Tuesday, September 24, 2019

O'er The Lands of the Realms: Voraniss

by Jason "Aeston" Rosa

Description by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke

In the year 1017, Templar Hygar Athame and his allies championed the cleansing and reclamation of the small fishing village of Voraniss. With this act of expansion, a new nation was born. The Lycans of Darkspire, as well as the Humans and Elves of Aerenor, flooded forth in numbers ready to be reunited under a single banner in the hopes that there was a place for them, and their unique traditions, on the world stage.

The once abandoned fishing settlement was soon declared the new nation’s capital. Standing as a beacon of hope for growth and new prosperity, it was also a testament to the powerful magics of the natural world. The village itself is located on a channel known as Nathair’uncain (roughly translated to Serpent’s Channel or Channel of Snakes depending on your local Elven dialect) which connects Lake Irvan to the ocean. This channel separates the rest of the country from the swampy peninsula home of the Kul’Matha, territory reclaimed with the dwindling of the Lost Kingdoms. The Kul’Matha are what the Realms at large might call “Lizardmen,” and they are easily confused with snakes or other reptiles, thus the channel's name. Each summer, these Kul’Matha cross the water on makeshift barges and boats seeking to raid and blood their next generation of warriors.

Many people do not know that “Lake” Irvan is actually an inland sea, making Voraniss’ relationship with the water both profitable and necessary for supporting the lives of all its new settlers. Fish and crab are some of the capital’s primary exports, with Salmon and Trout acting as popular dishes. Poached fish with mint sauce is a local favorite for welcome travelers looking to try something new during their visit.

Lake Irvan is fed by the Geata’isen (Gate River) flowing down from the northern mountains. The Elves of Calandia quite literally used it as a gateway to move to and from the inland sea rather than risk the danger of the forest during the early days of their settlement. Calandia is the oldest city in the country and the place where much of Voraniss’ druidic culture was born. Othorion Elderheart, now the Totem of the Stag, ruled as Calandia’s King until his death in the Month of the Stag, Year 638. In life, he was a disciple of the wise tree Mendleaf aka Autumn-Elm and considered by many to be the first Druid of Voraniss. The heraldry of Calandia is a blooming flower, representing the birth of Druidism, surrounded by oak laurels believed to be symbolic of Othorion’s nobility, wisdom, and love of life. Trade in Calandia largely revolves around items featuring highly coveted Elven craftsmanship, including the famous copper daggers believed to affect creatures of the Spirit Realm.

Moving eastward from Calandia there is another river, one that separates Voraniss from Sharangil and flows past the coastal city of Mirador. This river is called Grianmhar'isen (Sunny River) by the Elves, a reference to the gold and prosperity of Mirador itself. Mirador is one of the less private places in Voraniss, a trade hub where passing ships and merchants are allowed to stop and exchange goods and gossip. Most other cities and towns in Voraniss will bring their goods to Mirador to sell because of the larger markets and client exposure. The banner of Mirador depicts a westward facing Octopus encircled by a compass and two diamonds pointing North and South. The compass honors the traders and voyagers that call Mirador home, while the Octopus stands as praise to both the ocean and those that demonstrate flexibility and intelligence in their dealings. Here it is easy to forget that Voraniss is a wild place, at least until you meet the Coral Prowlers. They are less of a Pack and more of a gang of assorted lycans that have taken it upon themselves to protect and defend the wealth of Mirador. They are also there to make sure that the trappings of civilization present within Mirador respect the rest of the country’s wild nature.

South along the eastern mountains and past the Shrine of Raven stands the mountain stronghold of Kenkilit. Destroyed when the Shadowlands emerged from the ocean, Kenkilit was a broken place that found new hope in the Broken Spears Free Company led by Commander Cronin Barbaria. It was Four Days Before the Flower Moon, in the Month of the Hawk, Year 1018 that Archdruid Hygar signed a treaty with the Broken Spears. Voraniss would provide the Company land to settle, farm, and build upon in exchange for protection and aid for the refugees that filled its ranks. The arrangement worked out nicely, for Commander Barbaria grew to love the land and its culture; and was eager to rebuild Kenkilit so that it might better serve the needs of all their people. Kenkilit now boasts most of Voraniss’ actual farmland and iron mines deep within the mountains have safely been reopened. More than seventy-five percent of non-Elven made weapons that come out of Voraniss have seen the fires of a Kenkilit forge. In honor of the treaty, Kenkilit took upon the heraldry of the Broken Spears but placed it on the Voranian field.

Further South, beyond both Kenkilit and Voraniss, rests the Teorainn’isen (Boundary River.) It connects the eastern mountains and Nathair’uncain, but more importantly, it separates the northern and southern forests. Some believe the translation should be taken more philosophically, that Teorainn’isen doesn’t just act as a physical boundary but a magical one between the light and the dark that dwells within every soul. Early explorers did tend to avoid the southern forests, believing them to be haunted. The trees grew so close together there that even in the middle of the day the forests were dark and hard to navigate. Perhaps out of superstition, or maybe practicality, most of the population found it prudent to stay north of this river lest they tempt the wrath of the primordial wood.

The last of Voraniss’ rivers shoots off from the Teorainn’isen and continues south through the wilderness. This river is called Sealgaire’isen (Hunter’s River). Nowadays, the more feral of the lycan packs are allowed to roam freely within the southern forests of Voraniss and keep the spirit of the hunt alive. Most of the country’s residents know better than to go too far south without permission, for it is here that strength and ferocity are a currency more valuable than gold. Apart from the occasional shrine, the only permanent structure on record that offers respite from the elements in the south is Arashimura; a ruined keep built long, long ago as a holy place in the mountains dedicated to the veneration of wind and storm.

Voraniss is a large beast, with stories and legends permeating every facet of life within her borders. These are only some of her tales; mere whispers from a land where Trees can roam and Storms breathe prophecies into being. The rest we will have to save for another time.