|Races||Ailor, Dwarf, Urlan|
|Cultures||Velheim Ailor, Aldor, Ruin-Khuur, Dredger and Greborrin Dwarves|
|Flora and Fauna|
Cain is a large northern continent often forgotten by the outside world in favor of neighboring regions like Ellador and Jorrhildr. Its history is similarly forgotten but it was known to be at the fringes of the Drovv civilization and the Allorn Empire which allowed the Ailor that lived there to flourish quietly for a number of years. The Cataclysm and preceding events, however, drastically changed the landscape into what it is today. Almost every type of northern land formation and climate can be found in Cain, and the style of living of the local Velheim population is diverse to accommodate survival among these various environments. A variety of nations, many in conflict with each other, also populate Cain but many Velheim living there carry out normal lives far away from all those troubles. As an insular continent, the only interest Regalia has had in the region is attempting to convert its population and access its resources, both slow tasks which are slowly beginning to bear fruit. However, Regalia should be careful their fruit does not freeze and die if they ever make the foolish decision to outright attack Cain.
Cain’s history is surprisingly vague despite its large size. Many scholars believe much of its surface, especially in the south and west, was once underwater and therefore inaccessible. However, despite its smaller size in the past, it was a region known to hold members of the Drovv species in the time before the Cataclysm. The landmass was on their borders, similar to Jorrhildr and, while explored, was not extensively settled as the Drovv remained close to the Veil to continue their endless vigil waiting for a new Void Invasion. The Allorn Empire similarly lacked interest in the region, and Cain remained largely unexplored by both parties. This lack of interest proved fortuitous to escaped slaves and the people now called the Velheim Ailor. While a long trip and certainly not as humid as tropical Daen, Cain and the whole of The North Belt offered protection from the Altalar and their pursuit of escaped slaves. However, this task was made more difficult closer to the Cataclysm by the birth of the Isldar in distant Ellador. Already found in the north and occasionally suffering snowfall in its northern reaches, Cain was soon transformed. Snow fell further and further south, meaning the Ailor slaves were forced to harden and adapt. The Velheim in the region similarly adapted, and absorbed the small slave groups into their petty nations as equals or slaves later freed though service. This was only the beginning of the changes Cain was to experience.
During the Fifth Void Invasion, the Void surged through the region on their way south but many Velheim Ailor stayed out of their way. As for the Cataclysm, Cain was one of the landmasses most clearly affected by the disaster. Luckily, it seems many of the areas affected by the Void armies passing were plunged into the sea or dispelled through the complex magical forces at work in this event. However, whole mountain ranges rose and fell in Cain, killing hundreds of Ailor and wiping out various species of wildlife. The largest change was the abrupt creation of the Kalm Lakes located center-north of the continent today. Its creation is described in local myth: “The Union of Water sought to multiply their grip inland and grew this crop with the speed of a flower blooming in the morning sun.” While most Regalians doubt the claim that the bodies of water were formed in less than a day, the changes in Cain were still harsh and sudden. For example, in what is now Cain Bolvar, the loss of their once mountainous strongholds drove them into worship of the Union of Water. In the following years, hundreds more Ailor in other areas of Cain died while exploring their new land or from the new blanket of cold which firmly covered their entire continent.
In the years since then, a variety of nations - all Velheim in Culture - have gradually risen on Cain, with the occasional foreign infusion from areas like Ceardia, Ithania or Regalia. They have played little part in external politics, mainly focused on themselves and their own inter-state conflicts. Regalian interest itself is limited to one area, Morna. The two kingdoms that inhabit the island are both trading partners with the Regalian Empire, and are seen as vehicles to allow Regalian expansion to the continent’s mainland. But there have been setbacks in recent years. The Bone Horror Crisis caused some damage but with many stretches of Cain uninhabited, this damage was minimal. A positive of the event is that it ended conflict between most of the Cain warlords, who formed a united front against the heinous undead. That front has survived the end of the threat, and some suspect the number of Cains may shrink due to local consolidation of power. But others contend that the nature of the Velheim will end this peace, while Cain itself is likely to remain the cold diverse lands so often overlooked in world politics.
Cain is found north of the Regalian Archipelago, east of Fendarfelle, northeast of The Skags and southeast of Jorrhildr. The continent borders the Windward Seas to the southeast and the Feerlais Ocean to the southwest. Cain demonstrates the diverse terrain indicative of a northern climate, resulting in the local Velheim populations similarly diversifying their ways of living and life to accommodate these regions. The eastern half of the continent, as well as much of the north, is covered in pine and evergreen forests sporadically punctured by fields or swamps. The south of Cain has lighter tree cover with more open areas and sparse broadleaf forests. The west of the continent is completely open, however, with little tree cover and is instead made up of open taiga and sheets of ice. Finally, the center of Cain is dominated by the Kalm Lakes, a dense network of small freshwater lakes which have also formed a significant amount of swampy ground. These lakes are formed by many mountains that ring the continent’s core, though mountains are indeed located across all of Cain and come in formations from small to tall.
The edges of Cain are as diverse as the interior, with wide areas of dark-colored sand which meet cliffs as well as hills and a great sea of pebbles, leading up to more solid ground. Fjords are carved into the solid rock as little inlets of tranquility. However, due to Cain’s location, one will never find expanses of white sand or other similar tropical climates. The weather helps to keep this cold climate intact with strong winds helping blow storms in from The Skags, Jorrhildr and Ellador. These winds are felt particularly hard in the west of Cain as the open terrain makes wind cover difficult to find, leading to intense whiteout storms and high winds that the locals have learned to protect themselves from over the centuries. Finally, Cain has several islands off its southern and eastern coastlines. The southeast coast holds the largest of these, Marna, where the nations of Falsemarr and Javdryll reside. The other islands on the southern coast are suspected to be pieces left over from the great forces which ripped The Skags from Cain. The area is notable for its sunken ruins but also for its cold-water coral reefs which have slowly covered some of these ruins.
Cain lacks flora diversity but certainly makes up for it in the sheer quantity of what few plants it does possess. Juniper Trees and other varieties of coniferous tree densely cover the eastern region of Cain while some small shrubs and grasses also cling to these areas. In the swamps in and around the Kalm Lakes, Shademarsh Mushrooms grow in the shadows of waterlogged or slowly dying swamp trees while Water Lilies sit sparsely in the water, dying in the winter only to reemerge in the spring and summer. In the southwest, mainly on Marna, grows samples of Friblomst imported there from the North Skags. Finally, across all of Cain, pockets of Modra Root also grow and provide the Velheim community with the base for their blue tattoos. In addition, similar root vegetables like the simple potato are grown where and when possible by these location populations to help them vary their diet.
Cain’s wildlife is varied despite the cold climate. Predators, like packs of Northern Wolves and Common Silverback Wolves, stalk the forests and mountains for prey, always in competition with each other, nature, and the various settlements they might find in their roaming. Another predator of note is the Sibraxas. This feline hunts in a similar way to these wolf packs, and even better in some ways due to its white coat. The animals they hunt are various, from a variety of cervids to smaller animals like mice or Squirrels. A number of domesticated animals also reside in settlements across the continent, from herd animals such as sheep or goats to the Snowpaw, a canine used to pull dog sleds in the western tundra. In the water of the Inner Kalm Sea, the plentiful Kalmian Spineback provides food to thousands every year, from the Inner Kalm Sea while in the waters around Cain other species of fish, Starv Seals and whales, provide their own bounties to those that hunt them.
Cain was briefly of significant interest to the more zealous elements of the Regalian Military following the end of the Skagger Wars, but time has only seen that interest waiver. The region, while majority Ailor and Old Gods, is still factional and would present a problem of control for the Empire which itself now struggles to expand further. Many of these nations are also wholly uninterested in Regalian co-operation, only two of the regional powers signing even partial Navigation Acts allowing for trade between the nations.
Regalian Aligned States
- Falsemarr Kingdom, an outlying Velheim nation known for its dominant Unionist population. Following the Cataclysm, a crisis of faith gripped the local populace, and their faith in the Old Gods wavered. Unionism eventually stepped in through exploratory missions in 110 AC, and successfully converted a majority of the nation to that faith. Beyond it’s strange cultural blend of ideals, the Kingdom is also known for it’s great dams, each possessing imagery of a Unionist Hero.
- Javdryll Kingdom, a branch formed by a cadet line of the Hedryll royal family centuries ago. When the Hedrylli Empire ruled the waves, the lands of the Javdryll were just an outpost on their periphery. But when the Cataclysm brought that Empire to an end, the new kingdom rose up independent and resilient. The region is best known for its armories, the Royal Armory being staffed by Dwarves and Dwarf-educated Ailor, and they provide armor to many Velheim states, including Hedryll.
- Tre-Kaine Oylande, is a strange union of states often taken together instead of apart. The Three Island Cains, as their name can be translated as into Common, are three Cains which long ago bound themselves together due to their smaller size. They are Cain Mar on the largest island, Cain Mor closest to them and Cain Mir, who controls three islands, though one is a mere speck and the other is quite small.
- Cain Folckar, the first settled region of Cain by Velheim. It is said that two brothers landed on the land’s shores and grew strong and great, before eventually quarreling. The younger brother went and settled Cain Mar, and later, the descendents of the two halves of the same family feud to this day, engaging in a series of wars that only recently ended. While believed by many to be apocryphal, there are many ancient Velheim sites in the area, including the second Julvin Gate. It is known as Sekann, and rests near the mouth of the River Sekann largely intact.
- Cerne-Cain Ålle-Sunde, frequent combatant with surrounding territories. Cerne-Cain has been hardened through these many conflicts and is best known for its elite units of Velheim soldiers called the Krigenhet, who strike hard and fast. Carne-Cain has warred with its neighbors for decades, and is the only Cain to not join the various pacts that formed following the rise of the Bone Horrors.
- Cain Krismark Kristian, a nation of traders in a sea of water. Friendly with Ithania, Nordskag, Jorrhildr and the colonies on Fendarfelle, Krismark has largely had to pay off those seeking to attack it rather than actually fight. The kingdom is also best known for its ice cutters, allowing it to trade in the north even during winter, which freezes the many minor channels across its island spread.
- Cain Berg Gris, wild territory that worships some unusual creatures. Followers of the Union of Air, specifically the Maarda of Basjtur, the locals have warped the canine heads of the part-gods into boars. These susuids are thick in the eastern mountains that stand tall over the flat terrain surrounding them, and many boar hunts are arranged year round to test warriors.
- Cain Bolvar, formly based from great mountain strongholds that the Cataclysm destroyed. Losing much of their leadership, the locals turned to worship of the Union of Water, and are also known as the Mask Wearers, as they mimic the appearance of Bev in their clothing and actions. Their politics have been dominated by puppets of the Ellador-located Tryllejag Realm, and much of their populace has been whittled away by the recent Bone Horror outbreak and raids from the Dorkarthi Princes.
- Cain Mennar, the strongest and most populous of all the Cains. Home to a line of warrior kings, Mennar is made up of rivermasters and rivermistreses who have conquered the peat bogs, swamps and many water bodies of the Kalm Lakes. From this, they fish, trap, and spear, eating plentifully on the bounty of the water, while also facilitating trade and travel between many of the other Cains.
- Cain Bergherhaus, a land which has visually abandoned its coastline. Hit hard started in 220 AC by the resurgent Vampire slaving vessels, Bergherhaus natives fled into the mountains, becoming almost a strange reflection of what Bolvar once was. These great mountain forts are said to be unbreakable, and for their mined materials and carving ability, the Cain receives food from other regions as they have limited resources themselves.
- Cain Landeutlån, a mercantile state which has often warred with Cain Krismark Kristian through the purchase of mercenaries. The territory was formerly a small land grant from a now fully absorbed Cain, with the Ailor merchants drastically aided by Ruin-Khuur Dwarves which allowed them to buy out the whole Cain for their own means. They also have a number of ports that cater to the needs of the Dredger Dwarves.
- Cain Godoya, an ancient region with many ruins. Godoya has been lightly explored, but many claim there are ruins from the Ailor, Altalar and even Drovv within the several islands that make up the region. Godoya is also well known for being ravaged by Dorkarthi raiders over the years, and had many ties to Velheim in the nearby Skarhildr Wastes of Jorrhildr, both groups agreeing to mutually defend each other from this Vampire threat.
Alu’s Forbannel, also known as Alu’s Curse in Common is a site that remains a mystery to this day. Found on the eastern coastline of Cain within the territory of Cain Bolvar, this black scar in the earth has been in existence for at least two centuries. The local Velheim claim it was created by the goddess of death, Alu, to serve as a dead plain to divide her from her distant, unreachable companion, Bev. Attempts to grow plants as simple as weeds and grass have failed on the dark soil which, despite many rainfalls and great ocean waves, remains as black as the day outsiders first observed it. The most popular theory among scholars is that the site is a mark left over from the Fifth Void Invasion, a spot which can never be erased. As the locals are extremely crude in their recordkeeping, the truth of this spot is likely never to be known unless someone from the era were to be found alive today. The site is also home to a great Helbolwen complex in the nearby hilly terrain, the site once guarded by mask wearing Skorda called the Forlorn. However, the Forbannel was abandoned in 304 AC due to the Bone Horror Crisis which saw thousands of Bone Horrors pour out of the crypt, dead Staargirs among them, and even now less than half of the structure is safe to access without fear of running into a Bone Horror. Velheim or even any warrior seeking glory are free to enter, with the local leadership pointing the way freely.
The Lone Man
The Lone Man is a single statue standing half a mile or so out into the sea on the southern coastline of Cain in the territory of Tre-Kaine Oylande. The statue is said to be like those from Mirnoye as the Oylanders of Cain Mor claim ancestry from that region. However, these ties are so far tenuous and unproven. The statue is worn by decades of rain, snow, and crashing waves but has not yet fallen into the sea. It stands some 50 to 60 feet high with its base still attached to the rock outcropping it was carved from. The overall work is Velheim in style, with the man standing on top of a carved surface which attempts to mimic hair as if he is a hunter victorious over a beast. He appears to be wearing a bear pelt and is said to have once grasped an axe in his right hand, but that part of the statue fell off in 290 AC. His left hand is empty, and the man’s gaze is off looking to the south-west, the locals claiming it looks to the Mirnoye Ablast. The statue is further carved along much of its surface with Velheim symbology and iconography, large parts of it worn away but some are trying to preserve what they see and so they are redoing the carvings. A minor note of the site is the small cluster of dark-stoned ruins underwater in and around the statue which some claim to be the remains of the Mirnoye colony that helped form the Cain Mor state.
The Coral Temple
The Coral Temple is a unique underwater formation found in southern Cain in the water channels between the mainland and Tre-Kaine Oylande. It is the remains of a pre-Cataclysm stone complex which was sunk over the course of the disaster. However, it seems to have sunk solely vertically, and its roof is now mere feet underneath the waves. The site exudes a creepy, unsettling feeling for any who dive there. For one, while much of the ruin is bathed in light, very little of it breaches the dark rooms and chambers within the temple itself, resulting in foreboding pitch-black entryways only occasionally illuminated by the shifting sunlight above. There is also the silence given it is underwater, and many get the impression they are being watched. However, the final feature to note on the temple is what gives it its name, and that is the coldwater coral which grows along the stonework. While not as vibrant and vivid as the types found in Hadaria, the coral here is diverse in form and presents an interesting study opportunity for the interested. Myths persist from the locals; the temple holds a great treasure lost to their people when the Cataclysm came, but as it is highly dangerous to try and enter the temple’s corridors and hallways, away from easy access to the surface and oxygen, it may remain a persistent myth for quite some time.
- Regalians originally thought Cain was only Mara due to their lack of understanding Skodje. It was not until Falsemarr established ties with Regalia as a Unionist Velheim nation the full extent of the continent was discovered through their charts and maps.
- Scholars are eager to explore Cain more thoroughly, due to their belief Seraph and Drovv ruins are likely scattered across the region and have never been explored before.
- Cain is often ignored by Regalians, who are far more interested in Ellador and Jorrhildr. Thus far, this has allowed the anti-Regalian sentiments in Cain to flourish, and most Velheim from the region only come to Regalia for trade or dire reasons.