A Rising Tide
Louria: A Primer
What every peasant knows
Louria is a vast land, and was a great empire. It is populated by humanity, called the ‘Khem’ or ‘Kemren’ in sacred texts. The clergy speaks of this land being settled by refugees from the Islands of Khem, far to the north. This happened a very long time ago. The clergy disagree on why the people were fleeing. Given that great trading flotillas still arrive from those islands means the refugees were likely not fleeing some great devastation.
Lourians worship the three dieties of Safaya, Ajdallah, and Chaladni. There are many lesser dieties such as Aien, Uod and Antaray, but only cultists and heathens would worship them. They are more tricksters and bringers of bad tidings, than gods worthy of worship. There are a number of churchs, each with differing beliefs.
- Ajdallan Orthodoxy believes in Ajdallah alone, with the other two being angel servitors.
- Safayists revere Safaya above the others, but believe the others are dieties in their own right.
- Nahuani revere the trinity as a whole, believe that each individual diety is responsible for a specific and equally important part of the cosmos. Nahuani is the most common religion in Louria.
- There are no lawful faiths that revere Chaladni. As she is a wicked diety that brings death and misery, only cultists and heathens would worship her. Sailors are known to make sacrifices to her to bring safe sailing.
Louria, the empire, once had five Duchies:
- La Seca (capital: Damelleon) in the south
- Anhalt (capital: Marinburgh) in the north
- Kashan (capital: Azaleum) in the east
- Auvernhe (capital: Ayren) in the west
- Ancarnia (capital: Vonitsa) in the centre of the land.
The great city of Ayren was the largest in the lands, and it is said it had more than a hundred thousand inhabitants. Ayren was the capital of the empire. The city is now a haunted ruin, scattered across many shattered islands in the west. The doom that destroyed Louria turned much of Auvernhe into an archipelago, killing everyone. At one time a great wall of arching colums stood beyond the western shores of Auvernhe. This wall stood about a kilometer offshore, and ran the length of the coast. While it stood, no terrible weather ever harmed the duchy producing a tranquil landscape with rich agricultural bounties. The doom that struck Louria destroyed this wall as well.
This doom struck some fifty years ago. Some still live who remember the odd skies that followed Auvernhe’s destruction. The old timers claim the sky swam with stars, and moons moved north to south.
Ancarnia, in central Louria, fell to banditry and plague within a decade of Ayren’s destruction. The city of Vonitsa is a shell of its former self and is not a safe place to visit. With no central government, and no militia, every village is run by its own warlord and everyone looks out only for themselves. The lands of Ancarnia seperate the other duchies from each other.
The duchy of La Seca is known for its wines, olives, cheeses and deeply held religious beliefs. It is the seat of the Ajdallan Orthodoxy, a powerful church who venerates Ajadallah as the prime genesis of creation. No other faiths are tolerated, and the Orthodoxy’s inquisitors are merciless in hunting down apostates. The city of Damelleon is built around the great Heart of Iron, a vast metal cathedral said to have been built by Ajdallah’s avatar in ages past. Criminals, here, have their souls removed turning their bodies into pliant slave labour for the church and army. The people of La Seca are predominantly olive skinned, with dark hair and eyes. Hair is often worn long, by both men and women, and clothing is conservatively cut though colourful. These people have a passion for music.
In the north, Anhalt stretches along the Bay of Princes down to the Plains of Safayah where it borders Ancarnia. It is a land of pine forests, deep wilderness, and dark nights. Its winters, although not terribly cold, do bring snow. Summer brings apples, pears and cherries which along with wheat, cheese and smoked meat are Anhalt’s primary exports. Marinburg sits at the mouth of the river Farol, and enjoys a great deal of river trade with towns further to the south. During the war with Malath, Marinburg’s economy suffered greatly as trading flotillas from the Islands of Khem ceased arriving. In the last few years, however, tentative steps have been made to restore relations and it is now not uncommon to see the brightly coloured sails of the Kemreni galleons in the harbour. Anhalt is a cosmopolitan mixture of people, as its history is one of many migrations. You are as likely to see a Malathi blond, as you are to see the ebon skin of the Kemreni.
To the east is Kashan, known as the gates of the desert. Its eastern border is against the great Anareim, a vast and merciless desert. This border is defined by a huge wall, that stretches the entire height of Louria from the tip of the Bay of Princes, south to the Sea of Snakes. It is said this wall was built by Safayah to keep the heretic other races from settling this land. Azaleum, the capital, is built into the only gate in this wall, in a courtyard formed by the wall itself. This courtyard is sized for the gods, with gates on either side reaching over a hundred feet high. The people of Azaleum are loud, boisterous, and overly friendly. They are widely distrusted by others in Louria, and considered to be a wanton lot. It is said that no Kashani is a stranger, largely due to their overly-friendly nature and inability to stay out of other people’s business. Kashan is known for its recreational powders, and incense, many of which are imported from the heathen lands. As well, Azaleum is the source for foreign silks, exotic hardwoods, and fragrant spices.
Trade routes flow from Marinburgh to the north, through to Azaleum in the east. From there, the caravans might head inland to the heathan empires of the giants, or the golden empire of the Vishani lizard people. Some trade from the Golden Empire arrives in Damelleon, where it goes inland to Marinburgh and back to the Isles of the Khem. There is no safe sailing from Damelleon, through the archipelago of what once was Auvernhe, to Marinburgh. Any vessel that attempts it is lost.
Kemreni, far to the north west, the Kemreni hold the claim as the first humans. Scripture says that they were formed from raw silver by Ajdalla, and given the islands to turn into bountiful gardens. They are keen traders, and are known to use sorcery to manipulate the hearts and minds of others.
Ashivir is a mysterious empire far far to the east, beyond the Anareim desert and further beyond the Teranon mountains. They are said to worship trees, and to water them with the blood of newborns.
The Vishani are said to have once built a great empire that covered all the world. These short lizard people are known to be the most ancient of all the peoples, created when the world was young by a god that has since been lost to memory. They are a strange people who worship stones, and buildings. They have never lost a battle, as their armies can bend both sky and earth to fight any opponent, and yet now they hold only the jungle isle of Matlal in the Sea of Snakes.
The Fomir are, like the Kemreni, an ebon skinned race of heathens to the north of Louria. These people range from somewhat taller than humanity, to very much taller. The tallest of them have hair that is made of fire. It is said that the Fomir live in volcanos, and can melt iron simply by touching it. They rarely travel to Louria, for they fear winter.
Thulunedun is the strangest of the empires, populated by many different people. It is far to the north east, far beyond the Teranon and even beyond Ashivir. It is said that the people of that land come in many different colours, including blue! It is also said that the plants are made from metal, and that their empire rests at a pillar which holds up the vault of the sky itself. The Great Giants come from this land, though they are almost never seen in Louria. Since the Doom, however, there are reports that one or more of these huge monsters is loose in Ancarnia — a single one able to eat man, woman, a child in a village within a day.
In Anhalt, or Kashan, it is not uncommon to have a ghetto in which some of these heathens might be found. The ghettos of Kashan are less separated, being just a normal neighborhood of the town.
Here, one is most likely to find Hemren. These short stocky humanoids fond of drink, and industry, hail from Thulunedun. They are tolerated due to their devotion to Ajdallah.
It is exceptionally rare, but an Ashivir may occasionally take up residence in such a place. These are studious, beautiful and yet sad creatures. Willowy with olive toned skin and violet eyes, they are reviled for their godlessness. They usually meet a grisly end at the hands of drunken mobs.
Very rarely one of the Vaeroni might take up residence. These strange people are said to originally have come from a union between an Ashiviri and a human back in mythic times. They are barely tolerated. They appear to worship Safaya and the god of prostitutes, Aien. It is said these people have a city far to the east of Azaleum.