The Ebony Wreath
The Obsidian Sea
In the lush open fields of Bellacoste, a string of small farming villages make up the county of Goldfair. They produce the majority of the country's flowers in their humble fields, and a good amount of fruit from their orchards. Though they supply food for every major pouflon city, the pouflons that live in Goldfair maintain a quiet and content life. Many pouflons born in the villages stay there for most of their lives, enjoying the peace of the rolling hills, but it is not unheard of for adventurous pouflons to venture out to the cities aiming to make a name for themselves. ♫
The Dawn Garden
An air of quiet, peaceful mystery surrounds this garden. The Dawn Garden is the hearth of the pouflons species, and has been part of the land much longer than the city around it. Its glass casing lies like a crystal crown atop the palace in Chrysanthos.
For every living pouflon, there is a flower of their runic color bloomed in this garden, which acts as a counterpart to them, and reflects their own lives. The garden is a sacred ground and few pouflons outside of the queen and a few helpers are ever allowed inside. ♫
In the deepest northern reaches of Redwick, the forest gives way to a dark, treacherous swamp. While all manner of important and rare magical ingredients can be found here, tales of horror are told of its twisted tree mazes and monsters lurking inside. Most pouflons steer well clear of this marsh, but some find themselves purposefully searching for it; the most common visitors are ambitious mages looking for potion ingredients to give them an edge over their peers, and desperate pouflons looking to cut deals with The Sickle Sisters. ♫
The bustling port city Citremery is a major shipping and trade center, shipping goods to multiple cities in and out of Bellacoste. Seafaring pouflons of all sorts make their homes here, whether they are honest sailors or less-honest pirates. The overall attitude of the city seems to reflect the sunny weather- there is an easy-going, jovial mood in the pouflons that live there. Even on the off-days of storms and rough seas, the inhabitants of Citremery keep up a robust and lively disposition. This hearty atmosphere makes Citremery an appealing place to visit, or to settle. ♫
Perpetual snow muffles the sounds of Snowhurst, a large settlement in the southern mountains. Few pouflons willingly live in the formidable conditions; most of the inhabitants of Snowhurst are plucky pouflons, gathering resources to survive and to supply to Asterfall. Though life there is a challenge, the mountains have their hidden rewards- such as the hot springs that can be found by knowledgeable pouflons, and the breathtaking view of the land. Despite the frigid weather, the villagers of Snowhurst always give their occasional visitors a warm welcome. ♫
The largest and oldest ursuki village, Firsden houses the sainted leaders, St. Elidi and St. Hart. Located deep in the boreal tundra west of Snowhurst, this village is impossible to find unless the ursuki want you to stumble across it. Ursuki homes are built warm to fight the deep chill-- a chaotic tumble of stone and wooden homes hewn from caves or built around (and even in) trees.
Firsden is built around the Heartwood, an ancient forest believed to be the oldest on Bellacoste.
The capital of Bellacoste- this sunny city is home to a very large population of pouflons. It is the administrative center of pouflon society, and pouflons come from far and wide on business with the queen, other royal officials, or their potential baby, as the nursery in the palace is where couples receive a child.
The city itself was carved into a grassy mountain, and carefully built around the Dawn Garden, which was left relatively untouched. ♫
While Chrysanthos is the executive center of the country and is home to many royals, Roseacre has accumulated many pouflons of high class and has become a beautiful center of affluence. It is well positioned on the edges of the trading circle of the bigger cities, and benefits from their spoils. Despite its name, not everything is rosy in this city. The affluent spend many hours entertaining harmless gossip over what could potentially be actual political dishonesty, and the lower class pouflons that try to make a living here sometimes have a hard time of it- but if they're lucky, they can hit it rich. ♫
The tawny trees of Redwick Forest cover a large portion of the top of Bellacoste. While the forest is vast and deep, it is colorful and bright and full of flowers from the lush grass below to the tops of the trees above. It retains its color year round.
As much of the forest is relatively safe, many pouflons from Chrysanthos and Citremery play along the outskirts, and sometimes venture deeper inside. The forest is home not only to pouflons- many other creatures take residence there as well. ♫
Deep in the forests of a peninsula close to Marshgrave hides an ancient cathedral discovered by outgoing pouflon explorers - which has since developed into an unconventional magic school. While it is hard to reach, it is accessible to any pouflon willing to brave the journey, regardless of their background or class. The school itself has grown to have a very liberal and progressive culture, due to its isolation as well as to the young, idealistic pouflons that make up its student body. The lessons taught there are always innovative, if not practical. ♫
Nestled into the foot of the Ebony Wreath, Obrille is a rough-cut mining town. Hardy pouflons work to dig deep into the mountains to bring up precious gems and minerals, which are valuable not only to the wealthy, but also to the magically inclined. Consequently, craftworking and smithing are common occupations in Obrille. The town is also home to a large knight academy, where most new recruits are sent to train. This academy doubles as a training facility and a guard post, watching over the edge of the border with the Ebony Wreath.
Originally built as a castle fort, Asterfall has since developed into a captivating city and an attractive vacation destination for the higher classes, who build onto it with extravagant modifications. Its distant location only adds to its mysterious allure.
It also houses an old and prestigious mage college, which is traditional yet incredibly effective in its methods- a pricey route of education, but arguably the best a pouflon could get. The college is also renowned for its extensive studies into magic, often being praised for its leading accomplishments in the realm of magical study. ♫
The Ebony Wreath
The Ebony Wreath
A dark and sequestered mountain range surrounding Banelaire. There is a persisting silence in these mountains, broken only by the faint whispering wind and quiet travelers passing through patches of snow. Spires and subtle architecture carved into the mountains are the most visible sign of the vespires that live there. It is rare for pouflons to brave travel through these mountains, as vegetation is scarce on the eastern side and the paths are dangerous. But the pouflons that do decide to take the journey will find that many vespires give a warmer greeting than their surroundings, and many hidden treasures lie deep in the secluded mountain range. ♫
The Lucid Altar
At the center of Banelaire, hidden deep underground at the end of carved spiral steps, lies the Lucid Altar, hearth of the vespire species. A large white orb placed before the crystals adds to their collective glow, bringing harmony to the towering structure. For every living vespire, there is a respective crystal of their runic color fixed in the tall walls of this geode. When their vespire passes, the crystal turns to pellucid ash, making way for new crystals to grow with new vespires. This sacred space is overlooked by a dutiful order of vespires.
Originally a complex system of mines, the tallest mountain in the Ebony Wreath was eventually hollowed out by vespires and carved into a vast underground city. Light filters in from holes in the mountain's ceiling, and ornate candles and lanterns light the city's intricately tiled streets at night. Around the heart of the city in a triangular position stand three towers, respectfully named Zelda, Meremoth, and Avdiel, after prominent figures in the history of the species. ♫
An isolated settlement on the southern edge of the Ebony Wreath. Springs from the top of the mountains trickle down into streams that flow between the stone buildings of this town, carved to meander with the water and connected by a network of bridges. Despite its obscurity, the residents of Flourspar are notably diverse- pouflons and vespires thrive together here, creating a unique and tolerating community. The vespires that reside here came for the tranquil mountain views; the pouflons that reside here are often adventurers or outcasts.
The Obsidian Sea
The Capricorn capital, Aequor is built off of a massive volcano in the southwest Obsidian Sea. Selfishly guarded, Aequor is shrouded by deep mists and fogs above the water and protected by strong currents and dark seas below. It’s nearly impossible to stumble across safely without a local guide. Built up from humble beginnings, the city now stands tall, a hulking mountain of volcanic rock and iridescent obsidian architecture.
Proud and storied, Aequor is a mixed city, housing pouflons, vespire and ursuki side by side. They long ago declared sovereignty from the mainland and as a result have become something of a myth to the average Bellacostian-- but they are very, very real. ♫
A well-kept temple named for a hero of Aequor’s past, Altum’s Sanctum is where new Capricorns are welcomed into the world. Blooms, geodes and sprouts grow together, clustered around steam vents hot enough to crystallize the surrounding sand into glimmering seas of glass.
The Capricorns of Aequor claim this isn’t dangerous at all-- and that in fact, their young are stronger than their mainland peers due to this unusual upbringing. Forged from fire and salt from the very beginning, each child must choose a piece of sea glass for themselves as a rite of passage before leaving the Sanctum. ♫
The Rift that disturbed Aequor has settled, no longer threatening a devastating volcanic eruption that may have ended all life on Bellacoste. What was once an angry welt of energy has become as smooth as glass. At the right angle, you can see The Bridge on the other side. Or, Aequor, should you be looking from the outside in.
As peaceful as The Rift now appears, it hides painful secrets. Known to corrupt individuals for the simple crime of passing through, even this innocuous portal has teeth. Something on the other side does not want us there. To protect The Rift-- and us from it-- the denizens of Aequor have constructed a small temple to house it. Inside, the water has been drained, allowing non-Capricorns to enter The Rift comfortably-- if they can get to it in the first place. ♫
Whatever this place once was, it’s now a husk. Nothing lives here. Nothing grows. The land itself is threatening to fall apart, crumbling around the edges into the endless abyss. The Bridge is a disk-- and beneath it there is Nothing.
The top layer of the disk is like fine ash, stirring at the slightest movement. Jammed into the earth are hundreds of old, rusted weapons from a conflict long since resolved. Everything here is toned down, life through a sepia filter-- except for the sky. The sky is a jagged multitude of colors, pieces of thousands of other worlds sewn together like a quilt. Bellacoste is up there too, if you only look hard enough. ♫