Draezoln

Draezoln is a fantasy world, home to my most persistent figments.

MapofDraezoln.jpg

Fauna

The major lifeforms of Draezoln include the Three Races of Men (Humans, Elves, and Dwarves) and their opposites (Orcs, Aphani, and Trolls), the four races of metallic dragons (gold, silver, bronze, and copper), the four races of chromatic dragons (red, blue, green, and white), as well as a large variety of fantastic monsters. However, the six humanoid races are the only known species on Draezoln to have organized societies—some even say they are the only creatures on the planet to have hands.

The non-humanoid creatures of Draezoln come in a large variety, though most of them seem to be based on or mixes of more mundane creatures. Some say the mad god Jivenesh corrupted animals to create monsters, though most sages agree that this cannot be the case, as these beasts are generally not insane as Jivenesh's creations usually are.

None, however, dispute Jivenesh's influence on the Madness-Touched, or, as they are called in Draconic, the Javni'Tolkhrah. These are normal animals, or sometimes even monsters, who have been exposed to the influence of Jivenesh's madness, and been twisted thereby. Such creatures are often terrible foes, but the Ranger Orders generally keep such creatures confined within the Madlands.

Religion

Draezolnians worship one (or more, or sometimes none) of ten gods. While disputes are common among worshippers of the different deities, some of the most acrimonious relations are between different sects worshipping the same deity, and one of the worst recorded wars was caused by a dispute over the interpretation of one of the gods' attributes.

Naishia: Goddess of Nature. She presides over all wild creatures, and counts a surpisingly large number of the Races of Men amongst her followers. She is typically depicted as the defender of nature and the natural order, standing directly opposed to Jivenesh and his maddening, corrupting influence. Many followers of Naishia insist she was the sole creator of Draezoln, and that the other deities came later, either by invitation or as usurpers, depending on who you ask.

Naishia's priests are called Druids. Many of them have strange and powerful abilities to manipulate nature or take the form of natural things, such as beasts and plants. Rumors speak of Druids who have so given themselves to nature that they no longer appear human.

Naishia is also the patron goddess of the Ranger Orders, and rangers usually speak of her as the Mistress of the Hunt. As such, the Rangers feel they are called by Naishia to aid her in the battle to contain the madness of Jivenesh.

Mashano: God of the Humans. Mashano is said to be the creator of humankind, and is usually thought of as appearing man-like. His followers are amongst the most diverse of all the religious sects of Draezoln, with some sects claiming he is a stern, judge-like being who gives laws and punishes the lawbreakers, while some claim he is a fickle god who showers blessings upon those who please him, only to withdraw them the next moment in the spirit of mischef.

Clergy of Mashano are simply called Priests. Like humankind, Priests of Mashano are extremely diverse, and often divisive—the legendary War of the Human Kings was started by a dispute between two High Priests of Mashano from different kingdoms. The two most common sects are the Lawkeepers, who often serve as judges and priests, and the Friends of Fortune, who petition Mashano to bless their (often risky) endevors.

Kazoran: God of the Dwarves. Kazoran is revered by the dwarves as their maker. Kazoran is said to be a god of stone and earth and metal, and so the dwarves seek always to keep their feet on the ground and steel in their hands. Many dwarves think of Kazoran as a great warrior, leader of their endles war against Kerichang and his trolls.

Amongst other races, priests of Kazoran are called Stonelords, but this is actually a single rank in their heirarchy. When dwarves wish to speak of priests of Kazoran in general, they speak of the Stonespeakers. Stonespeakers are often the most warlike of the priests, at least among the races of men, often leading dwarven war parties against their trollish foes.

Sephania: God(dess?) of the Elves. There is considerable debate amongst the Acolytes of Sephania about whether or not Sephania is a male or a female. However, whichever gender he or she is, Sephania is thought of as a patron of the arts, especially the martial and magical arts. However, whereas the dwarves think of Kazoran more in terms of smashing huge numbers of trolls with his hammer, the elves think more in terms of the balance and beauty of Sephania's martial skill, and seek to emulate this in their own combat styles.

The priests of Sephania are called Acolytes. Acolytes are sometimes wizards in addition to being priests, and some of them have been able to accomplish amazing feats by combining the two disciplines. Some acolytes are masters instead of blade and bow. A rare few seek to combine all of these disciplines, but only legends speak of any who were very successful at doing so.

Tiamat: Goddess of Chromatic Dragons. Tiamat is spoken of rarely, for she is widely feared. What is thought of her, however, is that she is a cruel, angry, and jealous deity, always hungering to increase her power and destroy those that oppose her. It is said that she has a special hatred of any chromatic dragon that strays from her worship, and such dragons live in fear of her reprisals—or at least those of her priests.

Tiamat's priests are the feared Ravagers, beings of incredible destructive power who delight in subjugating all to their will. Not all Ravagers are dragons, though the most powerful and feared are.

Jivenesh: The Mad God. Jivenesh is the insane deity of chaos and destruction. The reason for his insanity is unknown, though many possibilities have been suggested. All that is known is that he seems to have not a single shred of sanity and seeks only the destruction of all existence.

Followers of Jivenesh call themselves whatever they wish, and most other people just call them insane. A rare few, however, are able to maintain their sanity for a time, though all inevitably lose it in the end. The most feared of these are the Chaos Mages, wizards whose magical training allows them to survive tapping into the powers of chaos and insanity. While Chaos Mages are not necessarily worshippers of Jivenesh, other people almost invariably connect the two, just as they almost invariably seek to destroy said Chaos Mages. One of the greatest wars of legend, the War of Broken Minds, was instigated by an extremely powerful Chaos Mage.

Kenash: God of Orcs. There are two distinct cults of Kenash, each with a widely varying idea of his attributes and desires. The Northern Cult, which nearly all of the orcs of the Orc Hills on the Northern Continent follow, depict Kenash as a mighty warrior who plunders the weaker Races of Men for the glory of the orcs. For this reason, the orcs of the Orc Hills are widely hated by the civilized races for their raids and banditry. The Southern Cult, however, believes Kenash is a powerful shaman who keeps the sun and moon moving through his powers. They believe he needs constant nourishment in the form of the blood of sacrificial victims (preferably orcs of other tribes, for orc blood is sacred and worth the blood of three of another race) to keep the Balance of the Skies. They believe that, were they to go too long without sacrificing anyone, the sun would float away, the moon would fall, and all life on Draezoln would perish. Horribly.

The Cultists of Kenash, Kenash's priests, vary as widely as the two cults do. Northern Cultists will typically be heavily-armed warriors who lead their warbands in their raids on the other races, while Southern Cultists are typically more magically inclined, and more prone to work from the shadows through the chiefs they influence.

There is, however, a new Cult of Kenash, which has converted a major tribe in the Orc Hills. They believe that Kenash does not require war, only dominance. Such dominance could, in their minds, be a result of wealth. As such, they have started trading the highly-sought-after orcish steel with the nearby kingdom of Idketh as the first step in their plot.

Kerichang: God of Trolls. The trolls claim that Kerichang is the older brother of Kenash (though the orcs deny any relation at all between the two gods), and trolls therefore expect to be automatically obeyed by any orcs they meet. This usually only happens when there are more trolls than orcs around. Kerichang is said to be a cruel, cunning god, always hungering for more meat and greater territory.

The Shaman, priests of Kerichang, are few, but greatly feared, for they combine the sheer size and power of trolls with the cunning and magical power of their god. They always seek to feed on the other races nearby, seeking thereby to strengthen themselves and whatever trolls they have pressed into their service.

Arphaxad: God of the Aphani. As deity of the mute Aphani, Arphaxad is thought to be a very tall, lean Aphani. Most Aphani think of him as a cunning mastermind, slowly bringing together seemingly unrelated events that will somehow coalesce into his ultimate victory.

Other races call the priests of Arphaxad Silencers, for they have a reputation for cutting out the tongues of trespassers in Aphani sacred lands. In truth, Silencers are usually much more discreet, and many deaths by disease or hunting accidents among the nobility of nearby kingdoms are actually due to Silencer assasains.

The recent influx of Aphani traders, and the subsequent grudging acceptance they have gained amongst the Races of Men, was instigated by the Silencers. No one knows if it is a true move towards peace, or merely a way to insert spies more easily into surrounding lands.

Bahamut: God of Metallic Dragons. Bahamut is commonly known as the Platinum Dragon, for he is usually depicted as an enormous, serpentine, platinum-scaled dragon. While primarily concerned with the affairs of goodly dragons, priests of Bahamut claim he extends his benevolent protection to all peaceable beings.

Priests of Bahamut are known as Warders, and are renowned for their ability to defend innocent beings against seemingly hopeless odds. Warders hate Ravagers, and battles between the two are the stuff of legend. Some say that the world was once nearly torn asunder by a huge clash between ancient Warders and Ravagers. Not all Warders are dragons, and some of the most renowned ones actually have no dragon blood at all, simply a desire to guard those who cannot protect themselves.

Calendar:

The Draezolnian calendar is based off a 400-day (exactly) year, with seasons of 100 days, months being of 40 days, and "weeks" (usually called ten-days—or ten-suns among the elves) consisting of ten days. Each month is named after one of the gods, as follows:

Kenash: Month of Kenati—End of fall and beginning of winter
Kerichang: Month of Kenati—End of fall and beginning of winter
Arphaxad: Month of Arphana—End of winter
Bahamut: Month of Bahamrui—Beginning of Spring
Naishia: Month of Naishina—mid-spring
Mashano: Month of Mashari—End of spring and beginning of summer
Kazoran: Month of Kazrati—mid-summer
Sephania: Month of Sephanati—End of summer
Tiamat: Month of Tiamia—Beginning of fall
Jivenesh: Month of Javnia—mid-fall

Years are currently measured in years "Age of Man"- -years after the legendary date on which the first humans appeared on the land. While Elves and Dwarves claim that they are more ancient races then humans, no one has found elvish or dwarvish ruins or records that date from before 0 A.M. (Not to be confused with AM/PM), so it is commonly accepted that "Age of Man" refers to the time of the origin of the three "Races of Men". The current year is 2093 A.M.- -some of the oldest elves still remember talking to elves born shortly after the beginning of the Age of Man. What Draezoln was like before the Age of Man is a matter of much debate among scholars of the Races of Men, but dragons are quite sure of what it was like- -they ruled the land alone, fighting their ageless war between chromatic and metallic dragons. They say that a particularly fierce battle occured shortly before the beginning of the Age of Man, which is the only reason there were too few dragons to annihilate the newcomers- -though the metallic dragons claim they would have defended them from the other dragons. In truth, the records seem to indicate that the dragons simply ignored the Races of Men until it was too late.

Races

Humans: The humans of Draezoln are a varied lot, not unlike humans on our world. They are considered the dominant race of Draezoln, for, while they may not be the most powerful individually, they are generally acknowledged (by all but the orcs) to be the most numerous, and their trade and treaties mean that nearly all kingdoms, whether human or otherwise, are friendly to mankind.

Elves: Elves are a slender and agile race, most of whom claim a close connection with woodlands—they say that Sephania and Naishia are sisters. However, their culture varies widely between the Southern and the Northern Continents.

In the Northern Continent, elvish society is highly stratified and caste-based. Northern elves have three primary castes. The first, the High Elves, are the feudal nobility. They live, for the most part, in great mansions, built and supported by the sweat of the lowest caste. High Elves live by a code of courtesy so convoluted that few shorter-lived creatures can ever make sense of it, which includes even such things as the polite ways to assasinate a family member. And such rules are, unfortunately, necessary, for the long lives of elves make for incredibly complex family trees, with even more complex rules for inheritance. There is almost always one elf in the family who is too impatient to wait for his long-lived family members to die naturally, especially when the inheritance rules might make him after a younger elf.

The middle class is fairly small, though still slightly larger than the High Elves, and consists of the merchants and skilled artisans. These elves, partly because of their fondness for late parties and partly out of a sense of poetry, call themselves Moon Elves, even though most have no special attachment to the moon. The Moon Elves are the most diverse caste, for many of them are High-Elf born who were simply so low in the precedence of inheritance that they simply left, hoping for better fortune by making their own way, while some are actually elves from the lowest caste who, through sheer force of will, somehow managed to learn a trade valuable enough to raise themselves up from their lowly station. Military officers (essentially, any soldier that has a rank above 'peasant levy') also belong to this class.

The lowest caste is by far the largest, and makes up the majority of the elven work force. High Elves call them simply 'peasants', for that is how they are treated—bound to work for their High Elven lords, taxed mercilessly, opressed at the slightest sign of rebellion. Those who sucessfully escape the oppression of the High Elves hide in forests, calling themselves "Wood Elves", and search for opprotunities to free their brethren and bring down the High Elves.

Dwarves: Draezolnian dwarves are much like their kin on other worlds—short but sturdy, drawn to stone and deep places. While renowned for their metalwork and jewelry, many elves and humans find it difficult to appreciate their blunt way of speech. A common axiom among dwarves is "Anger unspoken rots your head", and most dwarves take this to heart.

To the surprise of many among the humans and elves, the premeditated murder rate among dwarves is the lowest of the three Races of Men. Perhaps there is something to their saying.

Aphani: The Aphani are a mysterious race, who have only in the last hundred years begun to be seen outside of their own lands, trading with the Races of Men. They are taller than the average man, quick, and dexterous. They seem paler then a healthy man, as if they rarely see the sun. The strangest thing about the Aphani, however, is that they are all mute, incapable of making any but the most basic of sounds vocally. They have, however, developed two sign languages. The first, their normal method of communication, is unearthly and strange to behold- -beautiful, in the eyes of some observers- -seeming almost some kind of strange dance involving only the arms and head. The other is their Battle Language, one of their most closely guarded secrets, taught only to Aphani warriors, which consists of quick, subtle motions which convey the basic information and orders needed in combat.

Little is known about Aphani culture, though it is whispered that tresspassers on Aphani lands are still captured, and then have their tongues cut out as a sacrifice to Arphaxad, lest they should defile sacred land by speaking of it. What is known is that they are unmatched in woodcraft, and their artisans are capable of crafting wooden objects to exceed the quality of even the best of elvish craftsmen.

Orcs: The orcs are a large, strong, and savage race, who believe themselves to be the born masters of the world, and all other races but obstacles or slaves. While many orcs are brutish and dull-minded, they do have many among them who are much more intelligent (They are simply smart enough to not join in the raiding parties, and thus have much less contact with the outside world). A few even have even begun to trade with the Races of Men, gradually convincing them that not all orcs are bad—especially when their metalwork rivals even that of the dwarves.

Northern orcs, while they do worship Kenash, devote almost as much worship to the spirits of great warrior ancestors and powerful predators (favorites being bears, cougars, griffons, and manticores), and every tribe has a totem animal. Some wars have even been fought between tribes simply because they discovered they both claimed the same totem animal.

Trolls: Trolls are, physically, the most diverse intelligent race. While all are huge—the smallest of them stands two feet above a normal man once adulthood is reached, their appearance varies widely according to the environment they call home. Thus, there are hill trolls, mountain trolls, cave trolls, ice trolls, forest trolls, swamp trolls, and so forth. Ignorant peasants, not knowing this, sometimes call certain varieties of troll "giants".

While trolls are feared for their strength and size, they are more feared for their regenerative capability. Even a seemingly dead troll can be back to full health in a few minutes. Every subrace, however, has its weaknesses, with fire and acid being the most common.

Trolls have little in the way of culture or civilization, living more like packs of wolves or prides of lions. Sometimes, a particularly powerful and intelligent leader can bind several packs together into a clan, but such clans always disintegrate as soon as this leader dies. A single clan, however, has been known to raze entire cities.

Trolls live nearly anywhere there is somewhere for them to hide from those who hunt them, and their uncanny ability to slip past guards unnoticed means that they can sometimes be found even in civilized lands.

Dragons: Dragonkind is divided by scale color into the metallic and chromatic dragons, with the metallic dragons being generally good and the chromatics generally evil. There are, however, well-known exceptions to these rules, as recent history records how a gold dragon, using the color of his scales, won his way into the confidence of the king of Gatath, then gradually used his influence to arrange matters such that he was declared the guardian of the king's children, and thus his steward should he die before his children were grown. And die he did, under suspicious circumstances that people would later say pointed to assasination. That done, this dragon began a reign of terror that only ended when a white dragon came, slew the evil usurper, and then declared the dead king's cousin (his closest living relative) the king, before flying off of the pages of history.

The metallic dragons consist of gold, silver, bronze, and copper dragons, while the chromatic dragons consist of red, blue, green and white dragons.

Geography/Nations

The main landmass of Draezoln is split into two continents, named (amazingly enough) the Northern and Southern Continents. They are divided by the Madlands and the Desolation of the Dragonfall, ancient remnants of events long before the Age of Man which altered the world forever, and which have long since been forgotten by all but the oldest of dragons.

Northern Continent: The Northern Continent is mostly wilderness and frontiers, with most settlements being close to the eastern or northwestern coasts. It contains a number of nations, about half of which are ruled by humans.

Teket:

Author: Almonihah

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