The small principality of Ilmora is the cultural capital of the Empire, and without a doubt one of the greater bastions of knowledge and wisdom in its purest state. Although the area that it occupies is not very large and the climate tends to be cool the entire year, it is a fertile land in which its inhabitants do not benefit from it as much as they could. Ilmora has no large mountain ranges, but everything in the land is sprinkled with hills and smaller mountains. It has a varied wildlife selection and the rural areas are characterized as being home for numerous wild animals.
The main source of income for Ilmora is in its commercial art pieces, literature and essays, as much scientific as philosophical. Its cities are famous for their great schools of scribes, whose books are usually sold at exorbitant prices. It also receives important patronages and exterior donations, mainly from Abel and Gabriel.
From the beginning of its inception Ilmora has never had princes because the Emperors themselves decided to keep the governmental system of the region intact, which has always been very appropriate for their people. The nation finds itself ruled by The Enlightened Order, a council of twelve great scholars and thinkers, who are chosen amongst the people of greatest renown or prestige. Only those that know how to read and write have the right to vote, although generally that includes most of the population of Ilmora. The elected members of The Enlightened Order keep their positions for their whole life, except for death or express resignation.
Ilmora only has two important cities, which represent the true heart of the principality, while many less significant towns and villages extend along of the rest of the small land.
Ilmora is also characterized for being the only principality that refuses to raise its own army to defend its borders (although it does have guards in its cities), and are even reluctant to allow the Lord of War’s troops to establish themselves within its borders. Even so; they’re confident that Abel or Dalaborn will offer any military support they need if it comes to that.
Ilmora maintains very good relations with other principalities of the Empire, and its unconditional support in the political openings that the young girl Adelina is carrying out. Nevertheless, they also maintain close relationships with Gabriel, because the principality on the Coast of Commerce wishes to reap all the possible benefits from the cultural wealth of the Ilmorenses.
Culture and SocietyEdit
The society of Ilmora values culture, art and philosophy above all, aspects that have become a fundamental element in the daily life of its inhabitants with the passing of years. The majority of its populace are people that are cultured and educated with high artistic values. The government promotes study and knowledge, creating free schools and incentives with scholarships to those that send their children there. Even the villages, that do not remotely have access to the same opportunities as the cities, have some type of professor imparting classes paid for by the principality’s coffers. They accept religion as another aspect of a person, necessary for a well-rounded individual, but without ever participating in blind fanaticisms. Most Ilmorenses believe that all men comprise something larger than the individual and that that “something” may be probably Alkavir.
Ilmora is a nation very open to other cultures, although traditionally its people tend to look down on weapons and those who carry them, since they consider them an unnecessary anachronism at the doors of the new millennium. On the other hand, any “civilized” person will be quickly welcomed.
Although the social structure is similar to the other territories of the Empire, nobility is scarce in the principality and the bourgeoisie power doesn’t go as far as it does in other lands. Without a doubt, it is the nation with greatest amount of professors, scientists and artists of all of Gaia. There are also a considerable percentage of students coming from all parts of the continent, whose wealthy parents send them to the universities of Ilmora to get a good education.
Regarding the Supernatural
The conception of the supernatural and the “inexplicable” is one of the few subjects that has the people of Ilmora divided. Normally, like most of the Empire, its inhabitants consider magic, psychic matrices or the abilities of Dominion pure rubbish, make-believe stories for children without any place in the rational world. On the other hand, increasing groups of thinkers, scholars and philosophers have begun to affirm that all these supernatural forces are real and comprise an important part of our world, being that they can be studied and catalogued like any other science. They have reached the conclusion that they are not “malignant” in and of themselves, but as what happens with all power, it is easily corrupted by those who possess it, so it is necessary to be cautious around them.
Consequently, it is possible that most people show an initial rejection towards the supernatural, but more due to their shock and surprise than to their fear. Nevertheless, if the consequences that they bear are not really negative ones, it is possible that they may easily find acceptance soon.
The History of Ilmora
What is known as Ilmora today are the remains of a nation that was formed by a set of great independent city-states in ancient times. After countless battles for power and massacres between the settlers, its culture began to bloom in a specific way and the principality reached a certain feeling of general unity. Shortly after, in the years of Solomon’s splendor, the cities were annexed to the empire by force, although after the fall of its conquerors they quickly recovered their independence. It was then they made contact with several nonhuman ethnic groups, from whom they acquired great cultural advances that added to those they already had. With the arrival of the Messiah, they broke their links with other races and the cities focused mainly on study and philosophy.
During the era of the Holy Kingdoms the area became renowned for its large libraries, a historical inheritance, and a great number of scholars settled in the land. Two centuries later, when the War of God exploded, the territories surrendered to the armies of Judas without resistance, in hopes that instead of destroying their cities, they would take them as a launching point to continue their offensive against the rest of the world. Although great battles were fought to liberate the Holy Kingdoms, the large cities that had no walls or protections saw no real conflict, so when the smoke cleared, Ilmora’s two most important cities, Hausser and Eustace, remained relatively intact.
In the years of the postwar period a considerable number of refugees approached both large cities, but since neither of them had their own armies to protect themselves, they became highly vulnerable targets. The assaults came frequently and, ironically, both suffered much more damage during the postwar period than during the War of God itself. Hausser, which until then had been governed by scholars, ended up being controlled by various conquerors that usurped the power and fought amongst themselves to keep it. Fortunately for its citizens, Aeolus Hawke arrived at the territories in the year 228 and restored order. After reinstating to power The Enlightened Order, by popular vote Ilmora joined the Sacred Holy Empire of Abel and became a principality. Originally the land was called Asphasia but, almost a century and a half later, in 374 changed its name in homage to the most important scientist, scholar and philosopher in history, Calandra Ilmora, founder of the first universities. Since then, the last few centuries have been calm and prosperous, attracting countless intellectuals and creating one of the most important enlightened traditions in the entire world.
Always separating itself from conflict, Ilmora did not experience the problems of rebellion like the other principalities did and remained faithful to the spirit of the Empire at all times. Currently, many members of The Enlightened Order have placed their expectations on the youthful promise that is Adelina, given that the girl demonstrates a great interest for knowledge and science that few sovereigns have shown previously.
Relevant Geographical Features
Ilmora is a very geographically diverse principality. While its southern areas are made up of ample green prairies, in the north everything is filled with small mountains, hills and wooded areas.
Forest of Zulan: This old forest of cypresses is the largest wooded area in Ilmora. Zulan, a great forest that hugs the eastern border of the principality, is well traveled by merchants coming from Helenia (mainly from Farna). The forest is peppered with small inns that compete to attract traveling customers, using any method at their disposal. Fortunately there are rarely any wild animals wandering around, except for the culasti, a strange variety of serpent whose bite is exceptionally deadly.
Galenics Mountains: The Galenics Mountains, which occupy most of the northern territory of Ilmora, is a rocky area plagued with wild animals and other dangers. Undoubtedly it stays dangerous mainly because it is filled with lions, which is prohibited game by Imperial edict. The place, considered wilderness by a large part of the population, is not very traveled; so many bandits and robbers make their hideouts there.
Inanimate Forest: The Inanimate Forest, located in the northern part of Ilmora next to the Galenics Mountains, is an immense petrified forest in which there is no sign of life. The thousands of white stone trees that constitute its depth give a cold sensation of emptiness and melancholy that permeates anyone that crosses it. The place is uninhabited and receives very few visitors, because it is considered a site of bad omen. The truth is, when somebody spends a long time there, they begin to have strange dreams in which they hear faint voices in an incomprehensible language. This is all because buried deep in the subsoil lies the ancient dragon Ygoronath and other members of his lineage, forced into a deep hibernation because of the activation of Rah’s machine, who are unconsciously communicating their subconscious minds with the visitors.
Swamp of Agamemnon: An impure and fetid swamp that receives its name in memory of the wise man Agamemnon, a powerful master summoner who tried to attract one of the old gods to the world that are known today as the False Idols. Unfortunately for him his ritual was an absolute failure and, instead of reaching his goal, he devastated miles of fertile land, creating a vortex in reality. Years before, Tol Rauko declared the area an extreme health hazard and closed public access, placing garrisons on the outskirts. Sometimes, there are still mystical alien aberrations that sneak through the vortex, although the same mystical power that summons them also seems to bind them to the swamp. Black Sun has shown a certain interest in the area for some time now, because they think that the sanctuary of Agamemnon possibly still exists and contains certain interesting secrets. Although some groups of scientists have managed to slip by the security of Tol Rauko, all those that have entered have disappeared in unknown incidents.
The Garden of the East: Long before paper was so widespread as it is today, Ilmora was already known for its great libraries. During the time in which books and manuscripts were still written on parchments, the need for early papers impelled the enlightened ones to create The Garden of the East. It is a small artificial forest, where seeds of various trees and plants were brought from distant eastern lands, and selected specifically because of the quality of their leaves. It has always been a very unique place, since the vegetation is very different from the indigenous type. After a while, the abundant use of new kind of papers ended the usefulness of the garden, and now it is only preserved as a historical reminder of the change of an era. In its interior there is a small “Writing Museum” and a school where they teach the techniques of making paper, as well as the different printing processes. The majority of copyists, printers and ink manufacturers of Hausser have learned at this school.
Places of Interest
Besides its two largest cities, Ilmora is filled with insignificant villages and towns too small to even show on maps. Some of these, mainly in the northern area, near the Galenics Mountains, are very poorly connected, and often miss out on significant events in the world.
(Building, Population 500+)
Not all the scholars enjoy staying in the cities. Some prefer places more secluded to carry out their studies, or simply need a calm atmosphere in which to abandon themselves to meditation. For that reason, almost two centuries ago The Enlightened Order created an institution dedicated to the pillars of knowledge, called the Trivium.
They are three large facilities located in the Tymon Mountains, a few miles from Eustace. In the first of them, Liberio, the experts in rhetoric, dialect and grammar are collected. Iterio, the second, is dedicated to scholars of arithmetic, astronomy, music and geometry. Lastly, in Scionis, are those students of philosophy, logic and theology. Sometimes the Trivium work under contract for princes, important nobles or the Empire itself, but they also handle smaller matters for people that take the time to visit them. If a traveler enters with the intention to join the Trivium, he must respond to three questions formulated by a council of wise men of the institution, which undoubtedly requires the applicant’s full knowledge.
After some important wise men and thinkers mysteriously disappeared, the Empire placed a small number of Knights of the Heaven Order there as watchmen and guardians, ordered to protect the Trivium and those within it.
Conservatory of the Arts
(Building, Population 400+)
This imposing marble building, located several miles to the south of Hausser, houses the greatest school of sculpting arts in Gaia. In their classrooms they impart lessons that include samples from the most classic forms of sculpture to the more advanced pictorial techniques, passing through all styles of music (from chamber to popular). Annually, a large open door exhibition is held, where the most talented students have the opportunity to sell their art pieces to the important visitors who go that day. Currently, several members of the teaching staff are secret members of the Samael organization that have introduced themselves into the conservatory for very different reasons. The most surprising thing is that one of them, a young Sylvain girl called Shirael Ul Del Travius going by the name of lady Shirius Trevigne, has just been unexpectedly promoted to the position of director of the conservatory. The disconcerted Shirael, a lover of art that was not trying to call attention, finds herself in a serious predicament, because she fears that she will not be able to hide her true identity for too much longer and yet she does not want to waste this opportunity.
(Metropolis, Population 282,000+)
The millenarian Hausser, the City of Towers, is one of the oldest Metropolises in all of Gaia. Rich and prosperous, it boasts large marble buildings, an infinite amount of temples, museums and a staggering amount of artwork in its streets. Its nickname comes from almost a hundred immense towers that were built within it, in which the wisdom from eras past is compiled and the knowledge of the future is studied. Centuries ago, philosophers and the most privileged nobles raised these immense buildings to fill them with books, works of art and other objects of interest. Ironically, this became a kind of rivalry after a while, since he that had the tallest tower, was consequently considered the wisest individual of the city. Even today many of them continue growing, but after reaching heights of several hundred feet, sometimes it becomes very difficult to go on with the construction without risking serious devastation. Currently, more than half of them grant free access to the public like museums or libraries, although several others are privates and visits are not allowed. It is rumored that many contain relics and banned books, remnants of the armies of Rah or the old Empire of Solomon.
Hausser has three universities of notable size (one of the arts, another of the sciences and one of laws and politics), where prestigious teachers give lessons. There are also several dozens of book copying companies, among which the Epirion Company stands out. Black Sun has a strong presence in the city, because many of the private collectors work for the organization or have important missions regarding ancient works.
Another of the most emblematic buildings of the capital is the Palace of Music. This sumptuous structure of white metal and crystal, visible from across the entire metropolis, is one of Hausser’s greatest accomplishments. It holds some of the most important social events of its citizens, such as the Spring Dance and the Art Fair of the Sacred Holy Empire. The performances are huge, choosing only the best companies and the best librettos, for the enjoyment of both the knowledgeable and the amateur alike. Despite the expensive ticket prices, few citizens can claim that they have never attended at least some of them. The Enlightened Order’s headquarters is located in Hausser, who also exert the role of governor and administrator there.
(Town, Population 3,800+)
Although at first sight the town of Calista seems like another one of the hundreds of small hamlets in Ilmora, in the last few years it has become a true commercial hub in which hundreds of merchants of Abel and Dalaborn gather daily. Because of this prosperity, many retailers are constructing new stores, which have caused the town to double in size in record time. The mayor is a young man named Basil Octavius an independent wizard who maintains a close relation with The Black Sun organization, giving them freedom to do as they wish in exchange for them supplying him minor magic items from time to time.
(City, Population 91,000+)
Eustace, located in the northern part of the principality, near the border of Dalaborn, is the second most important city in Ilmora and the only one that deserves the title of a great metropolis along with Hausser. Many consider it a smaller version of the capital, but without its immense towers. Although it also possesses enormous libraries, its greatest attraction is The Passage of the Wise Men, a one mile road filled with the statues of the greatest thinkers and philosophers in history. It is said that the city is blessed with a special destiny, and that those that visit it can find their lost inspiration.
The present lord of the city is the great philosopher Nikkos Spyridion, a hardened misogynist that feels a great resentment towards the Empress, which is why he is trying to form an alliance with the Coast of Commerce.