by Carteeg Struve
Population*: 217,547 (Humans 70%, Hartdar 16%, Gildanesti 6%, Gnome 4%, Corinesti 2%, Oguna 1%, Other 1%) *Does not include Gnomorrah.
Government: Republic. However the Great Sovereign Lord of the entire Midlands rules his monarchy from FyxZharar as well. Decisions of the Sovereign Lord trump that of the republic.
Religions: Tashrama (white branch)
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Elvish, and Gnomish
Trade: Gems, Metal, Wool, Goat Products, Minting Coins, and Weaponsmithing
Legions: Army of the White, Midland Guard
Modern FyxZharar (Fihks Zhah’-rahr) is divided up into three areas: the Midland nation under the power of the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron, the mountain passes and tunnels under the control of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious, and the gnomish nation of Gnomorrah. Although most of FyxZharar viewed as under the direct control of the Sovereign Lord, it is possible to traverse the nation’s twisting passes and roadways without being noticed by loyalists of either Montegron or Heriacious. However, once one comes within proximity of the passes and roads controlled by either the Lord or the Dragon, being noticed is almost assured.
The small twenty-mile long nation of Gnomorrah officially recognizes itself as part of the Midland Sovereignties, but the complexities of gnomish society and law are so intricate that Montegron’s unified government rarely involves itself in their internal affairs.
Life and Society
The style of life of those in FyxZharar varies greatly both on exactly where they are living and what type of life they are striving for. Those living in the farming communities in the flat valleys can live a fairly sheltered life away from most of the traffic that comes and goes from the cities. Those in the more developed regions exist in a very urban environment, dealing with everything from schooling and research, to governmental affairs, to military life, to that of a common merchant. Those living within the areas controlled by the White Elder Dragon Heriacious sacrifice much of the comforts of city and country life to spend time away in caverns, meditating and studying the arts gifted to them by their grand white god.
The attitudes of people within FyxZharar are just as various. In the republic’s capital of Karsuhon, loyalty to the Sovereign Lord is very strong. However, many within the city and surrounding Sovereignty-controlled settlements only wear their loyalty skin-deep. Their primary concerns are in taking in the grand wealth of knowledge that can be found or discovered in FyxZharar. Many towns visited by both the Sovereignty and those loyal to the Elder Dragon make themselves hospitable in whatever manner will let them be in peace at the time. Also in other locations, dedication to one side or the other may be consistently shown.
Surprisingly, although two opposing forces have their seats of power so close to each other, most of the conflict tends to occur out away from them. Up until now, neither side has believed they were in the best position to win a direct conflict against the other without take more loses than can be considered acceptable. With the war about to begin, this situation appears to be changing.
FyxZharar is home to a Holy Land of the Tashrama, the lair of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious. The Great Sovereign Lord may have outed the Elder Dragons are the true powers behind the church, but Heriacious herself confirmed the fact by appearing in public and openly declaring her divinity. Since then many have left the Tashramadic faith, but a large segment of the population remains faithful and believes Heriacious’ claims. With the cities of Breenaak and Karsuhon so close to each other, views of religion in FyxZharar are almost completely polarized between support for Tashrama and support for the Sovereignties. As such, most other faiths have little to no influence on events, with the exception of Montegron’s own secret faith.
There are three governments in operation within the borders of FyxZharar. One is the gnomish government in Gnomorrah that is so confusing most non-gnomes cannot make heads or tails or it. Officially that government is under the jurisdiction of the Midland Sovereignties, but due to the complexities of Mentoi bureaucracy, Montegron and other Sovereignty officials leave it alone.
The other two governments are in direct opposition to each other. One is the government of the Midland Sovereignties under the control of Great Sovereign Lord Montegron, and the other is white branch of the Tashrama under the control of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious. There is a national government, a republic under the direction of Presider Gardel Legna (NG male Midlander human noble 7), which deals with FyxZharar’s internal affairs, but most consider this a local extension of Montegron’s power. Meanwhile, in Breenaak, the faithful of Heriacious view themselves outside of the Sovereignties’ jurisdiction. Prior to the revelation of the Elder Dragons many thought Head Priestess Aynal Teralshall ran the local branch of the church and Tashramadic territories. But the truth was that Teralshall had always been working underneath the direction of the Elder White. These lands are effectively under a theocracy.
A small weak local army does exist for the nation of FyxZharar. They are often referred to as the General Militia although they are officially named the Army of FyxZharar. The bulk of FyxZharar’s strength lies in the elite Midland Guard (a.k.a. the Midguard). Headquartered in Karsuhon, the “rare few” are rather abundant here. The army is sometimes weakened when members of the Midguard require additional hands to venture out and perform services and duties for the Midlands. Often the Midland Guardsmen will take soldiers from the army to assist them in their endeavors.
The Army of the White is the military force of Heriacious and the white branch of the Tashramadic faith. As friction was mounting, the dragon knew a confrontation with the Sovereignties was unavoidable, and being a tactical expert in warfare she set out to build her own fighting force among the faithful.
Coincidentally, both the Midland Guard and the Army of the White had new commanders put in charge of them recently: Second Protector Noragaen Veliya for the Midguard, and General Damrye for the Tashrama.
Magic and Mysticism
Magic in almost all forms exists in FyxZharar. The mystics, “priests” of the Tashrama, are praised among supporters of the White and hated by supporters of the Sovereignties. Montegron keeps an abundance of sorcerers on staff to assist in magical needs, and Heriacious has also done the same. With the return of the moons, both sides are weighing the advantage gained by possibly including wizards in their ranks, and so a few are in attendance, but how useful they will prove themselves in comparison to the sorcerers has not been determined. The clerics of the true gods are extremely few, but they are quickly scrambling to have some impact on the coming war for better or worse. Odds are they will have little to no impact since so much build-up to conflict has occurred prior to the gods’ return.
Major Geographical Features and Locations
The nation of FyxZharar is covered in sharp high peaks, vast deep chasms, green valleys where the air is warmed by pockets of natural gas buried deep in the earth, misty hilltops, stretches of rivers rushing down from icy summits, and lakes formed by water that rushed in during the Drowning that could not recede.
The passes and roads throughout FyxZharar wind, twist, and branch off in a myriad of directions. Two towns only a few miles away might require days or even weeks of hiking in order to travel from one to the other. Although the construction of tunnels are being done in order to make traveling through the lands more convenient, it is still heavily suggested that any newcomers to the region hire a guide in order to not get lost in their journeys. Even many of the locals do not seem to know every possible road or path through the mountains. The gnomes who used to be the original inhabitants also claim that many of the older roads were changed, reshaped, or broken apart when the Great Wave came.
A hard land to navigate, FyxZharar’s scenery is still counted as one of the most pristine in Adlatum.
Prior to the Drowning, the gnomes of Gnomorrah controlled the majority of the mountains, and FyxZharar was a minor kingdom existing primarily in the hills and only a small fraction of the taller mountains. With the exception of a collection of human and dwarven settlements, and items in caverns suggesting some earlier civilization unknown to history, most other races had not settled into the immediate area.
Everything changed when the Drowning came. Although the mountains were high enough to allow many to escape the rushing waters, much of the ocean still poured over and through the lower hills, valleys, and canyons that are scattered throughout the land. Many of the settlements within these areas were flooded as much or even worse than those on the plains. In some places, when the waters receded, deep lakes and rivers replaced valleys and gorges. Towns and villages remained covered for hundreds of years.
However, more to the center of the mountain, the land was high enough to avoid just about all of the damage. Much of the gnomish civilization survived, but much was also destroyed when water poured through caverns to the mining and farming towns in the valleys. The town of Glickanree was completely lost not by the water, but when the rushing floods struck the top of an over-mined hill. The pressure resulted in the ground heaving upward and collapsing upon everyone below. When the land calmed, a quarter of the population was verified dead while another 10% were never found. The dwarven population in the outlying areas suffered similar casualties.
Months went by, and efforts began to rebuild devastated lands the sea had given back. But they were not allowed to. Other surviving races began to seek higher ground, fearing that a second devastation could strike at any time. The influx of coin dwarves, humans, Gildanesti, and others resulted in the pressing the gnomes out of many areas where they had already settled, and in some cases, rebuilt. The gnomish nation of Gnomorrah was pressed northward and then surrounded by the growing Midland nation of FyxZharar.
In the following centuries, several relics were found within the deep maze-work of caves that network through the mountains. With the discovery of old tomes and other artifacts, many scholars and mages from all over Adlatum came to study and expand their knowledge in their respective arts. The perils of the complex network of caves beneath the summits were quickly learned by some and ignored by many more. Many of those who risked their lives to discover the knowledge and artifacts of old were never seen again.
In 130 AD the White Elder Dragon Heriacious learned of the relics buried deep within the mountains of FyxZharar and sent many of the faithful to search the caverns for items of use. Regardless of the nearby proximity, the mountains, caverns, and canyons makes traveling between the capital and the entrance of Heriacious’ primary lair a long and treacherous journey. Heriacious’ primary concern is learning about the forgotten civilization buried in pieces down below, not the current one nearby. She gathers Scalebound who think that the dragon’s backing and knowledge of the caves will give them an added advantage in finding the buried secrets and making use of them.
After the Starfall, the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron chose to place his seat of power in the middle of the Midlands. Although Karsuhon was within fifty miles of Heriacious’ layer, he realized that the city could be easily defended by any attack by the Tashrama or her secretive Scalebound. Both Montegron and Heriacious have had groups continuously searching the deep tunnels beneath them for anything to be used to their advantage.
When Montegron exposed the Elder Dragons are the true powers behind the Tashramadic church, Heriacious revealed herself openly to her followers and declared her divinity. Several who had lost their faith tried to flee Heriacious’ lands, but her military killed a large number of them before they could escape. A large number within Breenaak remained faithful however. During the Days of Darkness, Heriacious was seen during the conflict with the chaotic forces although her identity remained a mystery to many. The older followers remembered her when she showed herself to her believers, and they bowed before the beast who had tried so hard to prevent her people’s destruction.
- The tunnels underneath the mountains are a maze and complex webbing of darkness and mystery. Both the Sovereignties and Tashrama have sent explorers down in hopes of finding relics from an unknown lost civilization not recorded in any history. No one seems to be certain such a civilization existed, and no one knows what may be found that could be of any worth, especially in the coming war.
- After the funeral of Second Protector Jermon Cavlin late last year, his son Evtra Cavlin vanished. No one appears to have any knowledge of how he disappeared or where he could be.
- Great Sovereign Lord Montegron has ordered a majority of the Midland Guard back to FyxZharar after years of having them out trying to strengthen the local government forces in each of the Midland nations. Also large portions of the General Militia are being put under the direction of Midland Guardsmen. This may be the first open prelude to war against Heriacious and the Tashrama.
- A small unnamed organization operating out of Unadesum is trying to find a way to dismantle the power of the Sovereignties and the church in unison, hoping to deflate the damage a war will bring without letting one side triumph over the other. The leader of this organization is attempting to find clerics of the true gods, hoping such a holy person will be able to provide a miracle the Midlands desperately needs.
Breenaak (Large City 24,090): The lair of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious resides within the mountain of Breenaak. The Scalebound live under the mountain cap with the White, while others who believe in the Elder Dragons’ divinity reside within the city outside of the lair’s main gate. Although Breenaak is a short distance geographically from the enemy stronghold in Karsuhon, the mountains and chasms make any land-based travel between the two settlements the equivalent of hundreds of miles longer.
Gnomorrah (Metropolis 70,324): The civilization of Gnomorrah used to cover much of the FyxZharar Mountains, but the influx of other races seeking higher ground after the Drowning forced the talker gnome civilization back into a small area. Now the main gnomish settlement comprises of a single area in the Thunderhead mountain range of 300 square miles. They are now completely surrounded by the Sovereignty of FyxZharar, and many humans bitingly refer to it as “No More-uh.” Officially the gnomes are considered part of FyxZharar, but beyond that they are relatively autonomous. Many of those from Gnomorrah seek work elsewhere, including in the capital Karsuhon without much thought from anyone. A rare few more work for those loyal to Heriacious, but that number is much less. Since much, but not all, of the Sovereignty has no interest in intruding upon Gnomorrah, current relations between the gnomes and the Sovereignty as passively pleasing.
Paper mill factories take up a sizable portion of the manufacturing business in Gnomorrah, and these factories tend to constantly emit black smoke up into the area. Thousands of businesses and offices are littered throughout the mountain chain, and many more departments and agencies exist in order to regulate each and every industry in existence. Red tape is said to be Gnomorrah’s number one product. This is not far from the truth since a literal red tape is used to bind many of the papers and binders together.
Karsuhon (Megalopolis 106,574): The capital of FyxZharar is sometimes referred to as “The Pinnacle of the Midlands.” This is both because of its placement high up in the mountains and because it is the center of power for Montegron’s reign. Broken up into a myriad of layers and sections covering the edges of a complex series of canyons, chasms, and mountain sides, Karsuhon’s population is the largest of any city in Adlatum, if not all of Krynn. The city is home to a large number of businesses and schools, including three universities. One of the schools is completely devoted to the study of arcane arts of several types.
Within one of the mountains, Montegron had the Palsidion, a massive underground fortress, constructed in order to insure additional protection from any possible attack the Elder Dragons’ or other possible enemy. The headquarters of the Midland Guard also resides there along with many of the mages who have sworn allegiance to the Great Sovereign Lord.
Trebiers (Small City 8783): Located on the border between FyxZharar and Tashramada, Trebiers is located on the major roadway between the two nation’s capitals. It is a major trading post, home to a large fort that houses a large number of smaller stores, businesses, and even an auction house. During the Drowning, Trebiers was somehow missed by the wave of water as it submerged the rest of the lands around it. Although credit is given to a freak coincidence in how the surrounding hills are laid out, others believe another more powerful hand was involved.
Unadesum (Large City 15,024): Before the Drowning, Unadesum was the capital of FyxZharar. After the Drowning annihilated just about everything, Unadesum was rebuilt as a lakeside city at the base of one of the largest waterfalls in Adlatum. Mining, farming, fishing, and trade with the Corinesti provide the city with most of its income. Many think there is a dragonmetal deposit located in the mines behind the waterfall, however both the city and the nation deny it.