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The Setting of Solaria

Solaria was the jewel hidden in the dark expanse of the western continent. Its unique geography supplied the valley with a constant supply of fresh water and nutrients from the nearby mountains. A temperate forest with natural barriers that discouraged invasion during the warring eras of mankind at large.

Solaria was not prized merely for its fertile lands or natural barriers. For many centuries, war-weary scholars would retreat to the obsidian peaks of the wastelands in search of the wisdom to overcome their era's tribulations. When they discovered Solaria, they brought with them theories and philosophies about the natural world. None ever chose to return to what they came to regard as a life of peril and treachery. They were presumed dead by their nations, and none dared to recover their bodies. Thus, Solaria became a bastion of magical study that endured generations of religious zealots cut from various cloths.

Two months ago, drought and famine forced an exiled prince into the wastelands in search of a new foundation for his people. Although his entourage is small in comparison to the might of his siblings', the wastes are unforgiving and unaccustomed to such crowding.

Our story begins in Verden, the Solarian village closest to the prince on this day.

Empyrea and Sylvology

There are two distinct magical traditions practiced in Solaria.

Empyrea is the synthesis of the magical and martial arts, and is practiced exclusively by the men of Solaria. Empyrea is more than effective; it will prolong both the practitioner's lifespan and youth in equal measure. Empyrea masters are known to live for multiple centuries.

Accounting for variance in talent, the first stage of Empyrea should be realized by a young man's sixteenth birthday. It is a mark of great shame if he cannot achieve it, and the consequence of failure is often heartbreaking.

The path to the first stage of Empyrea is marked by seven invocations. Each strengthens a different aspect of one's martial or arcane affinity, starting with the cardiovascular system and the seventh awakening one's primary elemental manifestation.

The other magical tradition, Sylvology involves the cultivation and communion with nature. Rather than focusing on strengthening their body and command over magical energies like the Empyrea school, Sylva focus on agriculture, good relations with their fellow citizens, the rearing of animals, and pacts with spirits of great power.

In Solaria, young girls who demonstrate the interest or talent for magic are inducted into the Sylvology study. Although the benefits of Sylvology are not automatic, many Sylva have discovered methods for comparable longetivity to Empyrea masters: a combination of spiritual pacts and clever tinctures that one master can mass-produce for all her students.

By local custom, the role of Sentinel is always assigned to strongest Empyrean in a village, which is determined by an annual tournament, while the role of Skycaller is determined by an popular vote of all capable Sylva.

Begin Chapter One