Replica of Elefloe

On the Imperial Palace Grounds, a full-scale recreation of Elefloe has been constructed as a folly for the Emperor’s pleasure.  Though careful attention has been paid to detail, the recreation is different in a number of aspects.

First, and most notably, the folly is an extrapolation of what Elefloe would look like, were it not ruined.  The Outer Ring, with its 4 large orthostats, is “completed” by a roughly 5′ wide brick path that encircles the ruin.  The intermediate ring consists of another brick path.  The inner ring features a recreation of the 7 arches and gate arch, through which a brick path, connecting the intermediate and outer rings, passes.  The tower, though the crumbling walls are made whole, has not been extended beyond the height of its ruined counterpart.

Secondly, the reconstruction of Elefloe is made from stones mined near Gatia, so the folly does not have the original’s pale green hue.  For some time, it was debated whether an imperial groundskeeper should foster the growth of particular lichens on the stone, so that, at a distance, the recreation would appear to have similar color.  In the end, the folly was allowed to retain its natural grey. That has not, however, stopped the growth of various lichens, of the desired green color, as well as numerous shades of yellow, orange, and red, on the lower portions of the stone structure.

Another significant difference, the folly features a spiral stone stair at the center of the tower rather than the round capstone of the original.  This stair leads into a small labyrinth which is connected to the imperial palace by a series of well-maintained tunnels.  The tunnels are patrolled at all times by a number of palace guards, as is the tower of the Folly itself.  Members of the imperial family and distinguished royal guests wishing to visit the folly may often take these tunnels to avoid the necessity of travelling through the city, and, in times of sudden ill weather, provides a quick egress for royal picnic goers.

Allister

Allister is town along the Orshiano River that was built on the ruins of a much older Cirsovan (or possibly pre-Cirsovan) City State. It is located about halfway between Akanasho and Korsha, with most of the city built on the northeast bank. The two parts of Allister are not connected by bridge, though ferries regularly make their way back and forth across the river at any times which they would not be interfering with the up and downstream traffic. Most of the warehouses and wharves in Allister are located on the southwest bank.

There have been a few attempts to excavate the ruins of old city, however they have all met with varying degrees of failure, ranging from worker strikes, flooding, cave-ins, and even the odd murder or mysterious disappearance of lead archaeologists, before anything of great importance was ever uncovered. All artifacts produced have reflected an otherwise unexceptional example of pre-empire Riverland culture. Much of the old city seems to have been on the southwest bank, mirroring modern Allister. None of the current residents are descended from the original inhabitants of the area, who are thought to have been exterminated or totally displaced by the unification wars.

Unlike most of the communities along the Orshiano River, Allister is connected by a road, albeit a poorly maintained and infrequently travelled one, to the rest of the Empire. The road, which is mostly dirt with scattered flagstone and is often overgrown in many places, begins at meanders southwest, eventually ending just outside the small town of Sammish. Allisterans have little reason to take the road to Sammish; though by that route, they may eventually reach Daaln, the Imperial Gateway, anyone may quickly and easily travel upriver to Gatia and then South to Daaln along much better and safer roads, or downriver to Korsha, from which a citizen may travel anywhere along the Dawnsea by sail. Despite this, the road is occassionally used by tourists. The byway to Sammish was not part of the imperial initiative to connect the empire by roads, but is likely a relic of a pre-imperial relationship between Sammish and the older City State.
An almost totally destroyed wayshrine of Sitaan is located a quarter mile from road about half-way between Allister and Sammish.

Auna

One of the many old Cirsovan deities who is still worshiped in the riverlands is Auna.  Auna is an often good-natured trickster goddess, sometimes sower of discord and oft-times patroness of thieves.  She is also the goddess of love, as it is said that hearts are one of the many things she steals.

Though not all thieves worship Auna, and not all worshipers of Auna are thieves, many women who have mastered the art of getting what they want by less than honest means may often be heard whispering a prayer of thanks to Auna.

Auna is more publicly beloved, despite her reputation among thieves, than her husband, Karras, and many cities have a statue of her in some public square.  Under the shade of these statues, women who propose courtship to their beloved receive the blessings of Auna.

In the heartlands, though she is still worshiped, her cult is in decline.  Oftentimes, whether they are involved in organized crime or not, Auna’s priestesses have been held by authorities in some suspicion, as deceit is one of the goddess’s sacraments.  Outside of Cirsova, there is no organized worship of Auna, however there are rumors of a group of thieves in Gatlia, led by a young beauty named Ellyra, who steal in her name.  The bandits, however, have not claimed responsibility, nor been proven culpable, for the recent uptick in violent raids against caravans travelling through the baronies of central Gatlia.

Akanasho

Though no roads lead to or from it, Akanasho thrives and is far from isolated.  Its location downstream from Gatia on the Orshiano River connects it to both the imperial seat and the largest port city on the Dawnsea.  Akanasho is located between high bluffs on either side of the Orshiano valley, and many ornate towers have been built on the sides of the south bluff.

Once, Akanasho bore another name that has been blotted and stricken from memory and history.  For though many of the city states in the Orshiano Valley who were rivals to Gatia’s primacy were razed during the wars to unify the Cirsovan heartlands, Ga Akana found the city’s alabaster towers gracing the bluffs over the river to be fair and lovely.  After defeating the king and his army, Ga Akana proclaimed that he would spare the city if its people would bow before him.  The city was renamed Akanasho, or “Akana’s mercy”.

The greatest of the alabaster towers, Ga Akana made his palace, and from there he ruled for full year, where he won the affections of the people with his wisdom and benevolence.  The palace remains to this day a beloved spot of the imperial family.

Doria

Doria is a small town in northeast Cirsova.  It is off the main highways of the Long Road.  Once upon a time, the road from Doria was all that connected Agalla and most of Ungoza to the Empire, prior to the construction of the Agalla bypass.  It is still the principal route for travelers journeying from Gatia to Ungoza, as well as those fleeing Agalla for the cozy, civilized heartlands.

The demographic makeup of Doria is much like that of Agalla.  Of course, Doria has the advantage of not being the provincial seat of Ungoza.  Doria is inhabited by those who enjoy the often mild weather of northern Cirsova but dislike the big city life in Davou.  Doria has a bit of a frontier feel to it, and it was the northeastern frontier before Agalla was settled.  One of the enclaves of Doria is populated by Cirsovans who had thought they could find wealth in some office or service of the empire or provincial praefect in Ungoza only to return disappointed and disheartened.

Though otherwise unremarkable, Doria is home to a small cult of Tamra, an Ungozan (marshfolk) goddess of the sky and heavens, that has built a shrine outside of the city.  The shrine marks the only site of worship for any marsh-god outside of Ungoza.  The cult is made up primarily of Cirsovans who had visited Illi and were enamored with the tales of the Storymen.  The shrine and its rituals bear so little resemblance to any actual tradition of the eastern marshfolk that any native Ungozan would be thoroughly puzzled by what they might see or hear.

Shepherds take advantage of the ample grasslands and Doria boasts a number of tanners.

Davou, Covered in Snow

Emperor Orrin Tormant’s father, the Emperor Evane Tormant II, once commissioned a painting of Davou by famed Ortian realist painter, Horas Yunara. Near the painting’s completion, Horas decried his work and destroyed it before beginning anew, creating a massive canvas depicting Davou in ruins, half buried in snow. Upon hearing this, Emperor Evane thought of how he might punish the artist with imprisonment or even death.

However, when he saw the painting, the Emperor felt a strange enchantment within the pigments which depicted the demise of his northern stronghold. He ordered the new painting to be locked away in the vaults of the palace in Gatia, only to be placed on display once the events and destruction depicted had come to pass. Horas Yunara and his family were banished from the province of Cirsova until the day his painting hung in the courts of Gatia, upon which the Emperor would abdicate and hand his crown to Yunara or any surviving heir of his line. His grandchildren are rumored to live in Ortia, where, to this day, they guardedly pray for snow.

Davou

Davou sits at the crossroads of the north and sees through its gates the great shipments of crystals coming from the east, Gatlian trade goods return from the west. The road south leads to Gatia and all the empire beyond.

Davou quarters the Northernmost legion of the Cirsovan empire, though it is a shadow of the force that subjugated Ungoza. There has been no conflict in the region for over a century, and the task of quelling piracy and brigandage has fallen to the local barons. The only threats to Cirsova’s north are the encroaching snows and the radical political experiment brewing in Gatlia. Only one of these might bring the legion to bare, though only a few truly brazen members of the aristocracy would even breathe suggestion of sorts.

Presently, Davou prospers greatly from the trade road it sits upon and generates sizable revenue from the many warehouses within its walls. Additionally, it receives its own skim of imperial tax receipts collected from Ungoza and Gatlia.

Davou is also home to a travelling troupe of performers, the Wagons of Mystery, which often travels along the Long Road behind large merchant caravans, putting on elaborate plays and strange feats of daring in the towns along the road. During the colder seasons, when merchants are less frequent, the troupe stays in one of the dingier corners of Davou, trying out new talent, developing new routines, and occasionally offering private performances for those lucky enough to receive a writ of invitation.

Adventurers who wish to visit Jorgora may set out north from Davou, following the corridor between the  Gatlian Mountains and western forests of Ungoza. It is, however, a difficult journey with no roads, markers or wayrests, and most are disappointed to find nothing but a large, sometimes snow-covered hillock.