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17 July 2014 @ 09:15 pm
Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom Gazetteer part II  
Between the Lake of Dreams and the Narrow Sea, in the shadow of the Cloudtop Mountains, lies the Berha Desert, and along the length of the Kintai River are the cities of B'rabt. Ruled by a mandragora god-king who claims direct descent from the moon, the common folk are mostly chuzan with sand-colored fur and longer legs than the chuzan of the Muskalan Confederacy with a scattering of other peoples, including a colony of kong who have apparently lived by the shores of the Kintai since before the first god-king of B'rabt laid stone on stone.

Life in B'rabt is mostly agricultural, driven by the annual flooding of the Kintai and the harvest festivals where every household brings a portion of their produce to the Temple of Yarik, the B'rabti moon god and tutelary deity. Boats constantly go up and down the river to and from the capital of Yarikho, bringing families to present their petitions to Yarik through his priests or to his representative the god-king, tying the nation together in a constant web of movement. This centralization is strange to outsiders, but the B'rabti find other national customs to be equally strange whenever they travel abroad.

The major export of B'rabt other than crops is sorcerers--the desert of B'rabt is a perfect place for contemplation of the nature of Essence, and there are several hermit schools of sorcery that have their origin in the empty places, like the Cleansing Solar Disciples, the Order of the Waking Dream, or the Mirror Mathematicians.

The Dire Marsh
Close to where it empties into the Narrow Sea, the Black River twists and meanders among a series of hills, getting caught in pools and making the ground sodden. Something, whether in the water or in the ground, changes the water as it's there, and the air is filled with a fetid miasma. Most animals and plants cannot survive there, and the swamp is overrun with a riot of weird fungal overgrowth shedding their spores into the air and maddened insects that viciously attack anything that enters the swamp.

Tribes of mycon somehow manage to survive in the tangled flora, and mostly keep to themselves other than the occasional mycon hive-wizard who will wander out into other lands on a mission of their own. They refuse to discuss their homeland, so rumors about the depths of the marsh remain, and common talk describes a secret group of mycon artifex building giant artificia armor, untouched Predecessor ruins, kremling venomancers come to study the marsh's poisons, and even an army of insects plotting to wipe out all other life in Agarica.

The Lake of Dreams
A large freshwater lake on the southern border of Sarasa and southeast of Makai, the Lake of Dreams is broad enough that it's possible to be out of sight of land for hours at a time. It's more of an inland sea than a lake, and it's even dotted with small, inhabited islands and island chains populated by fishers, hermits, refugees, and pirates who prey on the sea trade between Makai, Sarasa, B'rabt, and the Scarlet City.

The lake doesn't have most of the large, dangerous fauna that makes it difficult to travel far through the ocean, so it's much more densely traveled than the Narrow Sea or the Great Salt Ocean. Recently, sailors have talked about strange vessels they've seen while traveling back and forth. Vessels that seem all of one piece, and vanish beneath the waves when approached. They seem to be artificia, but the Silent Ones claim that they have never seen such vessels before and no one else has the expertise to make anything similar. Some sailors even claim to have seen cities beneath the waves, but any actual search for them has never turned up anything.

Far to the northwest of the Kingdom of Flowers, nestled between the arms of the Cloudtop Mountains is the country of Makai. Cold wind blows down from the north, shortening the growing season and making the inhabitants shiver, but the true reason they look over their shoulders and lock their doors at night are the castles of the Kurokyura, their vampiric overlords. The Kurokyura take a mostly hands-off approach as long as the blood taxes continue to flow, but the nation has a bad reputation nonetheless. No one likes an army composed of the unquiet dead or the necromancers that control them, and visitors would certainly not be as missed as the inhabitants would be.

The country might be totally isolated were it not for the products of its mines. Makai has some of the richest deposits of orichalcum and moonsilver in Agarica, and having untiring workers who do not need to eat or sleep means that the mines' output is incredibly high. As such, there are always traders and visitors in the kingdom, though they make sure to deal with the factors in the towns and avoid the Kurokyura's mountain fortresses. Nonetheless, a few traders disappear every year. Not enough to scare the others off, but just enough to remind those who remain who is the true power in Makai.

Bordering Makai and north of the Scarlet City lies an expanse of lush prairie inhabited by nomadic mandragora clans who have tamed the thunder lizards to a degree not seen anywhere else in Agarica, even in Chai. Sarasans wear thunder lizard skins, eat thunder lizard meat, ride thunder lizards to war or for hunting, and make their weapons and armor out of thunder lizard bones. The few towns they have are even protected by walls made of lashed together thunder lizard skeletons.

The Sarasans spend much of their time wandering in nomadic bands through the plains, alternately fighting and trading with each other, and they have similar attitudes toward any visitors to their lands. They're willing to sell their trained thunder lizards and distinctive weapons and armor to traders, and their cities are under a truce agreement between the clans that is harshly enforced by the Sarasan shamans. Those traders who are willing to risk attack on the way to a city--as well as the wrath of the spirits of the land, which are more active in Sarasa than in many other places--can make an extremely large amount of money.

Vahn occupies a unique place in the list of Agarican countries, since it's located almost entirely in a series of habitable Predecessor ruins buried beneath the earth. Geographically, it's located partially under Sarasa and partially to the south, under the Lake of Dreams, but the location doesn't really matter since the inhabitants rarely come above ground. Predecessor artifacts provide the means to grow food, keep their homes lit, and keep the air clean, and the inhabitants mostly keep to themselves.

The main populace is made up of mycon and amanita, with a few scattered immigrants from other countries who have come seeking solitude or treasure, as well as some solitary types who want a life of contemplation or a place to conduct their experiments. Life isn't totally quiet, though, since Vahn borders other Predecessor ruins that are not so well-provided for or stable, and the inhabitants of those ruins occasionally make forays into Vahn for food or treasure. The main interaction Vahn has with the outside world is thus hiring mercenaries to protect their borders. Some of these mercenaries manage to plunder particularly significant Predecessor artifacts on their expeditions, and the rumor of new wealth provides plenty of interested parties.
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