Old Tim's One Hundred Facts about Aqualon, Revised Edition
Timothy Jargon the Third, or as most people in his home city of Miyako Fluxum know him, "old Tim", is a renowned educator at the Miyako Fluxum Technical University, where he teaches astro-gyrometrics and technamagic theory. He won the Greenhorn Prize of Scientific Excellence in 1674 GE for his seminal work on the principle of soul super-location and its uses in applied technamagix, thus earning one of the most prestigious scientific awards one can hope to achieve. His granddaughter, Lynis Jargon, has also begun accruing renown in the field of applied technamagix, where she has already achieved an inventorate degree. In 1663 GE, as a little hobby on the side, he began collecting little facts and tidbits about the broader world of Aqualon, taking them from varied encyclopedias, but also from eye-witness reports and chit-chats with his esteemed colleagues. Though published mostly as a novelty, his little guidebook called "Old Tim's One Hundred Facts about Aqualon" gained a significant degree of popularity among the general public of Miyako Fluxum, and copies made their way out even beyond the Moving City, delighting the people of the Middle Lands and Altonar. In 1682 GE, after publishing several more fact booklets, he released this revised version with a number of addenda to various facts.
Fact Number 1Because almost all iron in the world of Aqualon is concentrated within the Iron Belt and the Spiral Sea and the copper rich Arkatrash lies between Middle Lands and Rusty Shore, Middlish appliances, such as cookware, are made of copper and aluminum instead. The aluminum, of course, is provided by the mighty aluminum smelters and the guilds that operate them, located in the great city of Fulgrath, the City of Lightning. Incidentally, Miyako Fluxum purchases nearly all its aluminum from Fulgrath as well.
Fact Number 2War has broken out between two or more of the five cities of the Middle Lands for a total of only two times since the Founding of the Five Cities in 251 GE (almost 1500 years ago). This relatively low number is due to the fact that only if the Keepers are in discord and willing to war against each other can the cities risk mobilizing their forces under their banner. When these wars happened, the battles were fought on the Untamed Meadows on the ashes of Estverde, far away from the Middle Lands, for this was one of the concessions made in the Null Concord: No large scale battles involving excessive magic were to be waged at any place other than within the area of influence of either the Eastern or Western Sanctum of the Null.
Of course, these two wars are only the most extreme examples of conflicts between the Five Cities. In fact, power struggles, military skirmishes, savage intrigue, and insurrections by powerful families within the cities have occurred throughout the centuries of this age in many forms and orders of severity. Especially around the death and rebirth of assorted Keepers, raising the newborn children within the most influential families of their assigned cities has often led to them being utilized as political pawns, a fact that has caused the Tower of Five to take custody of new Keepers at younger and younger ages.
Fact Number 3The mercenary city of Midas Creek lies in the Golden Sands, one of the two large deserts of Aqualon. It is named after the midas trees, which grow around its premises and pump up water from below the ground. These trees were discovered by Midas of Willowood during his famed voyage across the Golden Sands. Almost half-way through, his company ran out of water, but Midas, a magus of water, could sense a supply within reach. They traveled as swiftly as they could, and within two days they finally reached a field of midas trees, then still an unknown species. His company drank greedily. Too greedily, for they then succumbed to hyponatremia, and in the end, Midas stood alone among his fallen comrades and the life-giving trees that had brought him naught but death.
Midas’s poor luck notwithstanding, the oasis that has formed around the midas trees is quite beautiful and has allowed the city to prosper. It is one of the reasons traders still regularly opt to take the path through the Golden Sands when traveling between Altonar and Lumina Aka, even though a longer route around the treacherous desert is available.
Fact Number 4Spell ink, a magical catalyst, is used to channel the energy of people's souls into objects, activating certain effects that would usually require a magus's spellwork. The first batch of spell ink was mixed by mages of all five elements during the current age, where each completed one separate task involving their elements. The Middle Lands Magic Research Consortium, MLMRC, made the breakthrough in the 800s GE, many centuries after the Great War, but the original idea of duplicating the power of Angelscript and utilizing it for the war effort was as old as the Age of Heroes itself.
Fact Number 5There is good money in magic. A traveling magus may offer his services to make hard land more pliable to tilling or to irrigate fields. Even mercenary work becomes far more lucrative if there is magical power at your command, and those who have studied at a prestigious academy will usually find work as consultants and teachers easily. In the cities themselves too, especially the Five Cities of the Middle Lands, there are many vocations a magus can pursue. Because the magic of the Middle Lands is very sophisticated, there are a number of day to day operations and jobs in the city that require the hand or, better put, soul of a skilled magus. And even those applications of magic that have been mass produced with spell ink, thus becoming possible for untrained folk, are still a good source of income to a magus as he has trained his soul for magic and is far more resistant to the perils of spellblight.
The stigmatized sickness, of course, has skyrocketed since the inception of spell ink, nearly 900 years ago, and as the magical industrial revolution progresses for the Middle Lands, it leaves a wave of white-haired beggars in its wake. The price of progress can be cruel when capitalist interests are put ahead of humanitarian concerns…
Fact Number 6The science of chemical pyrotechnics was discovered separately by both the people of the Yamato Kingdom in the East and the technocrats of Altonar in the West in the decade before the First Invasion. While used for fireworks by the Yamato people and research purposes as well as mining by the Altonar people in the first years of the discovery, both turned their invention towards military applications when the war with the Old Gods and the Nordmen began to heat up during the Age of Heroes. However, the Yamato people toke to the development firearms whereas the Altonar people dabbled in the use of ballistic explosives.
Both were equally effective against Norse troops that were at best equipped with bow and arrow. Still, the more advanced magic of the Angel Saxons could offset these advantages at least in some battles.
Fact Number 7Some sociologists from the Altonar University believe that the strong aversion to victims of spellblight felt by the people of the Great Land is due to the terror caused by Angel Saxon assault troops during the Age of Heroes. The snow-white hair and cobalt glowing eyes had become the image of the enemy during this bloody and terrifying war.
The prevalence of spellblight among Angel Saxons, of course, was due to their practice of spell-smithing, for which they funneled and permanently attached small chunks of their own souls into magical arms and armor. Additionally, certain applications of Angelscript, a proto-form of today’s spell ink, would cause Angel Saxon Valkyries to blight on the battlefield. Among their kin, of course, this was seen as a mark of valor and skill, and it is still like this today.
Fact Number 8There are a few monasteries located on the highest peaks of the Yamato Mountain Range. While many who seek spiritual enlightenment undertake pilgrimages to the Eastern and Western Sanctum of the Null and it is true that the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment is an integral part of their daily lives, the Null do have a certain political agenda as well as a mission. Those who truly seek to rid themselves of the worldly are better served climbing the mountains of Yamato and looking for wisdom in high places.
Fact Number 9The Iron Belt, a 150 kilometers broad ring of pure iron, encircles the entire equator of Aqualon. Though iron has been mined from it for ages, the process has always been slow and arduous, because the material has unusual properties that make it very resistant against magic. This resistance, however, wears off as soon as the iron has been stripped out of the ground.
The Steel Nomads, who can trace their heritage back to the First Age, were the first to strip mine the precious metal, and they are still key suppliers for much of the Great Land and Ocean Belt today, some of them as wealthy as kings.
Fact Number 10Though elemental magic works on the same principles everywhere and a magus could perform it sitting perfectly motionless and silent, there is a great deal of tradition attached to its practice all over Aqualon. Most mages have adopted local approaches on how to 'get the juices flowing', ranging from the dairihô maki of the Yamato to the Dance of many Tides from Ka Hale Akamai.
A theory of totemics was formalized by the MLMRC in 522 GE with the discovery of the Convergent Totemic Curve.
Fact Number 11The high technocrats that would later become the technocrats of Borealis and Miyako Fluxum started out as a stratocracy located in the Corsic Ocean, called the Maritime Stratocracy of Guantil-ya after the capital island Guantil-ya. This is also where they erected the very first university, the Van Maxwell School of Logic and Sciences.
Before the Borealian technocrats withdrew from the civilized world, jumping their great city to the South Pole, the MSG had expanded and consolidated much of the power within the Corsic Ocean under the flag of the United Ocean Belt Technocracy.
Fact Number 12The Angel Stones were to be spread far and wide accross the Great Land by decree of Lady Freyja, and the Angel Saxons were given leave to take any measure necessary to do so. The only way to erect their stones in the Middle Lands and have them maintained, however, was to strike a bargain with the Middlish men. This is how powerful magics finally found their way into the Middle Lands in the 4th century AID, when it was brought, at first, to the men of Mt. Tarkaal, who have maintained the very first magical flame in Middlish lands to this day. It still burns now, known as the Eternal Flame of Lumina Aka.
Fact Number 13The great city of Fulgrath, home of the Grand Academy of Fulgrath, which specializes in lightning magic, has had dealings with the technocrats of Altonar and Miyako Fluxum for many centuries. Due to these fruitful relationships, they have created a great many powerful magic engines, including revolutionary aluminum and aluminum alloy manufacturing plants. They sell the versatile metal to many large cities in the Great Land, but especially to Aerialis, where it is turned into a special magical metal using spell ink.
The incredible energy requirements for smelting aluminum are met using the patented Molotov towers of the city, which harness lightning to generate electrical energy.
Fact Number 14The Second Irregular Force of Aerialis contains a unit of mounted mages called "the Nebelstürmers", which specializes in using wind magic to force clouds out of the sky, covering the battle field in dense banks of fog. This is used for battlefield control: Hiding the regular cavalry units and early detection of sudden terrain manipulation.
The mages also have enhanced perception within the fog banks they control. Though less accurate than regular vision, their ability to sense the souls of people within provides them with a significant advantage in combat.
Fact Number 15Even though the Valkyries of the Old Gods that travel the lands of Aqualon enjoy a status similar to diplomatic immunity, they are often unwelcome in villages and smaller towns, which see them as heralds of war and misfortune.
Still, the authorities generally try to accommodate them to foster good relations with the North, ever watchful of the war-hungry Old Gods.
Fact Number 16The brothers of the Null do not call those afflicted with spellblight 'blighters' or 'yasha'. They have no derogatory term for these people, for the Null themselves are often affected by spellblight when they seek to suppress dangerous magic. Many folk of the Great Land that have reached the final stage of the sickness seek refuge with the Null and can hope to live a better life in the seclusion of the Black Sanctums than on the streets or in the mountains. When a person suffers from nullsickness, the Null themselves refer to them as 'gate breakers'.
Still, due to the Black Sanctums’ location at either Walls of Weltenend, far away from civilization, makes the long journey there perilous, and many blighters seeking refuge there have perished on the way.
Fact Number 17The wondrous metal nubium has been utilized for personal gliding apparatuses, some of which are used in sports and reconnaissance. Being vulnerable to null magic, lightning magic, and arrow attacks, they have not been in widespread use in wars. Additionally, the discovery of nubium dates after the Age of Heroes, so there was no pressing need to weaponize the technology yet.
With the advent of advanced anti aerial defense magic in 207 GE by the Progressive Circle of Magic and Science, which would later become the MLMRC, and the no-tolerance policy for aerial vehicles within the Middlish airspace, the use of nubium gliders has been strictly regulated and restricted to certain airfields around Aerialis and a handful of mountain resorts in the Yamato Kingdom.
Fact Number 18The biennial great pirate race of the Corsic Ocean determines which head of one of the great pirate houses will be considered the Baba Yaga of all pirates. While generally lawless, the pirates of the Ocean Belt follow strict codes that were put forth by their forbearers in the past. In this way they have a very loose form of self-government. The title of Baba Yaga was initially what the three pirate sisters were called that were considered the most powerful pirates before the Maritime Stratocracy of Guantil-ya drove them all into near-extinction. One sister lived in a secluded hut on Jamphel Yeshe, where she ruled a vast drug empire, the second commanded a strong pirate fleet of 4 ships, and the third was a sea witch, powerful and feared by any that dared to oppose the three. Today the old pirate houses have somewhat recovered from the pirate hunts of Guantil-ya, and the biennially selected Baba Yaga gets a double vote on pirate moots as well as very loose grand-admiral-ish powers.
Fact Number 19The murasaki moths of Yamato inhabit the entire Yamato Mountain Range, and the dust they release from their wings spreads a unique smell that Yamato folk associate with spring time. They can grow as large as a mid-sized dog and feed on the shishisô, also known as 'four-fingered grass' and 'silk grass', a furry kind of grass that grows almost everywhere on the Yamato Mountain Range.
During spring time, they also eat the many different flowers that grow around the mountain range, and depending on their diet during that time, the smell of their moth dust will change.
Fact Number 20The Black Sanctums at the Eastern and Western Walls of Weltenend hold the largest historical archives of the world. Pilgrims and brothers of the Null regularly donate or collect new volumes for their monasteries, and even technocrats from Altonar, Miyako Fluxum, and Borealis send regular envoys to search and copy material there.
On the occasion, of course, they bring new material there themselves, thus improving the collections further.
Fact Number 21
"Age of Heroes" is not just the name of the age of the Great War, but also the name for a standard deck of cards and the most popular variant of playing it. The four colors with 13 cards each represent the Northern Tribes, the Angel Saxons, the Forts of the Middle Lands, and the Towers of Yamato. In some large cities, the printing and selling of decks with special artwork, or even advanced decks with additional colors and rules has gained some popularity in the past one hundred years.
Especially the city of Altonar has popularized trading card versions of the game “Commanding Conquerors”, which use cards with elaborate artwork and complex supplementary rulesets.
Fact Number 22The Grand Magus Tournament is held each year in Yamaseki, the capital of the Yamato Kingdom. Mages from all over the Great Land and the Ocean Belt, and even the odd Norse druid make their way to the Yamato Mountain Range to compete each year. This is both a way to demonstrate the level of magical power of each nation, and for individual mages to be discovered. At the end of the tournament, the top five mages are auctioned off to the host nations, which are the Yamato Kingdom, the five great cities of the Middle Lands, the Baba Yaga of the great Pirate Houses, and the Monastery of the Five Paths. The auction is in the form of each party offering the mages lucrative positions, trying to outbid each other, while the mages get to decide which contract or retainership to accept.
Fact Number 23In Yamato, the Age of Heroes card deck is called Kenyajômon 剣矢杖門, roughly translating to "Swords, Arrows, Staffs, and Gates", but is actually understood as what Middlanders call "the Age of Heroes" as in the historical age. The deck and game was originally invented in the Yamato Kingdom by a former advisor to a former emperor. Four character words like this are called Yojijukugo 四字熟語, which means "four character idiom". Any four character Yamato word that works as an idiom is thusly titled and considered to be of high literary standard, which often involves them in poetry. Though the number 4 is often considered unlucky in different cultures of the Great Land, the Yamato people believe differently, arguing that in being the number between both 3 and 5, the two numbers that govern the natural world, the number 4 is a uniting number. "four" also sounds like "death" in the tongue spoken in the Yamato Kingdom, and is associated with the cycle of rebirth because of it. It is also referred to as "the linking number". Another popular Yojijukugo is Shunkashûtô 春夏秋冬, which means "the four seasons", but literally translates into "Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter". Shunkashûtô is also the name given to the foremost institute of weather science located in Yamaseki.
Fact Number 24There are very few organized religions on Aqualon. These include the Shrine Keepers, the Brothers and Sisters of the Hearth, the Wardens of the Pools, and assorted worship of past great souls. Though few organized religion exists now besides the Church of Pure Souls, there have been churches on the rise throughout much of Aqualon's history, though most of them regularly met either grim or quiet ends. Especially those churches directly devoted to the Great Clockwork never fared particularly well, leading to the general belief that organized worship of the Great Clockwork is frowned upon by the entity itself, leading to the famous philosopher Rastel Ormund's popular joke: "I am not your god! Now stop worshiping me, or I'll smite you!"
Of course, the Church of Pure Souls seems to be the exception to this rule and has led to a growing discourse within the ranks of clockwork theologists.
Fact Number 25When the Yamato Folk invented firearms during the Age of Heroes, they were relatively clumsy, using a cannon-like approach. The Maritime Technocracy of Guantil-ya were the ones to adapt and improve the designs of the Yamato Kingdom, creating the double-sectioned fire stick. These were then implemented in the Yamato military and often styled in elaborate ryûga moth designs to look more intimidating.
After the Great War, there were several waves of firearms bans in the kingdom, and the tools of war were often turned against the people to oppress them.
Fact Number 26At the southern foot of Tenbashirazan into the side of which the Yamato capital Yamaseki was built, lies a broad, grassy slope that goes on for hundreds of miles, surrounded by both sides of the Yamato Mountain Range. It is called the Yamato Valley and houses many powerful cities of the Kingdom, including several old capitals after which prior ages were named in Yamato history books. High above them all towers the new capital, Yamaseki, the seat of the emperor, looking down on the valley.
Fact Number 27At the southern border of the Red Sands lies the Canyon of Khepri, a vast gorge that runs along the Rusty Shore towards the east. Here, the Arkatrashians mine red stone for construction projects, further enlarging the canyon, and the Giranja rushes down here to the Pool of Masika where it presumably feeds into the Ocean Belt, since a large whirlpool at the center of the pool continuously sucks the water down.
Fact Number 28There used to be several units of Valkyries during the Age of Heroes, all elite soldiers of the Angel Saxons directly controlled by the goddess Frey-ja, who was known more often as a god of death than a shepherd of souls during the Great War. However, many of them were killed in battle, and Frey-ja, who eventually advocated retreat, effectively surrendering, lost much of her standing in the court of the gods. She was forbidden from commanding Valkyries, and now only three roam the lands of Aqualon, all under the supreme order of their lord, Allfather Odin, who has commanded them to scour the land in search for a war befitting of the gods' participation. Because of this, many people of the Great Land venomously refer to the Valkyries as 'the Hounds of War', though there are also those who admire them because of the heroic stories passed on by Kaltani and Skôts.
Fact Number 29Ever since the Age of Heroes, even before the family expatriated themselves from the Yamato Kingdom to join the United Ocean Belt Technocracy (UOBT) (formerly the Maritime Technocracy of Guantil-ya), the Greenhorns, formerly known as Ryoku'u have been famous for their war horns. The horn of a Greenhorn was fitted with a wide, soft rim and worn as a hat, the horn part painted in bright green. When a Greenhorn blew his horn, a terrible magic was unleashed, and the horn blast could be heard anywhere on the world, no matter the distance, and moths would heed the call and stand at the horn blower's command. The phrase "the war horn blows green" was coined during the great war, and for the Nordmen the sound became a great source of fear during that time.
Fact Number 30The three Valkyries that roam Aqualon since the first century GE each carry a legendary artifact called 'the Horn of the Last Winter', which, as legend says, can summon forth the old gods and hosts of northern armies, even calling the eternal winter from beyond the Snowzone down into the southern lands. The horns themselves are not wholly Angel craft. In fact, they were, all three of them, originally spoils of war, horns taken from defeated Greenhorn soldiers, who had brought death and destruction to the old gods with their terrifying technamagix. The Angel Saxon smiths reverse engineered some of the properties of the horns and then forged new powers into them with their own craft, painting over them in bright paper-white.
Fact Number 31Guantil-ya is one of the largest of the Seventeen Yonder Islands and was among the first to be settled by the brave men and women who dared to cross the Iron Belt during the latter days of the First Age when an unlikely crew of lost seafarers were blown off course and landed on its shores. Blessed with large forests and mountains rich in ore as well as a temperate climate, it soon became a hub of prosperity, trade, and knowledge. A long tradition of shipwrights began on this island, and it took no more than three centuries for the people of Guantil-ya to become the biggest military and economic power on the Ocean Belt, boasting a large fleet of warships. After banding together with a number of smaller islands, totaling five participants, to combat the power of the rising pirate houses that ran rampant during the Age of the Iron Divide, the Maritime Stratocracy of Guantil-ya was established. A new form of government that was based around electing military officials into office was created, predicating a certain number of years of service and a certain rank to be eligible. This form of meritocracy paved the way for the great technocracy Guantil-ya would later become.
Fact Number 32The Yamato Kingdom went through several periods of isolationism since the beginning of the Age of the Iron Divide. In these times they would close themselves off to cultural influences, and in part trade, from their surrounding neighbors; especially the Middlanders. After the founding of Estverde in the Wilderplains to the east of the kingdom, political pressure to keep the border open for trade increased, and emperor Inyô T'ang started a grand building project in the later Age of the Iron Divide that would be completed in the beginning of the Age of Awakening: a great bridge spanning from the eastern to the western side of the mountain range, right across the Yamato Valley. Traders were now permitted to pass over but not enter the valley during times of isolation, and heavy taxes are still levied from all who wish to pass over the bridge today.
Fact Number 33The Yamato folk have a complex codex of traditions and social do's and don't's, and outsiders are quick to embarrass themselves when visiting the Yamato Kingdom. The children in Yamato spend their first years living very closely with their mothers, following them everywhere to subliminally learn the cultured ways. This type of upbringing is called amae 甘え, which means something along the lines of 'depending on others', a word closely related to amaeru 甘える, which goes more along the lines of 'acting like a spoiled child'.
Fact Number 34The Shadow Society has its origins in the third imperial dynasty of the Yamato Kingdom during the rule of the Tanimoto clan in 230 AID. Then, a branch family called Yanigata recorded several styles of fighting used against northern raiders and during the warring clans period on secret scrolls. They soon perfected the art of concealment and infiltration, developing potent and difficult to detect poisons; all to keep the imperial family safe from the shadows and eliminate their opposition. When the Tanimoto clan fell, the Yanigata barely escaped the Taira Purge, fleeing to the Waves of Yamato, where they had to redefine themselves. As they started to dabble in magic and devote themselves to the philosophical principles of Tôhaku Yao, the Shadow Society began to take shape, and in 593 AID, the first onyx lantern was forged and kindled in the Halls of Light.
Fact Number 35The saying “taking refuge in a sea of yarenma” refers to thinking one’s luck is changing for the better, when it is really taking a turn from bad to worse. While Yamato folk will often claim that this saying obviously originated in their kingdom, the home to the dangerous yarenma moth, and refers to a story of the One Hundred Travels of Chin the Great in which he sought refuge from a storm in a cave that turned out to be inhabited by the creatures, Altonar historians agree that the saying was first recorded in the log of the pirate captain Willam Van Nyingma who had during a terrible fog accidentally steered into the colloquially-called “Yarenma Bay”, a tiny bay at the shore of a tiny unnamed island where, inexplicably, a small colony of yarenma moths is thriving. Very few of his crew survived the encounter.
Fact Number 36A large company of Nordmen traversed the Great Land and the Iron Belt to set sail on the Corsic Ocean where they settled one of the Seventeen Yonder Islands, Svalbrynd, during the latter days of the First Age. They later became one of the great pirate houses and Svalbrynd home to one of the great pirate harbors. However, with growing power they also became a legitimate power among the Seventeen Yonder Islands. They participated in the Great War during the Age of Heroes and were the main reason the UOBT had difficulty joining forces with the Great Land.
Fact Number 37The colloquially demonized magic art of “necromancy” stems from a field of research actually named “animancy”, the study of manipulating and transplanting souls. Since the power of a soul has been connected with extraordinary longevity since before the Reshaping of the World, many powerful druids and mages have sought to attain immortality by manipulating their souls or even by bending others to their purpose. The latter has caused much fear among ordinary folk for all of human memory, as souls could be used to augment one’s powers and even raise the dead in a way, though this was usually tied to certain complications. Additionally, pursuers of the darker venues of animancy tended to suffer gruesome fates, causing people to believe that the Great Clockwork frowned upon such practices.
Fact Number 38Since the First Age, there were several organized religions founded to supplant the worship of the Old Gods. Most of these churches revolved around the Great Clockwork in some way, and all of them share similar stories: they rose to power among the great nations of the Great Land, became corrupted by that power, then suddenly fell into ruin.
Even the Church of Pure Souls has hit regular rough patches, possibly during times of great corruption. Interestingly, however, they have so far managed to bounce back every time, growing a steady and increasingly powerful following.
Fact Number 39While the church of Ur-soulism followed the known pattern of most organized religions, after its fall, the management of many elemental shrines around the Great Land fell to various families or the cities and villages they stood in. The people, having taking a liking to the spiritual convenience of small shrines, decided to keep the tradition alive even after the fall of the ur-soulism church, and even today, wind, water, and fire shrines are spread far throughout the Great Land. Earth and lightning shrines exist as well but appear far more scarcely.
Fact Number 40The scientific name for the common Yamato moth is „Genus Insecta Lepidopter Yamatonis”, a name decided upon by the Guantil-ya Council of Scholars in 55 AA during a grand symposium at the Van Maxwell School of Logic and Sciences.
It was in that year that a research team was assembled and funded to create the great Encyclopedia Naturae, which is still in use today.
Fact Number 41During the evening of the Gatakoage 蛾凧揚げ ("Moth Kite Flying") festival on the 18th day of the ninth month in 539 GE, the Yamato emperor Taira Agetaka was startled by a ‘too realistic’ kite of a yarenma moth while enjoying a cup of tea on his balcony. He stumbled over the railing and fell six meters down into a cherry tree, severely injuring himself. After recovering, he banned the festival for a total of 10 years in his anger.
Fact Number 42People come from all over Aqualon to witness the yearly Yamahanabi 山花火 ("Mountain Fireworks") in Yamato on the seventh night of the sixth month. Even technocrats from the far-off Borealis, inhabitants of the Seventeen Yonder Islands, citizens of Altonar, and Nordmen from all tribes come to see the beautiful displays. Sometimes Angel Saxons attend too, but they hide their origin, ever set on maintaining the air of mystery surrounding their people.
With ball bombs and other spectacular explosives going up in the night sky above the mountain range, often in high altitude, even inhabitants of the Middle Lands and Saltplains can see the fireworks shine atop the great mountains of Yamato.
Fact Number 43When moth-owners around Yamato let their murasaki moths fly during the Murasaki Hanami 紫花見 ("Purple Petal Viewing"), and people sit in parks on blankets eating cakes and drinking rice wine to enjoy the blooming benibasumomo 紅葉李 ("cherry plums"), it is said that the smell of cherry blossom intensifies during the day. Yamato people insist that this is because the moths that eat the cherry blossoms concentrate the aroma in their moth dust as they spread it across the parks.
Fact Number 44In winter, murasaki moths move into caves where they go into hibernation, slowly deflating as the swamp gas in their floating bellies is being metabolized for energy. This is also true for murasaki moth house pets since it is part of their life-cycle. Moth owners usually build wooden moth houses inside or outside their own houses for their pets to hibernate in and prepare a small stash of shishisô (the furry four-fingered grass of Yamato) for them to chow down on when they wake up in spring.
Fact Number 45Because of the fluorescently glowing eye patterns on yarenma moth wings, the creatures have been mistaken for hitodama 人魂 (“disembodied human souls / ghost flames”) many times, and numerous ghost tales have arisen out of this. The fact that the people who fled such encounters in panic would invariably feel sick and drained of their life-force afterwards due to the narcotic effect of yarenma moth dust further perpetuated the illusion of a supernatural encounter. This is one of the main reasons that a belief in the supernatural, spirits, gods, and souls trapped between this life and the Great Clockwork has spread so deeply into the cultural consciousness of the Yamato people.
Fact Number 46A circle of priests and shrine maidens sits around the Bonfire Shrine near Lumina Aka day and night, working in shifts. Their task is to pray in front of the shrine and use their soul power to keep the Eternal Flame of Lumina Aka burning forever. To pray in front of the flame from sunrise to sunset at least once without interruption is a requirement to become a part of the Fire Watch, which has its members travel through the Middle Lands to prevent and quell fires using fire magic. This initiation ritual is called “the First Watch” and it is absolutely not shameful to pee yourself while doing it. Some people can’t hold it in for twelve hours! It’s normal!
Fact Number 47Rust/Steel Nomad is an antiquated term for those who call themselves "Rust Barons" these days. They are the people that have occupied parts of the Rusty Shore, using complex and expensive mining methods to cut iron out of the Iron Belt to sell to the Great Land and the Seventeen Yonder Islands at high prices.
One line of such Rust Barons has built and still maintains the influential port of Blacksteel, south of the Red Sands where Arkatrash lies.
Fact Number 48The crest of the Tenshin family, which has been the imperial family of the Yamato Kingdom since 1332 GE (Age of Gears and Elements), is a triangle of the Three Treasures of Yamato containing three purple moth wings. These treasures are the Shôri no Reibi 勝利の霊火 ("Ghost Fire of Conquest"), Gubenaberu no Daiono グベナベルの大斧 ("The Great Axe of Gwenawel"), and the Bankoku no Kagami 万国の鏡 ("Mirror of Ten Thousand Lands").
Fact Number 49The Shôri no Reibi 勝利の霊火 ("Ghost Fire of Conquest") is one of the Three Treasures of Yamato that were recovered by general Hestia Bygate in 68 AA (Age of Awakening). It is a tiny, actually eternal flame that dances about the shoulder of the treasure's wielder and can be manipulated easily using soul power and fire magic. It was one of the most recognizable features of Hestia, who was gifted the treasure back by the emperor after presenting it to him.
Fact Number 50The Bankoku no Kagami 万国の鏡 ("Mirror of Ten Thousand Lands"), too, is one of the Three Treasures of Yamato that were won from a small Gallian tribe, which had fortified itself in a remote location, by general Hestia Bygate in 68 AA (Age of Awakening). It is a powerful magical item forged by Angel Saxon smiths, made to use large quantities of soul power to let its user peer into distant places. Many seers have succumbed to spellblight, trying to utilize this dangerous object.
Fact Number 51Author’s Note: Here are a couple of bad jokes from all over the world for your reading pleasure. Various people from all around have told me these, and I felt it was only right to share them with you.
You can't party with Angel Saxons, they are just too misty.
What do you call a Skôt that has a face like a ball sack? A Skrôt.
Two goats are pretending to be bayô. One takes a dump and proudly proclaims: "This is horse-shit!"
How do you break a magic contract? You declare it Null and void.
What do you call a bird that mimics a tree branch? An effirot. What do you call a bird that mimics the Great Paro of Arkatrash? A parrot.
A murasaki moth flies into a shrine, but finds it is already inhabited by other murasaki moths, so it moves on. It flies to second, then a third shrine, all occupied by other murasaki moths. By the time it reaches one inhabited by a yarenma moth, it has gotten a bit sleepy.
One man says to another: “I think my mogic engine is broken.” The other one replies: “Have you checked your spell-ink?”
A Valkyrie steps out of the snow into a general store and buys some dried fruit. She then starts stuffing it into her magic horn. The shop keep is perplexed and asks: “Why are you stuffing dried fruit into the Horn of the Last Winter?” She replies: “So I have something to eat next summer.”
Fact Number 52“Weltenwandler” is the general term for those who manage to live past the destruction of their world, or somehow travel beyond the limitations of time into the distant past or future when Aqualon was or will be a different planet at the location its successor or predecessor should be. It literally means “one who wanders the worlds”
The only Weltenwandler still ‘alive’ today is the android Paxia, who lives in seclusion, deep within the tropical Brammenwoods. In the western Great Land.
Fact Number 53The term “Weltenwandler” was not coined but discovered by Robert Horvath, when he stumbled upon the records of ancient Weltenwandlers during the first cataloging of the Black Arkive, once it had been purchased by the technocrats of the Unified Ocean Belt Technocracy.
Of course, being super-dimensional in nature and exceedingly vast within, the full extent of the Black Arkive has yet to be explored, though since the Borealian technocrats keep it under tight wraps, no one knows for sure what marvels truly lie within.
Fact Number 54The Black Arkive is a cubic box of 5x5x5 meters, wrought from unidentified black metal, engraved with the words “Remember us”. It opens to those with an understanding of the world sufficient to handle the revelations within, which consist of the records of ancient human races that lived on long destroyed versions of Aqualon.
It is rumored that deep within the super-expanded space of the Arkive, there even lies an ancient city where people attempted to survive the remaking of the world in the past.
Fact Number 55When the songs of the android race of the previous Aqualon were discovered within the Black Arkive by the technocrats of Borealis, they deemed them valuable cultural artifacts that deserved to be shared with the world. They sent out ironclad vessels to sail to the Seventeen Yonder Islands and play the songs through giant speaker systems to the inhabitants. When this was done at the shores of the depraved Island of Yamphel Jeshe, it had severe consequences that would still be felt to this day; the Birth of Balsibart.
Fact Number 56Though they are called „the Seventeen Yonder Islands“, the name is actually taken from the seventeen most powerful nations of the Corsic Ocean or better put: the most powerful nations from around the time of the latter Age of the Iron Divide. Many of these nations actually controlled small island chains, and the total number of islands on the Corsic Ocean far exceeds seventeen.
Fact Number 57Guantil-ya used to be the most powerful among the Seventeen Yonder Islands and was the core founder of the Maritime Stratocracy of Guantil-ya, a confederacy of several large islands that banded together to unite against pirate threats. In time, it converted to the Maritime Technocracy of Guantil-ya and ultimately the Unified Ocean Belt Technocracy. The Great War, however, led to the high technocrats to move their outpost of Borealis, located at the tip of Guantil-ya, to the South Pole using their technamagic jump drive technology. Once they left the Corsic Ocean, leaving behind only a small contingent to facilitate trade, the power of Guantil-ya waned, and the Seventeen Yonder Islands became mired in political turmoil and reemerging pirate and drug lord activities.
Fact Number 58The Hooper Chain is a chain of islands located between Guantil-ya and Nyingma. It was originally owned by Steel Nomads that built a harbor on the Ocean Belt sided Rusty Shore and was famous for their cooper’s guild, which owned many of the smaller islands throughout the Age of Awakening. The cooper’s guild, named Hank & Jordan’s, had their hands in shipbuilding as well and maintained a powerful trade empire that spanned several island chains of the Corsic Ocean until the Great War caused severe damages to their operation and many of their resources were annexed by the Unified Ocean Belt Technocracy.
Fact Number 59Graanshoof is the smallest island located at the northernmost tip of the Hooper Chain, which used to be a part of the Maritime Stratocracy of Guantil-ya and its later forms until the founding of the Commonwealth of Corsia. Because it lies barely above sea-level and is often subject to storms, its inhabitants had to build dykes around its shores. Many modern dyke building techniques originated here. And the dykes are still being maintained with extreme diligence today.
Fact Number 60When the Great War was heating up, during the Age of Heroes, Hank & Jordan’s saw itself cornered by the war demand as well as state annexing of some of their supply-lines and inventory. In a bold move to both garner popular approval and make a bid for their own nation to gain independence from the Unified Ocean Belt Technocracy, they, as a company, declared war on the island of Nordmen, Svalbrynd, hoping to carve out an independent nation for themselves on its shores. Their advances were crushed by Angel Saxon elites before they could gain an inch, and the company was off worse than before.
Fact Number 61There is a chess-like game that involves mage units in addition to regular units, which is especially popular in the Yamato Kingdom. It is called mahôgi and played everywhere in the kingdom and beyond, and regular tournaments in the Yamato capital of Yamaseki garner large sums of prize money every year. It is also a point of pride among the more ancient families of the capital to have a champion among their ranks, so they can lord it over their neighbors.
Fact Number 62There are water sports (and even leagues) in Aerialis and Aquaris that sometimes compete against each other. These are held on the lakes Rahn and Ripploch and the so-called Waterways of Aquaris, which are the rivers between Lake Rahn and Trilake. In recent centuries, sports involving certain types of magic engine vehicles have gained more and more popularity, though in their wake the modern-age form of so-called “athlete’s blight” has also arisen.
Fact Number 63There are regular tournaments involving public jousts and games between the White Lancers of Aerialis, which are relatively popular. Regular soldiers and members of other irregular forces are also invited to participate, and some try to find fame and fortune in besting the popular knights of the margrave and are sometimes even granted noble titles and placements among their ranks afterwards.
Fact Number 64There are magus tournaments in all of the five great cities of the Middle Lands held in different locations and intervals. Some are more and some less legitimate. Without special government sanction, most magus tournaments are usually prohibited as they can cause damage to the cities if not properly regulated.
Still, they often become proving grounds for those who aim to participate in the Grand Magus Tournament of Yamaseki.
Fact Number 65There are water magic enhanced surfing and swimming competitions on the island of Ainan, held by Ka Hale Akamai but open to participants from all over the world. Aquarian water mages sometimes attend to test their mettle, and though the academic excellency of the Spire of Rahn is believed to outclass the smaller and more laid-back Ka Hale Akamai, the mages of the small island can easily keep up and sometimes even best the big city mages of the Middle Lands.
Fact Number 66The great biennial Pirate Race of the Corsic Ocean usually starts in the neutral Pirate Coves of Porasta, where the contenders are bound by the oath of neutrality to keep their cannons in check. But as soon as the neutral waters are behind the participants, they will generally start trying to sink each other. However, there are often one or two clever crews that use the mayhem to their advantage, trying to turn get ahead during the frenzy. In recent decades, the legendary Blue Whale under the control of the van Jöten lineage has won most of the races due to their excessive use of on-board mages, which submerge the ship and keep it completely impervious to attack.
Fact Number 67The technocrats of Miyako Fluxum and Borealis do plenty of recreational sports, but those are pretty diverse ranging from yoga and martial arts to various ball games. Personally, I prefer playing mahôgi; I even got a board that was hand-carved by an imperial Yamato artisan.
Fact Number 68In the Yamato Kingdom and some of the Seventeen Yonder Islands, martial arts are sometimes practiced competitively and there are small tournaments that some people travel far to visit. Incidentally, martial artists from the more ancient schools around the mountain range regularly participate in the Grand Magus Tournament of Yamaseki. Participation does not actually require the use of magic; however, projectile weapons are strictly forbidden, and using only melee weapons at most puts any participants that don’t rely on magic at a significant disadvantage. Still, there have been occasional martial artists taking away top-ranking spots during the tournament, and with these spots, they brought great honor to their houses.
Fact Number 69There are underground cage fights - both between regulars and mages - that are hosted by the Yamato Black Market, an assortment of crime syndicates around the Great Land that has its base of operation deeply entrenched in the Uramachi of Yamaseki. Not every participant is there voluntarily, and often people who have become indebted to the wrong crook find themselves in a cage one day – if they are lucky. Rumor has it the Yamato Black Market has old-fashioned yarenma death pits.
Fact Number 70There is a competitive free climbing league in Altonar and also something like an annual rollerblading tournament down the Chimney, the inactive volcano into the side of which the city is built. The rollerblading commences through the winding city main street, which is kept clear during the event.
Fact Number 71There is an illegal sport called gate wrestling that huge amounts of money are bet on yearly. In it, two competitors feed identical magic engines and the first one to exhibit first stage spellblight loses. As spellblight is severely stigmatized almost everywhere in the Great Land, the stakes in these games are incredibly high.
Fact Number 72The Kaltani practice competitive lumberjack and strongman contests and are often joined and or challenged by the Skôts. They also play a hunting game called 'the biggest boar wins or it wins.' The Gallians, on the other hand, are more into fox hunts and what they call ‘cultivated sports’. There are some choice sayings about the Gallians among Skôts and Kaltani.
Fact Number 73The Angel Saxons have competitions of craftsmanship but also tournaments where Angel smiths sponsor young fighters with their magic arms and armor, having them compete for honor while showcasing the smith's work. Outsiders almost never get to witness these competitions, as they are held within the hidden land of High Saxia beyond the Mist.
Fact Number 74The Old Gods have regular hunts and tournaments amongst each other. They also like to wager on stuff, going to the Nordmen in disguise to screw with them. They are so very bored up in Asgard.
Fact Number 75There are two types of popular ball games in Arkatrash: one is reminiscent of volleyball and called lafkuglu, the other of is called kaplesh and involves throwing a tiny ball through a high-mounted stone hoop. There is also a popular game called 'log or crocodile'. It involves the wielding of a long stick and the use of fast legs.
Fact Number 76The steel nomads of the Rusty Shore practice a racing sport using their magnetic suspension vehicles (MSVs) or, as they call them, ‘belt-runners’, which were sold to them long ago by the technocrats of Borealis when they still lived on the Ocean Belt and were the leaders of the Unified Ocean Belt Technocracy. With the Iron Belt below them, falls are hard, so they generally wear helmets.
Fact Number 77Every spring, when the sky-blue hillies begin to bloom on the dykes of Graanshoof, the yearly dyke race begins. Horse riders in search for glory mount their steeds and ride atop the great dyke of Graanshoof, which goes around the entire island. Once they are done, a spring celebration is held and the winner greatly honored. The race has its historic roots in the riders who protected the island by circumnavigating it along the dykes to check for weak spots that were in need of repair; they were… the dyke riders.
Fact Number 78What is the difference between Angelscript and spell ink? The Angel Saxons used and still use Angelscript to forge powerful magic arms and armor, an art even now beyond the mages of the Middle Lands. They, however, have turned to more sophisticated applications of runes, using their arcane technology of spell ink to create powerful mandalas. This substance, when used properly, allows non-mages to produce magical effects by simply touching a surface lined with the special ink. It is, for example, used for magus lamps, but also for large magic engines like the wind catchers of Aerialis.
Fact Number 79For the longest time in Aqualon’s history, the Angel Saxons, living in their halls of stone beyond the magic mist that conceals them, have been considered the mightiest of warriors and the most powerful of magic wielders, famed for forging wondrous and beautiful magic arms and armor. In the ages that followed the Reshaping, the Nordmen lead many campaigns against the Great Land, raiding and pillaging, and magic was scarce or unknown to the Middlish men.
Fact Number 80When the Angel Saxons first taught the Middlanders magic, it was the magic of fire, and it was taught to them in the lands around Mount Tarkaal where Lumina Aka stands now. They gave onto them a bright flame and showed them how to keep it alive, for fire was thought of as the ultimate symbol of power in the North where keeping warm was a chief concern, making fire magic culturally significant to them. This was seen as an olive branch by the men of Mount Tarkaal, and the idiom 'handing over an olive branch' is actually 'passing the candle' in Middlish speak. To keep this hope for peace between the Great Land and the North alive, the men of Mount Tarkaal formed an order of mages to keep this flame burning eternally, and they named it the Eternal Flame, later renamed to 'the Eternal Flame of Lumina Aka' when the Founding of the Five Cities happened.
Fact Number 81Before the First Age, or more precisely the Reshaping of the World, there was no planet, as in globe, of Aqualon but instead a collection of nine island worlds (meaning floating islands in space), which were called the Nine Realms. These, of course, were created from the ashes of the previous incarnation of Aqualon, which was a spheroid planet. For the largest part of their history, these Nine Realms were ruled by the Old Gods, then just known as the Gods of Asgard, the name of the realm they originated from.
Fact Number 82The Yamato Calendar was established during the Age of Awakening.
Each month has 33 days, except for the tenth, which has 35, the last two often being viewed as unattached days, representing the transition to the next year.
The days of the week are:
Sennichi - Only on the first day of each month
Mûnyô - Every second, 10th, 18th, and 26th day of each month
Flamyô - Every third, 11th, 19th, and 27th day of each month
Aisyô - Every fourth, 12th, 20th, and 28th day of each month
Raiyô - Every fifth, 13th, 21th, and 29th day of each month
Doyô - Every sixth, 14th, 22th, and 30th day of each month
Binyô - Every seventh, 15th, 23rd, and 31st day of each month
Gayô - Every eight, 16th, 24th, and 32nd day of each month
Sanyô - Every ninth, 17th, 25th, and 33rd day of each month
The days are named differently in the Middle Lands, though this is the calendar used there as well:
Sennichi => Mûning
Mûnyô => Kvarsynodium
Flamyô => Brandtag
Aisyô => Bachtag
Raiyô => Prickeltag
Doyô => Erdtag
Binyô => Briestag
Gayô => Keepersdey
Sanyô => Odendey
Fact Number 83The Old Gods and Nordmen are quite technologically regressed compared even to the Middle Lands and the Yamato Kingdom. The Old Gods live in a somewhat draconic society with little advanced technology and near zero industry, with only one large castle at the heart of Asgard called Odenheim, but their lives are also relatively utopic, because the technocrats, as part of the peace negotiations at the end of the Great War, have furnished them with very efficient, technamagic farming machines (which are still maintained by them from time to time). This in fact was done to further encourage the Old Gods to stay secluded in their ancestral home of Asgard. Then down just past the Snowzone, spread along the coniferous North from Western to Eastern Walls of Weltenend, live the 4 tribes of the Nordmen: Kaltani, Skôts, Gallians, and Angel Saxons. The first three of these live in Viking-age villages with some out-of-age advancements here and there imported from the south. The Angel Saxons live in extreme isolation beyond their magic mist in the eastern North and are said to be the only Nordmen to build tall halls of stone. They also possess the most powerful magic, mostly geared towards forging and building, whereas the other tribes are druidic at best, chiefly among them the Kaltani.
Fact Number 84The Great Land has a better technological equilibrium going for it, forming a sort of middle ground between the highly advanced Technocrats of Miyako Fluxum and Borealis and the backwards North. The cities of the Middle Land and the Yamato Kingdom as well as the Saltplains and Arkatrash have the approximate sophistication of early to mid Edo period Japanese cities (of the real world; 17th century), though there are significant cultural differences between the regions. While technology there is in that general ball park, the magic, especially in the Middle Lands, has a high level of sophistication, and there are several advancements and implementations that replace more modern technology as it were. In fact, the invention of spell ink in 820 GE sparked a sort of industrial revolution in the Middle Lands, bringing with it great prosperity and advancements. The far western city of Altonar is the least developed technocracy of Aqualon, but still somewhat ahead of the rest of the Great Land in scientific advancement, being a trailblazer for new discoveries and cutting-edge research.
Fact Number 85The large lakes Tarrenvel and Ostrund on the island of Rastrowel are home to an unusual species of jellyfish: the globumeduzoa, also known as pearlhoods in the common vernacular. The pearlhoods proliferate swiftly when food is available and quickly form strands of tiny nacre granules, which are harvested by the people of Rastrowel as nacre gravel, a prized substance for goldsmiths and alchemists. Rastrowel is also the founding place of the Church of Pure Souls.
Fact Number 86The Angel Stones are structures that were erected by the Angel Saxons throughout the Great Land and on Svalbrynd since the First Age. They connect loosely to the Realm of Asgard, which is located on Aqualon's moon. When a person wearing a so-called Lodestone dies, their soul, instead of transmigrating into the Great Clockwork, is drawn towards an Angel Stone in range and transported to Asgard, where the Goddess of Death Freyja guides them to the Gates of Helgard, the meta-world of the dead, which is a sort-of way-station between this world and the Great Clockwork where Nordmen drink and feast in golden halls or are hunted like animals in the darker parts of that dimension. To remind themselves and their descendants of the rules, and the importance of Lodestones, this nursery rhyme is passed along through the generations in all the tribes of the North:
Make sure to keep these things and check
For pocket knife,
For water skin,
For safety of your hearth and kin,
And for the afterlife:
A lodestone kept around your neck.
Fact Number 87The island of Saresham belongs to the nation of Nyingma, which is also the name of the largest island of the Nyingma island group. It is home to the houses of silk, tall buildings with clear crystal canopies, hauled out of the quartz mines of the neighboring island of Paramani, that heat up the air inside, creating a humid environment that is well-loved by Saresham silk caterpillars.
In the center of the island stands a tall fairy chimney with several smaller ones surrounding it, a relic of the time before the Keeper of Water Parati Nahin turned it from a desolate, arid rock into a lush, sub-tropical garden. Caves in this fairy chimney house much of Saresham's population, and every spring, when the Kinaara liana that grows on Khajbacha mangroves around the island is in bloom, the people hang the silk out on long sticks, letting it flow in the wind to catch the Kinaara pollen, which imbues it with a glittering sparkle that withstands even rigorous washing, making Saresham silk quite prized.
Fact Number 88The island Paramani of the Nyingma Island Group has deep holes in its center where men have mined the rock for centuries, unearthing precious quartz from the ground, which has had a million uses over the course of history: A crystal prized by many different nations for quite varied applications.
Fact Number 89It is said that the Great Clockwork always puts humans on the worlds it creates but changes them a little bit each time. Among the things that some spiritualists and the Church of Pure Souls deem "gifts of the Great Clockwork" are the long life man is afforded, easily spanning one hundred and seventy years if not cut short by war or disease, sometimes reaching two hundred; and, of course, the gift of one hundred tongues. The language barrier is thin on Aqualon, for after listening to only a few spoken sentences, most people will understand even the most foreign of tongues and quickly pick them up thereafter, though they often retain a certain accent tied to the tongue they practiced the most in their childhoods. The gift is not limitless though, and secret languages like the tongue of the Angel Saxons and the tongue of Borealis, both of which were constructed by their respective people, have to be learned through effort and practice. Each cultural region has fallen into its own preferred one of the one hundred tongues, though the number "one hundred" isn't quite exact.
Fact Number 90Archers have always been one of the banes of mages. It is one of the reasons that non-mage soldiers and tactics are not obsolete and never have been in the world of Aqualon. As an example, the White Lancers of Aerialis, an irregular force of wind mages and knights, are not usually deployed in large-scale battles as such, but as trained soldiers and nobles of rank they often get put into lead positions where they are not expected to do windriding, their magical art of combat.
They are more commonly deployed as a small strike force, guards, patrols, and so on. In many cases, the windriding is more shock and awe in nature.
In large scale battles, the boots on the ground who have to do the real fighting are regular soldiers, which also include magus squadrons that specialize in large scale battles.
To call on Aerialis for an example once more: Aerialinger archers are trained to work with severe artificial back wind, which increases the range and severity of their attacks.
Fact Number 91The technocrat city of Altonar, also called "The City at the Water Vent" is built on the slopes and foot of an inactive volcano, the Chimney, is quite famous for its prized "Lavacake", a pastry that can be found nowhere else on Aqualon, because it requires a special kind of baking pan and an elaborate technique. The cake base is prebaked until it holds a mound form with a large diameter hole in the middle. Then, the special baking pan is placed on top. It has a funnel in the middle that is surrounded by a dome. The dome touches down around the cake base and the funnel leads into the hole, not touching the ground. A special, creamy liquid is poured through the funnel and the cake with baking pan is put back into the oven. The liquid, called cascadough will now rise and cascade over the sides of the cake. Once this has happened, the cake is pulled out again, and as it cools, the cascadough solidifies in a lava-esque pattern. The process is repeated two to five times with more layers of cascadough building up around the cake base. Skilled bakers make each layer taste and look slightly different, often using food dye to do so. The finished cake then has an almost rainbow-esque inside, though also popular is making it look like actual rock layers of the mountain.
Fact Number 92In time, all men are laid to rest. A surprising many citizens of the Hooper Chain, at least those from wealthier strata of society, choose Graanshoof as their final resting place. Something about the small island seems to attract their sensibilities. Perhaps it is the tranquil air or the sky-blue hillies that waft in the wind on ancient dykes.
A common type of grave in Aqualonian cultures is the half-gear gravestone popularized by the Church of Pure Souls, engraved with the name, birth and death dates, and an obituary sentence by the deceased's loved ones. They are meant to signify the soul taking its place as a cog of the Great Clockwork before its time of rebirth arrives.
Fact Number 93The Yamato tribes were the first to realize that there was a vast ocean beyond the Iron Belt. When they mapped the island of Jamphel Yeshe in 143 AID by circumnavigating it, they called it Kujirajima, 'Whale Island', due to its likeness to a whale's head. It is still marked as such on many Yamato maps, which tend to label places by their ancient Yamato names where possible.
Fact Number 94The Five Sages traveled the Great Land for many centuries until valiant explorers crossed the Iron Belt and found there a great ocean to the south. They left their peoples and joined in silent meditation on the First Island, and they built a monastery where they taught those who came to hear their wisdom, calling it Jamphel Yeshe, after the name the avatar of the Clockwork once held, before it was called Sanatana.
Fact Number 95Before the so-called Declaration of Existential Independence in 22 GE, the core of Borealis, which contained the old jump drive, was fired up unexpectedly, and a group of radical technocrats stole the heart of the city to construct with it their own technocratic city called “Miyako Fluxum”, which was later often referred to as “the Moving City”. They disagreed with the decision to ban the faculty of technamagix, saying that all knowledge is good knowledge, and now jump from place to place within the Great Land, more openly trading with the Middle Lands, the Yamato Kingdom, and the western most city called Altonar, a less developed technocracy.
Fact Number 96After the Declaration of Existential Independence between 22 and 25 GE, during which Borealis prepared to and then jumped away to the South Pole to forever isolate itself from the world and become a technocratic mega-utopia, the Corsic Ocean was left with a power vacuum that threatened to collapse it. The main actors taking charge across the Seventeen Yonder Islands, aside from the remnants of the UOBT that would later become the Commonwealth of Corsia, were the Church of Pure Souls, the reemerging Great Pirate Houses, the cursed land Jamphel Yeshe, and a little bit later the newly formed Hank & Jordan & Tenzer Corporation, which expanded the weakened Hank & Jordan's Cooper and Shipwright Guild into a booming business of mages for hire, which would escort trade ships and liners through the Corsic Ocean, which was now pirate-infested. These mages are still operating today as HJT has grown to a powerful entity within the Seventeen Yonder Islands, and they are generally referred to as "Ferries" due to their occupation of ferrying people safely across the ocean.
Fact Number 97Each of the seven recognized Magus Academies of Aqualon have their own ranking systems and academic titles. For example, the Rickard Leeuw Magistorium has the following ranks for scholars, with which they are addressed by their instructors:
- Questor (the rank every student receives upon acceptance)
- Inspicator (the rank a student is awarded after completing basic logic, arithmetic, history, cartography, and wind magic courses)
- Scilast (recognition of advanced education by three Magister)
- Sentio (recognition of contributions to the academic world)
- Magister (one of the masters of the Magistorium)
- Magister Emeritus (a master of the Magistorium that has been freed from his or her obligations but retains all non-political privileges of the position.)
Fact Number 98The sigil of Arda is the Walled Glade, which was popularized in 423GE by the Ardan Magistrate after a city-wide heraldry contest open to all citizens. The magical glades within the Ardan city walls are also the origin of the name of the Gladering University of the Arcane, though it is pronounced “Glah-de-ring”.
Fact Number 99Some may think that there is no strife and discord in the high technocracy of Borealis, but there are political squabbles like anywhere else, they just happen on a different level. In 1111 GE, the Faculty of Gyrometrics proposed to construct a laser interferometer superstructure underneath the polar ice cap seventeen kilometers out of Borealis.
The proposal was put forth during the annual budget meeting of the Council of Faculties and led to outrage, as, like many times before, the Faculty of Gyrometrics once again requested to go far above their approved base budged, putting strain on the other faculties and upping the quotas of the Acquisitions Department into the stratosphere. The discussion was further inflamed when the chairwoman of the Faculty of Clockwork Theology Perra Hegel, backed by the chairman of the Faculty of Magic Wan Yu Nguyen, noted that restricted papers on spatial tessellation published by the Miyako Fluxum Faculty of Technamagix (outlawed in Borealis around 22 GE) offered alternatives to laser interferometry as long as the goal was detection of gravitational waves, an interjection topped only by the general consensus that at least two interferometers would have to be constructed, the second one as far away from the first as possible, to actually make the original proposal work.
The discussion escalated severely in two directions: the extreme budget overtaxing implied by the proposal and the existence of a cheap but illegal alternative to a building project that would take years of work. In the end, the proposal was put on hold after budget discussions had stretched on for two months past their regular due date. It was realized one year later with budget revisions and better long-term planning.