A Traveler's Guide to the Turamzzyrian Empire
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Seareach is a vast coastal territory in the north of the Empire.
The climate is very mild, with warm, sunny summers and wet, rarely
harsh winters. Seareach hosts many port towns where sea trading
is common. Travel by sea is almost as common as travel over land.
Mountains in the south of the territory are particularly rich in
Seareach lays claim to the vast desert known as the Sea of Fire.
As a result, many strange trade goods make their way into Seareach,
along with the copper from imperial mines within its depths. Seareach
also provides many goods to the peoples within the Sea of Fire,
though trade relations are tenuous due to the ongoing strife over
the copper mines. However, the lucrative copper trade and rare spices,
herbs, and animal products gained from the Sea of Fire have made
Seareach one of the richest territories in the Empire.
The city of Phannus sits atop a high hill range to the north and
east of Seareach. It is close to the Sea of Fire, and caravans coming
into and out of the city are occasionally raided by small bands
of thieves from the desert. The military presence in Phannus is
relatively small, and more adept at negotiations than most, having
to deal with the nomads from the desert. Phannus lies on the primary
route of ores and gems from the DragonSpine toward the coast.
The city of Brisker's Cove started out as a small settlement on
the cove of the same name. The city is bustling with trade, and
the ports operate day and night. All varieties of ships arrive
at Brisker's Cove, from small skiffs to warships. The people are
well educated and well off, sometimes considered snobbish, even
by empire standards.
The Sea of Fire
The Sea of Fire is a vast desert waste dominating the eastern half
of Seareach. The area is harsh and unforgiving. Typical warfare
and tactics successful in other regions of the Empire have proven
ineffective here, and the peoples, though officially governed by
Seareach, are largely tribal in social organization. The wares from
the Sea of Fire are as unusual as the lore and tales that hearken
from the vast desert. Some merchants have successfully set up trade
agreements through the region, bartering passage through the regions
claimed by various warlords and tribal leaders, but these are few
and far between.
Skill in divination is much prized in Phannus, and its practitioners
are regarded as the best in the Empire. The Sisters of the Hidden
Eye are famed for their ability to divine the future, and they are
often hired by merchants before engaging in important business decisions,
and by uneasy parents before betrothals. For more utilitarian tasks,
the most common tool is a hazel twig with nine ends cut from an
old hedge when Liabo is a new crescent. This wishing-rod can be
used to discover springs of water, veins of ore, and hidden treasures.
The old fishermen of Brisker's Cove still follow the ancient custom
of predicting the season's weather and harvest by setting three
nets in the sea. The middle net is closely watched, and if crabs,
lobster, or shellfish fill it, then a poor season with bad weather
will follow. But if scaly fish enter the net, then a plentiful year
with good weather is assured. All along the coast "windsellers"
can be found, and from them can be purchased winds of many kinds.
To bring the wind from any direction they have only to turn their
hats and wish, and it is whispered that they trap foul winds inside
eggshells stoppered with shoemaker's wax, to dash against a stone
whenever they desire to call forth a storm.
One of the stranger items found in the Sea of Fire is the snake-stone,
said to cure afflictions of the eye and many other diseases besides.
The most popular tale of origin states that in the spring, snakes
gather in large numbers to fight great battles, writhing and hissing
with dreadful abandon. After the fight, a pale froth covers the
ground, and in the midst of this can be found the snake-stone,
cold to the touch, and usually in hues of light green, misty blue,
or pale terra cotta.