A Watchful Eye
The Blessed Isle was the continent-sized island that sat at the very heart of Creation. Surrounded by the Inner Sea, and some weeks distant from the closest Threshold port, the Blessed Isle was the center of the First Solar Deliberative, Shogunate, and Realm. It was very nearly always the home to the most powerful territory in Creation regards of which Age is considered.
The proliferation of patricians and Dynasts, and other supernaturally gifted hunters, has wiped out nearly every wild animal on the Blessed Isle. Pandas, varieties of monkeys and other small herbivores abound, but large cats, and choice quarry like deer have become rare or unheard of all across the Isle.
-Animals of the Blessed Isle:
- Blackstar Mastiff
- Crag Cat
- Firemane Horse
- Giant Panda
- Portee Ivory
- Scarlet Crane
- Tongma Monkey
The climate of the Blessed Isle is almost universally temperate; sitting in the center of Creation, it is subject to a mixture of the least effects of all of the Elemental Poles apart from that of Earth. While the north coast of the Isle is generally cooler, and the south warmer, these are usually differences that bother only those of the weakest constitution. Natives of the far reaches of Creation are unlikely to sense much of a difference from one end of the Isle to the other.
However, the Blessed Isle’s distance from the more noisome elements of Creation are not it’s only defense against inclement weather. All across the Isle are weather-control obelisks, artifacts of the First Age that control the local climate. The Bureau of Climatic Deliberations has studied and tinkered with these devices for centuries, and so maintain temperate weather in the face of most fluctuations outside their borders. Still, the Dragon-Blooded lack the refinement of power and control to truly master the obelisks, so the weather of the Blessed Isle is merely “nigh perfect.”
The Great Coast Road
Being under the iron control of the meticulous Scarlet Empress, the Blessed Isle has a system of roads and ferries unrivaled in Creation. One of the most important, however, is the Great Coast Road, which circumscribes the entire Isle. A remnant of the First Age, it is a smooth, grey-black material with a pebbled surface; it is difficult to damage, and when it is broken it seals itself up and “heals” quickly. It is never slick with ice, nor covered by debris.
The repair and maintenance of the road is due to the Ancient of Stone Journeys, god of the road. Powerful in the hierarchy of travel, the Ancient is also a staunch ally of the Immaculate Order, swiftly reporting the infractions of citizens who travel his road. While the Blessed Isle is one of the safest places in Creation, the Great Coast Road is even safer than most of the surrounding Isle.
Mountains and Rivers
The Imperial Mountain lies at the center of the Blessed Isle and Creation. Taller than any other mountain, it was once the home of the gods, then the Exalts and now it is host only to pilgrims, monks and ruins. Surrounding the Imperial Mountain is the Dragon’s Nest Range, craggy, huge peaks ringing the spire of the Omphalos. The western region of these mountains are home to the Lord’s Crossing Dominion, while the eastern part of the range is host to part of Juche prefecture.
The Dhorash and Mhaltin Mountains bound the Dragonswrath Plains in the southeastern Isle. Legends tell that these ranges are actually two sleeping dragons, weary from their ancient feuding. Similarly the Ahbrem Mountains which abut Ahbrem Valley are said to be a kindly, slumbering dragon that watches over the people below. The Chamesh Mountains separate the Storm Coast and Shadowed Coast, running north from the Dragon’s Nest.
All major rivers on the Blessed Isle have their origin in the Dragon’s Nest Range or on the slopes of the Imperial Mountain. The Caracal River runs south along the edge of the Mhaltin Mountains, while the Serpentine wanders to the west and the Imperial River to the east. Most of the rivers on the Blessed Isle see use for trading, with flat-bottomed barges and rafts crawling along to carry the agricultural bounty of the outlying peasants to the cities of the Isle.
Few of the wondrous structures from the First Age that spanned the great rivers of the Isle survive. While most are ruined beyond use or repair, the Scarlet Span and the Dam of Serpents remain as monuments to their creators. The Scarlet Span stretches high across the Imperial River, tall enough for any boat to pass under; the Dam of Serpents is a great waterbreak of enormous snake heads that pour water from their mouths, diverting much of the river that flows into them into aqueducts for irrigation.
Places of Note
- Imperial Mountain
- Seat of Pasiap
- Spine of the Amaranthine Dragon
Lord’s Crossing Dominion
Lord’s Crossing Dominion is the province of House Tepet and they claim it as their ancestral holding.
Prefect: Carpenter Reason
One of only two dominions established in the Realm, this region is centered around it’s eponymous city. Resting within the Dragon’s Nest mountain range, the dominion includes lush mountain valleys at heads of pure rivers, producing abundant food and cloth for the rest of the Realm. Lord’s Crossing is popular for it’s bed-and-breakfast establishments, which go to great lengths to please their patrician and Dragon-Blooded visitors.
Many of the settlements within Lord’s Crossing are at their heart the remnants of great, Shogunate-era cities. The surrounding mountains are replete with Jade, making even the most remote and inhospitable mountainside mining village more prosperous than those found elsewhere. Lord’s Crossing is also known as the home of two very popular breeds of dog: Portee Ivories of Portee are small lap-dogs, trendy pets for patricians and Dynasts; Blackstar mastiffs were bred by and remain solely the province of the Starlight family of Traiter.
Places of Note:
- Lord’s Crossing
Coast of Xianyu
This region in the northeast of the Blessed Isle is named for a hero who defended the Realm’s ships from the pirates of the Scavenger Lands. Though both hero and pirates are long since gone from the Coast, piracy holds a glamor for those raised here. Warm in the summer and snowy in the winter, the Coast of Xianyu remains largely temperate, famously producing five full crops of rice every year.
Prefect: Tidal Pearl
Reputed to be the base of operations for the pirate-hunter Xianyu whose name is remembered in the region, Kan-Toshi is known for the alarming frequency with which jewelry or coins are washed up on the beaches. While the manse that Xianyu called home remains hidden, the odd piece of treasure that washes up is taken as proof that it still exists.
Prefect: Time Rain
Though very close to the heart of civilization that is the Scarlet prefecture, Pangu is predominantly rural. It takes large amounts of salt from the sea for the preservation of meat, and as with other Xianyu prefectures there is the local fascination with pirates. Few outsiders know more than this about Pangu prefecture.
Being a part of the infrastructure that feeds the massive Imperial Legions, this prefecture has produced enormous amounts of food over many generations. Sadly, the local coasts have been overfished and coastal towns do little more than service salt refineries for the preservation of slaughtered livestock from the plains.
Places of Note:
- Blind Love
- The House of High Waves
- Pangu City
A region of dry, fallow fields and poor peasants, Daoshin is a land in need of aid. Ten years ago the Scarlet Empress founded the Ministry of Renewal, headed by Ragara Usha, to oversee the rehabilitation of the Daoshin Peninsula. Usha has undertaken drastic steps, shipping half the population to the Isle of Eternal Leaves (where they remain productive by learning to fell and export lumber), while the rest remain to tend fields overseen by Immaculate Monks who whip local spirits into shape and geomancers who manipulate the dragon-lines to promote fertility and growth.
The Island of Eternal Leaves
While the Daoshin Peninsula is barren and home to only sparse domesticated herds, the Island off it’s coast is lush and overrun with herds of deer, wolves, boars, bears, and even strix and other large birds. About half the population of the Peninsula was shipped to the Island to allow the land to heal; in the meantime they have been taught the art of logging and continue to serve the Realm as they can.
Becoming overcrowded by new lumberworkers, Emerald prefecture has seen a boom in new settlements. One such community, Three Stags, has stumbled onto an ancient, First Age manse. The discovery resulted in the deaths of those foolish enough to enter, and the prefect has sent a plea for assistance to the Immaculate Order.
Nestled between the Dhorash and Mhaltin Mountains, the Dragonswrath Plains take their name from the legendary feud between the two slumbering dragons that make up the surrounding mountain ranges. From each range flows hundreds of small rivers and streams, which swell and mire the land during the wet springs and autumns. The swamp-dwelling peasants of this region are perhaps the lowest of the low on the Blessed Isle.
Despite it’s low status and inability to match the production of rice in other regions, the Dragonswrath Plains are best known for the leathers it exports from its large reptiles and it’s cranberries and other swamp foods. The foods of the Dragonswrath are spicy and considered novel and sometimes trendy in other parts of the Isle.
The Dragonswrath Plains are also home to Pasiap’s Stair, the military secondary school for non-Dynastic Dragon-Blooded. Though they are simply Lost Eggs, the people of the nearby village of Amber Well rarely see other Dragon-Bloods, and so the Terrestrials of the Stair are afforded utmost respect.
The Isle of Sweet Radiance
Home to the until-recently feuding Cliffrise and Saltmount prefectures, ruled by Clan Heron and Clan Blacklily respectively, the Isle of Sweet Radiance has since been targeted by House Peleps in it’s greedy splurge of acquisition. Since then the two feuding clans have banded together to sabotage the efforts of the grasping Dynasts.
Imperial River Basin
If not for the scattered, sparse population of the region, Juche prefecture would be a dominion. As it is, Juche occupies the entirety of the Imperial River Basin, and it will likely never become heavily populated. Construction along the Imperial River is strictly controlled, as there are many powerful Dragon Lines between the Imperial Mountain and the Imperial City that flow along the river. Along with strict laws, high taxes keep all but the wealthiest from owning estates overlooking the beautiful Imperial River; farming the land falls to servants on plantations owned by the Dynasts.
While the Basin itself is domesticated to the point that small birds and rodents are the only remaining “wild animals,” the eastern peaks of the Dragon’s Nest Range are home to eagles, goats and other mountain animals such as crag cats.
Juche PrefecturePrefect: Gemstone Opal
Though it officially oversees the entire River Basin as well as the eastern Dragon’s Nest Range, the mountainous hills to the west are little policed and home to wild animals and only a small number of villages. Each of the Great Houses maintains an estate here, and their slaves diligently farm the crops, brew the dye and tend the sheep and goats that produce much of the clothing sold in the eastern Blessed Isle.
Places of Note:
- Arum’s Rest
- Foremost Vault of the Imperial Treasury
- Kleinen Har Dig
- Spider’s Crossing
The Jade Coast
Known well for being the seat of power in the Realm, home to the Scarlet prefecture, the Jade Coast deserves every speck of derision and respect as the heart of civilization. Dotted with expansive estates owned by the wealthiest of the wealthy, this region still maintains abundant, lush tracts of farmland. This area is also in a nearly perfect position to receive the best weather Creation has to offer, as it is equidistant from the North and South, and protected from too much rain by the mountain ranges to the west.
While the Jade Coast is host to a variety of military-, bureaucracy- and agriculture-oriented prefectures, there are two exceptions. Meadows prefecture and Talho prefecture are well-known for their resorts, particularly the astonishing views of the Inland Sea from the coastal pleasure palaces overlooking the cliffs that plunge into the frothing waves below.
Incas PrefecturePrefect: Ledaal Pial
Incas prefecture rivals even the Scarlet prefecture in importance, being the center of the Immaculate Order, home to the Palace Sublime. This powerful Immaculate presence has subdued what could be extravagance and waste in other prefectures, the rich pastoral plains peopled by the most devout. Incas is also known for its abundant, luxurious silk production.
The Fire Fleet props up the economy of Noble, the port out of which it is based.
Places of Note:
- Cloister of Wisdom
- The Palace Sublime
One of the many prefectures that is composed almost entirely of rice paddies, Lamkaet happens to also be home to the Proven Worth Chapter House, one of the few remaining Wyld Hunt chapter houses.
Places of Note:
- Proven Worth Chapter House
The Scarlet Prefecture
Regent of the Imperial Realm: Tepet Fokuf
Prefect: Mnemon Bata
Bordered on the west by Juche prefecture and on the east and north by beautiful coastlines, the Scarlet prefecture is one of the smallest on the Blessed Isle. Merely 150 miles wide, it is still prolific in its production of agricultural products, and of course it produces more crafted goods than many larger prefectures.
Truly the heart of the Realm and of civilization, the land of this region is completely tamed. There are virtually no wild animals left, apart from small birds and rodents, and nearly all the open land is covered in tended crops. Despite this over-domestication, the Scarlet Prefecture is tremendously beautiful, carefully cultivated to please the senses of it’s rulers. The resilient hares and foxes remain staples of hunting trips; some wild animals live around or even in the Imperial City, particularly feral dogs, raccoons, vultures and rats.
The weather of the Scarlet prefecture is the most tightly controlled on the Isle, rarely seeing more than pleasant rains and infrequent fogs. Some of the valleys retain warm weather year-round, remaining nearly tropical, while the higher hills can become chilly during the winter.
The constant use of the region over innumerable centuries has stripped the prefecture of nearly every natural resource. It’s soil remains fertile and in good use, but only occasional deposits of precious gems turn up, and never in great enough abundance to mine with frequency.
In the southwest of the prefecture lies Carthan’s Wasteland, presumably the site of some terrible battle during the First Age. Though it’s soil is rich and deep, nothing at all grows there and those that venture into the wasteland are never seen again. Entry is forbidden on pain of death.
While the Imperial City overshadows nearly every other thing on the whole Blessed Isle, there are a number of other settlements scattered throughout the prefecture. These are almost all luxurious resort-towns or functional, strategic emplacements. Of particular importance are Dragonsmouth, the easternmost port on the Isle and gateway of trade to the Imperial City, and Yolin Am the Dynastic resort-town, which has manicured and formed the land for miles around it’s walls to please the senses of the Dragon-Blooded who lodge there.
Between these cities run hundreds of miles of well-kept roads, meticulously cobbled and cared for. The road between Dragonsmouth and the Imperial City is best known as the Bay Highway, or more formally the Strong and Flowing Throat of the Dragon; the road from Yolin Am is the Path of Pleasant Hills, and winds through beautiful, terraced gardens for a full day’s ride beyond the town’s walls.
Places of Note:
- Carthan’s Wasteland
- Clear Creek
- Crescent Mills
- The Enduring Breath of Hesiesh
- Flawless Rill Freehold
- Glorious Haven
- Imperial City
- Yolin Am
Sdoia PrefecturePrefect: Rosecloud Hawk
Peopled by military elitists, Sdoia provides the headquarters of the Wood Fleet; even the peasants here view other prefectures as decadent and useless. Rocky and with poor arable soil, the primary crop of farmers in Sdoia is hemp, providing the majority of the rope and canvas the Wood Fleet uses.
Places of Note:
- House of Sweet Whispers
- Sdoia City
About half of the Jaen-ha Plains are part of the Arjuf Dominion, while the rest of the Plains are split up into small, agricultural prefectures. With fine, warm weather and occasional summer storms, these are some of the more idyllic lands of the Blessed Isle. There are virtually no wild animals in the region, but every kind of domesticated creature can be found.
The southern areas of the Plains are known for their sugar cane and pigs, while more northerly prefectures play host to cattle, horses and sheep.
The Passage into Fire
House Ledaal claims Arjuf Dominion as its ancestral holding and the Palace of Vines as their ancestral home.
Prefect: Ledaal Maris
Known as the “Passage into Fire” since it is largely the only route from the Blessed Isle into the South, Arjuf is one of only two dominions on the Isle. It is strategically, financially and agriculturally powerful (hence it’s status as a dominion), and spans from the foothills of the Dragon’s Nest Range down along the Caracal River to the coast.
Arjuf’s population is so great that it exports little of the food it produces, though it is one of the primary sources of sugar cane in the Realm. It is best known as one of the greatest hearts of trade in Creation. The dominion is also home to the House of Bells, the prestigious Secondary School that produces masters of warfare. One of the five remaining chapter houses of the Wyld Hunt, the Azimuth Spire is the headquarters of the Hunt and is located within the dominion.
Places of Note:
- Azimuth Spire
- House of Bells
- Palace of Vines
Named for the ironhoof mustangs that once roamed much of the Jaen-Ha Plains, Ironhoof Prefecture is perhaps the biggest horse-ranching prefecture in all of the Blessed Isle. Though they do not roam wild any longer, ironhooves are still bred among the ranches here. Favored for their speed and strength, as well as the strength of their wicked hooves and the ease with which they can be trained to attack a foe with them on command, many of the Great Houses favor ironhooves as gifts to skilled horsemen.
Plains of Rusted Iron
It’s landscape dominated by clay shelfs and mud, subsistence farming in this region huddles close to the Serpentine River. However, a great deal of high-quality porcelain is made in the prefectures of the Plains, though true artisans live elsewhere and import their material. Being sparsely populated and poor, there are few cities and so the prefectures of the Plains are large, encompassing huge tracts of muddy land.
Outsiders know better the history of the Plains of Rusted Iron, having been host to numerous battles since the First Age and throughout the Shogunate. As such, it is heavily dotted with archaeological digs unearthing discarded First Age weapons and ancient tombs.
Diu Xie Prefecture
Unlike many of the prefectures in this area, Diu Xie is quite prosperous, situated as it is along much of the Great Coast Road. The finest porcelain and pottery from the Plains of Rusted Iron invariably finds its way to the Market of Vessels, in Diu Xie city, to be sold to the many merchants to travel down the length of the Great Coast Road to buy such treasures. Additionally, Diu Xie has a tremendous length of coastal area, and harvest mother-of-pearl and other sea shells that are ground up to provide luster and color to many of the clay-works of the area.
Better off than other prefectures due to it’s coastal position, Radamant is otherwise like any mired prefecture on the Plains. However, deep in a river valley within Radamant lies the Stalwart Temple, a hidden Solar manse guarded by ancient pacts.
Places of Note:
- Stalwart Temple
Named for it’s frequently overcast weather and stormy, chill winds, the Shadowed Coast has a poor reputation. This is mostly due to the Isle of Voices off the coast, though the ancient, wild forests of the Coast lend a haunted air to the mainland.
Ventus PrefecturePrefect: Sage Lake
Ventus is still home to a variety of wild animals, such as bears, hybrocs and hunting cats. This untamed quality draws woodsy Dynasts and there are numerous hunting lodges scattered across the countryside. The land is also host to a variety of alchemical and healing herbs; it is also wealthy in sulfur, mercury and other rare resources, but it is believed the healing herbs draw on these substances and they remain protected.
Places of Note:
- Bright Obelisk
The Isle of Voices
A chill, rocky island home to the foremost academy of sorcery in Creation, the Heptagram dominates the island. A few peasants tend the land and fish the surrounding sea, and they are quite knowledgeable in the small folk magics of mortals.
Until RY 385 the Heptagram did not exist, and the foremost school of magic was the Versino (in fact, it was the first scholastic program created by the Scarlet Empire). However, in 385 something terrible happened, and now all that remains of Versino are blasted ruins and the salt and spells that ward whatever may still lurk in there. A single student survived of all those who studied or taught at the Versino: Mnemon, daughter of the Empress.
Places of NoteThe Heptagram
Silk & Pearl Peninsula
The least “civilized” region of the Blessed Isle, the Silk & Pearl Peninsula is scattered with ruins from the Shogunate and First Age, eerie and imposing hidden in the foggy bamboo forests. Most settlements here are small fishing villages, and the lack of notable cities results in expansive prefectures. The coast is shallow and rocky, of no use to trading galleys, though these shallow seabeds produce prized clams and oysters with their attendant pearls. Inland are mulberry bushes and their silkworms, which give the Peninsula the other half of it’s name.
Because it is such a “wilderness,” banditry is fairly common here, particularly along the Bamboo Road that circumscribes the peninsula. Deep in the bamboo forests lurk wild pigs and pandas, though no animals fearsome enough to deter travelers more than the prospect of bandits.
Storm Coast & Ahbrem Valley
Sloping down from the Ahbrem Mountains to the east, the Valley and Storm Coast that occupy the northwest corner of the Blessed Isle is another example of agricultural splendor. Far from the machinations and pageantry of the Imperial City, this region is far more provincial and homey than other areas of the Isle. The weather and animals are not quite as friendly as those found elsewhere, but neither is the weather (whence the name), and as people are inclined to it is taken as a point of pride to live in such straits.
A prefecture of no note, is grew in the shadow of Eagle prefecture, leaving it few of the resources of the region. Ruled by the Starfalls and a guild of weaponsmiths known as the Talon League, it is also home to fanatical Immaculates and a heretical cult that worships a lion god in the hills.
A serene, pastoral land on the western coast of the Blessed Isle, House Sesus controls Eagle prefecture. Riddled with rivers, both fresh- and saltwater fish are exported in abundance from the region, while the pasturelands produce the overpriced dairy and meat sold to the coastal islands.
Places of NoteCloaka Eagle’s Launch Glalo Guin
An otherwise inconsequential agricultural prefecture, Stargazer is rich and well-known as the only source of Hearth-Cats, which remain solely in the purview of the patricians family that bred them back into existence, the eponymous Stargazers.
One of the two largest islands off the coast of the Blessed Isle, Tongma is sparsely populated. It’s spring storms and freezing winter rains make it a wet place, and the meager farmlands near its interior are insufficient for the populace, necessitating the importation of food from the overpriced merchants of the Storm Coast. Tongma teems with wild life, including boar, deer, birds and Tongma monkeys, furry, friendly simians that originally came from the West. A herd of sea lions lives on the northern coast in Sharu prefecture.
Central to the island, Wavehold is the headquarters of the Water Fleet (which, until recently, was based in Eagle prefecture). This prefecture occupies the higher, greener parts of the island, which are said to be home to an elusive stag that is reputed to be a God-Blooded creature descended from the god of the High Wood.
Wavehold is one of the greatest points of interest to House Peleps as it gathers more and more power, greedily acquiring wealth and responsibility in the absence the Scarlet Empress. They are opposed by the ancestral powers of the Island, the Five Families of Tongma.
Places of NotePort Wavehold
White Coast & Pauha Basin
Artistes of the Shogunate penned poems of the Ten Thousand Hills of Sweet Abandon, describing the land that is now the Pauha Basin. Known best for it’s expansive vineyards and sweet wines, the Basin and White Coast are host to wild hills, valleys and streams dotted with agricultural splendor. The whole region is spotted with “scroll estates,” rented villas used by occultists as they venture forth into the countryside to find precious ingredients for their research.
The White Coast is aptly named, as it is edged with pristine, white sand beaches that are idyllic apart from the frigid storms of winter. The coastal waters are home to seals, sea lions, walruses and a plethora of other sea life. The Coast is also known for its manse-lighthouses, said to have been constructed by Bringer of Light during the Shogunate, who is purported to have been raised to the position of god of lighthouses for his work.
Though the soil of Chanos prefecture is poor, it remains wealthy as both a hub of trade and center of mining and smelting. Mines dot the rocky land around Chanos, and the smelters and foundries pollute the local water badly. Those that drink from these sickly waters are all slaves of House Ragara or peasants, though, so it is of little concern. Food is of little concern to this agriculturally stunted prefecture, as it dominates the local economy and can easily export what it needs from the surrounding principalities.
The city of Chanos is also the headquarters of the Air Fleet, and one of the remaining Wyld Hunt chapterhouses, the Pillar Hall of the Righteous, is located here.
Places of NoteChanos Pillar Hall of the Righteous Tabuhareth Tojuun Palace
Kugashi PrefectureThis text is from Compass of Celestial Directions: The Blessed Isle cut for space reasons. It was originally posted in the White Wolf Forums by Author Joseph Carriker.
Kugashi Prefecture seems like any other prefecture in this part of the Blessed Isle — it is rich in fine produce, wines and brandies, its people are happy and hard-working, and it operates as it seemingly always has. There is but one thing that makes Kugashi different from any of its neighbors, and it is this: there is one of the Solar Exalted here.
When the Dawn Caste Senebau Exalted, he was brought before his mistress Cynis Rahe, an aging dowager of House Cynis taking the summer air in her vineyard Manse-estate. An old practitioner of various lascivious heresies in her youth, Cynis Rahe had little regard for the proscription of the Anathema by the Immaculate Order, and immediately brought him to heel. Now, she trains him to fight, hoping to one day use the slave as a means of seizing the Scarlet Throne for herself, or one of her children.
In truth, though, Senebau is much more than the sickle-wielding, muscle-bound dullard he seems. Senebau dreams of freedom, and of razing the Realm to the ground, and he intends to ride the coat-tails of Rahe’s ambitions just enough to do so. Rahe arranges for him to train with skilled warriors and read the Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Soldier; he uses his new skills and knowledge to train his fellow slaves, in intensive secret training regimens in the greenhouses of the Cynis estate. Soon, he will have a large army of Tiger Warrior-trained slaves, ready to throw off their shackles and fight to bring the Realm down in the name of their liberator, Senebau.
For now, though, they wait.
Though not necessarily the ancestral lands of House V’neef, the youngest of the Great Houses considers this to be something of a home away from the Imperial City for them. Certainly the center of their vineyard empire, House V’neef controls many more vineyards than those in Qishi; in fact, well over half of the vineyards in the Pauha Basin are owned by V’neef, and governed by those who serve her.