A land of cold, biting winds, thick evergreen forests, and towering, snow-capped mountains, Hiemis would be known only as a place for outcasts and recluses if not for the Grand Metropolis of Terminus. With such an important bastion at its heart, Hiemis has become home to a modest number of cities and villages.
Terminus the Grand Metropolis
Terminus is the northernmost city in Araevis, and by far the largest. Tied to no outside government, it is a neutral city-state that abides its own laws. It is a the central home of the Arcanum and a former Demvir city. Now it is the gathering place for people from all walks of life, considered to be a bastion of opportunity for those who seek to make a name for themselves. Highly industrialized, highly diversified, Terminus stands as a beacon of progress, leading the rest of the world.
Avelyn is the closest sea-port to Terminus and therefore handles most of the traffic to and from the great city. Though it is the closest, it is still a 7-day trip overland to reach the city, and there are many caravans who make their livelihood from leading travelers on this trip alone.
Elata Spiritus Airship Docks
To the southeast of the city of Terminus, located on a plateau in the mountains, the largest airport in Araevis handles upscale traffic to and from Terminus. Smaller airships, some as simple as hot air balloons, handle the short-range traffic between the docks and the city proper, while true airships bring passengers from all across the world.
Scoured by winds but without the natural protections of thick forests or tall mountains, Aridus is a dry continent, many areas knowing long droughts and large stretches of land are overtaken by desert. There is some evidence to suggest that Aridus may not have always been this way, and archeologists have found a large number of surprising ruins that predate the Cataclysm by hundreds or thousands of years.
Empire of Pelagium
Of the three oceans of Araevis, the Copiae Ocean is the purest, avoiding most of the corrupting flood of volantis during the Cataclysm which ruined the Chlorae and the Tenebrae. Thus the velen Empire of Pelagium is located there, with hundreds of underwater cities and even a few dozen coastal cities. Though known mostly for their prowess in trade and negotiations, the citizens of the Empire also boast a formidable navy that protects the Seas of Occidens and Aquilonia from incursion.
Pelagia the Underwater Capital
Capital of the Empire, Pelagia is the most magnificent of the underwater cities. Considered by some to be a beautiful pearl, the city has numerous accommodations for the terrestrial races due to the need to host ambassadors and envoys for political and trade purposes -- accommodations that also encourage many to venture there as tourists.
Secare the Central Continent
The continent of Secare sees a wide variety of weather and climate, though most of the continent ranges in the temperate zones. Two kingdoms dominate the majority of its landscape: Excelsus and Prendere. Though competitors in matters of trade, the kingdoms have avoided true animosity, with only brief outbreaks of violence between the two. In the center of the continent lies the split range of the Denuntiares, a dangerous breeding ground for vistra and corrupted monsters. Travel between kingdoms is almost always done by sea to avoid the danger.
Excelsa the Walled City
The capital city of the Kingdom of Excelsus, this city's most notable feature is its series of towering walls. Initially built long before the Cataclysm, the walls and the original city were completely destroyed. Those who founded Excelsa used the rubble to construct a new city, a new wall, and pride themselves on reviving and preserving their proud history.
Prenditus the Merchant City
The capital city of the Kingdom of Prendere, and considered by many to be the trade capital of the world, Prenditus is a bustling commercial city. Lacking a strong military presence or natural defenses, Prenditus relies on good trade relations. It is also home to many banks which lend money to the various kingdoms and countries, giving each country incentive to protect the merchant city.
Paludis the Southern Continent
Seeming to have stolen all of the moisture from its northern neighbor, Paludis is a land of muggy, sweltering heat. Covered in jungles and marshes, the land sits close to the sea level and, in places, below it. There are an abundance of valleys and caves. There are cities and villages, but these are considered largely to be behind the times or outright uncivilized. The demvir city of Eruditio channels most of the trade into the southern continent.
Boreas the Eastern Continent
Climbing high into the sky, Boreas is both a continent and a mountain. It was once home to towering trees that rivaled the height of mountains themselves, though these were destroyed in the Cataclysm. The population is mainly enlil, and the culture has split between those seeking to reclaim the past, who grow and tend new forests aspiring to reach the heights and glory of their predecessors, and those seeking to move into the future, embracing new technologies and philosophies and fostering a new generation of remarkable engineers. The climate is windy but temperate around most of the mountainous island, though it grows increasingly cold as altitude increases, and some of the terrain becomes marshy nearest the shores.
Astrum the Arboreal City
Astrum is one of the three largest cities in Boreas. City would seem an odd title for Astrum, however, since it is actually a forest of tall trees, the tallest in Boreas since the Cataclysm. The dwellings are built upon the branches or carved into the trees themselves, with many ladders and hanging bridges interconnecting everything.
Lignum the Underground City
Lignum is built into the hollowed out stumps and roots of the monolithic trees of the past. One of the three largest cities in Boreas, this is the home to many of the continent's brightest engineers -- and in fact, it needs to be, as that expertise is needed to keep the underground city safe, thriving, and growing.
Zephii the Island City
Also known as Zeph II, Zephii's history is quick to be dismissed or hushed by its native enlil, many citing it as being the heartland of the marshy Boreas but unwilling to elaborate as to why. In truth, the city is the second of its kind, a metropolis that spans into the trees above, merging nature and technology seamlessly into a major air travel destination. Commercial trade has made it a hub and one of the three largest cities in Boreas, the Terra Regia-rich continent drawing all manner of adventurers through Zephii's gates to cross into the mainland. However, the first of its kind is rarely mentioned, and even less often explained.
Cursus the Redeemed City-State
Cursus was at the heart of the machinae’s revolt and served as the core of their operations during the conflict. Upon the culmination of the war, a great number of Demvir were left in the ruined city and the surrounding area. Opting to rebuild the city, the machinae quickly began to settle there, and the tiny city became the tentative seat of the Corcillum until their operations moved to Terminus. Considered to be a city-state, and more recently a protectorate of the Kingdom of Excelsus, Cursus is unique in Araevis; the only place that is well and truly Demvir. The size of the city, however, means that only a comparatively small percentage of the machinae population can settle there, and most still seem to prefer a nomadic lifestyle regardless. While viewed in the eyes of the law and regional governments as Demvir in ownership, the city of Cursus continues to be a hotly debated issue, with many Laicar viewing the settlement as being built upon land that is rightfully theirs.
Eleutheria, located deep within the deserts of Aridus, was founded on the remains of a penal colony formerly used by the Laicar and subsequently abandoned when the area was found to be too inhospitable to maintain the facility. The city is held above the shifting sands by a trio of massive towers that support the substructure, which can be locked down to encapsulate the central living areas and protect them from frequent sandstorms that ravage the area. Despite the advanced technology that went into its construction, the colony was eventually deserted, and subsequently reclaimed by the Demvir, who repaired and now maintain the outpost for their own use. Those who have made the grueling journey to Eleutheria say that very little of the Laicar’s influence remains; decades of habitation by the machinae have given the once strident colony new life.
Eruditio is the most recent of the Demvir’s settlements, initially established on the northern edge of Paludis by the Kingdom of Prendere in an attempt to segregate their growing population of machinae citizens following the uprising. Under pressure from foreign nations, Prendere eventually seceded control of Eruditio to the Demvir and allowed those who had been forced into the city self-governance. In the years following, the city expanded in size as the Demvir began to rebuild and revitalize the once-tenement municipality. Today Erudito is one of the most lucrative port cities in the region, thanks in large part to its proximity to Prenditus and the trade agreements struck between the two.
Inhospitable, these frozen arctic wastelands are home to only the hardiest of people and creatures.
Adamas Cor the Brilliant Heart
West of the Walled City, Excelsa, in the Chlorae Ocean, lay a chain of islands of little attention. They carry no amazing creatures, nor do they trumpet any champions or proud achievements in the ways of magic or science. They are, in a word, simple. Yet here, in these quiet islands, is the site of a major mystery to Araevis. Sailors speak of a jagged tower made of glass that pierces the sky like a spear, and how any who wander in search of it never return. Adamas Cor gained a second name: The Diamond Prison. A place for sinners, criminals, and the foolhardy alike. A place of mystery to plunder, live out exile, or pilgrimage.
Encompassing most of the north of Secare, Excelsus is a kingdom of laicar who pride themselves on strength, temperance, and the preservation of old traditions. While welcoming of new technologies brought in by other countries, Excelsus has not embraced or supported any such studies itself. Despite most of its architecture being built upon manual labor, however, the structures in Excelsus are some of the longest-standing and strongest fortifications in Araevis.
Prodest the Industrial City
The bustling city of industrialism thrives on the economy and governing council which keep the city alive. It's rapid growth has been attributed to it's southern location; when people can't make the trek north to Terminus, they end up there, in the southeast of Secare. The inlet that leads to the nearby lake has been dubbed for the founder of the city, fondly proclaimed the Numisma Channel. The nearby lake provides the city with what it uses to power it's growing industries. Given that most inventions and factories are producing machinery and technology which runs on water power, the city is mostly inhabited by the Velen.
Prendere takes up most of the southern half of Secare. With an abundance of fertile land, and few dangerous indigenous beasts, Prendere has some of the most expansive and most productive agriculture, allowing them to grow crops from almost anywhere else in the world. This has supported its rise to the top in commerce and trade.
Rigentis the Southern Wastes
Inhospitable, these frozen antarctic wastelands are home to only the hardiest of people and creatures.
Songen the Sovereign Nation
The Sovereign Nation of Songen is an enigma amongst the powers of Araevis. Songen maintains a notoriously isolationist attitude towards other nations and peoples. Having kept its borders closed to the outside world for centuries, very little is actually known about the country or its people save for the few tidbits of information that slip out with merchants who are occasionally allowed into Songen to peddle their wares. Composed of a population of Laicar totally isolated from the rest of the world, the people of Songen have crafted their own unique culture and identity. Merchants and smugglers tell of massive ornate structures, temples that scrape the sky, with architecture unlike anything else in Araevis, dedicated to the worship of their one true god; the sword.
The once-capitol of Boreas, Zeph's sprawling metropolis has since sunk mostly into the swamplands it sat in, hugging the cliff-face that occupies the continent's northern border. Much of intended trade and entertainment districts can be made out from the air, a certain odd atmosphere seeming to encompass the ghost town. When the city of Zeph was built, it was by a harshly-contested consensus by the three Decurios. To some, it would be testament to enlilian prowess, a declaration of taking back their homeland. To others, it was pursuing a continent not worth reclaiming. Whatever the case, construction was underway, and population began a scant few years after the first residential district was complete. It cannot be said for sure what occurred on what the enlil now refer to only as 'The Day of Dark Skies' but whispers speak of a device that lay beneath the marshlands, uncovered by the construction efforts, and activated in the process. Shortly afterwards, the city was abandoned, and all efforts to bring to light the events of that day have been hushed up by a rare unanimous effort by the Decurios.
Idols of Senes
Northwest of Paludis, in a inhospitable sector of the Tenebrae Ocean known for frequent and violent storms, there exists three creatures collectively known as The Idols of Senes. Massive in scale, these immobile golems appear at first to be gargantuan statues rising from the seabed, spaced equidistant from one another in a triangular formation. Upon closer inspection however, the nature of these strange constructs becomes apparent. Standing atop massive stone platforms scrawled with arcane writ, the idols appear to generate some kind of aura or field around themselves that forces the sea back and prevents them from sinking into the abyss. The pedestals are littered with the remains of ships who navigated too close to the idols, unaware of the void created by them. Traveling in the area is fraught with danger even by airship, as the field they generate appears to interfere with the instrumentation and function of the vehicles, often causing them to crash into the sea.
A plantation owned by Gundert Flemmingshire, a grain merchant of little-to-moderate renown. The plantation lands begin an hour's walk after you leave Terminus' southernmost wall, in the shadow of the mountains that separate Heimis' southern shore from the outskirts of Terminus. The large-ish property is notable for being one of the few settlement acreages to the south of Terminus, as most of the area are forests that lead up to the mountain itself. Nearer to the base of the mountain is a water mill that works from a fresh water reservoir within the mountain itself, also owned by the Flemmingshire family.
Part of Aridus' Southern Cluster, this is part of a hotbed of volcanic activity.
Part of Aridus' Southern Cluster, this is part of a hotbed of volcanic activity.
Part of Aridus' Southern Cluster, this is part of a hotbed of volcanic activity.
One of the peaks of the Boreas mountains which is classified as a super volcano. It is a mixed blessing, since the volcanic eruptions have helped provide exceptionally fertile soil, but the proximity to Astrum brings with it the risk of an eruption burning the recovering trees.
The volcano's name is just one of a lifetime of high-profile contributions inter-kingdom commemorations by Magister Eximium, and was suggested by him as a gesture toward continuing peace between the kingdoms of Prendere and Excelsus almost seventy years ago. Acigol-Adwa is one of the only remaining active volcanoes on the continent of Secare, though it hasn't erupted in nearly three hundred years. It is, however, part of a larger system of volcanic activity on Secare; remnants of a super-volcano that is speculated to have had peak activity during and immediately following the Cataclysm.
Vanus Eurites was local envoy sent to establish a foothold on Paludis. Vanus' Junction, its original name long since lost, started as a relatively small velen port city used to help traders whose cargo to and from Prendere prevented travel across the deeper parts of the Copiae Ocean. The outpost has now grown into the largest on the northern half of Paludis sporting a population of around 200,000. While the largest recorded population are velen, most of them are traders and thus by and large laicar make up the majority of the permanent residents.
Oppidum Bulla the City of Bubbles
In the eastern part of Prendere, south of Prodest, lies one of the largest trade centers in the world. It earned the nickname 'Bubble Town' for its strange architecture that resembles massive bubbles, suspended on sturdy poles, sometimes in large clusters. It is a merchant town featuring sprawling bazaars and markets that nearly cover the entirety of the city-state, underwater and above. This impossibly large palace of a trade center enjoys a prospering economy and community spirit, thanks to a comfortable lifestyle.
Vahlmore the City of Mists
A mysterious city whose true location is known only to a few outside of its residents, Vahlmore is a city shrouded in unnatural mist. The city has a proud tradition in necromancy, eschewing any stigma around manipulating the dead. While it doesn't endear the people of Vahlmore to the rest of Araevis, it has allowed necromancy as a discipline to remain alive in a world that would rather it didn't.
Concha Litus the Port of Travelers
One of the nearest neighboring ports to Avelyn, Concha Litus is a bustling city of travelers. The city relies on the people passing through, and has little to sustain itself in off seasons.
Langhage the Village of Aquavit
A remote village in the mountains of Hiemis that garnered attention for its remarkable drink, Aquavit. A popular stopover for cultured drinkers, the people of Langhage pride themselves on their booze and don't allow outside alcohol to influence their recipes.