Spine of the Emerwold
otten Road is the longest road in Islegantuan and the second-longest anywhere on Excilior. It stretches nearly 4,000 kilometers, starting at the Cervan capital Cacucino on the Bay of Corcriss in southwestern Islegantuan. It snakes through the Emerwold, making its way through ten different countries, ending in the Quitan capital of Despac on Gollia Bay. It was one of the earliest roads in casterway history to span the breadth of a continent and at different times its construction and maintenance has served as an example of international cooperation. The road is notable for its extensive use of dropways to connect travelers across vast swaths of the Emerwold's majestic arbyrs. Gotten Road is the proud home of the original Sylvan Guard. Sadly, this also means that the path also served as the birthplace of the tyrans.
Purpose / Function
he Gotten Road serves as the primary conduit for land travel in Islegantuan and is critical for anyone who hopes to avoid treks across the wide-open spaces of the Stoneyards and the Boundless Plain. Although the road's limited efficiency in no way undercuts the transportation of trade goods via traditional sea routes, its presence is a boon for muddfoots who are aiming for destinations by foot, cart, or pack animal.
ike all of the other major thoroughfares on Excilior, Gotten Road was not built as a monolith, as a grand project. Rather, it was slowly assembled, over centuries, as the growing countries of the Emerald Coast and, eventually, the Inqoan nations of eastern Islegantuan, found themselves in increased need of interstate infrastructure. Although there are certainly some sections of the road that were architected, from the beginning, with a formal "master" plan, the vast majority of the trail grew organically. What began initially as mere footpaths, expanded to become well-known trails, which in turn gave way (in some places) to official surveying, paving, and state-sponsored projects of road-building. But even today, vast stretches of the Gotten Road remain as little more than glorified trails. It's only when the traveler approaches major cities that the true infrastructure surrounding the Gotten Road becomes apparent.
The most striking feature of the road's construction is the extent to which Emerwold cities have leveraged dropways to expand its reach and aid the flow of goods, services, and people over its length. Although dropways are used, to some extent, along the entire road, they are most prevalent in the muddwood and river-basin regions of northeastern Golia, Oneia, Tumpia, and Quita. In these areas, Gotten Road travelers can go for many kilometers without ever setting foot on ground-level.
You want to build a road? Clear through the Emerwold?? Why stop there? Why not build it all the way to Absentia?
Raimon Utris, Golian dethane refiner, 957 AoE
he first reference to the Gotten Road was recorded in 731 AoE, 31 years after the founding of Galmonia. The road - at the time, far shorter - was specifically discussed as a primary conduit for goods and services between the new Galmonian nation and the largest commercial center in the region at that time - Cacucino. Early accounts make it clear that, while the "road" was certainly established by this point, it was essentially a well-trodden trail and trying to haul pack animals or market goods over it was a slow and arduous task.
It wasn't until Golia was founded in 952 AoE that the first formal project was initiated to fortify pieces of the road so it could be relied upon for interstate commerce. At the time, Golia was going through its own birthing pains as the subject of a frenzied rush to harvest dethane. It would be several more decades before most in the region realized that this was fool's gold. But until that reality settled on the rulers and prospectors of the region, many "friendly" governments were eager to contribute to the formal construction of the Gotten Road, believing that it would eventually help them enrich their coffers (at Golia's expense). Of course, this investment never brought the road to a state of completion, and there were still long stretches that were nearly unrecognizable as "road" to the untrained eye. But this period did launch a continued cycle of improvements and cemented the critical nature of the artery. While the road had many legitimate benefits, it was also a bounty for those looking to prey upon the vulnerable. Thieves and rogues littered the trail. The journey had a terrible reputation as one that was as likely to end the life of the traveler as it was to transport them to their destination. Many commercial organizations simply refused to utilize the road at all, preferring to take their chances with the leviatons and razers that plagued sea routes.
Queen Katri was the first monarch of the new nation of Hineia when it was founded in 1212 AoE. She was an idealistic sort with a chivalric bent toward order and justice. When she came to power, one of her first initiatives was to bring some semblance of security to the dangerous wilderness that many ascribed to the Gotten Road. She understood that an inability to secure and ensure the safety of travelers in her own land would ultimately harm the financial prospects of her people. She also had a practical interest in the Road because Hineia is a vast-yet-landlocked country. It has no immediate means to bypass roads by use of sea routes. So she took it upon herself to address the lethal reputation of the Road.
In 1218 AoE, Katri established the first order of the Sylvan Guard. It was a network of noble protectors who patrolled the roads and dealt accordingly with anyone who would threaten travelers. The Guard was not limited to the Gotten Road. In theory, they were deputized to ensure the safety of all roads. But they were clearly associated with the Gotten Road. Even with the queen's financial backing, no one had the means to properly police every trail and footpath. So the Sylvans concentrated their efforts on the largest and most influential artery of the Emerwold. Although the Sylvan Guard was established in Hineia, and their ranks still think of it as their spiritual home, its reach quickly spread far beyond the borders of the country. Neighboring nations also provided modest funding for their own Sylvan chapters. Influential cities sponsored their own Sylvan Guards, dedicated to the roads in-and-around the urban core. By 1340 AoE, the first Islemanoton chapter of the Guard was established in the Tumian capital of Bagno. In 1485 AoE, Isleprimoton had its first formal Sylvan Guard outpost in the Ignen capital of Bray.
Perhaps it was inevitable that a formalized police force for the Gotten Road would spawn its own counterforce of underworld characters. By 1690 AoE, some travelers reported being attacked by the Sylvan Guard. Upon further investigation, it eventually became clear that a loose-knit order of thieves and murderers had organized their own shadow force that impersonated the Sylvans and twisted this public trust to betray travelers. These apostates are commonly known as tyrans.