THE SKYDOM OF QEL'TRA'LOH ("ISLAND OF SKIES")

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - COAT OF ARMS
CLIMATE -
FLORA - FAUNA - RESOURCES - MYTH/LORE  - HISTORY - MUSICAL THEME

Qel'tra'loh is that legendary, but nevertheless and paradoxically still existing island kingdom (or "skydom" as the "Lohans" say) founded solely upon magic off the coast of western Santharia. Its unclear roots date back millennia, at least so much is for certain, and its wondrous arcane, well guarded secrets have been preserved to this very day, despite the many failed attempts to conquer the island or undermine its leadership through intrigues, assassination plots or feigned trading relations with actual intent to spy on Lohans or smuggle powerful magical goods and information out of the realm. After all Qel'tra'loh's unrivaled fame stems from the fact that nearly the entire population is capable of using magic, with varying proficiencies of course, but generally in astounding capacities unheard of in the rest of Caelereth. Rumours abound that this has to do with a unique magical mineral, aca'hál (Styrásh for "pulsating ground"), that unfolds its stupefying qualities in conjunction with ancient arcane elven lore, today only known to the Lohans themselves.

The Windrider Cliff

View picture in full size Image description. The westernmost part of the Winderrider Cliff, the construction yard of the legendary Qel'tra'loh sky ships, complete with breathtaking scenery and ships leaving on their maiden voyage. Picture drawn by Reegen.

Among the most famous of Qel'tra'loh's usages of magic are - as every Santharian child already knows - its permanently floating islands and the magical skyships. All of these phenomenons are also said to be source or inspiration of the skydom's rather unusual name meaning literally "away, above and below" in Styrásh. However, the floating pieces of land and the skyships are not the only key application of magecraft on the island. also all regular businesses use magic in one form of another. Blacksmiths make use of runes and potions to imbue their weapons with beneficial qualities; farmers use magic to create crops that will grow faster and have better results; architects reinforce their buildings with small spells, and can protect them against weather; merchants use gates formed by rock arches enchanted with extremely powerful spells to travel long distances in short amounts of time. Magic is even taught in schools from a young age, and from there children can branch into any area they wish to. As it is, the island is one of the few places in the whole world where magic truly is an everyday thing and not mainly imagined as stories that are told around warm fires.

The Qel'tra'loh skydom stretches over a couple of hundred strals in both directions and is located west of the United Kingdom of Santharia in midst the Dark Sea, well protected by reefs and, naturally one might add, various magical defense mechanisms. The capital of the country is called Corloth, and since this is its most famous city, the people are called Corlothans. Lohans are a exceptionally proud people, and this applies especially for Corlothans where the most mages of the realms live. The leader of the city, the Skylord (or lady) traditionally has always been one of the most powerful wizards of the the skydom if not the whole known world.

Description. Before we can address the details on what kind of landscapes, cities, special buildings and so forth one can expect to find in Qel'tra'loh some basic notes on this unique place are in order: The whole area on which Qel'tra'loh can be found is magical territory, or at least territory that has minerals with highly magically susceptible substances embedded deep down in its soil, which considerably facilitates spellcasting. To quote Khaelvan III. on his researches in this regard: "The locals call this mineral 'aca'hál' and have learned to mine and use it for their needs by forging artifacts out of it that can also - under certain very specific enchantmental circumstances - be brought to strongly react with similar material, resulting in remarkable stable permanent territorial enchantments." Or, in order to simplify the academic debate and get straight to the point: Wind mages can enchant clumps of aca'hál in a way that it repells and at the same time is being repelled by another chunk of aca'hál, so that these objects hold each other in a floating state. This rather elementary yet powerful technique has enabled the Lohans to construct floating isles and build vessels that can travel with relative ease through the skies, however, with the one major downside: The extraordinary properties of aca'hál can only be exploited in an area where the soil itself is rich in aca'hál, a decisive enhancing factor that makes the mineral in and around Qel'tra'loh so enormously powerful and on the other hand practically useless elsewhere. Therefore all the floating buildings and skyships prevalent in the Skydom have been carefully gauged and calibrated by wind mages and serve their purpose only in this area and even the most breathtaking ships cannot move further away than a couple of strals from the Qel'tra'loh mainland. That said, here's a basic overview on what awaits in and around the Skydom:

When viewed from high above as when travelling via skyship or on back of a gryph, the skydom of Qel’tra’loh has the unusual shape of an eye, consisting of various of appropriately aligned islands that suggest this peculiar eye-like shape: Qel’tra’loh is arranged with a fairly round mass of land at the center. This is where the majority of the population lives, and also where the capital city, Corloth, is located. The island itself is also often referred to as "Córloth'chrónn" (Styrásh for "Island of Nightwatch") therefore or aptly as "The Eye" as it represents the "eyeball" in this unique geographical formation. Just outside of this major isle are two long islands, completing the eye shape, the northern ("Tae'theméf", Styrásh for "Covered Fortification") slightly longer than the other ("Waesh'car'scál", "Twelve-Sword" in Styrásh). Additionally, there are scattered islets to the southeast of the main archipelago named again in analogy to the eye comparison the "Teardrops" or "Teardrop Islets" (also called "Ael'ón'quaelaía"). Seen by most as sacred ground, an area set aside for nature alone, these are visited infrequently.

Around and in between the islands Qel'tra'loh's surrounding waters are considered practically impossible to navigate by ship due to the extreme amount of reefs scattered all over the extended coastal areas, ranging far into the Dark Sea. Aside from small fishing ports there therefore exist no major ports for ships to dock on any of the islands and islets, except the various skyports of course. Whatever few passages might nevertheless offer access for careful foreigners were fortified with floating watchtowers to spot intruders instantly, and in some other cases magical traps were laid out on sea level.

Location. The Skydom of Qel'tra'loh is located in the Dark Sea, west of the southern Sarvonian continent and northwest of the northernmost Santharian province of Nermeran. While technically the island belongs to Sarvonia it has maintained its independent stance for millenia and has to be treated as a self-sustaining entity. Qel'tra'loh is surrounded by a whole barrage of natural reefs and of subsequently heaved floating rocks that serve as "watchtower" equivalents overlooking vast areas of the adjacent seas, manned by soldiers on gryphs or crag eagles. Additionally various magical traps have been installed to make it practically impossible for unauthorized intruders to sneak in unnoticed. The system of natural environment that is difficult to overcome in the first place combined with magical defenses has worked for millennia to fend off attackers and is considered a masterpiece of strategical construction to protect the arcane secrets of the island. Return to the top

People. The inhabitants of Qel'tra'loh mainly consist of two races, elves and humans, with origins in all kinds of tribes, primarily however Injerín elves and Erpheronian humans. This constellation is based on the fact that the official founders of the Skydom, Sah'nat'rar and Aepheael, were Injerín and Erpheronian respectively, so they brought many of their relatives to settle the isles, however, slowly more and more trustworthy people of all sorts of races and tribes were admitted as well, usually through invitation based on special recommendation. Thus integrity of the Lohan society is secured, and while there are exceptions to the rule, once whole families get exiled from the Skydom due to smuggling of people or goods in or out of the realm, deterring examples are set. Citizens of the Skydom are proud to be part of the magic realm and are Lohans with fervour and dedicated to the possibilities of these lands thanks to the secrets buried in Qel'tra'lohan soil. Knowing one's way around magic is therefore crucial to the inhabitants of the isles, and while humans and elves have different approaches on how to harness magic, on Qel'tra'loh their magical prowess works as one to maintain and expand the Skydom. On the other hand it is very difficult to become a Lohan as an outsider, and everyone who joins can only leave under certain prerequistes, however most Lohans choose to stay at the picturesque landscape they've learned to love: floating cities, swirling rocks, waterfalls that lead into nothingness from high above the ground, and, and, and...

Politically speaking Corloth since ages has been ruled by the Skylord, which is assisted by a the Sky Council made up of six people. The Council also elects the lord if one dies, or goes missing. The Council members, in turn, are elected by the people whom they represent. The Council and Skylord meet in the Chamber of Clouds, which is located in the palace in the center of Corloth. This room has the distinction of being the only building floating high above Corloth, where one is able to look all across the valley and all the isles surrounding Corloth. Thus with the whole Skydom at hand, at least as a visual aid, decisions are made much more tangible - or, in other words: - the view the Skylord and his Council have is simply terrific! Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. The Corlothan coat of arms which is considered to be identical with the Skydom's banner is usually found on a basic shield shape, with clouds at the bottom, the sun in the upper right corner, and sky covering the top. In the center, a gryph and a crag eagle and circling each other, since those are the birds most used in the Skydom. The symbol of the Corlothan army is simply a gryph flying upwards, with the sun rising at the bottom, filling the sky with its rays. Only the top half of the gryph is seen. A version of this is used on exported products as well, a sign that stands for topmost quality throughout Caelereth. Return to the top

Climate. Basically, the Lohans enjoy warm summers and frosty winters with a good deal of snow as is the case in most parts of the Sarvonian continent nearby. However, like many other things, climate in Qel'tra'loh is a rather peculiar issue, and quite frankly speaking: mages and scholars haven't quite figured out why and under which particular circumstances weather changes occur in the Skydom. Because as a matter of fact, they do occur rather frequently, suddenly and sometimes in dramatic fashion and interestingly are locally bound. It might happen for instance that a quiet idyllic spot on the Teardrop Isles enjoys a lot of late summer sunshine for half a day when it gets swamped by torrential rainfalls, or even worse is devastated by a blizzard which cuts a swath through the underbrush emerging seemingly out of nowhere. These uncontrollable outbreaks are said to be the results of magical residues reacting and discharging violently and are therefore often referred to as "magical storms". While all kinds of elements are involved in these kinds of storms and damage done can be quite severe, it is extremely rare that they take on the form of earthquakes or firestorms that could do more permanent damage. While the thought of unexpected magical storms might sound disquieting, for some reason populated areas are rarely hit directly, most likely - at least that's what scholars guess - because the man-made (or elf-made for that matter) aca'hál constructions manage to properly balance the elements that exist naturally in the environment through magical means, thus harnessing the prevalent chaotic nature of magic that exists on the island. On the other hand in areas where the aca'hál soil is allowed to still unopposedly react with magical residue - as was already the case long before the first settlers arrived - there is no such control. Thus by-products like free floating ounía of any kind of cast spells in other areas, permanent or temporary, might eventually trigger a magical discharge. More details on dealing with the chaotic energies of the aca'hál can be found in the Myth/Lore section. Return to the top

Flora. With magical energies that are part of the land's soil there's no doubt that Qel'tra'loh's flora is extraordinary in every way one can possibly think of. Regular plants that are common elsewhere and grow on these islands as well like the cerubell, lotann, sunsmile or Dreamer's breath can double in size or shoot up over night and wither away instantly when exposed to one of the common magical storm. At least this is the case in "wild" areas, like meadows and woods that are magically uncontrolled by the Lohan mages. Wherever magicians have tampered with the magical resources in order to try to balance things out through additional permanent spells, the growth of plants does not differ greatly from other places. However, the anomalies of the Qel'tra'lohan fauna are also its allure and greatest asset, as e.g. the effects of healing remedies made out of more potent plants are definitely not to be sneezed at! Such potions sell extremely well on the market - in the Skydom and elsewhere... Which is why the Lohans have made sure that certain spots are kept untouched by any human or elven magician, so that the harvest of these wild growing plants yields the best results. On the other hand places that are intentionally kept clean from any interference are likely to get hit by dangerous magical storms and because of this regularly cost some harvesters their lives. But that's the risk some enterprising Lohans are willing to take.

Also especially in terms of plants with properties that make them perfect magical reagents and ingredients for strong potions the Skydom of course is an absolutely invaluable resource. Plants like the forget-me-nut, wizardleaf, gemflower (notorious by the way for having a tendency for causing crystaline disease), macadan, mourdring root, injouwaeyn, kamataqua or zifel exist in Qel'tra'loh pretty much in abundance compared to the rest of the world where these kinds of magical vegetation need to be sought in the most unusual and remote places. This alone made the Skydom a chosen target for greedy rulers in the past, as despite the fact that powerful magic is limited to the confines of the islands, reagents, potions and artifacts can still be exported. Return to the top

Fauna. Many aerial creatures roam the skies of Qel'tra'loh, among them gryphs, crag eagles, gale drakes and rocs, all of them have been trained and made part of their army by the Lohans. Dedicated to the aerial fleet there's even a hatching ground on top of the Corloth Palace harbouring these giant birds and drakes that will serve the Skydom once they grow up. Carrier pigeons are also not an uncommon sight in Corloth, delivering important messages without delay, not only used by the army. Especially because the islands as a whole measure only a couple of hundreds strals in size and are surrounded by endless sea, trained pigeons only fly short distances within the Skydom and never lose their way. Other aerial creatures live in the Deepfrost Crags like the feathered wyvern or the notorious fire dragons which can be found on the volcano rim on the Smokeshroud, one of the few places in Caelereth aside from the Celeste Mountains of Northern Savonia where these mighty creatures can be encountered, yet should nevertheless be avoided.

Sheep, cattle, goats and pigs plus the occasional quaerash roam the southern island, Waesh'car'scál, where many farms can be found to provide Corloth with food, and the sparse woods have deer, wolves, foxes, wild cats and the like. Most of the fishing is done up north on Tae'theméf island, where yellowtail, barsa and the in other parts fairly rare goldfin and charma'lan are caught. Return to the top

Resources. Qel'tra'loh's main and essential resource for the functioning of the Skydom of course is the aca'hál (Styrásh for
"pulsating ground"), the mineral found over most parts of the territory and considered unique to it (insofar as is known). It is endowed with magical properties that allow capable mages to keep pieces of land, rocks, ships and buildings afloat permanently, alas with the downside that permanent enchantments only work on and in conjunction with aca'hál containing soil. Aca'hál therefore is indispensible to keep Qel'tra'loh afloat, quite literally at that, but on the other hand is completely useless elsewhere, so despite its internal value for the Skydom it is not a trading good. Aca'hál is mainly mined at the northern island of Tae'theméf in quarries near the ports of Klinderonde and Caelderond.

Floating Islands over Qel'tra'loh

View picture in full size Image description. View on some of the many floating islands over the mainland of Qel'tra'loh. Picture drawn by Seeker.

Other minerals found on Tae'theméf in and around the aca'hál mines are fyrite, orcrystal, vitriol and herne, however in comparably meager quantities. The main island, Córloth'chrónn, also features a couple of gemstone deposits, especially around the town of Windrider with its skyshipyards. Close to the Windblast Cliffs and the Rift carnelions (also called "lionstones"), emeralds and sapphires are mined, topaz and garnets are to be found in the Neyer mines in the southwest of the island of Córloth'chrónn. In general it has to be said that the lack of other minerals and gems aside from aca'hál make it an absolute necessity for the Lohans to trade with others, so while on the one hand they seem to be far ahead from others, in other respects they depend entirely on the outside world.

While aca'hál is exempt of trading, what the Lohans can actually trade with others are the products made in Qel'tra'loh thanks to the direct or indirect influence of aca'hál, products that are primarily magical in nature (e.g. artifacts) or alchemical (potions, ointments etc. made of wild growing, much more potent plants near major aca'hál deposits).
Trade with other kingdoms however is meticulously controlled by the executive branch of the Chamber of Clouds, which attempts to prevent any kind of irregularities of trading like delivering excessive amounts of reagents to single customers. Infringements can lead to severe penalties, among them exiling the delinquents for life. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. Discovering, interpreting and finally harnessing the powers of the legendary aca'hál mineral were the foundation on which the Skydom of Qel'tra'loh was finally built. After all, for millenia following the War of the Chosen, the island was considered uninhabitable due to the chaotic rampant magical storms that plagued the area unabatedly and also because large parts of it were and still are inaccessible, blocked by deadly reefs. How exactly these circumstances exactly came about is anyone's guess, but what seems for certain is that one of the white Chosen, the Injerín half-elf Dra've'ensle, had erected a stronghold on what would eventually become Qel'tra'loh, but at that time these lands most likely were still parts of the Sarvonian continent. The War of the Chosen brought death and destruction upon Caelereth, and Dra've'ensle along with his fellow white Chosen, Coulande, perished in the Battle of Winds when fighting Eckra the Cruel, Avatar of Queprur. An ensuing gigantic maelstrom ripped the lands apart, and Qel'tra'loh was probably separated from the mainland at this time, but not without Coulande's final "gift" to the world: The elf is said to have linked his soul to the place he had built, and that he drew powerful magic he used in battle from it through means only he could know. However, once his demise had come, his stronghold was extinguished with him, as he wouldn't let it fall in the hands of another Chosen and exploit its arcane knowledge. Some say that the eye shape of today's Qel'tra'loh and its many reefs mirror the devastating explosion of Coulande's magical fortress when he was killed, but that's just one aspect of this tragedy. The other is that the place was still imbued with the dazzling powers of its creator, which sank into its soil and transformed it, giving birth to a new kind of mineral which since its discovery has been referred to as "aca'hál" (Styrásh for "pulsating ground"). Or at least so the story goes. Others claim that aca'hál exists in other parts of the world as well, disputing its uniqueness to Qel'tr'loh, but no concrete proof exists of these assumptions as of yet.

Undoubtedly the Qel'tra'loh territory was still magically active long after the War of the Chosen had ended - "cursed" some say, "haunted" others, but what was for sure was that all elements existed in a dynamically changing environment on these islands. This also meant that the place was not done with destroying whatever tried to set foot on it, for a long time it represented an impenetrable magical trap. Glaciers and active volcanoes existed alongside each other, heavy storms battered the coasts for a long, long time that cost many adventurers looking for artifacts and treasures their lives. Until one day when a shipwrecked sailor by the name of Aehphael of an Erpheronian trade ship that hit a reef got stranded on one of the islands and lived there for years in a humble abode he had constructed from simple logs and leaves.
He survived on Waesh'car'scál (the southern island) because he observed the magical storms carefully and learned where not to venture when he set out to forage. Eventually he could pass this precious knowledge on to a group of independent Injérin and human mages who had come to investigate the phenomenons bringing with them their very own approaches on the workings of magecraft. The corridor they used to circumnavigate the reefs by the way since then has been called "Aephael's Strait", and the elven leader of these bold researchers, Sah'nat'rar, would eventually become the first Skylord, and Aephael his right hand.

As thus it happened that thanks to Aepheael's invaluable help patterns of magical storms could be detected that prior to this expedition were considered to be merely random. Based on these findings, Sah'nat'rar and his followers experimented with containing the magical energies that dominated vast areas of the islands, which eventually led to the discovery of the mineral they aptly named "aca'hál" (Styrásh for
"pulsating ground"). Buried deep within the soil aca'hál was found to act as a catalyst to enhance or trigger magic reactions, and due to the fact that the mineral was prevalent in certain specific areas and lacking in others, the magical storms it caused (often ignited by natural strong winds, lightning, volcanic eruptions or just a hot day etc.) could be more or less predicted. One thing led to another and the magicians found ways first to neutralize the powers of the aca'hál, reducing the probability of storms and then to competely harness aca'hál by using chunks of it for the balancing of permanent enchantments: Wind mages found ways to use aca'hál artifacts and let them repell each other, keeping objects afloat, providing the artifacts are close to soil that also bears aca'hál. Tempering with this natural magical resource of course led also to side effects, namely that while magical storms could be tremendously reduced over the millennia, they could not be completely annihilated, only directed to areas of the island that are not properly balance controlled.

Ever since the days of Aephael and Sah'nat'rar the Skydom of Qel'tr'loh has only grown in its magical prowess, reigned by the Skylords, and while its natural limitations prevent it from expanding, its secrets have remained well guarded. Several attacks on Qel'tr'loh have failed, among them a bloody massacre during the First Sarvonian War that lends Twelve-Sword Island its name. Qel'tra'loh - represented by the Skylord - sees itself as a place on its own, independent from the continents, not dictated by race, tribe and creed, and therefore has brought forth a plethora of diverse leaders over time that stand for this exemplary criteria, a rare governmental construction that almost matches aca'hál in its uniqueness. Return to the top

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THE ERA OF CATACLYSM
(YEARS 9.500 B.S. - 8.500 B.S.)
9023 b.S. The Birth of a Magical Island
The War of the Chosen brings death and destruction upon Caelereth, and Dra've'ensle along with his fellow white Chosen, Coulande, perish in the Battle of Winds when fighting Eckra the Cruel, Avatar of Queprur. An ensuing gigantic maelstrom rips the lands apart, and a landmass is separated from the mainland at this time, but not without Coulande's final "gift" to the world: After having linked his soul to the place he has built, Coulande's demise extinguishes his stronghold with him...

The place however is still imbued with the dazzling powers of its creator, which sink into its soil and transform it, giving birth to a new kind of mineralm the "aca'hál" (Styrásh for "pulsating ground").

THE AGE OF AWAKENING
(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
ca. 980 b.S. The Erpheronian sailor Aehphael strands on Qel'tra'loh
The shipwrecked Erpheronian sailor Aehphael strands on one of the islands of Qel'tra'loh and lives for years in a humble abode he has constructed from simple logs and leaves.
  

965 b.S. The first Skylord Sah'nat'rar rises
The shipwrecked Aephael survives on Qel'tra'loh's southern island Waesh'car'scál because he observes the magical storms carefully and learns where not to venture when he set out to forage. Eventually he passes this precious knowledge on to a group of independent Injérin and human mages who have come to investigate the phenomenons bringing with them their very own approaches on the workings of magecraft.

The corridor they use to circumnavigate the reefs by the way since then has been called "Aephael's Strait", and the elven leader of these bold researchers, Sah'nat'rar, eventually becomes the first Skylord, and Aephael his right hand.

THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
735 b.S. Caltharian and Erpheronian debacle on Twelve-Sword Island
Joined Caltharian and Erpheronian forces try to conquer the Skydom of Qel'tra'loh and suffer horrible losses at what would later become Twelve-Sword Island ("Waesh'car'scál"). No less than twelve human heroes of legendary fame perish in the many magical traps that protect the island.

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Song #
9: "Theme of Qel'tra'loh", composed and performed by Ralrok

Format: MP3, Length: 5:29, Original Title: "Isle of Ruins", original Santharian work.

Click here to download the song, use right-click and "Save as..." (5.22 MB) Return to the top
 
 Date of last edit 2nd Sleeping Dreameress 1674 a.S.

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