Uvarri: The Radiant Bird
Uvarri, the brainchild of inventor Alexander Lovelace, was built using his family fortune to safeguard the use of his invention, the Clear Stone. Despite his passing before its completion, Alexander's trusted circle of confidants, his wife, twin daughter, and son, faithfully followed his blueprint to bring the city to life.
Uvarri's design draws inspiration from the extinct Aether bird, which captivated Alexander's imagination as a child. Large sails harness the wind on either side of the city, working in tandem with large Clear Stones situated beneath and around its edges. These stones, imbued with gravity Aether, control the city's lift.
In the act of compassion, Alexander's wife later insisted on the addition of a rainwater collection system, recalling the drought-stricken towns she had witnessed in her youth. A mechanism was built that channeled clouds through a vacuum at the front of the city and extracted water using water Aether-infused crystals; it was then distributed the water to barren settlements below via an intricate network of pipes.
Uvarri's layout reflects Alexander's vision for academic excellence, with distinct quarters dedicated to various Aether-related fields of study, including its effects on plants, its integration with alchemy, and its applications in projection, activation, and imbuing. As new disciplines emerge, the city adapts its structure to accommodate the expanding knowledge base. Each sector is governed by a Baron, initially appointed by the field's founder and subsequently elected according to Alexander's guidelines.
One of the later additions to the city's scholarly pursuits was the exploration of Aether's potential for information sharing. This field quickly evolved into a dedicated messenger service, facilitating communication between Uvarri and the nations below. These messengers, skilled in projection, also serve as protectors for Uvarri's scholars during their ground-level research trips.
-Uvarri's Foundational Principles-
Uvarri's city structure is based on a sector system, each governed by a Baron. Collectively, the Barons maintain order, enact legislation, allocate space for new fields of study, and preside over elections. A Chief Baron, chosen from among them, mediates the Barons' discussions but holds no greater voting power. The Chief Baron's unique authority lies in the exercise of Ultima Verba.
Barons are elected every three years and must not be apprenticed to a researcher. Candidates must secure a majority vote from their sector's inhabitants. The Chief Baron, elected every six years, cannot serve consecutive terms, and those invoking Ultima Verba forfeit the chance for future reappointment. Uvarri's researchers vote on Chief Baron candidates, who must gain a majority vote and endorsements from one-third of the current Barons.
While Uvarri champions the pursuit of knowledge, its citizens must focus on a single field of study. Members may explore a new discipline only in its introductory form (Ryso Senben). Expulsion from Uvarri awaits those studying multiple advanced fields (Nevero Senben) or teaching prohibited subjects. However, unanimous citywide support may reverse the banishment.
Citywide decisions demand a democratic process, with each citizen granted a vote and Barons' votes counting double. The majority's choice prevails, though far-reaching decisions necessitate an overwhelming majority. In cases with only two options, an 80% majority is required.
Aether control principles guide Uvarri's research, with the Projection sector exclusively handling its potentially harmful applications. If a military use arises, only select Projection sector members, chosen by the Barons, may access this knowledge.
Uvarri, a city dedicated to improving the quality of life through Aether research, serves as a balancing force among nations. If a nation's knowledge threatens global safety, its removal may be justified, pending adherence to Uvarri's regulations and an overwhelming majority approval.
As a non-militaristic entity, Uvarri prioritizes defense and knowledge preservation over aggression. In the event of an attack, retreating is the preferred strategy, but deadly force is permitted if escape proves impossible.
The pursuit of knowledge and the advancement of human understanding are Uvarri's primary objectives.
Recognizing the potential for decision-making deadlock, Alexander established the Chief Baron's right to exercise Ultima Verba, or "the final word." This power allows the Chief Baron to make a conclusive decision, provided it doesn't break established core rules. Chief Barons utilizing Ultima Verba are immediately relieved of duty upon their decision's execution and are ineligible for re-election. This safeguard stems from Alexander's observations of absolute power's corrupting influence on other kingdoms.
Sorora: The Spiritual Kingdom
Once a prosperous empire, Sorora was a neighbor to the powerful nation of Volun. Today, they share a border with a large desert. Sorora was once the top exporter of quartz, but the damage caused by the Aether bomb led to difficult times. Without Volun's help, their economy suffered, and their quartz production declined.
To fix the situation, the Archbishop decided to reduce Sorora's borders, leaving some towns and settlements on their own. This tough decision allowed the kingdom to recover and regain stability. Eventually, quartz production increased again, but it never reached its previous levels.
Nowadays, Sorora is outpaced by Monsalta and Cuain in trade but has become an important pilgrimage site. People from all over Niahtera travel to Sorora to ask the Archbishop for help with healing, prophecy, and spiritual growth. The Archbishop is seen as one of the few kind-hearted Sun Touched, and his presence helps Sorora stay relevant.
Monsalta: The Domed City
Monsalta is the agricultural heart of the Talem continent. Built atop the remains of Volun, the city's founders were initially unaware of the abundant quartz deposits in the area. Monsalta began as a refugee town for those fleeing wars in the northern continent, Kima, and eventually transformed into a massive domed city. Talented quartz craftsmen, who had escaped the war, worked with early city leaders to create a structure that would shield them from the harsh environment. They constructed a small dome using clear stone and interlocking iron beams, which comfortably housed a few hundred people. The dome also provided protection from the desert, allowing for successful crop growth, and cleverly channeled rainwater into reservoirs.
Over the years, as the city expanded, a larger second dome was built, with designated areas for plants, housing, and a research quarter for alchemists. This research quarter later evolved into the "Alchemists Guild," responsible for creating a curriculum for future alchemists.
Monsalta's citizens are hard-working and divided into three essential sectors, each designed to emphasize the importance of individuals, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses. While each sector is crucial for the city's survival, some individuals within the Elit and Belor see themselves as superior to the Lar. After all, without them, there would be no vegetation in the barren land upon which Monsalta stands.
As the city continued to grow, clay huts were built outside the dome to accommodate those who could not fit within the city, typically the Lar and Sanaka.
The Elit consists of individuals who tend the crops and plants, track the weather, and decide on the seasonal planting schedule. These people are skilled at infusing Aether into objects and revitalizing crops during droughts or disease outbreaks. However, directly infusing Aether into plants is generally avoided due to plants being poor Aether containers, and only experienced Elit can infuse plants without harming them. The preferred method is infusing Aether into the water, allowing plants to absorb it slowly, although this is challenging during droughts.
The Belor is composed of alchemists who create Aether-infused potions, focusing on improved plant growth and pest control. They also produce medicine and serve as doctors when needed. Only those who have graduated from their apprenticeship at the Alchemist Guild can join the Belor. They are knowledgeable about combining various chemicals and understanding their effects on the human body.
The Lar comprises the common folk, further divided into professions such as cobblers, smiths, builders, bakers, and carpenters.
The Ivory Isles: The Archipelago
In the years following the experiments, the Finbris Archipelago was renamed the Ivory Isles by explorers from the western continent who "discovered" the islands. A few remaining Sanaka inhabitants shared the archipelago's history with the explorers, but after so many years had passed, these stories seemed like legends even to the native Sanaka.
The explorers returned to their kingdom, telling tales of barren, bleached-white lands so inhospitable that only the resilient Sanaka could survive there. As these stories spread to other continents, they were embellished and altered with each retelling. Eventually, the cursed lands of the Ivory Isles became infamous worldwide, portrayed as a place devoid of life and even Aether.
Later, Aether hounds came to inhabit these islands, bringing humans. Together, they slowly restored the once-barren islands. Today, the Ivory Isles serves as a sanctuary for the descendants of the Sanaka, humans who fled their war-ravaged lands, and the Aether hounds seeking peace.
Cuain: The River Port City
Cuain is home to three prominent trading families: the Malleys, the Barbaros, and the Khans. Together, they form the "Clover Tea House" alliance. The city was initially settled by the Khan family, who were fishermen using the river for transportation between the town and the ocean. A few miles upriver from the Khans, the Barbaro family lived in a small settlement, working as loggers and trading timber with Sorora.
The Malley family, originally from the western continent, were traders who found themselves stranded on the Ivory Isles after a storm disrupted their journey. With the help of the local Sanaka, they managed to salvage some cargo and reach the mainland, where they traded with the Khans for lodging in their settlement. The Malleys established a farm and continued trading with the Sanaka, who had saved them. Eventually, they formed a contract with Aether hounds for Bezoar stones, used in cure-alls, allowing them to compete with the other two families.
Recognizing the potential for mutual benefit, the three families joined forces to expand their settlement into a thriving city on the river's shore. Through the Clover Tea House alliance, the combined wealth of the Malleys, Barbaros, and Khans led to the creation of a small yet prosperous city.