The Hundred Kingdoms
Dozens of tiny baronies, principalities, townships and city-states dwell in uneasy peace amidst the Hundred Kingdoms. Tul Tuin stands among the largest and wealthiest of these kingdoms. The city and its neighbors all lie on or near the River of Willows, a tributary of the Yellow River.
Tul Tuin and its Environs
This city's name means "Tower of the Winds" in Old Realm. Ledaal Vir, a Fire-aspected Terrestrial, came to power when he seized the kingdom from the faerie Cessair almost forty years ago. Much of the kingdom’s wealth comes from the river traffic, and the maintenance of the docks is a high priority. Vir has learned of the disappearance of the Empress, and he has begun improving the city’s fortifications against the possibility of war. The kingdom’s population is split between Cessair’s northerners and the original Yozi-worshipping Easterner population; the two have never mixed well, and for all that Vir has proscribed the faerie and Yozi cults, civil unrest continues to bubble up at intervals.
Tul Tuin’s immediate neighbors include Brinlack, Idris, Longcorner and Five Towns. Villages include Redstone, where the Yozis had their bloody altar, and Iron Tower, where the rusty spire of Cessair’s prison rises to the sky.
Once among the larger and stronger kingdoms in the region, Brinlack has fallen far and suffered much at the hands of its neighbors. A council of elders from the town and outlying villages makes such decisions as are needed. While Brinlack’s old feud with Tul Tuin has ended, resentment still smolders among its elders. Bandits and slavers sponsored by Longcorner and the Guild are a constant problem.
Cessair’s god-blooded daughter Idris rules the town that bears her name. She refused to take sides in the struggle for Tul Tuin, instead declaring her lands independent of the throne. She lacks her mother’s faerie powers, but has some few gifts of her own with which to defend her people.
The most militarily powerful of the states adjacent to Tul Tuin, Longcorner exercises absolute control over its stretch of the River of Willows. A stony promontory at a river bend supports the Longcorner Manse, whose fine artillery and excellent position helps ensure that passing ships pay a heavy river toll. Iron mines and slave raids help supplement this income. Smoke Emerald, the dictatrix of Longcorner, lives well on the profits. Pacts with the Guild help her maintain her rule.
This cluster of agricultural villages and towns has banded together to protect itself against the region’s many hostile powers. Sells food to Tul Tuin, while giving food to Longcorner in tribute to ward off slaver raids.
Shepherds eke out their living amidst Stonegarden’s rugged hills. A city named Karànishen stood here in the First Age, but it fell long ago. People made their homes there during the Shogunate, and again after the Contagion, but the area’s many civil wars and the Fair Folk and Arczeckhi invasions left little standing there. Now only the most determined scavenger lords dare the ruin’s hungry ghosts to seek out the last of its secrets. Lesser Manses hide amidst the hills, claimed by spirits and Fair Folk and mortal sorcerers.
This small farming village, found off the Road of Nine Green Ways, suffers under a dark power. The spirit Thirsty Root demands the life of one pubescent child each summer in order to give life to the crops. This is merely its nature, and it does indeed sustain the land by its presence and through these sacrifices; should it be destroyed, the land will become a shadowland. Thirsty Root dwells in a Level 3 Wood-aspected Manse, known as the Ascendant Bone Trellis, whose heart is the spirit’s tree. A Stone of Five Seasons grows from a knothole.
An old city in the Scavenger Lands. Once an outlying fortress around which population gathered after the Contagion and the Water War, it has waxed and waned over the years, burgeoning briefly into empire, then faltering and fading.
Another notable Scavenger Lands city, Mokuren thrives under the rule of Violet Sunrise Spirit, a god of the season of spring. The climate of Mokuren waxes mild and temperate through most of the year, and the cherry orchards produce a rich crop amidst drifts of fragrant pink petals. The folk of Mokuren sacrifice richly to the spirit to retain its favor.
The Dragon Waste
Streaks of hardened lava and heaps of debris stipple the hills and vales of this district. When the Fair Folk invaded in the wake of the Contagion, the Shogunate dispatched a Thousand-Forged Dragon to wipe out the invading forces. In the chaos that followed, the Dragon’s command codes were lost, and for centuries it has patrolled the district, destroying any and all intruders with claws and fire.
A shadowland kingdom under the sway of the Abyssal Prince Resplendent in the Ruin of Ages, servant to the Deathlord That Immaculate Wisdom Which Dwells in the Ashes of the Word.
This city once was the capital of the Velen Administrative District of the River Province. The city fell into ruins after the Great Contagion and the invasion of the Fair Folk. Even today, scavenger lords pick through the ruins of Atarani in search of First Age relics. This route to wealth holds great peril, however; the ruins hold swarms of Fair Folk and strange beasts descended from the creations of the great biomancers of the First Age.
Demesnes and Manses
The Tower of Winds
An Air-aspected Manse in the form of a tall tower of blue-white marble pierced with many high windows and capped with fluttering dragon pennants. The Tower stands in a plaza atop a rocky crag just east of the city. Unceasing winds blow clockwise about the Tower, bearing a swirl of dust and leaves.
The Black Spear
An Earth-aspected Manse in the form of a sharp-edged black spike, fifty feet in height, erupting from a stony hillock. Most of the Manse lies below ground. An alchemical sorcerer dwells here, crafting living machines of clockwork and crystal and grafted flesh.
The Well of Ashes
A Fire-aspected Manse in the form of a series of underground chambers carved out of red granite. The Manse can be reached through a square stairwell descending from a platform of polished stone. Waves of heated air billow up from the stairway, and the chambers of the Manse remain hot and dry in all seasons.
The Burning Vale
A Fire-aspected Demesne where pale flames dance through ever-burning trees and upon high spires of rock. A lesser elemental dragon makes its lair here, but it slumbers for years at a time.
The Skull Bog
A Water-aspected Demesne marked by dark pools and yew, where twisted toads, cranes and serpents feud for dominance. Near the heart of the Demesne lies a shattered Manse, a cluster of fractured black stone domes gathered around a Behemoth’s skeleton. A spirit basilisk rules the Manse, while its former owner, a witch, frets in the bog.
The Tower of Barbs
A Wood-aspected Manse in the form of a tower of living wood, tangled about with brambles and thorns. An herbalist dwells here, her life prolonged by the power of the Manse; she provides aid to all that pass her way. Her contacts include Dancing Water and other Lunars.
The Brinlack Manse
A Wood-aspected Manse in the form of a large, square keep of living wood, from which spring branches that give forth flowers and leaves in the proper season. The city's mayor, Stone Rain, administers the town's piddling bureaucracy from his office on the uppermost floor. A pedestal of living wood, illumined by shafts of sunlight at dawn and dusk, rests in the cellar, and it is there that the Manse's Hearthstone grows.
The Longcorner Manse
An Earth-aspected Manse in the form of a blocky castle centered on a massive square tower. Numerous catapults and ballistae atop the Manse control the nearest stretch of the River of Willows. The dictatrix of Longcorner, Smoke Emerald, rules her city from here.
The Palace of Atarani
An Abyssal Manse of great power. Once the palace of the First Age City of Atarani, it fell into shadow as a result of the Contagion. The ghosts of Faran Ut-Holor’s household ruled there for a time, but now a dark necromancer, Mari of Stonegarden’s teacher, has claimed the city and enslaved its myriad hungry ghosts.
I love your Manse and Demense descriptions. ^_^ -- BrokenShade
I concur with broken shade, some of these manse descriptions are awesome! ~ JackT
- Thanks! Hopefully I'll update it someday. :) - Quendalon