Sundial Isles

From MassiveCraft Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sundial Isles
Noimg.png
Geography
Full Name Sundial Isles
Pronunciation Sun-die-le Eye-ls
Demonym Sundilian/Sandhian
Area 2,700,000 mi²
Population 16,000,000
Races Ailor, Altalar, various others
Cultures Fin’ullen and Suvial Altalar, Oscithar Kathar, various others
Flora and Fauna

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 to Rohkara, 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 Astrad, Monva, and Shi Padesh, 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 This proved a fortunate few centuries, but by the middle of the Consolidation, the Nasha had again withdrawn, yet the newly forming Suvial Altalar respected it.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 made 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. Shi Padesh 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 a few 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 40 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. The Oscithar Kathar found common ground with the Suvial, though only after several Fire-scars utterly decimated their lands, and their Rokhs have since served as a first line of defense against the wider Dread Empire. Unfortunately, Avela Padesh’aiër has been the most exposed to Dread attacks, and the Suvial have focused their efforts on this embattled region. But a new threat has risen to both parties, the reborn Allorn Empire. The Suvial, long rejecters of the mainland, have continued in their position, seeing the return of Talea as inconsequential, and she gave up the right to rule when she died over two millennia ago. Now, the Dread Empire, Suvial Avelas, and the Allorn Empire play a game of never-ceasing stalemates with their navies. The Sundial Isles remain safe, for now, but that may change should this three-part balance tip.

Geography

The Sundial Isles are found southwest of the Regalian Archipelago and Daendroc, and north of Rohkara. The ÄWest Cross Ocean borders it to the west. 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, Monva in the middle (divided between Monva-Poo and Monva-Pa), and Shish in the northwest. Finally, the Shi Island Group of Shi Pa-Gudapa, Shi Velakarta, and Shi Padesh (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 Velakarta. 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 waters between and 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 Rokhara 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.

Notable 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, one 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 known for its unique hallucinogenic properties.

Notable 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

Vaan Suvial Sandhi

The Vaan Suvial Sandhi, or the Avelas of the Suvial, are a union of the seven Avelas across the Sundial Isles. 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 Üttra’vel took a prominent role as the city of Sallatar, unique in the Isles for possessing a Dragon Temple.

  • Avela Travinda, once the greatest of the Suvial nations. Settled on the largest island in the Sundial Isles, it held the former capital of Suvial politics, Delvinhda, and the sprawling rose-quartz palaces of its Menapelaän dynasty. However, it was also the first victim of the Kathar’s Void-out capabilities, and many of its towns and cities have less than 20% of their original population left, their residents fleeing abroad, moving to other Avelas, or joining the armed forces of the Sandhi. However, the Avela remains a very important pilgrimage site in the Faith of Estel, because it contains the Marvindë Obelisks, supposed writings of Estel’s original gospel.
  • Avela Monvarindra, the arcane intellectual capital of the Suvial. It has long turned out the best battlemages in the Suvial arsenal, with the largest Mage-schools and Arcane observatories across the continent. In Monvarindra, the Fire-scar weapon was developed, crafted by the mage warriors of Mandla and a series of academies now called the Fire-scarred Courts. It is also from Monvarindra that the Fire-scars are launched, the location of the weapon’s casters constantly shifting over the island. In recent times, with the return of the Allorn, the Dread Empire have not launched a Void-out out of fear, and this Avela’s weapon has resulted in the overall stalemate in the conflict.
  • Avela Astradhani, once highly urban and the most open of all the Suvial lands. Located to the east of the Isles, and closest to both Hyarroc and Teled Varren, they were the earliest to contact both the Kathar and the newly recovering remains of the Allorn Empire. It’s land was filled with glorious cities such as Paëttala, Sinadhäele, and Alajaëstannal, but then the war with the Kathar began, and Astradhani grew bitter (though they played a major role in helping make allies of the Oscithar). However, the aforementioned cities were decimated by a series of Void-outs in 281 and 307 AC, and the island was invaded by an army of 50,000 Kathar during the Dread War. However, when the Allorn Empire was reborn, this army retreated, though occupational forts lord over the southern peninsula, and are now frequently under siege.
  • Avela Shishumar, lusher and richer than most. One of the last regions settled of the Isles, the Suvial have turned the region into one vast garden and piece of farmland. Their fields are the largest and hold the most of the many spicy plants the Suvial cultivate, and it was also once the region’s largest exporter. With the rebirth of the Allorn, trade outside of the Isles has been cut in half, making the thus-far neutral Eronidas of Hyarroc significant partners in commerce. This Avela is also the place where the Unwritten God Dravinda rose to divinity among the Suvial, for saving the city of Summar from a Void-out. To this day, it still hangs in the sky, warded off by her statue.
  • Avela Pattrajj, the least important jewel in the coronet of Suvial power. Pattrajj’s terrain is the least arable of all the Sundial Isles, with a highly mountainous terrain that long resisted even the Suvial’s mastery of their homeland’s greenery. Instead, the region became riddled with mines and extracted vast amounts of base material, alongside huge amounts of the unique style of Quartz used in external construction. However, when the Cataclysm came, the region’s formerly dormant volcanic features erupted, and have remained active in the following three centuries, cutting back the amount of mining that can be done. This region also has the good luck of being the least targeted by Kathar Void-outs, as its low population, and already hostile terrain have seen most Kathar leaders prioritize other areas as a strike zone.
  • Avela Üttra’vel, the capital of the Vaan Suvial Sandhi and an Avela which has resisted efforts to destroy it for centuries. The Avelas have adopted the city of Sallatar as their capital, the settlement uniquely protected by an ancient Dragon Temple that projects a purple see-through dome. Anything relating to the Void cannot pass, while anything relating to the Exist can only enter through the Moon-Fire Door, a rose-quartz construction. The Kathar have repeatedly hit the city with Void-outs in 147, 187, 201, and 291 AC, but the shield has held. As such, the ruling Princes keep their families and administrations here.
  • Avela Padesh’aiër, the arsenal of the Sandhi both on land and sea. Avela Padesh’aiër rose to prominence around 800 BC, when the Galuantha dynasty built what eventually became the Padesh Arsenal, a vast military complex of ship production and later, troop training. With these ships, this Avela first served commercial clients, but then expanded the militaries of all the Avelas when they broke contact with the Allorn Empire. When the Kathar eventually entered the picture and began their conflicts in the region, strikes originally aimed to take down the Padesh Arsenal failed, and the only Void-out launched at the city and its joined facility somehow landed in the sea and was met with two of the most destructive Fire-scars ever unleashed by the Suvial in response. As a result, the Arsenal has yet to be attacked in that way again, but it is now busier than ever with the emergence of the Allorn Empire, and need for the Suvial to reinforce their constantly embattled fleet.

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.

Magapalada Palace

Magapalada Palace is an extremely notable center of learning for the Suvial world, and one which has so far escaped the launch of Void-outs against the Avelas of the Sundial Isles. The site is ancient, with its school’s foundations and tunnels going back to the era of the Nasha with worn away yet bizarre imagery and iconography of Dragons and beasts no longer known to the modern Suvial, largely thanks to the ecological destruction at the hands of the Kathar. Found in northern Trav and sitting close to the coastline, facing Hyarroc, the Palace was originally the domain of the Mahapelaän dynasty of Suvial. Prince Thrithara is claimed at the Palace’s founder as a center of learning following his travels to the rest of Daen and seeing what was insufficient dedicated to an intellectual education in his eyes. Magapalada expanded into what most Ailor and foreign Altalar might call a university, where the best and brightest students from the Salaan Schools of Trav and beyond were recruited or encouraged to attend the Palace as a form of higher education. It is even claimed that Suel’lrodäd was once a student of this majestic center for knowledge. Today, while much of Trav and wider Avela Travinda have been depopulated, Madapalada Palace remains at high capacity, though why the Kathar have not launched a Void-out at the region is anyone’s guess. The Palace itself is designed beautifully, most notable for its jaune-quartz finish designed in mimicry of the now-lost rose-quartz palaces of the Menapelaän dynasty found further to the south. It’s sprawling campus is home to many well-tended gardens, with the classes taught in the Palace’s many lecture rooms varying from discussions of mineralogy to alchemy to the understanding of animals.

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 Dread 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 Athelois, Woodwork
Last Editor HydraLana on 10/3/2021.

» Read more