The sprawling Holy Lands of Pax Thallos were originally a collection of smaller kingdoms and city states. In 244 CM, a Tezvarnen shaman named Utoli Terriam was bestowed a vision by an entity that named itself Sendar. It spoke of a great nation rising from the desert. This being, which he called the Sand God, visited Utoli over the course of several months, teaching him to harness a level of divine power never seen in mortal hands. Utoli was instructed by Sendar to travel into the burning depths of the Kalasar Dunes, with naught but his new power to sustain him. There he would find a place where three oases formed a triangle. After a two month pilgrimage Utoli found such a site, just as Sendar predicted. Here the desert elf was instructed by his godly guide to erect a temple in his name. Utoli set about his task, using the magic Sendar had gifted him, and over the next few years he constructed a series of six massive copper domes, henceforth called the Temple of Dunes. As time elapsed, travelers seeking shelter at the isolated oasis began to stay. Those that left told tales of the hidden desert temple, and slowly rumors crept across the desert, drawing curious settlers to the Temple of Dunes.
Over the next few years the Temple of Dunes transformed from a lonely destination, to a thriving city. The teachings of Sendar spoke of a path to immortality, through worship and sacrifice. Utoli was yet again bestowed a vision of fire and purity wherein Sendar commanded his prophet to spread the churches influence. In 256 CM Utoli Terriam called the first Epoch Crusade, gathering thousands of inflamed zealots to his banner. The host marched west to Tel-Rink, catching the city by surprise as it emerged from the desert, after a short siege the city surrendered and those that would not convert to worship the Sand God were put to death. With the horde’s numbers bolstered, the army of Sendar marched north to the walled city of Tel-Aasa. After a bloody and brutal campaign, the army of Utoli swept the ancient kingdom of Flausen from the face of the world, seeding the fate of Pax Thallos as it exists today.
Pax Thallos sprawls from the Northern Reach to the tablelands of High Dar, in the south, from Eastcrook Point in the east to the Copper Sea in the west. These lands encompass the fallen kingdoms and city states of Kedabus, Ec Lo and Flausan. Comprised mainly of badlands, deserts, mountains, and channeled scablands, Pax Thallos is generally regarded as the most hostile environment of Tharstelding.
The Parish of Ec Lo: The Parish of Ec Lo was conquered during the 2nd Epoch Crusade by High Overseer Nakhti. These lands were last ruled by Sojourn King Lewver of Thaks until they were taken in 446 CM by the armies of the Sand God.
Hot, humid and dry. The lands of Ec Lo waver slightly between 75 and 90 degrees year round. As weather patterns change across Tharstelding, this region displays amazing magnetic sheet lightning of green, blue, yellow and white. A barren and dangerous land, the people of Ec Lo depend on their location along the Northern Reach for sustenance, survival and transportation.
Ec Lo is bounded by the Scorched Lands to the south, the Northern Reach to the north, the Scourlands to the east and the start of the Renmoth Reef along its western coast. The capital of Bactriex sits along the province’s northern coastline. Bactriex is an ancient and proud city, built at the crux of three red stone roads that resemble a massive Y. The city hosts hundreds of conical buildings, the largest of which can stretch ten to twenty stories high, making the entire capital look like a series of bee hives stretched along a blood red road.
People: Like most Thallan provinces, Ec Lo’s population is heavily increased by slavery. A caste system that begins with laboring underslaves and works its way up to eternal legatees permeates the social and legal systems. Eclians tend to display their wealth openly, dressing in fine silks or sturdy cotton and adorned with rings throughout their oiled hair and beards. The most successful legatees often wear decorated sandals, off colored sashes and travel about in gaudy litters. Common foods include dried insects, sweet cactus, rabbit, curry, dates and exotic imported fruits and meat from across Tharstelding via Bactriex’s bustling port. It is common practice for slave owners who have more than four slaves to bind their little finger on their right hand to their palm, indicating their status above lesser owners. Tezvarnen, reg’ostrans and hill dwarves are commonly found in these lands.
Government and Alignment: (Theocracy: LN) Ec Lo is governed by Overseer Bakenranez Refear, a young and charismatic leader from the Temple of Dunes in Sil. Ec Lo is a land of laws and tradition, while not overly concerned with the welfare of its citizens or their oppression. The laws of Ec Lo encourage slave labor and capitalism but also allow for a healthy level of personal freedom, so long as that freedom remains within your social caste and doesn’t bleed into the lives of your betters. The standing laws of Ec Lo place strong emphasis on a punishment equal to the offence, commonly referred to by Eclians as a karmatic equilibrium. Justice is served by High Viziers and their inquisitors who hear cases and determine punishment if needed. A common punishment may include being stoned to death if your wagon trampled a pedestrian, losing a foot for fleeing from the authorities or the scene of a crime, paying an amount of sand marks equal to property damage caused, or forced slavery for the wrongful death of another’s slave. While these punishments may seem strict they are rarely enforced, primarily because if the accused is found innocent the accuser must pay the penalty instead.
Major Settlements: Ec Lo ranks 3rd overall within the Thallan Holy Lands in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live along the coast of the Northern Reach or in isolated communities along the edge of the Scorched Lands. The largest cities of Ec Lo include the red road port city of Bactriex (Metropolis) Population: 37,221, the razor glass mines of Tel-Barez (Large City) Population: 16,185, the coastal slave markets of Estercarn (Small City) Population: 6,899 and the frontier supply town of Archnos (Large Town) Population 3,757.
Old Tenaris: (Ruins): The ruins of Old Tenaris have been the topic of many scholarly debates, they rise from the sands of northeast Pax Thallos seemingly unmolested by war or time as though they were built yesterday. Only the sand through the streets hint upon its actual age. It is unknown who lived here, and why the city was abandoned, or even if it was abandoned. All that is known is that the city is vacant now, and most of those who linger in its empty halls find themselves lost as well.
Religion: Reverence of Sendar is predominant throughout Ec Lo. The open worship of another god is strictly forbidden and punishable by public execution or indentured servitude. Nonetheless several secret sects dedicated to the Holy Five and the Shattered Pantheon operate within the shadows of Bactriex and the larger settlements.
Conflicts: Ec Lo’s largest threat is also its largest trade partner, the Shaderock Pirate Confederacy. A high demand of slave labor forces the Eclians into trade with the pirate merchants. In turn the pirates constantly raid shipping lanes along the coast of the Northern Reach, sometimes selling back captured Eclians at Estercarn to be recycled into slavery. While larger settlements are for the most part safe, the surrounding desert can be deadly to travelers. Giant scorpions, lamias, sphinx, behir, desert gnoll tribes and the occasional phoenix have all been spotted by caravans lucky enough to escape.
Economy: Ec Lo is the 3rd wealthiest parish of the Thallan Holy lands, just behind Flausan and the capital province of Pax Thallos. Its high slave trade, rare razor glass deposits and thriving ports make it an essential part of the theocracy. The region also produces a high level of sea salt, cotton, dates and cactus spirits.
Relationships: As a cog in the great theocratic wheel of Pax Thallos, the government of Ec Lo maintains a high level of respect for its fellow parishes, at least on the surface. Its governor, Overseer Bakenranez Refear, is the subject of much scrutiny due to his elevated status at such a young age. Most senior members of the Temple of Dunes see him as a charismatic pet of the Sand King, and not as the powerful cleric that he is. Eclians tend to treat most outsiders with a façade of politeness, weighing those they meet extensively before speaking anything of importance.
The Parish of Flausan: Over a thousand years ago, the coastal city states of Flausan were the center of power and wealth within the region now known as Pax Thallos. In 256 CM, at the height of their beauty and power, the religious armies of the Sand God emerged from the eastern desert and savagely sacked Tel-Rink. By 258 CM the northern city of Tel-Aasa was likewise conquered by the zealots of the First Epoch Crusade, and the once proud and free lands of Flausan were firmly under Thallan control.
Breezy and warm, the lands of Flausan are referred to by many as the windswept paradise. These coastal lands enjoy constant onshore and offshore breezes throughout the day and night as the surface temperature of the surrounding desert seeks to stabilize with the water’s constant temperature of 85 degrees. Classified as a mild desert, these lands receive slightly less than 10 inches of rainfall a year between the months of Firedawn and Clouds. Weather throughout this region can dramatically change by the hour, with morning and evening heat waves followed by bitter night chills. Flausan contains a high level of ground water, making irrigation, farming and raising cattle a possibility for hardworking settlers. While home to no major forests or jungles, most of the land is covered by dense and hardy ground brush, short thorny trees and large volcanic sills that dot the otherwise flat and rolling landscape.
Flausan is bounded by the Scorched Lands and the Kalsar Dunes to the east, the eastern end of the Renmoth Reef to the north and the Copper Sea to the west. The capital city Tel-Aasa sits on a small peninsula at the northern most landmass of Pax Thallos. Tel-Aasa is a thriving port. Ringed in a forty foot tall wall of red and rose quartz the city resembles a great burning red eye when viewed against the heat haze from a distance.
People: The residents of Flausan are best described as immodest, heedless and unashamed, a people unafraid of surrendering to their cravings and oblivious to the modesty of outside cultures. Women, both high and low, walk the streets of Tel-Rink and Tel-Aasa bear breasted or scarcely clad. Locals openly gorge themselves on sweets, drugs or partake in public displays of affection with men and women alike. Tattooing and “tasteful” mutilation are commonplace, as are outspoken opinions or slanderous insults. The people of these lands display typical Thallan traits, including dark brown to ebony skin, brown to black hair that cascades in ringlets and pronounced brows or noses. As such a free and liberal people, Flausans are exceedingly tolerant of visitors, unlike most other Thallan cultures. Desert elves, thirvolans, reg’ostrans, oceanic elves and plains elves are all very common sights within a Flausan city.
Government and Alignment: (Theocracy: CG) Flausan is governed by Overseer Akila Neferos, referred to by the locals jokingly and lovingly as the Sand Queen. The Parish of Flausan has very little laws outside of church edict established in Sil, and for the most part self regulates its quarrels by mediation overseen by a church official. Unlike other Thallan provinces, Flausan turns a blind eye to other religions and their practice. While laws are in place for “heretics” to be brought to justice, the execution of such law is rarely practiced. While legal in Flausan, slavery is a minor contributor to the Parish’s overall way of life, with very few but the most wealthy holding any slaves at all. Second in power to Overseer Akila are the Mers of Thes, a network of bankers and powerful tradesmen that pool their resources. This faction, while small compared to the Avian Lords of Arn or the Azure Consortium of Soddenmark, is nonetheless very influential throughout Flausan.
Major Settlements: Flausan ranks 2nd overall within the Thallan Holy Lands in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live along the coast of the Copper Sea or in small towns located deeper inland. The largest cities of Flausan include the quartz walled city of Tel-Aasa (Metropolis) Population: 29,771, the jeweled reef port of Tel-Rink (Metropolis) Population: 27,495, the deep crater city of Gritspar (Large City) Population: 20,816 and the sprawling pyramids of Hieracos (Small City) Population 9,096.
Religion: Worship of Sendar is predominant throughout Flausan. Unlike other Thallan parishes the reverence of other gods is somewhat ignored, unless openly performed in public. The province’s religious tolerance has been the focal point of tension between Flausan and Sil. Church inquisitors have been dispatched from Sil to this region in an attempt to observe or subdue any religious uprisings or outbreaks.
Conflicts: Flausan maintains a strong level of control throughout its region. Nonetheless, the wild eastlands still hold considerable danger for travelers and settlers. A fearsome band of brigands called the Sons of Carrion stalk the highway between Tel-Rink and Tel-Aasa, looting and burning merchant caravans. Large tribes of nomadic desert giants are known to scurry between watering holes near the Scorched Lands. Kelpies, water nagas, tidepool dragons and giant snapping turtles plague the remote shipping lanes of Renmoth Reef.
Economy: Flausan is the 2nd wealthiest parish of the Thallan Holy lands, just behind the capital province of Pax Thallos. This regions immense wealth stems from diamond, gold, ruby and emerald mines outside of Tel-Rink. Thornoak, a hardy and resilient wood, grows along the northern coast of Flausan. Tel-Aasa uses this precious resource to produce some of the finest ships in Tharstelding. Great herds of gazelle, sheep and wildebeest call these lands home, making Flausan the largest producer of consumer meat within Pax Thallos.
Relationships: Flausan’s leniency towards outside religion blemishes the otherwise sterling leadership of Overseer Neferos. The parishes of Ec Lo and Kedabus view Flausan as the weakest moral link that binds the Thallan chain, a fact that Sand King Ramses II is eager to exploit while arbitrating conflict between his subservient parishes.
Parish of Kedabus: The Parish of Kedabus was conquered during the 3rd Epoch Crusade by High Overseer Nakhti. These lands were mostly wild, uninhabited, and feral prior to annexation, with the exception of the great city of Easpear.
Kedabus is often described by travelers as windy, lightly treed, riddled with small brooks and caves. The region receives more annual rainfall than the other Thallan parishes, allowing for dense vegetation to bloom in pockets and the occasional patch of forest to take root. Most of the territory is rocky and uneven, with large volcanic boulders strewn about and pillars of stone jutting up from otherwise barren mountainsides. During most of the year the temperature remains between 65 and 80 degrees during the day, but will frequently plummet to near freezing at night. Throughout the months of Bladewater and the Falling, Kedabus is bombarded with hail storms and flash floods on a regular basis.
Kedabus is bounded by the Scourlands to the west, the Castran Bay to the east and south, and the Northern Reach. The capital of Easpear sits at the edge of the Scourlands along the shore of the Northern Reach. The city is built around two large arenas that were erected within the natural bowls of two dormant calderas. Vultures and other carrion birds constantly circle the city in anticipation of the next gladiatorial bout or execution by combat. The fortress of Remonz rises from the slopes of The Spine in the south and overlooks the city of Easpear, its flagstone walls shaped like a massive flanged mace poised to drop on the city below.
People: Kedabans are industrious, to the point and blatant in their demeanor. Their matter of fact curtness can come off as rude to most outsiders, but to a kedaban it is simply the most direct form of conversation. While kedabans share many physical traits with other thallans, such as elongated noses and wide brows, they display distinct regional traits as well. Light to moderate brown skin pigmentation and pale green to dark brown eyes are most common. Kedabans tend to dress in leathers, furs and sturdy hemp clothing. Males enlisted in the army or city militias tend to wear their plate armored skirts, called Cataks, about town. Slavery is legal and tolerated within Kedabus, approximately one fifth of the regions residents are slaves. Karsol, mountain dwarves, hill dwarves and badland Tezvarnen are fairly common within most settlements.
Government and Alignment: (Theocracy: LE) Kedabus is ruled from the fortress of Remonz by Overseer Wosrot Lecbar, called the Granite Heart, a middle aged man of great charisma and devotion to Sendar that demands obedience from his people. Kedabus is a land of church law. Those that are caught worshiping any god but Sendar are arrested and brought to the arenas for trial by combat. Trial or execution by combat is also utilized for any other serious crime, such as murder, rape and theft. Lesser crimes often garner fines or term based banishments. An order of church inquisitors known as the Extriarchs, are commissioned by Wosrot to root out heresy within Kedabus and to serve as the Overseer’s private guard. Extriarchs have been known to arrest entire neighborhoods, execute top level church officials, and even delve into the ruins of Aaeriock Bor to exterminate elusive cults. The commander of the Extriarchs, Lord Inquisitor Lalvas Bex, is a powerful woman devoted to the church and Overseer Lecbar.
Major Settlements: Kedabus is a sparsely populated rural parish that ranks last within the Thallan Holy Lands in regards to total population, most of its inhabitants live within the city of Easpear or in small mountain villages. The largest settlements of Kedabus include the arenas of Easpear (Large City) Population: 22,095, the flanged fortress of Remonz (Fortress) Population: 6,274, the textile mills of Darkkas (Small City) Population: 7,476 and the mountain church of Sendar’s Rest (Large Town) Population 4,181.
Religion: Worship of Sendar is predominant throughout Kedabus. The open or private worship of another god is strictly forbidden and punishable by trial in the arenas. Several secret sects dedicated to the Holy Five and the Shattered Pantheon operate within the shadows of larger cities, the ruins of Aaeriock Bor, and in the small mountain hamlets, at least until the Extriarchs root them out. The Extriarchs offer monetary rewards to those that report illegal religious activity upon validation of their claim.
Conflicts: The greatest conflicts within Kedabus stem from the interaction between the populace and the Extriarchs. While most of the parish’s citizens respect or fear the church inquisitors, the natural disposition of kedaban frankness can often lead to public disputes or violence. The region is also constantly engaged in naval skirmishes with the Shaderock Pirate Confederacy to the north. Kedabus’ lack of a powerful navy stanches their ability to protect the shipping lanes west of Eastcrook Point. At higher elevations the untamed lands are known to contain a healthy population of wyverns, rift and desert drakes, orcs, hobgoblins and hill giants.
Economy: Kedabus is the poorest of the Thallan Holy Lands. While rich in natural resources and coin the government spends an exorbitant amount of its income on the upkeep of the Extriarchs, the arenas of Easpear and a large standing army. Coal, textiles, leathers, furs, cattle, horseflesh and copper are the region’s major exports. Kedabus prefers the distribution of goods along land routes due to its close proximity to the pirate confederation, which considerably slows the regions income.
Relationships: Kedabus maintains excellent relations with the parish of Ec Lo and the capital province. Most kedabans could care less for the distant liberal flausans, however due to their isolated location along the eastern shore there is little actual interaction between these two parishes. Kedabus garrisons its southern border with Castros and holds little trust for the heretical kingdom to the South.