Jewel of Chijin Culture: Kadmir


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If there is a point in Gaitan history that could be pointed to as the moment the north and south’s hatred for one another boiled over it would be the battle over Kadmir. Before Kadmir the northern region of Gaitan stayed out of the affairs of the south, permitting them to move into the Western Valley and through the middle of Gaitan, which was at the time unclaimed territory. They saw no reason why unused land should be ignored and if the South wished to have that land, then the north was more than happy to give it to them. The problem only escalated when the south grew greedy, wanting more than just the middle land of Gaitan and began encroaching on the land primarily under the Chijin peoples care in the east.

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The city of Kadmir was known as the Jewel of Chijin Culture with their colourful birds, lushes fields, ample forests, and luxurious culture. They were exporters of rare spices and
masters in economics. One could say that Kadmir’s elements were what forced Sydrin to build La’reen out of shear jealousy of the fact those of Easterly were gifted enough to be the most advanced of the people within Gaitan. The first theater was built within the city focusing on music, drama, and other pieces of the arts. The famous play Fates Above covering the creation of the world and the early life of the Three Gods created by the famous playwright Delverkin Van Morsner was one of the many piece of Chijin art found within the remains of the theaters archives.

Wishing to be the ruler of all free men, King Ja’kle of Syder raised a force to intimidate those within Kadmir to abandon the city or at least give ownership of the city over to the south. It was with this news the northern king – Nor – raised an army to come to the Chijin’s aid. Those in Kadmir welcomed those of Derm with open arms, which in turn enraged King Ja’kle further causing him to retaliate by burning the city to the ground, salting the land, and poisoning their water. In their mind, if they couldn’t have the city then no one would.

These heinous actions against Kadmir pushed those in the North to attack King Ja’kle and his troops resulting in the southern king’s demise. The conflict could have ended there but with the death of the southern king and the loss of Kadmir the new king of the South – Ar’id the Avenger, eldest son of Ja’kle’s eight children – swore to seek justice for his father’s ‘murder’ by declaring war on the Northern Nation of Derm.

All that remains of the Jewel of Chijin Culture is a wasteland worn away from years of battles fought upon its soil. Pieces of the once proud buildings said to be laces with silver and gold are no more than outlines of foundation. There are still some places that remain in one piece, mostly the tunnel systems that once snaked through the streets. Those studying archaeology and history in the universities throughout Gaitan say that there are still murals depicting everyday life and culture scattered throughout the vast tunnel systems. Kadmir’s artifacts like pottery, surviving manuscripts, and art can be seen on display at the University of Calin. Some pieces like the original screenplay of  Fates Above or maps of the city can been seen upon formal request.

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Derlin the City of Kings


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Derlin – the capital of Derm – also known as the City of Kings, is the third largest city in Gaitan. The population is mainly Dermite but there is a fair amount of Chijin living within the wall of the city. The population of Derlin fluctuate throughout the year. During the winter months the city has about 943,800 residence but when spring comes around and the passage to the Isle of Steel opens the populations goes down to 678,300 (give or take).derlin2

As Derlin has a channel that leads into King’s Port, they mainly use that for transporting their goods. Derlin is where most goods are sorted, stored, and priced for trade to other countries such as Easterly or some communities in the west. Their main form of trade is Demori Steel (shipped in from the Isle of Steel), feathers, wood, granite, grain, cotton, and hemp. King’s Port also ships fish to the capital where it is mostly salted and stored.

Outside of commerce the city of Derlin is also where most government discussions between the councils are held. Once a year for two months representatives of the countries across Gaitan gather in the inner chambers of Derlin’s Castle to discuss trade treaties, open border agreements, and other political arrangements.

Leaders of the Dermite military are also trained within the walls of Derlin, taking part in similar training as the Gryphon Guardians that train in the higher levels of the castle close to the Gryphon Keep – the highest point in all of Derlin.

The Castle of Derlin is built into the mountainside with ornate architecture that tells the stories of historic battles and important moments in Dermite history. The carvings continue on the inside of the castle where you can see the faces of the hard working craftsmen that built the castle carved into the archways along with symbols and words long forgotten by history. Rumors say that one of the hallways in the castle was dedicated to Kanrow Farbic – prophet and creator of the Prophecy Six.

Although Derlin is considered rich from their commerce and their population is relatively happy the city isn’t without their problems. When the villages outside of the city suffer with bandits and slavers Derlin’s guards battle with keeping the gangs and thieves under control. One group – the Hanging Boatmen – have been causing the most issues since they made themselves known about five years to the common day. The Hanging Boatmen got their names from raiding the ships using the channel between Derlin and King’s Port and leave the crew hanging from their mast. No one knows what they do with the supplies they raid, but it is assumed that they are selling it on the black-market to help enemy forces.

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The Western Valley: The Mountain City of Morza


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Morza is the city best known as the Masters of Dragons and mountain people of the West.morza

While most would stay away from the dangers of the Western Mountains the people of Morza learnt to live in harmony with what many would fear. After being exiled from Sydrin over 400 years ago, the Morzi people made their way West and settled in the mountains where they set up small yurt like buildings. They grew to depend on everyone pulling their weight and did not see gender as weakness. A man could do a woman’s job just as well as a woman could do a man’s.

The Morzi mostly kept to themselves, trading with lone merchants travelling between the North and South. Although their relationship was rocky with the South they kept friendly with the large nation that had let them live.

They were one of the only groups asides from the scattered few across Gaitan that follow the Grand Three belief where all three Gods work in unity to make the world spin. Most consider this a deluded belief as many believe that the Gods are in constant conflict just like the land of Gaitan.

The Morzi did not have a king. Instead they were led by a leader they called the Mor. The Mor, in a sense is like a Warden, making the final decision in tough situations. Most issues were decided by the people with the Mor having the last say in the matter if need be. Second to the Mor was the Shazamest – or Master Healer. The Shazamest was the keeper of history and tradition as well as the most skilled healer of their people. The Shazamest worked as council for the Mor and at times could over power the Mor if in the best interest of the people.

Morza was the smallest territory with the smallest population. They rarely imported goods unless for special events like their New Years celebration which took place during the early fall. Their main exports were dragons and dragon items (leather, teeth, bone), which they raised and trained from the caves close to their city.

Not much is known about the Morzi people as they considered themselves private and few outsiders were ever granted permission to learn the complex histories of these people. What knowledge we have on record is through oral communications with Ambassador Suzara, and texts discovered upon further investigation after the massacres. We at the university of La’reen hope to find further insight regarding these unique people and will continue to update this entry upon discovery of new knowledge.

Records by Sage Beltervil Vedmolc (Middle Summer, fourth week, Age of Cain) 

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The Western Valley: The Stonework of Stone Creek


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stonecreekStone Creek is a work camp caught between the Western Valley and the Northern border. Its main purpose is to cut marble from the old Mia river basin that was redirected by Dermite workers when the marble was discovered over 130 years prior.

Only a handful of workers live in the camp, switching out every three months to visit family in Derm or Menk. The marble is sent to the Dermite capital of Derlin to fortify the walls or grow the city within the walls. The marble is also sold to the East for their elaborate architecture, although the East prefers to work with alabaster and limestone.

The camp consists of thirty men at one time which spend most of their hours cutting and moving stones out of the quarry. Stone Creek is abandoned during the winter seasons and resumes near the end of spring when the snow has fully melted. Those that work in Stone Creek are friendly and up for trading food for stories if you happen to be travelling through that way.

Not many choose to stay at the camp unless they have to but new faces are always a welcoming sight for the men working the quarry.

There is a Chijin sculpture by the name of Havin Grockburnker that spends his time in the quarry. Since the age of ten, he spent his summers with the workers learning about marble and at times negotiating prices with merchants that wish to buy. When he was fifteen, Grockburnker began using the flawed pieces of marble for his personal projects, sculpting ‘the spirit’ of the marble. He has created over 100 pieces and is paid to do commissions for very influential clients, (Empress of La’reen and Father Valkrin of Sydrin). Now, at the age of 56 his work is bought by royalty and the money he receives he uses to better the lives of those in the quarry by buying new equipment, lodging, or food.

Havin Grockburnker’s most famous pieces – The Three Siblings – can be found in the Arrowhilm Temple.

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The Gateway to The West: City of Demor


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demorDemor, the gateway between the Western Valley and the Northern Nation of Derm. This city was built 300 years before the common day, around the same time Morza was founded in the West. After the Dermite fled from Derlin – the capital city of Derm – many settled closer to the resources they needed for their weapons and people.

Demor is home to over 2000 people in tightly confined walls and townhouses. The area is surrounded by pine, cedar, and spruce. Their main purpose is to defend the Northern border from attackers, breed the gryphons that live in the hills and supply the capital with iron, silver, and steel.

The Steward of Derm resides over the city and keeps close watch on the relationship between the West – mostly Bay’s Lake – and the Dermite. They are far enough from the south-east to not concern themselves with the war going on between Derm and Sydrin, but they are ready if need be. The only issues Demor contends with are bandits robbing the merchants on the main roads and slavers stealing children from the outlying villages.

Although there are plenty of dangers outside the walls, Demor is surprisingly safe within the walls. With the population made up of militants and their families, that really isn’t of much surprise. The city smells of urine, wood smoke, and feces from people dumping their garbage in the streets. The Detress – wife of the Steward – is responsible in finding ways to improve the peoples’ morale and the state of her city. Asides from the terrible smell and cramped living space, Demorian’s are happy living within the walls of their city and won’t waste time bragging about it.

If you are looking at staying in Demor the best place would be the castle as there’s a lot of space once you make it through the second wall and inside the castle limits. Gaining access to the castle is difficult though, since only those welcomed by the Steward or the King are aloud to preside within the walls. This list includes council members, political officials, family, Gryphon Guardians, physicians, and special guests.

If you don’t fall under any of those titles you will likely be staying outside the castle walls. The best we can suggest for your accommodations during your stay within the Gateway City is the Naughty Norg. The inn sleeps fifty and has a good (could pass as) meat pie. They also – according to the fat Chijin that own’s the place – have the best stout in the city.

“I had the pleasure of staying in the castle. It was a wonderful experience and the Detress ensured my stay to be most pleasant. The feather mattresses were like sleeping on air. The food was made for a King and the gardens were breath taking.” – Milo Kettlebert (Mispick)

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“I like the garden, and the people in the market are friendly… although I spend most of my time reading in my room.” – Liora (Morza)

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“Best way to improve morale is to have mor-ale. Get it? Mor Ale! Ha!” – Finto Brassworth (Arrowhilm)

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“The shops have a lovely selection of fabrics and the draper is always willing to share his secrets.” – Emery Thermae (Menk)

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The Western Valley: The Orchard Village of Downrow


Downrow is a village who focuses mainly on fruit and fruit trees, in the middle of the Western Valley.downrow

It has a population of 160 people and growing, since the main road cuts right through the middle of the town. With this convince of the main road Downrow gets a lot of travellers heading either to the North or South throughout the travelling season of spring- fall. Even with the growing population and increased visitors, Downrow doesn’t have an inn or tavern.

Well they have a tavern but it’s a tented shop with wooden boxes for seats. The local rumours have it that they’ll be looking at building a tavern in the coming years if the visitors keep coming. They don’t want to waste resources on something that won’t bring in coin.

Downrow is also home to a Pellar (a basic healer that uses strange mixtures and odd items to cure people). He lives along the river’s edge outside the village limits in a tent. He likes to be alone but is known to have the Baker’s wife – Talia – check up on him and make sure he’s well.

Downrow is called the Village of Orchards for a reason, as most of the trees surrounding the village bear some kind of fruit. They harvest apples, plums and peaches. They also grow strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They have the juiciest and sweetest fruits in the land, which even those in La’reen seek to have on their breakfast platters. Researchers from Calin believe the deliciousness of these fruits can be contributed to the rich soil of the valley and the Mia River that helps create the perfect environment for the fruit trees to flourish. The locals believe it is their hard work and passion for growing the perfect fruit that is the reason their village has grown in popularity for their harvests.

So, if you like your fruit and don’t mind sleeping in a barn for a night come stay in Downrow.

“Broket’s Bakery makes the best peach tarts.” – Rose-Marie Fiddlebottom (Arrowhilm)

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“Can catch some nice trout, and they don mind yah cookin’ it on the shore neither.” – Frow Rolbirk (Grelmik)

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“They say they had a healer, but he’s a loon!” – Kalben Aldros (La’reen)

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The Western Valley: The Border Town of Bay’s Lake


bayslakeBay’s Lake is a merchant hub that’s close to the Derm border. Still considered part of the Western Valley, Bay’s Lake welcomes anyone wishing to trade or sell goods. They carry exotic items from the far south like silks, perfumes, and jewellery. They carry precious gems and special leathers from the East. They also carry master crafted weapons and ale from the North.

Bay’s Lake, although considered a neutral border town,is occupied by Dermite. Those living or visiting will see the guards marching in their royal blue capes, dressed in their polished silver armour and carrying their banners of the Silver Gryphon. The guards mainly keep to themselves and rarely get involved with the lives of those on the island but if there’s trouble they’re the first to act.

The village isn’t only known for its large marketplace, but for their fishing. As the largest body of fresh water, Bay’s Lake is the main producer of sturgeon, lake trout, and during certain times of the year salmon. They also harvest the kelp and snails.

The population of Bay’s Lake fluctuates depending on the year. During the winter Bay’s Lake has around 100 living within the village, while during the spring, summer, and fall there can be over 500. There are several inns and taverns to accommodate all travellers’ tastes and with music playing every night by the docks, there is always entertainment.

If music isn’t your passion there are plenty of trails and shops to explore. There is also an assortment of food to try from roasted chestnuts and dried fruits to the locals favourite suckling pig and kelp chips.

If you are passing through to the North or making your way to the South, don’t forget to stop off through Bay’s Lake for a visit. It is worth any detour.

“The fishin’s great and the inns are cheap.” -Brek Brambldo (Fish Bank)

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“The view of the lake is absolutely inspirational.” -Daislee Patree (Calin)

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“Cooler than I’d like but the food made up for it.” -Kal’kin Gir’mli (Syder)

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The Western Valley: Village of Menk


menkMenk is a well-known village in the north-western mountains.

The river running through Menk feeds into the Mia River (the largest river in the west). Before it became a popular resting place for merchants and travellers heading to Derm, Menk was a mining village focused on retrieving the rich Demori steel deposits from the innards of the mountain. Unfortunately it was when striking too deep in the mines that they hit an underground spring filling the tunnels and washing out the village.

When the water had calmed, people flocked to the village, this time attempting to settle the mountain for fishing and logging. Unfortunately five years after rebuilding Menk another flood came and the process repeated two more times until someone – historians assume the current mayor – came up with the idea to dam the river to control the flooding in hopes of preserving the village.

The idea worked and twenty years later Menk stayed free of flooding. The small village grew to a moderate size of around 150 people all working the mines, logging camps, and fisheries.

Brew Master Hargin from the lower valley moved to the village bringing with him his stouts and wines he was known for throughout the west. It was due to his popularity that travellers began visiting Menk, turning it into the popular resting spot along the road to Derm.

“I can’t hear myself think over the rushing river… that might be a good thing.” 

Filroot Fiddlebotton (Mispick)

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“Food is good. Drinks fantastic. Can’t complain.” 

Drog Stalbec (King’s Port)

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The Western Valley: Berk


 

Berk

Berk, a village consisting of two farms, a smith and about fifteen people, all of which are related to one another in some way. There is no inn or tavern. The closest thing for entertainment is watching farmers drunk on home-made mead try and tip cows.

The town on Berk isn’t a memorable place and most just hurry to the next town or avoid the village all together.

They produce wheat, barely, and beef.

It is believed Berk started as two families who left the town of Irbet, although no one really knows… not even the villagers. They all have different stories regarding how the town came to be. Some say they came from the mountains to the North, other say they were prims* that decided to settle down and build a community.

Not much is known of the town and honestly… no one really cares…

*Prims: savage, wild, nomadic peoples of the eastern wild-lands.

“Whatever you do… do not have the stew.”

Caldor Lefwid (Easterly)

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“Nothin’ but cows and their brew tastes like piss.”

Baller Eccstone (Derm)

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