The Country of Atria
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and Climate
- 3 Religion
- 4 Culture and Events
- 5 Points of Interest
During a period of civil unrest in 264 in Valland, after the greater empire had already begun to fall apart and independent city states and small countries had begun to break away from Valland’s rule, a group of malcontents had managed to gather a significant enough following to incite further unrest. This wasn’t all that they did, however; plots to dethrone and attempt to kill the immortal King, through what means they could only guess at, were set into motion.
This group, who had named themselves the Sváfnir(roughly ‘the slayers’ in the common tongue), sought fame, glory and dominance, wishing to take advantage of the underlying sense of unease already present, rather than for any sort of morally driven reasons. While they managed to stir the people up for the better part of a year, they had underestimated several things, greatest of which was the strength of the King’s forces and the far reach of his covert agents throughout the kingdom. They were quashed with an almost pathetic ease, falling into a trap meticulously laid out for them once they had gained the confidence to follow through on their attempt on the King’s life.
While there were multiple members of the group who could be said to have had an equal hand in rousing this failed rebellion, a few of that number were chosen as symbolic leaders and publicly executed, effectively quelling any support they had managed to gather. In a show of mercy, the King allowed the remainder of the core group to leave Valland in exile.
With a small number of supporters to bolster their numbers, the exiles were escorted to the northern border of Valland with minimal food, water and supplies, and released to fend for themselves. Several times the Sváfnir exiles attempted to settle in other countries, and their stays varied from very short to as long as a couple of years, but there always seemed to be something that disagreed with the group as a whole and eventually they would always move on, sometimes losing people and picking up others along the way.
Eventually they made their way to Atria, at the time considered a de facto no-man’s land which was sparsely populated because of its large, shared border with the Unseelie lands. This fact was fortunate, for it gave the Sváfnir exiles the opportunity to successfully carve out their own kingdom. Soon, the country of Atria was solidified into one unified nation. Taking advantage of the natural resources to be found in the combination of tropical and subtropical climates in the south and the more temperate climate in the north, soon with some hard work and dedication, the people unified under an elected official who soon became known as the ‘Merchant Prince’, and the country solidified its identity as a nation of traders.
A port city, Ellischester, was established in the south along the coast, bordering on the spirit beast Sagcoln’s territory. To the north, nestled among marshland, the capital city of Langsend was established, and the many riverways were soon taken advantage of to transport goods to and from Ellischester. Bolstered by this newly burgeoning economy, several smaller cities, towns and villages sprung up between the two major cities, building farming communities and generally taking advantage of the land routes that were also used to transport goods, leading to several industries finding a foothold in Atria.
This was, however, an unfortunately short lived period of economic growth and stability. Only two hundred years after Atria’s founding, in 1164, the Merchant Prince at the time, Luka Finnely, brought about the country’s collapse. Believing that man was superior to all else, he and his fellows set out on what they thought would be the most grand hunt of all and secure themselves a place in history as legends of their time; they were to hunt the spirit beast Sagcoln.
As are most decisions made in hubris, this one was a disastrous one. While the hunting party managed to land an arrow that pierced Sagcoln’s heart, what should have been a killing blow only turned to horror. Mixed with the beast’s glittering blood, a thick, black viscera also oozed out, quickly spreading corruption over the land. Sagcoln himself transformed before their very eyes, flesh rapidly deteriorating and rotting. While the hunting party attempted to flee, ultimately they were unsuccessful, and rather than being released into Belphegor’s embrace, their spirits were trapped into their corpses to be tormented and twisted for all eternity.
Luka himself suffered an even worse fate, being half absorbed into Sagcoln’s body with his upper torso jutting out of the mid back like some sort of twisted centaur;the expression on his face forever mummified into a mein of abject horror. To this day Sagcoln’s territory is a wasteland of rot, and it is said only fools with a death wish dare to tread there. The ripple effect of this event was quickly felt. With Sagcoln’s corruption oozing out to leak into the sea where Sehrasil roams.
Ellischester soon became battered by immense storms which not only made docking at it’s ports a difficult and ill advised venture, it ravaged the buildings and killed many of the citizens. Without the reliable trade Ellischester brought in, the economy and subsequently the government quickly collapsed.
Langsend quickly closed its borders, becoming a den of criminality and corruption, taken over by the Andragathízesthai mafia which had already begun to secretly gain a foothold under Luka’s government, colluding with him in return for impunity from the law. As Langsend tightened its borders and withdrew patrols from around Atria, the country became increasingly more dangerous, leaving farmsteads and smaller settlements at increasing risk from banditry and beasts alike.
This led to a trickle of refugee seekers abandoning their homes, some fleeing at first to Langsend and Ellischester alike. Over time, however, as storms began to ravage Ellischester and made living there increasingly difficult, most turned towards Langsend. With this greater influx, Langsend closed its gates to all but those who could offer some service which could be useful inside the city, and travelling merchants. To this day travel in and out of Langsend is closely monitored, and residents and visitors alike are required to carry passes to prove they have a right to be within Langsend’s walls.
With nowhere else to go, but unwilling to stray too far from the relative safety of Langsend’s borders, those who could not get into the city settled in a camp near to the northern border between Atria and the Unseelie lands. Those who do not agree with, or cannot stay within the camp for any reason tend to try their luck with Ellischester.
Geography and Climate
Atria has no centralized religion. Whether a god is followed or not depends largely on the individual or family, their race and various other factors which are most likely personal.
Culture and Events
Points of Interest
A seaside port town that’s ravaged by horrible, unnatural storms, leaving it in a dilapidated state. The southern half of town is barely liveable, and few even try, except for those in such abject poverty they must beg for scraps. The central and northern points of town are where the majority of remaining businesses and residents are concentrated.
Governed by three competing factions which are, against all odds, on friendly terms with one another, the Zephyr Den, owned and operated by Reveka, the Chester Inn, owned and operated by Diarmuid, and the Snowflake Theatre, owned and operated by Charlie Barwyk, serve as headquarters for these three gangs, each having carved out their own area of operations. As a rule of thumb, they don’t dabble in each other’s businesses. Collectively they are responsible for upholding the law of the land, however dubious that may be. Generally, if one doesn’t stick their nose in the business of the gangs, or cause too much trouble, then there should be nothing to worry about.
Another prominent establishment in town is Liminal, an Adventurer’s Guild owned and operated by Noelani. While she has no powers of governance in Ellischester, she and those contracted under her are entrusted with various tasks to be carried out, often at the request of the three who run the town. For a price, of course.
The Harbour of Refuge will be billed to most newcomers as little more than a soup kitchen run by a particularly gruff Vydra named Kalixi, however it also serves as a sort of combination shelter and medical station. In addition, Kalixi’s daughter Vivixi offers the service of her courier griffons for those wishing to send messages to nearby locations.
Unfortunately with the decline of the country, many trade goods are in short supply, and Ellischester and its surrounding areas have suffered greatly in this regard. The most likely goods to be sent for trade are hardwoods, flax, linen, dried fish, game meats and salt, and on occasion citrus type fruits(orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangelo, figs), and avocado. Most harvests, however, are kept back to feed locals, and what is traded is often bought at unfairly low prices, exploiting the poor situation of those local to the area.
Settled atop swampy marshland after which the city is named, Langsend is a settlement rife with corruption and overreaching authority. The city is divided into four districts which also serve to indicate a very clear class divide amongst its citizens. Bribery, extortion and violence are ways of life here, largely exerted by guards and the despots claiming to be politicians. Passage in and out of the city must be paid for and approved by those on duty at the gates and may include unofficial bribes to secure passage.
The mayor, Ismerelda Casadei, owns the town, and exerts power through many avenues, including her nephew Piero Casadei who is the commander of the Langsend guard. Also prominently, Piero’s four guard captains, Richard Allen, Siraye Lura, Cecilia Ladouceur, and Arthmael den fhíorasc uaine are well known around town, though attitudes and likeability vary among them.
Of note within Langsend is the Rosewood Trading Company, which employs many people at warehouses and at the docks, as well as hosts travelling merchants who are regular visitors to the city. Naturally, they work closely with the Langsend Import Authority, the regulating body which determines not only what is contraband, but the standard market rates for various goods bought and sold in bulk.
Known to all citizens is the Langsend Citizenship office and Tax Authority, as not only is every resident required to register with the citizenship office, they are also the body which sends out tax collectors on a monthly basis. While it may not be in the awareness of citizens within the Dogwood district, who struggle merely to survive in poverty, the Camellia Tea House is known to be a favoured establishment of the Mayor and her extended family.
Doing much better than Ellischester in most regards, Langsend does steady and reliable trade, often sending goods outside the country via the Rosewood Trading Company as well as the variety of merchants which come and go. Typical goods include various hardwoods and cypress wood, flax, linen, wool, dried fish, game meats, wheat, honey and seasonal berries(strawberry, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries).
This is the corrupted land over which the monstrosity that Sagcoln has become roams. It is an extremely dangerous place to attempt to traverse, as corruption sickness is guaranteed without the use of prolonged purification magic, as well as the variety of abominations which can be found here. It encloses Ellischester on one side, nearly encroaching upon city limits.
The Timurek Coast
The Coastline which stretches from the south eastern border shared by Unseelie lands, and down all the way to Ellischester and beyond. While the portion of the coast which belongs to Ellischester is inadvisable to attempt to dock at, there is a portion further north which remains safe.
The Coromouth Sea
The sea on the south eastern side of Atria that follows the Timurek Coastline. It is considered to be Sehrasil’s territory, though how expansive this is cannot be known, and the beast seems to favour the region around Ellischester. The waters are typically warm close to the coast.
A long abandoned town which once was the center of magical learning in Atria, housing a famous University of arcane arts. Once rumoured to be extremely haunted, whatever had caused that disturbance appears to be gone, and many of the buildings have been recently burned down.
The Outrey, Vegreisle, Brentsby and Annmond Lakes
These four lakes surround Langsend Marsh, home of the city of Langsend, supplying its water, and connecting to several rivers and streams. Some have claimed to spot a monstrous fish within the lakes, believing it to be some sort of spirit beast, but little evidence of this has ever manifested.
The Westwater Outpost
The Westwater Outpost is a small but busy station situated along the Marsard river. It serves as a waystation for travellers, as well as a transportation hub which offers ferries to caravans and individuals heading towards Langsend. It remains under Langsend’s jurisdiction.
The Esburg and Marsard Rivers
The Esburg and Marsard Rivers are two major waterways which are used largely by the citizens of Langsend in the interest of transporting goods at lower costs, and more quickly in and out of the country. The Marsard River runs straight to the marsh town, stemming from the interconnected lakes that surround and feed into the marsh, meeting up with the Esburg at the Westwater Outpost, coming in from the western borders of Atria. Langsend’s Rosewood Trading Company exclusively utilizes this mode of transportation, trading exclusively with agencies in Selesymemar.
While Lynysk has never been a great hub of activity, situated on the border between Atria and the Unseelie lands, it was once much more populace and would semi-regularly see travelers passing through. These days a bare handful of people still live in the Village, offering little for travelers and bandits alike. However, it remains the last stop before crossing the border, and tenuously clings to that minor value.
A small Hamlet, it serves as a rest stop between the Westwater Outpost and Langsend, and sees decent enough business from merchants and travelers coming to and from Langsend. In exchange for protection, Haydleigh pays stipends to Langsend in order to make use of it’s guards, who are no less brazen about exploiting the citizens of Haydleigh as they would be in Langsend.