|Races||Kathar, various others|
|Flora and Fauna|
Rokhara is an undeniably dark continent. Unlike Drowda, filled with the noble Sihndar and an influx of both Void and Exist Essence, Rokhara is filled with brutal and malicious Kathar, with its terrain seeped in Void Essence. While areas like the Kathar Steppe lack this 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. Rokhara has also seen much damage in recent years, the devastating Fire-scars leaving massive holes in Rokhara’s geography. But there is much land elsewhere and especially now, nothing looks like it will stop the Kathar’s rise in power.
Rokhara has a history shrouded by years of relatively limited activity, before exploding into activity in the modern-day. Its initial discovery took place at the same time as the Sundial Isles, but unlike that northern region, large-scale settling did not take place across the area. The reasons for this are not clear but are believed to boil down to a lack of interest, alongside a trio of native Races already present on the landmass. While the Altalar were not above enslavement during the Consolidation, each of these Races posed a unique challenge to defeat, and when there were far easier lands to the north and east for conquest or settlement, Rokhara’s difficulties were deemed something to be approached later. During the final days of the Consolidation, a sparse series of Altalar colonies sprung up on the region now called the Shadow Isles. At the time, these were instead known as the Sunbright Isles and were a separate region from Rokhara. These colonies were the sole Altalar presence on what is now the continent for the coming centuries, these colonies growing but then diminishing, before finally disconnecting from the Allorn Empire at the same time other regions broke contact, either on purpose or not. Competition between the Sunbright settlements finally brought some chaos to the region, but this warfare was minuscule compared to what was happening on Daen.
After the Cataclysm and Wildering, there was a stillness in Rokhara. The Cataclysm’s environmental effects, alongside the loss of Magic, alerted the isolated colonies that something had happened in the wider world, but none were prepared for what was to come: the Kathar. Some argue that cultists to the Void in the Sunbright Isles, likely part of what is now the Cult of Shadows, were the main force in pulling so many of their brethren to the region, but others suspect the Arken, or perhaps other dark gods, of asking such a move. Regardless, within the span of years, the Kathar had overwhelmed the Altalar settlements and were pushing past them, into natural territory undisturbed by Nelfin in millennia. The native Races of Rokhara put up a valiant fight, but first the Raav, then the Gra-rassör and at last, the Col’kärrab all fell to the Kathar. Thus, by 70 AC, the Kathar controlled the entire continent, and the corruption of the Void spread intensely across the area. But while their activities were shrouded from the mainland, the Suvial Altalar could see it taking shape with hideous clarity. Hostilities between the two parties had begun in 50 AC, aided by some Kathar who were already “defecting” and seeking to improve themselves through contact with other Races. This conflict ultimately deescalated into a cold war, but only after much destruction. In fact, the Fire-scar weapon of the Suvial became so destructive that many Kathar rulers were forced to conduct only small raids or saber-rattling over the years, to avoid the obliteration of even more of their continent. Since that time, the Dread Empire has continued to war on and off with these two rivals, and the Fire-scar weapon has gradually developed into a truly devastating tool that has cowed more than one Empress of the past.
Most recently, Rokhara 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 Rokhara, a civil war began. The coup against the former Empress was swift and her sister now rules the Empire and now extends the Dread Empire's reach even further than what it was during the war. But such efforts have become blocked by the Allorn Empire, the rebirth of Talea stiffening the spines of many a Kathar noble not only out of fear but confusion and interest, especially if such immortality might be their own someday. Dread Empire ships still skirmish with those of the Suvial and the Allorn, however, with the Fin’ullen states of Daen now courageous in the deployment of vast fleets to ensure no more Kathar landings in their territory. Additionally, Kathar strongholds in the sea and in Teled Varren fell to the reborn Allorn Empire within weeks of its return. Rokhara itself is under threat of invasion now, but it is a dangerous game to war with the Kathar, as their Void-out weapon is equal in terror to the Fire-scar of the Suvial.
Rokhara is located southwest of the Regalian Archipelago, south of the Sundial Isles, and southwest of Daen. The ÄWest Cross Ocean sits off its western coastline, as does the South Allorn Sea sit off its southern and southeastern coastline. Rokhara is made up of widely varying topography and geography spread across many different regions, and on two principle landmasses: Ellar-Rokhara and the Shadow Isles. The Shadow Isles represent one of the most fundamental changes in Alorian geography and are an active testament to the power of corruption by the Void, perhaps even more than nearby Ellar-Rokhara. The Shadow Isles today are nothing like the Sunbright Isles of the past. The eastern three main islands, Raavakar, Hesthaan, and Baaromar are primarily made up of jungles and dense riverlands, with freshwater springs extending down from ancient jagged, dark-stoned mountains filled with caverns both artificial and natural. Some areas of these islands are open and possess light woodlands next to plains, though riverlands also criss-cross through the area. Baaromar, the largest of all Shadow Isles, feeds these riverlands from the fearsome Jerekken Mountain Range, located at the center of the landmass and filled with long-abandoned mines as well as active ones mining the region’s dark-colored stone and other minerals. Additionally, whole sections of the mountain chain have been sheared away, creating warped and strange shapes with the peaks and the passages up to them known as the Screaming Passages due to how winds rip through them and produce heinous sounds. Lastly, there is also the devastation brought by the Fire-scars, all three regional islands literally split apart by decades-old shots launched by the Suvial. The region is occasionally struck by Void Storms but otherwise is largely calm and cool of temperate, and with each Water Cycle of the Sundial Isles, gusts of warm rain and breezes sweep into the area in spring.
Ellar-Rokhara, meanwhile, is abundant with similarly stark differences across its vast spread. The continent’s northern tip features 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. These storms of magical energy cause chaos and rain down dark energy, aiding in the warping of the region’s plant and animal life, while also destroying crumbling or older Kathar property and facilities. The north of Rokhara 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 multiple massive scars caused by the devastating Fire-scar weapon utilized by the Suvial Altalar, some going so far as to reach into the southern half of the landmass. Some of these scars remain barren, haunted places, but water has leaked into others forming ponds, lakes, and the beginning of marshlands and fresh water to replace the lost life that once sat in the devastation.
The eastern peninsula of Ellar-Rokhara is similar to its northern reaches, though it lacks the jungles of this area The southern half of Rokhara is decidedly almost pleasant in 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 (alongside the odd Void Storm), the south is far more temperate, even humid, year-round. It is prone to the occasional tornado, especially when the remains of rain storms blow over the mountains and interact with the regional air currents. Still, life here is much less intense than that of the northern half of Rokhara. Lastly, there are the Zuranna Islands, a collection of dozens of small landmasses off of El-Rokhara’s southern coastline, marshaled by Kathar warlords who do constant battle with the Sendrassian Allar poking and prodding this area as a staging ground for further operations. It is highly humid here, fed by the warm weather radiating off of Sendras, and is known for strong gales that push craft far afield if they are not careful.
The jungles and plains of Rokhara 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. There is also the Rozzoth Flower, a plant native to Rokhara which the Kathar of the Cult of Reason has taken to using in the creation of fake, sweet blood for use in their rituals.
Rokhara’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 abnormal 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 Rokhara. 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 causing mischief. Finally, there is the Myaakgerus, the strange goat-like mount of the Kathar Steppes. Cold-blooded despite being mammals and built with thick, boney skulls, the Myaakgerus has remained highly useful for the Kathar, allowing it to easily remain moving in temperate and warm climates. Only the cold slows it down, but proper cold in a region like The Far West is a rarity.
The Dread Empire, or “Anqaal Ellar Rokhara” as it is more eloquently known in the Kathar Language, rules over the entire landmass of Ellar-Rokhara with an iron fist. 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.
- For information on the Dread Empire, click HERE
Dread Aligned States
- Anqaal Ellar Quranna Mansaal Rokh-Izaara, better known as the Anqaal Vanguard Islands. The region is a semi-autonomous military state which serves as a bulwark against Sendrassian Allar advances. They most frequently clash with the Tzeenth Tribes, but have also faced more organized efforts launched by Cro-Allar warlords from the dark jungle continent, yet have effectively defended both their adopted and old homeland for well over 200 years.
The rebirth of the Allorn Empire caught many off guard, and as a result, the Rokhs of the Shadow Islands were overwhelmed in the span of weeks. They now serve as the staging ground for possible Allorn invasions of both Ellar-Rokhara or the Sundial Isles, even though either prospect is believed by outsiders to be a daunting undertaking. The local Kathar are not dead though and instead have sworn fealty to Talea after she spared their lives when many, many others desired the local populations entirely culled.
Allorn Aligned States
- Rokhs Osaal, Qthaanq, Aikemo, the three “Shadow Rokhs.” They were once prestigious and heavily populated, but the early decades of their existence and the rapid engagement of the Fire-scar weapon by the Suvial annihilated many of their best and brightest, alongside the most populated urban centers. Today, many other Kathar nastily joke that these Rokh are still the Shadow Rokhs, but now because they are shadows of their former self. Areas of note within these Rokhs are the capital of Aikemo, Akathkya, the floating military bases of Osaal, and the Abbadosian Vale of Qthaanq, a pleasant city nestled in the mountains governed by a trio of longstanding courtesan families with no one murder or death from interfamilial conflict among them. The Vale itself is extremely rugged, however, and is apparently infested with hostile beasts.
- Click HERE for more information on Parthalaar
Often considered the capital of the tribal Kathar, Ennen’dor is found in the small Bay of Beshkark located along the eastern coastline of Ellar-Rokhara. Unlike Parthalaar, Ennen’dor is lightly populated, but this 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 is home to 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. Ennen’dor is, in fact, a central transit point for the migration of 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 Ennen’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 Kathar arrives. The entire city is controlled by the Ennektavar, 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 Ellar-Rokhara and within sight of the great mountains that separate the northern jungles and wetlands from the Kathar Steppes, Dothenfor is the most prestigious Kathar academy for the education of Magic. The school is run by the Archmage Dravessia, a Mage 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. Dothenfor 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 another 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 Melanxes among their ranks, the current Empress who took her sister's position at the end of the Dread War.
The Council Chambers
Located within the remains of the First Fortress on Hesthan, the room known as The Council Chambers purports to be the location that hundreds of Shadow Councilors met over the centuries to feast and plan their various despicable actions. However, when the Arken and their allies sought the Council’s end, three of the members forced a meeting in the Council Chambers, all but obliterating the fortress in the process. The site has been abandoned for decades, but wild animals and a scant few Shadow loyalists lurk around the ruined fortification. The Chambers themselves are impressive and exist at the pinnacle of the ruinous citadel. However, half of the space is missing, given that the First Fortress was built next to a cliff and the sea stacks that once supported this part of the structure have long collapsed. Still, the sense of grandeur and ominous darkness is alive and well in the space, especially given how three ancient, black stone seats sit carved in all their ancient glory, supposedly as the seats of the three Councilors who forced their final stand there. The region is also often buffed by Void Storms to add to the ominous edge.
The single most populous city in the Shadow Isles, Akathkya is found on Baaromar on the Kaikaas Strait. The city has a grand bridge of chains over the Strait, allowing it to successfully seal off one half of the Strait and protect itself should the city be attacked. The chain is a much more modern addition to a city built over 1000 years ago. During the era of the original Allorn Empire when it was a colony, it was called Byviora, but the Kathar ultimately conquered and turned it into a military fortress upon their arrival. Today, there are still signs of the ancient splendor Byviora might have once held. Ancient arches arc above the city streets now draped in black and red flags and fabric. The great temple complexes by the East Gate feature profaned and long graffiti-covered iconography of ancient Estel worship, and the western slums are built in the shells of old upper-class apartments. The city’s harbor is also extensive, with a canal through the core of the city which is often used to parade military heroes and their conquests to the feet of the Seven Hundred Steps, at the top of which is the Dominor Palace, in which is housed the governments of the city and the Rokh Aikemo at large. The city is also home to a notable Chapter of the Black House of Sanguivorus, known as the Akath-naar Chapter, which is home to the master Blade-smith An’fess’tari. His weapons are highly lauded in the Rokhaal Vampire community, and even some Kathar of the Dread Empire seek them out.
- Rokhara’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.
- Rokhara is said to have many ancient and lost ruins. Chief among these are Meraic Vaults, but most are cautious about approaching such places given the status of the early Haat-Maraya.