Jump to content
Csl

The Land of Taen

Recommended Posts

 

[ Best viewed on desktop ]

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

—Robert Frost
Welcome, stranger

There are two paths you could have taken to arrive here.

Most take the first— the doorways the yawn open in the Blue Hills, those rings of sapphire light. Most flicker in and out like will-o'-the-wisps. But one gateway perpetually stands open, ever-burning blue. It sits at the end of a well-known, well-trodden road: a beacon for refugees, an escape route from the scorched cities, murderous cabals, and plagues of the mainland.

If you’ve taken the second, why, you are a long, long way from home.

Those who come by the second path find themselves tumbling through the void between worlds, torn from their homes, their lands, their worlds. The same blinding blue light greets them as it hurls you into this realm, unceremoniously flinging you out of its maw.

Now, here you stand: may it be amidst mossy forest, foggy marshland, hollow mountain, or barren desert.

Step carefully, stranger. The forest paths double in on themselves, and the trees change places when you blink. Take a shovel to the desert sands and you’ll soon hit spacecraft metal. There are dead stars in the mountains and sleeping behemoths in the swamps.

Remember: this is the corpse of an old world. Its dreams are wild, hungry creatures. Its whispers call forth feral things from beyond reality’s horizons. This is the crossroads of the wild and wondrous, a convergence for all things strange and surreal.

And still, for many, it is home.

Welcome to Taen.

   
Edited by Csl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
N9rMhWb9jclz35_0qFa0cGEWTkcaQ-hEMU1eL5vk
Geography

Taen is a world within a world, a spatial peculiarity tucked among the folds of Terrenus’ Blue Hills. From here, one can enter Taen through one of the many worldrift portals that manifest in midair at irregular intervals. Most enter through the Lunaris Gateway, which, as its name says, opens directly outside the city of Lunaris.

The scientists say Taen, in technical terms, is a pocket dimension. They say it has an approximate land area of 100,000 square kilometers, that reality simply ceases to be at its borders. The scientists also say that reality in Taen is unstable and erratic, and information about the place tends to be amorphous and unreliable.

 
Atmosphere

Two suns hang in the sky
don’t fear, my dear
the second one’s a lie
—Taen Folksong

Taen is a land of unknowns, a paradoxical mingling of strange, old magic and new phenomena from distant, alien worlds. This vastness of untamed, unmapped wilderness is rife with mystery.

The land’s bizarreness is the product of two forces in the pocket dimension’s arcanosphere: talika and sansiuk. These are more commonly referred to as wildlight and worldrift magic.

Wildlight is the manifestation of biological life in the Taen that stems from the loci itself. It is cause for each biome’s apparent sentience, the odd lifeforms that populate the lands, and the unnaturally rapid speed at which Taen’s wildlife recovers from damage. The native Mork’Outh have an innate ability to harness this force as biomancy.

Worldrift is an enigmatic force responsible for the space-time rifts that link Taen to other realms. The portals form with the hum of a solar flare, the sharp salt scent of seawater, and the inexplicable chalky bitterness of moondust in the mouths of witnesses. Worldrift is speculated to be cause for the various interdimensional phenomena present in the pocket dimension.

Two years have passed since Taen first bled into Terrenus. Its abundant resources have enticed many a Terran to migrate, giving bloom to several pockets of civilization. Over time, the land seems to have acclimated to its new residents, and they to the heady strangeness that greets them at every turn.

Despite this, most of Taen remains unexplored. Few true roads disrupt the undergrowth. Many still live in fear of the wingless wasp-men from the mountains, those who drive onlookers mad with their song. The native Mork’Outh are courteous and helpful, but keep to themselves.

Keep in mind the legends the locals pass around. Read the helpful, although rather dry exploration guides penned by the scientists. Keep your eyes and ears open; strangeness abounds.

 
Regions

Taen’s geography is divided into four distinct areas with their separate biomes. The scientists call them Quadrants, but the locals have their own names for them.

The Moss Forest

[ QUADRANT I - JUNGLE | PRIMAS FOREST; PERSISTENT SILVAGENITUS COVER ]

The Moss Forest is an expanse of woodland that covers over one third of Taen. Regardless of the weather or time of year, low-lying clouds shroud the dense boughs. The air is soupy and thick with moisture, aiding the spread of the mosses that blanket ground, tree, and rock.

The Moss Forest is quiet near the cities. The trees do not speak, and move only when requested. However, the deeper one walks into the woods, the more likely one is to encounter all manner of eerie creatures. Hike far enough and the flora and fauna become indistinguishable; vines bare fangs, animals sport roots, and both are fond of devouring errant adventurers. If you’re lucky, a Mork’Outh will come along and guide you back to civilization. If not, you’ll join the bones beneath the moss.

Far west, on the banks of the Wandering River, sits the city of Lunaris. Home to Taen’s first settlers, Lunaris is a cozy metropolis surrounded by several acres of farmland and pasture. The locals are warm, friendly, and far too accustomed to the strangeness of the land.

Some distance south of Lunaris, on a small elevation, is Cair Loeren, the castle of the Imperial family of Veluriyam.

Midway to the mountains and east of Lunaris is the Hydra Scar, a deep crevasse in the ground. It is here the small settlement of Hydra's Haven can be found. Entering the Hydra Scar reveals an underground network of tunnels leading eastward. One such tunnel leads to Totenborough, an abandoned subterranean city left as a remnant of those who once lived in Taen. A group from Lunaris has since taken up residence here, turning it into a mining city.

The Wetlands

[ QUADRANT II - SWAMP | MUSKEG MARSH; NOXIOUS GROUND FOG ]

The Wetlands span the northwestern edge of Taen, where the mouths of the Wandering River empty into a low-lying floodplain. The ground here is uneven, covered with briny water with depths that range from a few inches to a few dozen feet. Reeds, rushes and odd rubbery shrubs cluster on the occasional patch of dry land.

While the danger of quicksand remains, the Wetland’s once-toxic miasma has grown tamer. The vapors that drift from the ground still smell like death, but they only occasionally cause hallucinations. The locals still recommend wearing a gas mask when visiting.

Further north, one may occasionally glimpse a Mork’Outh camp, with mud huts built on stilts. It’s quiet here, looking out over the water. No wind dares stir the mirror-smooth surface of the floodplain. The fishing is good here, but don’t watch your reflection too closely.

At the border of the Moss Forest and the Wetlands lies the city of Arcturon. Some distance north of it is the Empire’s suspicious, fenced-off concrete monstrosity of a science facility, Site Coeus. Some say they experiment on the wildlife and toss the failed samples in the waters.

Sierra Ossa

[ QUADRANT III - MOUNTAIN | MOUNTAIN RANGE; REALITY INSTABILITY ]

Eight peaks frame Taen’s eastern horizon. (One of them’s from the land of nightmares, jagged and black and perma-capped by silver clouds.) Strong winds and strange storms plague their summits. At night, mysterious lights float in the sky above them.

The mountain ridge of Sierra Ossa stretches from north to south, forming the backbone of the land. Countless caverns worm their way into the rock, making mineral resources easily available. However, geometry and physics breaks in certain places, creating impossible rock walkways, levitating cliffs, and upward-flowing waterfalls. One notable location is the Valley of Elemental Stone

With these breathtaking vistas, however, comes danger. Somewhere in the hollow hearts of these mountains dwells the Xer’Orian Hive Queen. Her children have made Sierra Ossa their home, lurking in every nook and cranny. Too often, one venturing near the mountains will feel the static humming of a wasp-queen’s psychic influence.

For this reason, few have managed to venture westward beyond the ridge. The presence of the Xer’Orians and the monsters from Yh’mi’s mountain prompted the Veluriyam Empire to construct a military outpost at the foot of Sierra Ossa: Kuiperal.

A foreign organization from Terrenus, The Frontier, has built a city, named Pulse, on the southern end of the range. Unlike Taen’s other cities, it exists independent of the Empire's rule.

The Barrens

[ QUADRANT IV - DESERT | SEMI-ARID STEPPE; SPATIO-TEMPORAL ANOMALIES ]

The Barrens are the least-explored region of Taen. Those who’ve flown over the mountains describe an endless expanse of stone and sand, one interrupted by canyons and wind-carved rock formations. On most nights, an inexplicable wind blows strong from the east.

What rumors exist are fueled by the stories the Mork’Outh let slip: gigantic burrowing worms with cavernous maws, invisible oceans that float above the sand, hulking half-buried ruins of metal vessels, their lights still aglow.

 
Flora and Fauna
Related reading: The Taen Book of Beasts

Taen’s wildlife resembles that of Terrenus, though with minute, mildly unnerving differences. Mice and rabbits sport two pairs of eyes, or two tiny hooves, or tufts of feathers. Stags bear berries in their antlers. Fish cough out iridescent bubbles with their dying breaths.

It’s not uncommon to find animals capable of speech. The older trees themselves are fond of conversation.

Taen’s stranger creatures are amalgams of plant and animal. Wildlight has a habit of tweaking nature’s creations, and these mutations are passed down through the generations.

Stranger still are the creatures from other worlds. Several alien species, hurled into the land from far space, have made their home in Taen. Most dangerous of these are the Xer’Orians.

Mork’Outh

The ram-horned, cat-eyed native Mork’Outh are polite, speak at length, and never truly say anything. They are too kind sometimes. Quiet, as if afraid of something. Not of us, though.

They have lived on this land for centuries - perhaps longer. They’re fond of telling stories, though the line between fact and fiction often blurs. They speak of watching civilizations rise and fall through the aeons, of great, star-eating beings that peel back the sky. They store their people’s memories in the oldest trees, and there’s a peacefulness about them that suggests they do not fear oblivion like so many other sentient races do.

They come to the cities occasionally to sell their wares. They weave genetic material like threads and can produce the most wondrous things: white-tongued flowers that when worn, allow one to understand any language, deep blue fruit that can quench three weeks of thirst, knives that can cleave through rock like butter, and much more.

Xer'Orians

The Xer’Orians are an aggressive, insectoid race from another world. The males are little more than oversized ants, but the queens are capable of devastating psionic attacks. Linger long enough, and they can cripple your mind and body, leaving you immobile. The arrival of a Xer’Orian queen and her colony is usually preceded by a mental static and the loss of sensation in one’s extremities.

The locals call them wasp-men. Every settlement has a City Guard well-equipped to defend against the frequent Xer’Orian attacks, though the military base in Kuiperal is effective in warding off most attacks before they reach the western cities.

 
Demographics

Taen has a total population of around 5 million, composed of humans, elves, dwarves, and other races.

Over half of Taen’s population resides in Lunaris, though other settlements exist. Lunaris, Arcturon, and Kuiperal are collectively known as the Three Sisters, each having strong cultural and trading ties as major cities of the Veluriyam government. Totenborough is also subject to Veluriyam rule, while cities of The Frontier are independent from the Empire.

  • Lunaris - The capital city of Taen and seat of the Veluriyam Empire. Population of 2 million.

  • Totenborough - ancient underground city repopulated by migrants from Lunaris, mining town. Population of 300,000

  • Arcturon - city with a large population of scientists, academics, and engineers. Base of Khartes, Veluriyam’s research institution. Population of 300,000

  • Kuiperal - military outpost, hotspot for adventurers, explorers, and mercenaries looking for employment. Population of 300,000

  • Pulse - Capital city of the Frontier, a Terran organization independent of the Veluriyam Empire. Hosts a micro-city within its walls. Population of 150,000

 
Culture

Those who call themselves citizens of Taen were once migrants from mainland Terrenus.

Their reasons for migrating vary. The first settlers were adventurers and academics, curious about this wild new world and the opportunities it offered. More recently, those who journey to Taen do so in hopes of escaping the conflict embroiling the mainland. There are plenty of refugees here from the attack on Last Chance, the destruction of Tia, and the plague in Casper.

While there are cultural differences between each city, the settlements resemble frontier towns in form and culture— small bubbles of civilization surrounded by the wilderness of a new world. Travel is rare (and often dangerous), and it’s necessary to band together against Taen’s dangers, creating tight-knit communities. The locals of Taen have also become accustomed to the land’s oddities, adopting a cavalier attitude towards phenomena most would find horrifying.

A new religion, the Acolytes of the Coiled Serpent has been founded in the Wetlands. It revolves on the worship of the Coiled Serpent, Its Pelagic Mind Treading Above the Wake, with the primary doctrine to Prepare Us, For the Rising Tides.

 
Technology
Related reading: Khartes

Technology in Taen varies per city, though magitech, organic tech, and modern technology are common and accessible for those who can afford it. Most Taen locals can harness wildlight and bioengineer simple organic devices. Magitech and modern tech can be bought from Terrenus traders, or provided by Arcturon city. Magic is also abundant, though used less extensively.

Transportation

In the Moss Forest, the trees may sometimes be persuaded to deliver packages between cities. Simply leave a well-wrapped object in the woods, whisper the location you wish it to be sent, and turn your back (don’t look, they’re shy). The packages will arrive at the gates of the city they are sent to within 1-3 business days. Tying a dead mouse or similar-sized creature to the package often helps expedite the process. Of course, it’s not a good idea to do this if you’ve recently irritated a tree

Horse-drawn caravans (normally accompanied by an armed guard) are used for a safer, more reliable method of inter-city trade.

Communication

Surprisingly enough, radios are gaining popularity as a medium of inter-city communication. Arcturon has started a community radio station, SKyburn 46.9, that gives updates on the weather, Xer’Orian attacks, and other happenings across Taen. It’s not uncommon for the radios pick up strange signals from the mountains, from stations that don’t exist: clicks, beeps, chimes and a pleasant voice speaking in an unknown tongue.

Khartes is rumored to be developing wireless communication devices independent of the Terran networks. Until then, couriers are the preferred way to deliver messages within the cities.

 
Government
Related readings: The Veluriyam Empire, Zatrikion

Taen is a territory under the rule of the Veluriyam Empire. As such, the Three Sisters and their surrounding settlements are subject to the empire’s decrees.

Pallas Paralios is the current regent of Taen.

While under Veluriyam authority, each Taen city is independently ruled by a Governor. These are appointed by Empress Rozharon herself. Each city also has a local constabulary headed by a sheriff, responsible for preventing crime and keeping the peace. The City Guard, a separate Veluriyam military entity, protects each city from Xer’Orian attacks.

 
Economy

The presence of wildlight gives Taen a robust agriculture industry, halving the harvest time of every crop and often doubling yield. More experienced wildlight wielders can also genetically modify crops, making them resistant to pests and disease.

While new, the organic technology industry is beginning to gain traction in Lunaris and Arcturon. (The Mork’Outh seem amused by this.) This, coupled with minerals mined from Totenborough, provides Arcturon with plenty of material for its magitech development.

As with mainland Terrenus, Taen has a healthy questing industry. There’s plenty of employment for anyone who can wield a sword well, with all the dangerous creatures that crawl the lands. The pay is good for delivering items between cities, expelling nuisance pests, and protecting trade caravans. For those less inclined towards violence, there’s the option of exploring and documenting new locations.

Though isolated from mainland Terrenus, Taen has healthy trade relations with other territories such as Ursa Madeum and Norkotia. Lunaris functions as a trading hub between Taen and greater Terrenus.

 
History
See the Taen Timeline for a more detailed account of Taen’s canon

Taen was first discovered by a band of explorers led by Marik Cayne in WTA 595. After investigating a mysterious gas in the Blue Hills, an attack by a foreign insectoid race called the Xer-orians led to them killing its queen. The Xer-orian queen's death caused a magical explosion, shattering the barrier between Terrenus and Taen. This created the first of the many inter-dimensional portals that would lead into the land.

Half a year after its discovery, a worldrift event struck Taen. A hydra from another world attacked Lunaris, and was beaten by a group of warriors led by Titus Demetrius. He was later crowned King of Taen by the Mork'Outh chief.

In early 596, the city of Totenborough was discovered, then populated by settlers from Lunaris.

Later that year, in Titus' absence. Empress Rozharon temporarily took her husband's place as head of Veluriyam. Under her leadership, the cities of Arcturon and Kuiperal were founded.

Late 597 WTA, Emperor Titus passes away. Empress Rozharon assigned her son, Pallas, as the regent of Taen.

Canon
  • To be added

  •  

Edited by Csl
added Valley of Elemental Stone, added links to Kuiperal and Zatrikion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...