Population: 9,800 (Including Shadryff) Outlook: Dancarians are connected to the whole of Aestis as they have buried their noble dead, but are often overlooked. Language: Dancarians speak High Vannic. Shadryff’s citizens are mainly Swithick and speak their native tongue, but most also speak High Vannic. Geography and Weather: Dancare is the Great City most exposed to the sea. It is cold, windy and frequently smothered in fog. Politics: The city is ruled by the Dancarian Order, and there is a tacit understanding amongst all states and kingdoms that Dancare is a sacred place that must not be attacked. As a result, the city has minimal military force. Dancare is the most sparsely populated city in the Arclands, it is windswept, silent and built on the mountains that make up the northern coast of the Straits of Dancare. Dancare means ‘City of Twilight ' (Dan-Care) and is the mirror to the city that created it, Ar-Care, City of the Dawn - better known as Arc. It was designed as a tomb for the nobility of the other Great Cities, but the wealthy dead from the entire continent are entombed there. The living are outnumbered many times over by the dead, and vast halls of crypts are tended by Dancarian orders of monks. The defenders and patrollers of Dancare are the Knights of the Crypt, a warrior order that protects the tombs and the city from desecration. Wealthy Arclanders who are buried at Dancare pay for Knights to guard their tombs and the secrets and wealth that they are buried with. Most Dancarians live in Shadryff, the small town at Dancare’s base, where mourners and those paying homage to the dead also shelter; the town’s economy is almost exclusively based on attending to the needs of the visiting living. Tombs and crypts make up over 98 percent of all buildings in Dancare. The higher terraces of Dancare are reserved for the rich, nobility and royalty, the lower terraces house those that can afford a small family crypt, and there is the odd space still left for paupers, provided for by charity. Various merchant guilds in Pelonastra (see the Mill Lands) as part of their recognised charitable duties will provide a few crypt spaces for the poor of their city. Dancare is ruled by the Dancarian Order, monks who are devoted to death and memory. As with all the monastic orders in Aestis, the Dancarians are scribes and scholars who keep voluminous records of those they bury and entomb. Dancarian Monks are famed for their knowledge of genealogy and can explain to others their entire family history if they have a noble name. The world of the Dancarians has been upturned in the last few years by the arrival in Dancare of a mysterious Knight Tomebearer known only as Syngwen. She arrived from Mordikhaan in the north and rumours circulated that she was either a servant of the Khul or an outcast from her realm. She has taken up residence in the halls of the Jeridians - a long extinct monastic order - and has refused to answer to the Dancarian Order’s demands for answers about her purpose in the city. Her only public pronouncement, when crowds of angry and fearful monks, knights and priests surrounded the old Jeridian chambers was blunt: “Before I came to this place, I dreamed the darkest dream. Dancare is where it will begin. Here, soon.” Locals in Shadryff have seen a steady stream of strangers, all thought to be spellcasters of one type or another who have crossed the Straits of Dancare to reach the city. They have been nicknamed by the residents of Shadryff the ‘Crows of Dancare’, and they have come for Syngwen. It is unclear whether she has summoned them, or if they have journeyed to her of their own volition, but word of this influx has reached the lords of the Great Cities. Nobles in Arc, Dran, Harenis and beyond see a resting place in Dancare as their right, and fear the Dancarian Order might lose their control over the city.
A Fire in the Heart of KnowingOur debut Arclands novel is available here. Read A Fire In the Heart of Knowing, a story of desperate power struggles and a battle for survival in the dark lands of Mordikhaan.