A travel guide to the Cairnice Isles

Written by Pimenefusarund

Welcome everyone, to my newest addition in the travel guide to Mithra; A travel guide to the Cairnice Isles. Since my last trip there a few months ago, I've been thinking about travel guides that encompass this piece of volcanic beauty, but I have found naught. So I decided to make a travel guide about it myself. Cairnice, stemming from the "Cairn Isles", is a group of islands in the Golden sea. Known for its great olives and the two warring kingdoms that inhabit it. However, there is much more to this island, and I will tell you all about it in this travel guide.
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The Islands

First a little about the place we will be visiting. The Cairnice Isles is a group of Islands in the Southern reaches of the golden sea. It is made up of the main island, Cairnice, Broken island, Olive island, the isles of nothing, and a few other strips of land here and there. The islands are ruled by two kingdoms, who have been in a stalemate war for so long, I can't even remember when they started. The western kingdom of Tilenor, is generally considered the most powerful. The Royal family of Olinn rules here, widely known for their excellent olives. This royal family rules from their seat in the city of Freshalt. The other kingdom, the kingdom of East Cairnice, is ruled by the Fanghorn family. Their throne is located in the city of Seclude. Between them, in the southern region of the main island, the land is ruled by monsters and tribes of reed-elves. Lastly, we have the cairn. Another piece of the puzzle that is the name of Cairnice. The cairn is a free city in the middle of the Fire-mountains. The City-state exports many gemstones and is in a hard to reach place, hence why it isn't conquered by its rivals yet.  

Map

Cairnice Isles
The map to the island of Cairnice
Click here for the full map!
       

Cairnice Port

Woongno Lee - port city.jpg
by Woongno Lee
We begin our journey on our way to the main port of Cairnice, Cairnice Port. Not really an original name, but whatever. On our way, we pass Olive island. This is where the majority of the Tilenori olive groves are located. When we arrive in the port, you will first notice the size. The city is quite large and built on both sides of the Golden River that ends in the small bay around which the city is built. The large castle, Estuarkeep, that is built at the estuary of the Golden River is the seat of house Cointass. Before we leave on our way to Norton, we will first have a look at the seat of house Seagerd, Seaguard. The castle is a large keep that watches over the entrances into the fire-mountains.

Norton

Before we reach Norton, we first pass the small town surrounding the Arrow. The Arrow is a large lighthouse that guides ships along the edges of the northern point of Cairnice. We move on and pass through the woodland. When we arrive in Norton, the statue of Hugh is the first thing you'll find. The giant stone statue stands right in the middle of the town. Hugh, nobody knows his last name, is a legend in Tilenori folklore. House Norto rules the lands here and is very fond of the statue.



Freshalt

Next stop Freshalt, but first, Tilenori Academy. The only academy on all of Cairnice. But the mere fact that there even is one makes Cairnice far better educated than most of the Hearthland combined. Most human academies are not for everyone. They are exclusive and expensive. But Tilenor academy welcomes everyone who has enough intellect, even the poorest. They just have to work on the side to pay off their bill. The academy features a wide range of courses and subjects. I personally know two of the teachers there and can tell you it is one of the better human academies in Mithra. In their free time, students often visit Norton or Freshalt for relaxation. Especially the latter is equipped to deal with this and that is why, when we arrive in Freshalt, the first thing you'll see is the many taverns. Freshalt, where the freshwater mixes with the saltwater, is a town ruled by the Olinn family. It's the capital of Tilenor, maybe even the capital of Cairnice. It is a trade hub for the minerals that leave the Fire-mountains and olive groves riddle the countryside here.



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by SiChen Wang


Cairn of Cgranamn

We move on and find ourselves passing the last castle before the sulfurlands stretch, Drakeguard. It is ruled by a noble house called house Fireskull. A house that started as a prison gang in the famous high-security prison Limbo, on the other side of Mithra. Its origins are partly the reason for its martial traditions. The keep is also quite well equipped on dealing with attacking drakes. It has big, net shooting crossbows, and large scorpions mounted on the walls. As we pass into the sulfurlands, the lands that have been plagued by drakes since the first settlers settled on the island, and the lands where many ruins stand, the smell of rotten eggs will fill your nose. Some parts of this land are completely ruined, while others are flourishing. The high concentration of sulfur in the ground has this effect on the land. We pass the Brimstone-river and take a boat upstream. Behind us, the briny lake stretches. It's not really lake, more like a gulf, and it is filled with seawater. That is why it's called the Briny lake.

 

Firedrake

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by Jakob Eirich
There is not a lot of deadly fauna on Cairnice, but the firedrakes are definitely one. They nest here during their mating season, after which they fly out to greener pastures. Too bad their mating season takes up three quarters of the year. The special kind of firedrake that lives here is the only known species that does that. The largest recorded size had a wingspan of ten meters. With three claws on each of its four legs and two rows of sharp teeth, not to mention the fiery breath it can produce. This is not an animal you want to meet in a dark alleyway. It would light the dark alleyway up, and wouldn't fit in it. The alleyway was not a good metaphor.          

The South

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by Jesse van dijk
Before we enter the vast woodland of the south, we will have a look at the area south of the Fire-mountains. Before entering that area, we first have to pass the broken twins. Two keeps built on either side of a large ravine that spans from the Fire-mountains, miles in the direction of the coast. The two keeps, Mountaintwin and Passagetwin are the guardians of this passage. These two keeps are ruled by house Linker. Behind that, the lands of house Fineshard lay. This house, who rules from their castle of Gemkeep, is the main exporter of gems in the kingdom of Tilenor. They refine gems from the Fire-mountains and haul them back to Cairnice Port
  We move into the south. As we pass the first woods, we might be greeted by some reed-elf warriors. Don't be feared, they will warn you before they shoot you. Better yet, come to the island with me and I'll introduce you to them. Their food is marvelous and culture great. But the best thing for you to do if you are without a guide that knows them is to take a ship around the south. If you are not shot by the people, you will be mauled by the fauna. It is quite a nasty place.    

Mercof

Right at the edge of the forest, a keep stands. The gate is the name of this keep. It's ruled by house Woodguard and is the mainline of defense for the kingdom of East-Cairnice. Close to that, the city of Mercof lays. The city is built on a hill and stretches all the way to the river below. It is the only hill in the area which is why the city has a really weird look. It sticks out like a sore thumb, but without the soreness. It is actually quite a nice city. It is also the last stop for mercenaries that go into the forest to hunt or escort gathering parties. Here, they stock up on supplies and weapons before they leave the safety of the hills in favor of the deep dark forest. the city is ruled by house Mercillot. A proud and noble house that has stood tall in this land for centuries and date their origin to the first followers of Dah.  

Comtown

Next stop, Comtown. This beautiful port is ruled by house Commina. As the trade capital of East Cairnice, this city is the main port for all trade going in and out of the kingdom. It lays close to the Highs of the east and has to deal with the constant harassing of caravans by hill tribes. A word that has become synonymous with bandit in this town. There are no actual tribes in the hills, but the area is plagued by bandits, which is why it is also a prime destination for mercenaries and bounty hunters looking for work.  

Broken Island

The broken island is quite a peaceful place. After we pass the strait of Kirimov, I don't believe anyone knows who Kirimov is, we arrive on this island. Half of the island is part of the broken mountains. On the south side of the broken mountains, Edgefort lays. Edgehill is the house that rules here. The only city on the island is Seclude. This city lays on the east side of the Broken-mountains and is the capital of East-Cairnice. Ruled by the mighty house Fanghorn, the city is actually quite small for its reputation. It is not small, but a whole lot smaller than people would expect for a city that is the trade hub for the whole of the broken island. The Fanghorns get their wealth from their vassals and contracts. This is why some scholars consider the kingdom to be 'unstable'. It has nothing to fall back on if their vessels are cut off. The last thing of notice on the island is the Tower of Vigor. This tower, secluded in the middle of the broken mountains, is the home of a guild of assassins simply known as the assassins of the Tower of Vigor. They have a contract with the kingdom of East Cairnice which is why they can keep operating without Fanghorn interference.     This concludes my travel guide. I hope you will have a great trip to the island, perhaps you will even settle there. Who knows. But I do sincerely hope you will not die, otherwise, my guide has been less than helpful. So the only thing that is left to say is, use the map and you will be fine.
Welcome to Cairnice Port, home to the best olives you will ever taste. Feel free to sample the wares or to look around.
— Tilenori Ambassador

Kingdom of Tilenor

The kingdom of Tilenor is a kingdom on the Cairnice Isles. It's a rich kingdom ruled by the well known and respected house Olinn, named after their past main export product, olives, and olive oil. These days, iron ore, some silver, and gemstones have overtaken the place on the throne for the reason of their wealth. Most of the gemstones mined in the fire mountains are opals, but sometimes other gems pop up too. Tilenor is in a stalemate war with the kingdom of East-Cairnice. Standings with the Cairn of Cgranamn, are not stained too much, but real friends they are not. The free city is their main competitor of opal export on this side of Mithra and the kings and queens have had their eye on the city-state for multiple generations.    

Kingdom of East Cairnice

This kingdom is located on the eastern side of Cairnice. Its main export product is Tirrenessfruit. Foragers go into the forest, having to look over their shoulder at every tree, finding the tasteful fruit and bringing it back to their cities. There it is sent back to the mainland to be sold. Mercenaries who go into the southern forest to hunt monsters or reed-elves usually stock up in one of their cities too. For the mercenaries from the west have to cross the sulfurlands and the cities of Mercof and Comtown have better weapons and supplies for sale  

The cairn

The free city of Cairnice. A giant city located in a giant sinkhole atop a giant mountain. It is kind of ironic that most inhabitants of this great city are Yldar. The short men have a neck for compensating I guess. The cairn goes down quite deep in the mountain and makes way for many mines and caverns where gems and ores of many kinds can be found. They usually export this through the brimstoneriver, a feat quite impressive considering the drake problem that has been plaguing these lands for generations. The Cairners, as they are called by both themselves and the other inhabitants of Cairnice, have many defenses against the bold drakes. Four limbed crossbows atop the roofs of the cairn and the decks of the ships make short work of any firedrakes who are dumb enough to approach.  

South

The south of Cairnice is made up of a dense forest that is inhabited by many horrifying creatures. Mercenaries patrol around the edges of the woods, looking for bounties to kill. But deep in the forest, a tribe of reed-elves lives. They have lived there for quite some time, and make sure the humans don't colonize the whole wood. They also make great stew. Notorious by the kingdoms for their cruelty against anyone who dares touch a single sapling.



























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by Andrey Harchenko











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by pxhere
Poison Leafblade is one of the most poisonous plants in all of Mithra. It grows in abundance in the southern forests and is only eaten by the Red-striped NookerRaccoon, whose stomach can handle the poisonous plant. Do not eat it yourself.




     
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by Pimenefusarund
The Tirrenessefruit is one of the most valuable substances on the Isles. The southern forests of Cairnice is the only place in the known world where it grows. However, to get these delicious fruits, you first have to get past the Reed-elves. These let no one in their forest since humans are usually the ones desecrating it. This is too bad for the humans, since the forest is the only place in all of the known world where these famed Tirrenessfruits grow. This delicious fruit is a prime export product for the kingdom of East Cairnice. However, getting them is not easy. Many a gathering party has been pierced by reed-elf arrows.            
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by Jcbarquet

Articles under A travel guide to the Cairnice Isles



Cover image: by Frankatt

Comments

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5 Apr, 2020 04:13

Absolutely stunning. I love the amount of natural detail.

5 Apr, 2020 07:33

Thank you <3

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6 Apr, 2020 01:07

There's a lot to like here, but the thing that jumps out to me is your use of map markers and art. When you're dealing with feudal fantasy game, it's important that players/readers be able to get the quick faction summaries at a glance. I'm a sucker for House crests that tell you exactly what you need to know about their schtick. You're really showing off what you can do with the embedded descriptions and the layer tools. It's easy to miss the fact that you actually have labels for all your place names!   I would suggest that you look at your top 4-5 longest paragraphs, and chop them into two with some paragraph breaks.

6 Apr, 2020 01:10

Oh, and I have to confess I'm not a huge fan of your sidebar color scheme. White text on mid/light-grey is tough on the eyes. I recommend making your background darker.

6 Apr, 2020 09:21

Good suggestion. Problem is that I'm quite bad at css. I wouldn't know how I'd do that. Thanks for the feedback though

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7 Apr, 2020 05:24

The presentation is amazing, the map is awesome, and the text is dryly funny. Well done all around!

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
7 Apr, 2020 11:52

Thanks!

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8 Apr, 2020 01:47

Lovely - both the map and your article are visually appealing, and I really like your approach to this challenge!

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8 Apr, 2020 05:25

Thanks!

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10 Apr, 2020 15:47

Great detail and very thorough. I really like your map, it's beautiful. Here are some notes for you: top right quote "olives" Could use paragraph breaks throughout for readability. Map - Adjust your initial zoom level to show more of your beautiful map on load. Comtown - Are there tribes or bandits here? I'm a little confused.   Overall, I really like the detail and the voice of your narrator.

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12 Apr, 2020 06:50

Thanks, glad you liked it. And yeah, I don't know why I wrote olives as olive's. I guess I was tired or something. But thanks for the feedback.

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