Saturday, February 4, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 5

Compiling week 5 of the project, comprised of 7 settlements and/or sites of the Wastelands south of the City-State of Taodeas as shown below.


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #29 

Jan 29th 2023 

  • Number: 29 

  • Name: Church-State of Earth and Water 

  • Location: Northwest corner of the Wastelands between the Matui River and the Ocean. 

  • Population (approx.): 90,000 

  • Brief:  As the Ta’arnan Empire struggled to maintain coherency at its apex, schisms developed within the associated Churches of the Six (likely due to the darker practices adopted by those in power who were susceptible to Corruption). Several congregations of Pala (Earth) and Vai (Water) fled the populated south to a region on the south edge of the Taop Bay. As Ta’arnan collapsed over the following decades, the priests established their own Church-State ruled by Bishops and guarded by holy Knights. The twin parishes have maintained control over the years, warding off attacks from both the entities and peoples of the Wastelands as well as occasional raids by the Tribes of Taodeas to the northeast across the river. The priests and population are wary of any who worship the other four Gods leading to rumors of harsh treatment, violence and even slavery of those not faithful to Earth or Water. 

  • Geography: The Church-State covers approximately 3000 square miles of the irregular coastline south of Taop Bay between the western ocean and Matui River to the east. A cluster of low hills provides a marker of the southern border but little protection versus outsiders. Most of the population is cluster in settlements on the two peninsulas and the mainland a day’s travel inland. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #30 

Jan 30th 2023 

  • Number: 30 

  • Name: The Lost Peak 

  • Location:  Southern end of the Afale Maug 

  • Population (approx.): None known 

  • Brief:  Another example of internecine strife that plagued the Ta’arnan Empire is the volcanic caldera known as the Lost Peak. Centuries ago, a mountain peak played host to an Aerie of the God of Air and Sky. It was popular with pilgrims and supported the local settlements on the slopes below.  But somewhen and somehow an enemy was made, it was never said whether of Earth or Fire, but one day the entire peak vanished in a roaring explosion of smoke, ash, and flame. Debris, followed by mud and lava flows covered the landscape for miles in all directions. When the dust cleared, a volcanic caldera remained which to this day emits smoke and fire from time to time. 

  • Geography: The Aerie was built about the summit of one of the tallest hills on the southern edge of the Afale Maug. The site overlooked the great plains which stretched east and south. Today the ruined settlements, on the flanks of the Lost Peak, have long since been reclaimed by nature and most disappeared from view. Explorers and adventurers combing the hills but avoiding the dormant caldera have unearthed a relic or two in years past.  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #31 

Jan 31st 2023 

  • Number: 31 

  • Name: The Inviolate Spring 

  • Location: Saut Oasis, the source of the Saut River 

  • Population (approx.):  Varies 

  • Brief:  Near the center of the Mu Onno Desert is a wondrous ever-present spot of greenery, the Saut Oasis. Since history has been written in this region, the spring waters have provided the source of the Saut River. The caravansary currently at the site was built on the ruins of a similar building destroyed 30 years ago during the 5th Plainswalker wars versus the City-State of Taodeas to the north. A local tribal group with ties to the Travellers Guild of the Collegium maintains the oasis and protects the spring. The caravansary features a large Inn, a chapel devoted to the waters and both open air and closed roofed stables, the latter surrounded by the walls that protect the Inn. Trails depart the oasis north along the river, west into the Ulu Maug foothills and south and east into the desert. The locals do not recommend travel into the Mu Onno, telling tales of wind and sand demons that appear and disappear in an instant. 

  • Geography:  The Saut Oasis can be found in the western half of the Mu Onno desert in sight of the southern foothills of the Ulu Maug mountain range. The Saut River starts at the spring and flows roughly northeastward until it merges with the Danthas River and flows east to the ocean. The source of the spring is deep underground and is rumored to be magical but no one on the surface has ever sensed an unusual magics in the area.  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #32 

Feb 1st 2023 

  • Number: 32 

  • Name: Enshrouding Mists 

  • Location:  Slopes of the Ulu Maug south of the Danthas river. 

  • Population (approx.): Unknown but may be in the hundreds 

  • Brief:  Many years ago, as people fled the terror of the disintegration of the corrupted Ta’arnan Empire, some found their ways to the foothills of the Ulu Maug range. Hiding in caves and small copses of trees, they feared discovery by dark priests and their brutal warrior servants, until a strange dense mist appeared and enshrouded a swath of hillside. The origin is unknown, some say it descended from the skies, others that it rose from the ground and some suggest it slide down from the mountains, but the fog remains until this day providing a hiding place for those who need such. Although the surrounding plains are sparsely populated, rumor suggests there are numerous small settlements living in the perpetual haze. 

  • Geography: The Enshrouding Mists cover the foothills of the eastern Ulu Maug for a stretch of over eighty miles west to east and extend thirty to forty miles into the plains. The few trails in the region skirt the northern boundary of the Mists, but most travelers prefer to stay further north close to the Danthas River. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #33 

Feb 2nd 2023 

  • Number: 33 

  • Name: The Silent Colossus 

  • Location: Cliffside overlooking the ocean on the east coast of the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 1 (not counting visitors/worshippers) 

  • Brief: On the coast of the Wastelands, a gigantic vaguely humanoid shape, perhaps of rock or similar substance it would appear, sits upon the edge of a cliff with leg-like shapes dangling over the water. The outcropping has been sitting in place for well over five centuries and is now covered with a goodly growth of foliage with attendant local fauna nesting within. Unknown to most, this silent colossus was a monstrous entity brought to Aenwyld by an ill-advised ritual during one of the many battles of the Ta’arnan Empire. The creature did as it was commanded until its master fell in battle and then, uncontrolled, the colossus quietly wandered away. Eventually it reached the ocean and perhaps deciding it enjoyed the view or weather or something else, sat on the edge of the cliff and stopped moving.  

  • Geography: The Silent Colossus sits on a chalk coast east of the delta of the Danthas River. The seated figure is approximately 200 to 300 feet tall and so heavy that it compressed the cliff perhaps 20 to 25 feet with its mass. Its surface appears to resemble a mottled brown-gray-green rock, covered with foliage in many places. It appears to have some number of limbs but exact shapes are indistinct leading to many arguments regarding number and size among locals. Most give the colossus a wide berth, but some have left offerings on its flanks, believing it to be an avatar or manifestation of the God of Earth. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #34 

Feb 3rd 2023 

  • Number: 34 

  • Name: The Citadel of the Five Passages of Night 

  • Location: Southwestern slopes of the Ulu Maug range, midway along its length. 

  • Population (approx.): 1,200 in ruins and surrounding city 

  • Brief:  At its height, each of the six major Churches of the Ta’arnan Empire built grand cathedral citadels in celebration of their worship. The Citadel of the Five Passages of Night celebrates Poul and the 5 phases of sunset, before-night, midnight, after-night and sunrise. As the Empire tore itself asunder, the Five Passages was ravaged by battles, leaving much of the citadel and surrounding city in ruins, population dead or scattered. Once the wars ended, a number of faithful and other refugees returned to the city and worked to restore a semblance of life to the area. Their population and military strength are not sufficient to declare themselves a Church-State and the Church’s influence reaches only a day or twos travel. 

  • Geography: The Citadel of the Five Passages of Night is located in the Ulu Maug range, on the west side several days journey south of the border with Taodeas. The cathedral is a huge black and grey five-sided ornately designed stone structure surrounded by numerous supporting buildings, walls and towers. It sits at the north end of a narrow valley, the city proper spread out through the valley to the south and into the plains beyond. Currently only about 1 in 10 buildings are inhabited, most close to the remains of the citadel walls. The populace is supported by a swath of farms in the plains, protected by the Knights of the Dark, and trade of raw and smelted metals mined from the surrounding mountains. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #35 

Feb 4th 2023 

  • Number: 35 

  • Name: Drifts of the Flame Serpent 

  • Location: Eastern dune seas of the Mu Onno Desert 

  • Population (approx.): None known 

  • Brief:  The nomads of the Mu Onno tell many tales of strange phenomena in the depths of the desert wastelands. One of those is sightings of flaming hoops or trails of fire appearing and disappearing across the sands. Their movement, usually in a line or curve for minutes at a time before vanishing, resembles that of a great serpent of fire, rising from the sands, arcing through the air and diving back into the ground. Strong burning sensations and acrid smells fill the air. Some report finding chunks of sand fused into pale pink glass where the fire touched the earth. Magicians and scholars in the north have debated the phenomena to no conclusion but prevailing theories are either a Ley Line manifesting or a creature of Essence phasing in and out of sync with Aenwyld. Local worshippers of Fire make pilgrimages into the Mu Onno in the hopes of witnessing the phenomena. Small shrines in the form of braziers and firepits dot the area. 

  • Geography:  The reports of the appearances of the “Flame Serpent” place it along the eastern portion of the Mu Onno about halfway between the Saut River and the coast, an equivalent distance south of the Danthas river.  


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