The Stormtalons Blog

The Seas of Asmer

There is only one known ocean in Asmer. The word “known” is used here because much of the world is covered by the Stormtalons, and no one is sure what else is out there. The mists curtail and cover the waters just as they do the land, and sailors are eager to avoid them. Of course, there are those who dare the Stormtalons; in search of profit, exploring new lands, or escaping pirates (or worse).

As teleportation magic, per se, does not exist in Asmer, and even if it did it would be monopolized by the Heirophar for his personal use, the seas are the only method of transport from one continent to another. Cities rise and fall with the currents, and sea lanes are as much decided by economy as sailing conditions. One cannot discuss the seas of Asmer without discussing trade.

The Aeradaunt, the ocean, stretches between three continents, northern Ertalon and southern Haramor and Izelatazzar. By real-world standards, the Aeradaunt is a sea more than an ocean, something like the Mediterranean rather than the Atlantic. It’s a roughly 400 mile voyage from Tanthalas on Ertalon due south to Kordrove on Haramor. It’s an oddity of the Aeradaunt that the wind rarely dies, so stories of those becalmed are few and far between. Weather on the Aeradaunt is similarly mild, with hurricanes generally occurring in predictable seasons, and by real world standards generally not reaching much worse than a Category 3. Tropical storms are much more common around the southwestern continent of Izeltazzar, along the canopied coast of the Yacathan and Jalant. Those storms, the proximity of the mists to the west, and the unknown nature of the uolori are what kept this area from being easily and often reached for so long.

No, there are much worse things than being becalmed in Asmer.

The other main body of water is the Dolordaunt Sea, between the continents of Haramor and Izeltazzar. Before the decline of Kordrove as a major port, it was the busiest of waters, but the rise of Tanthalas and Nornar Mining extending its reach along all the coastlines has led it to being quieter. Once, Kordrove, the Sovereign Cities, and the Sutherly Sovereigns were the trading capitals of the world, but no longer. Political shifts, changes in climate, and of course the Stormtalons have changed their fortunes. Some of these cities dream of days gone by and make endless plans based on how things used to be. Others are still scrambling to change their ways and adapt. With the clearing of the Harr and its rich bounty of agricultural land, thick forests, and clear rivers, who is to say that the Sovereigns might not regain their former glory?

And just like the lands of Asmer, its seas are encompassed by the mists.

Unlike the land, the twisted created from the tides are much less constrained by the boundaries of the mists, and freely mingle at large. The Stormtalons do not penetrate below the surface of the waters, but there are myriad ways for sea creatures to feel their touch. This has led to there being a much higher population of bred-twisted in the seas than one would find on land. Fortunately, they seem to like the depths over the surface unless within the mists, so episodes of them interfering with ships are not so common as tales suggest and an “average” Asmerian might fear.

Of course, for superstitious sailors, most everything is blamed on the mists anyway.

While the rise of The Heirophar may have been anathema for users of magic, his hold over Skalaunt was a blessing for trade. It stabilized the region, and he has encouraged a near free-market in the country, which has led artisans, artists, crafters, inventors, and merchants to flock there in droves. Unlike the chaotic Firefall or oppressed Rheligor, Skalaunt invites everyone to ply their trade, and entrepreneurial individuals find it a welcoming place indeed.

Naturally should one happen to be an artificer who dabbles in the arcane, one might find themselves donating to the state: services or one’s life. Most think it worth the risk.

Even “lawless” Tanthalas has laws, and one unwritten tenet rules everything: do not risk the trade. Customs inspections in Tanthalas are something of a joke, and only used by those currently in power to foil their rivals. Slaves, drugs, and other less savory things are all funneled through Tanthalas, whose folks staunchly publicly maintain that trade in such things is certainly against the law to the Vale lords in the Firefall—but even as they present this righteous face, their collective foot is holding the back door wide open. All along Ormrar Bay, there are nooks and crannies used by those with flexible or nonexistent morals. Even with Tanthalas as open as it is, there are some things that simply cannot be brought directly to its wharves, and there are those who cannot risk being associated with certain types of cargo. Pirates and privateers engage in deadly, secret wars to control the best dark harbors, making Ormrar Bay one of the most dangerous places on the sea, even without the mists.

Far to the west, the jungles of Yacathan have been penetrated by the bold, and the fledgling port of Tasmouth is finding its own way. Ruled by merchant houses, Tasmouth is the launch-point for those seeking to explore the rain forests and negotiate in trade with the snake-headed uolori. It has also become a somewhat popular place for fallen merchant houses to relocate, in attempts to rebuild their names and coffers with no government interference. No one really knows everything that comes and goes from Tasmouth, as piers are owned by merchant houses, and they each handle their own customs. There is a port authority, of sorts; in truth, they are no more than a title, an office, and a gang of thugs, used by the highest bidder.

Just as the Stormtalons dictate how Asmer ticks, so to do the seas. Without them, prosperity would be hard-won indeed, limited to a continental basis, rather than an intercontinental one. As the mists roll forward and back and waters are revealed or vanished, the known world changes.

Just like the Stormtalons, the seas are mysterious and fickle.

Yet unlike the Stormtalons, those who sail them worship them as their goddess.

 


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