Sunday, November 26, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 47

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 47

Compiling week 47 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a location of interest - the Diocese of Taq’Alay’Sut of the City-State of Ceannar:

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #323 

November 20th, 2023 

  • Number: 323 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut - Part 1 

  • Location: Northeast corner of the City-State of Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): varies 

  • Brief: Although the Houses of Noldrune of northern Norgofel and the Cean Peoples of eastern Norgofel shared their home continent and the basic religion of the Six Gods, their practices, rites and even the names of the same Masks diverged over time (leading to the expected spot of confusion when the Cean Exodus arrived on the shores of Sudeben after the Nolduneans arrived from the north several centuries previously). The nature of the Six Gods was so basic that the analogies between the Cean concept of Taq’Alay’Sut (“Six Above All”) and the Noldrunean Lo-Atu-Gi (“World Gods”) were easy to determine: 

  • The Six Gods - Taq’Alay’Sut (Six Above All) 

  • Nin aka Afi of Fire  

  • Uma aka Vai of Water  

  • Ayr aka Lagi of Sky  

  • Raq aka Pala of Earth   

  • Qha aka Malam of Light   

  • And Aru aka Poul of Dark 

  • Geography: The churches of the Cean People, upon their arrival on the shores of Sudeben, established six parishes, one per God, with one singular Diocese on the northern shores of the nascent City-State. The Diocese occupies an area of about 1300 square miles from East’arbor (#117) on the coast, inland to Boarfang Mountain (#253) and the surrounding woods. The southern border defined by the road from East’arbor to Overlook (#8). The lands are mostly prairies divided by the occasional ridge of hills or spread of forest, the churches and shrines connected by a network of trails and roads. 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present some of the notable peoples, locations, happenings and plot threads in and about the Diocese.  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #324 

November 21st, 2023 

  • Number: 324 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut - Part 2 

  • Location: Northeast corner of the City-State of Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 14,175 (Parish of Qha) 

  • Brief: Upon their arrival on the shores of Sudeben, the individual priests of the Cean Peoples spread throughout the newly settled lands to minister to their flocks. The core of each Church, the liturgical scholars, elders and ritualists among them, stayed close to the coast and to each other. A single spot was selected where the Taq’Alay’Sut would meet as a whole and then each church found their own suitable home nearby. For the priests of Qha, this was a singular hill that afforded excellent unobstructed views of both sunrise and sunset. Here the Tower of Light was raised, the church’s high priest ruling from the summit. 

  • Eada Brightwalker, female Human, 56, is a cleric of Qha, the god of Day and Light. She is of average height and chubby. Her face is oval, and she has tinted her black hair with gold dye. Eada's eyes are acorn brown, and she has pretty long eyelashes. She wears white robes with golden accents and carries a gnarled wooden staff. Her disposition is cheery, thoughtful, and righteous. 

  • Eada is the head cleric at the temple of Light in the Liturgical States. She is also the 'glue' that holds the Churches of the Six (Taq’Alay’Sux) together, currently leading the Hexad Council. Some of her duties include a weekly meeting with each one of the five other temples. Then, on the sixth day, all heads meet to discuss pertinent issues. On the seventh day, each church has services that the public attends. Eada also walks around her parish and converses with all she meets. She sees it as her duty to strengthen people's faith by being present. 

  • Eada lives in a vicarage off to the side of the Tower of Light. It is small, with just room enough for both her and her husband, Arnet, 60, male Human, to live. Arnet works as a florist, filling the temple with flowers on the weekend. Eada's best friend is Pepi Runestar, 45, male Human. The two of them enjoy fly-fishing and then cooking what they catch. Eada also hosts a meditative prayer group that anyone can attend. 

  • Geography: Diocese of Taq’Alay’Sut is a roughly square block of Ceannar bounded by ocean to the north, East’arbor (#117, location 1 see below) to the east, Boarfang Mountain (#253) to the west and the main highway to the south. The Parish of Qha is centered about the Tower of Light (location 2) in the western portion of the Diocese. It covers about 425 square miles of pastoral terrain rising slightly to the west (toward Flattop Hills). Eada travels weekly to meet the leaders of the other 5 Parishes at the Hall of the Taq’Alay’Sut (location 3) central to the Diocese (16 miles from the Tower and 29 miles from East’arbor).  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #325 

November 22nd, 2023 

  • Number: 325 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut - Part 3 

  • Location: Northeast corner of the City-State of Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 10,231 (Parish of Ayr) 

  • Brief: The Priest-leaders of Ayr followed the breezes of the skies across Ceannar until they found a location where the ocean winds were generally soft and calm, but the cathedral of the air would be puissant versus the heaviest gales. Their search parameters reflected the dual nature of all six churches of the Taq’Alay’Sut. The element that was their god (Ayr) could be felt and delivered as both a strong force (gales, sandstorms, blinding mists and toxic gases) or a gentle force (breezes, fresh smells, life giving breath and fair traveling weather). Clerical scholars have long debated whether common spells, enchantments and rituals should incorporate what they call the hard or soft options and whether they lead to a stronger more capable church or tread along a path fraught with temptation to Corruption. Such decisions weigh on the mind of all clerics of all faiths from the patriarch of the skies to the typical village wind finders. 

  • Belamin (Bel) Greenleaf, 148, male Halfling is a Cleric of Ayr. He is of average build and has small, muscular arms. He has blonde straw-like hair and autumn-brown eyes. Bel's left arm hangs uselessly by his side; this is from a disease he had as a child. He wears light blue billowing robes that have clouds embroidered in white along the bottom. He loves to use a sling because he believes Ayr guides each bullet to its target. 

  • Bel has given most of his life to the temple of Ayr. When he was but twenty, he had a vision of a white stallion flying through white puffy clouds. The stallion told him, "There is more to life than the ground offers. Leap to the sky, and your true heart will be known." Bel joined the church of Ayr shortly after that. Through the years, Bel's faith has grown stronger. 

  • Bel lives with his wife, Rosalie, 140, female Halfling. She is a carpenter who specializes in building tables and chairs. They have three children together: Elton, 75; Vana, 70; and Zenni, 60. They have several grandchildren. Bel and Rosalie live in a modest home within walking distance of the chapel. Bel holds daily services and has a separate room in their house for meditation. Rosalie has a workroom adjacent to the house and brings her creations to her store, The Wild Hammer.  

  • Through the years, Bel has had issues with the Church of Raq (Earth) in the form of acolytes being led astray and, once, an outright attack on Rosalie's store. Bel sought guidance from Ayr during this time, was told to try the soft option and tried to 'turn the other cheek.' The store attack was the last draw, and Bel is plotting something, a hard option, that will let the members of Raq's church know there are consequences to their actions. 

  • Geography: The Parish of Ayr is centered about the Cathedral of the Skies (location 5 see below) in the northwestern portion of the Diocese. It is between the Parish of Qha (location 2) and the Staplefish BayA spider’s web of roads connects the various church centers with each other and settlements of all sizes throughout the Diocese. The Parish of Ayr covers about 250 square miles of coastal terrain, dotted with fields, pastures and woods, rising slightly to the west (toward Flattop Hills). Bel lives in the village of Swidon (location 4 see below) on the border between the Parishes of Ayr and Raq (earth).  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #326 

November 23rd, 2023 

  • Number: 326 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut - Part 4 

  • Location: Northeast corner of the City-State of Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 10,984 (Parish of Uma) 

  • Brief: The Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut is ruled by the Hexad Council, six high priests, one appointed by each church and serving until their passing or replacement. The Council led for a period of six years by one of the six, serving to provide direction for the Diocese, represent the Churches in affairs with the City-State and most importantly, holds a tie-breaking vote when the Hexad Council is split 3-3 on a matter. Eada Brightwalker, cleric of Qha, currently leads the community. Next in line (per the traditional cycle of Day-Fire-Earth-Night-Water-Air) is Kelxin Nurqull, the head cleric of the church of Nin, which has given many in the Diocese pause, for Kelxin is very much a proponent of the “hard option” (strong or coarse magicks). 

  • Zinna Flowerbreeze, 412, female Elf, is the head chaplain of Uma, 2nd to the Church’s High Priest. She is sturdy and has lovely, flowing blond hair, which she dyes blue. She wears blue eyeglasses that enhance her sea-green eyes. Zinna loves to wear sweeping gowns that reflect all the colors of the sea. She wears a straw hat covered with shells and sea stones during church ceremonies. Her favorite tool is a wand that creates a water shield and can shoot water missiles. 

  • Zinna began life near the Hethichol Sea. She received a calling from Uma when she was twelve. The local cleric of Uma, Kora Nisk, visited her family and told them that Zinna should come and live at the local boarding school. The church would pay for her education, and in exchange, she would dedicate the first fifty years of her life to spreading the word of Uma. Zinna gladly did this and has done various things, from adventuring to living in a monastery. 

  • Zinna lives in a medium-sized house with a large pool of water next to the temple of Uma in the Parish seat. She is happily married to Edgar, 414, male Elf. They have many children and dozens of grandchildren. Edgar and Zinna live alone but have room for people when they fall on hard times. Zinna loves to bake bread and cookies. She also loves to read and has several bookcases filled with books. 

  • Zinna is friendly with Bel Greenleaf, a priest of the church of Ayr. The two hold joint services four times a year, switching between each other’s chapels. The two churches also throw a fair and parade once a year at the Hall of the Taq’Alay’Sut. Zinna has a grudging respect for Kelxin Nurqull, 50, male Dragonborn, the head cleric of the church of Nin, but she goes out of her way to avoid him. Some rumors have been circulating that Kelxin will attempt to burn down some tents during the next fair (something about the “softness” of the entire affair). 

  • Geography: The Parish of Uma is bordered on the south by the Hall of the Taq’Alay’Sut (location 3) and the port of East’Arbor (location 1) and to the north by the coast of Staplefish Bay. The Parish seat (location 6 see below) is a large temple complex and surrounding town stretching for 2 miles along a rise above the white sands of the Bay. A natural breakwater composed of an ancient semi-circular ring of coral reef encloses a lagoon filled with fishing boats and yachts. The Parish of Uma covers about 325 square miles of coastal terrain, dotted with fields, pastures and woods. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #327 

November 24th, 2023 

  • Number: 327 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut - Part 5 

  • Location: Northeast corner of the City-State of Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 12,428 (Parish of Nin) 

  • Brief: Scholars and philosophers have eternally whether nature of Aenwyld defines its component element or whether the properties of the basic and complex elements define Aenwyld. Similarly, non-partisan observers wonder whether Aenwyld and the resident Kin define the Gods or are the Gods echoes of the First Ones and define Aenwyld. Clerics generally accept that there is an exchange rate (as it were) between an individual or congregation's faith and devotion and the power granted by their patron deity to the priest and parish.  

  • In parallel, scholars and scientists have observed and recorded the interactions between core (primal) elements (air erodes earth, earth suffocates air, fire evaporates water, water snuffs fire, day follows night). This opposition extends to the relations between the Churches of the Taq’Alay’Sut and makes maintaining the Aenwyld-based worship of the pantheon a careful dance (witness the collapse of the Ta’arnan Empire when their Churches turned on each other). Each High Priest attempts to maintain their traditional alliances (Air and Water for example), weaken the strength of their traditional enemies (Water vs. Fire) yet maintain their own churches’ power and position and prevent the collapse of the entire pantheon. The current chair of the Hexad Council, Eada Brightwalker of Light, considers all these factors as her term winds to an end and she considers who is likely to follow her. 

  • Kelxin Nurgull, 50, male Dragonborn, is the head cleric for the church of Nin. He is tall and has copper scales all over his body. His face has a long snout and prominent reptilian frills. Kelxin wears leather pants and a chain shirt with a tabard with a flame. He has a unique mace that will cause a fire to heat the metal part, which causes extra damage and may set the target on fire. 

  • Kelxin was a bully as a child. His parents were strict with him and his brother, Dalkis, 45, Dragonborn. In his late teens, he got in trouble with the law and, while in prison, met a charismatic Dragonborn, Yoxil Balxax. Yoxil convinced him to give his life to Nin and serve other Dragonborns. Kelxin did this and managed to find the flame of Nin. Kelxin has an inner drive to convert all people to worship Nin through whatever means necessary.  

  • Kelxin lives in a small cave near the temple. He is married to Aldoth Xarvull, 54, male Dragonborn. Aldoth works as a weaponsmith and will have Kelxin place a blessing on a weapon for a small fee. Kelxin and Aldoth adopted two orphans three years ago. The children are Vistan, boy ten, and Kelphon, girl 8. Both are Dragonborn.  

  • Kelxin is friends with Eada Brightwalker, a cleric of Light. The two of them will talk about philosophy and he wishes to bring their two religions closer together. Kelxin despises Zinna Flowerbreeze, the Chaplain (2nd of that church) of water. He is actively working on recruiting Uma’s followers (a difficult task given opposing natures tend to reflect in who worshippers worship) and has decided that overt acts of aggression (a strong option) are warranted. 

  • Geography: The Parish of Nin is bordered on the south by the highway to the port of East’Arbor (location 1) and on the north by the Parish of Qha (location 2). It is southwest of the Hall of the Taq’Alay’Sut (location 3). Its capital (location 7 see below) is a circular industrial complex full of firepits, ovens and forges in the center of a dry area of flatlands. The Parish of Nin covers just over 400 square miles of grasslands and rough hills, dustier and sparser than the surrounding lands, perhaps reflecting Nin’s dominion over this Parish all these years. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #328 

November 25th, 2023 

  • Number: 328 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut - Part 6 

  • Location: Northeast corner of the City-State of Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 7,939 (Parish of Raq) 

  • Brief: Now, the Hexad Council features two known alliances; the first, Qha and Nin (Light and Fire) and the second, Aru and Raq (Earth and Dark) with Ayr and Uma (Air and Water) unaligned currently. The two pairs have put out feelers to the singletons who would match their nature (as presented previously), but Ayr and Uma have also discussed an arrangement with each other. Whether 3 groups of 2 or 2 groups of 3, the pairing of Oha and Nin currently hold a slight edge in power as Light holds the chair of the Hexad Council and the position then passes to Fire. That advantage drives the High Priests of Aru and Raq to contemplate convincing both Ayr and Uma to joint them despite the worshippers of Raq’s ongoing enmity to the followers of Ayr. Due to that friction, agents of Aru and Uma meet in secret attempting to establish common ground to form a quad to offset the opposition's three votes. But, as one might expect, agents of Qha meet with Ayr with the hopes of bringing them into a ruling coalition. They use, as one might expect, the ongoing friction between Raq and Ayr as inducement. 

  • Tabi Cobblebit, 100, female Rock Gnome, is a leading cleric for the church of Raq. She is short, thin, and has a reddish hue to her skin. Her orange hair is worn short and frames her pretty face. Tabi's eyes are like shiny opals, and she enjoys giving a pronounced wink to her friends when she makes a sassy comment. She wears leather pants with shirts that are either green or brown. She wears a large, flowing dark blue cape when performing her priestly duties. Tabi likes to use a small staff when walking outside. 

  • Tabi's family has always been dutiful followers of Raq. As a child, she attended a special religious school geared to becoming a cleric of Raq. When Tabi graduated, she went on a journey deep into the local caves under the citadel to meditate on what she wanted to do with her life. In the cave, Raq chose Tabi and laid out a future filled with the promise of leadership and joy. 

  • Tabi lives with her husband Nesmop, 110, male Rock Gnome. They have two children: Orpine, daughter 20, and Zilpan, son 15. They all live in a cave near the temple of Raq. Tabi and Nesmop are friends with Saltix Billowback, 104, and his wife, Tatra. The two couples go on retreats together to improve their faith in Raq and each other. 

  • Tabi and Imdor Illaer, 142, male Drow, Chaplain of Dark (Aru), are good friends and will meet once every two weeks to plan joint services. The two of them are planning a retreat to strengthen both their ministries in the face of the current political situation. Tabi and Eada Brightwalker, 56, Human, a cleric of Light, don't (as is their nature) understand each other. Tabi has encouraged her flock to join a raid against Eada's home and family in Swidon. 

  • Geography: The Parish of Raq is bordered by the Parishes of Qha to the southwest, Ayr to the northwest and Uma to the east. It is north of the Hall of the Taq’Alay’Sut (location 4). Its capital (location 8 see below) is a citadel built into, throughout and deep into the depths below the surface of a mesa in the center of the Parish. The site boasts substantial physical defenses and not inconsiderable magical defenses as the current line of High Priests, including Tabi Cobblebit, favor the strong options for an enduring church. The Parish covers about 265 square miles of coastal terrain known for a large underground network of natural caverns and tunnels stretching from the sea up to 15 miles inland. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #329 

November 26th, 2023 

  • Number: 329 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Diocese of the Taq’Alay’Sut - Part 7 

  • Location: Northeast corner of the City-State of Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 11,788 (Parish of Aru) 

  • Brief: The Parishes of the Taq’Alay’Sut cover the bulk of Cean County, with the remainder split between three other Shires, one to the east and two to the south. Despite the church folk comprising over 2/3 of the County’s population, temporal power remains with the Eldest of the Cean People resident at First Landing Castle (#50) just outside of East’Arbor (reinforced as required by Eldest Adehamar in Overlook (#8)). That position brings a wrinkle for the Churches, for Cean memories of the exodus, and what they saw as the major contributions of the clerics of Sky and Sea, remain strong to this day. Any obvious effort by the other 4 Parish High Priests to minimize or disadvantage Ayr and Uma can provoke a secular response in the form of an edict, usually private but rarely public, from First Landing. Thus, any of the plans of the two arcs (Qha-Nin and Aru-Raq) are by nature required to be subtle but such an approach runs afoul of the proponents of the “hard option” (which then can lead to friction even between allies). 

  • Imdor Illaer, 142, male Drow (Night Elf), is an evangelist for the church of Aru. He has jet-black skin and a pleasing appearance. He wears his silver hair long and flowing. Imdor's eyes are bright red and compelling. He wears long robes that have symbols of Aru on them. His robe has compartments for small daggers, which he is skilled in using. Imdor's personality is strong, compelling, and authoritative. He truly believes he is doing Aru's work. 

  • Imdor's parents abandoned him on the temple of Aru's doorstep as a newborn. The church's caretaker, Nedda Arrabett, 183, female Drow, took him home with her, and she raised him as her own. When Imdor was twelve, he fell in with a group of thieves who stole items from the rich. As he grew older, violence with his victims became the norm. At sixteen, a priest of Aru, Istrak Tellena, 150, male Drow, caught him stealing silver candlesticks from the church. Istrak made a deal with Imdor, work at the church, and there would be no repercussions. That deal changed Imdor's life for the better, and now he runs an orphanage in the name of Aru.  

  • Imdor lives in a room above the orphanage with his wife, Halintra, 125, female Drow. Halintra takes care of the orphans, and Imdor roams the paths of Nightwood preaching Aru's word. When the children are old enough, he teaches them how to steal. When they are teenagers, he works elaborate con games with them. 

  • Imdor plans to use the orphans to help execute a raid on the estate of Eada Brightwalker, 56, Human, a cleric of Light. He is working with Tabi Cobblepit, 100, female Rock Gnome, a cleric of Earth. The two churches hope to show their followers that strong action toward others, especially those of Day and Air, is the will of the gods. 

  • Geography: The Parish of Aru is bordered by the Parishes of Nin to the west and Uma to the north and the main highway between Overlook and East’Arbor to the south and east. It is southeast of the Hall of the Taq’Alay’Sut (location 4). Its capital (location 9 see below) is a sprawling campus sheltered under the canopy of the Nightwood, an ancient climax forest that covers most of the Parish. The Parish covers a bit over 375 square miles of mostly forested terrain. 


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