The Lay of the Land

Domanska?  Let me tell you of Domanska, my brothers and sisters.

It is a place of rare beauty, where the land is rich and green, vibrant with fields of wheat and barley.  Where cattle and sheep graze the rolling hills and vast forests offer shelter to wildlife of the most majestic kind.  Where the rivers flow true and clear, dancing with fish of a hundred different flavours.  Where eagles soar amongst the snow-capped peaks, watching waterfalls shaping the land below to the sound of thunder.

But there is danger there too – lands forged by ancient gods to test the men and women sent to live there.  To the far north, men fear to tread in the frozen wilderness known as the Whitelands.  There you could freeze to death in a heartbeat, or find yourself facing a beast with teeth as long as a man’s hand and sharp as a sword.  South from there is the island of Agaron, where many of our kin have made their home.  They believe it safe, but I have seen the mountain spitting fire and ash, and I fear what comes next.  Beyond that, further south, there is the land that stands between Hagon and Kirov; a desolate wasteland blasted of life where nothing can grow.  It is said that monsters live there the likes of which have not been seen since the Creation.

Most dangerous of all though, my friends?

It is the people of this wondrous land.  They are the ones you should fear.

The Lucians, who have built their Empire city by city, not with mortar but with the sword.  The Danarans, the last to stand in their way, who themselves are a race of soldiers, born for nothing else than war.

Beyond the mountains in the north all the old kingdoms are gone, washed away by the countless tribes of the Basillian horde – a nomadic people who survive on war and plunder.  They are held back now by two walls.  One belongs to the city of Haslova, the last remnants of the Valor, who it is said walk with wolves.  The other belongs to Nuran, whose warrior priests fight with the light of the One God flowing through their blades.

In the east there are Seers who can read a man’s thoughts before he can read them himself.  The Tsurani have warriors who can call on the Void, a gift that makes them the deadliest swordsmen in all the world.  Port Killian is a city of thieves, the Shattered Isle a den of pirates.  All in all, it is an unholy place.

Not that they lack for gods, mind you.  If it is not the One God and his shining light, it is the Seven Winds of the Basillians, those who have swept away so many civilisations.  Or it is the old gods of the north, or the new gods of the west, the ones that walk amongst us as men and women, spinning webs to trap mortals into doing their bidding.

With gods like that, what hope do these people have?

In their world power is the only answer, and the only way to take it is with the sword.

No, my children.  Best avoid that place entirely.

Ancoran Emissary, 861 A.S.


Copyright © 2017 Anthony Mitchell

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