THE ISLE OF SOFLOS
The song of the hills tells the story of a land of mountain and valley, of desert and forest, lake and river, city and country. It is the story of the island known as home to the greatest riches in the world, the island called home by a valiant race of people who dared everything to reach its shores. It is the story of long wars, devastating clashes for power, the deadlock of nobles clamoring for control. It is the story of The Isle of Soflos.
[All information in brackets is not really supposed to be known by the characters of the guild. In other words, it is background information I found useful or interesting.]
Below Kaliphlin and slightly to the east. See map below (note The Great Southern Ocean):
[This was my first attempt at a map, so please excuse its unprofessional layout. In fact, I did it all with only Paint and Word. Don't worry if you can't read the names; a description of each follows.]
Locations within Soflos:
Soflos - The entire isle is called by this name to symbolize the wisdom (especially in trading) of its inhabitants. In fact, there is really no reason to call it an isle, but it is more of a small continent. [Sophos means wisdom in ancient Greek.]
Kalosege - The island that is located near the Ocean of Terror, to the Southeast of the rest of Soflos. Kalosege grows much of the fruit produced in the Kingdom. [In Greek, Kalos means beautiful and ge means land.]
Navenga - The Capital of Soflos, although it has not always been the center of the Kingdom as it is now. When settlement of Soflos was first made, the explorers landed in what is now Celsium, and then retreated inland to Kriton, which they used as their stronghold against all evil. As more people began spreading to the west, Navenga was founded, as well as many other cities, for the ground in that area is very fertile. With an increasing number of people moving farther away from Kriton, King Axo I declared the new Capital to be Navenga.
Kingside - A favorite resort of both the king and his nobility. Located near the sea, it also trades extensively.
Mantulas - Much of the produce grown in the immediate area is sent here, and then shipped by the river to Kingside to avoid the tedious passage of the King's Highway. Many of the nobles travel through here on their way to Kingside as well. However, at certain seasons of the year the river is impassible, which is the reason the King's Highway exists at all.
Kepla - At once a port and an agricultural center. A great deal of the Kingdom's food is grown in this area.
Agathope - A flourishing woodland town, founded in modern times by Agathadous (a famous explorer). Grapes are produced here in great quantity, as well as other fruits. [Agathos means good in Greek.]
Thalassa - A beautiful seaside town (even if it does border the Ocean of Terror). Produce from the neighboring countryside is gathered and generally shipped to Kingside, or sometimes overland to Navenga. Also the location of a grand palace first constructed by King Athagamar and afterwards kept up by his successors. [Greek for Sea.]
Rubidium - One of the Trividiums, located in the upper left peninsula, and a rich trading city that knows how to get its money's worth!
Celsium - The landing place of the explorers that founded the country, as well as one of the Trividiums. [So called because there are three and they all end with "um".]
Millium - The last of the Trividiums. About two-thirds of all the wealth of the kingdom passes through these three cities every year. Much of Kepla's produce goes by sea to Celsium, while many other valuable articles are gathered through the Trividium Road. Gold and other precious metals are gathered near Le Grand Chasm, and they also contribute to make the Trividium Merchants the richest in the world.
Terseca - Little is known about this out-of-the-way city. When the first explorers came, a group of almost 15 went east (and, of necessity, a little ways south as well). It was supposed that they died, especially when the Chasm and the Dryland beyond were discovered. However, in the days of King Athagamar, they were re-discovered by a handful of intrepid explorers. No one really knows how they got there, but apparently there were in fact natives living in the area upon their arrival and they soon mixed in. Likewise, know one really knows what they produce or how they live. They have shown a tendency to stick to themselves. [Terseca is a combination of the Spanish for
Land (Tierra) and Dry (Seca).]
Kriton - Originally the Capital of the Kingdom, the town is located on the Kriton Lake - and no one knows if it was named for the lake or if the lake was named for it! An extremely rich and powerful city, bested only by Navenga in recent times, and still considered by many to be the real stronghold of Soflos.
Borlitas - Fruits grown on the west of Kalosege are collected here (the ones not used, that is) and shipped to Thalassa, or, should you be daring, straight to Kingside. A rapidly growing city that produces much more than it consumes.
Oceana - The outermost city of Soflos. Many people have fear of being here since it is so close to the Ocean of Terror. But the residents are used to it, and their ships have been known to travel (always in sight of land) all the way to Terseca with produce. Most often however, they travel to Thalassa.
Thousands of citizens live in small cottages all across the Kingdom. It is difficult to travel for a day without seeing ten. But they are sufficiently spread about to warrant them not being called cites [besides the fact that they have no names]. And it must not be supposed that the areas in green are the only fertile places; they merely signify the forested areas. Although the northeast is not suitable for farming, much of the other land is excellent, and the citizens work hard to produce many agricultural goods.
Bodies of Water
Rimar - The river that provides the main water route from Navenga to Kingside. Impassible at certain seasons.
Zofero - Waters the fertile area of Agathope. A beautiful, crystal-clear river. [A combination of two Greek words Zoe (life) and Fero (bring). Literally the Life-Bringer.]
Snake River - So named because it snakes along the ground. Brings water to a region that would likely be desert otherwise.
Kriton Lake - The only sizable lake of Soflos. It is as crystal-clear as Zofero.
The Ocean of Terror - No one knows what this Ocean is really like. Most believe it to be filled with giant monsters, dangerous whirlpools, and 50-foot waves ready to swallow a ship at any moment. Whether it is a myth or not, this body of water has gained a name as the Ocean of Terror!
The Great Southern Ocean - The sea route to Historica, used for ages to amass wealth. Comparatively easy to sail and with few storms.
Naturally, there are many more streams and rivulets, but they are so small as to defy drawing on a map!
King's Highway - So named by King Axo I, after his first overland visit to Kingside "along a road that reminds me terribly of my palace cleaners," referring, no doubt, to their tendency to leave dust in undesirable areas. Why he named it "King's Highway" after that is no less than a mystery.
Trividium Road - The road that goes from Kriton to the three Trividiums. A few points are home to robber bands, but the entire country is generally fairly safe. Be warned though, don't travel alone!
Many other paths exist (especially through the mountains), but most other extensive travel is done by water.
Le Grand Chasm - The biggest natural landmark of Soflos. Many consider it easier to sail around than travel over. How the founders of Terseca passed it is unknown.
Dryland Sea - The only desert area on the island, home to many amazing creatures.
The Heights - Not the biggest mountain range, but the closest to the capital, and therefore the one that achieved its own name.
There are other iconic figures of Soflos, for it is a land of great diversity. There are many caves in the mountains, for example. But these are the main natural figures, and are often used to help understand direction.
Capital and Ruler:
Navenga, the capital of Soflos, is the richest city in the Kingdom. It boasts amazing architecture, grand palaces for the king and his nobles, and even the poorest commoner here has a marble floor. Doubtless one of the reasons for that is its requirement by law, however.
Axo Navarrus III
Axo III was born in the palace of Thalassa, the only son of King Fenedar Navarrus, who died when Axo was 24, only 20 years ago. Axo immediately showed those who wished to take control of the country for their own gain that he would not tolerate such a thing. Instead, he rules with a firm hand, constantly looking to the good of Soflos. He is loved by all the citizens and is striving to establish Soflos as a major player in the world of Historica. It is said that, while still a child growing up on the banks of the Snake River, he swum from Thalassa to Borlitas without stopping. Only the explorer Agathadous had ever been known to accomplish such a feat. The Navarrus family symbol is the eagle, and Axo's family color is black. [Axo means "I will lead" in Greek, an appropriate name for this ambitious ruler.]
[I figured that at least one picture should have both guild flags:]
Light (Yellow Crystal)
[Edited Historica timeline with Soflos incorporated.]
More than 6000 years ago:
· The powerful race of the Druids lived in the regions of nowadays Avalonia. They are the first signs of life on this continent. Only remnants of their temples and shrines can be found with drawings of their rituals.
4000 years ago:
· The last of the Druids died. The Spell Of Peace And Protection is cast and buried in a mysterious shrine, still not found.
3500 years ago:
· Being banned from the surfaces of other continents, the Drow start construction of its first mayor city inside the Rakath Mountains. They live under the surface for the next 1200 years.
· All kinds of mysterious creatures are living on the surface of the continent.
3400 years ago:
· Elves arriving at the continent in their crusade against the Drow, starting a tribe in the forests.
3000 years ago:
· Some traders from another continent arrive at the Great Southern Grasslands (nowadays Kaliphlin). They are nomads so they come and go. Only a few of them stay here to start a new nomad life.
2700 years ago:
· Elves finally find a Drow city. Start of many Elves-Drows wars in our continent.
· Tired of warfare, a group of brave adventurers set out, planning to establish their own country. They find an island which they then name Arangon [Soflos], living in an extremely primitive fashion.
2500 years ago:
· A few nomads decide to construct a city somewhere in the Great Southern Grasslands. They call it Kaligem and call themselves Kaliphlins.
2300 years ago:
· After 400 years of war, the resources of the Drow start emptying themselves. The current Drow-lord starts conquering nowadays Nocturnus, at the moment a green area with much vegetation.
2000 years ago:
· The first known civilization in Mitgardia with men fighting the dragons, apparently hopelessly out-powered, but finally managing to push most dragons out of the realm.
· The city of Kaligem gets more and more fame across the globe as wealth rains into the city and the Kaliphlins decide to make a second wall, defended by golden towers.
· Drow starts conquering rest of Historica.
1900 years ago:
· Drows conquered the last big Elf city. The surviving Elves live as outlaws in the forests, hiding from Drow-patrols.
1800 years ago:
· The Legendary Warrior who defeated the Drow as they attempted to take Mitgardia as their own home was given the title of Jarl, and becomes leader of the Northern Lands of Mitgardia.
· Failed siege of Kaligem by the Drows, who are banned to their cities under the Rakath Mountains again. Drow raids in every part of Historica start.
1500 years ago:
· The great decline of Mitgardia, a period of time when civilization became scarce as the Jarl at the time was corrupt and cared not for his people.
· Santani Bela'Sti Fi'Ru of the House of Santani is the new Lord of Kaliphlin. He starts spreading the wealth of Kaligem throughout the continent and starts conquering Historica.
· A few daring Arangonians [Soflians] begin to trade with Kaliphlin.
1400 years ago:
· Kaliphlin conquers almost all of nowadays Historica. Cedrica is founded to create a more central capital.
· Arangon begins to have internal troubles. All trade is abruptly stopped. The rest of Historica nearly forgets of its existence.
1350 years ago:
· Kaliphlin starts the siege of the last holdout not yet conquered, the Darkland Bastion Everlast in the East.
1345 years ago:
· Everlast fell as the enemy disappeared. Kaliphlin controls now all of Historica. The capital now is Cedrica.
· Through magic Kaligem is destroyed. However, records of Arangon have been rediscovered.
1300 years ago:
· Due the fall of Kaligem, Kaliphlin was not able anymore to control Historica, new factions arose and they started fighting each other. A thousand years of war began.
· A handful of Kaliphlinians (about 50 in total), tired of war, emigrate to Arangon, landing in Celsium. Fifteen disappear on an exploration journey to the northwest and are supposed dead. Upon their arrival the new Kaliphlinians blend quickly with the old inhabitants and begin to rule with a firm hand. Kriton is chosen as the new kingdom's capital, and the island is renamed Soflos.
1000 years ago:
· Soflos becomes a prosperous Kingdom. Trade with Kaliphlin is carried on briskly, especially in precious metals. However, little else save the bargaining prices of Historica are known to the Soflians.
500 years ago:
· King Agathamar now rules in Soflos. He builds himself a palace in the new city of Thalassa.
· Terseca is discovered by Soflian explorers, who find that the fifteen men originally thought dead have created a city there [they themselves are long dead now, of course]. However, there seems nothing too spectacular about the region.
· Upon King Agathamar's death, the kingdom he had held together falls apart, as his sons each wish for control.
200 years ago:
· The rise of the New Mitgardian Dynasty, a period of time where a very popular and kind family took the Jarl's throne, and still rules today.
120 years ago:
· The Avalonia guild conquered the Western region of the continent. The tribe of Elves pledge their alliance to the house of Rex.
110 years ago:
· King Axo I unites all of Soflos under his banner. The isle begins to flourish under his control. He then moves the Capitol from Kriton to Navenga.
· Agathadous, a famous explorer, founds the city of Agathope in Soflos.
100 years ago:
· Origins of Historica. The bard’s song tells a tale of a world long forgotten, Race against race, clan against clan, shields clashed with swords; long ago when Men of the Lion fought Men of the Falcon, and human armies succumbed to Orcs and undead. Each group clashed with its neighbor for power, unleashing upon the world a great scourge, and the arcane land was thrown into chaos. When it all seemed but lost, a council of wise men and sages was summoned. From all the lands they came to convene in the old world’s great city; the fortress of Cedrica.
· To settle the grievance and end a millennium of bloodshed, the sages declined all the treaties of old and joined all the clans into one mighty Kingdom; Historica. They founded the Four Great Regions - each one a realm in itself; - Mitgardia in the North, Nocturnus in the East, Kaliphlin in the South and Avalonia in the West, so that trade routes would spring up and clans would meet in the markets and not in the theatre of war. The wise men chose a family of great honor, to uphold the truce and to keep the four guilds from dispute, and descendants of that mighty kin to this day rule the Central lands of Historica. So goes the legend. For ten decades the races of old have migrated and spread through the world, following the trade routes, establishing cultures and prospering towns.
· Soflos continues its own trading with Kaliphlin, as it becomes richer and richer, filling its coffers with wealth of all kinds. King Axo I's descendent still rule, but no concern is given to outside politics.
20 years ago:
· King Axo III of Soflos rules. He expands the scope of Soflos, and under his rule Soflians begin to consider themselves a "Fifth Guild" of Historica. Axo strives for outside recognition.
· Historica is a world of wonder and natural beauty; a realm where a man and a woman may find peace. But peace is short lived…
· Treacherous assassins have tried to murder the King! The capital is in shock and there will be repercussions; the Four Regions assemble their forces as the balance of power shifts, and blame is passed around. For the first time in a century, the guilds of Historica build up old defenses and prepare for the inevitable confrontation; everything hangs in the balance, and Historica is on the verge of chaos once more…
Inhabitants love fruit and other naturally grown produce (a main export, along with precious metals). In general, livestock is not a big moneymaker, although most families own enough for their own needs. All Soflians love the tropical heat of the island and are not at all resistant to cold.
Gold for the richness of the country and yellow for the sun.
The average citizen owns a plot of land and a one roomed cottage. Many are rich enough to afford a more commodious residence, but the people of Soflos are used to living simply.
The army of Soflos is composed mainly of the contingents of various noblemen. Axo's uncle, the Duke of Nau-Embery, here shown, is a typical example. Since he is of the same family but of a different line, his symbol is an eagle but his color is blue. A favorite weapon of all Soflians is the golden pike, although longbows are in vogue as well.
The King's own private regiment. Often used as escorts for him and his relatives. Dressed in black, they carry a golden pike with the yellow banner of Soflos hanging from the top.
Most people have no idea as to who these elusive characters really are. Only the King and a few of his chief advisors are in on the secret. They are his spies [the secret agents, not the chief advisors, of course], and he stations them all through the land to keep an eye out for anything amiss.
The isle of Soflos abounds with creatures of legend, some as terrifying as the thousand-teethed dragons told of by the story tellers and others as beautiful as its crystal-clear rivers. And there are many other animals that are only myths to the inhabitants, as elusive as the legendary pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The icon of Soflos is considered the eagle, the symbol of its rulers for generations.
The Terrandafrotlos, or Frotle:
One of the most unique creatures of Soflos, the frotle inhabits only the most damp and swampy of areas.
One of those one roomed cottages we spoke of earlier. Today the Duke of Nau-Embery has come to pay a visit, escorted by two of the King's elite guard (and, although unknowingly, by two secret agents as well). Outside the peasant is ready to lead his horse to the stables, while his oldest son busies himself with catching dinner. In the meantime the youngest child (also a boy) gathers berries on the side of the house, and inside certain savory culinary achievements are going forward (in other words, the wife and daughter are making pies). Soflians in general are very proud of their gardens, thus the elaborate arch entrance.
More pictures of the cottage on my flickr
[I had a tough time getting everything in here without making it too crowded. It kind of felt like I was filling every stud of ground and then some! The roof is fairly easy to remove although it sticks on firmly with the black overhanging slants on top. This was my first attempt at the kind of foundation on the bottom, my second at SNOT flooring, and the first time I tried anything like the arch. Hopefully you have as much fun looking at this as I did building it! It may seem like there is no bedding but - lo and behold! - see that drawer under the bay window? That's where the bedding is stored during the daytime. Plus, the door opens!]
I hope you enjoyed reading about my guild, despite the length of my description (yes, it's over 3,500 words long). C&C are welcome!
Edited by Kai NRG, 19 September 2012 - 12:32 PM.