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The Llyran Republic

The Republic
The Islands
The Cloudships
The Order of Narses
The Order of Illumination
Llyran History
Population Centers
Important Sites

 

THE LLYRAN REPUBLIC
Capital: Tarrentica
Population:
770,450 (88% humans, 6% halflings, 3% dwarves, 2% elves)
Government:
Republic
Religions:
Conorrian
Imports:
Exotic magic items, grain, steel, timber
Exports:
Precious metals, minor magic items, olive oil, art, wine

This small island nation is the greatest collection of wizards, sorcerers, loremasters and savants anywhere in Vatheria. Survivors of the drowning of ancient Iridian, the Llyrans have always maintained their close association with magic and wizardry, considering it to be the highest of educated pursuits.

The Llyrans are a proud and wealthy people, self-assured that they have achieved a noble fusion of enlightened principles with high culture. While many Llyran scholars study foreign lands and customs, few actually leave their comfortable homes and travel, content instead to pursue their studies from their high towers and serene gardens.

Every Llyran child is tested at the age of five for signs of magical capability. Those that are determined to be capable of channeling the powers of magic, are sent to the Academy and given the finest magical training available. Since so many of her citizens are wizards, the Llyran people have developed a culture of intricate social courtesy, designed to prevent the misunderstandings that could lead to duels between wizards. To most foreigners, the Llyran rituals of courtesy seem merely curious and time-consuming.

Sorcerers are seen as artists in Llyran, but not viewed as serious practitioners. Most Llyran mages have little respect for those that use the "grand science" for nothing more than personal power, preferring instead those who dedicate themselves to a deeper understanding of the underlying theory of magic, what it is and how it works. In many respects, accomplished sages are viewed with more respect than sorcerers or wizards who merely perfect an already-known spell.

While every wizard studies the workhorse spells such as detect magic and fireball, the use of personal or unusual magic is considered a mark of sophistication and status. It is for this reason that many spells carry the name of their creator - Llyrans use the full name and expect others to do the same when they create a spell. Spellcraft is only one area of arcane pursuit, of course. Each wizard worthy of the name seeks to expand his knowledge of one or more areas of interest, such as geography, divination, the planes of existence, etc.

The Republic

The Llyransí republican form of government is unique among the nations of Vatheria. Each of the noble houses of the Republic sends a number of senators to Tarrentica in proportion to the amount of land under their control, usually two or three. The noble Marova family, founders of Tarrentica, always send three. The Senate debates policy and hands its decisions down to various officials responsible for the actual running of the Republic.

These officials include the Constans, or Chancellor, the official responsible for the day-to-day running of the Republicís government; the Magister, the official responsible for the Academy and the Strategos, the Republicís chief military officer. In addition, there are traditional positions within the Senate which are given more weight on certain matters of expertise. These include the Incantorus, generally the most respected voice on issues of magical importance and the Joraidan, or Standard-Bearer, generally the most respected voice within the Senate on matters of security and the distribution of garrisons throughout the Republic. This latter seat has been held by House Bolusova for more than two centuries.

The Islands

The Llyran Republic occupies an archipelago of seven main islands. The largest island is Riandis, site of the capital and most of the cultivated land.

The Cloudships

When folk of other lands think of the Llyran Republic, the images most likely to come to their minds are the fabulous works of magic that are that nationís pinnacles of achievement. Best known among these are the Cloudships, magical vessels that sail amidst the high airs above Theeurth. Few of these beautiful, fragile craft exist, and are usually held only by the most powerful noble houses. Thus, few are ever seen outside of the Republic. Some smaller versions, known as Cloudskiffs also exist, and are usually used only to ferry heralds and messengers of the greatest importance.

The Order of Narses

There are many societies of magicians in the Republic, but the greatest and most secretive of these is the Order of Narses. Only the most respected, most accomplished of wizards are invited into the Narsetic Order. It is rumored that the Order not only involves itself with matters concerning the entire known world, but grants its members additional power to meet their ends. It is the dream of every Llyran wizard to one day be inducted into the Order.

The Order of Illumination*

The study and cultivation of magical knowledge in the Llyran Republic is an inextricable part of the culture and is a common goal of noble and common man alike.  Thus, it is not surprising that the pursuit of knowledge through magical means is a proud and respected field of expertise.  From the highest officer of the Senate to the meager potion-brewer in the streets of Tarrentica, all citizens of the Republic seek the insights of sages and experienced oracles.  The enhanced perceptions of these seers are a vital aspect of the Llyran culture, and the Senate in particular makes extensive use of the information they collect in keeping a watchful eye on the surrounding seas, and activity in foreign lands.

Among the wise and learned mages of the Llyran Republic, only the most perceptive and patient wizards are offered admission into the Order of Illumination.  This semi-monastic Order of specialists in the field of divination is concerned chiefly with the security of the Republic, casting their enchanted eyes across the seas and into distant lands.  Over the centuries the Order of Illumination has discovered many powerful means of gathering information from abroad, even seeing into other planes of existence when the need arose.  Rarely taking new members, the Order is comprised almost exclusively of the very old, and constant exposure to the mind-bending magics they employ regularly sends their practitioners into a dream-like trance.

An encounter with one of these mysterious oracles is said to be an unnerving experience to say the least.  Their eyes glazed white from lack of use, their heads or bodies swaying from side to side as they intone secret rituals in ancient and unknown tongues, the Illuminari relay their information in complex and mysterious phrases.  Lesser members of the Order are often required to translate some portion of the message as their meanings can approach the incomprehensible.  Over the years, many Llyran scholars have questioned the legitimacy of the Order, especially the members of the Order of Narses, which view the Illuminari as necessary but inferior intellectuals.  Indeed, much of the Senateís most heated debates were enflamed, not resolved, by the readings provided by the Order of Illumination.

History, however, has always validated the Orderís strange and mysterious existence.  One event in particular is often cited in any debate about the Illuminari.  In 2106 the venerable Illuminari Hvarshavas spontaneously shouted ĎThree ten summers; the Triskelis child must defy its father!  Yet the elder dies with the bleeding Gnorud!í

The Order scrambled to translate the message from a man that had been so absorbed in his extra-planar wanderings that he had not spoken in over a year.  The Illuminari found an obscure reference to the Triskelis, a tall desert flower that once grew in the oases of Farmuz.  Praised for its medicinal properties, the lush flora was known locally as the Emperorís Root.  In reference to the Ďbleeding Gnorud,í their researches found that the barbaric Skane tribes called the northern-most constellation in their sky the Gnorud.  Thus, the Illuminari concluded that this phrase indicated some conflict in the north.  Exactly thirty years later, as Hvarshavas foretold, the Llyran son defied its father, the Emperor, who died as war raged in the north.

HISTORY

The Llyrans believe that before the gods destroyed Iridian and Numanthaur, they warned a band of faithful followers of the Great Cataclysm that was to come. These faithful, who came from the Iridian land of Llyr, removed themselves to the coast and set sail in twenty ships bound into the west. Far to the west and south, they found a green and pleasant island called Valis where they lived simple lives, forsaking the thirst for power that had driven their countrymen to great and foolish evil. But though they shut their books and hid away their staves of power, they did not destroy them, nor forget utterly the might of their forebears.

Long ages after, as the folk of Llyr lived in peace, an ancient enemy awoke and pursued them. The Ymandragore, servants of long-dead Numanthaur awoke after their long slumber and pursued the last descendants of their enemies. Valis was overwhelmed and her people slain. Only a few of the Llyrans survived, and then only be resorting to the magical power of their ancestors. Guided by a prophet sent by the god Borlamnos, they fled in ships, numbering twenty once again, and when they were free of the carnage, they held counsel among themselves.

Now this First Council was divided and argued bitterly what to do. But in the end, it was decided that if the sins of the past would haunt them, they must be prepared with the knowledge of the past. The Llyrans would return to their ancient home and pursue the greatness their ancestors had known, but with more wisdom. Or so they hoped.

The twenty ships of the First Council arrived on the shores of the Llyran islands, all that remained of ancient Llyr, in the year CY 1219. They found that the islands were inhabited and lay at the heart of the greatest empire in Vatheria. But the Llyrans had come at an opportune time, for the Conorrian Empire had just entered into a brutal struggle for its survival.

The Shadowmaster of Marador had unleashed his terrible shadow servants on the empire, resulting in a war which had nearly driven the Empire to its knees. Four successive Conorrian Emperors had been obliged to move their courts to a fleet of ships on the Valesian Sea, and the wars against Marador therefore had become known as the Wars of the Fisherman Emperors. The Llyrans came as an unlooked-for blessing, for among the forgotten secrets they bore were scrolls which described the means by which the shadows might be stopped. Brave agents of the empire were dispatched to stop the Shadowmaster, and the Llyrans were granted the Llyran islands to hold in fee from the Emperor, in effect becoming their own province.

The Llyrans settled in to rule their islands in the name of the Conorrian Emperor, and served loyally in his armies and courts for the next five hundred years. During this time, the Academy was established and the long tradition of magical training was begun. Always, the masters of the Academy were mindful of the twin abysses that had destroyed the two worlds of their ancestors: power without restraint and restraint without power. Always they strove to ensure that the Llyran people would never again be without either.

In 1791, the Emperor Hadrasius XXI was assassinated while on a tour of Luxur. Although his infant son, Valerius, was acclaimed emperor by the Senate within weeks, there were many pretenders to the throne. Before the year was out, no less than thirteen claimants had been recognized by one legion or another. Many were murdered within months, but six, all of them wizards or sorcerers, named themselves emperor and made war upon the others. So began the Conorrian Civil War, known as the Mage Wars. These vast and bloody wars lasted for twenty-six years, and left the empire forever changed.

Llyran was at the heart of this struggle, both figuratively and geographically. Two separate claimants to the throne arose in the province, Jorena Alemova, known as Firehair, and Kezdu Maran, Magister of the Academy. Maran was killed by his own students, but Firehair declared her Iridian heritage, proclaimed herself empress and was hailed in the streets of Tarrentica. And so the land of mages was drawn bloodily into the Mage Wars. Firehair commanded no great armies, but she commanded a contingent of mages second only to that of Valerius himself. In the end, it may have been the reputation of the Llyran mages that doomed them, because all hands were turned against them. After the genies of Haríakir had summoned a great wave to sweep away the islands, Valeriusí troops landed in force and reasserted the Empireís control. Firehair was carted away to be paraded through the streets of Echoriath.

In the east and south, Valerius retained his empire and was recognized as the legitimate holder of the Phoenix Throne. But west of the Conorr peninsula, the empire was under the thumb of the Mage-Emperor Markimillien I, who founded the Miletian Empire. The Conorrian Empire had lost more than half its territory, and over the next several centuries, was to lose half again, as one by one, it lost control of Llyran, Luxur, Valesia, Thariyya, Farmuz, and Accolon.

The moment of independence came for Llyran in the year CY 2136. The Empireís grip had been lost already in most of the south, and the people of the province chafed at the demands of the Emperor Cleon IV for more taxes and conscripts for his wars against Carhallas. The Convocation, a gathering of the heads of the Llyran houses, sent a letter to the Emperor requesting a reduction in the burden placed upon their province. Outraged, the Emperor ordered the governor to arrest the Convocation and bring them to Echoriath in chains. Instead, the governor joined the Convocation, which renamed itself the Llyran Senate and proclaimed the province to be an independent republic. The Emperorís expected counterstroke never arrived because Cleon died, apparently of natural causes, and his successor, Umbrius, was occupied with wars against Carhallas and Shanatar.

In the six centuries since Llyran independence, the Republic has become an important power in the western Valesian Sea. Llyrans like to think of themselves as aloof from the struggles of rival powers, but in fact circumstances have almost always forced them to take sides. They have generally been favorably disposed toward the Empire and Haríakir, while remaining fierce rivals of Accolon, Ianthe and Valesia.

When the Darothic hordes destroyed the Miletian Empire in 2282-90, many of the refugees fled to the Llyran Islands. Although the Miletian Emperor appealed to the Republic for assistance, the Llyran Senate debated endlessly and never sent more than the most minimal aid. The Miletian Blood Sorcerers had been seen as rising rivals, and few mourned their passing until it was too late to recover any of their lost knowledge. This failure caused a shift in the politics of the Republic, which now tries to support those it sees as friendly without intervening directly. The independent nature of most mages means that some will always take more direct personal action.

Llyran mages were instrumental in the great Crusade of 2745-6, seeing in the orcish invasion the potential for the destruction of the Conorrian Empire, and the resulting loss of stability throughout Vatheria. Likewise, there were Llyran mages in the army of the Supreme Strategos, Minaros when the Valesian City States went to war with Accolon. It was hoped, in vain as it turned out, that Minarosí forces would curb the ambitions of the Warlocks in the west.

MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS

Tarrentica (Large City; population 68,480) The Llyran capital is nestled in a high, sheltered valley at the foot of the 12,000-foot volcano Mount Elusis. Although the city lies at an altitude of 4,000 feet, the temperature is mild in winter and hot in the summer. The city lies between three large lakes which provide not only drinking water and a beautiful view, but a fine defense as well. Many noble villas are built on the lakesí rocky islands, or along their farther shores. Wild hippogriffs are common to the area and sometimes nest on the smaller islands.

Tarrentica is home to the famous Llyran Academy, one of the finest institutions of learning in all of Vatheria. The Academy consists of a single great tower at the heart of the city, its only doors a hundred feet above the level of the street. Across town is the beautiful Senate building, built of rosy maidenstone and pale marble. It is often said that these two buildings are the heart and mind of the Republic.

Vastium (Small City; population 33,540) The largest port in the Llyran islands, Vastium lies sixty miles southeast of Tarrentica on the shores of Camistella Bay. Ships from every nation of Vatheria may be found here, particularly traders from Haríakir, the Crusader States, Valesia, and the Empire, but even including the Harkorian League, Lorraine and Accolon. The harbor is home to a water elemental of superior size, the result of a bargain between the Republic and the Water King.

Erichalcum (Small Town; population 7,520) Located on the southern shores of Ildorini, the easternmost of the Llyran islands, Erichalcum is famous for its black sand beaches and quaint, white-washed villas with their red roofs. But the real treasure of Erichalcum is its famous Triton Bell, a great bronze bell built on a small island just off the harbor. When this bell is rung during the full moon, representatives of the tritons rise from the depths of the sea to trade with the local inhabitants.

IMPORTANT LOCAL SITES

The Forge of Flame - Legend says that Mordhal, god of the forge, lives beneath Mount Elusis, where he is served by fire giants who work his personal forge. High on the mountainís slopes, far above the city of Tarrentica, a temple to the god contains a powerful forge, used only with the permission of the godís clergy.

The Straits of Maidhan - Between the islands of Maidhan and Ryoril lies a dangerous strait filled with reefs and savage sea lions. A great number of careless or unlucky ships have been run aground or sunk in these turbulent waters.

Elgarinís Road - Off the west coast of Riandis lies a strange line of hexagonal stone plates. They begin about a mile off the coast in forty feet of water and extend in a southwesterly direction down into the depths of the sea. Discovered in 2591 by the wizard Elgarin, these stones have been the subject of much speculation. Elgarin insisted that they were the remains of an Iridian city, and spent many years trying to prove his theory. He was lost at sea in 2618.

 

* The Order of Illumination was created by Scott Stricklin

 
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