Heartlands Map

From west to east.

To the far west is a mountainous region that looks out onto the sea. Roads have been cut into the sheer cliffs trailing east and there are several seaports that, while not as big as those to the west or south of the Heartlands, has become a growing hub for commerce to the Western Isles of Tirat and Sunai.

The basalt columns and cliffs eventually give way to a dense stretch of woodland that borders the Greenwild, a region occupied by the Green Elves. These roads lead to the Shirelands with its a rolling hills. Its distance from the capital means that the Shirelands are remote though the people there have enjoyed peace for centuries due to where the region is placed. As a result, outsiders see its people as backwards and eccentric, very few leaving their homeland bar traders and those seeking a life of adventure. The people here enjoy simple lives, working vast swathes of rich farmland. The crops are of such good quality and high volume that the Shirelands is often viewed as the garden of the Heartlands. Its people enjoy an unusual neutral stance given their standing with neighbouring kingdoms as well as the dwarfs, elves, and even the green elves.

Before crossing the border into the Heartlands are pockets of smaller, fringe settlements.

Then there is the capital kingdom itself.

North of here

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Land of the Elves – Overview

Origins and genesis events: https://jimwritesabook.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/so-the-elves/

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Once seen as the most advanced, dominant race, the Elves now occupy an obscure role in how the world works. Other races have continued to expand, learn, and multiply, though the elves still hold several key advantages:

  • Their affinity for magic makes them the most powerful spellcasters in the world
  • Their peninsula of islands houses the world’s fastest, most deadly navy
  • Their strongholds and cities are built upon Primordial sites
  • Their archives contain knowledge of the world only the elves are privy to

Where most kingdoms have seen their share of internal struggles, rebellions, and civil wars, the Elves have mostly lived in peace, allowing them to prosper and strengthen their position as the dominant kingdom.

Yet there’s a threat from within. While their bond with the winds of magic is often seen as a gift, disturbances can often lead to perilous ailments much unlike plagues or infections. As soon as an elf is cut off from the ever-present force of magic, they perish or enter a complete shutdown. Although cases are rare and isolated, for years a disturbance has affecting the fertility of elves. Despite being able to live for centuries, their inability to reproduce is a concern.

Although at peace, factions have always existed within Elfen society. Where most Elves are progressive thinkers there is a radial strain of purists who resent them. They believe that, as the strongest race, the Elves should have conquered the entire world instead of appointing themselves as an ever-weakening caretaker.

These elves despise humans and it angers them to learn that the High King of the elves plans to marry his son to the princess of the Heartlands, forging an alliance.

Handau – The South

South of the steppes, of Shara Dauv, and east of the Elfen realms lies the Kingdom of Handau.

A bustling kingdom that prospers from its seaports and slave trade.

Ruled by a God King said to be thousands of year old. He is also said to be colossal in stature though no man, elf, dwarf, of beast has ever laid eyes on him.

Some believe him to be a giant, troll, beast, or purely a fictional figurehead for Handau.

In fact, he is a Remnant. A member of an ancient primordial race wiped out millennia ago. When the first settlers of Handau discovered him, they though him to be their God. Weakened from centuries of stasis, he uses what power and influence he has to source artefacts from across the globe. Although a fairly new kingdom compared to those of the Heartlands, Handau has thrived through its sea trade, slavery, and legions of mercenaries.

Magic Order – Overview

Mana is a unpredictable, volatile force that permeates the entire world. An invisible energy that’s constantly in flux, hence why some believe the wind itself is some kind of magical power.

Different cultures view magic in a number of ways, some openly fearing it and others seeing it as a gift from their god(s).

That said, magic is rarely practised freely in advanced civilisations, the only exceptions being the Wildwood of the Green Elves, the Realm of Elves, and the human city of Shara Dauv. Some tribal societies such as the Stygos, Yungors, and wilder clans also the open use of magic.

Heartland Religion

Many in the Heartlands worship The Saviour. He and his brethren, the godlike creators, were lured by an ethereal being, offering them a power beyond godhood. Some took this new blessing without question, others more reluctant. After the ritual, the being informed them of the cost – they must destroy all that they had built. The Saviour had built such a strong bond with the first humans that he turned against his brothers. He accepted the being’s power – drank from its accursed chalice – and slew his own kin. Enraged at his deception, the daemon stripped every power the The Saviour had, reducing him to a mortal man.


 

The Order

 

This explains why there is such hostility towards magic users in some parts of the world. That, and the fact that elves – sworn enemies to a number of human factions – have a remarkable affinity for magic.

The faith therefore has numerous sects: the clergy, the witch hunters, and the faith militant.

Their orders have continued to lose influence in the Heartland as magic has become more widely understood and embraced. The current dynasties strengthening bonds with the elves is also responsible, a college having been established to shelter and train magic users that would have been ostracised, cast out, or killed in centuries past. Another motive for the college is to stop rogue magi from practising the dark arts or creating their own cults like that seen in Shara Dauv.

Although Shara celebrates magic (it’s tri-archs are three of the most powerful magi in the world), the realm lacks order. Non-magi are often seen as a lower caste instead of being treated as equals and rival covens will unleashed maelstroms upon one another to gain influence and power.

The college is there to create order, it’s presence within the kingdom a beacon of acceptance. In serving the once downtrodden, the king hopes they will serve the realm in return.


 

Characters

Chapters set within the order’s institution need to be told from the perspective of a number student. The lessons they are taught will help readers understand how magic manifests in this world and how factions view it differently.

The main characters here will mostly be young misfits and outcasts with contrasting origins and backgrounds. While some magi are recruited or come seeking shelter, others are banished here and kept as prisoners.

Notable groups include the students themselves, the instructors that teach them, and the stewards that tend to the college and their needs.

The duty of monitoring students and protecting them belongs to the tower guard, some of whom are magi themselves.

Novice students are strictly forbidden from entering the nearby city, guard quarters, prison wing, or the woodland beyond the institution.

The Order

  • Grand Mage
  • Guard Master
  • Lirbarian
  • Steward Master
  • Wizard instructors – incantations, sigils, glyph, study of mana
  • Apothecary
  • Alchemists – gatherers/growers/distillers/surveyors
  • Battle Master
  • Diviner/Seer/Recruiter
  • Curators – study ancient artefacts
  • Artificers – makers of staves and other mage apparel
  • Human and elf envoys

Students

  • Human student with high mana potency who becomes of particular interest
  • Human with low potency who becomes a wizard instead
  • An elf that believes magic to be a gift that the humans stole. Sympathises with the Scions.
  • A dwarf beardling (dwarfs rarely ever have mana potency)
  • Students that want to escape to Shara Dauv
  • A wild girl from the north who is brought in chains
  • An ambitious mage who slowly becomes obsessed with blood magic

Notes:

  • There are people who come to the order falsely proclaiming to have magic talents.
  • Some students

The Island Of Sunai

West of Tirat lies the island of Sunai. It’s people, the Sun, have neutral political relations with Tirat. While some factions are allies to the Sunai, others express distrust and hostility.

Sunai is a small yet ancient cluster of islands centred around Kuji, the great mountain of fire.

The Sun are known as master craftsmen, expert seafarers, and disciplined warriors. It’s no coincidence that their three deities are the Tri-Kings of Heaven: the mountain, the blade, and the sea.

Although isolated geographically, Sunai sits on one of the world’s busiest trade routes connecting the Heartlands and realm of the Elves to Shara Dauv.

The Sun have an especially strong bond with the Dwarfs of the Iron Ring. Both have a mutual respect for one another’s ability to craft armour and weapons. Many will argue that Elven smiths are by far more proficient though their ancient techniques have been mostly lost with only a handful of masters smiths left in the world.