World (Move your mouse to reveal the content) World (open) World (close) The Scorched Land (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Scorched Land (open) The Scorched Land (close) In the idyllic Elysia, the Eastern gods ruled here. Now in the Scorched Land of Kausteira the sunsets are awash with flame and the air is thick and hot and smelling of the ashes that fill the sky anew each day, as volcanic activity turns Kausteira into a barren desert wasteland. Still there are those who hang on to the hope that the curses on the sand, fire and stone might be lifted … but the black, belching anathemas can only be satisfied with a sacrifice of warm blood. Zirash The southernmost city of Kausteira and certainly its hottest, Zirash was in Elysian times a thriving sea port on a small tropical island. As sea levels dropped dramatically in Kausteira due to catastrophic climate change, the city was abandoned, along with the deep well on the island used to obtain freshwater from underground man-made reservoirs. As centuries passed and the land slowly began to recover, the site was remembered and re-explored. It was discovered that the reservoirs had developed into a large network of underground freshwater aquifers where rivers had drained into the soil of the Kausteiran desert. The well was rebuilt and ever since then Zirash has been a haven of Kausteira, the crucial resting place for all travelers in a desert with no surface water. There are rumors of a dark place of magic not far to the north of it, but these doubtful rumors have never been confirmed. Dun The Red King was born very close to Dun. An eastern seaside city, Dun is very ancient, closely connected with eastern Kausteira's history of mining and stoneworking. Here it had always been hot, rocky and generally unpleasant, so Kausteira's transformation did not affect the population there as much. In the centuries following the Cataclysm, resources remained in high demand as ungifted individuals sought desperately craftsmen to supply them with much-needed possessions and people who banded together required construction material for shelter and settlement, the stonemasons and forgers of Dun never went out of business for long. Dunish metal is traded far and wide throughout Sunnepheia. Avarath Avarath is a recent city that formed long post-Cataclysm, although there have always been settlements on the well-situated land bridge between Kausteira and Zmaragdos ever since changing sea levels created it. When the city of Host, then known as Hosrel, was invaded by Eastern nomads, settlers poured in to claim new land, partake in the more hospitable climate, and take advantage of natural resources unknown to Kausteiran lands. Even after Host was reclaimed by the Zmaragdosi government, established trade routes between the East and West flourished. A major center of trade and resting point for travelers (going the longer way through the mountains is a laughable, if not fatal, alternative to most), it is the main source of Kausteiran wealth and has developed into a huge, bustling city inhabited by an amazing variety of people. CHAPTER ONE Avarath Theme Song (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Theme Song (open) Theme Song (close) [video=youtube;hpmYcbPHuII]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpmYcbPHuII[/video] The Red King stood upon the royal balcony, looking out at the desert land spread out below him. The precious water of the oasis glimmered silver in the sun, and the mountains loomed blue in the distance. A clear cyan sky offered no obstacle to the brilliant white orb of heat simmering above the red cliffs and swinging palm trees. Beside him on the bare, sandy rock, Shahirazad languished with a disinterested gleam in her copper-red eyes. Aukhmos, she purred throatily. We cannot wait here forever. She locked his gaze onto hers and hissed, It's cowardice! Aukhmos exhaled deeply and turned from the gold-red sight of Kausteira. "I know," he said hotly. "I will go. I will go soon. But I need followers. I need an army." His eyes darkened. "Yet the army I have now is barely enough to protect one empire." Shahirazad said, So go north and conquer more men. What ever is keeping you? Nothing ever has before. I'm nearly concerned. Her golden tail twitched fitfully back and forth. "It's trust," Aukhmos said finally. "I want my best advisors to come with me – without them I would not have the wisdom I need to fight the West. But who do I leave behind? There are two men I trust!" he declared harshly. "Two men, and I need both of them with me. And I need both of them to rule the nation in Avarath." Shahirazad snorted, disbelieving. You have five generals, all with brilliant minds and swordsmanship nearly rivaling yours. If you cannot leave your advisors, leave them. "That would be stupid," Aukhmos said bluntly. "They would struggle for power amongst each other. If I raise one above the others, I invite anarchy. Civil war. Violating the entire principle of freedom this nation is based on." Shahirazad's brows furrowed in deep thought. Freedom, she mused hoarsely. Her fangs gleamed in the sunlight as she lifted her chin proudly. I've got an idea. ROYAL NOTICE Inviting all able men and women of the proud Nation of Kausteira to partake in a vote determining the Regent of the land while the Red King Aukhmos, son of Bhlad, conquers new lands in the North. By royal decree all eligible shall travel to the capital city, Avarath, to cast their votes and pass the combat trials necessary to be numbered amongst His Majesty's proud party.