Sundial Isles

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Sundial Isles
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Geography
Full Name Sundial Isles
Pronunciation Sun-die-le Eye-ls
Demonym Shadow-born
Area 4,300,000 mi²
Languages Modern Altalar, Middle Altalar, Kathar Dialect, Common
Population 21,000,000

The Sundial Isles were once a pristine, isolated region with unique ecology and people all their own. When the Altalar of the Allorn Empire arrived, things were fine for a time, but as the Empire declined the Sundial Isles were dragged with them, resulting in the Suvial Altalar cutting themselves off from the rest of the Empire. After the Cataclysm, they came face to face with the Kathar, and the two have been duking it out ever since, too much destruction and death on both sides. However, the Suvial remain strong, and magical mysteries keep them both thriving and actively resisting what has gradually grown to be less and less optimistic odds.

History

The Sundial Isles are said to have been inhabited by another Race before the arrival of the Altalar. This Race, known as the Nasha, were supposedly vaguely reptilian and extremely good at blending into natural surroundings. Further information on their time in the Sundial Isles is now lost mainly due to the Allorn Empire's interference. The Sundial Isles were discovered simultaneously as the Shadow Isles, around 2700 BC, and for a time, the two areas were considered one. However, different climates, geography, and the Nasha's presence ultimately distinguished the Sundial Isles as unique. Rather than face the Altalar when they first arrived, the Nasha faded into the wilds, even abandoning some of their minor cities, thus allowing the Altalar to move onto the islands of Pash, Astrad, Monva, and Shi Lasl, the most southern of the Shi Island Group. For a time, this was all that took place, and the early Altalar here sought accommodation with their neighbors, not conquest. Eventually, the Nasha revealed themselves, and a deal was struck: all islands save Shish and Shi Lakarta would be ceded to the Altalar, and in return, the Altalar would learn the Nashan ways. This proved a fortunate few centuries, but by the middle of the Consolidation, the Nasha had again withdrawn, but the newly forming Suvial Altalar respected it. Most believe that Nashan style, architecture, and broader culture heavily impacted the Suvial, hence their significant differences from other Altalar. Others suggest though that the Nasha did not exist at all but are a metaphor of Suvial poetry for a form of “nature spirit,” perhaps representing some religious interplay with Estel. Most consider it odd how quickly the Nasha seemed to retreat before the Altalar. Still, if they were somehow tied to Estel in terms of religious symbolism, then the Altalar as inheritors of the earthly mantle easily clearing away nature spirits makes sense.

But this excludes what came later, as the Allorn Empire began its decline. During the Floundering, while the Sundial Isles were in relative peace, the Altalar principalities in the region were forced to fend off attacks from others within the Shadow Isles. Pash bore the brunt of these attacks, given its proximity, but things further changed with the Grandening. After living with the Nasha for well over a millennia, the Altalar turned on them. Their enslavement was quick and painless, or so the songs say, and the Nasha were soon exported to Daen as exotic household slaves. Thus, Shish was added to the Suvial Altalar dominions, and they continued their ways for centuries. However, as time went on, the Suvial grew sicker and sicker with the wider Empire. The rest of the Far West was falling into the hands of the Void, while Daen was simply falling to the general chaos. By the time of The Mage Wars, the Suvial finally had enough. They closed their borders, and their ships now defended their waters with heavy aggression. And at last, there came the Cataclysm, which affected the Sundial Isles. The Isles shook, and several regions of the coastline shifted, falling into the sea or rising. Additionally, several previously dormant volcanoes were activated. However, these eruptions were minor, and overall, the damage to the region was limited. But it was also during the Cataclysm that the Nasha finally died out. They had been failing in population for decades, if not centuries before, and both on Daen and the Sundial Isles, they went extinct.

For decades after this, the Suvial remained isolated. However, they gradually explored their new territory and found their way back to mainland Daen. To their south, they encountered the Kathar and tried to reach an accommodation at first. The two fought on and off for decades, the Kathar the more direct aggressors while the Suvial simply defended their territory. But then, the first and so far, largest, Void-out, came in 140 AC. Avela Travinda was devastated, millions dying in a single day when its capital and surrounding land for miles was consumed, leaving nothing but a crater that was soon filled with seawater. Enraged, the Suvial completely reversed their opinion of the Kathar, and they entered an eternal war which has lasted since that time. Unfortunately, they soon had a significant casualty. Avela Pashandran, located in the south, was overrun in the initial years after 140 AC and became the second Kathar Rokh, Rokh Össal. Since that time, the Sundial Isles have endured Void-outs and large scale Kathar attacks. In response, the Suvial developed the technique of Fire-scars: enormous destructive blasts that have left deep gashes in nearby Saivale. However, they were also forced to launch one toward the island of Pash. This eradicated the former regional capital (and then Kathar capital of Össal) but is largely viewed as a justified sacrifice by the Avelas together. In recent times, the Sundial Isles are now teetering on the brink of serious problems. Avela Astradhani is beset by Kathar, and some believe it will soon fall unless major action is taken. Elsewhere, the Kathar fleet is now freed from their warfare in Daen and has returned to assault the waterways of the Sundial Isles. Unless outside help comes soon, more of the region will likely fall under the sway of the Void.

Geography

The Sundial Isles are found southwest of the Regalian Archipelago and Daendroc, and north of the Shadow Isles. It rests within the Suvial Sea, a subregion of the Western Calms, while the Dark Ocean borders it to the south. The region represents a markedly different climate than any found in Daen or the wider Far West, for unknown reasons. Some postulate it is due to the ancient volcanic activity that formed most of the Isles sometime in the past, but others suspect unique weather patterns from far western waters are to blame. Regardless, the region’s climate is unique, though its topography is more traditional. The Isles are made up of Trav in the north, Astra in the east, Pasha in the south, Monva in the middle, which Shish in the northwest. Finally, the Shi Island Group of Shi Gudapa, Shi Lakarta, and Shi Lasl (listed counterclockwise) is located in the west. Each of the major Sundial Isles possesses a string of mountains close to the center of the region, though the Shi Island Group only has one such ridge, along the central island of Shi Lakarta. Most are dormant or former volcanoes, but the island of Trav, the home of Avela Travinda, is completely non-volcanic. The rest of the region is generally flat and arid, punctured by strands of jungle, boreal forests, and fields often brimming with life thanks to the formerly volcanic soil and unique local conditions. Each major island is also covered in rivers coming down from each land's high points, leading out to the coastline, which is rich with lagoons, shallow bays, and estuaries. There are some 47 minor islands scattered across the Suvial Sea beyond the eight major islands, and most mimic the features of the major islands though a number are also totally barren rocks.

As mentioned before, the continent’s conditions are caused by strange weather patterns known as the Waterfall Cycle by the Suvial and involve four seasons different from the traditional four seasons of Aloria. Rainfall in the Sundial Isles is incredibly regulated, with winds and more bringing a cycle of rain and moisture before again departing. These can occasionally form minor hurricanes or cyclones, though they are never of any danger to the majority of Suvial cities. The Suvial are very well adapted to the Cycle, and their agriculture makes maximum use of the different planting seasons and more to give them the exotic diversity in plants they so love. But what the Suvial are not adapted to are the Void-outs. They are launched from somewhere in Saivale and sent hurtling down onto the Sundial Isles from the air using unknown magic. When they make contact, there is a break of the sonic barrier as they expand to their maximum capacity, seething with dark energy before suddenly collapsing in on themselves. They consume all matter in their radius, annihilating it on every level, and leaving only massive craters in their wake. While some of these are rapidly filled with seawater, such as the Sorrowful Sea (the site of the first Void-out), others have gradually formed into lakes due to decades of collected rainfall or the paths of rivers.

Flora

The Sundial Isles are home to a range of foliage nature to the region itself, but often similar to regions of Hadar and Daen. In terms of trees, coconut-bearing trees grow common along the coastline and on farms, as the plant’s coconut milk is extremely important, forming the basis for much of Suvial cuisine. However, once cannot also ignore the sheer array of herbs, spices, and other seasoning plants that dominate both Sundial fields and Suvial meals. Mustard plants, spicy chilis, nutmeg, and cinnamon trees grow on all Sundial Isles, with some originally being native to the Isles alone. Despite this diaspora of its culinary goods, the Isles still grows vast quantities of each good, whether brought and grown from afar or native to the region, for home and foreign use. Most notable overall is Dravinda Spice, cultivated from the one garden in Aloria capable of forming the plant, and well known for its unique hallucinogenic properties.

Fauna

Unlike its foliage, the Fauna of the Sundial Isles has suffered enormously from the constant warfare with the Kathar. While the regions were once rich in biodiversity, perhaps with unique species to each island, with every Void-out since 140 AC, the region's animals had been on the decline. Exotic furs, pelts, and more from these often extinct or rare animals are actively sought by outsiders, which is seen as offensive by the Suvial Altalar who themselves have sworn off animal products in their clothing in an attempt to save the creatures of their home. The one notable animal is the Suvial Deer, a sleek and refined animal known for its peculiar coat pattern and antlers.

Politics and Demographics

The Sundial Isles is overseen by a collection of five, formerly six, Avelas, Suvial principalities united in purpose, goals, and power. Unlike in other areas of the Altalar world, jockeying in politics here is much cleaner and far more reduced. Their enemy, the Kathar, are murderous, fickle, and treacherous to the extreme, and Suvial philosophy has long educated their people to be the exact opposite. As a result, the Avelas all work together, formerly under the leadership of Travinda. But after the utter devastation of that Avela’s capital, Avela Shivalika took a prominent role as the city of Sallatar, unique in the Isles for possessing a Dragon Temple, quickly became the new place of government. Currently believed to be immune to Void-outs (as indeed, none have damaged the city), the Avelas continue to resist the Kathar. Rokh Össal is often the state leading their charge but is wracked by political infighting and constant manipulations from leaders on the Shadow Isles who wish the Rokh to collapse and be folded into their control. For now, this has not come to pass, but several embarrassing losses have been handed to the Kathar here over the decades, meaning that they loathe Suvial with a passion not seen in most Kathar. Currently, they are basking in victory, as their forces invade and harass beleaguered Avela Astradhani. Should the Suvial and Altalar of mainland Daen push them out, it will be another victory snatched from their fingers.

{{Demographics Table |group1 = Suvial Altalar |desc1 =

65% The Sundial Isles is the homeland to the vast majority of Suvial Altalar in Aloria. While a number went to the mainland before and later after their borders reopened, and despite the devastation, the Suvial remain determined to weather the storm. While not the verticality of others due to their design styles, their cities are still dense and heavily populated. However, the lower members of society often rest in homes and shantytowns outside city walls. The Suvial population has been on a slow decline for quite some time now, ever since the first Void-out killed millions within the city of Delvinhda. This decline is small but gradual, and it does not help that outside help has thus far been rare to come to the Suvial. Still, they will likely endure for centuries more, either in their homeland or in their enclaves in Hyarroc and elsewhere.

|group2 = Kathar |desc2 =

10% The Kathar presence in the Sundial Isles is more recent, and it has only grown with time. Originally led by Warlord Ghorid the Defiler, these Kathar from the Shadow Isles toppled Avela Pashandran before Ghorid chose to defy the Shadow Isles' authority and form his own nation from the conquest. He made sure to emphasize his loyalty to the Dread Empress with many lavish gifts from the looted state. However, he died when the regional capital was annihilated by one of the first Fire-scars ever used by the Suvial. Since then, the Kathar in the region have generally been divided, their leaders not lasting more than a decade at most. Still, they grow in number through natural reproduction, Dread Rebirth, and migration both from the Shadow Isles and Saivale, regions eager to see the fall of the Suvial Altalar.

Notable Locations

Sallatar

  • Click HERE for more information on Sallatar

Dravinda’s Garden

A new holy place, revered by people both common and noble, Dravinda’s Garden is the site of a great miracle performed by the Unwritten God Dravinda. Her action of stopping the Void-out plummeting toward Summer, the capital of Avela Shishumar, at the cost of her own life made her legendary, as was her fate of being turned to stone. Around her, in the spice field she was working, grew the exotic blue herb known as Dravinda Spice, apparently created by the blue substance oozing from her frozen form. Eventually, the site became a point of pilgrimage, and an order known as Dravinda’s Fireguard rose to protect both the garden and the statue itself. The Garden building itself is largely classic Avela-style architecture, with a gatehouse as an entryway into the area before high walls surround and shield the actual greenery and Dravinda herself in the open air. The grounds around her have only a single path, proceeding forward, around her to the left, and passing her, with plenty of Dravinda Spice growing in the circle of greenery surrounding her. The plant has made its way up the walls and into the surrounding courtyard's latticework, occasionally obstructing the view of the unofficial goddess by her dedicated guardians. The entry point is also unique for possessing the only known carving of the visions one receives after taking the plant, depicting an active scene in exquisite detail.

Kavashina Temple

Kavashina Temple was once a holy site second to perhaps only the Marvindë Obelisks, as it held an Artifact awarded by the Avatar Aish-eia to the leader of the Kavashkoron Dynasty. This leader, Duvona, managed to logic their way out of a political maze set up by the Avatar and was rewarded with the Cane of Confusion. It could mentally cripple a target of the user’s desire and leave them in a state of deep confusion for several days. The Temple was built to hold the Artifact and proclaim the god’s glory, with a full depiction of the event on the walls and grand banners hung to honor Aish-eia. However, when Avela Pashandran was toppled, the Temple was seized as well as the Artifact. Now, it is a shrine to the Void Prefect of Trickery, with the decoration of the Temple defaced, and many of the banners torn down, replaced with Kathar banners. Additionally, a rather macabre display has begun at the central plinth that once held the Artifact: the piling of bones of the deceived, tricked, and then defeated.

Trivia

  • Some wonder if the Nasha were some cousin Race or distant enclave of Slizzar. Suvial art hasn’t done much to dispel these beliefs, as they reportedly give the Nasha a serpent tail. However, others suggest both creative license and a misunderstanding of the Race’s unique form of dress might be to blame for that detail from Suvial artists.
  • The Waterfall Cycle of the Sundial Isles has attempted to be altered by the Kathar on several occasions, with them pushing or causing regional Void Storms at the beginning of each season to do so. However, it has never affected the Cycle, and so the Kathar largely assume the weather patterns to be from the west and north, well beyond their reach.

Accreditation
Writers HydraLana
Processors FireFan96, MantaRey
Last Editor HydraLana on 10/17/2020.

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