|Flora and Fauna|
Saivale is an undeniably dark continent. Unlike Drowda, filled with the noble Sihndar and an influx of both Void and Exist Essence, Saivale is filled with brutal and malicious Kathar, with its terrain seeped in Void Essence. While areas like the Kathar Steppe lack such corruption in large amounts, the massive urban centers of the northern half of the continent more than exemplify every trait and quality wider Aloria would expect of the Kathar. Saivale, too, has seen much damage in recent years, the devastating Fire-scars leaving massive holes in Saivale’s north, but there is much land elsewhere, and especially now, nothing looks like it will be stopping the Kathar’s rise in power.
Saivale has a history shrouded in secrecy and the apocrypha of the Kathar and Void Cults of the Altalar. It was one of the last regions discovered during the Consolidation, and one of the last to be settled. These efforts were originally menial and focused solely along its northern coastline. However, as the Consolidation came to an end, and Altalar overpopulation began, thousands moved into the region. Competition started with the Altalar principalities in what are now the Shadow Isles. It was from this region that the first traces of Void Worship began to spread, along with Arken Worship, though by the time of the first Shadow Council, only one Councilor hailed from Saivale. Over the following centuries, Saivale only gained importance, with more and more of the Shadow Council coming from that region. Additionally, many Saivale migrants back to Daen led Void Cults, and it is often stated, though without much evidence, that the Cult of Shadows was spurred into existence by Saivale Altalar. The spread of the Void’s influence over the region continued to intensify, and the fall of the region resulted in the Sundial Isles, located to their north, to close themselves off from this dark entity. Saivale’s history from this point on is lost, as it and the Shadow Isles broke away from the control of the Allorn Empire in the last centuries of that state’s existence. Eventually, with the Night of the Fallen Star, the Kathar finally emerged, and the conversion spread far and wide, with those on Saivale transforming into their final form.
After the Cataclysm and Wildering, the Shadow Council was seen as a weak block to the further evolution of the Kathar people. Allying with the Arken, the Saivalen people then began a mass reformation of their own society led by the single surviving Councilor from the now-dead Shadow Council, and the Dread Empire rose from this chaos. Since around 50 AC, the Dread Empire has ruled all of Saivale both in name and power, with its furthest reaches uninhabited, and perhaps barely explored. Then, the Sundial Altalar re-entered the picture. Disconnected from each other for centuries, the Kathar immediately sought to conquer their cousins in the name of the true Allorn successor state. Their fleets sailed north, but they soon encountered stiff resistance. Losses mounted on both sides, but the Suvial remained open to negotiation while the Kathar burned with hatred over their limited successes. Some suspect that the next action of the Dread Empire was in response to growing Kathar discomfort with the war's progress and performed by a few discontented individuals. The first Void-out was deployed in 140 AC, against Avela Travinda and its capital of Delvinhda, and from then on, it was war without end. At first, the Suvial had no response to the Void-outs, but then Avela Monvarindra and its capital of Uttrasamëla developed the Fire-scar superweapon. Able to now lance 300-mile long annihilating blasts, the Suvial began and have continued to target and launch scar after scar at Saivale, cutting deep swaths through its jungles and annihilating some of the most populous cities.
Since that time, the Dread Empire has always had to defend themselves from the north's attacks, even as they have moved on and focused more on the east. Most recently, Saivale launched into a flurry of activity as the Dread Empire marched on Daen, fighting an aggressive campaign across a vast front in what became the Dread War, directly combating the Regalian Empire for the first time in their history. The Elven Moors, a geographic region in the south of Daen, was of particular interest to both parties, as it was there that the Dread Dragon left the Kathar with a sudden loss in morale. Back on Saivale, a civil war began. The coup against the former Empress was swift. Her sister now rules the Empire and now extends the Dread Empire's reach even further than what it was during the war. They have a toehold in the Sundial Isles beyond their century-old bastion of Rokh Össal, while a proper foothold exists in the four Rokhs established in Hyarroc. From her control of Saivale, the projectile that began the Clicker Crisis came, involving the death of thousands of her people but it still worked to devastating effect against the Regalians. Additionally, now the Sendrassian Allar, fellow Void Worshipers, engage Regalia in Hadar, and most assume it is just a matter of time until the inhabitants of Saivale make their next significant move.
Saivale is located southwest of the Regalian Archipelago, south of the Sundial Isles, and west of the Shadow Isles. It sits next to both the Suvial Sea off its northern coastline, the Dark Ocean on its eastern coastline, and unknown waters stretch out from its western coastline. The region has a highly varied topography in the northern half, with multiple mountain ranges, dense jungles, and long-dead volcanoes serving to make a lush, hilled landscape. These jungles are also ancient, often left largely intact beyond Kathar settlements on purpose, yet have been warped by the presence of Void Essence and frequent Void Storms over the centuries. The north of Saivale is also the most urban on the continent, with over half of the continent’s cities looming above jungles and swamps filled with hostile and warped life. Additionally, formed into the landscape are five massive scars caused by the devastating Fire-scar weapon utilized by the Suvial Altalar. Some of these scars remain barren, haunted places, but water has leaked into others forming ponds and the beginning of marshlands and freshwater to replace the lost life that once sat in the devastation. The southern half of Saivale is decidedly almost pleasant by comparison. Stretching out over miles from the dividing central mountains all the way from the western and eastern coastlines is the Kathar Steppe, a vast expanse of generally flat and arid grasslands terrain. Rivers and small clusters of simple woodlands puncture the region’s plains. Life here is much like that in the Ularen Plains, and unlike in the north, where “winters” of heavy rains and colder temperatures can come to pass, the south is far more temperate, even humid, year-round. It is prone to the occasional tornado, especially when the remains of rainstorms blow over the mountains and interact with the regional air currents. Still, life here is decidedly less intense than that of the northern half of Saivale.
The jungles and plains of Saivale are teeming with life, though much of it has been twisted by the Void in some way--intentional or otherwise. Most notable of all the plants are the region’s variation of Allú'tornë. They often possess dark brown if not black wood and bark and ooze red sap, sometimes so dark it might be considered black. Other, smaller plants grow in the shadow of these larger corrupted trees, such as Bloodroot, instrumental in Kathar tattooing, and Empairina, a strange plant known to also grow on Drowda capable of emitting light.
Saivale’s wildlife has become substantially less wild over the centuries, hostile animals highly prized as sacrifices by the Kathar cutting down the regional biodiversity markedly in the last century alone. However, their domesticated animals are some of the most unique in Aloria. First, there is the Shadow Bovine, perhaps the most well known and a creature entirely at the whim of Kathar manipulations. Serving as war mounts and a meat source, they are often kept in ancient pens and semi-rural enclosures across the cities of Saivale. Then there are the Shssisse, large reptilian beasts kept as pets by the elite of the Dread Empire and well known for their tricky manner and glee in cousin mischief. Finally, there is the Myakgërus, the strange goat-like mount of the Kathar Steppes, and a constant workhouse of the Shenath Kathar. Cold-blooded despite being mammals and built with thick, boney skulls, the Myakgërus has remained highly useful for the Kathar due to its cold-blooded nature as a mammal, allowing it to easily remain moving in temperate and warm climates. Only the cold slows it, but proper cold in a region like the Far West is a rarity.
Politics and Demographics
Saivale is home to only a single power: the Dread Empire. Formed over two centuries ago by the Arken and their agents as a dark, but “true” continuation of the Allorn Empire, the Dread Empire is accurate to that founding principle but in the worst possible way, reflecting the Allorn Empire after the Consolidation as it began its decline rather than its true origin. The state’s cities are overpopulated and are culled frequently in an array of bloody rituals, while the cities themselves are often centuries, if not more than a millennia-old, and hold much in the way of lost or forgotten history, art, and more. The Dread Empire's politics have always been chaotic, with no one ruling Empress lasting more than a few decades. However, with the end of the Dread War and new leadership at the helm, many suspect that the dark nation's internal politics will calm for once. The new Empress is young, powerful, and charismatic, and the 14 Great Kaahls grow fat and powerful on the riches and captured slaves from the recent conflict. Additionally, the foothold in Hyarroc, while not centralized, is still loyal to the Dread Empire, and the Empire pours resources that they have in abundance toward furthering this hold on mainland Daen. However, while the Dread Empire is unquestionably in control of its northern half, the Kathar Steppes have always been a wild, less orderly place. Their own cities are sparse and often cling to the coastline, with frequent trips into them by the many Shenath khaals (families) who live their lives entirely on the plains. However, the recent swell in power for the Kathar as a whole has wiped away any chance that the Shenath of southern Saivale would seek to break from an empire that has now begun to prove its words after so many decades of stalemates.
- Click HERE for more information on Paärthalaär
Often considered the capital of the Shenath Kathar, Ennën’dor is found in the small Bay of Beshkark located along the eastern coastline of Saivale. Unlike Paärthalaär, Ennën’dor is practically lightly populated, but that is because the city’s “inhabitants” tend to change each and every year. Hugging the waterfront and the remains of ancient city structures, this urban region holds places like the Nexus of Ruin (a temple complex to the Void Prefect of Trickery that houses some 900 black cats) and the Mirrorium, a vast market space said to contain the highest concentration of mirror artisans in Aloria. There is also the harbor, which covers the black-sand beaches extensively, with a significant portion of it being boardwalk-based. However, the further one gets from the waterfront, the less the buildings are maintained until it simply fades away into tents. Ennën’dor is, in fact, a central transit point for the migration of Shenath groups living out in the Steppes. While having the Mirrorium and other high-skill craftsmen living there, the city also has far simpler general goods vendors and dealers in quarters closer to the tent-city half of Ennën’dor. As a result of this, large portions of the population periodically move out only to be replaced by others a few weeks to a few months later as a new caravan of Shenath arrives. The entire city is controlled by the Ennëktavar, a Great Kaahl of the Dread Empire, and they are said to be some of the best survivalists and guerilla tacticians in the whole land.
Located deep inland to Saivale and within sight of the great mountains that separate the northern jungles and wetlands from the Kathar Steppes of the Shenath, Döthenfor is the most prestigious Kathar academy for the education of Magic. The school is run by the Archmage Dravessia, a Saivale Kathar of fearsome reputation and appearance, who founded the academy away from any city after one duel between two of her students killed some 600 people. That proved too much for even the Kathar (especially since some of the casualties were members of two of the Great Khaals), and so they had the castle facility constructed distant from any populated area. Döthenfor itself is built from dark, glossy stones and stands as tall as it does broad, featuring a large manicured lawn and garden in addition to high towers that loom over anyone approaching. The student body is around 1000 individuals at the start of the year, but most estimate that at least half of them murder each other, arrange “accidents” or duel and kill each other to remain on the top and earn much-coveted favor from the teachers. At the end of a year, the students officially duel each other, and a further third of this number are killed before the next year starts. Graduates from this academy are often some of the most notable mages in the Dread Empire and can count among their ranks Melanxes, the current Empress who took her sister's position at the end of the Dread War.
- Saivale’s southwestern reaches were explored during the Consolidation but were ultimately never revisited or colonized in later years, including by the modern Kathar. The records of those original explorations are supposedly kept by Altalar from Tanaar Ivaëlle.
- Saivale is said to have many ancient and lost ruins. Chief among these are Meraic Vaults, though due to the rather wild and dangerous nature of the Haat-Maraya, even most Kathar are unwilling to accidentally unleash more of them onto the world.