I, the Chief Archivist of the Canrish Mageguild, do hereby bestow upon you– adventurers and scholars alike–knowledge my world, Ahra. Here you will find a brief compendium of terms, peoples, natural phenomena, and places relevant to my chronicling of this age: The Chalice, Year 407 by Empyrean Astral Reckoning. I will add to these notes as is necessary for as long is my sworn duty (by which I mean, I will make my Novices record these records, as my Tan’shi script leaves much to be desired, and truly what use are Novices if not for scribe duty?). May the Source guide you on all your journeys in this and any other worlds.
Aether: The fifth known element, aether suffuses all of existence, and is the opposite of other elements in how it functions. It is the only leymagic affinity that uses void, and most aether spells are predicated on some form of negation. Because of this, it is the most dangerous leymagic affinity, particularly in unpracticed hands. It is also the most uncommon of the elemental affinities, though scholars are unsure why.
Aethertrue: A compound used in many binding spells and in many forms of aether leymagic: aethertrue is volatile until stabilized, and rare. It serves to reduce the substantial cost of aether leymagic on its users, at least when correctly employed. In some circles, particularly in the Northern Alliance and Canrish, aethertrue is referred to as “Bottled Night.”
Aixath: An ancient species of tree native to southern Ahra. Its flowers are night-blooming, and used in many restorative and healing magics as well as calming tisanes. Aixath roots and branches are long and winding, and a single Aixath tree can, when left to grow, house an entire small community. Aixath is also the name of a hamlet west of Coachway in Tanahr, and is built around one of the oldest living Aixath trees in existence. They are most common in Umbra and in some parts of southern Tanahr.
Archmage: A politically neutral leymage who serves as an ambassador to all of the Accord nations, traveling far and wide to assist with the most complex magical issues and conundrums.
Bottled Night: See “Aethertrue.”
Canrish: Though not part of the Accord, Canrish, a rainshadow-desert country in Ahra’s northwest, is on friendly terms with Accord nations. Canrish claims neutrality in the Accord’s conflicts with the Northern Alliance, believing that open trade and commerce and free exchange of knowledge and ideas is the highest ideal for a people. Because of Canrish’s sworn neutrality, the Choir of Archmages meets in their capital to discuss matters that affect the safety of Ahra and its peoples, and is known informally as the Realm of Mages. Reshk is its commerce center and capital, and is a magnificent city full of wondrous architecture, vendors and artisans of all walks, and stunning vistas of the desert oasis in which it exists. Reshk is also home to one of Ahra’s three functioning waystones, and this source of travel from Starfall or Aixath is heavily protected and carefully enforced by Canrish militia.
Coachway: Named for its function as a popular waypoint, Coachway is a large township south of Easthaven near the border of Umbra. It serves as a crossroads connecting Tanahr to Umbra and the Aixath waystone. With a bustling marketplace, a full complement of artisans, the renowned Pig and Pickle Inn (some of the best food in southern Tanahr) and a complex portal system to Easthaven, Coachway is a trade hub. To keep the portal and township safe, there is an Ahran militia presence in the form of a Valiants outpost tasked with the protection of this unassuming but important node in Ahran commerce and travel.
Dominion (The): A reclusive empire in Ahra’s far north, couched beyond a jagged range of mountains, and not networked to the rest of Ahra’s waystone and portal system. One of two Northern Alliance nations, the Dominion’s history with the Accord is rocky at best, though currently a sullen neutrality exists between the two powers. Primarily human in populace, The Dominion restricts the use of leymagic to academy-educated and Dominar-sanctioned leymages, who are rumored to experiment in magics forbidden in other parts of Ahra. Hostile to outsiders, the Dominion is a power not to be taken lightly. They only trade openly with the merchants of Canrish and Orendt to their west, though Dominion goods become available to Ahra at large via the Canrish markets. Its capital is the tightly guarded city of Imperium.
Empyrea/Empyrean Elves: A nation on Ahra’s northwest coast, Empyrea borders Sylvania to the north, . Their capital city is Starfall, an ancient seaside city known for its stunning architecture and robust astronomical sciences university, as well as its lavish entertainments. Empyrean elves are known to be the most skilled watchers of the sky, and some of the most accomplished leymages in Ahra are Emyprean. Empyrea boasts the Accord’s largest known magic university and Mageguild. Empyrean elves can be found throughout Tanahr, and even as far south as the Merrow Isles, where they enjoy commerce with their ocean-loving distant kin. Empyrea’s most common exports are instruments for those involved in the sciences, leymagical potions and potables, fine jewelry, exquisite and accurate maps, and they are the Ahran experts in printing of magical and recreational texts and tomes.
Feverbane: An herb native to all temperate zones of Ahra, known for its use in healing potions and wound dressings. Feverbane slows infection, and even numbs superficial/minor wounds. Botanists dedicated to the healing arts in nearly all hospital and civic gardens cultivate powerful strands of the herb.
Kraah: One of the Ahran Old Guard races, very little is known about the Kraah–even less than the first humanoid settlers. The only extant physical description of these beings suggests an almost insectoid appearance, and they were known even to the Old Guard to possess fearsome magics and terrifying combat prowess. They are referred to as “encroacher” and enemy, and in the Old Guard language (which can be translated with care and effort), there exists a term–a rare mix of pictographs and written language–that no scholar has yet been able to translate. The closest those who study the language have come to an understanding is “Voidsinger,” a being whose purpose appears to be annihilation of entire peoples, though to what end, nobody knows. They are feared by all Ahran peoples as demons and bogeymen, though no Kraah have been seen in Ahra since the middle ages of the Old Guard. Kraah leymagic, at least what is known of it, appears to be predicated highly upon use of aether/void spells and curses, which might explain some of the animosity some Ahran peoples feel towards leymages who possess aether affinity.
Leylines: Veins of active magical power charted by Ahra’s earliest peoples – where these lines originated, nobody knows but many scholars believe the nodes of starmetal scattered throughout the world have a part in the origins and functioning of magic. Leylines behave consistently across all of Ahra, and appear to follow clearly set and observable patterns. They contain all elemental affinities, as they are pure, unshaped magic: more potential than purpose. Leylines can be corrupted by elemental imbalances and foreign magics/tampering, so leytemples were long ago established to keep them clean. Leymagic, it is said, returns to the earth once spells are spent, or when leymages pass on to the Source.
Leymagic: Leymagic is the ability of some Ahrans (estimated to be about 1/4 of the population) to channel the power of leylines, usually filtered through or tempered by a mage’s own biological makeup and even elemental affinities. Leymages possess both the aptitude and gift for shaping magic into an active force using sigils, objects of power or other magical catalysts as a focus, and employing careful intention. Use of leymagic always comes with a cost to the leymage: power must be given for leymagic to be used. A mage’s power can be temporarily bolstered or even partially restored by restorative draughts and potions, but unchecked use of leymagic can deplete a mage’s health and very essence, hastening them to an early death.
Leymagic Affinities: Since Easthaven’s earliest histories were penned, leymages have been shown to demonstrate proficiency with a single leymagic element: earth, air, fire, water, and aether. This means that a leymage’s spells respond to imagery/representations of, or presence of their element. For an air mage, being outdoors on a breezy day greatly reduces the energetic cost of a spell, allowing the leymage to cast workings that are more powerful. For aether users, this is a bit different – aether always comes from a place of not just cost, but sacrifice. Since it is void magic, something must always be given: potions, objects, even blood. Again, scholars do not know why affinities exist; only that the Ahran Old Guard write of leymages charged forever to hold their place in the great spiral of existence.
Leytemple: Temples, nearly uniform in design and architecture, set up across Ahra for the protection and cleansing of leylines. Leytemples are always a mile from their associated waystone to prevent interference, and to act as a failsafe in the event of leyline corruption, protecting travelers or barring the way for unwanted parties. Temples are tended by dedicated leytemple mages, and the mages are protected by trained temple guardians- a position that in many parts of Ahra is handed down through the generations. Leytemples enshrine a font of powerful leywater drawn directly from the lines beneath the temple. The resident leymage regularly tests, balances, and cleanses the font and therefore the leylines themselves, protecting them from corruption. Leytemples are surrounded by lush gardens full of healing herbs and seasonal fruits and vegetables, and are stocked with provisions and a small library and living space. Leytemples are important in keeping leylines functioning so that the peoples of Ahra are untroubled by corrupted magics.
Leywater: Water gathered from natural springs directly adjacent to leylines, such as the fonts enshrined in leytemples. Leywater is strong in potential magical energy – a mage adds it to spells and potions or drinks it directly to bolster their restorative powers and self-healing capabilities.
Loremaster: A leymage chosen by Mageguild Moot to serve as active leader of said Mageguild. In Easthaven during the time of my chronicling, Loremaster Olangah holds this illustrious title. Loremasters are accomplished scholars, leymages, and leaders who work in service of the Guild. Unlike Archmages, who are neutral and travel from city to city, Loremasters serve one geographical location for life, or until they request retirement or are forced out after a vote of no confidence.
Mageguild: In the Accord and Canrish, mages are united in a single guild that possesses many branches. Guild mages are instructed in the tried, tested, and safe practices of leymagic, and are provided with resources, continuing education, and support (including a living wage, quarters, etc.). The Mageguilds are vital to the functioning of the Accord and Canrish, since most major cities run on magic. Not all guilds operate in the same manner and with the same structure, but all guild Loremasters sign a ratified Guild Charter, revised and updated in an All-Moot once every seven years, and held on neutral grounds in Canrish.
Magelamp: A common household device that employs a reaction of fire leymagic and catalytic reagents to create an even, steady light. The spells must be recharged from time to time; a service offered by mechmages in any city, but these lamps last for years – something common to most leymagical devices used across Ahra.
Mage–Treated (weapons): Weapons, projectiles, armor, and other items treated with specific leymagic spells to augment their power and efficacy.
Mechanae: Autonomous, likely sentient mechanical guardians found south of the Dominion. They roam the Ahra countryside, rarely gathering in groups of more than three, and traverse territory using their unique, mechanically-powered treaded feet. These beings were created in a time before written history. Mechanae possess an innate instinct to protect the peoples of Ahra from outside threats and possess powerful weapons and defenses to this end. Mechanae cannot be used by Ahrans against their own peoples: they will ignore the commands, or even threaten those who would try by powering on their weapons. Their origin is unclear, but records indicated that Ahra’s Old Guard knew about them, at least enough to provide artistic renderings of the creatures.
Mechmage: A leymage who uses their affinities to build or engineer civic items, weapons, means of conveyance, and household devices.
Merrow/Merrowlands: Inhabitants of the Merrowlands, a chain of islands off the coast of southern Umbra, Merrow are closely related to Umbrans, and are most at home in the swamps and low country and by the shores of southern Ahra. Proud, powerful warriors and mages, they seldom leave the Merrow coastlands and islands, but do not discourage visitors or commerce from peoples of other nations so long as they follow local rules and customs. The Merrowlands capital is Ulalee, and the town of Mireth is known as one of the most serene destinations in all of Ahra. Merrowlands exports include fish and aquatic treasures (pearls, coral, sculpted sea-glass), jewels and curios made of these aquatic treasures, and rare potions and curatives made with the venom of poisonous fish and sea-snakes.
Nightmoss: Found only in Umbra’s bogs and cypress forests, nightmoss is a powerful antidote for many known poisons. Ground into pastes, added to potions, or even consumed directly, Nightmoss can slow poisons in a matter of seconds. Umbrans carefully oversee its growth and export – the low country ecosystem is delicate, and the people of Umbra go to great lengths to ensure it is grown responsibly and distributed fairly. Nightmoss is Umbra’s most important export.
Novice (Mageguild): The lowest level of mageguild members (if not always the youngest, since leymages of any age can apply for membership). Novices like Rexi Briseas study with one Sage until they are promoted to Sages themselves – usually after a set period of schooling followed by aptitude trials in which the leymage demonstrates mastery of their practice.
Old Guard: A colloquial term that came into common usage in Ahra’s earliest written histories, the Old Guard were the first peoples of Ahra, though their proper name is lost. They are known to be settlers who came to Ahra from another place, and some scholars believe they even originated in another world under different stars. More powerful in leymagic (that is the theory, judging from early records) than current Ahrans, they consisted of human/elven races according to a few extant illustrations and of the Kraah, who were seen by the Old Guard as hostile invaders and are believed by many Ahrans to be demons/immortal.
Orendt: One of the two Northern Alliance nations, a desolate land in the extreme northeast of Ahra, beyond the boreal forests and mountains of the Dominion. Even more secretive and reclusive than the Dominion, Orendt is reputed to be sparsely populated and steeped in ancient traditions closely related to some of the earliest settlers of Ahra. Unlike the Dominion, Orendt’s population consists of all the races of Tanahr. They are a long-standing ally of the Dominion, though the leaders of Orendt follow their own agenda, and what that is, nobody but the people of Orendt know. Its capital is said to be the city of Northwatch, perched on the very northern edge of the known Ahran world.
Portal: Inspired by Old Guard schematics and texts, and by the existence of a functioning waystone system, portals are localized teleportation devices used exclusively over a limited geographical distance. They employ the use of a focus: usually, a crystal or stone studded or banded with bits of pure starmetal, and a variety of leymagical activation spells. Portals are almost always fixed, with stones programmed to certain coordinates, though temporary portals can be created from focuses pre-programmed with nearby existing portals’ coordinates. Fixed civic portals, the most common and reliable kind, are always attended by trained portal mages and usually cost a set fee which aids in upkeep of the devices. Portal study is a revered discipline for many Mageguilds, as the civic applications are vital to Ahra’s smooth functioning.
Sage (Mageguild): Leymages who have passed requisite tests and swear fealty to a particular Mageguild, where they are tasked with training Novices, offering their services to their city/town and Ahra at large, and where they continue to further their leymagical research. Sages like Jeron Wright or Kate Smithson often spend their entire lives in service of their Guilds, which provide lodging, pay, and many other benefits.
Across the forested regions of Ahra, in the desert towns of Canrish, and even in the snowy peaks of northern Tanahr, the Sionnach–or, Foxkin–peoples thrive. Comparable to humans in their size and general physical attributes, if a bit on the smaller side, Sionnach have excellent vision even in low light, have incredible hearing, and are quick and dexterous as a rule. The Foxkin of Ahra traditionally hail from long-established regional tribes but encourage their adventurous young to visit places outside their home villages and towns to learn about the world of Ahra.
Sylvania: Sylvania is a nation in the thick temperate forests of central/northern-central Ahra, populated primarily by Sylvan elves and by Sionnach, otherwise known as Foxkin. Sylvania is known for training expert scouts, woodspeople, warriors, and healers dedicated to the reverence and preservation of Ahra’s wild places. Sylvan elf skin tones and hair are much the same as humans, and they have long, pointed ears and superior vision. Sionnach are largely human in appearance, but possess ears and tails similar to wild foxes, their fur ranging from warm autumnal tones to white and gray to black. Sylvan Scouts go wherever and whenever they are needed, and act apart from the Accord’s Valiants Corps, though they can be contracted for certain missions in times of need. Sylvania’s primary exports are timber from carefully-run logging guilds (dedicated to reforestation), game and furs, medicines, textiles, and fine pottery. Sylvania’s capital city is Hallowgrove, and features a unique network of historical tree dwellings, including a Grand Hall known throughout Ahra for its breathtaking architecture.
Tanahr: The largest of the Accord nations, Tanahr is the bread belt of Ahra. Rivers flowing from northern mountains, vast meadowlands, rolling hills to the east, and fertile farmland are the reason that Tanahr’s primary exports are grains and produce, grapes and wine (from the southeastern region), livestock, and civic machinery and vehicles. Easthaven, home to Premier Riva and the Accord High Council, is perched on the Tanahra River and is a bustling haven of commerce, culture, industry and innovation. Peoples from all of the Accord nations reside and work in Easthaven, and embassies from other nations hold spots of honor in the city. Easthaven is also home to a large garrison of Valiants Corps.
Truesteel: A rare alloy that contains iron containing trace elements of star metal, and is used in objects that are required to be durable and stand the test of time. It is not to be confused with the pure starmetal that surrounds/comprises waystones, and is found in far greater profusion, though it is still carefully mined/monitored since its composite iron is still less common than standard iron.
Umbra/Umbrans: Comprised of low country, lush swamps, and heavy forests, the nation of Umbra exists largely beneath canopy and shade. Networks of waterways feeding into larger bodies of water that empty into the East Sea are many Umbrans’ primary means of travel, particularly for commerce goods and for town-to-town journeys (by means of ferry). The heavier-forested swamps in the Umbran south are home to many rare plants and animals, including Nightmoss, the poison antidote that is the primary Umbran export. Umbra is also known for the cultivation of rice and dyes, and for unique pottery and fabric that is distributed throughout all of Ahra. Umbrans evolved in the forest shadows and are taller, possessed of sharper canine teeth than other Ahran races, possess superior low-light vision, and have skin that ranges from pale gray to deep purple. Umbrans are close kin to the Merrow people, with whom they share many cultural traditions and a great love for water. The Umbran capital is the rambling, waterway-connected city of Thox.
Valiant Corps: The Accord’s militia – each major city has a Valiants garrison, with the largest in the capital city of Easthaven. Valiants are entirely enlisted/voluntary, and there has not been a need for conscription in all of the Accord’s long history. When not called to active duty, the Valiants Corps serve as civic fire brigade, search and rescue, law keepers/public safety monitors, and disaster relief. Many Valiants choose to serve for a lifetime because of the importance of the work they do, and because of the remarkable benefits they are provided by the Premier. Valiants can either attend a Garrison School after secondary schooling is completed, or can enlist at an older age as long as they go through a year of training. Valiants are trained in hand-to-hand combat, use of projectile weapons, operation of vehicles, safety and rescue procedures, and any leymagical combat procedures pertinent to those who possess it.
Waystone: Stone gateways made of rock and crystals that do not readily exist in quantity in Ahra, including high concentrations of starmetal. Uniform in shape, size, and function, three exist in Ahra, networked one to the other as a means of safe teleportation. Any given waystone will only ever portal to one other– for example, the southern waystone outside of Aixath, Umbra connects directly to Starfall, the Empyrean capital and the Starfall portal sends outgoing travelers only to the Canrish waystone outside of Reshk. Little is known about the origins of waystones – only that their component starmetal is precious, and all Ahrans are forbidden from gathering/mining this rare substance. There are a few defunct waystones in existence, including the Northgate outside of Easthaven, the Dominion’s waystone near Presidium (it is said they destroyed it on orders of an ancient Dominar), and the Temple Isles.