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The Shards of the Diadem



Tasavalta - the central shard of the kingdom. The capital city is Tara Tassa, a beautiful stonework city with a massive cathedral that has several enormous towers, but it is surrounded with bountiful farmlands and does much trade with the neighboring shards, so there are airships in flight at all hours. Newcomers to Avatars begin here.

Caer Valta - one of the outposts of Tasavalta, it's a castle on a big floating rock from which natural crystals spike upward, carved into towers by skilled shapers. An order of spellcasting knights reside there, using the central crystal spire as a focus of their meditation on the Light. A common quest for newcomers is to defend supply ships on their way there. During the rebellion, Caer Valta was the citadel of the Northern King.

Caer Vox - another outpost of Tasavalta, it's a rock carved into fortifications, with a strange system of natural waterfalls that flow ceaselessly over its surface and through internal caverns. It reminds people of an Escherian painting. It was the citadel of the Southern King.

Tara Lux - sometimes called the breadbasket of Tasavalta, it's a sprawling Renaissance-inspired city on a lush farmland shard nearby, with wineyards and orchards and luxuriously furred creatures in the forest. Its abundance makes pirates and bandits a constant, if low level threat. There are several monastic orders resident as well; it's a lovely place to retire and contemplate the joys of life.

The Far Lands

Ithalbar - one of the Far Lands deeper into Shadow, it is a small kingdom that lies in the area between Tasavalta and the Empire of Stars, above the Sentinel Shards. Rather than being buildings on top of a shard, it is a series of ruins that has grown around the shard, perhaps fragmented from a much larger shard. Once it was occupied by bandits and monsters, and then it was the newest colony of Tasavar, but now it is a refuge for those who have been driven from their homelands by the Empire of Stars, and Tasavar Far Land militia airships patrol its skies.

Ilyria - a ruined pleasure-garden shard. It used to be a summer palace but fell a while ago. Soldiers hold the surface fortifications against the coming of the Empire of Stars, but every few days, a new access to the underground crypts is discovered when they must chase back an incursion from its subterranean dwellers. It is suspected that some great treasure lies within its deepest vaults.

Asphodel - a Gothic garden/mansion shard with black wyverns perched atop obsidian towers, dark flowers in its gardens. Unaligned with any kingdom. They drink a nectar brewed from the flowers called Amacha, which has narcotic qualities, and speak of 'coming to an arrangement with the Empire of Stars to leave them undisturbed'. It is rumored that they ship off fifteen of their best and brightest every month to the Emperor as a tribute.

The Conquered Lands

Shipwreck - a sargasso of ships collected in the center of a moving storm, doing trade with nearby shards and scavenging treasures from places they pass by. It's a popular stopover for pirates and smugglers, observing a kind of armed truce under the guidance of the Duke of Ships, a mysterious pirate with a strange sense of honor who is noted for appearing in unlikely places to give a hand or steal a treasure in order to repay an offense. They pay lip service to the Empire of Stars, but the Sargasso prevents the Empire from bringing its full military might to bear against them.

The Sentinel Shards - a militaristic kingdom. Cadmus is the central Shard, and the Spartes are the surrounding shards. They fought long and hard against the Empire of Stars, but could not hold against their dreadnoughts. They are now a subject people, and their living dragonfly ships have been sighted as part of the Empire's raiding forces on the borders of the Far Lands.

The Empire of Stars

A recent threat that brought the two warring factions of Tasavalta back together to marshal against it. It's known for its black armored warships, which advance in fleets from apparently out of nowhere, unloading black knights and black-dressed archers to take over shards. It has clashed several times with the Sentinel Shards, and makes progress in other fronts.

Gormenghast - the capital of the Empire of Stars, spoken of in hushed whispers. It's supposed to be a giant fortress, built in ages long ago and fallen to Shadow. Everyone within was thought lost - but evidently it resurfaced recently. The people of the Empire of Stars are known for a spooky silent efficiency, as if they know what to do without having to tell each other. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gormenghast_(castle) - but with the parts of the castle becoming shards within the Empire of Stars.)

Bright Star - one of the newest acquisitions of the Empire of Stars, it neighbors the Sentinel Shards and was the farthest outpost of Tasavalta. It was so named for the beacon towers that had been built on it, shining from afar as a navigation guide for ships - their configuration would allow them to place their direction easily when navigating that deep. The shard itself is rocky with planted gardens along terraces to sustain the monastic inhabitants.

Blackstone - a large floating mountain of black rock, presumably the source of the metal that makes up the weapons of the Empire of Stars. Scuttlebut has it from the King's Explorers who made it that far that one half of it is carved into a giant skull with a crown. Prisoners of the Empire are frequently sentenced to hard labor there. Some of them manage to escape through various means.

Tesliem - an irregularly shaped asteroid that crackles with blue lightning, at the eye of a miniature storm. It refines the red glowing liquid fuel that drives the Empire's mighty engines of war, and it's rumored that the Empire conducts dark and unnatural experiments here with an eye toward creating new and more powerful golems that could very well turn the tide once and for all against Tasavalta.

Cauchemarem - a ruined citadel amidst a graveyard of ancient ships and weapons that may have belonged to those who long ago drove the Endless Night away from the Diadem. Little is known about this remote Shard, save that it would take a very well equipped expedition to make it this far out.
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