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 TAK Atlas of Aramon

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PostSubject: TAK Atlas of Aramon   Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:56 pm

Here are the most important places in Aramon (thanks Spagg for providing the Atlas):

-Torcairn-
*Seat of the powerful House of Buriash, Torcairn was once the capitol of Aramon.

Being the only major city north of the Humber, Torcairn's narrow alleyways are often quite crowded with all manner of people, from merchants and farmers hawking wares, local nobility, heroes and scalawags alike. During the weeks after harvest, Torcairn is awash with the trade of crafts and foodstuffs, and Verunan merchants are common visitors.
The various craftsmens guilds -- potters and carpenters, millers and stonemasons -- are very active here, and their collective voice rings loudly among the local populace. It is likely the crowds and the power of the guilds that give rise to the locals' reputation as harsh and and abrubt folk.
However, it is the memory of past glory that stands tallest in Torcairn, as tall as the stone watchtowers that are all that remain from the old capitol city. It is interesting to note an obscure text: "If it is true that a city has a memory, then Torcairn's is one that will never forget a grudge."

-Geola's Inlet-
*A long, rambling bay leading from the Sea of Mannan to the Humber River. The inlet is named for a talkative, blustery king of old, Geola of Lern, whose mouth, when compared to his watery namesake, was said to be "twice as large, and three times louder."

The geographers of Aramon can never agree on precisely where the inlet ends and the mighty Humber River begins. One theory, held by the geographers of Ralum, is that any expanse of water which can be easily swam by a man of average condition is a river. Anything wider is a lake, bay or inlet. The Royal cartographers of Kaluen differ in their definition -- they maintain that it is the length of the waterway, combined with the character of its currents, that ultimately determines its classification.
This dispute was put to the test in the latter half of the reign of Garacaius. Two representatives, Winfrey of Ralum and Dagnir of Kaluen, met 40 leagues north of Laingen to prove their respective theories. Winfrey intended to swim across the Humber. Dagnir planned to merely float in the hopes of demonstrating that the current of the Humber was still more powerful than the tides. Unfortunately, neither scholar was aware of the strong current caused by the spring thaw in the flatlands below Ullin's Fingers. Both were swept out to the Sea of Mannan, never to be seen again. The result of this experiment was inconclusive.

-The Anvil-
*A massive block of white granite jutting from the seafloor, the Anvil serves as a useful navigation tool for seafarers from Aramon and Veruna alike.

It is not known whether the Anvil is a natural feature or the creation of some ancient magic. While the Anvil rock itself is unlike any mineral found nearby, it does not appear to be unusual in any way. Miners and stonemasons from all over Aramon have eyed the Anvil as a possible source of fine marble, but as of yet, the Anvil stands largely untouched.

-Lern Forest-
*A hulking forest that seems to spring from the surrounding plains.

In a older dialect of the region, "lern" can be translated as "dark" or "black" or "shadowy." The word is applied well to the Lern Forest, which is composed mostly of a dark teak-like wood that serves as the raw material for fine chairs, tables and chests in the houses of Narmer and Kaluen. Villagers along the shores of Geola's Inlet make a good living at the trade of timber with Laingen ferryfolk and Verunan ships traveling from afar.
The dark, forbidding Lern has also sparked many a tale of faeries and dryads, including a well-spoken tale of "Merryandrew," a clownish imp that protects lost children and makes fools of burly lumberjacks. Similar tales are also told among woodsmen of the Vast Yniol Forest. Whether Merryandrew is some creature of magic or just a mother's story is unknown.

-The Whisper Hills-
*South of the former capital of Aramon, the Whisper Hills take their name from the winds whipping off Geola's Inlet, rippling the grasses of the many fields of grain.

Like their Kingsbarrow cousins to the south and most regions near the might Humber, the Whisper Hills contain many hamlets and small fiefdoms, populated for the most part by farming families and cattle herders.
Recently, there have been rumors of groups of well-armed bandits striking from the forested areas to the west. Other, darker rumors maintain that the bandits are allied with the house of Buriash, but this is likely the product of idle gossip.

-Shasin Bay-
*From here, the trackless sea leads in all directions.

While the eastern shores are of the same white granite as the Anvil, the shores near M'hari are generally sandy, likely as the result of outflow from the Poyser Canal. Plentiful fishing can be found in the dark waters of the Shasin, which, because of the Poyser, serves as a doorway of sorts to lands beyond for the people of our country.

-Ullin's Fingers-
*A massive and foreboding wall of rock and ice. These mountains are the western boundary of the realm.

Even the most experienced guides and rangers seldom attempt the smallest peaks. Where there isn't vertical rock or sheets of ice, there are winds which, credible sources say, can sweep a horse and rider from canyon walls and ledges. Ullin's Fingers are without doubt a wall, hemming the western reaches of Aramon. This begs the question: Does it exist to keep us in, or something else out?

-Frey River-
*The Forest Dwellers name for the Frey River roughly translates as "the child with contrary parents."

The wording likely originates because two tributaries form the Frey River -- one, a short but violent stream fed by the vast glaciers of Ullin's Fingers, and the other a peaceful, meandering stream that originates at Found Lake.
The Frey River defines the northern perimeter of The Trackless Moor. Trade caravans traveling inland will usually follow a well-worn trail running along the Frey and its southern tributary to Waleph, rather than risk the shorter, but dangerous, trek across the moor.

-The Humber River & The Upper Humber-
*A mighty river whose upper tributaries reach to the very heart of Aramon.

An ancient text describes the Humber as one would describe the ages of a man: "The child drinks of milk, tumbles and splashes. The young man takes a wife and works the fields. The elder king walks slowly to the sea."
It is an apt description, as the Humber starts as a swift-flowing creek at the foot of Mt. Pharidon, colored milky white by glacial silt. The silt settles and the water grows clear, gaining strength at the meeting of the Frey River. The Humber and Upper Humber provide water for a great many fields and pasturelands in and around the Kingsbarrow. As it nears the Inlet, the Humber finally loses its strength and flows gently toward the ocean.
One of Aramon's most treasured stories for children is the Book of Mallory and Mont'Beau, a pair of adventurers from past times who first discovered the source of the Humber, near Mt. Pharidon, and returned to serve the court of Garacius as royal geographers. The Book describes vistas of unearthly beauty, and contains tales of fierce battles with mountain wildcats.

-Laingen-
*On the shores of the Humber lies Laingen, the Middle City, so named for its location at about the midpoint twixt Narmer and Torcairn on the North Road.

Laingen shopkeepers hawk made goods from Narmer, foodstuffs from Kingsbarrow and all manner of other items. But it is the city's gambling halls that are often the main attraction for travelers -- it is said that in Laingen, a man can go from nobility to slavery and back again in a single hour.
And it is also said that some ferrymen of Laingen are allied with the local guilds of Thieves and Assassins, and townsmen unable to pay their gambling debts are taken on a final ride across the Humber's wide and dark waters.

-M'Hari-
*An ancient sea port and center for trade with the rest of Darien. M'hari is also home port to His Majesty's fleet.

The origin of M'hari's distinctive name is unknown. Scholars generally suppose that it may be a vestige of the lost language of the Kandrans.
By the water's edge near M'hari, a traveler can find dory fishermen selling their daily catch each morning. The lighthouse fires in and about the city proper serve as friendly beacons for ocean-going vessels navigating to and from the mouth of the Poyser. Some of these seafaring folk are a superstitious lot, paying a tribute of fish to Lihr, the Verunan sea god, in hopes of securing safe passage over the waters.
On the landward side of the city, rich farmland -- grains and fruit trees, mostly -- fill the countryside to the Thiefwood in the southwest.

-The Trackless Moor-
*A vast expanse of grass and scrub. Deceptively verdant and pleasant at first view, the Trackless Moor is aptly named. Over-confident travelers soon discover that water and game are surprisingly scarce.

Foolhardy travelers who are lucky enough to reach its perimeter tell tales of hairy beasts that hurl rocks the size of a man's head. Still others speak of being chased by greenish lights, a story that sounds remarkably like ones of the Will O' the Wisp. But the descriptions also reminds us of the appearance of swamp gas burning in the night.
The legendary horse warriors of House Heldain patrol the moor, atop steeds that are the envy of Aramon. It has been said that the warhorses of Heldain are smarter than the best trained hunting dog. There are even stories of horses that have rescued wounded riders by finding the way home on moonless nights.

-The Kingsbarrow Hills (and surrounding counrty side)-
*The Kingsbarrow Hills are renowned as a burial site for the ancient kings of Aramon. Local lore states that the hills may have been a place of interment for the lost Kandran kings as well, but both scholarly sources and a general consensus of tomb robbers does not corroborate this.

The hills themselves are rumored to be entirely man-made burial mounds. Considering the size and substantial area of the hills, this seem unlikely.
The surrounding area is not firmly under the control of any single great house. Instead, dozens of smaller lords control a seemingly countless array of small hamlets and shires. The legendary bard, Gilson of Glyn, once observed that a man who tripped on his own doorstep would likely fall on a neighboring fief.
For all this confusion, there is relatively little conflict of note between the nobles in the Kingsbarrow vicinity. Many have formed alliances through marriage. Others add to their lands and wealth through methods as varied as the Lords themselves.
Trade is vigorous in the Kingsbarrow region, and the abundance of vineyards in the fertile Humber River Valley may also explain the docile nature of its inhabitants. Two city states of note can be found in this region, Narmer and Laingen.

-Narmer-
*A center for scholars and craftspeople. Like many cities dating back to the turbulent Shadow Times, Narmer has the distinction of being a former capitol of Aramon.

Narmer is perhaps the most cultured of Aramon's major cities, perhaps reflecting the influence of the powerful House of Dernhest. Sages and mages of many different outlooks often gather in the common rooms of Narmer inns, and discussion of Aramon and its place among the Four Realms is often the norm. A sense of closeness exists among the people of Narmer and their cousins across the lake in Kaluen, and marriages between the two cities' merchant families and nobility is not uncommon.
The spires of the great Temple of Anu tower over the city, and the white-robed acolytes of the Lord of Light are a common sight in the city streets. The Temple itself is a wonder of architecture and earth magic; the sigil of the Silver Hand, made up of many large pieces of white quartz, graces the western wall. It is an awe-inspiring thing to behold for farm boy and noblewoman alike.
The locale is botanically quite diverse. Many medicinal herbs and savory plants abound in the countryside surrounding Narmer. This might explain the strong presence of the Guild of Alchemists in Narmer. Guild shops offer a diverse range of potions, balms and salves, some even claimed to be magical. Visitors are forewarned, though, that many "cures" often do more harm than good.

-Poyser Canal-
*A straight, narrow waterway connecting Shasin Bay with Lake Efnian.

It is generally agreed that at least half of Poyser Canal is not a natural waterway. Whether it was one of the Kandran's massive magical works, or the result of back-breaking labor on someone's part is a subject of much debate. Regardless its method of construction, the canal is a vital route for trade, connecting the capitol city, Kaluen, with the world's sea lanes.

-Thiefwood-
*A pastoral wood of ash and oak; it's stories have found their way into the hearts of the local peoples.

Lying between the coastal towns of M'hari and Glyn, the Thiefwood takes it name from a local legend concerning a group of not-so-fearsome bandits known more for merrymaking than robbery. Tales of the Thiefwood bandits are many, and the songs are common fare for inns and public houses in nearby cities. And in these parts, saying your neighbor has "gone to Thiefwood" means he has forsaken his work for wine and song.

-Glyn-
*"The City of Song"

Here is a city that trades more on its storytelling than its fishermen and fine shipwrights! It's most famous son, the bard Gilson, traveled far and wide of Aramon, and his tales are still told, as a poem says, "from Torcairn to the basin of Kiron."
Whereas the weather in nearby Ralum is usually warm and clear, Glyn spends a good portion of the year encased in a dense fog rolling off nearby Haffir's Inlet. Perhaps the people of Glyn make up in cheerfulness for what they lose in dreary weather?

-Dinlow's Ferry-
*A tiny lakeside community on a rocky peninsula.

It is said that Dinlow's Ferry was originally named Dinlow's Point, and that the area takes its name from a rather comical story originating in days long past. Outside the city, at the very tip of the peninsula, stands a solitary lighthouse of grey-green stone, placed there to warn ships away from the lake's shallower waters and dangerous rocks nearby. The lighthouse itself stands at the end of a narrow jetty a half-mile long.
In some stories, Dinlow was a heroic lighthouse keeper who saved the city by providing early warning of an approaching brush fire. A more colorful version features Dinlow as a young man of 16 years charged with re-supplying the lighthouse by horsecart. In the story, Dinlow garnered a measure of local fame as he could perform his assigned task in record time by ingeniously hitching his horses backward so that they pushed the cart, rather than pulling it, back down the jetty.
Either way, the moniker stuck. Decades later, ferry traffic between Narmer and Kaluen increased, and over the years, the city and its piers became known as Dinlow's Ferry.

-Lake Effian-
*The sacred heart of Aramon, a lake of the deepest blue and sweetest taste.

Lying almost in the center of the nation, Lake Efnian is more an inland sea than a mere lake. Spring winds dot the waters with whitecaps; in the autumn, a bountiful catch of salmon finds its way to table in the houses of nobles and commoners alike. Giant sturgeon are also caught in the summer months, and the roe is considered a delicacy.
Being the primary waterway for two major cities, the lake is busy with ships of all sorts, most notably a single-masted sloop that appears on the sigil of the guild of shipwrights.

-Anu Island-
*Said to be the abode of Anu, the patron diety of Aramon.

Anu Island stands tall from the waters of Lake Efnian, a tree-covered fist of rock and earth reaching toward the sky. There are no beaches or put-ins for ships or boats - only the birds and the Lord of Light, it seems, make their home on the island.
By order of Elsin himself, none shall set foot on the island. Even if an adventurous man defied the law and was capable of scaling the rock cliffs (and he would have to be a magician indeed!), the island seems a forbidding place. Clouds hang over the taller peaks, and even in clear skies, thunderous rumbles often echo across the lake.

-Found Lake-
*A large glacial lake situated at the feet of Ullin's Fingers.

Cold and clear and deep, Found Lake serves as a water source for the city of Waleph and also provides large trout that can be pulled from the water year-round.
A local story holds that a reptilian beast makes the lake its home. Some stories say the creature is a shy, docile sort. But older stories say the snake-like thing emerges from the water to make a meal of sheep, horses and unwary men.
Another tale, even older still, holds that the bottom of the lake is the final resting place for an armored giant. The legend says the giant, a fearsome creature capable of shooting forth flame and thunder from his very hands, was a refugee from a distant civil war that lasted more than 4,000 years.

-Waleph-
*Seat of House Heldain and the sole outpost on the Trackless Moor.

For a traveler emerging from the Moor, Waleph seems a snug paradise. Friendly folk greet travelers from the porches of their low-eaved homes, and the city inns provide much good food and drink. Waleph is also known for its fine leather goods -- Kaluen nobility and wealthy merchants are often seen in the field dressed in Waleph leather.
An annual summer event in Waleph is Fair-Day, a celebration that coincides with the summer solstice on the ancient Kandran calendar. The families of Waleph meet in the town center for a great feast, while bards and performers of all types meet to share stories and songs. However, Fair-Day's main events are horse races and other displays of riding ability. The proud young men who make up the city patrols train year-long for the contests; winners are awarded coin and other goods donated by the city families.

-Mt.Pharidon-
*Legend asserts that this mighty mountain is the birthplace of Anu, patron diety of Aramon.

Mt. Pharidon is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Aramon, a conical, snow-capped mountain emerging from the surrounding foothills. The mountain can been seen for scores of miles in either direction, serving as a beacon for travelers to the western cities of Waleph and Gwillion. It has not been determined if Pharidon is actually a dormant volcano, although bursts of steam are seen to escape from the summit. Some learned men insist the mountain is actually a relic of Kandran magic, perhaps a giant lodestone.
The mountain's legend of being the birthplace of Anu is well known. But the mountain holds other secrets, as well. There are many rumors that massive veins of gold, silver and other fine ores can be found at the higher elevations, and numerous tales of lone adventurers returning with fist-sized diamonds and other sparkling stones.

-The Peream Woods-
*A tranquil forest on the shores of Lake Efnian.

The Woods are crisscrossed with many well-worn trails leading from Narmer to Kaluen and back again. In the fall, the trees are ablaze with color. Wild game is plentiful, and the lumber from the strong white ash serve as roofbeams for many of Kaluen's finest homes.

-Meitar River-
*A gentle river descending from the Thunor.

The Meitar is known locally as the "Old Woman" because of its placid nature -- it being said that even an old woman would not have much trouble navigating down the river to Ralum. The Meitar is often mentioned in song as an idyllic and happy place
Farms, vineyards and pasturelands dot both sides of the Meitar, which can be easily forded by horse and ox in a number of places. The Meitar folk are a deeply religious and magic-fearing lot, not unlike the Ralum folk to the north.

-Ralum-
*"The White City"

Despite its nearness to the Glyn, Ralum and its people could not be more different than the merry folk of Glyn just across the bay. Ralum is home to a monastery of the priests of Anu, who are easily distinguished by their white cloaks which bear the sigil of the Hand of Anu. The monks' influence hangs over the city and its environs. The people are for the most part pious and hard-working, and the city's inns and common places are cheerful and bright. However, it is a far cry from bustle and activity of the nearby capitol, Kaluen.
The White City takes it names from the white stone that is the backbone of the city's buildings and fortifications, each a thing quite pleasing to the eye. Ralum is home to families of extraordinary stonemasons, and their work is truly a thing to behold. Their skills handed down from parent to child over many generations, the masons of Ralum raised high the mighty walls of Kaluen, and perhaps saved their best work for their own city by the water.

-Ralum Bay-
*Unlike the wild, wild seas to the east, Ralum Bay is tranquil and clear, and the people give thanks.

Framed by the rocky coast of Glyn and Haffir's Inlet beyond, the sunsets over Ralum Bay are a thing of beauty. The waters of the bay itself are gin-clear and teeming with fish painted all the colors of the sunsets above.

-Haffir's Inlet-
*Rough waters and dense fog the year-round keep ships close to shore.

Worse than the many storms that lash this portion of Aramon's west coast, local folk often speak of creatures foul and scaly waiting in the waters east of the Inlet. Men of Aramon do not venture often far from the sight of land.

-Abiad-
*The Jewel of the West

A well-known song, translated from the Kandran, perhaps sums it up best:
O' Abiad, my home.
Take me round the Cape of Meyre,
And through the gates of stone.
I want to feel wind in my hair,
And walk in fields of roan.

Abiad's reputation is well deserved; the beauty of its parks and temples are well known throughout Aramon, and the skill of Abiad architects is envied far and wide. Outside the city walls, rich farmland abounds, while in the springtime, the hills are carpeted with red heather.
"Fair Abiad" is mentioned in numerous songs and stories, and the House of Aidenfel welcomes wealthy merchant families from Kaluen and Narmer, who come to spend their summers in villas outside the city.

-Chasul River-
*The lifeblood of Abiad; only the Humber is more mighty.

The Chasul has the dubious distinction of being Aramon's second-longest river. It emerges from an underground spring at the foot of Mt. Hillca in the Thunor and runs swiftly northward.
An interesting note from this region is the Dengland ruins, a series of apparently man-made structures that lie on sandy islands in the river south of Abiad. Perhaps constructed by an earlier people during the Shadowtime, the Dengland ruins are completely covered by the rising Chasul waters in the spring and summer months, and only emerge in fall and winter. It is not known if the ruins were constructed before the river found its present course, or if they are the result of some strange magic. Either way, erosion from the waters and the limited time the ruins are exposed to the light of day hampers any large-scale study.

-Kandra Forest-
*"The Archer's Forest."

The Kandra is a forest primarily of oak and yew, a happy coincidence for the Guilds of Fletchers and Bowyers, who turn Kandran wood into the finest weapons in the land. The ocean breezes and fine soil combine in just the right way to produce yew that is strong, yet flexible, for long bows. The oak branches are quite dense, perfect for straight and sturdy arrows. Kandra Forest arrows are easily recognizable from their blue fletching, and it is said that each will find 10 targets in its lifetime.
The value of the Kandra Forest and its craftsmen has not gone unnoticed to Elsin's armies -- the forest and its precious trees are protected by a permament garrison that can also come to Abiad's aid in times of trouble.

-Thunor's Mountains-
*An elder mountain range, beaten down by time and wind.

The Thunor are often called the "Blue Hills" because of their appearance in a hazy evening. The mountains themselves appear older, less spare and rocky, than their counterparts elsewhere. Time has softened their edges, and a great many colorful trees have taken residence among the peaks. Wildlife abounds -- it is said that the Thunor is a place with a profound quantity of birds, bears and elbow room. Many well-worn trails are carved into the northern passes, allowing caravans to wend their way from Abiad to Kaleun each month.

-Kiron's Basin-
*A sparsely populated plain at the foot of the Thunor Mountains.

Kiron's Basin takes its name from an Kandran nobleman who made the rolling plains his home. There is no record of Kiron's fate, or even evidence of a homestead or castle -- only an ancient poem provides a clue to the origin of the Basin's name.
Today, the Basin is populated by herders of sheep, goats and cattle, which feed on rich grasses, alfalfa and timothy. In the summer, the Basin is quite hot, and stiff breezes send waves across the grasses for miles and miles.

-Gwillion-
*A rustic mountain settlement which serves as a capitol of sorts for the fierce mountain lords who dwell in the shadow of Ullin's Fingers.

The local lord, or Thane of Gwillion, is selected every spring by rite of combat. This bloody, and sometimes lethal, tradition fits the nature of the local populace -- a rough and tumble sort, hard-working, who do not brook weakness among their brethren.
The week-long rite begins with the Calling Out, where townsmen gather in the city square and publicly challenge one another and the year's previous Thane. It is a somewhat comical spectacle, as the men loudly question each other's breeding and manliness, and there is much drinking and laughter.
The ritual, however, turns quite serious the next day, as the men gather again to settle the challenges from the previous day. Barechested and wielding wooden clubs -- no weapon of steel is allowed -- they pummel each other until one either submits or is rendered unconscious. The matches continue until one man left; he is named Thane of Gwillion for the next year, and his wooden club becomes the symbol of his office. The newly crowned Thane must then honor the losing combatants with a grand feast and many toasts (In contrast to the Calling Out, at this celebratory feast it is considered good etiquette to praise an opponent's strength and skill).
But the men of Gwillion are not barbarians. If a man dies in a match, his opponent is put upon to care for the dead man's family the rest of his days.

-The Vast Inyol Forest-
*Stetching from the southern tip of Found Lake and extending in a lazy arc to the southeast, Yniol is a large and mysterious wood.

Wild beasts, brigands and the shades of heretical Kandran wizards are typical encounters in the deepest stretches of the forest. Travelers through the area generally hire armed escorts from nearby Gwillion, but during some parts of the year, even these hardy men fear to tread in the Yniol.
Many geographers maintain that the Yniol wood is, in fact, four or five separate forests, and this is borne out by the variance of foliage in different parts of the forest. To the north, the forest is mostly pine and fir, giving way to stands of alder, white ash and cottonwood as one moves southward and lower in elevation. Southward near the edge of the Frontier, evergreens such as fir and blue spruce return to view.
It is travelers to this southern, central region that report more sightings of the Lost Ones of ill-fated Kandra than is typical. They are likely crazed hermits, or perhaps a stronghold yet exists?

-The Frontier-
*A colossal stretch of waist-high grass and impenetrable marshland.

A loose collection of swamp-dwellers are said to dwell near the edge of the Frontier; their knowledge of the healing arts is reputed to be without equal.
The Frontier may hide a south passage to lands that may lie east of Ullin's Fingers. However, numerous expeditions have so far proved mostly fruitless, as the terrain of this vast area grows increasingly wet and impassable as one travels southward.

-Geffion Outpost-
*The last settlement of any note in the Southland. An old maxim states, "If you go to the end of the world, walk four more days and you'll get to Geffion." The outpost is named after Samel Geffion, a general from the first century of Elsin's rule.

In theory, the Outpost stands guard against incursions of barbaric tribes from The Frontier to the southwest, and The Great March to the southeast. In reality, it is generally accepted that there are no actual tribes, and Geffion is regarded, in the words of Jean DiBaronne, the Great Wit of M'hari, as "a dungheap."
Against this bucolic backdrop, an ancient tradition is observed. Since the first days of Elsin's reign -- the Aramon Spring, as some call it -- the eldest sons of any noteworthy House must serve in Geffion for a year and a day. This practice is intended to build character in aspiring lordlings, and provide a taste of leadership, experience and adventure to unite young men of quality in the comman goal of protecting our fair land -- or so it says in the Elsin's Charter.

-The Great March-
*A trackless, endless plane of sparse vegetation and hard, unforgiving soil.

No soul has ever successfully crossed this expanse, or at least returned to tell of it. Some outcroppings of schist can be found after several weeks' march to the south, but these offer no shelter or comfort, containing as they do ravenous beasts and worse -- venomous insects that crawl into a man's bedroll while he sleeps.

-Kaluen-
*The mighty capitol of our fair land. Kaluen was originally built more than 1,000 years ago by our immortal Mage King, Elsin I.

After receiving the crown of Aramon from the first Mage Emperor, Elsin was importuned by many noble houses to take up residence in their provinces. The new King would need a glorious city worthy of his office. Naturally, every house thought their lands to be the best and most appropriate choice for the new capitol of Aramon. The prestige and economic boon this represented was much desired by the nobles of the day, as was the opportunity to exert their influence on the young king.
Instead, Elsin did the unexpected. He built an entirely new city on the southern shore of Lake Efnian -- Kaluen. A glorious capitol was constructed, with monuments and parks to rival even the ancient works of the Kandra. All things good and true flow from Aramon to Elsin's city-by-the-lake; the people enjoy the finest goods and foodstuffs carted in each day to be sold in the many markets. Kaluen is truly the marvel of all Aramon.
Kaluen is also as well fortified as it is wide in beauty. A solid wall of granite, quarried in the Thunor Mountains and constructed by the legendary masons of Ralum, protects the city on all sides.
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