by T.A. Saunders ©2010 v1.2
Population: 16.7 million (90% Zish, 5% Shei, 3% Human, 2% Asyndi.)
Government Type: Circle of Tribal Elders, elected by standing elders.
Current Head(s) of State: Voice of the Zish, Odama Nahji.
Alliances: Kingdom of Vyss, Kingdom of Moonfall, Windsong Republic, Tallis-Kah Territories, Farwind, Taijun.
Pacts of Nonaggression: Draconic Empire, Isles of Miroa, Albadosia, Zodasia.
NOTE: Populations do not include half-breeds of species, save for Dragonoids, due to the fact that Dragonoids are so varied onto themselves, and cannot be easily folded into either dragons, or another group. Half-Shei are considered Shei, Half-Asyndi and Asyn-Shei are considered Asyndi, and Half-Xalayi are considered Xalayi. Dracothar and Half-Giants are too few in number to accurately count in a census, nor would many opt to take one.
The following is a list of cities on the subcontinent of Irys. This atlas will not be an exhaustive literary work of each city, but rather a basic guide to each city and its place on Irys and further, the whole of Imarel, to give the world traveler some measure of what to expect whilst traveling abroad. It is wise to note that the jungle terrain of this land is exceedingly hazardous to those ill-prepared for it. There are numerous insects, such as the Brain Eel and others that can be extremely fatal to humanoids, as well as a variety of jungle predators that have no qualms out of making a meal out of an unwary traveler. The most notable of these are dinosaurs of different sorts, as well as gargantuan varieties of common mammals and reptiles that lurk in the thick jungle foliage.
The Zissah are the dominant species on the island, with only the occasional Human, Elvish or Quar`Vess trading ship or expeditionary force ever touching foot on the island. It is generally desired that it remain this way, as the Zissah dislike copious amounts of intrusion into their land. They are cordial to visitors and freely explain their culture and religion, but will make it loud and clear with the point of a spear, when it is time to go. The exception to this are Shar`Vaire, who are given a cool reception at best, even after thousands of years since Empress A’tese and the Zissah Purging.
There is another indigenous race on Irys the locals refer to as Voloi, which is the Zissah word for Tree-Demon. These humanoids are squat, never reaching taller than three feet tall, with over-sized arms and long claws and short horns protruding from their brow, they also have large, black eyes and wide mouths filled with small, sharp teeth. Thought to be perhaps simian in nature, the Voloi have short black, brown or gray fur that allows them to blend seamlessly with their environments. Often known to attack with simple bone or stone weapons, then leap from trees to engage their attackers, the Voloi possess at least a primitive measure of intelligence and have been the end of more than one unprepared adventuring party.
Q`Saar (pronounced Kay-Sar) Edit
Q`Saar was built for the express purpose of being a city of pleasures for the Shar`Vaire, at the beginning of the Imperial Era. As such, it reflects much of the architecture of the time, with cloud-brushing buildings of polished marble shaped with geomancy and vast streets filled with lavish sorcerous lights that would come on as the sun, Ka set on the horizon. With gardens lining walk ways and parks where one can idly watch exotic birds, or force a Zissah to serve them a cold beverage, it was truly the ideal image of Imperial decadence.
Things change however and with the War of the Eternals in full swing, the Shar`Vaire that were here were caught entirely unaware by a Moon Elvish landing party that was assisted by the Zissah. Despite this surprise, causalities were still high on both sides, but the Shar`Vaire were driven back out to sea and never allowed to return. Today, Q`Saar serves as a way-point city for those traveling to the jungle subcontinent, where they may relax and plan their forays into the dangerous and unforgiving wild just outside her sorcerously kept walls. A few Moon Elves and Quar`Vess make this city their home; most of which are scholars eager to learn about the Zissah way of life.
Szarahn (pronounced Zar-Ran) Edit
Szarahn is a fairly new city formed just after the Second Godswar of 1346 AC, by a combination of Ziyn rescued from the Screaming Halls of Shalzaar and refugees from various villages put to the torch by the Avatar of Suffering’s forces. Their spiritual leader, Vysera had been one of the adventurers that rescued the aforementioned Ziyn and later, contributed to rounding up whatever Zissah refugees she could find.
Since the war, the small city has seen steady growth under the supervision of their blind elder, with worship of both Rasheema, the Spirit of Serenity and Seryn, the Spirit of Hope being staples in the budding community acting as a strong motivator for this precedent gathering of Ziyn and Zissah. Because of its ideal placement, the city’s growth has also been augmented by trade, as it serves as a port to the lands to the west and north and a slightly higher than normal concentration of other races, including Humans and Shei of various sorts.
Temple of VelsaiEdit
Kept in the deepest part of the jungle, the Temple of Velsai is all that remains of a once, ancient and wicked city that stood there in dedication to the Lady of Spite herself. Now, standing amongst outcroppings of jungle trees and crumbled ruins, the temple serves as a bastion for the last known Zissah dark priests and Reavers that are otherwise exiled from every other village and city on Irys. To even find the temple is a feat in and of itself, due to the thick foliage and the array of dangerous jungle creatures that lurk in the area. However, making it far enough to see the temple, one is gifted with the sight of ancient madness and wicked reverie as homage is paid to not only the Lords of Chaos, but the Forgotten Ones, who the Zissah once held as gods onto themselves.
Intrusion onto the temple grounds is not taken lightly and hostility is shown to anybody coming close to it without good cause. Certainly anybody showing symbols of the Old Gods or goodly Spirits of Imarel are engaged on sight and if slain, either fed to monsters pets or reanimated in some strange and cruel way, to add to the reinforcements that ensure the secrets of the temple remain secrets. Indeed, there is no known record or documentation that details the horrors or splendors within for this very reason until very recently, when Duke Arathys Blackthorne captured the temple in an attempt to cut off Siru from what was rumored to be the burial site of the infamous Sleeping Terror.
Ztai [Capital] (pronounced Zee-tay)Edit
The city of Ztai is the seat of power for the twelve Zissah tribes and acts as a place for emissaries from other nations to visit, without interrupting the tranquility of day to day life for the various, smaller villages that pepper the subcontinent. The city itself is widely considered the oldest on Imarel, with the temple at the center of the city predating known history. It serves as it did all those ages ago as a place of worship, but rather than to the Nine Lords of Chaos that it once paid black homage to, it now stands exclusively for the Spirit of Serenity, who is the matron deity for all Zissah, save those who keep to the old way.
Ztai enjoys a healthy amount of commerce from sea traders who come to swap meets of a sort, set up in the city square where they are given access to various plant, animal and mineral goods found throughout the island from various village traders, called Ghutei. The Ghutei are highly skilled at both bartering and appraisal, so attempting to trade shoddy wares with the Zissah here is often a futile effort. Occasionally, though it is frowned deeply upon, the Ghutei will also trade ancient Zissah artifacts, tablets and the like from the dark times. These sell for small fortunes to scholars who are attempting to piece together a period in history that the Zissah themselves have seemingly forgotten.
Ztai is also where the elders of all the tribes meet each month to discuss matters of universal importance amongst the tribes and delegate what is in the best interest for all the tribes. There are occasional inter-tribal disputes over hunting ground and the like, which if cannot be resolved through discussion, are resolved through contests between village champions. These are always non-lethal and rarely result in a bleeding or anything being broken. It is more a test of skills than it is to cause serious harm a fellow Zissah. All twelve tribes answer to the High Priest or Priestess of the temple, who is considered the supreme leader of all Zissah. This individual, who is known as a Dae-Chajn, considers the words of the twelve elders of the tribes, but has the ability to make rulings against the will of the majority of he or she sees some divine reason to do otherwise.
People are free to wander Ztai as they like and take in the ancient splendor of the city, with great basalt-crafted buildings that often have vines winding down their sides, or the white stone-paved streets that have served for day to day travel for longer than anybody can remember. Despite having suffered the purge of the Shar`Vaire and at least one other ancient war, Ztai is still mostly intact and looks much as it did millions of years ago. Amongst other things, the city boasts the only Zissah library in existence, as well as the only harbor on the entire subcontinent that can receive airships without difficulty.