Click HERE to see the map with natural features labeled!
|The floating continent of Reial rests at an undetermined height above the planet's surface. Miles below it is a thick layer of cloud cover, as far as the eye can see. No one has been known to have traveled through the clouds and survived. Of course, there's some rumors that the land beneath is almost completely covered with water, but who can believe something so outrageous?|
Other than the smaller areas depicted in the map, there's smaller spurs of floating land surrounding the continent on both sides, as well as above and below. Most of these aren't large enough to be home to anything but the biggest flying animals.
BELLCIUS - Bellcius is the most massive city on the continent, and it's no wonder; it's the seat of Ivona's government, and is the home of the House of Parliament as well as several military institutions, including the illustrious Belarus Academy. The most important decisions about the nation's future are made here, and several of the most influential politicians, officers, and old money families reside in the tall, glittering skyscrapers that make up the cityscape. The result is a hotbed of politics that can mean trouble for those caught unawares.
However, there's more to the city than just that. It's not just home to government and politics, but can also be considered the trading center for the nation. Goods fly in from all over the skies, including metals and even jewels from Tulgim, a wealth of manufactured items from Abantiare, the very latest developments from Melior, and exotic delights from beyond the Badlands and the edges of the continent. The strict military influence acts as a balance to counteract any decadence, and as a result the architecture and the people themselves range from the austere to the ludicrously luxurient. Travelers from all over also add their own influence and variety, as they come to trade, study, or come to catch a glimpse of the sights the Bellcius has to offer, such as the famed Prime Minister's Palace. No matter how you look at Bellcius, one thing is certain: there's always something going on.
ABANTIARE - This city is known for being huge on production. Abantiare didn't start out being host to so many factories, but it ended up that way over the years as opportunistic businesses found it an ideal location. Now, the streets are lined with them, the bigger businesses often having entire blocks of nothing but their own factories and production centers. If you're jobless and living in Abantiare, you must not have any hands - which isn't all that uncommon, considering how dangerous the factories can be.
Abantiare is also the most polluted city in Ivona. The buildings are covered with soot, and there's a visible fog that coats the city from all the coal that gets burned for fuel. Despite the fact that most people are lower middle-class or slightly better off, the conditions are so poor that living here gives the residents a life expectancy no better than many of the poorest cities (or as some like to say, no better than living in Vohemar).
MELIOR - Melior is the second largest city in Ivona, and a bustling metropolis in its own right. While other cities focus on the military or production, Melior prides itself on being the cultural and academic center of the nation. People from all over the nation and beyond come to study at Melior's illustrious schools and universities, and many more come to take in the lovely sights. Museums detailing history and the arts abound, galleries are filled to the brim with visual delights, and the theaters are always packed with dance, symphonies, and plays. However, arts and the humanities aren't the only topic of study that thrive; Melior is also home to the nation's most elite scientists and researchers. New developments are born and refined every day, from the latest in airship technology, stunning advances in the field of medicine, and more amusing novelties such as the new media of filmography. There's as many laboratories and university hospitals as there are art houses and theaters, and while there are some small factories near the edges of the city, they leave most of the production to Abantiare. However, while Melior looks to the future, they do not forget the past, thanks to a painstaking interest in history.
However, the city is far from perfect. Due to its low production, Melior is not self sufficient, and depends heavily on imports for food, goods, and materials. It also lacks the amount of military forces Bellcius has relative to its size, and there's some concern over whether or not it would be able to defend itself in the case of an attack. These aren't the only problems with the city's specialization; because of the importance placed on academics and elitism, there's a lack of jobs for the uneducated, and competition for jobs on every level is fierce and at times cutthroat. Combined with the city's high cost of living, it can be difficult for an upstart to make it, and many less successful citizens find themselves living in the less glamorous (and far filthier) outskirts and factory districts.
SOLARE - The city of Solare was one of the very first that was founded on Reial. It's had a long history, having gone through everything from hurricanes to being conquered by warlords. The problem is, Solare isn't doing nearly as well as it used to.
Hard times fell on the city gradually - it started with local resources drying up, and then businesses moving out of the city to areas with better resources or more central locations. Add that to the fact that such a large amount of old buildings are hard to renovate cheaply, and it left Solare with a lot of people and a shortage of jobs. Today, Solare has one of the largest populations of poor people in Ivona, and the situation doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon.
TULGIM - It's not too hard for anyone to guess why Tulgim was founded - while the general area around it has long since been mined to the point that little remains, the city is still a huge mining center. The mountains that the city is situated against hide large amounts of coal, steel, and other metals in its depths. Tulgim isn't just a mining city, it's the number one source of coal and metals for the whole of Ivona.
Thanks to the abundance of hard jobs here, quite a lot of Tulgim's population doesn't even remain in the city for longer than four years on average. Miners sometimes live in smaller settlements outside of the town, many workers travel along with the coal and metal they ship, and even the military base here has a large turnover rate due to Tulgim being a popular place to ship troublemakers as 'punishment'. For while Ivona is very interested in protecting the city, very little happens that actually threatens it, unless you count frostbite from the area being so cold during the winter.
The Badlands is one area that, overall, has never managed to be completely claimed by any one nation. This is largely due to a combination of an inhospitable landscape and very few natural resources. Its mountains (which have never been formally named) are the most obvious feature of this area, but the semi-arid desert stretching out across both sides of the mountains are what most people think of when they hear the name.
The Badlands acts as a natural barrier between Ivona and Vohemar, and helped to deter a lot of aggression between the two countries in the past, before air travel was common. There's no single ruler of the Badlands, and anyone claiming to be is only kidding themselves. The few small towns scattered throughout the area mostly survive thanks to being located along established trading routes.
The mountains do contain metals, and mana crystals as it's been rumored, but Vohemar has no interest in it and Ivona prefers to mine the sub-range that stretches northeast out of the desert. Other notable things to be found in the Badlands include a wide range of strange, dangerous creatures, and a fairly large number of abandoned towns and other ruins.
ANTRIM - The tale of Antrim is a sad one, and no one is even quite sure what happened to it.
It's rare for towns in the Badlands to have regular communication with each other, and Antrim was no different. All that is known is that what used to be a thriving city was quite suddenly turned into a ghost town. The first people to discover it in this state reported that there were no signs of violence, the buildings still stood undisturbed, and there was not even so much as a body left behind of the people that lived there.
In the time since, Antrim has become known as a literal ghost town. Folks say that even the land around the town is haunted by specters, and the few stories spread by travelers ensure that no one visits the place if they can help it.
CLAIBORNE - This town started out like most others in the Badlands did - a small, dusty place that really only formed at all thanks to its proximity to a decent source of drinking water. Being on the border gave it some advantage over other towns further in, thanks to harsh conditions being slightly lessened here. Still, it was far enough away from Ivona's network of cities that quite a few people seeking solitude drifted there.
As it turned out, the Ivona military had their eye on Claiborne. As soon as the town got big enough to be useful, the military moved in and performed a nearly bloodless takeover. Their only reason? The strategic location. As far as the military's concerned, the more settlements they control close to Vohemar, the better. In the years since, Claiborne has grown up into a real military outpost, becoming bigger than it would have been otherwise. Still, it's far enough from most everything that all the stationed troops here do is kill off the occasional monster.
GARRETTSTOWN - Located inside a basin that's in the valley of two mountains, no one's quite sure how the area formed, but it became an ideal place for crossing between the two regions of the continent. Garrettstown eventually formed and grew, and kept growing as more and more people passed through. Though it suffered through Ivona occupation before Vohemar gained its independence, it threw off its invaders shortly afterwards and became an autonomous city.
Now, Garrettsown is located along the major trading route between Ivona and Vohemar, nearly smack dab in the middle. As a result, trade is big here, with many of the streets lined with booths and tents. This city is a great place to get items that would otherwise be legal, if it weren't for restricted trade between the two countries. Black market items aren't so easily available here, however.
SHASHTA - Shashta started out as a small town that didn't have much going for it. In a location fairly far off the beaten path, its only initial purpose was to host a mining community digging for semi-valuable metals. That venture never fully panned out, leaving the town's residents numbering at less than a hundred.
Then, a vein of mana crystals was discovered. To say it was an amazing find is an understatement; Shashta counts the first time outside of Nahr that such a large supply has been discovered. As soon as word leaked out, people swarmed to the town in hopes of getting rich through the discovery, many trying to find their own vein to profit off of. It's barely been over a year, and the population of Shashta has shot up to a few thousand and is still growing.
BERUM - The biggest of the major five cities in Vohemar, Berum has existed as the central point for the country ever since it was first founded back in colonial times. Berum is a home of many first - the first revolts against Ivona, the first city to muster up an army, and the to come to the aid of the other cities in the name of kicking Ivona out.
Now, centuries later, Berum is generally regarded as the capital city of Vohemar even though it hasn't been formerly declared as such. The main focus of Berum is trade, and most expeditions formed to cross the Badlands often get their goods from here before starting out in Trewe. It's also a kind of 'political seat', as the five mayors meet in a secret location here every year to discuss the status of the nation and issues relevant to it. Predictably, the highest population of Vohemar's rich live in Berum.
BYDAN - Situated near one of the larger forests in Vohemar, it is no wonder that Bydan is the country’s greatest exporter of lumber. While it is a great source of revenue for the town, much of the lumber actually stays within Bydan to be used in its shipbuilding business. Bydan is known for being home to some of the best shipbuilders in the country, and people come from all over Vohemar to inspect and commission new boats.
Bydan residents praise themselves on being a strong and hardworking people. They have to be in order to tackle the dangers involved in logging. After all, it is ill advised to enter the forests on one’s own for many creatures lurk there, waiting for their next easy prey.
COLVUS - While Colvus is a fairly large city in its own right, much of it is stretched out over acres and acres of land. Thanks to the river that runs straight through the city, it's become the breadbasket of Vohemar, with all sorts of crops being grown here to feed the country. There's other sorts of food production facilities here, and Colvus also boasts a host of renowned restaurants that use food grown locally. Other than this, Colvus is a strangely popular city due to a thriving trade of 'dirty deeds' hidden behind all of its down-home respectability.
Predictably, Vohemar's monster problems impact this city the hardest. Not only does Colvus have its own militia formed mostly for dealing with this threat, mercenaries are often hired directly by the mayor for cleaning out problem areas that their own militia is either too unskilled or too reluctant to handle itself. Protecting citizens has always been the militia's top priority, but many people still put their lives on the line just to save their crops.
LICERE - Looking for a good time? Look no further than Licere. Located a short distance from the biggest lake on Reial, it was discovered shortly after the city was founded that the area had an abundance of hot springs. The first mayor of Licere, finding it an excellent opportunity, carried out an aggressive monster-removal campaign and built the city up to include hotels, restaurants, and nearly every amenity imaginable.
Now, Licere has become a huge city whose revenue mostly comes from the tourist trade. While the city (and Ezaro Copeland, its mayor) has become incredibly rich, you don't have to be rich to have a good vacation here - there's quite literally something for every budget here. One thing to note is that Licere actually has less visible crime than other cities in Vohemar, mostly due to Copeland's efforts to make sure organized crime can't get a foothold.
TREWE - The town of Trewe really only got started due to being along a major trading route, standing as the last stop between the Badlands and the rest of Vohemar. Strangely enough, it attracted residents partially from the general lack of monsters in the area. While the desert has its own dangers, most of the monsters that plague Vohemar tend to avoid the desert, due to the fact that sheer numbers won't help them survive in a harsher climate.
Trewe has built up quite a lot recently, as more and more people use it both as a starting and stopping point for caravans and now airships as they traverse the Badlands. Most of the city's revenue comes from businesses and other services here for travelers. Their airship docking tower, which was built only two years ago, has become a point of pride for the residents here - mostly thanks to the larger amount of people now trickling in. General pride for Trewe isn't too misplaced, since they're currently the biggest city located anywhere near the Badlands.
EREALIA - The story of this land is a very strange one. The man that succeeded in clearing the land of monsters and declaring it his was, to use the medical term, completely bonkers. He founded Erealia as a country based on the old stories of the pre-Ivona warlords, with a good dose of chivalry and other ancient ideas stirred into the mix. What he ended up creating was a land with strangely medieval-like attributes, both in the country's government and how its people live there.
Not only is Erealia self-contained as far as not needing major trade to actually survive, there is a royal family that lives in an actual castle - a castle made of mish-mashed parts of former ruins, with a lot of metal thrown in. It might be medieval-like there, but technology is not unwelcome - the 'royal inventors' there have even come up with working, steam-driven metal horses and clockwork knights. The current rulers of the land are King Saleno and Queen Atlene Mytacur. They have a number of children as well as plenty of extended family, most of which lives on Erealia and makes up the nobility.
KAGATAU - Depending on who you're asking, there's either a lot on Kagatau or not much of anything. Indeed, there's no proof that anyone actually lives on this floating island at all, and there's been no efforts to settle there.
What Kagatau does have is a large jungle that hides a scattered collection of ruins. No one as of yet knows what civilization might have made them, though some researchers have recently been made aware of the ruins. The real problem is getting to them; the jungle is thick and is known to be home to a host of strange plants and animals not known of on the mainland. There's no telling how many would-be adventurers have lost their lives to the dangers here.
KROPMORK AND NAHK - While, technically, Kropmork and Nahk are two different islands, they're basically the same nation (or stinking cesspool, whichever terminology you prefer), generally referred to as Kropmork-Nahk. Kropmork is more populated and generally populated by the upper and lower class, while Nahk is mostly reserved for mining mana crystals. Ruled by a Patrician who would make Machiavelli give up political theory and take up something like, say, painting, the nation has become a commerce giant. Kropmork and Nahk's economy specializes in trading, mining, and organized crime.
Practically every trade has a Guild. The Assassins' Guild is particularly popular among wealthy members of society who want their children to have a high-class, respectable trade, while the Thieves Guild, despite being legalized crime, is almost better at controlling crime than the City Watch... and let's not even get into the Seamstress' Guild, shall we? Let's just say that, in Kropmork-Nahk, there's something for everyone. If you don't get shanked and/or mugged, that is.
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