Abel is the heart of the Sacred Holy Empire, and perhaps even the heart of the whole Old Continent. For seven centuries it has been considered the peak of human civilization in all aspects, and there are many reasons that support this proclamation.
The principality of Abel is made up of enormous green plains, leafy forests full of life and great rivers. In certain ways, it could be said that it is as rich and prosperous an area as the Empire has ever been; mirroring its own condition in progress. The region is delineated in the east and west by two great mountain ranges that act as a natural barrier with other principalities. The vegetation is Mediterranean, with a great variety of flora and fauna. Typically, there are rarely any wild beasts prowling through the area anymore, because of the soldiers and a considerable number of hunters who are in charge of watching over the security of the roads. The climate is usually warm, although with frequent rains throughout the entire year. Sometimes, there are strong storms that can last several days. All the roads that connect the great cities are completely paved and it is the only place in the world that can make such a claim, with the exception of Lucrecio.
Abel is exceptionally rich in livestock and agriculture, as well as possessing enormous mining resources in its mountain ranges. Include its modern manufacturing infrastructure and its important guild groups, and the idea that it is a self-sufficient principality and a convenient trading spot with any other nation in the world suddenly doesn’t seem too strange. The principality does not have a powerful army per se, but the Empress completely controls the regiments of the most powerful of the Lords of War, and has a personal squad of bodyguards in her direct service, the Knights of the Heaven Order, which allows her to call upon forces unequaled.
Unlike the other principalities, Abel does not have a prince, but that is governed by the Empress Adelina Borges herself, who is barely a young girl already wielding all the imperial powers. Although the important aristocrats and clergymen try to influence her, the young girl reigns without listening to any advice other than that of Thadeus Kisdain and Remus, her Heaven Order mentor.
Currently Abel is in a disturbing situation with the principalities in secession, especially on its southern border with Togarini, the head of the Azur Alliance. They do not currently threaten the security of the Empire in any real way, but regaining control of these principalities is impossible for Abel at the moment. Only time will tell what the consequences will be.
Culture and Society
The society of Abel has become rich thanks to its cultural openness and the ethnic wealth that resides within its principality. The union of so many countries has formed a unique mixture, taking the best traits from each civilization and combining the enormous cultural prosperity that was inherited from the thinkers of the old Empire of Solomon. People live without excessive worry. They make an effort to leave the death of the Emperor behind them, and work towards a brilliant future with Adelina as their lady. Most of them are not religious fanatics like those of the Dominion, but religion has a certain importance in their lifestyles. Many usually go to church every week and make good donations. Even so, a sizable percentage of society does not have an emphasis on the Light especially, and with the recent imperial edict on religion, a small percentage of the population have openly declared themselves atheists without suffering any negative consequences.
The social structure is separated into three classes: nobility, clergy and common folk. Nevertheless, unlike other regions, they are absolutely not a closed hierarchy. The high bourgeoisie have been acceding to noble titles for some time, by marriage or a payoff. In spite of that, there is still a distinct difference in the power of the high nobility. In some cases, the great families of Abel even accumulate more authority than the lords of certain principalities.
Abel does not have a very established feudal structure. It is very rare to see great independent castles, and most of the nobility meets in the most important cities or around the Imperial Court of Archangel. The principality is made up of several cities of great size and nearly a hundred towns.
Currently, the cities are ruled by some nobleman of great influence named by the Empire itself, although most times these titles are inherited in the way of succession. Only if some aristocrat proves himself to be poorly equipped for the position, does it lead to his negation. Also there is a mayor, chosen by the citizens of each community, who acts as the civil governor and nexus between the nobility and the common folk.
Abel’s cities are rich in commerce and manufacturing, whereas the neighboring towns are usually farming and agricultural areas. Abel is characterized as being a simultaneous importer and exporter of various goods, be it to the New Continent or distant eastern lands. It also sees a great many visitors, who go to the region to shop, look for work or simply to visit its wonders and monuments.
The Tao Zan is an official fighting competition that is celebrated every three years with the arrival of spring in the coliseum of Archangel. Within it, the world’s best fighters meet to compare their skills and to acquire all the fame that comes with it. The rules of the tournament allow the use of any kind of armor or weapons, even firearms, but killing the opponent under any circumstance is strictly prohibited. Although most of the participants of the Tao Zan are not gifted with special skills, during the last few years exceptional fighters have begun to participate more frequently, many of them masters in Ki abilities. Although any of them are careful not to use powers that are flashy enough to be considered “witchcraft”, the spectators are exceptionally lenient towards the use these abilities. Flushed with excitement, they usually praise anything that is not a supernatural lightshow. Adelina herself plans on taking advantage of the competition to secretly analyze any possible recruits to her forces.
The Tao Zan is divided into two parts since it sometimes involves thousands of participants. First there are four preliminary rounds held behind closed doors to select the thirty-two fighters who will enter the actual competition. Depending on the number of fighters participating, these preliminary try-outs can go for days. After that, the thirty-two winners face-off before the public, who gather in the tens of thousands to attend this unique spectacle. On the first day a single round of fighting takes place that trims the number of participants to sixteen, whereas on the second day they compete until only two of them are left. Finally, on the third day the final duel takes place, before which the Choir of Swallows, made up of the twelve young girls with the best voices in Abel, who intone an ancestral song in commemoration of the combat.
Traditionally, the emperors of the Sacred Holy Empire who are present at the tournament award a prize to the winner, who can request almost anything. The champion of the last two competitions has been Remus, high praetorian of the Empress and knight of the Seventh Heaven. It is rumored that Adelina has requested that he not participate in the next competition, to try for a more unpredictable, exciting outcome.
The Empire and the Lions
The emblem of the Sacred Holy Empire is a rampant lion, which since the era of the Messiah has been considered a sacred animal. Nevertheless, the true symbolism of the animal comes from Arturia, an immense white lion that accompanied Aeolus Hawke in the terrible battles that took place during the War of God. The animal, gifted with incredible abilities, fought by his side and sacrificed its life to save the future Emperor’s, who inscribed the mark of Arturia on his armor.
Since then, throughout the width and length of the Empire the hunting of these animals has always been prohibited under very severe penalties, since killing them is considered an attack on the spirit of Abel. It is only acceptable to kill the beast in situations where the lives of innocent people are threatened or it is considered a menace. Naturally, as with most prohibitions, there are always nobles or rich bourgeoisies who wish to have a white lion skin at whatever cost, so some poachers are willing to secretly go hunting lions for the right price.
Regarding the Supernatural
The people of Abel show a certain tolerance when it comes to the supernatural, but this is mainly due to the fact that they are accustomed to seeing “some things” that are beyond the norm in the Empress’ own agents. Although it is uncommon, more than one person has witnessed a knight of the Heaven Order scale a building in a single jump, demolish a stone wall with his bare hands or run dodging through a hail of arrows. In a majority of the cases, such acts are justified by admitting that these people are especially gifted by God, a blessing that allows them to better protect the innocents and the interests of the Empire itself. For that reason, it is sometimes understandable that a resident of Abel might consider some displays incredible, but not necessarily negative. Naturally, this is only limited to small actions of little importance, or when they do not cause a detriment on the people. Anyone that uses a supernatural ability on a grand scale, or one that had dark connotations, would immediately be labeled a wizard or a “demon”.
On the other hand, magical abilities used in a visually flashy or dynamic way is something that people fear, more because of the consequences that they bring rather than what they really represent. And this is not unjustified; over the course of the last few centuries there have been multiple magical occurrences that have caused imbalance, pain and death to many people in Abel, therefore supporting the negative position of the Church towards witchcraft. It is possible that only a very small percentage of wizards and mystical entities are to blame for such occurrences, but it is sufficient to keep the people in fear of the supernatural, something who the majority of which continue labeling as “satanic”. Generally, any citizen of Abel who sees anybody recite spells, trace magical runes in the air or anything associated with a supernatural “lightshow”, will not only make an open rejection, but may also submit a formal accusation to the Inquisition. Fortunately for many “wizards”, it is usually very difficult to find people in Abel willing to take justice into their own hands. In fact, it’s been centuries since anybody has been executed without a trial first.
The History of Abel
It could be said that the history of Abel principality is possibly the same history as that of the Sacred Holy Empire, although to reach its true origins it is necessary to go back much further. For more than 2500 years, the principality which is currently recognized as Abel was a barren area populated by dozens of nomadic tribes who fought each other. One of them, the one called the Lineage of Solomon, obtained predominance over the others thanks to its advanced steel-forged weapons and a strict military system, which made it stand out as the first human empire in recent memory. Once its power was undisputed, Solomon cultivated the arts and sciences learning from other races, like the Sylvain, and producing a considerable number of philosophers and thinkers. Surprisingly, in a mere decade Solomon experienced enormous progress that made them the leader of all the kingdoms and nations of the world, even of the nonhuman races. Later its inhabitants developed technological and magical wonders that had never been seen; they extirpated diseases, controlled the forces of nature and even managed to slow down the aging process until almost becoming immortal. It was Solomon who terra-formed the barren areas that surrounded their capital and turned them into the rich orchards that they are today. Nevertheless, all their knowledge did them no good, given that Solomon eventually collapsed, and everything they had achieved gone forever. During three centuries their descendants managed to maintain a certain control over those territories with great difficulty, until the arrival of the Messiah who definitively destroyed the established order. The new religion, the Church of Light, was established as the official creed and the area was renamed Abel, which would become the center of the Holy Kingdom governed by the Apostle Ezekyle Hawke. The first city of Archangel was built atop the ruins of the old capital of Solomon, where it served as the capital of the kingdom and religious center of the Church of Light through two centuries.
The kingdom obtained formidable power until in the year 223 when the armies of Rah devastated the area, almost completely destroying all their cities and exterminating its inhabitants; Abel was probably punished the most severely by the followers of Judas.
After the end of the War of God, Aeolus Hawke gathered hundreds of thousands of refugees and founded the Sacred Holy Empire of Abel in the year 233, taking advantage of the area’s wealth to establish the base of the new Empire. Over seven centuries, governed by the Hawke lineage and later by two generations of the Borges family, Abel has maintained its role as the heart of the Empire, even after fracturing itself. It is currently ruled by Adelina Borges, the young Empress, whose “absolute authority” is questioned by several of the principalities that have declared themselves independent after her father’s death. Although most of the population of Abel supports her without regrets, it is also true that many voices think that the weight of the Imperial Crown is perhaps a bit too much for a young girl to handle.
Relevant Geographical Features
The principality of Abel is predominantly made up of enormous green prairies, although sprinkled with a few lakes and small forests from time to time.
Zafir River: It is the greatest and most influential river in all of Abel. It originates in the Balthus Mountains and crosses the heart of the Empire to empty into the Inner Sea. Almost every tributary converges near the city of Archangel, nourishing it with an abundance of water and fish. Up to Archangel its current is strong and fast, but to the east of the capital its flow becomes a bit slower, due to its wide breadth and shallower depths. This is why the Zafir is sailable from Archangel to its opening on the Coast of Yearnings. The river is the main source of commerce between the areas of the Inner Sea and the Coast of Commerce, for which it’s important to see how fast sailboats and vessels of little tonnage and low draft cross it while transporting travelers and small merchandise.
The importance of the Zafir River as a commercial route also extends itself on the mainland since the Route of Lucer, probably the longest road in Gaia, runs along its southern margin. It connects Archangel with the port of Eburah, crossing through the city of Yirath. It is currently one of the safest and journeyed routes in all the Empire. The traffic of carts, travelers and soldiers usually is heavy.
The Balthus Mountains: This extensive mountain range stretches along the western side of Abel like a natural barrier that defines the border with Arlan. It gets its name from the first Lord of War, Balthus Webner, who was able to pacify this area when it was problematic and unify it to the Empire. The mountains are very high and steep, although at its base they are rich in mineral deposits, which is why there are a considerable number of mining towns that extract metals for Abel. In the Balthus range there are several mountain passages that are used to travel to Arlan, but because of the winter snow, sometimes these ways become blocked until the arrival of Spring and it becomes necessary to search for alternate routes. The area is filled with transit stops, in which travelers who enter the region can rest.
The Mountain range of Tol Jaegren: This steep mountain range borders the western area of Abel with Ilmora and part of Helenia. It’s got an abundance mines containing precious stones and crystals, which is why many prospectors visit them dedicated to looking for deposits.
Tol Jaegren is a name of sylvain origin that means “sacred place”, although the population of Abel currently ignores it (the majority think that it was definitely a personality in the past that was forgotten with the passage of time). Formerly, before the War of God, the Sylvain used these mountains to erect seven temples for the Ilakavir in their different incarnations, and an eighth for C´iel herself. Although more than six hundred years ago the temples of Mikael and Uriel (in Sylvain, Khitna Misariel and Aerevah Nul respectively) were completely devastated by the armies of Judas, the other six remain standing on the cusps of the highest peaks. All of them have been kept sealed by Tol Rauko for centuries, whom from time to time, still send some of their agents to make sure that everything remains in order. Due to the altitude and the enormous challenge that the climb presents, the area seems to be completely undisturbed and is quite difficult to find the entrance to the temples, unless you know the area and specifically travel to them. Also, all of the temples are conveniently protected, as much with the seal of Tol Rauko as by the supernatural safeguards that the high Sylvain priests left behind when they abandoned their churches.
Just in the past few years, two of the temples have been inhabited by enigmatic settlers of The Wake, although their objective and intentions are still unknown.
The Forest of the Moon: This ancient forest of pines and cypresses lies in the northeastern area of Abel, next to the city of Tiberias and the Mountain range of Tol Jaegren. It is known for being plagued with wolves and other wild animals, which is why it is considered a dangerous area for travelers. Fortunately, the predators tend not to leave their hunting areas and it is rare for them to attack people, unless they venture too far in to the heart of the forest. Centuries ago, the place was used as a rallying point for druids and other priestly orders. They are many people who still consider it a sacred place even today, and they could be right in part, because within its depths a powerful spirit of nature dwells that has taken care of the forest since the beginning of time.
With the cracking of the Veil this place has become home to Kierrn and Rha’shoan alike, though in small number. The ancient spirit that makes the forest its home has gone to great lengths to ensure that the new wardens of its domain are kept in secret from the outside world.
The Forest of Avalbane: This place, which receives its name in honor of the first Empress, Lucia Avalbane, wife of Aeolus Hawke, is the greatest expanse of forest in the whole principality of Abel and also one of the largest in Gaia. Located south of the Tol Jaegren mountain range, the forest extends for miles and miles before encroaching into the northern border of Kanon. There are dozens of large clearings within it and one may find small populations built within some of them. The area enjoys ample vegetation and wildlife, which is why many nobles and aristocrats use it as a hunt reserve. It is a well-known rumor that some old buildings belonging to Solomon still exist there, but their exact location is unknown. In fact, the truth is that there are some facilities distributed throughout the area with lost technology, although the entrances are well hidden and protected by archaic techno-golems; so concealed, that they have lain hidden for centuries.
The Eternal Prairie: The entire central area of Abel is made up of an immense green plain that extends further than the eye can see. It is a land full of life, with dozens of towns and small cities, lakes and sparsely wooded areas. Throughout the entire prairie there stand enormous pillars of metal and marble distributed several miles apart, an inheritance from Solomon’s times of splendor. In the center of the prairie Archangel proudly rises from the horizon.
Lake of the Crown: This enormous lake of crystalline water is in the northern part of Abel. It has a very beautiful view that attracts a considerable number of visitors and tourists. In the very center there is a small island called “The Eye of Midnight”, that lodged a powerful artificial node of magic constructed by the empire of Solomon in ancient times. Although it is not publicly known, the island was used by the Supreme Archbishop Eljared as one of her temporary residences, where she erected a strange mansion that is currently vacant. Although the mystical node no longer exists and with all the Lost Logias conveniently destroyed, the whole small barren island continues to be a site of extreme power for those that are gifted with supernatural abilities of any type.
Lands of the Storm: The residents of Abel speak of the large stretch of land located in the southern part of the Eternal Prairie with respect and mystery, the strange area which they call the Lands of the Storm. This enormous plain, broken by the occasional hill, is perpetually covered by a dense dark cloud layer that prevents anyone from seeing the sky. Although it seems that it is always on the verge of a powerful storm, not a single drop of rain has fallen for centuries, and the area lays withered and dry. Instead of water, powerful bolts whip the earth very consistently, illuminating the shadowy sky with their continuous bursts. Apparently, the discharges are drawn to the metal monoliths that are scattered throughout the zone, like in the Eternal Prairie.
Although it is an ideal path to Kanon and Togarini, the gloomy atmosphere makes many travelers and merchants avoid the Lands of the Storm, afraid that some of the stray bolts may hit them (something which has happened on more than one occasion in the past).
Although unknown to anyone, the instability is caused by the broken climactic control system of Solomon, which has been that way for more than a thousand years. The bolts that fall on the monoliths do nothing more than recharge the system, which why it could possibly continue to run forever.
Coast of Yearnings: The inner coast of Abel is an area rich in commerce and fishing. It receives its name for being the place where the first Emperor Aeolus marched with mankind’s last armies towards the island of Tol Rauko. It is a calm and prosperous place, although within the last year several pirates have attacked a few coastal towns, something that has not happened for centuries. The intelligence agency of the Empire suspects that they are privateer captains contracted by the Azur Alliance, but up until now they have not been able to validate this. In order to prevent a repeat of these events, Adelina has ordered several armed contingents to spread out in the area, but somehow, some privateers manage to avoid regulated marine checks.
Coast of Grief: The Coast of Grief makes up the neighboring stretch of land with Helenia and is a dead and withered area where nothing, neither vegetable nor animal, can live for very long. During the War of God it was the stage of a bloody battle, in which almost 100,000 lives were lost on both sides. Currently the area is abandoned, and bandits and smugglers who flee from justice are its only visitors. The people of Abel think that it is a condemned land, and they are not mistaken. All that death, added to the monstrous mystical energies that were triggered, produced an enormous echo in reality, creating a tenebrous reflection in The Wake and weakening the barriers that separate both worlds. Even today, thousands of Wake Specters wander through the area. Dark and full of hatred, these beings feed on the feelings of fear and terror that the travelers generate so as to take part in reality in their own limited way.
Places of InterestEdit
The most important places of Abel are possibly its settlements, since all along its principality there are hundreds of prosperous villages and small cities. All of them are well connected to each other thanks to an efficient network of highways and roads, the most important of which are even paved.
Abel is also protected by what has been known for centuries as “the Four Protective Angels”, four enormous fortified cities that guard the corners of the Empire (although one of them, Ogara, is now in Dalaborn). There’s a myth that ensures while at least one of them remains standing, Archangel will never be destroyed again.
(Metropolis, Population 785,000+)
The first of the four “Guardian Angels of Abel” is Yirath, a large city located on both sides of the Zafir River. Built on one of the ruins of Solomon more than four centuries ago, the city enjoyed great prosperity thanks to the marine traffic and commerce with the interior. Consisting of baroque architecture and large buildings, many call it the City of Bridges, because of the large amount of them that connect its streets. In Yirath the enormous Doors of Zafir are found, immense constructions that allow the blockage of the marine transit along the river at will. Lately the large city has begun to lose the military characteristics with which it was founded to become more of a cultural place. Its citizens strive to compete with an erudite city like Hausser and Archangel, which is why they have constructed two enormous universities and sponsor students who have higher intellectual abilities.
In Yirath there is a serious internal conflict between the two noble houses that dominate it, House Von Ghalagher and the Dukes of Caitibre (each one located on different parts of the Zafir river). Although in no way can the confrontation escalate, both families do everything they can to stifle the influence of the other and gain the favor of the Empress. The older son of the dukes, Brandon Caitibre, is a powerful wizard and member of the Conclave of Magi, and uses his supernatural abilities to secretly favor his family. On the other hand, the Von Ghalagher have many commercial contacts with the Black Sun who lends them support when necessary. What neither of the two families know is that both their youngest children, Connor Ghalagher and Erin Caitibre, are secretly in love and plan to escape together as soon as they can.
(Town, Population 8,500+)
Eytan is the largest settlement located inside the Forest of Avalbane. It is famous for its artisan crafts and its perfect integration with nature. Part of the town is in a large clearing, but the other half protrudes through the edge of the forest, so some houses are constructed between the trees, and more than a few citizens take advantage of the large trunks as additional walls. When the sun rises in the mornings between the treetops filtering its light, it is a sight as wonderful as it is beautiful. Many say that it is a city for artists and dreamers, because it attracts a considerable number of noble and rich bourgeois adolescents who are going through a rebellious phase in their lives.
The lord of Eytan is an old nobleman, count Decaer Braum, who passes most of his time composing poetry. The city sometimes draws in treasure seekers who dream of being the first to discover the ruins of Solomon in the forest, but rarely do they ever find anything of interest.
(Metropolis, Population 2.850.000+)
Archangel is the capital of the Sacred Holy Empire and without a doubt the biggest and most lavish city in the world. Officially, its origin is a precursor to the Empire itself, since it was raised on the ruins of Solomon barely a year after the Messiah’s death. Two centuries later, it would nearly be destroyed again during the War of God, but would undergo reconstruction to become the huge metropolis that it is now. Archangel is probably the epitome of progress and modernization. Its streets have an artificial lighting system, as well as a running water complex and sewer system. Some structures and buildings of Archangel still originate from Solomon and other civilizations previous to the War of God, but most of them have been designed in the last seven centuries using a baroque architectonic style that gives them a glorious monumental appearance. The city is filled with great palaces and luxurious mansions, among which the three great fortresses stand out: the Castle of Averus, reserved for the Lord of War Thadeus Kisdain, the Imperial Castle, home of the Empress Adelina, and the holy headquarters, The Alkavian Cathedral once at the service of the Supreme Archbishop and which is presently unoccupied. There are hundreds of important monuments, like the prestigious Museum of History and Art, the Chapel of the Resurrection, where the body of Abel was buried, or the Passage of the Eras, an immense hall full of statues of heroes from the past. Nevertheless, the monument that most represents the city and gives name to it is the gigantic white marble column crowned by an immense angel with extended wings, the city’s guardian. The lady of Archangel is Adelina herself, who controls everything by means of a municipal system and civil governors who report to an imperial delegate as well, called the Praetor. The city is also fortunate to have The Knights of the Heaven Order as guards, which makes it one of the safest places to live.
Archangel has a considerable number of Samael members living in it, who hide their identity by means of subtlety and supernatural abilities. Some have even earned their places in certain social positions, although they are careful not to reveal their true natures.
Unknown to everyone except for a very secret sector of the Empire, under the city the most important architectural relics of Solomon can be found, which still include many Lost Logias.
(Metropolis, Population 480,000+)
The city-fortress of Sepher is one of the four “Guardian Angels of Abel” and the most important for the security of the Empire at the moment. Located to the south, neighboring the border of Togarini, the city is the first line of defense against a possible attack from the Azur Alliance. The enormously large city is constructed in a circular design and has seven walls that make it almost unconquerable against any conventional attack. Even so, it enjoys a level of progression as great as any other city in Abel and, despite its militant appearance, it’s still very beautiful. Within it are numerous monuments and recognizable buildings, among which the Blue Palace demands attention, a cathedral turned into a museum of natural history, and the Exodum, a large vault surrounded by columns, whose origins date back to the time of Solomon.
Sepher is an old and noble city in society, in which the aristocracy plays a fundamental role thanks to centuries upon centuries of military accomplishments. The citizens have become accustomed to living with a great many soldiers, and currently boast an excess of 25,000 troops in the area to ensure the principality’s stability. The lord of the city is commander Archibald of the Pietro, an eccentric and exalted man that sees conspiracies and danger everywhere.
Although an official war between the Empire and the Alliance has not been declared, some Sepher soldiers on the outskirts of the large city have already engaged in skirmishes with Togarini military patrols. Although there have been several losses on both sides, fortunately everyone has tried to minimize the importance of these confrontations to stem a war, but they keep repeating themselves with enough frequency to make both sides reconsider.
(Metropolis, Population 370,000+)
Located between the mountain range of Tol Jaegren and the Forest of the Moon, Tiberias is the “Guardian Angel” that protects Abel from any threat coming from the east. The large city was constructed by taking advantage of the haven that the mountains offer, giving it excellent natural protection. Although originally only a gigantic fortress, in the last three centuries the area enjoyed great popularity, which caused a city to rise up around its walls. After undergoing a time of regression during the years of Lascar Hawke’s mandate, Tiberias has forcefully reemerged as an important social nucleus once again, and continues to expand today. Architecturally speaking, the large city is sublime, since there are several palaces crowned with sharpened crystalline towers. When the light reflects off of them, it gives the fascinating visual of the whole city scintillating. The predominant colors are blue and white, which has given it the nickname “The City of Clouds and Skies”.
Tiberias is famous for being the place in which the Castle of the Serafin is located, the neurological center for the Heaven Order. Due to the great number of Heaven Knights who live and train here, it is easy to believe that this is considered one of the safest places in Gaia. The leader of the city is none other than countess Erya of Gillean, a young idealist and loyal follower of the Empress Adelina, who has earned the title of Knight of the Fifth Heaven.
Port of Eburah
(City, Population 48,000+)
Eburah is one of the most important commercial ports on the entire Inner Sea. Located at the mouth of the Zafir River, the large city began as a mere crossover point for boats but, with time, grew in power and influence. Many people agree that nowadays, even without the same luxuries, it can compete with Yirath commercially thanks to having a better location. A council of nobles govern the city, although due to their wealth, two high bourgeois have been admitted in their ranks. Eburah is a place frequented by many mercenaries, which is why it is easy to find hire swords and adventurers. Less than a year ago it underwent a lightning attack from three Pirate Kings, causing serious damage to the port before the attackers fled from the city.
(Village, Population 300+)
This small village is made up of a handful of stone buildings, low and stacked against each other, where barely a hundred families live. It would hold no importance if it were not the oldest town in the Empire. It was built almost 2,500 years ago, during the Era of Solomon and, although deteriorated, some of its buildings have remained standing up until the present. When its remnants were found many centuries ago, the historians traveled in droves to study the ruins, but were very disappointed upon discovering that there were no signs of ancient technology, engravings or great findings; it was simply a village built a long, long time ago. Its only interest is due to historical or architectural curiosity, and even this was never exhaustive since it only consisted of small houses with a single floor and some corrals. Currently very few tourists come to Leazhar, since it is a couple of miles from the nearest commercial route, and the scientists stopped making trips there in vain centuries ago. It matters very little to its citizens, since they have never had the slightest interest in stories of the past or legends that do not lead anywhere, dedicating their peaceful lives to farming and agriculture.
However, many of the houses have been acquired by Cristophe De Gaulle in the last few years, a wealthy bourgeois of unknown background that, according to what people say, plans to revitalize the town and to turn it into a commercial hub for travelers. He has brought a team of well-trained mercenaries with him (many of which are gifted with supernatural abilities), and there is a rumor that he is carrying out excavations under people’s homes. Worried about the news, the Empire has sent some supervisors, but they did not find any proof of the excavations. In spite of everything, Abel preferred to cover itself and, fearing that De Gaulle might find some Lost Logias, it has sent to there Anka Grimbergel, a member of the Heaven Order. Anka has only lived in the village incognito for a few months, posing as a simple farmer, but watching all the movements of Cristophe.
Port of Eien
(Ghost City, Population 200+)
Located in the middle of the Coast of Grief, the Port of Eien is an ancient city that has been nearly abandoned for centuries. Even though being much larger than Eburah, only a few hundred people manage to live within it. Glorious and monumental in its prime, Eien is now a gray and depressing place, with an infinite amount of empty houses and mansions that nobody wants to live in. The few people that remain there are sad and depressing, who survive because of the ludicrous prices they charge for the services of the port considering the few boats that pass through. They’ve tried repopulating the city on several occasions by taking advantage of the good state of many buildings, but one way or another, all the attempts have always monumentally failed because of strange deaths, massive disappearances and other misfortunes. Everything is due to the fact that the dark influence that extends through the Coast of Grief is especially strong in Eien. The city’s reflection in The Wake is full of creatures and specters that act chaotically, and sometimes drag people who sleep in the city into their dark world. One of those entities, Urian Zemo, a Duk´zarist lord turned into a specter of The Wake that led the part of forces of Rah in the War of God, has become particularly powerful, and it would not be unusual for him to proclaim himself a Lord of Nightmares soon.
(City, Population 39,000+)
The region of Abel between the Balthus Mountains and the mountain range of Zhoria in Galgados is known as the Passage of the West. Less than four centuries ago, it was one of the most vulnerable entrance routes to the principality for a possible attack, since the “Guardian Angel” of Ogara was located too far away to be able to act quickly. For this reason the Castle of Bryanta was built, with the purpose of watching the principality and to constitute the first line of defense that, in retrospect, was never necessary. It was built based on the layout of Ogara but on a smaller scale, and therefore both maintain certain similarities.
The castle, a monumental piece of work, has a capacity of almost 10,000 people, although it is only occupied by a small dowry of no more than 1,000 soldiers at the moment. Most of its towers and sojourns remain empty and have accumulated dust for years. This is due to the fact that an enormous construction error was committed while digging its foundations; the humidity and porosity of the ground was not taken into account. Since the region is covered with small lakes and brooks that are born in Zhoria or Balthus, the water filters into the earth, softening it and making it too unstable to maintain the high towers of Bryanta. For that reason, the walls of the fortress are not as stable as they appear and, year after year, the soldiers find themselves forced to reinforce a wall or fill in a crack. Of course, this information is a very well-kept secret, more for a reasons of prestige than those of security.
Due to the area being an important commercial route, the traffic of travelers is heavy. Since the requests to restore the castle have always been denied, a mercantile city has been constructed around it, crowded with inns and shops in which all kinds of products are sold.
(Village, Population 100+)
Good Rest is the name for a set of inns that are in the vicinity of the Forest of the Moon. They are composed of just twenty buildings, built closely together, forming what could be called a “hotel town.” It is in some idyllic woods, next to a small lake frequently used by travelers. Since each one of the premises belongs to a different owner, the competition between them to hoard clients is enormous. When somebody approaches the area, he is typically assaulted by numerous “hooks” that try to recommend the inn for their employer, talking down the others.
One of them, the House of Bassi, is secretly part of the Wissenschaft Organization. Its main function is to investigate a breach in the Wake near the hotel that attracts the oneiric conscience of the people who sleep on the premises. Since they want to study the effects on people with singular abilities, the best thing to do is attract travelers who they consider special, offering them deals too good to refuse. At least, there are always one or two Crows watching the area, a mission that most of them consider more like a paid vacation offered to them by their organization than any real form of work.
The Tower of Babel
(Ruins, Population 30+)
The Tower of Babel is one of the greatest remains of Lost Logias that currently exists with any certainty. The agents of the Sacred Holy Empire, who have always feared the danger of what might be inside, have kept its existence in absolute secrecy.
Ever since it was discovered more than four centuries ago, the tower has been sealed, but just barely a year ago Emperor Elias sent a division of scientists and historians to uncover its secrets and to obtain any knowledge of interest inside of it. After the fracture of the Empire, Adelina kept the scientific team there, reinforcing the team’s security by adding several concealed Knights of the Fifth Heaven.
Visually, the tower is a tall black metal cylinder of about 650 feet in height. It is embedded in the rocky ground of a hidden valley in the Balthus Mountains, as if more than just being constructed, it was hurled down from the skies to that very spot. The interior, completely made of metal, is a structure of stairs, platforms and strange apparatuses. All the walls are filled with mechanical statues (some think that they are articulated technological marionettes) that take the traditional form of the Grimm Reaper.
The true objectives or functions of the Tower are still unknown, but the imperial scientists have reached the conclusion that it is probably a weapon of incalculable power. Nevertheless, the head of the investigation, Doctor Dmitri Duhavel fears that, even with its frightful destructive capacity, the Tower of Babel is no more than a prototype of another still more powerful weapon; an artifact called Gravestone.
OTHER SETTLEMENTS: Bethar, Ecanus, Urim, Tharsis, Lonel, Hod, Neria, Darel, Sura.