overran elven attempts to establish dominance, a fledgling elven kingdom built on the back of human slaves rising and falling within a single human lifetime. Since then, the elves have hated the New Kingdom, bitter at their own failure to take their “rightful” place as the rulers of the world. Their domain, in the old, deep forests that existed before Clade came, is a dark and dismal place of deep shadows and creeping things that only the Kithkin visit and even then rarely dare to cheat too much. Elves on Kalishin are associated with green and black mana and revere a racial Mother-Goddess while regarding Clade, or The Renewer, as their devil figure.