by T.A. Saunders ©2010 v2.0
Population: 22.3 million (60% Human, 20% Voraath, 13% Ferinal, 5% Shei 2% Asyndi.)
Government Type: Absolute Monarchy
Current Head(s) of State: The Demon, Nilharys who rules from Xos, The Frozen Dark through his mortal queen, Taric.
Capital: Lion’s Claw Hold
Alliances: Kingdom of Vyss, Windsong Republic, Albadosia
Pacts of Nonaggression: Taijun, Zodasia, Irys, Farwind, Tallis-Kah Territories
NOTE: Populations do not include half-breeds of species, save for Dragonoids, due to the fact that Dragonoids are so varied onto themselves, and cannot be easily folded into either dragons, or another group. Half-Shei are considered Shei, Half-Asyndi and Asyn-Shei are considered Asyndi, and Half-Xalayi are considered Xalayi. Dracothar and Half-Giants are too few in number to accurately count in a census, nor would many opt to take one.
The following is an atlas of cities within the Miroan Isles, or what is commonly known as Miroa. This atlas will not be an exhaustive literary work of each city, but rather a basic guide to each city and its place on the sub-continent and further, the whole of Imarel, to give the world traveler some measure of what to expect whilst traveling abroad.
At one point, Miroa was more a study of what isn’t there, rather than what was. There were no major cities, no points of interest (though the entire land could be considered a point of interest, depending on one’s curiosities) and no large populations, unless one considered the hordes of undead that once roamed the land at will. Many of those unliving fiends were from the many undocumented wars fought here when Imarel was young; some are Zissah, some Asyndi and some vaguely resemble Masoq. There were reports of Dwarvish undead lurking here and there as well, but the truth of this is still sketchy at best. The only real export from Miroa came in the way of forgotten weapons, armor and artifacts of war, left on the field of battle and lost to the passing of ages. Treasure hunters still sometimes brave this land to find such things though some find more than they are prepared to deal with.
The sub-continent is a fragmented land mass; a cluster of islands separated by channels of water called the Veins of Miroa. The southern parts of the collected land mass are frozen steppe, but going further north one will find a great deal of snow and ice which reaches its frigid peek at the S`Kyrai Fortress. There are very few plants here; lichen mostly and a bristly bush called Najin. Like plants there are very few animals, mostly hardy Lasher that can survive almost anything, Kavah, Borjah and Tundra Drake make up the predominant species, with the occasional Zodasian plains lion pride daring the lands.
The territory was once controlled mostly by the Shar`Vaire lich, Skaryn the Exiled and still bears the scars of countless wars. The land itself was once poisoned in such a way that drinking the water or eating almost any of the vegetation that somehow manages to grow in the cold, bleak land would cause a vomiting sickness in all races save Voraath and Masoq. This sickness would evolve into body rot and eventually death if perpetuated with continued consumption of the water and vegetation; this could take a few days, but no more than a week. Once the rot sets in, it cannot be cured and a slow, painful death was assured.
Dying in Miroa was also a matter of concern; those who died here had but hours before their corpse would again as an unliving monstrosity. This process was rather strange in that the same corrupting energy that turned the dead into the unliving, also empowered them; meaning the longer an unliving creature existed in Miroa, the more powerful they became. This could well have been Skaryn’s original motivation for settling in Miroa after being banished from all Shar`Vaire Imperial lands, sometime after the War of Betrayers. The most ancient of undead that lurked here in their eternal damnation were said to rival some Infernal beings in their terrible power, though most preferred to be left alone with their torment, rather than organizing into a viable force that could feasibly struck elsewhere on Imarel.
The exceptions to this rule were of course Skaryn and an undead Half-Elven witch known only as Xona the Silver-Maned. It is unclear whether this was her name in life, or a moniker to shadow a past life long forgotten; the name, regardless of its origin has been causing more and more trouble for the lich as of recent times. Until roughly twenty years ago, any dead that rose were automatically drawn to his thrall. Right before the coming of Nilharys Blackthorne and the original Warriors of Miroa, depending on where somebody died on the continent determined largely whether the undead in question would fall under Skaryn’s thrall, Xona’s thrall or become roaming, uncontrolled undead. The secret Miroa holds to how these undead are drawn to one or the other is another mystery of many this land holds and had been a continual source of vexation for Skaryn.
Towards the end of 1323 AC, another power found its way into Miroa. Arisyeema the Deceiver had retreated to the north eastern-most corner, where she knew few would hunt her. Having struck some manner of deal with Skaryn, she claimed an abandoned hold not far from S’Kyrai, where here and her Kiris Miran toiled on a plot to eventually conquer Shalzaar, strengthened by the undeath aura and protected by millions of unkillable servants of Skaryn.
With the purification of the Heart of Imarel, at the center of the ancient Asyndi city of Illidania in 1325 AC, the grip of undeath upon Miroa has been all but expunged. The Blackgate Vanguard managed to break the curse placed upon the environment-regulating artifact by Kazaar, with the help of the Spirit of Life, Trent Greenthorn. With the ability to empower undead gone, the Vanguard was able to seek out and destroy Arisyeema, with her own son, Nilharys striking the killing blow. With that blow, the face of Miroa would be changed forever.
With no further business in Miroa, the Vanguard returned to Blackgate and resumed their duties protecting the freeholds of that land. Nilharys shed his commission to the Vanguard and called to him some of the more cutthroat mercenaries that had served with him. These men and women would eventually become the first Warriors of Miroa.
Nilharys and his wife Taric would spend the next 20 years gathering more soldiers for his army, then march across the cold wasteland, purging it of every last Undead Lord of Miroa. They would also have three children, Malisar, Arathys and Syvalia. Malisar would be schooled to one day lead the fledgling nation, Arathys trained to lead its armies and Syvalia to lead its scouts into battle.
In 1340 AC, the Warriors of Miroa, now under the command of Arathys, stormed S`Kyrai at the head of over 12,000 soldiers and purged it of every last horror and treasure it contained, including Skaryn himself, who Nilharys faced in single combat. It was a great victory for Nilharys and proved to the citizens of this fledgling militant nation that their leader was indeed strong. It would be the last campaign under his father’s banner for Arathys however, having a question of morality and ideals that brought him to abandon his commandership and seek self-exile.
The Miroa of today is ruled still by Nilharys, though now without either son, with Malisar having been slain by Arathys at the end of the Second Godswar in 1346, the kingdom is at a delicate place. Until his wife bears him another heir (Syvalia also refused to take rule), the right assassin could bring Miroa tumbling into chaos. Fortunate then that the kingdom itself is strong, at least securing its stability so long as Nilharys lives to reign.
One of the first cities to pop up in the wake of the Undead Aura being purged from Miroa, Belran is a simple fishing and mining community settled by the first mercenaries to swear fealty to the conquering king. Peppered with trading posts, pubs, gambling houses, whore houses and other establishments of varying levels of repute, this city is not for those with delicate sensibilities or expecting chivalrous treatment. Belranians are a rough and tumble lot of pioneers and live by Miron’s law.
Aside of the bountiful Sliptail Hawkfish fishing and Zodasian Green Crab trapping, Belran also sits close to several mines that yield Mirocyte. When fishing or crabbing has a bad season, it’s the Mirocyte mining that keeps this city growing and thriving.
Also known as the City on the Edge of Dusk and Miron’s Asshole if you happen to be a Dwarf, Dormoth has the distinction of being the most northern city of Imarel, without crossing into the polar cap of Tandalia, where the Kashalan Giants reign in frigid seclusion. Because it’s so far north, Dormoth has three weeks during Divashi where the city never sees anything more than a brief cresting of Ka, before darkness returns.
Despite its wildly inhospitable climate, including week-long blizzards, consistent below freezing temperatures and brutal windstorms, Dormoth is a very popular city, if you happen to be looking for Ingrid Gundhirdottir’s Miroan Mead, happen to be a scholar or an archeologist, or are a vampire of either the Arisyeemian or Khavosian variety. There’s also some mining of Mirocyte here, but by far, Dormoth’s main attractions are vampires, mead and the persistent rumors of relics of ancient civilizations frozen in the ice.
While Dormoth has general stores, trading posts and a rather convenient dog sled merchant, Dormoth’s is much like Belran, with the bevy of inns and pubs to accommodate traveling scientists, scholars and other folk of learning (who, in turn benefit the vampires with a nice, transient population nobody will immediately miss), as well as a few whore houses. What Dormoth has that Belran doesn’t, is the Miroa Exchange Market, where all manner of relic, artifact or scrap of lore can be bought, sold and bartered for. Many fencers will make the trip to Dormoth from as far as Tashran to sell off an otherwise hard to move item.
Otherwise known as the First City, Ilidania is not under the control of Miroa or any other foreign power, but stands as an independent protectorate of Farwind. When the majority of Miroa was brought under Nilharys’ rule in 1332 AC, he marched his army right to the gates of the sparsely protected archaeological treasure trove and presented a treaty of nonaggression to Tyrian uth Braegon, the newly-named ‘High Scholar’ of Ilidania. The agreement goes something to the tune of Miroa allowed access to the knowledge within, while affording the city protection. The arrangement has worked well for both parties and has maintained a peaceful co-existence with the Miroan conqueror ever since.
Ilidania presently is in a strange state of being; the front districts of the city, having been finally plucked of all the ancient Asyndi lore that could be found, are under heavy reconstruction. The southern and eastern sides of the city are still in ruins, being crawled over by every manner of archeologist, scholar of ancient Asyndi lore, and curious intellectual. The research teams wandering inside some of the darker places within often come screaming into the ‘new city,’ looking for protection as they explore, from some of the ageless horrors left behind.
Other than its vast historic value and its mostly intact libraries, Ilidania doesn’t pose much of an interest to the common traveler or offer anything significant, save for rare relics that sometimes get smuggled out and sold on the Dormoth Exchange Market. It is however, a great place for strong adventurers to find work for good pay, if times are tough.
Lion’s Claw Hold (formerly Kasyatirma Hold)Edit
Renovated from an Asyndi ruin several years ago, Kasyatirma Hold was the personal domain of Arisyeema Ymiyr Kasyatirma III, exiled queen of the Kingdom of Vyss and necromantically-altered vampire. It is here that she and her lover and cohort, Thanaxiscar established a secret order of dark Dragonriders, that were loyal to her and the Kiris Miran. With the destruction of Thanaxiscar, Arisyeema retreated here, where her position was more defensible against attack. Protected by an array of illusions of high skill, the mysterious dark Dragonriders that earned the moniker Bloodriders, the Kiris Miran and several powerful undead that they were able to draw control from a mostly indifferent Skaryn, this Hold was an extremely dangerous assault for the unprepared.
With Arisyeema’s eventual defeat by the Blackgate Vanguard, Arisyeema’s son and slayer, Nilharys took over residency of the keep. Now known as Lion’s Claw Hold, after the standard of his adopted father Baron Kendrig Blackthorne, Lion’s Claw Hold is host to the bulk of the Miroan army, which presently stands at over 300,000 regulars, 5,000 foreign mercenary fighters, 8,000 of their infamous clockwork undead and an indeterminate number of demons, including Xosian Drakes (which can fly), Blood Hunters of Miron and a named Blade Witch of Miron, Asheer’ah.
The Hold itself is still protected by many of the illusions Nilharys’ mother put in place, with a slew of secret passages, false doors and booby-trapped passages added later on makes this structure perhaps one of the most dangerous places to breach with an attacking force, in the world.
One of the few structures in all of Miroa that has not been destroyed by war or passing, is the Citadel S`Kyrai, from which Skaryn the Exiled once reigned over the majority of the sub-continent. The fortress is a massive structure, spanning several dozen city blocks worth in sprawling territory. Originally, the citadel had surrounded an Asyndi palace that was destroyed well before Skaryn ever came to Miroa. There are the remains of several barracks for soldiers and several homes; signs that a town was beginning to flourish within, with a handful of shops lingering in perfect condition for the most part, but abandoned to whatever darkness claimed the populous.
Those who have gone deeply enough into S`Kyrai have documented the ruins of the palace in question, along with a massive observatory, a library that nearly rivals the Great Library in Farwind and countless labyrinthine passages throughout the fortress itself that have long since fallen to disrepair, or collapsed from conflicts that history has no record of happening.
Those adventurous enough to enter S`Kyrai when the arch-lich still controlled it, have recounted that so long as Skaryn himself remained undisturbed, most people have been able to walk right into the fortress and look at whatever they like, take whatever they like and leave unmolested by the countless undead that once wandered it.
Unfortunately, most of the valuable things people would want, such as the books and scrolls were in the library, where Skaryn used to lurk. Having mastered necromancy beyond all but a handful on Imarel, Skaryn was not to be taken lightly. One tale accounted a group of Moon Elf explorers, accompanied by a whole battalion of mercenary troops from Kasiq being utterly destroyed, save three survivors, for attempting to take the library by force.
Of those three, one later used an awl to bore a hole in his skull to bleed out the nightmares he was having, one smashed his skull open with a hammer for similar reasons and the last survivor managed to scrawl out the tale of this horribly failed venture on the walls of his infirmary room, before gouging out his own eyes with a spoon. Suffice to say, the wise did not challenge Skaryn for the one thing he seems to care about in the whole, vast citadel for centuries untold.
In 1340 AC, an invading force of 12,000 highly trained Warriors of Miroa marched on S`Kyrai with with the express purpose of vacating Skaryn and every last undead fiend that lurked within. The battle raged for weeks, quickly turning into a bloody slog through crowded corridors filled, wall to wall, with various sorts of powerful undead unseen elsewhere in the world. In the end, merely 3,000 soldiers survived, including their commander, Nilharys’ son, Arathys and his Bone Fist Battalion. Overall, this was considered a victory, with the heavy casualties, for having seen the destruction of Skaryn and the liberation of his vast library into the hands of the Miroan King.
Presently, archeologists are winding through the citadel, studying its secrets and unearthing rarities from a time long forgotten. Work crews have also been sent into S`Kyrai with the intention of restoring it, possibly for future use by the Kingdom of Miroa.
Serving as the entry point for most anybody to the Kingdom of Miroa, Travin boasts the only airship harbor in the land. Going any further north with an airship, even some of the military grade ones, begs for disaster for the harsh weather and freezing conditions the whole sub-continent experiences year round, save during the latter half of Lasa and through Nisa.
Because this is the only safe port in Miroa, it is a bustling, affluent center of business, where taverns, pubs and bordellos are squeezed in with banking houses, caravan guilds, and fish markets. It is also the most heavily populated city in Miroa, with 37,000 people; more than the city of Sundown by a small margin.
Travin is also home to the High Church of Miron, located at the center square of the city, looming above all other things with black stone with blood red standards, fashioned with the shield and eight spears of Miron upon the fabric. Because of the general distaste for the Lords of Chaos elsewhere, worship of the other Xosian gods is allowed at the church and certain ceremonies are allowed, but none of the murderous nonsense of the darker religions adhere to.