Zhai is a subcontinental island, artifically connected to the Northern Arm via the Broadest Bridge. It emerged from the sea during The Shimmering and was initially the site of fierce competition between prospectors from across the world. These days, Zhai is known as the home of powerful wizards and magical creatures. The politics of Zhai are dominated by powerful interest groups that constitute a complex tapestry of rivalling and allied city states.
The subcontinent of Zhai is widely considered to be a country, and to be the most magical place of Laeryll. At all but its southern point, Zhai's coastline is made of cliffs towering high above the sea and its landmass is mostly covered in dense jungle, interspersed by gigantic cities. The sea east of Zhai is known as the Green Sea, while the waters south and west of the subcontinent are known as the Great Sea. Famous places in Zhai include Jepri, Lloridan, Peshgulu and the port of Kikokomary. Zhai has historically attracted wizards, sorcerors and other practitioners of magic, as well as merchants connecting the Northern Arm to The Porcupine or the South. Jepri is the most powerful city state of Zhai and is home to many famous wizards and sages. It is therefore often considerd to be the capital, but within Zhai it is not officially recognized as such. Peshgulu is a large city that is famous for its magical bazaar, while Kikokomary is the most important trading port of Zhai, connecting trade from the Southern Arm and The Porcupine with other lands on the Northern Arm. Lloridan is a smaller (but still very large) city in the north of Zhai, with close ties to the Kingdom of Laeryll.
The Zhai subcontinent is covered with dense jungle, and its climate is tropical. Zhai has two seasons: the short dry season (Ghyllekethed and the long wet season (Ghyllaakun). Part of the heat of Zhai is emanating from its ground, which greatly affect the flora and fauna on the island.
Fauna & Flora
Zhai is the most biodiverse location of the Northern Arm, and new creatures are still being discovered by scholars venturing into its depths. Even for sentient creatures, it is not always clear where their origin lies, as the cities of Zhai are known to have been receiving extradimensional visitors for millennia. Rumors say that even some natural resources on the island are gateways to other planes of existence.
The rocks beneath the jungles of Zhai contain rich deposits of zholtan and other precious resources. Thousands of years ago, The Porcupine operated industries to extract these resources, but the power and influence of the growing Zhai city states drove them away, although dwarven communities remain in Kikokomary. The animals of Zhai are also widely traded resources, and there is a sizable medicine industry located near Peshgulu.
Zhai rose from the waters during The Shimmering and it quickly became clear to prospectors that magic permeates the landmass. It was this magic that attracted the rich and powerful from across the world and beyond, and which led to the foundation of ever-growing cities. In 903 LC, the Labarean Empire invaded Zhai, as part of a campaign to halt magic trade. In 904 LC, the Empire occupied Lloridan after a long siege, attracting the ire of the Kingdom of Laeryll and the mobilization of the other cities in Zhai.