The Travelers Guide to Aqualon
A ponderous note this time, dear reader. As travelers we touch many cultures and societies, never truly becoming a part of them, but rather gliding from fleeting touch to fleeting touch. We are outside observers who see the good and the bad, and take both of them as experiences well earned. And as you read this Travelers Guide to Aqualon column, perhaps you will take this little piece of advice to heart: we are all people that sprung forth from the same gate. We are all one family, in a sense, so don't cast away your brother, your sister, keep them by your side, and doubly so if they are injured. Be kind. Now, you may wonder why I begin this column on such a heavy note when last I was so enthusiastic about my upcoming travels. Well, perhaps you recall the den mother of a blighter house that gave me the tip to join Shen the smuggler's party? It seems that connection was no coincidence. I have said it before, and I will say it again more clearly: there is no shame, no inhumanity in spellblight, and if the Church or anyone tells you otherwise, let them be damned. I have met nothing but good, honest people, cursed with the hallmark white hair and blue eyes of the blighters. After leaving Arkatrash, Shen and his men pay a ferry's captain to take them and me up the river for some time, though when we step ashore just outside the Red Sands, we switch to horseback. I don't know how to ride. Horses don't live on all the islands. The only one I've ever seen them on was Graanshoof, which is pretty ridiculous if you think about it, seeing how small the island is. But such is tradition. If you do not know, dear reader, outriders that rode along the Hoof Dyke to check it for damages each day were the norm before the dykemaster's towers had been established. They still do dyke rider races to this day I believe. Still, I am sure this little story will not have sufficed to distract you from the issue: yes, I fell flat on my bum a few times, and the trip was somewhat uncomfortable for me. There may or may not have been some mockery from a band of smugglers involved as well. On our way to the great city of Aquaris, we follow a smaller river that flows into the Giranja called Giranja's Tribute. We are on our way for around three days, and as we travel, we stop by several houses, the owners of which seem to know Shen well. Two of them are a good bit away from the river and strangely concealed. Families of blighters live in them. They are happy to see Shen and invite him in without a moment's hesitation, and the man himself is a Gentleman throughout both visits. His men, however, make camp outside and it takes less than two words with them to know their stance on spellblight vicitims. I decide to stay with the family and Shen instead. Luckily my stories from abroad are the key that opens many doors and I am welcomed to a hearty meal and tales of the First Planes on which we currently are as it seems. One of the blighters, Charti, who has adopted another blighter child from Aerialis tells me a bit about the conditions they both had to live in before Shen and the Black Market struck a deal with them, though I do not know nor am inclined to ask what the nature of that deal is. It seems they both caught the blight in Aerialis where magic engines are prevalent throughout the daily life of its citizens. There is always demand for what is apparently called ''arcane labor''. You see, when touching a magic engine with bare flesh, the spell ink mandalas worked into it activate and it produces any one of a number of magical effects. There has been quite the revolution In the Middle Lands since their inception some seven hundred years ago. But even though the people in charge keep up the appearance of regulation, criminal organizations have long since abused the poverty of the less fortunate to leverage money out of the lucrative arcane labor business. Since overusing magic engines causes blight, Much of the more impoverished parts of Middlish society can present a strand of white hair or worse. Charity and Susan make no exception. Seeing the little girl and thinking about the abuse and exploitation she has suffered from at such a tender age makes me shudder. Now, perhaps you may think to yourself that Shen's men hate the blighters for the same reasons the Church does: damaging and perhaps losing their soul, though I am quite confident that their souls are fine... Well, you would be wrong, for you see, these men are folk of the Yamato Mountain Range where blighters are called yasha. It means something like demon or evil spirit, and as I understand it, the Yamato people quite literally believe that those suffering from spellblight have traded in their souls to become spirits and monsters. I can only hope that such a shameful marginalization won't be prevalent in Aquaris. At least in these lands, killing blighters is still considered a crime, though I wonder how strict the enforcement of the law would actually be when the victim has white hair and cobalt blue eyes. The squalid conditions most of the blighters I have met in Arkatrash come to my mind as we move onward and the magnificent, gleaming tip of the blue-white Spire of Rahn comes into view in the far distance. At the time I had not paid much mind to it, for their bright smiles had outshone their poverty. T.F.
Find the Previous Column of T. Fletcher's Travelers Guide to Aqualon Here
In With the Black Market
The Travlers Guide to Aqualon by Thadeus Fletcher was a regular column in the HJT Gazette in the 1580s GE. (553 Words)
Or Start From the Beginning
The Travelers Guide to Aqualon
The Travlers Guide to Aqualon by Thadeus Fletcher was a regular column in the HJT Gazette in the 1580s GE. (1195 Words)
Related Aqualon Facts of the Day
- #96 -
After 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 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.
- #110 -
The Hank & Jordan & Tenzer Coporation has diversified quite a bit since its founding in 390 GE. Turning into a lucrative business, they have reclaimed some of the old Hank & Jordan's cooper works and shipyards, opened profitable trading routes across the Corsic Ocean, and even published a series of story books called "Ferry Tales of the Ocean Belt", which boasts twenty-four large volumes by now and a roughly five-thousand issue story magazine called "Silfs of the Sea" has been in circulation around the Corsic Ocean and even the Great Land since 1304 GE, coming out monthly pretty much ever since.
Related Reading for the Main Article
The Middle Lands
The Middle Lands are the most powerful region of the Great Land, which encompasses most inhabital parts of the Southern Hemisphere of Aqualon. (459 Words)
One of the five capitals of the Middle Lands, home to the Spire of Rahn. (2878 Words)
Spell ink is a restricted substance produced in the Middle Lands. It is used in all five of the great cities of that land where they create magic engines with it. (4133 Words)
The Altonar Calendar
The Altonar Calendar is used in Altonar, the Middle Lands, and some of the Seventeen Yonder Islands. (263 Words)