The Prime Dominion
Hysh, the Realm of Light
Hysh is the Realm of Light within the Mortal Realms. These symmetrical lands contain many arcane symbols and shapes with hidden meaning.
Hysh is the “sun” of the Mortal Realms, so while the daylight in Hysh waxes and wanes it will never be truly dark and Hysh routinely enters a dusky twilight state. There is no Day/Night cycle as such; people who are from this realm are immune to the effects and can sleep with the light – they might even find it comforting, like a night light, and find themselves disheartened without it.
People from other realms may not be used to the continual light and have a harder time dealing with it. Some even have to build special windowless rooms or buildings to block out the light to help them sleep. Outsider districts in many cities block out the light during twilight to simulate night and let their citizens sleep, some even use material from Ulgu to achieve this.
Haixiah, the Perimeter Inimical
As with most of the other Mortal Realms, Hysh is more magically stable in the centre, while towards the Realm’s Edge – known as the Perimeter Inimical – things begin to deteriorate. Hysh is ringed by a continent known as Haixiah – the outermost and most magically unstable of Hysh’s ten provinces. Lying beyond a sea of liquid light, Haixiah is a freakishly perfect place, where even the fjords are rimmed with precise fractal shapes. Even further towards the edge of the realm lie regions which appear only as pencil sketches, dots of light, or waves of thought.
The Iscarneth Ceraphate
“The light of Hysh casts many shadows.” – Azyrite proverb
Haixiah is an inherently inhospitable realm, and the only one of the Ten Paradises that is not settled by a Lumineth nation. The Prime Dominion is an anomaly, a place of untapped potential and hidden danger, for many strange truths find refuge at the edge of reality.
At its heart is Catarhactes. Much like the Ghyrplunge of Lake Bykaal, it is a Realmgate from Chamon to Hysh and truly grand in scale. On the shores and peaks surrounding Catarhactes is Iscarion, the Illusive City. Cut from the rock faces it’s built into, the Satraps rule their people and, nominally, all of the Prime Dominion from Iscarion’s halls of power.
The Dominion itself seems to be formed by the interaction of Catarhactes with Noctis, a black sun that orbits Catarhactes. While Catarhactes deposits raw material from other realms into the Prime Dominion, the gravity, magic-eating and light-eating properties of Noctis both pull that material out into a disk-shape, forming an archipelago of floating islands, and consume enough light to make normal life sustainable in the perimeter inimical of Haixiah. As there is less light where-ever Noctis is, the regions closest to it at any given time are in a state of winter, while those furthest are in a state of summer, while the Catarhactes and the city of Iscarion remain a temperate eden. The orbit of Noctis around the Prime Dominion is so stable and predictable, it is used to measure the region’s year.
The shimmersea of liquid light between the floating islands forms a “conventional” sea that the enchanted ships of the Prime Dominion can sail upon. Skyships can fly over or under it, traversing the surface through the shadowtides that swirl in indecipherable patterns around the islands as Noctis orbits.
Noctis makes the Prime Dominion possible and life relatively safe in Haixiah. But it is also a great hazard to skyshipping. There are horrific riptides in the winter months, and the strongest winds blow towards Noctis, so most ships migrate around the region to avoid it, staying in the areas experiencing spring, summer and autumn as much as possible.
Lux Flumen, Lux Umbra & the Ulkesi Diyari
The Prime Dominion is divided unevenly into six provinces that are referred to as the “Ulkesi Diyari”. The three provinces of Ulkesi are inward and the three provinces of Diyari are outward. Each Satrap has claimed a province, although the Satrapies lack the numbers to enforce or exploit control over these provinces without external assistance.
The disc-like archipelago surrounding the Ulkesi Diyari is called the Lux Flumen, floating land masses in a shimmersea of liquid light. Where the land masses are closest, some soaring bridges have been built, especially near Catarhactes. Elsewhere, wild Realmgates can be discovered, allowing one to walk across the water from one shore to another, as if crossing a ford. Magic-users may also focus the liquid light as though through a prism, forcing the geometry of the waters to align and forcing a temporary path. Otherwise, armies must travel by surface ship, skyship, or other more exotic means. The whole region can be crossed in a matter of weeks by a flying ship, but travel by land would take much longer.
The subterranean underside of the Prime Dominion is called the Lux Umbra, and is largely ignored as it’s far less stable than the surface of the Prime Dominion. It is home to a literal underworld of criminals, smugglers, fences, pirates and mercenaries.
Places of Prominence
Iscarion, the Illusive City, Catarhactes
- Stretching from the banks to the peaks of the bay surrounding the Catarhactes realmgate, the city has grown from the first refugee settlements into the sprawling metropolis of civilization it is today. Amasya’s architectural sensibilities are present here, as the cliff-faces themselves have been reshaped into beautiful structures of stone and wood. All roads in the Prime Dominion lead back to Iscarion, as those resources harvested afield are all brought back for the good of the city.
- By ancient custom and accord, violence is not permitted within its walls- but here, intrigue can be just as deadly as a blade.
The Basileun Library, Iscarion
- A towering edifice of vaulted marble and illuminated domes of purest aetherquartz, the hallowed halls of this library house the accumulated knowledge of the Icarneth lords. No staff or attendants disturb its pristine silence, for the library is home to a bound Endless Spell of immense size. Wrought long ago by the eight satraps, the ancient magical entity now known as The Curator protects and oversees the knowledge within. Visitors are occasionally permitted within the Basileun Library, but are expected to offer knowledge of their own as the cost of their admission, ensuring the Library continues to grow.
- Along with the Palace of the Dawn and the Illuminated Senate, it forms the three great landmarks of Iscarion.
The Palace of the Dawn, Iscarion
- The most magnificent palace in a city of palaces, it sits at the summit of the city and is therefore said to be the first place in all of Hysh that the light touches. It has stood empty since Ceraph Eresiel’s murder over a century ago.
The Illuminated Senate, Iscarion
- Formal meeting place of the Satraps and their attaches to debate matters of state.
The Epicurean, Iscarion
- An Ossiarch Kavalos (retired) who draws upon the culinary skills of the many souls within them, the Epicurean is an oddity even within Iscarion. Owner and operator of a soul food shop in lower Iscarion, they boast the Ceriphate’s elite among their clientele and are- unofficially- an important information broker within the city. Like the ingredients of their many exemplary dishes, they always seem to know just what any patron is looking for.
The Mysterious Restaurant, Iscarion
- Named after the five disgustingly bloated and fly-infested men who operate it, this small, grubby establishment sits opposite of the Epicurean’s restaurant. Frequently enjoying the patronage of Lux Umbra’s undesirables with business inside the city, their food is fast, cheap, and excessively greasy. Talk on the street claims the place is a haven for Nurgle’s maggotkin, but the so-called “Five Guys” will tell you such hearsay is simply part of the Epicurean’s smear campaign.
The Geode, (Lhoris)
- A huge floating cube of Aetherquartz – pure Realmstone suspended above a pyramid of granite.
Orym Forest and the Great Chain (Lhoris)
- In the centre of this green and pleasant woodland of Hyshian tohnasai trees there are seventeen links of a gargantuan chain. One end of the chain is buried in rocky ground, the other curls away into the trees. There are also the remains of four more broken chain links scattered through the forest, hidden beneath the undergrowth.
Nabeth Hills (Lhoris)
- Seven identically shaped hills in a circle, evenly and symmetrically spaced. At their centre is a valley with a stone circle of seven megaliths. All are identical and geometrically perfect, save one which has a huge crack in the base.
Ivasaar City (Lhoris)
- Capital city of the Ruyalar province, on the edgeward coast, opposite the straits between Wirenth and Namys. There is a gentle rivalry between Ivasaar and Iscarion. The architecture of this city rivals that of Iscarion in beauty and ambition, though the city is much smaller. The citizens of Iscarion view it as a quaint “holiday” destination, much to the annoyance of the Ivasaar residents.
Tamnaeth’s Tower (Lhoris)
- An intact Waystone Tower.
Horith’s Tower (Lhoris)
- A Waystone Tower with a flaw. Navigators avoid using this Waystone as the flaw makes it seem to shift and move unpredictably so it cannot be used as a reliable reference point on their charts.
The Great Shrine (Lhoris)
- A vast Shrine Luminor that towers over the countryside around it. The Great Shrine was built on a floating metalith but it settled into the ground long ago.
The Taranth Mountains (Kellandor)
- Rumoured to be the lair of a great drake. No one has seen the drake but it is commonly accepted that it exists and that it is a creature of fearsome size and great wisdom.
Cyran Mountains (Kellandor)
- Every winter the peaks of these mountains are wreathed in beautiful lights. These dazzling displays are caused by Noctis pulling the light and swallowing it up, but something in the mountains slows the light down as it passes over them, causing a spectacular aura.
Underside, Lux Umbra, (Kellandor)
- A dark reflection of Iscarion. A city-size web of tunnels and caves, exposed wooden and stone walkways, and shanty buildings hanging in the shadows beneath the island. Most of the permanent population of the city work in the skyship quays, taverns, warehouses, merchant stores, etc. But the total population at any given time is about 50% travellers from elsewhere in the Mortal Realms – merchant skyship crews, mercenaries, spellhunters, travelling traders. Smuggling is rife and some ships’ crews barely disguise their piratical nature.
Folwin Forest (Salihn)
- A light and airy tohnasai forest. Pleasant all year round with thin undergrowth, many open pathways and leafy clearings. The wildlife is almost all benign. In the centre of the island is a hidden cave. Even if adventurers plan to explore it, none leave the forest with any memory of what lies within. They are left not knowing if they are magically warded-away from entering, or if they went inside and had their memories removed.
The Myriil Monastery (Hycis)
- A large complex of a dozen towers, interconnected by high bridges. There are no doorways or entrances at ground level. The monks have isolated themselves from the outside world save for a small group who go out to procure supplies (travelling by skyvessel), in exchange for the small aetherquartz crystals they make.
The Great Tree (Liluth)
- A massive sacred tree growing on the side of a mountain. A holy place of pilgrimage and silent meditation. In the summer it is bathed in enlightening rays.
The Aurannar-Euyalar Bridge (Kellandor to Lhoris)
- A slender and beautiful wonder of aelven architecture. The white stone and greened copper of its construction are worked into beautiful patterns with hidden meanings.
Ciradyl Tower (Edraele)
- The ruins of a watch tower, on the north coast. Often used by smugglers to load or unload cargo into skyships.
The Elenea Bridge (Edraele to Minuvae)
- A simple arch, but one with pleasing geometry.
Selanar City (Edraele)
- A magnificent marvel of elegant architecture made of wondrous towers and structures that are blended seamlessly into the natural beauty of the island.
Yelric Tower (Edraele)
- An intact Waystone Tower with a guard of professional soldiers. The garason’s commanding officer is corrupt.
The Taera (Minuvae)
- A huge and carefully-tended garden of pink-blossomed trees in the spring, halcyon days in the summer and bountiful harvests in the autumn.
Saidia’s Needle (Syndra)
- An impossibly tall and thin tower.
Bilgebottom, Lux Umbra, (Arasne)
- Once a mine meant to plunder the possible resources of Lux Umbra, it was abandoned due to the instability of the depths. It has now become a squalid, impoverished camp. As it’s below the water table, the shadow water sloshing around in its lower levels rises and falls with the orbit of Noctis, swallowing the unfortunates pushed to its lower levels.
Paris Hills (Amisra)
- Barren and rocky hills, infested with Troggs and grots.
The Tethered Island (Ruven)
- Ruven is attached to the mainland (Kali) by a gargantuan chain. Each link is 170 yards long and made of meteoric steel.
The Stormland (Arasne)
- Mainly flatlands that have an unusually stormy climate, which has led to a thinly spread population, most of whom live in low buildings, clustered into small towns.
Tenula’s Tower (Arasne)
- An intact Waystone Tower.
The Ruins of Adorellan (Kali)
- An abandoned town that was besieged in a recent border conflict with a neighbouring Satrapy. The buildings are all ruined and most are now just burned-out shells. The rest of the island seems to have been scoured by devastating magics.
Gorduin’s Tower (Caeda)
- A Waystone Tower surrounded by a field of geodesic crystal prisms that capture and reflect the light, and the ideas of those who walk among them.
- A scattered group of tiny barren and unwelcoming islands around Amisra.
The Tyrionic Colosseum, (Tanulia)
- Said to be modeled after the Gladiatorum which Malerion gifted Sigmar long ago, the Colosseum is a central hub of Idrelec society, hosting military parades, tournament matches, and coming of age ceremonies, all of which is meant to galvanize the Idrelec in their own martial way of life.
Elluin Tower (Tanulia)
- A ruined Waystone Tower, broken recently by powerful magics.
The Bloodlight Crystalfields, (Tanulia)
- Unhallowed crystals glowing with a sanguine and unnerving light tear through the ground on the foothills and lower slopes of a mountain range. They act as a beacon for Mordants from the mountains above.
Faelyn’s Tower (Merlara)
- A Waystone Tower, watched over by Faelyn (a mystic and seer) and his small group of aelven monks.
The Wreck of the Uther (Tanulia)
- A Kharadron Arkanaut Ironclad, shipwrecked some years ago and left to rust in a woody valley. The cargo and the bodies of the crew were recovered soon after the wreck, but for some reason the ship itself was not.
The Haunted Wood (Zaleria)
- The entire island of Zaleria is covered by dense tohnasai woodland, thought to be inhabited by ghosts and malign spirits.
Mallon’s Folly (Merlara)
- A Waystone Tower in the form of a floating crystal prism, hundred of yards tall. In the winter the prism focuses and redirects light toward the black sun, that hungrily swallows it up. It is believed the prism was a failed experiment that was meant to stave-off the worst effects of winter.
The Library of Galaeron (Sumina)
- A cluster of towers, filled with books, scrolls, manuscripts, collected letters, documents and assorted paper records, from across the Realms. Most were once part of a private collection and there is no central theme. The library is in the process of being sorted, ordered and catalogued but most of it is currently a jumbled mess. The small staff work diligently and enthusiastically, but their task is herculean.
Jandar Castle (Sumina)
- A ruined fortress, besieged a hundred years ago and left to rot into its current state. It is now only used as a meeting place for those who do not want to be seen.
The Arbane Inaqen (Phyrra)
- The entire island of Phyrra is covered in dense forest. Rumours tell of a dragon that sleeps here.
- A foggy fenland of low grassy hills with exposed granite tors. Many small winding rivers run down from the mountains and drain into boggy valleys. Moss, scrubby grass, lichen and heather cover almost everything.
The Khiiral Mountains (Llorra)
- Cold and desolate mountains and the lair of many bands of orruks and beastmen.
Downside, Lux Umbra, (Namys)
- A skyport beneath the island, home to unsavoury characters but tolerated as a source of mercenaries and unaligned transports. Smuggling is still technically illegal there but happens openly anyway.
Sylmare City (Namys)
- A city on the highest peak of a mountain range that is always snow-caped. At the heart of the city there is a Waystone Tower that is forbidden to all visitors. Sylmare is the location of the Corusca Palace; the seat of Teclandec power.
Halamar Mines (Sionia)
- The Lux Umbra of this island is riddled with tunnels and caves. A rich seam of crystallised Realmstone was rumoured to be buried within them and a “goldrush” town sprang up in a few months. The mines were quickly dug throughout the island but not even a grain of Realmstone was found. The town was abandoned some years ago.
Ruehnar’s Needle (Sionia)
- An intact Waystone Tower watched over by a civilian militia guard.
Corinth Skyport (Wirenth)
- A busy shipping hub, with a Realmgate to Iscarion.
- A mossy forest of overgrown ruined arches and viaducts. The whole forest is filled with faint music – complex, multi-layered and mesmeric melodies that will distract the unwary and make them sit and listen for days on end without noticing the passing of time.
Taeral’s Labyrinth (Ayla)
- A network of natural caves that form a symmetrical maze with only two mirror-image safe routes to the centre. All other pathways through the labyrinth lead to deadly enchantments.
Keenor Point (Galira)
- A small castle on a headland. The shimmersea around it is always calm, even during the worst winter storms.
- Four small and isolated islands. There are no Realmgates or bridges and skyships rarely visit. The islanders are very insular and view visitors with distrust. Along with Nimue they suffer the most extreme weather in the Prime Dominion – hard winters and roasting summers.
- Six tiny islands with close ties to Sylmare City. Along with The Aravae they suffer the most extreme weather in the Prime Dominion – hard winters and roasting summers.
- A scattered group of about twenty small and tiny, jungle covered islands that have close ties to Sylmare City.
The Four Sisters (Eletha, Elaratha, Elasha, and Rina)
- Wooded islands that produce magically-imbued timber used to construct sleek and fast skyships.
- A cluster of small islands that are skillfully farmed and produce large quantities of food that is exported via Corinth Skyport