Ignited: The World of Jangbahar by A. M. Deese

The Tri-Alliance

Before the Tri-Alliance, Jangbahar was plagued by warfare. The bloodiest of these was the Border Wars, a series of battles over the borders of Kitoi and the seven kingdoms of the Sand Sea. Gregor the Great, a powerful war king used magic to seize control of the land until he was defeated by Josper the Usurper who was, at the time, simply a charismatic merchant with powerful friends. Josper and his followers infiltrated Gregor’s fortress and Josper shoved a spear through Gregor’s throat, effectively ending his reign and ushering a new era of peace. Josper went on to found the current democracy of the Republic as well as drafted the Tri-Alliance, thus ensuring peace with the nation below. With well-established borders and a firm trade policy in place, the people began to flourish.

The Tri-Alliance is still in place today and is an integral part of maintaining the peace between the Republic and Kitoi. In recent years, hostility has grown from the nation of Kitoi as they have remained stagnant in their borders while the Republic has been able to expand and widen their territories increasingly until it hit the wilds. The Tri-Alliance does not forbid peaceful expansion but Kitoi is pinned under the border of the Republic and the nomadic warriors in Shrivo would never allow for a “peaceful expansion.” The Tri-Alliance also forbids individual unregulated trade between the citizens of the Republic and any other nation. In order to purchase exported goods, citizens must use third party vendors approved by the Thirteen, although any kind of contraband can be found in the underground market. The Sea People have the least to gain through trade, their primary imports being livestock and glass. Their constant supply of fresh water and fish make the Sea People invaluable to the success of the Republic.

In recent years hostilities have grown as the Republic has continued to thrive under the Tri-Alliance and Kitio’s government has called for an amendment session and resigning of the alliance with a reassessment of Kitoi’s borders.

The World of Jangbahar: Tirdrakor

Tirdrakor

Population: 296,321

Language: Drakori and Jangba

Symbol/Flag: A golden sun setting behind a red mountain

Tirdrakor is a small territory just to the west of the Republic. The land is made up of rolling hills and streams with fertile soil. It is mostly a farming nation, with the majority of its crops traded to the Republic. Though once a small kingdom with its own monarchy, Tirdrakor was swallowed up by the Republic during the reign of Gregor the Great. Much of the histories of Tirdrakor were lost during the Border Wars and its people were forced to orally pass on their traditions. As such, little is known of the country’s origins and it seems the only piece of their culture they were able to hang on to is their language.

The World of Jangbahar: Is’Le’Spar Islands

Is’Le’Spar Islands

Population: Unknown

Language: Lesparan

Symbol/Flag: A green tree against a blue background

Little is known of the race of people who make their home where the Orreram meets the Bariq Sea. It is forbidden for outsiders to travel to the stretch of islands where the sea people make their home and so what little information is known about the sea people is all gathered from those brief interactions during trade. The third nation to complete the Tri-Alliance, the island people only interact with the mainland when they are in need of fresh supplies and to provide the Republic with fresh water. The people are largely self-sustaining and it is believed their primary income comes from their fish and water trade.

The World of Jangbahar: Shrivo

Shrivo

Population: 168,954

Language: Jangba and Samuran

Symbol/Flag: A silver sword embedded in sand or a broken sword

Shrivo runs along the Eastern border of Kitoi. Its people are nomadic and live in small tribes with no known government. Though few historians can comment on the country’s origins, its people are made up of some of Jangbahar’s best warriors. The population refers to themselves as Samur and from the moment they leave the womb their lives are sworn to the art of battle. It is believed their god lives in another plane and that the Samur can only gain access to this plane through a glorious death. Because of this, the small country is plagued by civil wars.

Old Hollow: The Town of Old Hollow by Ambrose Stolliker

The History of Old Hollow

Early Spring, 1865. The Army of the Potomac has cut a path of destruction through large swathes of enemy territory in its relentless pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s once-vaunted Army of Northern Virginia. Union cavalry men have raided every town, village, and hamlet in the Virginia countryside between Petersburg and the James River in search of food and supplies for the Northern Army’s men and horses. Every town, that is, but Old Hollow. Even as nearby towns like Cumberland succumb to the Yankees, Old Hollow remains virtually untouched, as if protected from the outside world by some unknown, unseen force.

The town’s beginnings are a mystery. No record exists to tell the story of how and when it first came into being. Some in neighboring communities say it was founded by English settlers in the late 17th century who tried and failed to eke out a living as tobacco farmers. Others say its history goes back further, that the town began when a small group of colonists wandered west after being exiled from Jamestown for practicing witchcraft and Devil worship. No one knows for certain.

Whatever its origins, Old Hollow and the outside world are on the verge of a violent collision with the arrival of a trio of Union cavalrymen seeking shelter for a wounded comrade. Led by Captain Benjamin Lawson, the Yankee soldiers think they have stumbled upon a quiet, little town that, somehow, someway, the Union Army has missed. What they don’t know is that something diabolical awaits them in the dark recesses of an ancient, white tree in the forest north of town. That something is hungry.

The She-Wolf of Kanta: Thomas Farrell’s Mill by Marlena Frank

Thomas Farrell’s Mill

When Thomas Farrell inherited his father’s mill, there was only a single grinder, and it was human powered. The hard physical labor meant a high turnover rate, and the mill was anything but profitable.

After the invention of Liquid Lead, and the harnessing of werewolves to do the hard labor, Thomas not only gained a profit on his mill, he expanded it. He added grinder after grinder, in a haphazard fashion, gleefully improving on the equipment and finding ways to streamline his workforce.

Only something happened shortly after he built the sixth grinder. Some say Thomas had a mental breakdown after witnessing one of his human workers be mauled. Others said he fell from the scaffolding that crisscrossed the grinders. Regardless, shortly after the grinder was finished, all talks of expansion abruptly stopped.

The Mill is now a well-known feature of Kanta, with its tall smokestacks and regular influx of trappers for supplies and trade. Behind it’s castle-like walls and guarded entrances, grinders churn all day and all night.

 

The She-Wolf of Kanta: The City of Kanta by Marlena Frank

The History of Kanta

Kanta used to be a small city with big hopes and dreams. The people pushed back the wilderness and claimed the land for their own, creating a haven amid the old forest.

Then the werewolves came. They surged each night, and diminished the population in droves, adding survivors unwillingly to their numbers. The streets were stained with blood. Cries could be heard all through the night. Finally, only three buildings remained: the jailhouse, the pub, and the mill. When the city was on the brink of destruction, a madman had a crazy idea.

Thomas Farrell found a way to harness the werewolves’ power. With a concoction he called Liquid Lead, he helped the city of Kanta truly fight back. More than that, he turned werewolf trapping into a profit.

The city is now a destination for survivors, but also attracts scavengers and thieves. The desperate suffer in Kanta and the naïve often meet grisly ends. The werewolves are a blight, but the city of Kanta is truly diseased.

Fragile Chaos: The Realm of the Gods and Goddesses by Amber R. Duell

Gods of Old

Long before the world came into existence, there lived three Old Gods. But, as they began to fade, they regretted never having created anything worthwhile and feared being forgotten. With the last of themselves, they created a pantheon of six siblings that would do what they never had:

Ebris to guide the siblings.
Drea to create a world teaming with life.
Brisa to rule the unpredictable seas.
Leander to help souls find their place in the afterlife.
Astra to aid in matters of the heart.
Theodric to steer the living through their conflicts.

Ostran War

For thousands of years, the mortals worshiped their gods and goddesses, but with each generation, fewer believed in their existence. Ebris, like his creators, feared being forgotten, and pushed his siblings to do more for their worshipers. Drea, Brisa, Leander, Astra, and Theodric went along with their brother’s requests out of respect for him, but everything changed when Ebris ordered the continuation of the Ostran War.

Theodric began the conflict to reward the Ostran Emperor by extending his territory, but with every victory meant to end the war, Ebris forced Theodric to press forward until the entire east was embroiled in the bloody conflict. It wasn’t until the mortals assumed the war was a sign the gods had abandoned them that Ebris ordered its end.

Ebris ripped Theodric’s power away, calling him reckless and impulsive. None of the siblings dared stop Ebris for fear he would turn on them next. But, while no one crossed Ebris, the ordeal ruined their trust of one another. The gods and goddesses began to work as separate entities instead of one, and it wasn’t long until the disconnect caused mortals to turn away from their creators completely.

Gods and Goddesses: Theodric 

Realm of Theodric, God of War

A dirt path led away from the circular stone temple at the edge of Theodric’s realm, winding through a grassy field, and up a hill. A gray stone mansion at the top was surrounded by a circular wall. Passing under the entryway, the packed dirt gave way to fine black gravel that circled the interior courtyard. Turrets capped the corners of the twenty-eight room mansion.

Most of the rooms were covered in dust, and used for storage. Two bedrooms and a bathroom were used on the second floor by Theodric and his advisor, but the war room was occupied most frequently. High windows covered the back wall with seats beneath each. On either side of the doors hung an array of weapons—swords, guns, throwing knives—and, to the right, maps were tacked from the ceiling down. Books and scrolls lined shelves. The war table stood useless in the middle of the room. Theodric moved the colored glass pieces across the black base out of habit now instead of necessity.

Even in times of peace, Theodric was preparing for the moment that harmony shattered, but without his full power, he was no longer able to see things like he needed to. Hundreds of spies were scattered across the world to keep him updated. Three hundred male sacrifices were left living inside the outer wall. A sacrificial bride had never made it out of the main chamber of the temple.

Behind the mansion stretched a wide forest. Animals were no longer present, but a small brook laced through trees. Upstream, a waterfall spilled over the edge of rocky cliffs, filling a pool and feeding the brook. A mountain range began at the edge of the tree line, and didn’t stop until it reached the Between—a dark abyss holding the six god and goddess realms together. The threat of being banished into the nothingness was usually more than enough for Ebris to keep everyone in line.

Gods and Goddesses: Astra

Realm of Astra, Goddess of Love

White and gray columns held up a balcony that ran the entire length of Astra’s two-story square palace. A frosted pink and white skylight shone down on the double staircase in the foyer. Crystal chandeliers hung in each of the two-hundred rooms, and someone was always playing a musical instrument. It could be heard almost anywhere with sheer curtains billowing from glassless windows.

Despite the lack of belief, Astra would visit the mortals on a regular basis. Her walled-in temple was surrounded by six sets of four pillars. The five alcoves belonging to her siblings were each set at the top of a separate staircase inside. An infinity symbol carved from marble served as her altar before the pit with a wide, single-wick candle at its center. A river flowed near the entrance with paddleboats waiting by the dock. Flowering trees grew across the hilly landscape. A stone path lined with always-blooming cherry blossoms could be followed throughout the realm.

Most residents preferred to spend time in the common areas: pillows covering the flat roof to enjoy the stars at night or the atrium that opened to the entire first floor with a deep-set pool at its center. With seventy-five servants remaining along with seven husbands, there was always company to be found in either place. While Astra loved each of her sacrifices equally, she hadn’t truly accepted any husbands in the last nine hundred years. If the men chose to stay, she honored their sacrifice and encouraged them to find love elsewhere in the household.