[ruling species:: Halgians
[native language:: Halgian
[monarch(s):: Empress Zenobia
Rarest among the Realms, only a very small portion of Evylon is inhabited; the middle continent, called Shi'vrann'aeli in the elven tongue, holds the only hospitable portion of them all. The rest is wild and untamed, scorched by mage-storms to the wicked north and cruel west. The sea that borders where the Heartwoodian elves make their home is called the Drowned Sea, for its reputation of sinking anything that attempts to float - or fly - over its raging surface. To the south, unnamed monsters roam, locked on a continent some scholars worry will someday collide with Shi'vrann'aeli, invading the helpless North.
This Realm is found to have no true gods. Therefore, the populace has taken to worship Daama, scion of light, their Ether Spirit and guardian. As leader of the Ethers, she is only made stronger by the faith of her followers and the strength of her Realm, as close to a goddess as any can be.
Halgia is a land of great natural beauty, and raging magestorms. The wondrous cities of the Halgians stand in defiance of these storms, protected by powerful magical shields, and guarded by the might of the Halgian Empire. Divine Dragons - specialized, enchanted, and very powerful golems designed and built by a mixture of races - are prolific around these cities, keeping them from harm.
APPEARANCE: Altum Turrii is a grand sight. Atop ten separate mountain peaks that form a ring, stand ten grand towers. Each tower is dedicated to one of the Ten, and houses an immense gate. The towers themselves serve as barracks and dwellings. Extending inwards and slightly upwards from each tower is a stone sky-way large enough for ten horses to walk across abreast. These sky-ways extend to a massive central tower, and serve as its only visible support. The central tower is dominated by a beautiful temple carved from white stone, inside of which is a massive statue of Daama, clutching a large crystal in her claws. Below this crystal is a large opening, through which a constant stream of magic pours upward from the ground far below, through the crystal, and upwards to power the city's shield. Within this temple, the Oracle makes his or her home.
CULTURE: The Imperial Oracle of Daama dwells within this city when away from the capitol. This is one of the only cities where any ceremonies dedicated to the Ten are held, although Daama is still honored above all. The Oracle is considered to be the highest authority over the Imperial priesthood, thus there are many ceremonies honoring Daama that take place in Altum Turrii.
APPEARANCE: One of Halgia's most beautiful cities, and the home of the greater majority of their Imperial, dragonriding forces, Argenpel is built into the eastern mountains. The largest aspect of the city is a massive, terraced bowl shape, filled with openings that lead to various, open rooms crafted from white marble and the silvery rock of the Glorria Ridge. These rooms are tied to smaller rooms filled with furniture, and are for the riders themselves, where the larger, open ones belong to their dragons. It is not uncommon to see the various Silvers, Golds, and Bronzes basking in the sunlight whenever it happens to break through the mage storms, laid out on the terraces with their riders beside them. In the Bowl's shadow, the rest of the city is laid out, white buildings growing progressively smaller the farther away from the Bowl they are built. There's no curtain wall, and Argenpel is built across the natural rocks, rises and depressions of the land, watchtowers and the dragons providing their protection from enemies, along with the Great Barrier that protects them from the storms above at all times. A small tower stands as a base of operations just beneath and to the west of the bowl, with military barracks for normal soldiers found around it. The rest of the city is laid out in triangular sections spreading from this tower, and Divine Dragons sit at its very top, maintaining the barrier at all times. More of these dragon golems can be found along the outskirts, still as stone save for their gleaming, glowing eyes.
CULTURE: Vast and prosperous, Argenpel stands out as being the home base of much of their Imperial forces, and the training grounds for hundreds, even thousands, of new-bonded dragons and their riders year by year. Young Halgians that have shown interest and aptitude in becoming knights will be shown to young dragons hatched by bonded parents, and often are trained alongside them to see if any bond early, though this is considered very rare, and such a child is deemed a Child of Promise and are trained all their lives. Most often, the trained children are reunited with the dragons that they met when all are young adults, and bonds are formed then. Those who do not bond are sent to go through as traditional knights, mages, or paladins, while those bonded become true Imperials.
Being a city filled with dragons and their riders, the normal citizenry is filled with craftsman and merchants who make various things from shed dragonscales, broken horns, baby fangs, among others. They forge weapons made from the bones of dragons who have died in various conflicts, dragons who have pledged their bodies to Halgia even after death, with bespelled divine metal, gold, and silver. There are few farmers and food merchants within Argenpel; such things are often traded for.
APPEARANCE: The arena in Arx Adamar is second in size only to the one in the capitol city, and is surpassed only by the fortress headquarters of the Valkyries. An imposing structure, the fortress stands as a stronghold within a stronghold, as the city itself is well-defended by high walls, many Divine Dragons, and a powerful shield. At the center of the city stands a large parade ground where the entire force of Valkyrie can assemble.
CULTURE: A garrison city, Arx Adamar exists entirely to cater to the needs of the Valkyries. Those elite warriors often engage in fights in the arena to hone their skills when they aren't out patrolling the Empire. Aspiring Valkyries face rigorous tests until they are deemed ready to undergo their final trials beyond the walls, out in the wilds of Evylon.
APPEARANCE: A city on the western edge of the Glorias, Avis is built of high white walls and tall, sharp towers, built into the mountainside and protected by a triangular, Divine-kept barrier. Aeries and rooms without stairs house angels, avians and seraphim, while the lower districts are home to Halgian folk, though angels outnumber all three. The tallest tower holds an ancient Divine Dragon with a cracked Soulgem, who upholds the barrier but may no longer move - once a year, he is decorated with glowing angel feathers, until blown out with wind magic to cover the city in downy white feather-snow.
CULTURE: Avis is a city of hope and purity; its peoples are optimistic and kindhearted, and outsiders are never turned away should they be in any sort of need. They hold festivals year-round for a variety of things, though the most important of these is the Day of Light, in which the ancient Divine Dragon is covered in small trinkets and angel feathers, decorated completely and differently each year. These feathers are then taken off and blown out of the room to rain down on the streets below, where Halgians and flightless children may collect them and make them into jewelry, small trinkets, or enchanted items, and then sell them come the next market day. Trade in these divine feathers is good, and many caravans brave the mage storms to come and buy their wares.
APPEARANCE: Illus-Adamar is dominated by a vast temple-palace, the very heart of the Halgian Empire. Within dwell the royal family, their attendants, the Imperial bodyguards, and a large assortment of priests, caretakers, and officials. The structure is resplendent with columns, spires, porticos, and statues. Its architecture and overall appearance is overall one of severity, and unyielding grandeur. Surrounding the temple-palace stand several grand manors for some of the Empire's most prominent noble families. The second largest structure in the city is a grand arena where many Halgian soldiers test their mettle against one another in front of cheering crowds. Upon the temple-palace, and the walls surrounding the city, numerous Divine Dragons, golems constructed to safeguard the Halgian Empire, stand ready to defend the city. These same golems are directly responsible for powering the great shield that wards the city from the mage-storms. Within the city stand the Great Gateway, a group of permanent portals leading to each other city in the empire.
CULTURE: Life within Illus-Adamar revolves around the Imperial Family. Numerous ceremonies and public functions take place, from the Imperial Coronation itself, to more common, but only slightly less grand, public ceremonies held to honor various nobles and heroes of the Empire. The most prestigious champions of the Empire come to the city to fight in the arena, and the Imperial Council meets regularly to discuss matters that pertain to the empire as a whole. Even at night, the city never truly sleeps, just as the empire itself never truly sleeps.
APPEARANCE: An incredible, circular city crafted completely of white gold. Home of the Mages Tower in Evylon, the great city is built in rings around the central Tower, with those nearest belonging to the richest and most powerful members in the city. Lumenn Aurim's smooth-sided Tower is surrounded by three rings, each one signifying one of the balances - light, neutral, and dark. The Light district is filled with high ranking mages, paladins, and nobles; it is filled with pristine homes enchanted against the ravages of time, roofs peaked and slanted, tiled with plates of pearl. The Neutral district houses priests and priestesses who teach mages who come seeking knowledge from the Tower of the gods and various Ethers, and though the buildings lack the enchantments that those of the Light do, they are still built of white gold and pearl, beautiful homes and tall, glimmering towers. The Dark district is one that none live in, but it houses the bazaar, stables, several inns, and more than one amphitheater, where demonstrations and lectures on dark creatures and dark magic are held, usually to school the students of magic that travel to the Tower.
The Tower itself is many, many stories tall, round and smooth, with a diamond-shaped roof that is tiled with iridescent white dragon scales. Incredibly powerful divine dragons, numbers unknown, fill the central chamber, locked in a spell that covers the entire city and keeps the mage storms at bay. Around the Tower is one of the very few places inside the Empire where true sunlight can be seen and felt without a barrier and storm eclipsing the view.
CULTURE: Ever dedicated to the eradication of the dark and the upholding of the light, this Tower and the city surrounding have that very specific focus that many other Towers in the Order do not. Any and all dark creatures - humanoid or not - are shunned, and if they aren't slain on sight, they are driven away and banished from the Empire. Those in the Order are sternly asked to leave, and often cannot get past the gates. Once a year, near the beginning of Winter, there lay a week filled with rituals of purification and foresight, one unique to the Halgian Tower. All of the Empire is invited and encouraged to attend, and Lummen Aurim is filled to the brim until the festival's end.
APPEARANCE: A bright jewel of a city, Mere Oppius is built around, and upon, a gleaming, crystal-clear lake. A curtain wall surrounds the lake entire, with larger structures built on the shore just within. Smaller, lighter structures built mainly of wood are supported by stilts, or magic, to keep above the water. A small fleet of fishing boats plies the lake, and carries goods to and from the town along the rivers to other cities.
CULTURE: Mere Oppius lies at the center of a network of rivers that run through the Halgian Empire. As a result, they get much of their income from tariffs on many goods that pass through the city. Numerous festivals take place upon the water, and offerings to Daama are ritually cleansed within the pure waters of the lake. Within the water, a vast, powerful Divine Dragon swims, constantly on guard against any potential threats to the city.
APPEARANCE: A very small city located on the eastern coast. Consisting only of a great watch tower and several white-stone homes, it is an outpost with a limited garrison and their families. Once, it was the direct link to Glory, with its standing portal, but has lost all contact since. Portals to the other cities can be found here, and though they cannot be disabled from within Aquilae itself, each one can be disabled by the adjoining cities or the current Emperor or Empress in power.
CULTURE: Very few pass through as visitors; even fewer choose to stay. Daily worship of Daama and the gods is permitted, as well as weekly reports submitted. During wartime, the Tower may be a safe haven for couriers, as well as swift-winged messenger feylizards.
APPEARANCE: Located on and around the Jagged Peak, and made of gleaming white towers growing taller nearest to the peak. Legend claims that the central core of the Jagged Peak is an odd, unnamed white stone that the city is crafted from, though no tunnels exist to test this theory. The lowest buildings near the base are short and squat, and the entire mountain is surrounded with a double curtain wall. The buildings continue to grow taller and taller as they spiral upwards, with the tallest three around the sharp, pointed peak. A bright, shining orb of light - called the Illustris Sol - bathes the city in light that grows brighter and dimmer depending on the time of day. This false sun joins an enchantment on the Divine Dragon-held barrier that makes an illusionary sky, hiding the mage storms around them.
CULTURE: A city of knowledge and scholarly learning. In the top three towers lay great, towering libraries filled with books of many languages, constantly poured over by Halgian scholars. This doubles as a base of intelligence for the Empire, and a place of learning for mercantile and various vocational occupations, filled with masters and their various apprentices.
APPEARANCE: Umbra stands atop a rocky crag, and outwards a way. A circular curtain wall surrounds the city, marked at regular intervals by watchtowers. On top of the crag stands a palace made of dark stone topped by a pair of spires. Between these spires rises a column of raw magic which disperses above the city to form a shield, warding the city from the mage storms. Descending from the palace, numerous structures perch on the sides of the crag, with the higher class dwellings placed higher up the sides of the outcropping. Numerous caves dot the sides of the crag, and serve as the lairs for several Heartwoodian Blacks.
CULTURE: The hidden home of the Fallen, Umbra is devoted largely to maintaining a small but elite military, primarily composed of Black Knights, Fallen who have formed Riders' bonds with Heartwoodian Blacks. Those Fallen who are not involved with the military maintain a well-disciplined life more austere than that of most of the Halgian Empire, but still far from spartan.