A hemisphere unto itself, the supercontinent of Almathia covers nearly half of Klaea. And yet, only a fraction of its landmass has been settled, clustered around the Soelzen Cradle. The forests to the east and rocky shores to the south are inhospitable, with deadly predators burrowing through, flying over, and roaming upon rough lands. Even ships that have been dispatched to further explore other lands report only adverse and inhospitable conditions – if they return at all.
Every climate and terrain type can be found on Almathia, with some portion experiencing each seasonal effect on a given day. Because there is only a single range of tall mountains near the center of the continent, turbulent oceanic storms flow unimpeded over the lands, driving in from the east, meeting with tempests that blow in from the sea to the west. The shape of the cradle is all that protects the people from this natural fury.
Wracked by vicious storms and enduring centuries of strife and war, it is a land of conquest and conquerors, strewn with rubbled ruins, and that is the easy part of living there.
Almost 900 miles long and 600 wide, with an altitude exceeding 4000 feet across most of its surface, this island is practically a country unto itself. Its rocky surface is covered in shrubbery, tall grasses, and various ground vines that make travel tricky. Unfortunately, all attempts to plant crops have continuously failed, with the one type of ground vegetable that grows naturally edible only to the Skrii.
Due to this, there is only one permanent settlement on the entire island. However, many pilgrimage sites encircle it. While on the island, all disputes are set aside, and no weapons of any type are allowed. It is a place of peace and worship.
After the sun sets and the shadow once again engulfs the land, waves of golden light appear in the skies above the island. Visible from the cradle at all times and far to the east and south at certain times of the year, it is an awe-inspiring sight. Believed to be a visual representation of the battle between light and shadow, they are perceived to be the sword of Soelz.
Whether the power of a deity or bioluminescent planktons and mosses, there is no denying the majesty with which the Holy Isle of Soelz glows. Bright gold waves crash on powder blue shores that rise several hundred feet off the surface, interspersed with bright white knots. Once the sun drops, the spectacle of it pushes away the shadow, displaying the power of Soelz in even the darkest night.
Cathedral of Eternal Light
A hundred miles in, at the highest point on the island sits a magnificent structure surrounded by a small village. That structure is more than a temple, its an ever lit homage to Soelz, filled with lamps, candles, and torches. Caretaker priests ensure that there is never a shadow anywhere within and care for the bioluminant lichens and mosses carefully cultivated on its exterior.
Inside services dedicated to Soelz are available for those who make pilgrimages, the servants who support the structure and priests, and the tireless workers who carry food and supplies up the rocky surface. All six nations are represented in the Cathedral, and the Sunborn Hegemony leaders meet in a hall connected to the structure.
Just above the line of mosses on the shores are a series of encampments that may be used by anyone. These Glimmer Shrines are surrounded by moss-covered stones and have large fire pits at their center. Pilgrims must bring their own wood to burn through the night if they wish, as there is none on the island, while they bask in the glow coming off the beaches.
It is a holy experience that is difficult for many to afford as it usually requires supplies for at least a full thirteen-day week to make the round trip. During these visits, many claim to have vivid visions of Soelz.
Long before either human nation came to the cradle, the Skrilla inhabited the high woodlands north of the Holy Isle of Soelz. In the tradition of their oral history, it is said that the Skrii were once known as the Winged Warriors of the Hills – likely a reference to their parent World Aspect. During The Sundering, the Skrii joined the battle against the Shadow. In response, it took the wind from their wings, forever grounding them.
The Skrii have a communal individualism where small groups gather for protection and trade. This is most notable in their territoriality, where no more than one tree hut – housing three to five families – can be found within about one square mile of one another. Omnivores, each communal family shares in maintaining a small fruit farm and worm ranch.
The tree huts are matriarchal in nature. Ruled by the eldest female, they prioritize self-sustenance and protection, assigning roles to those in the house to best fit that philosophy. In addition to adjudicating all disputes within the huts, the matriarchs have the final say in adding or expelling members. With the exception of gathering against significant threats, interactions between groups are limited to trade fairs, and an adolescent social ritual referred to as the Jaunthi.
The lone exception is during hunts, expeditions, or open warfare when the eldest or most able male is given charge over the group. Outside of the huts, the Skrii overall individualism is much more pronounced.
When Skrii adolescence come of age, both males and females will leave home, typically roaming the Highlands. During this time, they stay with new families or travel with trade fairs, seeking a mate to bring back to the hut (female) or join a new hut (male). Some travel further, exploring the various nations of the cradle. Any Skrii who is not part of a hut is considered to be on their Jaunthi.
The landmass of Almathia is so large that even with all the nations gathered in the Soelezan Cradle, hundreds of miles separate them. Wars over territory were never about space or resources, but who would control access to the Holy Isle. Each of the nations is self-sufficient, with trade revolving around objects and services that are more exclusive to a particular region or area. Fertile lands, woodlands full of hardwood trees, and large deposits of granite, iron make the cradle an ideal location for building a thriving civilization and provides plenty of materials for warfare.
The largest nation in both area and population, the coalition comprises representatives from forty-two member states referred to as Houses. Each House is ruled by a lord or lady and named for the most powerful family, which changes with buy-outs, armed takeovers, and social coups. While all forty-two Houses have an equal vote in the Coalition Assembly, only the seven Lead Houses can introduce legislation or sit on the Hegemony Council.
A Coalition Charter governs the handling of all House interactions, challenges, and disputes, with travel, trade, and commerce following the Hegemony guidelines. A vital part of the Coalition Charter prevents external influences from becoming involved in internal House dealings, especially concerning supplanting ruling families. In the Coalition, each House maintains their individuality and authority over its territory and people, but its overall influence is determined by placement in the Assembly.
Breaking from Kregolith and resisting Jagehthol absorption, this is by far the most inclusive nation in the cradle. Commerce driven, it is ruled by the Guilds, each of whom controls a specific aspect of the economy, i.e., Shipwrights, Metalsmiths, Farmers, etc., but as such they have no formal military, instead relying on the accords of the Hegemony to keep other nations from exerting influence.
Each Guild has one or more elected officials who sit on a committee, with one of them appointed to represent the whole in the Hegemony. Only recognized guilds with a minimum membership have representation. Because of this, residents are all encouraged to join a guild, with rules that make it very difficult to leave a guild and all but impossible to join more than one.
The last remaining remnant of the warrior tribes that migrated from the south to escape the encroaching ogres, the Covenant is a single governing body that rules over the entire nation. An elected Jageh Chieftain holds authority over the nation, representing them in the Hegemony, but answers to the Jageh Court. Made of thirteen appointed representatives of regional chieftains, the Court advises the Jageh Chieftain and decides when to hold elections.
This hierarchical structure is present at all levels, giving every member of the nation a voice in how they are governed through representation. Made up almost entirely of Jagin, they are an insular culture that embraces dispute resolution through combat – mostly non-lethal. As a result, some form of combat is taught to them from a very young age, with a complex proxy system that allows for champions to be selected under certain circumstances.
An extremist offshoot of the Jagehthol tribes, the Nollunar live by the might makes right adage. Leadership is won, taking the title of The First, and representing the Alliance in the Hegemony. The nation is broken into fiefdoms, ruled by families strong enough to defend against challengers to their thrones. Before getting the opportunity to engage in ritual combat for leadership, challengers must fight through that leader’s seconds.
Fiefdom Firsts are responsible for the welfare of their people. One of the ways they retain power is by maintaining a strong economy and making sure opportunities exist for everyone. It is when a fiefdom begins to experience hardships that challengers to the throne begin to surface. The same is true for the nations First – so long as the nation prospers, the First does not typically see much in the way of challenges.
Once teeming with healthy grasslands and copious woodlands, the far south shore of the cradle lands now stands barren. Clay and rock surround the ruins of once lush Jagethol cities, now populated with the Noc – once-living beings granted a second life through dark magics. It is a place to which no living being ventures, but from which come a people recognized and protected by the Hegemony.
No one knows who she was in life, but a Wizard-Lich named Noctern showed up during the first war for the Holy Isle. Bringing an army of reanimated soldiers with her, she turned the tide, allowing the Kregolith to first reach the island. During the internal strife that followed the Skrii discovery, she helped to splinter both nations, swelling the ranks of her people in the process.
Though Noctern proclaimed her devotion to Soelz and insisted that her followers chose to be raised, the Soelzen Confederacy formed without her. Too many of the undead soldiers had fed on the flesh of living beings to restore themselves during the conflicts—none of the nations elected to allow the Noc to remain.
Removing her forces from the cradle, they went south, settling in ruins abandoned by the Jagehthol. There she refined her magic, removing the need to consume flesh and allowing her followers to absorb life essence – a process referred to as blighting. She also created the Geriff – necromantic priests whose role was to judge those dead worthy of rebirth in the Noc.
When a wave of ogres emerged from the southern edge of the Stoughland Forest and began to march across the Witherlands to reach an ancient enemy, the Noc stopped them from reaching the cradle. The battle decimated the undead nation in defense of the cradle – a sacrifice recognized by the Hegemony, who admitted Noctis.
Gaining the same rights as other beings in the cradle, the remaining Noc began to interact with their neighbors, within the rules of their raising. Still, those who choose to move among people tend to keep their nature mostly hidden.
Often referred to as Corpse Wraiths, Geriff wander the cradle in white, gold, or gray robes. They are drawn towards death and often speak with those who are dying or the recently dead. How they determine who will be raised into the Noc is unknown, and their conversations are always private, but their presence often brings peace to the dying and comfort to those in pain.
Should they choose to raise a new member of the Noc, the person must agree to leave their old life behind and embark on the new journey. There are severe consequences for those who interact with their old lives.
Situated at the edge of the Stoughlan forest and base of the Windjour Peaks, Arloron is a nation of recluses, willing to risk the wilds to avoid life in the cradle. It helps that this nation is vital to the Hegemony economy. Garrisons of soldiers from each nation are stationed throughout the countryside to protect the people – which is no easy task considering how far apart they are all spread.
With its borders nearly a thousand miles from the cradle, the nation of Arloron is the perfect place for those who want to disappear. Among the hundreds of small villages and hamlets that dot that landscape are people and families from every nation of the cradle, including the shapeshifting Krint, undead Noc, and the unfortunate tainted.
Nearly 1500 miles long, this wide and well-maintained road connects Arloron to the cradle. Cobblestones pave about a quarter of the road, with almost a hundred bridges along its length. It is maintained by the Hegemony, requiring each nation to provide resources, typically in the form of criminals, indentured servants, and slaves. Mounted soldiers from the garrisons protect assigned sections of the road, but the lengths are so great that there can be weeks between patrols.
Carrying the fire sapphire ores that serve as the monetary standard from the Windjour Peak mines to the nations in the cradle, this road is the lifeblood of the Hegemony economy. The villages situated along the road tend to be a little wealthier than outlying farming towns, serving as weigh stations for caravans.
Deep in the lands of Arloron is a long-hidden belief in a lunar goddess that was brought by the northern barbarian clans and written out of Almathian history. Originally, Atula served as the nighttime version of Soelz, tasked with holding onto the remaining light of the day. The goddess of night, she protected people while they slept and watched over the animals.
Cast aside when her lunar dominion was taken by the shadow, belief in Atula waned in the cradle and eventually vanished. Stories of her remained with the Krint, and much as they kept their animal forms hidden to avoid the social stigma, they hid their belief in Atula. Even a thousand miles from the cradle is not enough to allow for outright worship of the moon goddess, but many believe that while the moon shines, animals in the fields are safe.
Everything about Almathia is immense, from the size of the lands to the size of its population to the dangers it contains. Outside of the cradle, there is an enormous amount of undiscovered country. While little known about the northern woodlands and far southern coasts, most of that had devolved into ancient tales filled with exaggeration.
A massive woodland that crosses more than 4500 miles, covering 6 million square miles, this area was once home to the barbarian tribes that moved into the cradle. Full of vicious predators, stories tell of walking trees that take vengeance for their cut and burned brethren, packs of cold exhaling wolves that can freeze limbs solid, and bears with paws that could take off a person’s head, among others. Encompassing several natural zones, it is made up of various tree types that run into the polar continent of Strafora.
A coastal forest sitting on an 800-mile long peninsula, the colorful maples, cherry, and redtwig trees provide a picturesque beauty to the rough terrain. Among the Skrii, this land was once considered the gateway to the afterlife. Nearly connected to the northern beaches of the Skrilla Highlands, the Skriss had access to the peninsula, allowing for pilgrimages to its borders. This gave them a chance to feel the recently deceased and listen to the wisdom of ancient voices. As such, it is revered as a holy place.
A rugged land filled with sharp hills, deep ravines, and windblown rocky plains, it is a place shaped by rolling storms and flash floods. Root exposed forests, tight ground foliage, and angular land formations give it a malevolent feel, made all the worse by its predators. Between burrowing monsters moving easily in the loose soil and a range of flying beasts able to take a person off their feet, it is not a place that is traveled lightly.
A continuous woodland that covers a significant central portion of the continent, only the very edges of the Glovogar have been explored, and that is enough. Colonies of immense spiders, vile plant beings, and wandering trolls are enough to keep most explorers at bay. It is the exotic fruits, valuable ironwood, and prized herbs that keep prospectors and fools returning to feed themselves to its inhabitants.
Running the length of the Windjour Peaks and beyond, it is made up of a temperate forest, tropical rain forest, and jungle expanse that blend into one continuous woodland. Attempts to clear the outer areas of troll hags, various snake and lizard predators, and a persistent colony of carnivorous beetles has been met with mixed results.
Rising out of the land with few hills and no steppes, the Windjour Peaks are a series of high summits, difficult passes, and a mix of active and dormant volcanos. A 250-mile long cobblestone trail winds through the Stroughland Forest to provide access to the range, where a series of settlements are clustered around mines that delve into the rock, always seeking the veins of fire sapphire so valuable to the Hegemony. The occasional decimated village, with no trace of those who lived there, is all that most need to know about the mountain predators.
Although part of a tear-shaped range that runs for nearly a thousand miles, Tromour is the tallest mountain on Almathia. It can be seen up four hundred miles away and is believed to be home to everything from ogres to dragons. Legends tell of a summit that touches the sky, where the answers to everything can be found, leading many to attempt the journey and none to return.
The Malikal Empire has ruled Kendi for more than fourteen centuries. While, its influence encompasses nearly two thirds of the known world, this vast dynasty had humble beginnings in the small coastal fishing village of Malika, where a peaceful race of men were attacked and enslaved by a tribe of orcs. Forced to labor and fight as entertainment in the pits, in time they rebelled and overthrew their captors.
Not content with freedom, they hunted the orcs, taking their lands and forcing them into the same kinds of slavery. For decades, men raided the surrounding lands, conquering tribes of orcs and expanding their influence. It was during these raids that Malkean men purged orcs from the northern range of the Steel Hills, freeing a race of dwarves. Long enslaved by the orcs, these dwarves readily joined with the Maliki men, and together felled the orcin empire – driving all that remained into the deep north.
The Empire Forms
After defeating the orcs, a civil war spawned over control the conquered orcin lands. The victors of this bloody war, claimed control over the plains and northern hills, with its leader taking the title of Emperor. With men and dwarves living and working side-by-side, cities were founded under a feudal state, with an appointed council put in place to run the empire, called the Emperor’s Ministry – known as The Coffer for the way they leverage taxes.
This began an era of expansion. In the year 187 of the Emperor’s Rule, a trade route between Malika and the Dourengar dwarves of the southern Granite Mountains was founded. After just over 50 years of extremely profitable trade, the Barony of Dourengar joined the Empire in year 241 of the Emperor’s Rule.
The Dregs Attack
In year 347 of the Emperor’s Rule, three and a half centuries after they’d been defeated, the orcs returned as part of the unified savage tribes called the Dre’giin. After a series of vicious attacks on northern outposts and cities, a militia called the Emperor’s Legionnaires was organized and sent to deal with the threat. The attacks continued and wagons filled with the decapitated heads of Legionnaires were delivered to the gates of the capital city of Malika, instigating six centuries of war in the north.
Already an autocracy, the Empire evolved from a feudal to a military state, using citizenship to compel military service. Though initially reticent of this change, the need for quality armor and weaponry brought significant wealth and power to the Dourengar, and in turn they provided well trained soldiers to defend their Imperial allies.
A Second Barony
In the year 691 of the Emperor’s Rule, a second war erupted, this time in the west and involving a previously unknown race of elves. This war began when a Dourengar led troop, seeking a path to flank an orc fortress in the northern hillocks of Hagganlor, crossed into new territory, and mistook the inhabitants to be of orcish blood, primarily due to their pointy ears. Fifty years later, a truce was reached with the Silverbourne Elves and in the year 743 of the Emperor’s Rule, they joined the empire as the Barony of Silverbourne.
The Dreg Conquest
Though bad blood between dwarves and elves continued (with elven ears still serving as a point of contention between them), having a common enemy in the dregs brought them onto the same side of the war. With these new allies, it still took two more centuries for the Empire to bring the dregs to their knees, formally surrendering to the empire in the year 954 of the Emperor’s Rule.
Afterwards, the Malikal Empire expanded to encompass the east all the way to the foothills of the Aerthin Mountains and all but the far north and the lands in the northwest. Forts were built in the mid-north to keep alert of the Dregs, and so began an era of peace and discovery.
Exploration to War
For hundreds of years before the Dreg Conquest, shipping had been an important part of trade in the Empire. It grew from the oar powered, single mast and sail cargo ships, to the triple mast haulers fifty or sixty feet long, and by the start of the millennia, these haulers could be found in most of the coastal cities and traveling around the southern edge of the continent.
In year 1041 of the Emperor’s Rule, five galleons set out from Malika to explore the seas. Two of these ships returned – the Bald Petrel had found an island continent in the far Southern Sea called Nalren, and the Gallivan, that discovered a vast land in the Eastern Sea named Almathia. From the other three galleons nothing was ever heard. The Elset III and Inqui were sent to explore the Noliana Ocean, and the Conquest I had gone to explore the coasts of the north along the Caelod Strait.
Orc raiders are typically blamed for the galleon lost to the north, while a combination of raging storms and tales of sea monsters are assumed to be responsible for those lost in the western sea. Over the centuries that followed, many charters had been issued to uncover the fate of these lost galleons, but none ever actually launched.
Encounters with the people of Almathia did not go well. All attempts at establishing trade failed and each began to see the other as a threat to their way of life. In year 1204 of the Emperor’s Rule, the Malikal Empire and Soelzen Confederacy of Almathia went to war.
During this same period, the empire colonized Nalren, with hopes of making this strategically vital locale another Barony.
Because history is written by the victor, there are a number of heavily revised narratives that can be found throughout the civilized lands of Almathia. Each tells the story of what makes a particular people or culture greater than all the others, with exaggeration and grandiose claims that border on the absurd. Because of this, unless these historical narratives can be used for political favor, there is little regard for them. Generally speaking, Almathians are more interested in what is happening now than what has come before, except when it comes to religion.
It is generally accepted that the world was once whole with the lands bathed in a perpetual and glorious light. Growing strong in dark places, an insidious shadow cracked Klaea and burst forth, throwing the world out of balance, and causing a sundering. Lands were split, spewing out horrors, and the shadow went to the sky where it waged war with the light that continues each day.
The light of Soelz came to embody the shining might of the sun, but the shadow endured. Hiding in the moon gave it a place to gather its strength while Soelz stood at its brightest. Each night, the shadow attacks, expanding across the sky to plunge the world in its might, and every morning Soelz defeats it, bringing the light back. But even in the night, Soelz presence can be seen in the waxing and waning of the shadow across the moon’s face. It is a promise to return and a warning to all of the shadow’s strength.
These founding concepts are the basis of the Sunborn beliefs, giving all who live in the light a shared beginning.
Then and Now
So far as most people are concerned, there is a then and a now. In the then, two great peoples came to settle the Soelzen Cradle after the sundering. From the north came the pink-skinned barbarian clans, and from the south, brown-skinned warrior tribes. Each fled overrun lands and followed a beacon of light to the cradle. Upon arrival, each sought to control the Holy Isle of Soelz, above which hangs a golden borealis, and luminous beaches glowing so brightly they can be seen from the mainland hundreds of miles away. For this, they went to war with one another.
But they were not alone. A race of avianoids had claimed parts of the island long before the first explorers of either nation set foot on the isle. Finding that they shared similar beliefs should have been an overture that brought them all together, but instead, it tore the two human nations apart. Splinters and factions began to form, bringing about hundreds of small nation-states, each with a different idea of who should control the Holy Isle.
Over time a formal separation of religion and government led to all nation-states agreeing to share control and access to the Isle. The first attempt at unification – called the Soelzen Confederacy – destabilized quickly, with too many voices vying to be heard, and the fighting began anew. From these wars, six nations emerged, coming together to form the Sunborn Hegemony.
In this governing structure, each nation maintains its own laws and bureaucratic rule, with selected leaders in the Hegemony establishing regulations and treaties for all. This includes governing travel, trade, and commerce between the nations, as well as how the war to eradicate the blasphemers of Kendi will proceed.
Although the talent for magic is sprinkled sparingly into the nations of the cradle, with so many people, there are quite a few casters, but the vast majority of them are human. Among the Skrii, only one in a thousand has the talent, and only a tiny percentage of those can master advanced magic. The Krint are magically barren, with maybe one in a generation having a talent for magic.
Only those Noc who possessed a talent for magic in life retain it in death, but the transfer from life to undeath requires them to learn it anew. Among the four human nations, the Nolls are least likely to have magic talent, with it being incidentally bred out of them in their focus on strength and combat prowess. Although there are tests for magical talent, parents in the Jegethol Covenant and Ragran province are far less likely to perform them.
Throughout the cradle, the Mystic Foundation is by far the most common path of magic; however, Elemental Foundations have begun to sweep through the cradle with the furor of a new fad. One factor slowing it down is a lack of Masters, meaning that learning new spells and abilities takes much longer. The availability of spellbooks is also somewhat limited by nation.
While magic spellbooks are common across all nations, Death Eater spellbooks are the domain of the Noc. The control these spellbooks offer over the undead are a primary reason for these restrictions, and the Geriff have been known to take this knowledge back. Unfortunately, the act of taking it back is typically lethal.
Life Warden spellbooks were devised by the Skrii, and though they share the knowledge, it is only through individual training. With so few Skrii practitioners and the unique nature of their spellbooks, the use of this magic is rare outside of the Skrilla Highlands.
Within the cradle, Sorcery, Wizardry, and Magus are by far the most common teachings, with masters easy to find. Brewcraft is primarily a Ragran specialization that is practiced by many guilds. Out in Arloron, Druidism, Shamanism, and Witchcraft dominate the arenas of magic, but finding a teacher can be extremely challenging.
A talent for magic is considered a resource in the cradle, and those who have it can choose a life of relevance. Attached to the Hegemony without the ties of politics, the Thral Assembly identifies, trains, and assigns casters to specific roles. Viewed as overseers of law and justice, they can be found as part of a national military, local garrison, or as individual sentinels. Assignments vary by need, personality, and talent, with the Assembly always trying to fit the strengths of the individual to the service to the Hegemony.
While the Assembly advises, answers to, and is funded by the Hegemony, it maintains a degree of autonomy when it comes to its members. No individual is forced to conform to the ideals put for by the Hegemony and have the freedom to refuse assignments. Of course, refusals could preclude one from remaining as a member of the Thral, and the advantages that affords.
Within the Sunborn Hegemony, Soelz is the one true god, and the shadow represents the ultimate evil. Although the barbarian clans and warrior tribes brought other religious figures with them, they were merged into either Soelz or the shadow, with one notable exception. The lunar goddess Atula has found believers in the nation of Alaron.
As the God of Light, Soelz is represented by the sun. It is believed, Soelz watches over the world from a grand shining palace, forever searching for the shadow. Unable to see the whole world at once, Soelz crosses the sky each day. But the shadow is clever. Hiding in the moon, it trails behind, falling across the land in Soelz wake, but is forced to retreat away each morning.
The Light of Soelz is each day, whether by basking in the sunlight or paying homage to the blessings of the Holy Isle. Everyone in the cradle follows the way of the Sunborn.
Specifically unnamed, the shadow is an obscure figure representing everything from the absence of light to anything that causes harm. Many believe that the shadow can influence or take control of a person, forcing them to act horribly or sow chaos. The rifts of the Maels are directly associated with the shadow and seen as evidence of its growing power.
The Eokala Path
Sharing a long belief that the forests of Eokala are the entrance to the world of the afterlife, this aspect of Skrii culture has made it into the Sunborn Hegemony. It is accepted that those who die follow the Eokala Path to approach the Palace of Soelz. While the Skrii believe that all are granted entry, the other nations of the cradle have requirements. Similar in that they require belief in Soelz and a degree of sacrifice, the rigidity of these terms varies by nation.
The fierce independence shown by the nations of the cradle is tempered only by the treatise of the Sunborn Hegemony. Acting under the guise of religion, the representatives in the Hegemony put in place a consistent system of commerce and trade that resolved many of the disputes between nations. Some believe this power went too far with establishing rules for governing migrant and immigration behavior and shared resource costs.
People in each land see the Hegemony as having too much power, even though representatives of their leadership make up the council. This leads to blaming other leaders and their people, which keeps the nations fundamentally divided.
Political infighting is far more fierce between the Ragran, Jagethol, and Nollinar. Much of this is due to proximity, though the economic divergence between mercantile and military importance also plays a role. Unlike the other nations, people in these three get very involved and opinionated about their politics, especially the Ragran who have more ability to affect how their leaders act than the others.
Both the Skrilla and Kregolith lands cover a vast landscape, with changes in leadership far more common than in other nations. Because of this, they represent an unknown quantity within the Hegemony. With the adversity in the South Theater, getting these nations to side with votes can be critical to passing or changing proposals, leaving severe changes to the fundamental relationships established by the charter an ever-present possibility.
This situation has been exasperated with the acceptance of Noctis into the Hegemony. With representatives of the undead nation always present, they represent a potential swing vote on any issue. The fact that the Noctis representative typically abstains from votes that do not affect the Noc, doesn’t make it less chaotic.
The primary unifying force in the Hegemony is the war with the Empire. After initial meetings between the two devolved along economic and philosophical lines, all the nations of the cradle accepted the declaration of war, pledging resources to wiping out the threat it represents.
Across Klaea there are some common standards of time:
With a specific cycles based on the region.
The Hegemony was responsible for many unifying elements in the cradle, with some more difficult to implement than others. A shared calendar took the longest, requiring the passing of three full generations with a long series of adjustments, mediations, and negotiations that created a thirteen-day week. For simplicity, months were dropped entirely, working out to seven weeks defining a season.
The thirteen days of the week are:
A mix of the names of great leaders, traditional days of the week, and crop cycles, weeks begin with Soelzti, also referred to as Sunti and Godti, depending on the nation. While the Hegemony defines Redahti, and Runoti as days of rest and Soelzti as a day of worship, the Ragran are the only ones who abide by it, refusing to conduct trade on those days.
The year starts on the first day of Spring and ends on the last day of Winter, with Summer and Fall in the midyear. Over the course of a year, there are numerous holidays celebrated in specific regions or nations. However, the Hegemony created a holiday to honor each season, always falling on the fourth Kowynti.
The four holidays are:
Carnival of Blossoms – A celebration of life waking from the winter slumber. Homes, streets, and shops are elaborately decorated with flowers and fruits, often with competitive aspects.
Long Journey – A holiday dedicated to Soelz on the longest day of the year. Occurring on the Summer solstice, it is traditionally celebrated with footraces, day-long hikes, or a series of athletic events, depending on the nation.
Fellowship Feast – also called Unification Day, Solidarity Supper, and the Big Obligatory Meal in some nations, with the latter very popular in the Ragran province. It is typically celebrated with a big meal served in the middle of the day.
Festival of Luminance – Occurring on the Winter solstice, this is a celebration of the Holy Isle and golden borealis, acknowledging Soelz protection of those in the cradle. It is often celebrated with open-aired observances, rituals, or masses, and pilgrimages to the island.
Coin and Commerce
Currency in the cradle proved to be one of the most significant stumbling blocks to bringing the nations together. With value and trade varying wildly, the Hegemony decided to create a standard based on the rare fire sapphires. Cut to three distinct sizes with set values, they were circulated throughout the cradle as a form of currency. At the same time, they began minting monetary pellets, also in three denominations at a tenth of the value of the sapphires.
With these in place, the Hegemony began to buy back the fire sapphires, placing them in a vault within the Cathedral of Eternal Light. As the economy grew, new sources of fire sapphires were needed to maintain the value of the pellets. Out in Arloron, mines in the Windjour Peaks discovered fire sapphire veins, allowing the Hegemony to circulate more pellets and keep the economy strong.
The war with the Empire, has again raised the demand for fire sapphires as the Hegemony navy continues to expand and grow.
Money in the hegemony consists of rod-cut marbles composed of blown glass. A specific formula of Soelz silt and fools sapphire is used as a core, shaped and cut to a standard, and then stamped with the Hegemony seal. There are three sizes of pellets, each using a different formula to alter their coloration.
The three pellets are:
Dots – also called Nuggets, these are a luminous orange with a rough reddish core.
Drips – often referred to as Blueys, they are a misty blue with three shades of darker blue streaks dipping towards a translucent core.
Swirls – commonly called Turtles, these larger, crystal green marbles have opaque swirls in lighter and darker shades of green.
Weights and Measures
Referred to as the Soelz Scale, the Hegemony has a standardized form of measuring that all of the nations are required to use. Length is based on the yard, or the base distance of a single step.
With this standardized form of measuring in the Empire, length is based on the yard or the average length of a person’s arm.
Weight is based on a pound of Soelz Silt used to create the pellet rods, broken into 16 ounces, since one rod is cut into 16 marbles.