« Canon Lore Compendium
The Old Empire
Avsolom was once united together under one banner. For a time the Empire stood as the guidelines for all the people of Avsolom. Though to this day the Empire still claims a large part of the known world, it's size has dwindled and the fringes of it's borders have fallen into chaos.
Chapter 1, Overview and History
When magic arrived in Avsolom, the Empire channelled all it's resources into understanding and harnessing it. In its capital city Rhisoka, the lords bred the most powerful magi into their bloodlines and as a result their heirs posses the greatest of combative skills. So that the children of each generation learned to harness their gifts, the great towers throughout Rishoka were turned into magi schools. This obsession with magic and creating the most powerful bloodlines has caused a huge influx of magi in the Empire's domain, and thus into its control.
The entirety of the Legion's numbers are focused on the central point being the Heartland of the Empire. A side effect of this is that vast amounts of land are alternatively ruled by nobility that swear their fealty to the Emperor. They are constantly at odds with one another and consistently have spats that can result in crippling infighting occasionally that is usually quelled by orders and decrees instated by the Capitol, where the Legion sends a few cohorts to quell the drama being sowed by the nobility and reinstitute the order of law within the Empire. Lest they earn the ire of the Capitol. Most of the might that is the Old Empire's military forces, the Legion, are still a considerable a force to be reckoned with even to this day as they are highly adaptive, constantly improving their tactics, war plans and the training of their regiments.
Before the Empire there was lawlessness and chaos, hopelessness and despair, or so the Oracles of Rishoka would tell you. Little is known about what existed before the rise of the Rishokan heartland besides a few entries in the Great Citadel; they speak of countless tribal people within the heart of the Rishoka, worshiping the beasts and formless gods, while the small semblance of civilizations that existed operated as independent city-states that often battled one and another over petty differences. There was so much heresy that existed, cursing the sacred lands, but it was said that there would be one to unite their people.
He was born among the sea of golden hills, nestled along the rocks and coves, the son of herder's wife and Cacius of the Sun, at a time when Men still worshiped beast and foul. He was birthed grown and tall like the giants of old, and held the soft shaped features of his mother's kin. It is said that in his first act he slayed his father and hunted his kin, bringing their heads to the foothill men, who feel to their knees, cladding the man in furs and gold and calling out to proclaim--Promeceus.
-Excerpt from The Minotaur King by Oracle Velantia
Promeceus, the fabled Minotaur King, would go on to unite the tribal peoples across the heartlands of Rishoka and lead them onto the free cities that dotted the coast, through domination and will it was said that he slayed their kings and took their wives as his own--and it was then that the foundations of the Empire would be laid.
The Empire would grow and expand, conquering more and more tribes and cities and bringing them into their banner, the loose beginnings of their military forces which was enhanced with the boon of being comprised of so many different warriors that brought many different skills, plans and ideas to the table of waging war. Inklings of the Rishokan religion, The Twelve, would begin to take root and road ways would begin to be formed across the valleys, hills and woods of the soon to be super-power. For thousands of years they ruled, and developing cobbled roads and canal systems, creating an educational system and a way of currency that unified their people, training them in preparation for the prophecies of the Citadel's Oracles--A Great Doom.
When The Cataclysm came, there were those within the Empire that cheered and celebrated, proclaiming that the Oracles of Faith had seen into the great void of space, and saw the future and a glimpse at their gods, twelve beings who were said to have come from the nether of the Myst in the shape of man, taking dominion over various portions of land, sea and water, and they themselves embodied the spirit and culture of Rishoka.
Though the Imperial family at the time did little to celebrate, instead they saw an opportunity to expand their power and slowly the fabled Rishokan legionaries marched across Avsolom, bringing more lands into their banner; either through peaceful diplomacy or invoking the Legion's military might where they crushed their opposition and forcefully absorbed the remaining people which they then proceeded to re-educate them to bring them into the fold of the Empire. It was said that during Remedes IV's rule, the peak of the Empire's Influence, that the smile of Solis never set. But, the world had changed during the doom, and it wasn't only gods it brought, but Magic itself.
Just as Remedes IV saw the opportunity to expand his Empire, he saw the possibility of changing his people and his Dynasty forever, and thus brought all of his wives before the public center of the capital and had them beheaded with his own blade in a day known as the Bloody Matrium--which many scholars consider the reason that blood magic has become so ingrained in Imperial Society.. The Emperor would replace these wives with strange women from across the Empire, whose bodies had been molded and forever changed by the Myst, breeding with them for their magical abilities. For thousands of years this interbreeding of powerful Magi would go on between the Imperial family and Imperial nobility across the Empire, and magic would become a backbone of Imperial Civilizations.
The Great Citadel would be founded in the capital of the Empire, which was home to the Empire's greatest Magi, Oracles, Seers, and prospects. The traditions and history of their lands would be stored in the mighty vaults, and secrets and experiments would be conducted on slaves and certain students alike--with some detractors claiming that the Magi and the Imperial family were trying to become gods themselves.
For thousands of years this expansion into the realms of the metaphysical would occur, and the Empire would run as a well oiled machine, controlling their lands stopping invasions of the last remaining barbaric tribes. But slowly things would shift as they found themselves in generations of peace.
Princes and Princesses had little in common with the peasants and the slaves, and citizens across the Empire would begin to feel disenfranchised. Among the Slaver Islands of Rishoka, slaves would break their chains and take up arms in bloody rebellions several times, in what became known as The Servitor Wars. While fabled legends such as Hemicus the Chain Breaker would ultimately be crushed by the Imperial Legions, their stories would live on to this day as inspiration to the common man.
It seemed that the tradition that the Imperial family and Rishoka founded itself on would slowly begin to dwindle as they grew much more relaxed in their stances. Nobles within the Emperor's line began to concern themselves with the excesses of lust and pleasure over actual rule, leaving distant Imperial nobles to plot and plan in the absence of a powerful sorcerer to keep them in line.
Over the last few centuries, the Empire has begun to see distant lands break away from Imperial rule with no repercussions, with no fear of the Imperial Legions to march into their cities, these acts of secession are only continuing and the people of the Empire can see it. Cults of the Old Gods and Demons of the Myst have begun to prop up across the underbelly of the Empire's noses, and it is said that the twelve gods are weeping for the once great power, as even the slaves have begun to feel emboldened again, and some even claim that a slave has taken up the name of Hemicus once again.
In the present day, the Empire is but a shell of its former self. A bulk of its Imperial Legions are located within forts and passes in the Western Mountains, which they are locked in constant battle and watch over remnants of an old barbaric peoples. The Empire in the Capital has begun to crack down on cult religions, crucifying their leaders and their peoples, but it seems more and more continue to sprout each day. Is this the signaling of the end for the once great Empire or is it only the catalyst for the next great change...
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Chapter 2, Governing Bodies and the Legions
The Emperor: The seat of supreme power in the Empire, the one who sits upon it is seen as the unquestioned ruler. Currently filled by one of the oldest rulers in history Emperor Cassius Magnus with a son, the rightful heir, who he has disowned and twins too young for the throne. Considered by many to be refusing to die or be killed, this unique position has left the Empire in a tumultuous state politically. Though its power remains uncontested and unquestioned, the fate of it going forward depends largely on who ends up on the throne after Emperor Cassius.
The Great Mages: With the exploration of Myst research handled predominately by Magi, a council was needed in which to hold the community to a standard. This included the schools within the city limits as well as those not in the capital. The mages elected to represent their kin were given the title of Great Mages as they had demonstrated control of the Myst far beyond what is seen as normal, and in doing so, have overcome the temptation of falling under its over-worldly influences. They have long since been the backbone of the Old Empire's monstrous strength, coming to fight their battles whenever called upon. However, due to the Empire's stagnation, there has been talk of them saying they should be the ones to rule.
The Imperial Nobility: Elevated social status, vast wealth, and independent power make for a group of power-hungry families who see opportunity everywhere. Refined -but cutthroat- the Imperial Nobility are as old as the Empire itself. Their customs, bloodlines, and allegiances all forged over time have places them in the greatest position to assume political power. With hands in everybody's pockets, the nobility stands to gain from the social breakup of the economic tiers. Should the emperor step down, any of the over-zealous bloodhounds could step in and take his place; though, the same could also be said in that of the Mage's Guild for their children make up the population of the most powerful heirs all ready to claim power for their own.
The Legions of Rhisoka are notorious and feared the world over for their discipline and prowess in battle. They are the finest troops in the Empire, securing his provinces under the command of the Legates to protect and expand the vast Imperial holdings. Legions are rigorously trained in combat, marching, formation, and survival, said to be able to march a full twenty miles in a day, hold their lines through charges, and carry on with dogged determination.
Joining the ranks of the Legion are a popular choice among both nobles and common folks, for they provide many different avenues to expand one's powers as all Rhisokan born citizens are allowed to enlist regardless of social status. A common farmer could fight within the ranks of the legion, rise to the rank of Opito and then onto Centurion with some scant few throughout history earning their nobility and even command of a Legion as a Legate, overseeing large battles in the Emperor’s name. Children of Nobility could see their careers and status fast-tracked given their heritage and the influence of their birthright, with some powerful lords and Legates commissioning their children as Centurions upon enlistment. The life of a legionnaire is difficult, but for many it is the surest path to elevate one’s name and find peace and luxury for those who survive to old age. There are currently 400,000 active legion troops within the Emperor's service.
The beginnings of the military force referred to as the Legion that protects and carry out the will of the Emperor, The Empire and its citizens were forged within war and diplomacy. Various tribes had been consolidated through either being 'persuaded' or being slaughtered to the point through a variety of tactics meant to break their spirits. Once this was done, they were absorbed into what was the foundation of the Empire during that time through re-education, stripping them of their cultures and religious views. Now within the present, the Legion has adopted a modern-esque way of retaining their numbers in order to keep their numbers at an intimidating standard.
Recruitment is fair and inclusive to all races, creeds and religions so long as they are within accordance to the Empire. Sometimes, however, the Legion is sent about the lands they have firm grips on and ask for volunteers to join in service to the Legion and thus the Empire itself. This is something of a warning sign that the Legion will soon have a draft, going from settlement to settlement and city to city in order to command the Nobility within power to provide forces for the Legion.
The training legionaries undergo is rigorous and aimed at producing the most most skilled cohorts that can carry out their orders and commands with precision and efficiency that is generally without equal. The Legionnaires of the Old Empire are trained with crossbows or short bows, swords and shields, and their spears and wear distinctive pauldrons, greaves, and vambraces medium armor such as brigandine, ringmail, or chainmail depending on the province they serve in.
Depending on their skills or prowess that they exhibit in or out of training, they can be assigned into specialized cohorts or 'special' branches that do not fall into the typical ranking structure.
The current Legions have been reformed over the regimes and no longer appear as they once had, being uniform with training and equipment standards, drawn up as a professional fighting force from the poorest of classes and the nobility alike, allowing the Old Empire to field immense armies and providing stable employment and a path to better one’s social status to jobless citizens of Rhisoka.
The building block of every legion is the Contubernium, the eight person tent party, their baggage mule, and two slaves or servants commanded by their Optio, rewarded and punished for their actions as a unit. Ten of these Contubernium form a Centuria under the command of a Centurion with six Centuria forming a Legion Cohort. Each Cohort is commanded directly by the Primus Prior, the most senior and experienced Centurion. Ten Cohorts form together to create an Imperial Legion under the command of the fearsome Legatus, his Tribune, and other officers and servants to assist the commanders in the field and on campaign.
While not a comprehensive list, the most commonly known ranks are as follows. Most legions also possess Signifiers and Aquilifiers to bear the banners, Prefects, and Tribunes among other administrative staff and specialist soldiers.
Optio: These soldiers comprise the mass bulk of the Legion’s leadership, acting as its rigid backbone. These are the soldiers that have risen above the normal standards and duties that are expected of any soldier and have been formally elevated into a position of leadership over their contubernium, the eight man tent party of a unit.
Centurion: Chosen based on their deeds and merit by the infamous Legates or the Imperial Family. They are selected to lead a Century for their skill with sword and shield, dexterity with their missile weaponry, demonstrating prolific use of all legionary weapons, and their physical presence. A centurion must be vigilant and temperate, active and ready to execute their orders at any time, strict in exercising, and maintain discipline in their camp. Most Centurions have an age requirement, and must have served some time among the legionnaires though some exceptions are made from time to time for noble families of influence and those with wealthy parents. Through conflict and experience Centurions are elevated, pushed to command closer to the front of conflict or to take on more difficult tasks.
Specialized Centurion ranks are granted to more knowledgeable individuals with a history of loyalty to their commanding officer and usefulness on the field of battle. The Primus Pilus of a legion stands as the most senior and most experienced Centurion in the Legion, usually an enlisted legionnaire who has seen themselves elevated to the upper echelons of command by merit of success and grim determination. Primus Prior are the senior Centurions of each cohort, commanding the first centuria and expected to command the entire cohort in battle while the Tribunes and Legate oversee the battle from afar. They provide battlefield leadership and inspiration to their men, while the Legates provide strategy.
Legate: Generals and field commanders, Legates bear a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. To be elevated to the status of Legate is to be elevated within the nobility, even for those few who were not born to such prestige, bearing the burden of commanding the Emperor’s fighting force. While some are hardened veterans of many years of battle and success on lengthy campaigns against the enemies of the Empire, others are strategic prodigies elevated through the upper echelons of the Legion quickly because of their natural charisma and tactical acumen, and others still are awarded their commission by their predecessors or perhaps even the Imperial Parliament for far more nebulous reasoning. Legates usually appoint their replacements, reviewing the Tribunes subordinate to them, noting specific achievements and prowess wielded in their tenure thus far, but ultimately the decision is unilateral in most circumstances. Though there is a more formal process that can be invoked in various situations, specifically one circumstance can be that if a Legate is appointed and it creates a big enough disruption to the Parliament or through the general chain of command all the way down through the ranks which would invoke the attention of the Parliament once again to avoid any kind of rebellion.
These alternative branches are reserved for those who have been observed to possess exceptional skill, strength, intellect or exceptional leadership generally within combat although being observed in training is just as accepted. Legates are delegated the responsibility to routinely hold competitions that are open to any and all of the Optios to prove their worth and have the opportunity granted to them to join one of the one of the Specialized Cohorts depending on their displays. This comes with extended benefits that aren't granted by the typical Legion ranking structure, incentives are typically housing within the more wealthy districts, a substantial raise in their pay and other various things such as their own personalized sets of armor, weaponry, etc.
Praetorian Guard: Praetorians are warriors without equal. By far the most dangerous members of the Legion and devout in their allegiance to the Emperor, these men and women are beyond deadly in many forms of combat. Small in number and consisting of only one Cohort, though none but the Praetorian Primus and the Emperor can say for certain how many troops are within the ranks of the Cohort for certain. One of their greatest strengths are the mysteries that surround them as each Praetorian is stripped of their formal ranks, identities erased and as required by the Emperor are obligated to wear armor that hides their identities. Even their own names are no longer permitted and must adopt new monikers in order to remain completely anonymous.
Chantry Kataphraktos: Religious men and women who have shown an affinity for their god and or are recognized as being devout. Their knowledge must be extensive and they must be able to exude a powerful and persuasive presence. Ultimately their goal is to travel from place to place within the Empire, essentially acting as missionaries, reminding many to keep strong in their faiths and emboldened their spirits through their preaching.
House Militia: Alternatively if a soldier is found to be unfit through their training but not entirely hopeless, they are given the opportunity to be placed in a location of their choosing and pledge themselves to nobles, the land they rule over and the citizens they are instructed to protect. These men and women are referred to as the Paza formally but most just simply call them guards for the sake of simplicity and any that are appointed to lead the House Militia for the nobles are typically Knights.
The Legion is not the only fighting force within the Empire. As Rhisokan Citizenship is required to enlist within the Legion those not fortunate enough to be born in the Imperial Heartland that make their lives within the many provinces are able to join, or sometimes conscripted into, the Auxilia. The vast Auxilia can be ordered into duty by the Imperial Governor or Provincial Lord, drawn from local species drafted into service, Men-at-Arms who sell their swords for gold, and Lances of troops from the household guards and yeomen of the feudal lords. Less uniformly organized and often consisting of unique regiments and companies with their own command structures and ranks, the Auxilia is often looked down upon by the professional fighting forces of the Legion, however they provide local assistance and specialized troops for the environment.
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Imperial law and the righteous decree of the Emperor dictate that there are twelve true gods. For they are the twelve that arrived, bringing gifts and expansion to the Empire during the first great Myst Cataclysm. Each god has their own agenda, as seen in the stories written of them. Not all people or families worship the same god(s), some even look down on certain gods and pray to never meet or cross them.What is certain is that the gods are very much real and their schemes and plans often interfere with that of the mortal realm.
What is thought of as Gods are in fact beings from various points in the great Myst, who hold powers so great and powerful that even the strongest mages in Avsolom would seem like a mere ant in comparison. They hold dominion over their own realms in the myst that vary in size and variety. But, little is known for if man dares enter their realm it is seldom they ever return the same.
Although imperial law forbids worship of any but the twelve, by punishment of death, it has not put a stop to it. Worship of what the imperials call false gods runs rampant throughout the expansive amount of land that the Empire claims as his. Though worship of the twelve is much more prevalent, and seen as socially acceptable, sometimes cults and waywards are left alone if they are isolated or not seen worth the effort of eliminating or converting. But, for cults that do seem to rise and take great prominence among the people, you best believe that the Empire will crack down and crucify these cults of personality.
*Note, that the forms depicted are often what is seen in the Mortal realm, these beings are shapeless figures that can bend their shape and form in any aspect, and can be dependent upon the realm they are in.
Athos, God of Avsolom and Life
Athos, God of Avsolom and life, represented as either a crown-wearing man controlling and propping up the sun, or as the sun itself in artwork. Male imperial nobles are often told that it was Athos himself that granted them the blood and right to rule over land on Avsolom
Baetha, Goddess of Nurturing and Comfort
Baetha, Goddess of nurturing and comfort, represented as either a woman who uses moonlight to guide and comfort those at night, or as the moon itself. it is said that she is the patron goddess of all mothers, and provides the teachings to all ladies of nobility within the Empire.
Callex, God of the Sea
Callex, God of the sea, represented as a great snake that can easily devour a ship in a single bite, or shake it's body and cause the sea to go from calm to violent. He is also seen to have a temper equal to his size, and if not prayed to he may sink or devour your ship.Though close to harbors, you will hear that many sailors claim that Callex has been killed or rather a strange primordial force seems to rival him in the deepest depths of the sea.
Dullias, God of War
Dullias, God of War, represented as a giant clad in full armor. The armor he wears varies greatly from depiction to depiction, though the imperials tend to favor placing him in whatever armor is current in the Empire. He is said to have two personalities that he can switch between at any second. He can be either Dullias the Ruthless or Dullias the Merciful. Many say that not praying to him before battle may be deadly.
Ender, God of Trickery
Ender, God of trickery, brother of Gorro. He is considered to be a shapeshifter and is depicted as several different four-legged animals with pure white eyes. It is said that crossing paths with him is bad luck, but there are also tales that he has granted fortune and protection to the rare lucky few. If you come across this god, do be careful, for Ender often enjoys his insidious riddles
Faeva, Goddess of Nature and the Fae
Faeva, Goddess of Nature and the fae, represented as a small, glowing woman, or one or multiple orbs of light. She is said to wander the woods, watching over the natural cycle of nature. Though she may look harmless, in stories she has mislead men that approach her, bringing them deeper into the woods until they're lost. She considers the woods hers but men consider the land theirs. But she will offer women succor, and have pity on men if they are married so that they may return to their wife.
Gorro, God of the Underworld and Death
Gorro, God of the Underworld and death, brother of Ender. He is represented as black-eyed, two-legged creatures such as ravens and crows, though often as entire flocks that feast on dead bodies. It is said the Ender and Gorro fought great battles, shaking the entire foundation of Avsolom each time. One battle caused the Myst surge, and it was after that that Athos cast Gorro into the underworld and forced him to rule there. At times Gorro finds ways to escape the underworld, to walk Avsolom and cause mayhem, at times battling his brother, until he is sent back to his realm.
It is said that the other gods, along with then Emperor, Tyrius Magnus VIII, made a pact to appease Gorro. Giving him dominion to guide the dead and give final judgement on where their souls will venture to.
Halvard, God of the Myst
Halvard, God of the Myst, represented by a statue with a sword that stands in front of a portal. Though he does not control the Myst itself, he protects entrance into the Myst. It is said that he grants it to the weak and strong. He grants it to the weak to cull them, and the strong to become stronger.
Ithalmos, God of the Mountains
Ithalmos, God of the mountains, represented as a giant rock snake and brother to Callex. It is said that Ithalmos has an even greater temper than his brother, and rarely shows mercy to those who anger him as they climb in his domain. It is said that the many caverns that dwell within the heart of the various ranges is from his slithering form tearing through hardened rock.
Jiel, God of Riches
Jiel, represented by a noble man who's outfit covers his face. In stories, he works with Athos to grant noble men riches they needs to rule their land if they have prayed to the correct gods. He is also said to grant coin to the common man for the same deeds, as long as they please their lord as they would please a god. He has a deep hared for his sister Faeva and wishes to usurp her powers to expand enterprise. He also serves as the patron god for many sellsword companies.
Kelee, Goddess of Pleasure and Vanity
Kelee, Goddess of Pleasure and Vanity, represented by a woman with golden skin, snow-white hair, and amethyst eyes. Her form is rarely covered, and it is said that she has curves that make even the Emperor lust. If Baetha is the patron of mothers and the wives, then Kelee is the patron goddess of maidens and strapping young knights. It is said that she desires to keep the world beautiful, through art, her mother Faeva's nature, and all young people across the Empire.
Many temples are located within the Empire and some of the Slaver Islands, where priestesses and priests share in celebration of the body with their patrons. The more solemn gods and their followers have a deep hatred for these hedonistic followers, but for many young nobles and Kelee is a representation of the decadence wealth affords.
Lotha, God of Agriculture
Lotha, God of Agriculture, is represented by a lonesome herder and a single white sheep. He is the patron god of herders and farmers across the Empire, as well as many small folk's patron god of choice. It is said that his dominion is the poorest of all the realms, but his powers are some of the strongest. It is said that in anger he can cause large famines across the empire or even spread disease that whither away whole cities. Farmers will often give portions of their crops every harvest to pray for good harvests.
There is no list of false gods, and it would likely be impossible to make one as more and more of them pop up throughout history. One of the most common is the Blood God, often worshiped by Blood Mages. These cults of Blood Mages have been seen sacrificing men and women in order to please the god and have him grant them better control over blood magic.
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The Capital & Heartland
Chapter 4, The Heartland and Regions of Rishoka
The Heartland of the mighty Empire, born of cascading green hills and a fertile river that cuts across the lands, from the north to the south. Villages dot the eastern shores of the mighty river and farming is bountiful. Two great cities sit on both the northern and southern coasts, with the rich living in marvelous estates located along the the steep mountain cliffs. This is the home of Imperial culture and ideals, and is where the Emperor himself sits.
Cities of the Heartland:
- Rhisoka City: The greatest known city in all of the western continent of Avsolom and the Empire's capital. The expansive city stretches across the northern coast, reaching both the base of the Melkor to the east and the Velos to the west. The Imperial Palace is located here, as well as the great citadel where many of the Empire's greatest mages learn the arts of magic. It is a marvelous city, with towering spires and wonderful roads, but tread carefully, for the game of politics is always at play in the center of the known world.
- Vimos: A small little farming city, that serves as the main hub for farmers across the fertile eastern river bend of Rhisoka. Many farmers meet to trade and deliver shipments to be taken across the Empire here.
- Meriport: The second largest city of the Empire, and sometimes referred to as Southern Rhisoka, the city has a friendly rivalry with their mother city to the north. A sea based city, it holds many of the Empire's naval ships, as well as guards the passage up river.
The Imperial Provinces make up a great part of the Empire's claimed land. So long as the provices work to uphold the Empire's laws, they are allowed to govern their lands in whatever other ways they please. Each province has its own perks and qualifications that make them unique, so much so that perhaps they wouldn't work so well in other areas of the land.
But the Empire grew to a size so great that controlling and watching over all the provinces became an impossible task, especially with all the infighting between their nobility. Now many provinces simply fly the Empire's flag to avoid the wrath of it's legions, but find ways to avoid paying their tithes, sometimes by assassinating imperial overseers or collectors. Some provinces even secretly work towards independence, though there are a few that remain loyal.
Regions of Rhisoka
The Empire is a vast set of land that stretches across wide mountains, rivers, and forests. Its people vary though they are bound by their beliefs and their shared love and patriotism for their historical and mighty country.
The Malkor Mountains: Located east of the Rhisoka River and past the forests of Ledros, the mighty Malkor peaks high into the sky. Covered in a perpetual sea of thick fog, the men of this region live in homes carved into the sides of mountains, and use crankily old suspension bridges to traverse across the great maze of mountain ranges.
Cities of Malkor:
- Mercius: Nestled within the heart of the Malkor is the only known settlement of this region. It's an expansive city, made up of hardy mountain people of Rhisoka, who are devout in their religion, and the city is home to one of the Five Great Wonders of The Rhisokan Empire--The Monastery of The Twelve, which is home to instruction of many of Rhisoka's priests and clergy.
The Jungles of Nym: This dense and vibrant jungle is located just east of the mighty Malkor Mountains, and is perhaps the most diverse in terms of vegetation, wildlife, and culture within Rhisoka. Their cities and towns are named after the old silk tribes that once made up these lands.
Their people are deeply rooted in Rhisokan culture and provide some of the finest silk and fabrics to the Capitals, and are world renown for their craftsmanship. Their people have strange cultures, they worship the twelve, but take on animalistic identities. They also have strange magic, using tattoos which provide mystical properties and some even have strange tiger warging abilities.
Cities of Nymr:
- Ayrom:Nestled within a grove that sits on the banks of the Pernir, Ayrom is the largest of all of the cities in the Nymr region. The fertile grove attracts a set of rare insects, whose eggs can be used to create a set of rare and expensive silk like textures. The city is home to some of the finest clothes makers in all of the Empire, and is the capital city of the Silk Stringers Guild
- Myr: Perhaps one of the strangest cities in the region of Nymr, as well as the poorest. Shanty made wooden homes and platforms are built along large mangrove like trees that seem to jet across shallow murky water. The water is murky and thick with the mixture of fresh water and saltwater. Mostly a pour fishing city, crime is high.
- Salpor: An ancient city that has been rumored to stand for thousands of years, with architecture that matches some of the city states of the Slaver Islands. Once a great city, it had been slowly consumed by the jungle, and only half the population still lingers in the overgrown homes. The slave trade is common, and the people here have strange chain piercings that go from their nose and to their ears. It is also rumored that the Black Goat of Kal-Zadir is worshiped within these parts.
The Woods of Ledros:
The Woods of Ledros are perhaps some of the most vivid and beautiful forests in all of the Empire, with large enchanted oaks, and thick pines that seem to cling to the surface, wildlife and beauty can be seen throughout. It is is said to be a magical forest and the mortal domain of the goddess Faeva. The forest is full of beautiful and exotic creatures, such as the fabled unicorn, Satyrs, Nymphs and even Fae. It's a beautiful realm, but can be quite dangerous to those who wander to hear the forest's call.
Cities of Ledros:
- Inos:An enchanted little city-town hidden deep within the forest. It is located along the only known road that leads through the forest and serves as a place of rest for travelers. The town's people are a quiet type, that keep to themselves. The city is famous for its tavern, The Lonesome Legate, which is said to entertain guests into the wee hours of the night, with fae and nymphs coming and going at all hours of the day.
Located West of the Rhisoka, this land is a mucky lowlands with thick brambles and hard footing, it's constantly flooded from overflows of the mighty river, this location is filled with dangerous criminals and free companies, and poor cities.
Cities of Arcanos:
- Pruvil: Perhaps the most dangerous place in all of Rhisoka, this poor city is a hobbled mess of poorly built houses that seem to stack over each other. The people here are poor and conditions of living are even worse. The city once had promise, but failed to take off after a terrible sickness known as The Hollowing Gutravaged the town, causing the then Lord of the City to close the gates, and stop the disease from spreading. Though he stopped the disease, the common folk would revolt and would gut the then lord, placing a commoner to the title of Lord. Thieves and cut throats lurk around every corner.
- Perseus: A strange town, with little townsfolk, and located deep in the floodlands. The people wear black and seem to worship a strange god. Read More >>
The Golden Hills: While the Rhisokan valley is the home of the Imperial Throne, it is not the birthplace of this mighty nation. That would belong to the rolling semi-arid hills of the Golden Hills, which gained its name from the bright golden grass that makes up the climate. A mixture of rocks, and decent rainfall, the people here are the descendants of former tribesman. They are rugged and tough, militant and devout in their religion. Many of the legion's forces come from these lands, those who choose not to fight can often be seen as herders or small farmers. The land is dangerous, with Minotaurs known to dwell within the rolling plains and other large beasts.
Cities of the Golden Hills:
- Calimus: A remote fort city located in the southern rolling hills, it's home to a small garrison of legion troops who are being trained for the Velos Mountains. Outside of the military it's mostly a herder's village known for producing fine cheese and milk.
- Arimus: A mountainside city located along the base of the Velos and the Golden Hills. Home to many merchants traveling between the mountains as they head to Rhisoka and the Lake District.
- Collimus: Practically an extension of the great city of Rhisoka, this city is nestled into the highlands of the golden hills and overlooks the view of the massive city that seems to stretch for hundreds of miles. It's an exclusive city, and home to the wealthiest merchants in all of the Empire. Protected by slave armies that turn away common folk, it's near impossible to say what is hidden inside the city of golden walls.
The Velos Mountains: Perhaps the largest spanning portion of Rhisoka, the Velos Mountains are the results of two mountain ranges colliding into each other, creating a natural barrier between the Lake District and the Golden Hills. It's a desolate region, with little plant life, dangerous roads and rumors of giants. The Barbarian tribes of the great desert to the west linger and legion activity is high in these portions of the world. If cut throats don't get you, then surely the rumors of giants and other beasts may do you in. Tread lightly, for you never know what may linger along the rocky cold roads.
Cities of Velos:
- Nissil: A sprawling snowy city, located in the heart of the mountains. The people here are tough and religious and it's home to many legion garrisons. The city is often at threat from the Barbarian Tribes of the West, but the city seems to prevail. It is also home to a guild known as The Adventurers Guild, which is a group of dashing dungeon delvers who seek out glory and riches.
- Kemaccus: A small town of goat herders. It is located on clashing territory with the Barbarian Tribes of the West, and is a site of constant warfare. During that last raid, young lord Yuris of House Rhomdan was slayed, leaving them without a ruler--it is currently under Legion Martial Law.
- Ruling Family: The Legion
- Sarrad: A Fort City located in the Velos Mountain and along the base of the Armos River. This city is a rough group, known for mostly fishing and metal working.
- Marahad: A city located on the edge of the Velos Mountains and to the far north of the range. This city has fallen and reclaimed hundreds of times over centuries, which has created a weird mixture of the western tribal influence, old world, and Rhisokan. It's a strange place with strange religions, spices and foods.
Harian's Forest: A Boreal forest range, that has a small river known as The Raynr that cuts across. It's a dry warm place, and is known for its seasonal forest fires and thick expansive trees.
Cities of Harian:
- Alcium: A large city that sits along the rolling hills just off of the Velos Mountains and nestled along the river, Aynr, the city of Alcium is a modest and popular city for ships to begin their venture into the lake district and to the sea.
- Ruling Family: House Mariulus
The Lake District: For hundreds of miles a great lake stretches across the realm, with hundreds of little rivers and brooks funneling into the mighty body of water. It is home to many small fishing ships as well as merchants heading to the great seas. This body of water serves as the dividing point between Rhisoka and the rest of the Imperial Provinces.
Cities of The Lake:
- Imperia: Named after the Empire itself, Imperia once had grand plans on being the center of Imperial life and the the throne during Emperess Anaia's reign, but when the Empress thousands of years earlier by suspected Rhisokan merchants, the plans quickly fell out of favor.
- Ruling Family: House Antasia
- Duport: A small port island, that sits at the base of two rivers, and is located in the heart of the great lake. It is a free city with no active house controlling it.
- Ruling Family: House Adamar
- Riscus: A large island located in the middle of the lake, it is home to some of the wealthiest vineyards in all of the Empire, and is home to many vacation estates for lords of Rhisoka.
- Ruling Family: House Tulius
The Fingers of Rhifell: The Last vestige of Rhisoka before heading into the more alien territories of the Empire, this land is a mysterious swamp delta, with thick mangroves and an even more mysterious people. They guard the entry of the sea, and are home to hundreds of little rivers, it is said that their capital floats along the river and is never in one spot, and their men ride on top of alligators.
Cities of Rhifell
- Rhifell: Named after the bending fingers, this mysterious city is said to have existed before the Empire. Hidden deep within the shrouds of the swamp, it is said that this city constantly shifts with the rivers, never staying in one spot. It is home to the King of the Fingers, and it is said that his bloodline has ruled since the birth of this city. His family is known for their ability to transform into crocodile men.
- Ruling Family: House Muckly
The Slaver Islands Across the coasts of Rhisoka are many islands that protect and serve as a buffer to the nation. These islands are mostly mountainous and semi-arid, and are home to the ancient city states that were conquered during the birth of the Empire. These lands are often known for their slave trade, and weird dabbling of magic. The city states here vary in size and are known to be rivals of other island cities. Here slaves are bought and sold and strange gods are worshiped in these ancient cities.
Cities of The Slaver Islands
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- Lyros: A small fishing city, known for selling exotic starfishes and selling some of the best slave sailors in all of the world.
- Ruling Family: House Farn
- Promecia: A ship building island, the city here is quite industrious and dirty, with many slaves being used for building mighty warships for the Empire. They worship a strange god, and their prince of the city is known as The Shipper Prince. Men with blue inked lips and strange colored eyes linger about the area, making deals with the merchant and shipwrights, spreading word of a god of industry.
- Ruling Family: House Prosis
- Arta: A dry and arid island, that is known for their military and strong warriors. The firstborn son of every family is sold into a slaver army, and trained from birth to become one of the notorious Artanians, a fabled group of mercenary men that bring great wealth to the island.
- Ruling Family: House Junos
- Armos: Fishing City known for their crab meat and other local fish. They are somewhat poor compared to other cities.
- Ruling Family: House Tayln
- Marapol: A strange and ancient city, they are known mostly for their strange fascination on the dreaming god of the sea.
- Ruling Family: House Merlin
- Maro: A poor and desolate city, this island has been known as the center for fighting between the slaver houses.
- Ruling Family: House Pennyweather
- Ludos: A cut-throat and dirty city, known for the sale of exotic slaves of distant lands as well as animals for pets.
- Ruling Family: House Tengir
- Oculia: A great city, that has stood since before the days of the Empire. Its architecture still holds the remnants of ancient god statues, and is said to be built on top of a maze of black slime stone. A grand statue of Emperor Tyros stands watch over the entrance of the port, with a thick purple witch's flame.
- Ruling Family: House Vellor
- Isir: A strange fishing city, that worships the mermaid queen, their people are mostly bald, with eccentric face tattoos, and are adorned with self-inflicted scales.
- Ruling Family: House Parang
- Tyr: A remote city, that is known for creating some of the finest pleasure slaves for all of the Empire. Their people have gem colored eyes, tanned skin and dark hair. Their city is overgrown and monkeys are rampant across their streets.
- Ruling Family: House Inir
- Istapol: The largest of the southern slaver cities, this island city is adorned with a set of large walls and grand doors which are always closed. The men and women here are said to never leave the city. Great etchings adorn the magnificent walls, depicting strange beast like figures. It is said that not even the jungles of Istapol dare enter the city walls.
- Ruling Family: House Mering
- Nyrce: A Modest fishing town, that is also known for farming silk-fish, a rare type of fish whose scales are used in creating strange and vibrant dyes.
- Ruling Family: House Arano
Chapter 5, Imperial Magi and Myst Research
Arcavous Research Institute
At the birth of the Mysts, the Empire channelled its resources into understanding and harnessing its power. At the heart of this expedition into the unknown, was the Arcavous Research Institute. The Institute's earliest history can be traced back to the Magi of five noble families, who sought to consolidate their research and power in an attempt to create a monopoly on research and training.
Their efforts were largely successful, becoming the first known school of magic. This enabled the founders to attract significant talent and investment necessary to secure places of study for noble students. Over generations, its influence has steadily grown, with many high ranking officials and well-known magi having studied there.
Anyone above the age of fourteen can be enrolled to train at the ARI. Before they are accepted, candidates will be invited to an aptitude test.
The test is usually conducted at the local prefecture and is attended by at least three members of the institute. At least one of these must be a Magister and no single individual can be from the same college.
Individuals are invited into a dark room which contains a single table. On the table is a black cloth covering five quartz stones of varying colour. One of these stones is a Lissant. The applicant is presented with these stones by an interviewer, the remaining two stand only as observers. They are asked to pick the stone that speaks to them but are warned not to try and deceive the assessor. The idea is for the candidate to correctly identify the Lissant. If successful they score a single point.
Regardless of their first choice the assessor will then invite them to place a blindfold over their eyes. The assessor will remove the Lissant and replace it with the real quartz stone, with a faint enchantment placed upon it.
A successful candidate will either refuse to pick any stone worth two points, or pick the replaced Quartz for only one point. Candidates who achieve a minimum of two points will be considered. Applicants who score three points will be accepted.
The objective of this test is three-fold, first and most importantly prove a student's ability to detect and interact with the Mysts, second to prove their sincerity, and finally having the confidence to challenge information presented to them. Ideally the ARI is seeking individuals with all three of these qualities but it is willing to accept those who only meet two of three.
It is rare but Magisters may issue a Writ of admittance to any individuals they met on their travels who they believe exhibit the traits expected of students. In such circumstances it falls upon the Magister to ensure the student successfully completes their studies, or risks loss of reputation and in serious cases dismissal. Those with a written Writ can skip aptitude tests, although the Arcavous reserves the right to test candidates if their aptitude is brought into question by their instructors.
The School is the most elite in the Empire. Because of this, there are students not only from the Empire but other nations too. ARI features five colleges, which battle it out with their own beliefs on the Mysts. Each College is named after one of the founders and is associated with a particular application of the Mysts.
Aulus: Magi who focus on the artistic side of Magic, using the Mysts to express their imagination and emotions. Primarily specialize in illusionary spells.
Quill: Magi who focus on the mechanisms and mechanics that underpin the Mysts, they believe in applying real world concepts such as mathematics to magic. Members of Quill specialize in Sacred Geometry and other defensive applications.
Evander: Magi who believe in words of power, they specialize in magic designed to inspire their allies and weaken their enemies. Many become poets, novelists, or bards.
Servius: Passionate Explorers and Scholars members of this college dedicate themselves to uncovering long-lost secrets while specializing in utility based magic.
Silvius: Silvius believes in using the Mysts to manipulate nature, on both sides of the coin, either to empower it or exploit it; they are Druids, Healers, and Necromancers.
Each college has its own faculty, campus, magical specialties, identity, logo, and mascots. Scholarships are available to eligible students as well as the option to pay off tuition by contributing to the institute by joining research assignments. Students pick a college after concluding their first year.
The general term for students that attend the Arcavous Research Institute. First year students are referred to simply as such until they elect their preferred colleges. These individuals wear a distinct uniform that identifies them as such. Once a college has been chosen and the student accepted they will be expected to dress in accordance with their colleges rules.
Students who are senior members of their respective college are expected to mentor 2nd years. Their duty is to provide advice and sign post students. Those who volunteer for this position typically do so for extra credit or perks such as reduced tuition fees.
Aspirants are third or fourth year students who have been recommended by their college to undertake the trials. They typically prepare for these by working closely with Magister's and other senior members of the faculty.
Aspirants also qualify to support the tuition of first years in exchange for a reduction in tuition fees or other perks.
Professors at the Institute are magi advanced in their elected field, who devoted their time to teaching students.
Support Staff: From the humble groundskeeper to the perfects that patrol the grounds, support staff are necessary to keep the Institute and its students safe and well-fed.
Instructors: Instructors teach their own curriculum but are not yet fully fledged professors. They are typically former students employed by the University.
Professors: Established tutors at the university, they make up the bulk of a college's senior representation. Most professors also support the wider university interests by pursuing their own fields of research.
Dean: The chief educator of their respective colleges, each Dean is a powerful and often respected Magi in their own right. Their responsibility is to represent their colleges interests in the Council and ensure the safety of their students. Many of the Deans have a rivalry with opposing colleges.
The Institute itself is represented by powerful Magi who hold positions of power throughout the Empire. The Institute dictates research and funding for the colleges at an annual council meeting attended by Deans and Emeritus.
Magister: Magisters are fully fledged members of the Institute. Besides providing support to Deans and their respective colleges they are expected to manage the Institute's day-to-day activities.
This often includes leading research teams and working with local law enforcement to track down, capture or destroy rogue magi.
Emeritus: An honorary title conferred to Professors, Deans, or Magisters who have an esteemed career within the College's or Institute. They are granted the right to attend the Council to offer their opinions and input but hold no ability to vote.
Sage: The Sage is the highest rank in the Institute. Their duty is to chair the annual council between the Deans and function as the chief representative of the organization.
- Tyber's Astrolabe, a large man made lake located at the heart of the campus. Floating above the lake is a peculiar holographic Astrolabe tracking the movements of stars both known and unknown.
- The Aviary, a pub located at the far end of the Campus overlooking the lake and Gryphon's Spire.
- Gryphon's Spire is a small Spire at the heart of a meadow. It is currently occupied by three pairs of Gryphon that are used for protection and transport.
- Fyern's Hall is named after Magi Fyern. A grand multi-tiered lecture hall. Many students of Aulus gather here for lectures.
- Memorial Hall, covering most of the campus area, is decorated with elaborate statues, paintings, and other monuments of esteemed heroes and past students.
- Opus Gardens, a garden that separates memorial hall from student accommodation. It is decorated by student created art.
- Celestial Observatory, the tallest structure in the ARI, is fondly called the Beacon of Arcavous by the college's Dean. Contained within a glass top is a large Lissant suspended in the air by magic. This has created ever shifting strands of Must that orbit the Observatory for study creating an effect not unlike Aurora borealis.
- Arcanum. Arcane forges where automatons and golems are created and given life. It is a place for students to practice enchantments.
- Geomantic Sphere, a hollow bronze dome that sits at the heart of Quill Campus. Inside the laws of the universe and its relationship with the Mysts are tested in the name of science!
- The Rose Amphitheatre, is the main lecture hall for students of Evander. Named after the vibrant animated floral patterns that line its walls. It is noted for providing excellent acoustics.
- Strixhall is a Gymnasium that allows students of Evander to train their physical bodies, learning skills such as dance, martial arts, and acrobatics.
- The Farragut, a floating tavern that is owned by the Dean. It is renowned for extravagant parties and is frequently visited by the students of other colleges despite being advised otherwise.
- Inverted Spire, is an archaeological site located on the Servius Campus. This vast structure is a large spire that burrows deep into the nearby hills. It serves as Servius accommodation for students.
- Servius has the privilege of having the Magister's Archives, a great library containing the collective knowledge of ARI and its contributors.
- The Codex, a monolith that sits at the heart of Servius gardens. It's an artefact not fully understood, covered in forgotten histories and long-lost knowledge deciphering it has become a priority of the college.
Braccus Stadium, a Stadium ground for the college's to engage in competitive activities ranging from sports to duelling.
- Wild Hunt Lodge is a mansion-like structure located at the heart of the black garden. This is where most students study and reside.
- The Black Garden is a place of life and death, covered in swampy marshland and vibrant meadows. It is used to gather herbs and reagents necessary for alchemy.
- Witherstone Prison, the chosen place of imprisonment for those captured by Magister's the living forest prevents most from escaping. It is infamous for providing test subjects for the Dean's alchemical work.
Arcavous Citadel, a fortification that is home to the Sage and senior members of the Institute. Contained within is the meeting place for the Council and contains Archives, Armoury, and Vaults among other facilities.
The Trials take place anytime after the conclusion of the students' second year. The nature of the trials can vary but generally they focus on one's ability to control the Mysts. After successfully completing their trial they are issued with a Writ bearing the Imperial Seal, allowing them to practice magic in public places and have the institute's protection against prosecution or factions that would attack them. Otherwise, without this certification, Magisters are free to hunt them if they cause trouble in the Empire.
Fraya: Third Year Student
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Chapter 6, Imperial Currency
Solidus are rarely traded, only used by the wealthiest people in the Empire to exchange very large sums of money or to store incredible wealth within a vault. Even then, most of the time values are expressed in the more common Aureii. They are small golden bars bearing the Imperial Dragon minted for the use of merchants and nobility and few peasants ever lay eyes on them.
The Aureii is the primary Gold coin in circulation throughout the Old Empire, usually bearing the image of an Emperor, with older coins bearing the bust of the Emperor during the time that they were minted. Aureii is consider a small fortune by the peasantry who might survive off as little as a single Aureii a month during difficult times.
Denarii are silver coins used by artisans, merchants, shop keepers, and anyone in the middle-class for everyday life. Denarii are usually minted in various provinces and most commonly bear the iconography of the House Paramount of that province on their face. For example a Denarius minted in Inos may bear the Unicorn of House Meadows. Also Jiel, the God of Riches can also be featured upon the Denarii, as an homage to the deity of wealth.
- A good set of armor costs around twenty Aureii
- A proper steel sword made by a good swordsmith can cost around a eight Aureii
- A decent warhorse might cost as many as thirty Aureii, with more prominent lineages worth several hundred
The Assarius is a copper coin usually used to buy meals or glasses of drink by peasants and middle-class people, stays at an inn, or basic supplies. Assarii usually bear a simple depiction of the Imperial Palace upon the face, though locally minted ones might bear the capital of the province instead.
- A bushel of corn or planting seed for an acre is worth three or four Denarii
- Decent chain or ring mail costs around four Denarii
- Saddles, axes, strong yew bows, and cheap swords all cost small numbers of Denarii
The Quadran is the smallest denomination of value, represented by a small copper bit bearing the Bull Head of the Minotaur King, Emperor Promeceus I who united the Empire in days long past and forgotten.
- One night at an inn or boarding house costs around one Assarius, with more lavish ones ranging into whole Aureus per night
- A meal at a tavern is expected to cost one or two Assarii
- A tent and bedroll for travelling is worth eight Assarii
- A single loaf of bread or a melon usually costs two or three quadrans, stale or old pieces usually go for less
- A Quadran is the most commonly given coin to beggars
- A glass of wine or grog from a cheap tavern can be bought for a single Quadran
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