|Languages||Common, Tunge, Faraddi, Sofaal|
Essalonia is a massive, largely untamed continent which has seen some intense and devastating political action in recent Alorian history. It was here that the Bone Horror Crisis began, to the large-scale detriment of the local population which also saw two entire states annihilated. The region is known for its varied geography and plethora of ruins. Some are Altalar in origin from failed colonization attempts in the past, but others are of the Seraph with magical and historical wealth just waiting to be plundered. The region is also known for its dangers, not only geological but also from the Fauna, who constantly harry the ever-expanding Ailor community of the New Ceardian Colonies. The continent has been quietly recovering since the Crisis, now firmly dominated by the Regalian Empire. Only time will tell if this remains the case.
Essalonia is a rather mysterious land, even by Alorian standards of history. There is evidence of Seraph settlements on the continent, but many have been buried or were built over by Nelfin settlements centuries later. It is not known when the Allorn Empire reached Essalonia, but there are fragmentary records in Ithania of “the western colony,” a settlement effort that was ultimately abandoned as the Allorn Empire began its decline. There is another issue in tracking the records of this settlement: it seems the center of this colonization effort was around a settlement known as Lenna Bas, the same name as a major Altalar city in Daendroc which is now famous as the capital of L’Elvellen. As a result, it is unclear to which settlement a given chronicler is referring to except in a few confirmed cases. Despite this confusion, it is known that the Allorn Empire ultimately left Essalonia. At the same time, records from the Qadir indicate they were arriving on it. This feat, which included a primary effort led by the Sariyd Empire as well as smaller independent efforts, eventually colonized the southern arm of the continent. In the same time period, the Ailor were also reaching Essalonia. Various theories contest who they were, with some claiming they were Velheim exiles from Hedryll or Velheim explorers from Cain while others suggest they were Ceardians from Old Ceardia. A more recent theory has suggested they were, in fact, Altalar slaves left behind after the failed colonization who only showed themselves in this period. Regardless of where they came from, these Ailor groups soon set themselves up along the western coastline. Records show the Hedrylli Empire reached the region at their height before the Cataclysm and took over several of these groups. They also possibly set up waystations along Essalonia’s northern coastline as a way to help them in their expeditions into the Far East.
The Cataclysm itself, however, altered all of that. As the chaos of the event and its aftermath raged, the oppressed Ailor groups rose up and the Hedrylli Empire collapsed. While certainties in this period are impossible to determine, the raiding nation seems to have been forced away while the groups they controlled either vanished from history or celebrated. In the south, the boiling of the seas greatly disrupted trade with Farah’deen, and thousands died when several coastal regions slipped into the sea. All of this resulted in a decade of isolation, and even more time in certain regions. As the centuries wore on, the north saw Arlora and Torse rise on their shared peninsula while further south saw new arrivals from Silsaerimas and Califaera. Califaera was founded as an independent nation, something allowed by the Sariyd Empire which had sent them to Essalonia originally. Over the next century, Essalonia was quiet as much of it remained uncolonized; while Arlora and Torse fought each other, the other nations mainly looked inward. A new war began in 210 AC when newly “independent” Harron attacked Califaera under false pretenses which would continue to rage for many more years. However, the largest change to Essalonia came with the arrival of the Regalian Empire. The Ailor Empire had long been aware of the region’s existence but were surprised at the land’s sheer size when their explorers reached the region in the 240s. These explorers also discovered the ruined Seraph and Altalar sites, resulting in the Empire immediately marking the area out for settlement. Early settlements sailed past endlessly waring Arlora and Torse and into a rich forested landscape, untouched for centuries. The New Ceardian Colonies began and expanded slowly in their early years. However, following the Destruction of Old Ceardia, these lands found themselves flush with new colonies as well as new visitors in the Fathers of Piety, rejected religious purists from the Regalian Archipelago. Both of these elements quickly gave birth to the Colonial Culture in the New Ceardian Colonies, while elsewhere the religious men were beaten back and the new populations were welcomed. The two nations most affected by this influx were Arlora and Torse, formerly Velheim-majority regions which found themselves Ceardianized in short order.
Over the following decades, Essalonia adapted to these changes but remained much the same. There were some minor disruptions; Silsaerimas’ economy collapsed when Silver stopped being used in Regalian currency, Califaera got the Regalian Empire as an ally in their conflict against Harron, while Arlora and Torse experienced a rare two-year long ceasefire. However, it has been the new century that has brought the most change to Essalonia and certainly not in a positive way. The First Songaskian War started it in early 303 AC, as the war in the south heated up into a direct fight between the Songaskian Masaya and the Regalian Empire as any pretext of remaining anonymous in their aid was thrown out the window. Thousands died, soldiers and civilians alike, but when the war ended another disaster occurred. The Torse-Arloran War had been on hold during this time, as its mercenaries and mages-for-hire went to fight in the far larger conflict, but once they returned there was a major buildup of troops and magic-users on their border in preparation for a renewal of hostilities. Instead, a mysterious mist appeared, and the resulting events led to the Battle of Curag Fields in 303 AC; thousands of Torsians died and many more were displaced from their homes. In the following months, Arlora and its monarch grew furious. Torse, now under the protection of Regalia, was unable to be claimed and their war was in limbo. King Gulbrand I, last of his name, ultimately declared war and enacted events which led to the Bone Horror Crisis. This event was particularly devastating, wiping out as many as 95% of Arlorans and almost as many Torse citizens died. Bone Horrors rampaged across the continent and the land was assumed lost.
However, it was not. In the south, Califeara’s Qadir technology helped them kill the undead beasts as well as protect neighboring Harron and Silsaerimas. In the New Ceardian Colonies, despite the initial chaos, the local mercenary populations fought back, and when the beasts became killable to their conventional weapons they were slaughtered and pushed back. But the scars were easy for any to see. Two whole nations had been emptied of their populations, thousands more in other nations were dead and, in some areas, miles of terrain had been blemished by the destructive methods used to dispatch the hordes of Bone Horrors. Essalonia has sat out all conflicts since that period and there have been no major pieces of news from the continent since 304 AC. There was a recent minor piece of news which has some curious information: Regalians exploring Arlora and Torse’s ruins found deviant Isldar living there, people who had left the expansionist territory of Isldarrin forming in northward Ellador. Besides this fact, Essalonia has largely spent the last few years recovering from the recent devastation, though some areas are faring better than others. Some fear the day the Regalian Empire directly takes a hand in the continent’s politics, especially given that a population of Torse have quietly returned to the boundaries of their old states and have begun a colony in the name of their King. But for now, Regalia remains indirectly involved, watching from afar as this wild land is slowly tamed.
Essalonia is found east of the Regalian Archipelago, northwest of Farah’deen and north-northeast of Oldt Era. It borders the Altar Sea to the northwest, the Great Middle Sea to the west, the Ceardian Sea to the south and the Yellow Sea to the east. The continent is massive with many types of terrain within. The northern half is covered in forests and small fields. Most are deciduous, but some, especially in the colder regions, are coniferous. Various small mountain chains dot the area with the largest mountains located further west, currently out of the borders of any state. The central region is more lightly brushed, with fewer forests and more open terrain. This climate also extends to the Forblåste Peninsula, a thick land feature occupied by what was once Arlora and Torse, but with a markedly colder climate as winds blow down directly from The North Belt. The effect is not as bad on the opposing Haven Peninsula, part of the New Ceardian Colonies, due to the dense tree cover. Both regions sit on Kade Bay, a large body of water named in honor of House Kade who are the current Imperial family. Below this central region is a great arid grassland known as the savannah. It is unlike anything else known in Aloria; a wide-open dry plain dotted with watering holes and strong greenery that can withstand the warm temperatures which bombard it. Across this entire area are various ruins, many Nelfin but there are scattered pockets of densely clustered Seraph ruins. Further south is the Ghyr-Eadayiy Penninsula and the real desert climate, with hot sand, rocky terrain and scattered low-lying mountains. There are several islands off the coastline of Essalonia, the largest being the nation-island of Ostryll in the north followed by the much smaller nation-island of Vhelon beneath them. Continuing down the western coastline, travelers will encounter the Patch Islands off the southwestern tip of the Haven Peninsula. Further south, the last island of note is Dormin, the entirety of which is controlled by a nation of the same name. The climates and weather of each of these regions fit their terrain, from dry, rainless desert to harsh snow or rain storms.
Essalonia has a number of unique forms of plant life alongside a few carried over from nearby Ellador, the majority being coniferous trees. Of its unique flora, the most prominent is the Lanarra Tree, named after the Old Gods deity. The tree is short but produced sweet-smelling and sweet-tasting fruits shaped like gnarled hands. This fruit is one of the few agricultural crops native to Essalonia and is traded extensively within and outside the region. Another agricultural crop, though not native to the region, is Fletcher’s Wheat. This sturdy wheat was carried by the original wave of Ceardian migration after their homeland was destroyed and is one of several plants from Oldt Era that now grows well in the soil of Essalonia. A less positive example of exported flora is Fireweed, somehow having made the long jump from Ithania to cause brush and house fires in the colonies occasionally. Another interesting fact is while there are certainly still forested regions of the New Ceardian Colonies, some areas have been stripped of their trees entirely for farmland and cattle pastures, the latter being particularly popular.
Essalonia is home to many strange examples of fauna, though the majority is known to be dangerous. Among these are the aquatic Maerrow and Kelp, creatures who stalk and deceive respectively. Another danger, though not a predator, is the Flats Glider, a large species of freshwater stingray which can harm fishermen when attempting to escape their nets. Another aquatic animal is the Staryon Starfish, populous on the coastlines of the nation. On land, Essalonia’s north is home to Ogres, generally left alone to exist in their simple but unique existence as a group of near-Humans capable of basic tools and clothing creation. The south holds another interesting beast known as the Ridgeback Stalker, a reptilian with a penchant for jumping down onto its prey after stalking it for a period of time. Finally, a number of animals have been imported from Ceardia onto the continent either as domesticated animals or wildlife specimens released out into the region for the sake of preservation. Most notable in the domesticated sphere of animals are large numbers of cattle, mostly from Anglia, who are raised on freshly made farmland.
Politics and Demographics
Essalonia was once fairly politically diverse, with a variety of conflicts and complex relationships between the various states. However, the last half a century has slowly reduced these complexities to simple relationships lacking the past dimensions it once did. In the north, Ostryll perpetually rejects Hedryll’s attempts to push their rule onto the former colony, having fought several wars over the past century alone to maintain their independence. Vhelon below them is contacted by neither Hedryll nor the dominant New Ceardian Colonies, a literal island in politics because of its liberal values and acceptance of magic. The New Ceardian Colonies around them are the biggest “state” in Essalonia by far, with a border which is constantly pushed every day by their expansionist-leaning population. The Colonies are technically a set of five different colonies but are united in culture, location, and loyalty, as all obey the Regalian Empire out of their religious devotion. Below them, the once-dynamic Arlora and Torse are now silent, their scars of war now on the surface as well as in their many great underground burial sites. Torse is the only state formally recognized as it still has a king living in the City of Regalia. Its small population is spread across the Regalian Empire and the New Ceardian Colonies though some have returned to Essalonia, founding a colony and they have begun the slow process of retaking their old lands. This colony is currently small, their borders including only a few townships, but they claim all of Torse as their own.The people of Arlora, however, remain scattered across the Empire as well in the New Ceardian Colonies with many seeking to change their culture out of shame.
To the south of these empty lands stands the collapsing state of Silsaerimas, devastated by the Regalian economic shift away from using Silver in their currency. The current government, still allied with Regalia, has been unable to stem the small but steady flow of people leaving the region for neighboring regions like Dormin, their much more successful though far small sister state. Dormin, originally a colonization effort by Silsaerimas, is also now allied with Regalia, but survived the Silver crash by staking their economy around brewing, something which continues to bring them wealth as their fields of hops and unique brands are known across Aloria. Finally, to the south are the states of Harron and Califaera. While these nations were once enemies and proxies of the Songaskian Masaya and the Regalian Empire, much has changed in their relationship. There is still tension, of course, with the Songaskians of Harron disliking the free Qadir of Califaera who trade with the Regalian Empire. However, following the First Songaskian War and the series of world events since then, they have admitted a begrudging respect for the state given that their technology helped defeat the Bone Horrors. As a result, Harron has shrugged off their role as Masayan proxy, something currently accepted by the rebuilding Songaskian Masaya following the Second Songaskian War, and exist in a state of neutrality with Califaera. The sentiment is supported on the Qadir end as well, though they are very cautious after so much animosity for so long. In total, it can be said that Regalia dominates Essalonia without trying too hard and no one will be challenging this dominance any time soon.
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The city of Jarrow is the capital of the colonial region of Soham and is well known for its beautiful views of Kade Bay, upon which it sits. The city is in the southern half of the Colonies and therefore avoids the harsher winters more northern settlements endure. Jarrow was founded and largely financed by wealthy Ithanians, which has resulted in the city catering to that demographic. It has a wide array of high-end shops and facilities for a variety of upperclassmen all laid out in a pleasant, simple design based along the sandy bayline. There are also a series of small vacation estates at the edge of the city, some owned by Regalian nobles but also by nobility from Ithania. A few more are empty and kept clean by the locals as rentable locations for young families or anyone who has the money to front the rental cost. The landscape surrounding the city is also commonly described as breathtaking, with mountains, rich streams, forests, and grassland all set against Kade Bay helping to form some beautiful natural scenery pieces created by the local artists. Outside of this tourism industry, the region grows several types of tea they use in local blends or ship elsewhere to make a profit.
Crucible of Oumar
The Crucible of Oumar is named after a famous Mage who served in the Harron army about 50 years ago. He helped to found a famous Magic academy in the region before he ultimately died in service to the state. In his memory, Harron constructed the most advanced crucible against heresy imaginable, making use of the sun and Fire Spells to destroy the intended subject. The structure is extremely alien, carved into the natural rock formations with multiple sheets of metal, sections of mirror and slots for spell casting all facing a central bowl formation. Several long open corridors with similar decoration help reflect sunlight into the bowl as well, all adding up to a brief but horrific experience for anyone caught within the Crucible’s heresy-annihilating beams. The Crucible has been used sparingly since its construction but still draws attention from visitors and Farah’deen native Songaskians seeking to examine the advanced structure themselves.
Bryeport is the former capital of Arlora. It is a coastal city built looking out at the Altar Sea and was once a point of trade in the region. Bright newcomers would set up their shops and ply their wares on the dreary inhabitants, cheering them up with their presence, but today there is little cheer to be found. Within minutes of the Bone Horror Crisis beginning, almost every inhabitant of the city was killed by the risen dead. Currently, the city is a ghost town, and its great gray walls, towers, royal citadel and houses lack occupants. The only ones who now live there are the Undead, having congregated there from across the state to exist together peacefully. Most are Mortis Sul and exist in sorrowful, boring lives before accidentally killing themselves in the ruins of their nation’s capital. A handful of Mortis Kul also live there, and finally there are tales of a single, extremely ancient Mortis Daël living in the royal citadel. He is said to wear armor so old it has no identifiers and speaks a tongue none of the living can understand. The entire city is built upon ancient ruins, the Arlorans claiming them to be of the Forest People (a cultural idea of forest-dwelling people) who most assume to be Altalar. However, some claim areas of these tunnels enter a far older set of ruins just waiting to be identified and explored.
- Essalonia has no relation at all to the Essa Empire or the Slizzar people as a whole. The continent is instead named after a notable female noble known to the five leaders who originally led Regalian efforts in the region.
- Essalonia has borne many famous explorers over the years, of both sexes. One of the more notable figures was Lara Maurer, an explorer and cartographer who spent over twenty years delving deep into the continent, effectively fending off a variety of dangers by herself and exploring a variety of ruins unseen for centuries. She passed away in 302 AC due to a fatal illness.