Welcome to the Archipelago of Cynnahu and its neighboring Isles on the Dimensional Plane of Nim-Semalf, a region now home to many non-natives races who have endured cataclysmic wars and enjoyed long eras of peace. These races are the warlike Naga, the mysterious and deadly Tree People of Arabor, and, lastly, humanity.
Yet the Archipelago that is currently the human country of Cynnahu was born in a war older than the isles themselves for, aeons ago, Cynnahu was a vast continent ruled by a race known as the Dragonkin who were themselves scions of an even older race – the Elder Dragons who forged the hilly landmass out of the prehistoric Skythrust Mountains. Until humanity came and, in a mage-fueled genocidal war of conquest known today as the Fall of the Dragonkin, wiped them out. A war so utterly devastating that the continent of Cynnahu was torn asunder, what land left above the churning waves forming an archipelago of islands dotted with the ruins of its previous civilization.
Then, five centuries hence, the mireborn Naga came.
Thus three races – four if one counts the Escow that are a separate human culture – hold sway across the seas, the mage-ruled Cynnahu folk living in and fighting for peace against the mireborn while contesting not insignificant threats from corsairs within their own borders. Yet the Dragonkin are not so gone as they appear to be, a fact proven in that the Cynnahu folk defend the eight remaining Dragon Shrines with their lives, thousands of Order Soldiers garrisoned at each and Captained by an Inner Circle mage. Waiting for the dread day when a scream cuts across the sky…
Cynnahu is a land of layers, seemingly simple on the surface yet with complexities ranging from subtle to blatant, economic to military to cultural, running like the lost rivers of the old continent and connecting the various Isles and Cynnahu folk. Each Isle has different personality, a sub-culture that can be utterly different from or almost identical to others. The biggest difference being between the Inner and Outer Isles.
The northeasternmost and largest Isles of the Archipelago, the seven Inner Isles are more urban compared with the rest of Cynnahu – the greater tracks of land and more people giving rise to proportionally more cities. However it is also the political, military, and cultural heart of the country, each represented in what are called the Three Hearts of Cynnahu.
Alagor Isle: One of the Three Hearts of the Archipelago and home to a Dragon Shrine as well as the nation’s capital that is the Flaming City of Noridris. Unlike all the other Isles save for Nag and Arabor, Alagor was always an island – existing off the northeastern coast of the old continent. It is here the first human invaders made landfall in an event the Loremasters name The Mages’ Conquest, for they conquered Alagor before the Dragonkin could mobilize. Today Noridris is the headquarters of the Order, home of the ruling Archmage who leads the Archipelago from his office in Sunray Hall, and dwelling the Shipmaster of Alagor who governs sea-traffic between the Isles. In times of crisis it is here the Inner Circle gathers for a Mages Council.
Eirias Isle: Another Heart, Eirias Isle is named for the Great School of Eirias that is built upon it. For some it appears as a great castle rising into the sky while to others a cave leading into the earth or a mist-cloaked temple – for its shapes itself to whatever one imagines a school of magic is supposed to look like. It is here where aura-gifted children come to learn the Three Arts of magery and, in time, join the Order. But, just as importantly, it is the home of the Loremasters who are the keepers, seekers, connectors, and teachers of all knowledge. It is they who train new mages and no Archmage may ascend to Leadership without the grey nobles of the School’s blessing.
Hylon Isle: The military Heart where stands the unconquered Blue Fortress of Storm’s Eye and the adjacent Seawatch port, base of the Stormswords whose Waveriders fleet is cursed by corsairs and the Naga’s Black Fleet. Domain of the Stormlady, it is here the highest counsels and strategies for naval warfare are planned.
Stretching across the sea like the battle-lines they were during the Fall of the Dragonkin – as the very shape of the Archipelago was determined by the military tactics employed during that horrible war as the Dragonkin were inexorably pushed west – the Outer Isles boast the bulk of Cynnahu’s population and are less culturally uniform than the Inner. Each Isle shaped by the natural resources, trade, and disposition of its immediate neighbors as much as its own, the Outer Isles are a hotbed of commerce and, sadly, resultant piracy, the trade (and the swords needed to keep merchant vessels safe) being the lifeblood of Cynnahu.
Though less urban due to fewer people, land, and natural resources per Isle, the Outer Islefolk thrives in villages and bustling towns, and what cities they have, such as Flame’s Sister upon Sablir Isle, are easily a match for those in the Inner, and Dragonkin ruins are not exactly rare. Escow Isle, home of the isolationist Escow people, is a place of long-guarded secrets and suspicion of outsiders. Should the lore of the Dragonkin even be needed to protect the Archipelago then the Escow are sure to play a role.
Yet if there is one difference between the two regions of Cynnahu it is the awareness and general preparedness of and against danger. Farther from Storm’s Eye than the Inner Isles, and closer to Nag Isle, to the Outer Islefolk the threat of corsairs and the Black Fleet are more immediate… and become even more so the further west you sail.
Only two islands are outside of Cynnagu’s borders: one a mysterious and deadly cluster of green on the map, and the other a constant threat of war and death.
Home of the Tree People and their ruler Queen Ivythorn. No ship has ever sailed to Arabor and returned.
Home of the Dragonkin Vuglrath ere he was slain, Vul Isle was renamed Nag Isle during Noson’s Landing when the first Naga arrived and settled there prior to making war upon Cynnahu millennia ago. Swampy as rule save for Va Volcano that was Vulgrath’s prime dwelling, it is from here the mireborn seek to conquer the Archipelago.
Of course, Cynnahu is not alone in the world. Humanity, the Tree People of Arabor, and the Naga came from somewhere even if, ultimately, it was at the fatal expense of the native Dragonkin. But where from, and what forces compelled these three races to leave home seeking new lands? “Escow” means refugee for a reason and, despite what the Escow people might wish, no land may remain forever isolated. So what if…