The Sapphire Lands are located on the planet of Safyr. The planet is roughly two-thirds the size of Terra but maintains close to 0.9G due to its dense core. Due to its minimal axial tilt, Safyr does not have changing seasons. Safyr rotates on its axis at a near one-to-one ratio as Terra does.
Safyr orbits a single sun and is, in turn, orbited by a trio of moons that are almost equidistant from each other. The Unification Calendar, standardized by the Emesus College in Marbelum, dictates that a year is made up of nine months. Each month has five weeks, and each week has eight days, resulting in a total of 360 days in a year.
The planet is home to a single large continent, with three major islands to its south. Various minor islands dot the rest of the world. There are five major geographical zones: the Arctic, which spans the North-Northeastern region; the Temperate zone along the continent’s Central region; the Great Plains in the West; the Deserts in the Southwest; and the Jungles in the South-Southeast.
The planet of Safyr is noticeably dotted with forests of blue-leafed trees genetically distinct from other flora, dubbed the Blue Pine. The Blue Pine sinks its roots deep into the earth and has broad leaves, drawing nutrition from rare minerals in the ground and storing incredible amounts of energy from the sun. The Blue Pine secretes a viscous blue resin that glows in the dark from time to time. When the resin hardens and is eroded and picked up by the winds, it forms the basis of all magical and psionic abilities when organic life interacts with it. In large concentrations, the presence of the resin has also been known to be the cause of otherworldly phenomena. Despite its moniker, Blue Pine is unrelated to and does not resemble pine trees.
The vast majority of sapient creatures live in and around metropolitan, independent city states and are usually dependent on either the closest one to them for protection, organization and other basic services.
With the exception of the citizen inhabitants of each city state, the vast majority of settlements outside of cities do not owe allegiance nor need to identify with the city state that they pay taxes to and subsequently receive services from, and will work with whichever city state best aligns with their needs, or even none at all. Many colonies that city states establish often begin with a high degree of dependence on their patrons and are subservient, but successful ones are usually eventually able to change the terms.
Life within cities generally afford individuals more creature comforts, especially access to a sewage system, hubs of commerce, and institutions of higher learning. Rural communities however are reliant on subsistence economies requiring manual labor, often farming, fishing, mining or logging.
Open warfare between city states are few and far between, and often ceremonial in nature with defined points of contention and a bidding system, where the city that bids the lowest quantity of forces to a conflict and wins, are regarded with greater prestige and influence than they would otherwise. Such successful displays are often used to influence the actions and decisions of minor settlements around them.
The largest real threat to city states and to a larger extent, minor settlements outside them, are the seasonal attacks by Bandit and Pirate kingdoms made up of banished criminals, outcasts and marginalized societies that dominate the wild regions between civilization. What these kingdoms lack in technological sophistication and numbers, they often make up with tactical ingenuity and sheer brutality.
Often, these bandits and pirates pillage to survive, the regions they inhabit full of all manner of dangerous creatures, harsh environments and eldritch phenomena that make the creation of systemic industries capable of producing the excess in food and tools to feed and defend themselves on a daily basis difficult.
While the vast majority of city states were founded and settled by the various species brought to the world by the Iluvidae and Tarfiinian gods as well as the Avatars, a small number were raised by native species that emulated the political structure of the immigrants. The large majority of minor settlements outside of city states are also made of native communities that predate the rise of city states. However in the present day and age, both immigrant and native species frequently move, intermingling and living side by side in the same communities.
The Sapphire Lands are technologically akin to the late medieval to early renaissance period of 15th Century Terra. General life and warfare is mostly conducted with rudimentary handheld tools like swords, pitchforks, handsaws, hand axes and hoes, as well as simple contraptions that can be made with such tools, like wheelbarrows and horse-drawn carriages.
Most communities have also leveraged on the domestication of various native and immigrant animals mostly brought in by Humans, to work the land and transport people and goods.
Architecture in rural areas tend to be limited to simple structures utilizing local materials, or even carved out of the local landscape. But cities, especially the affluent ones with expertise, are able to be built out of local stone, brick and sometimes even exotic materials like marble, with grand structures going up several levels high.
There are a few gifted or privileged individuals who are able to manipulate and wield the Winds, an energy that resides within and around most sapient living things and carried along by the air currents of the planet and originate from the resin of Blue Pine trees after they have been excreted, hardened and eroded into fine particles carried along by wind currents.
These individuals are able to use these energies to heal flesh, speak telepathically, shield themselves and others from harm, cause harm to others or even simplify mundane tasks, depending on their area of expertise. Magic has even been used to raise and form structures out of earth and plants.
Most individuals do not have the privilege of great social or economic standing nor the talent required to learn the art of Arcane manipulation from a mentor for the lifetime it takes to master the craft. Even rarer still are gifted or chosen individuals who are either innately capable of manipulating the energy that reside within, or are granted the abilities by another incredibly gifted entity of immense power, like the Five Iluvidae and Tarfiinian gods or the various spirits of the land.
However the world of Safyr has in the last one hundred years, seen a great proliferation of newer scientific discoveries made by the reverse engineering and copying of more rudimentary artifacts recovered from caches and ruins from the time Avatars physically walked the land.
These breakthroughs have led to armies armed with gunpowder muskets, skilled craftsmen with magnifying glasses, and wealthy merchants with the latest in steam powered carriages and ships.
However, the sophistication of the vast majority of original working artifacts are beyond the understanding of even the brightest tinkerers and artificers. Most of these one of a kind contraptions are within the hands of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals and organizations, and more often than not, require Resin Crystals synthesized from Blue Pine forests to power.
The timeline of Safyr is traced by the advent of the Iluvidae and Tarfiinian deities onto its realm, designated as GA or the Great Arrival. The events as written below come from the perspective of the mortal peoples of Safyr.
-5000 GA: Historical accounts unveil the emergence of the first sentient species, known as Giants. These beings established communities and societies across the expansive Great Plains in the western expanse of Safyr.
-2000 to -1800 GA: Giants embarked on explorations, recording encounters with diverse semi-sapient species spanning the globe. These species were classified as Lagocavians, Skritlings, Salimar, and Coralaxi.
0 GA: The sky blazed with falling stars of mountainous proportions, heralding the appearance of the Iluvidae and Tarfiinian gods and their progeny. Ilufae and Tarfii swiftly extended their influence across the land, erecting majestic cities, reshaping mountains, and nurturing verdant forests in a seemingly instantaneous manner. Despite Giants rejecting divinity, they were allowed to pursue their own path.
5 to 12 GA: Blue Pine forests flourished throughout Safyr’s domain.
158 GA: The gods bestowed life upon the first Treefolk, charging them with safeguarding and nurturing the Blue Pine woodlands.
256 to 312 GA: Lagocavians, Skritlings, Salimar, and Coralaxi were subsequently elevated by the gods, attaining sapience. The Elevated beings dedicated themselves to divine service, coexisting and cultivating the land alongside their divine progenitors.
256-1279 GA: The gods largely maintained distance from mortals, leading to a period of segregation. Yet, this era, often referred to as the Golden Age, saw occasional miraculous interventions trickling down from the celestial cities.
1280 to 1299 GA: The Great Devourer descended upon Safyr, wielding destruction and chaos. Gods waged a relentless war against their ancient adversary, igniting skies and enshrouding lands in ash. Although the Great Devourer was ultimately repelled, most of the gods perished during the struggle. The survivors pursued the Devourer, leaving five to oversee Safyr by merging with its landscape.
1230 to 8600 GA: Progeny of the gods, the Elevated and Giantkin, thrived across Safyr despite the fading of the Golden Age and its wonders. Magic arose among the Elevated, progressing through generations, while Giantkin appeared excluded.
Thriving city-states emerged as the dominant political entities.
8645 to 8649 GA: Avatars manifested in Safyr through a luminous pillar, heralding the City of Lights. These celestial beings brought slaves from diverse realms to toil as Humans did and for amusement, much like the Avasa.
Adherents of the Old Gods revolted against Avatar rule.
8651 GA: Safyr’s populace reluctantly succumbed to Avatar dominance, lacking means to challenge their overwhelming might, even with magic.
8652 to 9001 GA: An era of Avatar dominion commenced. Over time, a segment of the Human slaves transformed into the Safyrians and Farangians as adaptation to the environment took place.
9001 to 9151 GA: Avatar visits dwindled in frequency and presence, with reasons unknown. Occasional appearances occurred for the collection of criminal tributes.
The Humankin and Avasa slaves secured liberty as Avatar influence waned.
9989 GA: A colossal entity of iron and steel named the Father plummeted from the heavens, embedding itself within the earth. Sentient metal beings, termed Coretex by Avatars, surfaced, often integrating peacefully into society or hunted down by the Avatars.
9152 to 10,124 GA: The liberated Humankin and Avasa expanded and assimilated across Safyr. Technological progress flourished as innovation, previously suppressed by the Avatars, flourished. Artefacts left behind by the Avatars were reverse-engineered, culminating in a dramatic technological leap.
10,125 GA: The present era of Safyr unfolds.
Considered the primogenitors of the ancestors of modern Fey, the Iluvidae arrived ten thousand years ago to the world of Safyr.
Often described in tales as beings of incredible beauty and grace so radiant no mortal could look directly their way, and left no footprints where they crossed. They were also described as having six wings upon their backs and wielding swords made of light in other accounts.
The Iluvidae were known to be aloof, sitting upon their golden thrones in the sky engrossed in their own affairs. Yet a few showed interest in interacting with the mortals they created, mentoring them in the ways of the Arcane and the art of cultivating Blue Pine trees.
When the Great Devourer came to the world, the Iluvidae stood beside the Tarfiinian gods against the creature of iron and steel and all but a few perished in a pyrrhic victory and their heavenly thrones cast down to the earth.
Most departed the world to hunt down the Great Devourer as it retreated but two remained on Safyr to watch over the world, Leylaxi the Shining and Kayhali the Wise.
The Tarfiinian pantheon were the fathers and mothers to the ancestors of the modern Dwarves, and still widely venerated and openly worshiped by the majority of individuals and societies of Dwarven ancestry.
While the Iluvidae ruled from the skies, the Tarfii burrowed into the mountains of Safyr with their great cities where they gorged upon the precious minerals of the earth.
The Tarfii were often described in stories as broad, with bodies of stone and eyes that burned like fire. They could each single-handedly move mountains of earth and stone with magic beyond any mortals’ wildest dreams. And from the worthless stones they hew, they turned into elaborate magical creations of metal and rock.
Many left to chase the Great Devourer with their Ilufae allies when they defeated it over the skies of Safyr. But a handful of unnamed Lesser Deities of the Tarfiinian pantheon, too injured by their earlier battles, remained behind.
Today these Lesser Tarfiinian gods and goddesses whose names were lost to time were simply referred to by the role they served. The Smith, The Mother, The Warrior, The Shadow, The Ritual, The Lady and The Steed.
The Avatars, who call themselves the Ru’a-Tai by some accounts, were a host of otherworldly beings that arrived a thousand years ago from a pillar of light that reached to the sky on the spot which would now be known as the City of Lights.
They claimed to be the rightful successors of the Iluvidae and Tarfiinian gods and demanded nothing from the inhabitants of Safyr except their obedience and worship at all times.
The believers of the old Iluvidae and Tarfiinian gods rebelled against their new masters, but were almost immediately put down. In the end, the event was but a mere foot note to the Avatars, and barely affected their subsequent rule and interactions with mortals.
The Avatars were described as humanoid in shape, most often with a feminine form though a few appeared male. They wore clothes made of a skin tight material underneath and overlaid with armor of exotic metals and fabrics so thin they looked ethereal. Their faces were always shrouded behind a helmet seemingly made of smooth, domed glass nobody could peer through.
They also brought with them various Human tribes and the Avasa as slaves to harvest resin from the Blue Pine forests and to mine the earth. They also brought with them all manner of powerful magical artifacts beyond the comprehension of Safyr’s greatest sages, with which they fought with and bestowed on their slaves so that they may better do their jobs.
The Avatars would arrive on the mainland on flying chariots that roared through the sky, and roamed the land either alone or in pairs, serving as judges, juries and executioners, whereby they would also occasionally exact the one and only tribute they desired, the toughest and most violent of criminals. It is unknown what they wanted these tributes for, and they were always never seen again.
It is also noted that curiously from time to time, Avatars were known to appear with intimate knowledge of things only these tributes could have known, otherwise they were obviously not those individuals, with totally different body shapes, voices and personalities.
While the Avatars largely did not interfere with the day to day lives of the free inhabitants of Safyr, using or otherwise touching an Avatar artifact, approaching or otherwise attempting to land on the island where the City of Lights stood, speaking or acting out against one, or interfering with the Avatars’ slave populations were cause enough to bring their wrath on entire communities.
Gradually, Avatar interaction with the mainland slowly faded away, with only one or two ever appearing every few years. Nobody knew the reason why but sailors that skimmed the coast where the City of Lights stood still reported that the sky reaching towers shone as brightly as ever.
Spirits of the Land
With the arrival of the Blue Pine trees and magic to the world of Safyr, time has also seen the natural creation and emergence of local spirits. Many mundane features of the earth, like a large rock, tree, or small body of water, have over hundreds of years undisturbed, absorbed the energies of the Winds and becoming spirits.
These forces of nature have a will of their own, interacting with mortals and sometimes developing relationships with nearby communities as a whole that have lasted generations. Many of these communities often venerate their local spirits as deities, providing various offerings and performing various rituals in exchange for protection from savage beasts or boons to their livelihoods.
To some lesser extent, mundane items like swords, lamps and furniture can with the same circumstances, also gain spirits of their own, and becoming something more than a mere soulless magical item.
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