Area & Terrain
South of Rathess and to the east of the southern mountains lies an area mostly cut off from the rest of Creation. Between Rathess and the Grass Sea is a wyld zone that forms a dangerous border and but at its worst reaches only to the Middlemarches. Even if you go around the Wyld there are dangerous jungles all througout that region. The inhospitable and great mountains to the west of this space prevent any frequent trade or people from taking that route. Due to the mountains and the wyld area near Rathess this region is thought by many people to be wyld consumed, an erroneus judgement.
A great part of this area between the two poles is dominated by the great Grass Sea. The grass reaches heights between 4 and 5 meters and is a blue green, hence its name. People don't live in the grass, to do so would be suicide what with the animals that live there. However there are other ways to survive and live. One type of the rare trees that grow up from this grass has a very unique quality with it. It repells it. Properly worked by shipwrights in the area the wood can be turned into boats that sail the sea, just touching the tops of it.
In some places stones poke up above the grass. Here walkways and buildings are made on these stable points, creating the few cities in this region. Most people live as nomadic grass-sailors. The area didn't always have this grass, and something from the Wyld or the fall of the first age caused this strange grass to grow throughout the region.
There are several ruins scattered around that serve as places to search for artifacts or lost treasures and trade between wandering ships is both a business, and one of the ways that various families interact. Taken from these ruins are also building materials, retrieved and sold and traded in the cities to expand them. None of these ruins are completely safe to explore and its an activity of the young and adventurous to delve into these places.
The wildlife in the grass sea is plentiful and provides most of the food people eat. Spears thrown from boats with ropes to drag food up are used, to make sure that no one actually has to go deep into the grass itself. Rain is frequent enough that it can be stored and gathered by the travelling ships without need to always be near a watersupply. Plantlife found around the lakes of actual water in this sea are edible and supply the rest of the food needs of the people.
The grass does not grow beyond its current domain, leading the savants of the region to believe its an effect of the wyld or something caused by a spell or device within the ruins. Of the exalted found in the region no terrestials of fire aspect of permitted. The grass doesn't burn easily but the wood the ships are made of do easily enough. Since ships that have a exalting fire aspect tend to burn and sink into the sea and the animals thereof soon devour any survivors. Unsuprisingly wood aspects are fairly common, making up the majority of outcastes in the region.
Men and women are equal in this culture, with each having no particular advantage or place that they are expected to fulfill. The strongest taboo is the killing of a shipwright. Only they have the arcane and technical skill to properly work the wood for the ships and its a rare skill to be able to learn. Matters of law that aren't handled privately with a duel are handled by lawkeepers, who are called Magistrates, individuals who have learned the law from the only city where it is taught and are allowed passage on any vessal to help provide an unbiased view on things. Skilled swordsman as well they police their own and are as a whole incorruptable. They seriously investigate any claim of corruption in their ranks.
War isn't waged between the families and cities and tribes of the region. The floating wood is too valuable to risk destroying, and the scattered nature of people make killing off everyone not beneficial. No Guild slavers are around so prisoners to sell aren't considered. Instead issues about treasure or trespassing or honour are handled by duels. It picked up popularity and most things are handled by a duel, emphasis on making a fight look good and non-lethal.
The region does not view the Celestials well. Even without the Immaculate Order around the stories of what they were at the end of the first age remain common, up their with tales of demons and monsters. Some of Raksi's people can be found on the eastern edge of the sea and people sometimes disappear that way, lending credance to the stories.
The idea of multiple spouses is fairly common in this people. It shows up most frequently with those who remain nomadic, having a wife or husband in several ports. Those in the cities tend more towards a single spouse but there is no stigma against more then one. A marriage is only between two people, so if a woman has two husbands they have no legal connection to each other, only to her. They in turn might have a second wife, which is completely unrelated to the other two in the relationship. This can make things a little confusing at times, but works out for some.
The dragonblooded of the region have tried to maintain old rules established in the Shogunate era to maintain purity of blood. This means that though not very frequent compared to Lookshy or even the Realm they have a fair amount of strength in their blood. They number perhaps one dragonblood for every 10,000 to 15,000 people. The entire region holds about 12 million people, so the numbers of dragonblooded are in the 1000 or so region currently.
These people worship the gods of the sky as well as local divinities. There worship of the Moon, Sun and stars is based around fear that if these dieties are not properly honoured then they might collectively withdraw their influence causing the land to die and wither. Worshiping the gods of the area just makes sense, for there are many blessings to be gained from proper supplications to such creatures. Offerings are usually burned in the cities or ritualisticly dropped over the side while on the Grass Sea.
The greatest god of the area is called the Dragonscaled King. He was originally a minor diety of the normal grass that grew in the area. However after the fae and wars and the great change in the land his power swelled enough that as well as being the God of the areas grasses he took over as the God of the kingdom that was developing in the area. He actively opposses anyone who tries to find a way to find a way to remove the Grass for he knows with it gone so shall his power go. He does know why the Grass exists as it does to but has shared this knowledge with no one. In terms of Celestial Politics he minorly favors the Bronze Faction due to several deals made a few centuries back. However those deals have come and gone and there is nothing stopping him from working with any side now.
The Ground is home to far too many dangerous creatures then have been noted by the curious and foolish. What is known is that snakes, sleek 6 legged great cats of some kind and a pack hunting animal that looks like a lot like a monkey, if a monkey had a mouth with several rows of teeth. These creatures dislike leaving the safety of the Grass for any reason and will rabidly attack any creature that isn't native to the ground of the Grass Sea when they find it in their domain. A gazelle like animal and large lumbering pig like creature also live on the ground, seeming to fullfill the role of herbivore and live by eating the small shoots of new grass. Many birds fly over the region, roosting on the trees that rise up sporadicly from the grass and a variety of fish can be found in the lake and river systems.
Avos-Tamar is the largest of the cities in the area, boasting a great population of 600,000 and being the location where Magistrates are taught both laws and how to use a blade. Many connected stone islands have walkways and ramps and buildings on stilts built all around them to make up the space needed to house everyone. Ruled by a hereditary line descended from the survivors of the mostly eradicated 12th Legion of the Dragon Blooded Shogunate. They were front line against the fae and of their full strength only 5 percent survived the war against the fae. The royal line as it is carries the name Safala as its house name and the eldest child is the one that takes the throne. The current ruler is a wood aspect queen named Safala Emerald Sky who is the youngest of her line to sit on the throne, even though she herself is 60. A great believer in portents and omens the first solar eclipse in centuries which happened five years ago has troubled her deeply. She finally has decided to try to investigate the rest of the world. She has ordered that contact be re-established with the rest of Creation and is seeking brave souls to do so, hoping to find remnantes of the Shogunate though she fears they are the last of that Empire.
Karos-Tamar sits at the southermost tip of the Grey River, and were it not for their xenophobic nature some sort of contact would have survived from the rest of Creation to the Grass Sea. Having suffered for years under the horrible whims of a fae lord the people won their freedom in a violent revolution and closed themselves off from the rest of the world. Anyone approaching their lands will receive a deadly armed welcome. These people have sworn to themselves to never suffer again, and will go to any length to remain safe from those who would enter their lands.
Jola is called the City of Coin, for it lies centralmost of all the cities of the land, causing it to be a perfect location for trade within the region. Second largest of the cities, 400, 000 call it home, though only 300,000 of them are actual permanent residents. It is of course loyal to the queen and the running of the city and all the trade there is always handled by the heir to the throne. The current heir is Safala Mira, a quiet and serious air aspect who pushed for her mother to try to contact other lands.
Ruins of Note
Hidden under the grass lie many ancient cities, tombs, and ruins of the First Age and the Shogunate. The damage of the wars have caused many to be wiped from the earth, but almost any grass sailor can point you in the direction of a ruined tower or temple or remains of some long forgotten city. A few are more noteworthy then the others though.
Known now as the White City, due to every building and wall being made from white marble, the city that was once called Tovin millenia ago is the most intact of all the cities, and the least explored. It was abandoned after the Ursupation, and neither the Shogunate nor the Fae tried to destroy or inhabit it. This city is infested with the ghost of one of the long dead Twilight Caste who as he lay dying from treachery used some failsafe he had prepared and infused his soul into the city. Effectively supplanting the city mother of that city he turned the many automatons and artifact weapons within the city on its inhabitants and on any who dared to try to stay in the ruins or attack it.
Lakehold in contrast is the most picked over of the ruins. Built between two lakes, with the city stretching out onto both of them this one is in dire states. Here was where some of the greatest battles between the Dragonblooded and the Fae in this region faught and it can be seen in the scars across the buildings and walls. Though most things of the first age are noted for their durability, this city is dangerously weak and every year some part collapses and falls apart, generally killing someone who was poking around at the time. Most never find anything, though legends of ancient vaults filled with artifacts always abounds.
Their are manses scattered throughout the region, though none rate above level 3. People avoid where desmenses have mutated the grass but the manses that are still around remain staffed at all times by a geomancer and an apprentice who make sure that the manses remain in good repair. Savants in Avos-Tamar have long reasoned that several of the manses should have more power then they do, leading them to further postulate that the Grass Sea is disruptive to the lines of power in the region. Without a safe way to wander the ground to check though, this remains for now only a theory.
Beings of Power
Within the Grass Sea lands 3 of the solar exalted have appeared. One of the twilight caste, one of the eclipse caste and one of the night caste. Of them the first two are still unknown to the general populace, their exaltations happening while far away from any city or other ship. The final one exalted in Avos-Tamar and is on the run from the Dragonblooded at the moment and has stolen a ship and fled northward towards Karos-Tamar and the Grey River in hopes of escaping into the jungles or the mountains. The twilight is the reborn soul of the ancient ghost who rules over the White City and nighty he tosses in his bed with fevered dreams of that place and fears he is going mad. The eclipse is a rising influence in the City of Coin, as her increased skills and charms have let her build a quickly rising fortune. She spends a great deal of it on books and ancient things from the past, trying to find clues as to what she really is.
To the south of the Grass Sea lies the lunar pack known as te Mountain Uprooting Brotherhood and to the east lies the Thousand Fangs Total Control Zone of Raksi's underlings. At this stage there is no real Abyssal presence and in fact later when they become known to the area it will come as a great shock to all.
Just so you know, this isn't close to done yet. Comments welcome though. -BogMod
It's a very cool concept. --KingLeon, who is definitely interested.