It is known as the mortal sphere by entities beyond the physical plane. Demi-gods and other oddities besides have often named it the Cradle of Creation, from which all creation is birthed, eventually to be siphoned into the divine realms of the Celestial Spheres. To all the ordinary mortal children who seed the soil of their inherited world, it has always been called Thearus.
THE CONTINENTS, REALMS, AND EMPIRES
A realm of sapphire oceans and dark seas, broken apart by three spanning continents. The eastern realms of Khios, a continent biome-diverse throughout its northern lands. Farther south past the continental heartlands, the climates grow more arid toward the equator. All the lands past the near inhospitable southern wastes, are nothing more than dune seas, save the verdant ruins of a continent spanning empire, forgotten to time.
Across the Black Sea and Golden Sphere Ocean, a radiance bathes the golden continent in the west, Tanorith. A land of windswept vales and craggy highlands. Of primordial forests and enchanted, brooding woodlands. Here, the lands are ever fed by great rivers, lakes, and ponds carving up the continent like mother nature separating her own territories. Humankind on Tanorith are about as varied in phyiscal traits, faith, and ideologies than anywhere else on the planet. From Tambria Et Namesa to the northern, wintry and primordial forest of Hallorn, Tanorith has become humanity’s greatest sphere of power and influence.
Southward of Tanorith, great archipelagoes lie scattered throughout the Lavender Sea. These mystical islands vary enough in scale and are common enough in number that they make direct travel between Tanorith and the southern continent, named the Crystalline Ocean by the ancient and enigmatic races that build their empires there, a hazard in both the adventurous and political sense of the word.
A paradise discovered by the Ishal’nan, a mysterious race of lithe and mystical creatures, distinct by their elongated ears and pallid complexions – the Crystalline Ocean has become the bedrock of their continental empire. Though its lands appear pristine near and around its claimed archipelagoes – the lands myriad biomes become more extreme and inhospitable upon journeying too far inland.
Thus, the Crystalline Ocean has acquired its name for the beauty of its coastal lands and outlying archipelagoes.
REALMS OF THE CRYSTALLINE OCEAN
Children of the Ishal’nan Blood
Enigmatic and ancient beings, Ishal’nan’s children walked Thearus’ primordial places millennia before humankind and other mortal species’ existence. Graceful creatures bearing a similar likeness to humans, but naturally lithe and elongated of ears. Known to other races as the Ishal, other powers regard them as the only race among mortal kind to keep, communicate, and walk with the gods of their pantheon.
Known for their reclusive nature from Thearus’ geopolitical shaping events, the Ishal often look inward to their own conflicts and futures, rather than altering the destinies of other kingdoms and empires.
Yet a change in the winds hasn’t gone unnoticed by Thearus’ great powers. Auralorn Tarithan, an Ascedant King among the Ishal of Celithorn, a martial sect among the Ishal’nan, march from conquest to conquest throughout the Crystalline Ocean. Auralorn approaches a manifest destiny promised by the Ishal’nan herself–and her Celithorn Empire’s remarkable founding.
A southern empire founded throughout the Crystalline Ocean, the Celithorite people have only recently come into the status of becoming a great power. Governed by the Sovereign Conclave and Ascendant Auralorn, a mastermind strategist with an eye for conquest and war, the Crystalline Ocean falls into a fragile peace after decades exhausted from internal strife.
Aurolan knows that to maintain the empire’s ascendancy, he must first unite the disparate factions among the abolished Ishalnan powers and their exiled ruling houses. He looks out beyond the Crystalline Ocean to do so–to expand Celithorn’s dominance to Thearus’ four corners.
Amari Jumairth Confederation
A tribal confederation created among the Ishal Clans of the Amari Expanse and the Jumarith Forests. The Ishlnan collectively knows them as the Amarith and An’lurai by other mortal children. The wild tribes are famous for tight knit, but scattered communities concealed amid the primordial places of the Crystalline Ocean. Their hot-blooded temperaments have become legend, a trait unusual to the Ishal, often fueling internal conflicts with the other powers on the Crystalline Ocean that often look to Amari Jumarith with lustful eyes.
All Amarith culture stems from the legacy of their Druidic ancestry. Guardians of mother nature and attentive caretakers of her verdant places, the disparate peoples among the Amarith have garnered a reputation for being enigmatic to the point of being unsettling.
Sayenni, Goddess of Fortune and Abundance, steeps Thearus in primordial and ancient magic. Few unattuned with nature could hope to understand all the mechanisms and secrets required to wield it with the same grace and know the same way her mortal children in the Amarith could.
Kingdom of Qimbri
The Children of Qimbri remain a rarity among the Ishalnan, adhering to the ancient traditions, creed, and culture practiced by their ancestral forbearers. As a result, the Guardians of the Spirit Veil prefer spacious abundances of unblemished land to build their settlements in compliance with their harmonious union with nature.
Yet a forbidden knowledge of the esoteric void and a reliance on the elder Ishalnan culture makes the Qimbri unique when compared to their distant Amarith cousins. Qimbrians are a mysterious sect among the Ishal, steeped in a mighty mysticism enough to haunt and terrify enemies who would otherwise invade them with impunity.
Qimbri’s winter-touched lands live farther inside the Crystalline Ocean’s mainland, a boreal woodland between the continent’s glittering coastline and southern tundra expanding toward the arctic south.
An alliance of city-states holding the Avaair Plains, Uyriaan mountains, and the Valenthar valley, the Illandrus Aristocracy are an automatous realm inside the Greater Celithorn Empire. Subjected in recent decades to conquest, Illandrus seeks to mend their homeland and the deep scars dividing it. Yet a three-century road into long defeat has left the Aristocracy a mere shadow of ancient glories.
Unusually proud, Illandrans emphasize strength behind a veil of humility. As their common saying goes, an ancestral spear means little if its successor cannot find courage enough to strike the foe with it.
Thus, Illandrans have often sought adventurous lives far beyond their homeland after the conquest. Whether offering their blades to the highest bidder as mercenaries or defending fledgling colonies from assault–there is no shortage of martial work that Illandrans won’t accept for greater glories. While time begins to heal the deep wounds in their realms, defiance kindles once again in the Illandran citizenry’s hearts.
REALMS OF KHIOS
Children of the Sun and the Carth Dominion
An ancient civilization with origins dating back three thousand years through the annals of Khiosian histories, the Children of the Sun are an enigmatic, divine-touched people. Reigned over by the Sun Caller Kings of House Sar Amun, an ancestral line of God Kings blessed by Qalzirai, the God of the Golden Sun. The mythical monarchies and their royal families share a fraction of his divinity in both immortality by age, an extraordinary strength of body, and otherworldly powers to call upon the Golden Sun’s flaming wrath.
Despite their three-thousand-year history, the Children of the Sun have never expanded their borders throughout the Khiosian heartlands beyond the Golden Valley until recently. Despite the Dominion’s humble territorial boundaries around the lands surrounding Gorum, the Golden Valley, the Children of the Sun remain among Khios’ grandest civilizations.
For the City of Grand Canals, named Tushik in the Carthite dialect, continues a long-lasting golden age of a thousand years. Terraformed into an idyllic paradise, the city and her famous canal system spread from one end of that majestic mountain valley to the other end.
Children of the Sun allow their fires to dim with the coming dusk, but only to reignite their burning desire for eternal war with the breaking of yet another dawn.
The Children of the Southern Wastes and the Kingdom of Su’khan
The realms of Su’khan reside within an arid climate nearest to the equator. A harsh region of dunes and desert known as the Southern Wastes. Despite being known for its vastness and infernal heat, life does still reside inside the former cradle of humankind on Khios. Fertile soil created by many winding rivers and their floodplains streak across the geographic region like a deity’s graceful brushwork.
Even for an arid region of desert – the Southern Wastes are incredibly harsh – near inhospitable beyond the floodplains produced by its many rivers and the occasional hidden oasis. Yet Su’khanites are nothing if not exceedingly resourceful, tenacious, and cunning in their myriad methods of survival inside their harsh environment – and the cut-throat political hierarchy that governs them.
Su’khanites have learned long ago that building settlements on the surface of the Southern Wastes is not workable – as life even on the floodplains can become treacherously dangerous on a whim. Instead, the Children of the Southern Wastes have built ancient townships – known as Sanctuaries – underground.
After thousands of years spent in a subterranean existence – the Children of the Southern Wastes are quiet people – for loud voices echo far in the deep places of the world. Disillusioned by the reverence and ceremony common amid the other realms of Khios, the Children of the Southern Wastes place devotion in their patron goddess, Zahira, the Guardian of Silent Graves and the Watcher of the Hourglass. The Goddess of Death grants her children the foresight and wisdom to strip away the illusion’s mortal kind weave over the concept of death. As a result, her children keep grim, but pragmatic views on the mortality of life.
The Children of the Moon and the Autumn Realms of the Old Myrian Empire
A northern land beyond the Khiosian mainland, across the great Alabaster River, lies the Autumn Realms of Old Myria. Children of the Moon reside upon the fabled sub-continent of Old Myria, another ancient civilization matched only by the rivaling strength of the Children of the Sun in the Carth Dominion.
Yet the Autumn Realms are not simply a legacy of conquest, but a testament to high-minded and noble ideals, kept alive through the laws of a benevolent monarchy.
The Old Myrian Empire does not stand as a united entity, but is an amalgamation of semi-autonomous, lesser kingdoms, city-states, and splinter civilizations long divided from the Children of the Moon. The Autumn Queens have reigned over them for three thousand years, keeping the allied, but disparate realms working in cohesion for the better prosperity and continuing legacies of the Autumn Realms.
A realm steeped in a mythical history, and an ascendant empire, fallen from power from internal strife. Ashara now lies divided, it’s western realms bordering Sukhan Kingdom and the Carth Dominion, an emerald paradaise of fertile plains, forested mountains, and waterfalls. It’s eastern realm in contrast, is now an arid wasteland of ruined civilization.
Eastern Asharites still survive amid the desert sands in scattered village communities, united by King Paranoug the Exiled One long ago, a notorious tyrant that once reigned over the ashes of Ashara’s former glories.
A mountainous badland in the western lands, the far-flung realms of Kharan to Khios’ western powers seem nothing less than inhospitable. Humans cannot thrive in these harsh lands, but farther eastward, lies uncharted and fecund realms, touched by fading echoes of the Ascended Pantheon’s magic. And mortal kind rarely venture here, to the known world’s edge, as reality bends unnaturaly, colliding with a myriad of other realities beyond the mortal sphere.
Yet, aside from the fearsome beasts that prowl these lands, a civilization does endure, and prospers even. Distant cousins of humanity, Kharanites are the descendants of the Old Titans, a race of demi-giants, each of their number the height of a human and a half. Known for gaunt humanoid bodies adapted to the barren wastes, the demi-giants make up with densely corded muscle more than capable of overpowering several humans. The Clans of Kharan are reserved, and typically participate in their internal issues of strife inside the badlands. Yet, as the Valhon Tribes continue to unite Kharan beneath their Clan Banner, exiles, refugees, and even adventurers and mercenaries set out into the western realms of Khios in the pursuit of glories and the hope to build new futures. Or, above all, the exiles of Kharan dream of overthrowing the Valhon, so that Kharan may be liberated again.
Qo’ro, Realm of the Exiles
A hellish, volcanic wasteland reigned by the restless dead, according to long-recorded histories of the main Khiosian powers. Unsustainable to mortal life, human kind haven’t widely tread the realm of Qo’ro for over two millennia, when it had first been charred by a war between Kharothir and Qalzirai, Gods of the Primordial and Sun respectively.
Yet, as open war besets all Khios, her mortal children embroiled in ceaseless war, the quiet dead continue to sleep away the eons.
U’skar Qi Steppes
A vast, untamed land of isolated steppe lands, surrounded by seas of forestation and great terraced cliffs, the U’skar Qi is home to Khios’ hardiest human civilizaitons. A common misconception by foreigners is that the steppes of the U’skar Qi are primal backwaters, but the nomadic horse tribes that thrive in these lands are quickly ascending into the status of a great power.
A collection of ancient city-states, new found colonies, and great tribal confederations from across a multitude of ethniticies thrive in a harmonic balance, causally interrupted by the fires of war.
Xura, a city located on the highest elevation of the eastern U’skar Qi Steppes, has suceeded in conquering most of the disparate peoples of their homeland with the aid of their steadfast allies: the Carth Dominion. Their warlord-king, a notorious warrior by the moniker of Dikran, the Black Tiger of U’skar Qi, has converted to the Golden Sun religion, and has opened the gates of his realms to the Golden Sun Cult, the state religion of their allies in the Children of the Sun.
As the Carth Dominion arises from the embers of eternal war, so does the U’skar Qi, providing the infantry heavy armies of the heartland empire with a near-endless supply of disciplined, well-trained cavalry hordes.
A small kingdom nestled between the continental heartland of the Carth Dominion and the rainforest of Suathar kingdom, the realms of Akopia are the steadfast gate against the Children of the Sun. The Ulkhan Savanah cuts a swathe across the kingdom’s western outskirts, the forests of Karothir prospering along the eastern border shared by the Carth Dominion.
Minor towns, villages, and formidable strongholds litter both wildernesses, protected beneath the constant vigil of patroling Warhawk Sentinels and garrisoned armies. Farther inland, however, lies the Ulkara Mountains, the fabled cities of the Architect-Kings of Akshan scattered across its peaks.
The seven cities of Akopia are ancient relics of the past, built millennia ago. Inhabited by a steadfast and cunning civilization, the seven cities of the mountain realm have survived countless cataclysms. As the Carth Dominion’s neighbors, Akopia’s inhabitants have learned to stand unwavering against a continuous cycle of warfare and temporary peace. Against the Children of the Sun, their bastions and citadels are the first line of defense for the western realms, and often become the staging point for counter-offensives to change the tides of conquest.
The realm of the Crescent Moon, the Sarunites consider themselves a lesser extension of Old Myria’s sovereignty. A fecund land covered in dense rainforest and assailed with common storms, the kingdom has come both to elect Anahid, Goddess of the Sea and Jumanah, Goddess of Portents and the Moon as their patron deities.
A lesser kingdom on the grand geo-political power scale, Saruthar relies on a combination of specialized martial warrior cults formed together to make a cohesive, but flexible bond. The armies of Sarune lend their expertise to the defense of other kingdoms sharing borders with the Carth Dominion to aid their chances for victory.
Both the realms of Akopia and the Oligarch Princedoms of the Crimson Bluffs remain steadfast allies in the Autumn Moon Coalition, combining their resources to maintain an established first line defense against the Children of the Sun for long enough for the Old Myrian Empire and her Autumn Realms to muster a counter-offensive to crush the Dominion’s legions.
The Crimson Bluffs and the Oligarch Princes
A coalition of banished houses and lesser princes, shamed into exile beyond the boundaries of the Carth Dominion. Successionists, exalted champions turned to sellsword work, Qin’sar Houses disillusioned with the Golden Sun Cult and their kindred, the Children of the Sun. Banished from the Khiosian heartland, the Carth Dominion’s most determined and powerful undesirables often venture farther west into the no man’s land known only as the Crimson Bluffs.
Welcomed by the shamanistic nomads that call the region home, the leaders of the local tribal confederations have learned to bolster both their martial might and prestige through the annexation of these exiled houses and experienced veterans of numerous wars.
Thus, the Oligarch Princes, allowed to rebuild and consolidate their wealth into towns, cities, and strongholds prospering beyond the laws and regulations of an established civilization, have become one half of a symbiotic alliance with the Tribal Confederations of the Qi Tribes, once exiled themselves from the steppe lands of the Uskar Qi.
The Forlorn Isle
An island once settled in eras long past, its populace eradicated long before their scattered towns and cities had fallen into ruin through the passing centuries. Coastal folk inhabiting the coasts running along the Black Sea have often spied such remnants upon passing the Forlorn Isle by.
Saruthar kingdom laid claim to the settlement centuries ago, and have since declared the territory forbidden to all, outsiders and kinsmen alike. Still, local mythical tales still speak of visitors making landfall during the night, often before great storms. Such tales forewarn the bold and daring of something buried at the heart of the island, wicked enough to shroud everything nearby beneath an ethereal gloom.
Hallorn was founded from humble beginnings. Once disparate clans, Halish folk have endured harsh lives throughout the primordial forests of the Mist Hollow, the cobalt mountains of the Titan Peaks, and vast swathes of wintry highlands. Arisen into power many centuries ago under King Ahearn the First, the tribal confederation has become an expansive realm farther north of Tanorith’s southern coastline.
Hallorn’s defenders are famous for their stone countenance and grim-devotion to the kingdom’s safeguard and future whenever threatened. Dreaded beast haunt Hallorn from end to end, always lurking in the shadows, and have produced famous knightly orders sworn to king and realm with unshakable faith and resolution.
The Knights of the Raven’s Veil, the Drakeblood Shields, and a myriad of other stalwart brother-and-sisterhoods besides.
For the folk of Hallorn have not marched to war in many centuries, the oathbound devotion of its warriors are more accustomed to waging crusades against the realm’s constant internal turmoil. It is a strife not born from the natural state of mankind, but born from the horrors that stalk the land in the dim of night.
The Heathland, Tambia-et-Nemessa has forever been a mythical and untamed land situated between Hallorn Kingdom in the north and the Southern Charoden Empire to the south. It’s druidic tribes have adapted to the unnatural degradation of the mortal world’s physical laws at the heart of the western continent, that has long warded away outsiders and ill-prepared colonists.
They are a watchful people, though they do not live in isolation. While they are savage fighters, the disparate peoples that inhabit Tambria and Nemessa, a vast confederation of various tribes strive toward a harmonious balance with nature. These civilizations take pride in being masters of the hunt and not death for sport or any other needless vanity.
The magic of Tambria-et-Nemessa’s primordial realm is one sprung from the Goddess of Life and that of the Hunt. A Druid can easily harness a spell to cast a battlefield into full-bloom about as easily as withering the fallen into dense, verdant groves. Summoning sentience into snaking vines to ambush a foe or shapeshifting into rare and powerful beasts.
The Southern Charoden
The Scarlet Gate, the Red Empire, and the Riven Lands, the Southern Charoden remains a crown jewel among the western kingdoms of humanity. However, it is a gemstone that has lost some measure of its former luster and gained many scars in addition to its flawed, blemished quality.
The warriors of Southern Charoden prefer referring to themselves as soldiers, for they wage their conflicts as a professional legion. They volunteer from every part of the empire, journeying from each way of life imaginable to achieve lifelong dreams of owning land and families after hard earned careers earned in the empire’s defense.
Spanning across the fertile territories along Tanorith’s southern coastline, the Southern Charoden is positioned against the Ishalnan powers of the Crystalline Ocean, unified now under the Celithorn Empire’s banner, and have been engaged in an unceasing war against expansion on multiple fronts.
Qalzirai, God of the Sun
A patron of courage and valor upon the battlefield, the Solar God calls to many warriors of the eastern lands of Khios. Also the father of the Khiosian branch of the Ascended Pantheon, Qalzirai symbolizes the beginning and end of all things, even eternity and the death of Godhood.
Sharis, God of Silent Graves
A God of the Dead, Sharis is the patron of those who often seek to cheat death or enthrall the souls of the perished to their dominion. Known as the Great Gambler, Sharis is known much for making wagers – and punishing those who fall on the wrong side of his wrath.
Zahira, Goddess of the Underworld
The better half of her immortal husband, Sharis, Zahira symbolizes the tranquility and peace of a quiet grave, absent of torment and lament. Children of Zahira welcome the idea of finding absolution in death after lives exhausted in the chaotic turmoil of the mortal sphere.
Yumera, Goddess of Portents
The Unerring Hand of Future Omens, devoted of Yumera constantly peer into the vale of futures past, current, and yet to be to avoid catastrophe. Yet the concept of scrying the future is fraught with peril, a double edged sword between being forewarned of disaster and being played into its hands. This duality is what defines Yumera and her devoted followers, who adhere to more stoic creeds than most other faiths.
Anahid, Goddess of the Sea
Underneath the oceans’ surface, greater magic lies beneath its dazzling depths, concealing treasures and forgotten lores abandoned on the ocean’s bed. Celestial magic has become rare in a world of dead and absent gods, but those still with gift enough to wield it, seek out Anahid’s divine favor in return to their life’s devotion to the magic they study.
Khorothir, God of Primordial Life
All life is an endless cycle, stuck in the vicious battle between life and death. Khorothir represents living and creation in all of its aspects. The blooming groves of a mountain valley. The vicious hunt of wolves through a winter wood. The beating heart within a newborn’s chest and the racing of a wild horse across the steppelands. Khorothir is life untamed, unleashed, and truest to freedom without trivial subjugation or societal strictures created by gods and mankind in equal turns.
Sabah & Zesiro, Twin Goddesses of the Void
The grim truth behind all faiths is that nothing can truly live forever. Eternity is not a timeless concept because mortals believe they deserve so. And at the end of all creation, the celestial sphere, and the gods responsible for creating all of it – the Twin Siblings of the Void will return to reduce the mortal sphere to blackest night forever.
Bann Toran, God of the Old Titans
Worshipped as the strongest god in the entire pantheon, the rare devoted who worship him are usually the Demi-giants of Kharan. Ferocious as much as they are merciless – Bann Toran’s followers are merciless reavers all, respecting only strength, and taking out anyone unable to halt their carnage to an early grave.