Illegate is a city of about 24,000 in eastern Ethion , near the Atlinthaian border. It is also the hub of the larger farming community surrounding the city proper. Founded in 1869, the majority of people living in Illegate are Zhohu-speaking Ethite citizens who practice the Ethite religion, but the turn of the century saw a growing population of Pelan refugees fleeing east from the Major Continent, and Illegate is now on the top ten list of Ethite cities for number of Pelan refugees. Many of them settled in the Lightning District, a poorer area of town known for an old tree that survived a violent storm, and is sometimes viewed with religious reverence. In the 1950s, the government passed laws restricting Pelan from living only in the Lightning District, and later to only working there as well. Though the Pelan were instrumental in helping the Illegate community survive the Southern Fever--providing food and masks for those who needed it, as well as opening their temple to patients needing to quarantine--the larger Ethite population has continued to view the Pelan with fear and resentment. Many believe the Pelan to have a secret agenda. Others are angry that politicians speak of Pelan rights and other ways in which this groups needs help while simultaneously ignoring the poor farming communities which have resided in Ethion for a longer period of time. There is, however, a small group of Orthodox Ethiteswho support the Pelan cause and have reached out to help during the presidency of Chitaa Sololsol. In the early 1960s, Illegate passed a law requiring all Pelan to wear a purple armband with a torch so they could be easily identified for legal purposes, as they were restricted to certain areas of the city. Shortly afterward, another law was passed that any Pelan religious services had to be held on Sutday at dawn. This eventually led to the burning of Rose Temple, with its congregation inside. There were no survivors.
Officially, that is. Unofficially, Matsias Beleed and several other children escaped.