World Travel Guide

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Draconic Empire

by T.A. Saunders ©2010 v1.6

Information

Population: 28.1 million (35% Dragonoid, 20% Human, 19% Dragon, 18% Shei, 8% Van'Su.)
Government Type: Absolute Monarchy
Current Head(s) of State: Tashalasheeri and Hazaad
Capital: Dragon's Enclave
Currency: None; barter system in effect in all matters of trade.
Alliances: The Kingdom of Miroa
Pacts of Nonaggression: Kingdom of Vyss, Kingdom of Moonfall, Zodasia, Windsong Republic, Farwind, Tallis-Kah Territories, Irys.

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.

Overview

The following is a list of cities within the Draconic Empire on the continent of Shalzaar (and the sub-continent of Tirania). 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 continent of Shalzaar and further, the whole of Imarel, to give the world traveler some measure of what to expect whilst traveling abroad.

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Atlas of the Draconic Empire

Dragon's Enclave (Capital): While their fellows slept in great burrows in what would eventually become Farwind, the dragons that chose to lick their wounds and prepare for war with the Shar'Vaire once more established themselves in the cold north of Shalzaar and soon after, the sub-continent of Tirania. While the Shar'Vaire had ancient strongholds in Shalzaar at this point in history, they were primarily mid-land and south. They had no desire to adapt to the cold climate further north and further, their new airships did not fly well in the windy, bitter reaches. The Dragon's Enclave was established here for this reason; should the Shar'Vaire discover them here and launch an attack, it would nullify the advantage gained by their airships, since the Dragons were able to learn and understand the frigid air currents and find means to fly in them.

Xannti Dragons themselves do not believe there is a need for cities; there is territory and their claim upon it. Buildings, structures and shelters for many of their kind are pointless, since Dragons are very slow to procreate so there is never a large cluster of them in a particular area, beyond their immediate clutch. Each Dragon has their lair somewhere on the territory and other dragons respect it. If they don't, they will fight and blood will decide the owner. All the cities in their territories are from conquered land they now control that house other races. These cities are allowed to stand by the dragons because they are little more than breeding grounds for their slaves and a place to keep them.

The Enclave represents a hope of the northern dragons that their misguided brothers of the distant west would someday join with them again. That hope still exists, despite the fact that Xannti Dragons and Farwindian Dragons bitterly debate the paths each has taken. Xannti Dragons believe that The Falling was more of a realization by Tashalasheeri and the First Clutch that Imarel was theirs and their place was not in the Bright Heavens, but here where they would reign supreme in defiance of the Old Gods. The Enclave is a vast structure; perhaps the largest building on Imarel, fit for ten thousand dragons to gather in their natural form with a statue of Tashalasheeri roaring at the heavens in the middle of this gigantic edifice. Constructed from marble and trimmed with gold, it was given a perpetual gleam with draconic magic; it is easy to spot even from the sky, so all dragons anywhere might find their home.

The Enclave serves no other purpose, but to act as a gathering place for dragons; in that regard it is what can be best described as a capital, since matters of state are discussed here amongst all dragons, who pay fealty to the strongest amongst them. The Emperor was, until recently an ancient grand Wyrm known as Thanaxiscar the Bloodied Fang, or simply Bloodfang to those few humanoids that have had the distinct displeasure of meeting him. He was overthrown by Tashalasheeri herself, who now reigns as Empress. The Enclave is a place of great reverence to the dragons; it is always guarded by honor-bound sentinels with Human, Van'su and Dracothar soldiers always on patrol.

With the ending of the Second Godswar, all dragons have been seen reunited. However, for the dramatic toll the war took on the population, 95% of the dragons now sleep, including Tashlasheeri. Her finally reunited mate, Hazaad rules in her stead. The dragons that remain awake are some of the most powerful of the three clans (Xinntu, Xannti and Xin, the Prismatics). These dragons safeguard the sleeping ones until it is time for them to rise again, and broods are replenished by those that remain awake.

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Aune: Aune is the last known city of the Van'su people and remains much as it did then, with vaulting towers, fitted with open rooftops for the winged Van'su to land and enter the structures. Looking much like very ornate nests, these spires pepper the area and surround what was once a vast library of Van'suian cuneiform scrolls. The Van'su were explorers and scholars mostly, having few real enemies until the Shar'Vaire turned militant. Save for the occasional Masoq raid which they handled quite well given their advantage with flight, life in Aune was a quiet one, filled with learning and discovery.

Around 8695 BF, it had become clear that the Shar'Vaire were intent on not only stealing their advanced magical knowledge on planar travel, but to eradicate them as a race. Having no real defense, besides those Van'su willing to fight for their homes, most simply fled to other planes or some believe may have teleported themselves to Ishaela. Aune was just another city in the great northern reaches of the Van'su republic that would have been destroyed utterly had the Dragons not found it first. The deal Thanaxiscar made the terrified Van'su was simple: Serve the dragons and live in peace, or be left to the Shar'Vaire and destroyed. With the extinction of their own kind now a grim reality, the council of Van'su agreed to submit themselves to the dragons as their servants.

The arrangement has not been an all-together bad one. The Van'su have no desire for material wealth and seek only knowledge; the Dragons desire material wealth over all other things and have vast amounts of knowledge. Van'su act as scribes of draconic history and are often chosen by dragon nobles to be personal chroniclers of their bloodline. Van'su also act as house wizards, enchanting dragon lairs for their masters with traps and defenses. Van'su also entertain their draconic masters with their beautiful songs that have brought the great Wyrms to tears at times. The Van'su of Aune are not required to live with their masters — indeed, most dragons prefer that their slaves keep to their own city and come to them only when summoned.

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Davenshire: When the Shalzaarian Border Wars began, Davenshire was the first city of the Kingdom of Moonfall to fall. The Dragons gave no warning when they attacked but made a point to only slay those who stood against them. Soldiers, warriors or anybody who raised a sword or spell against them was put to death before the citizenry and a choice was presented to them by Thanaxiscar in much the same manner he had given the Van'su a choice. Van'su were even brought with the raiding party to exalt the kindness of the dragons if they submitted and the terrible wrath they would face if they did not.

Humans however, are not Van'su. Pitchforks and picks were raised by anybody who could bear arms and one last stand was made. The slaughter was a swift and merciless one by the dragons, who took no prisoners and reduced a city with a population of fifty thousand people, to one of perhaps forty in a span of a week. The scattered remains were those too old to fight, too scared to fight or too young to lift a weapon. These people were spared and left to rebuild their decimated city.

In thirty years the slaughter has not dimmed from the survivor's minds and generations born into the dilapidated remains of a once proud city are told the stories of what happened, so they will not forget. The Humans that occupied Davenshire until recently were bitter Hillfolk, most of whom served the dragons grudgingly or out of fear. Occasionally revolts were plotted and launched, but most ended before they began, with their fellows turning them in to their draconic masters.

With the end of the War of Shadows (the Shalzaarian Border Wars would be the precursor to the broader conflict) Humans were given leave to depart Davenshire and allowed free passage back to Grand Duchy lands as part of cessation of hostilities. With so few left by the end of the war, Davenshire is now nearly completely abandoned, save for families with hybrid children, who have chosen to remain and rebuild.

Eventually with the peace accorded at the end of the war, some humans did indeed return to Davenshire and adapted to the new way of life there. Even voting to stay a part of the Draconic Empire instead of returning to Moonfall.

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Hastenworth: With the fall of Davenshire, Hastenworth was next on the Dragons' agenda. By this time the Kingdom had gotten a runner to Moonfall and his Majesty's armies were on the march but it would be some time before they could reach the doomed city. As before, Thanaxiscar gave the residents of Hastenworth the choice to surrender. The residents didn't need the Van'su scholars to give them a history of the Dragons; enough stories of what had happened in Davenshire were enough to bring Hastenworth to submission with very little bloodshed.

There were those who fought of course, mainly adventuring types, heroes that had been visiting family and friends in the city at the time of the conflict, but they were simply eradicated by the fierce army of Dragons. Unwilling to lose their homes, crops and families, Hastenworth willingly lowered the standard of the Grand Duchy from their city hall and raised the black and yellow banner of Thanaxiscar and the Dragon Empire.

In the passing of time since the conquest of this particular city, Hastenworth had become something of a breeding ground for dragon half-breeds; the Dracothar were taken and cruelly trained as shock-troopers nearly from their birth, while Dragonoid children were taken and trained as keepers for their human slaves. The first generations of these Dracothar shock-troopers and Dragonoid keepers have matured to adulthood, finished their instruction and have been integrated back into Hastenworth's society with mixed success. The ultimate goal was to make Hastenworth so heavy with draconic influence that the Humans would prefer to stay within the Draconic Empire, rather than seek to revolt or flee for the Grand Duchy of Brookshire, or the Kingdom of Vyss.

As with Davenshire, with the end of the War of Shadows citizens of Hastenworth were given free passage from the city to Grand Duchy lands, though with so many of these Humans succumbing to the Xannti and breeding hybrid children, many of these families with Dragonoid and Dracothar siblings and children have decided to stay and rebuild instead. Since Hastenworth did not suffer as Davenshire did, there are more people overall and less damage to repair from the war.

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Lyrewood: The city of Lyrewood was the last to fall to the Draconic Empire, with constant fighting between the joined armies of the Kingdom of Moonfall and the Kingdom of Vyss against the Xannti Dragons and their Dracothar shock-troopers plaguing her walls daily. The city, once one of the ancient cities built by the Elves for the Humans, became a smoldering battlefield with few buildings left standing, families hidden in their cellars and fighting day in and day out.

Their plans for Lyrewood were much like their plans for Hastenworth had been; to use Humans to breed hybrids for an army they meant to use to eventually conquer Shalzaar. Since Humans aren't Asyndi, there is no true Draconian law that forbids them to breed with them, so the process of doing so was widely embraced. Lyrewood had been costly for the Dragons to hold however with causalities mounting almost daily. Thanaxiscar was a very old and very stubborn Dragon and did not give up his new territory so easily, even if it meant slaughtering every Human it had and freezing the ground their city stood on to lifeless ruin.

By the end of the War of Shadows, there is simply nothing left of Lyrewood worth rebuilding.The Human refugees that were spared have abandoned the city to the Xannti and left for Grand Duchy lands, when given leave by the new Empress, Tashalasheeri. The ruined city stands in silent effigy to the horrors this most recent war has brought upon innocent people.

Eventually, Lyrewood was rebuilt right before the Peasant's Rebellion of 1351 AC, by many of the humans and Dragonoids in the surrounding area who wished to see it flourish again. After six years of hard work, the town stood new again, though much smaller than before.

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Coldwind Aerie: The Aerie is the last known remaining structure of Van'Su architecture that remains untouched from the Shar'Vaire purging of their people. Thought because their airships could not reach the vast, frozen mountain peek the aerie sat upon, it has remained and forgotten for an age now, save for the few brave adventurers and scholars that attempt to make the treacherous climb up Coldwind Mountain.

Those who have returned from such expeditions tell tales of strange devices that blend science and magic together in almost seamless perfection and of great metal portals, left open and forgotten that lead to a thousand different dimensions. The dangers however, are many in that these same portals that lead to many places are likewise invitations to hostile creatures on the other side who can and have crossed over into Imarel.

Surviving Coldwind Aerie offers a vast boon of strange Van'Su magic that centers largely around planar travel and knowledge of the Multiverse. They were never much for fighting, which is why the Shar'Vaire defeated them so soundly and so quickly, but there are examples of ancient Van'Su armor and weapons that can be found here that tell a tale of a time perhaps that they were not so peaceful.

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Other Minor Cities and Towns

T'Zak: Port city. Known for its dragonoid and dracothar pirates.

Wurm's Maw: Port city. Does the majority of trading with Zodasia and Miroa.

Xor'kah: Van'Su village. Known for primarily trading in rare spell components and books.

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