Jeutontic

Jeutontic

Jeutontic is a city of 120,000 people built on the very tip of Gaia’s Navel. The city is walled on all sides, but has one unbarricaded entry point from the canyon. Twenty inch high steps go all the way down to the bottom of the mile and a half deep gorge. The steps widen as they go down as well, being about five hundred feet across at the canyon floor and twenty feet across at the top. The steps are made from Lumite, a type of granite that has been magically altered to glow white. The steps can be seen in the canyon from as far as ten miles away at Gaia’s First Wrinkle. After that Gaia’s Navel turns and the steps go out of sight.

A great mystery envelops the origin of Gaia’s Navel. No river ever flowed through the ravine and no titanic battle ever took place to scar the landscape. Thus it is assumed that the spot is the actual belly button of Gaia, the Earth Mother. Many clerics have petitioned the gods about where the 125 mile long crevice comes from, but the Olympians remain silent on the issue.

Thousands of people have come to Jeutontic to “walk the navel.” The journey through the canyon takes about eight days by foot and there is a small reprovisioning post on the western end. No steps exist on the west side. Instead there is only a massive cliff face. The ledge is scalable, but the climb is extremely difficult, taking three days for the most experienced to complete. The cliff has been nicknamed Dragon Cliff because it kills more people than dragons.

There are many caves and connections to the Underdark in the walls of Gaia’s Navel. This territorial oddity has led to Jeutontic’s greatest problem, attacks from the Underdark, and the city’s greatest advantage, training and selling the flying animals that settle in the upper caves. Griffons, Hippogriffs, Wyverns, Pegasi, and even a few Nightmares, known collectively as aerials, have made their homes in Gaia’s Navel. The people of Jeutontic have been capturing and domesticating the beasts for hundreds of years. A few of the animals are trained to be exported, but most will not fly farther than two hundred miles from the city. They become sick and die if forced to, almost as if a geas/quest was cast upon them. This training regime was implemented to combat theft. Fewer aerial rustlers will take the beasts if they know they can’t be sold for profit abroad.

Despite the limitations of the aerials they are still used in the expansive import-export activities of the city. Outposts have been set up within the 200 mile radius that the city aerials can fly to. Aerials fly goods to the perimeter where they are transferred to land-based caravans. The aerials fly back to Jeutontic with commodities dropped off by earthbound merchants. Larger and heavier cargoes that are too big for a single aerial to carry are placed on aerial wagons. The aerial wagon is basically a large tarp draped between two or more animals. With this invention most of the goods that are traded with Jeutontic can be transported between the city and the outposts quickly.

Of course a few cargoes weigh too much to be carried even by the largest aerial wagon of six griffons. For these huge loads the people of Jeutontic have elephants. Elephants were originally imported from India as a status symbol for the upper class of Jeutontic. Eventually, one intelligent merchant, Sharlada, realized he could use the gigantic beasts to move his goods from his warehouses in the city to his shops. The practice eventually spread to other businessmen until elephants became the norm for transport of goods and people throughout the entire city. Sharlada opened his own elephant ranch in Jeutontic, so that the useful animals do not need to be imported from India. Sharlada’s descendants still own and administrate the ranch which proudly bears his name upon the entrance.

All these creatures being used for transportation and labor puts the people of Jeutontic in a mood for animals. Thus exotic pets of all kinds are popular with the people of Jeutontic. Pseudodragons, cockatrices, shocker lizards, and other slightly dangerous pets can all be found for sale in the marketplace. Jeutontic is the best place to go if a magician wants an exceptional familiar. The most prized exotic pet in Jeutontic is called the Kanroji. It is a magic type of fox that has nine different types of breath weapons, fire, cold, acid, sonic, electricity, force, sleep, positive energy, and negative energy. Kanroji are known to grow very large in the wild, but once placed in a mage’s servitude they will stay the same size until their master’s death.

With the numerous pets, aerials, elephants, and people running around Jeutontic, waste disposal becomes a serious problem. The citizens of Jeutontic have come up with a rather ingenious solution, fertilizer. The city’s daily tons of excrement are exported to other parts of the Xorian Kingdom or used in the fields of Jeutontic to grow food to feed the inhabitants of the city to make more fertilizer. A wonderful circle of life.

Jeutontic is the biggest trading stop between Cimmeria and Persia. All commodities that travel by land have to pass through the city or risk the wild plains where bandits and monsters live. Xoria has levied a five percent tax on all goods that pass through Jeutontic except wheat and hay. Some smugglers try to sneak valuable goods through the gates by concealing them in hay, but all wagons are checked by the guards of the city. The city watchmen always seem to know when a merchant tries to smuggle something in. Magic is suspected, but no one dares confirm this theory.

Jeutontic is one of the most critical cities for the Xorian Kingdom and the one most at risk. It is the kingdom’s main source of income because of the numerous caravans that pass through it, but it is also the first city Persia would attack if the Great King decided to invade. In the unlikely event that a united Cimmeria successfully invaded the interior of Xoria, Jeutontic has been designated as a fallback point. Finally, Jeutontic is the logical expansion point for the creatures of the Underdark due to the tunnels of Gaia’s Navel. The city suffers near constant attacks from Drow, Svirfneblin, Duergar, Dromites, Mindflayers, and the other denizens of the deep. Jeutontic’s citizens have developed effective defenses against all these enemies.

For defense against the massive armies of Persia, Jeutontic relies on Xorian battle mages. Persian wizards are obviously not from Cimmeria where magic thrives and are thus inferior to those from Xoria. The Jeutontic division of the Xorian army has also perfected an aerial cavalry unit to be deployed in the case of an attack from Persia. This same cavalry battalion would be used against the city-states of Cimmeria if they invaded, harassing interlopers from up to two hundred miles away from the city walls.

The frequent attacks originating from beneath the city are stopped by liberally causing cave-ins. When the underdwellers bring tunneling animals the Xorian army has prepared a special type of freezing water to pour into the caverns beneath the city. The liquid is far colder than any natural water and it releases a noxious, unbreathable gas. The freezing water has killed many of those who live below the city.

Should an invading army ever breach the city walls there is an inner keep for the army to fall back to. The keep does not have enough space or resources to support the large population of Jeutontic. The civilians of the city are taught this from a young age and that if a conquering force should enter the city proper they are to arm themselves and fight with all their strength. Thus the potential risk of an armed civilian population revolting is turned into a militia that still serves the crown. The keep itself is defended with large ballistae, stone-throwers, and a contingent of battle mages.

Jeutontic, led by Duke Prusu, joined with the Alliance in the First Alliance War against Xoria. Upon losing, Prusu was captured and executed. The city was placed under the rule of the vampiric Rage, Havoc. Havoc vampirized many people within the city and their used their might to subjugate the mortals of Jeutontic. The vampires undertook many raids into the Underdark, destroying many of the previously aggresive communities that lived beneath Jeutontic. Slaves were taken on these raids and even forty years later it is not uncommon for a Xorian family to have an Underdark slave.

After King Jevaninada II came to power his first act was to end the vampiric occupation of Jeutontic. He and Blendegad singlehandedly eliminated most of the vampires from the city. The city’s jubilant cries soon turned to sounds of anguish as the old vampires were replaced with new Dragovinians. Many citizens tried to move to Persia, but Blendegad devoured all who fled the city. The people of Jeutontic bowed their heads and offered their necks to the new vampires while simultaneously plotting rebellion. The rebels’ efforts haven’t produced any tangible results yet and the introduction of Dragovinian beasts to ceaselessly watch the streets and alleys of the city hasn’t helped matters.

-GoCorral

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Greshen Dale

Greshen Dale

Greshen Dale is the most magical city in all the land. The original city was underground to avoid the extreme temperatures that are the norm in the far north. However, a swarm of Bulettes came through the area destroying much and making too many unwanted tunnels. These extra tunnels collapsed most of the old city making it unlivable. A change had to be made, so the council of mages decided to create a flying fortress impregnable against any assault to house the population of Greshen Dale.

The plan for the new floating city was made by the powerful mage, Tentineh. He devised a method for harnessing the lava of a volcano to power the city. The annually active Dahak Volcano the previously loomed over the northern end of Greshen Valley was chosen to power the city. In addition to the lava power, Tentineh ripped magic from various endowed places and put it into the items that keep Greshen Dale afloat. This reaping of the land has created a few Spheres of Annihilation in Greshen Valley, but the citizens don’t really care. They are literally above that.

The Dahak Volcano was ripped from its natural place in the Terror Mountains and turned upside down to make a flat place to build upon. As all volcanoes in the Magical Lands are prisons for great and terrible monsters this act didn’t come without its consequences. The monster released from the volcano was the Dahak. He wants Zeus to have a son with Metis. Dahak’s repeated attempts to free Metis earned him the treatment reserved for the most terrible of monsters. Dahak did not kill his savior, Tentineh, in the typical evil monster way, but thanked him and summoned a group of Omnielementals to help with the construction of the floating Greshen Dale. It is rumored that Dahak now lives in the mountains slaying monsters and practicing his skills until he can challenge Zeus and free Metis.

A separate group of wizards in the old underground-based Greshen Dale attempted to rebuild the city above ground, but further south. The settlement flourished for a time, but the frequency of troll attacks in that area eventually led to the abandonment of what was dubbed New Greshen Dale.

The flying city constructed by Tentineh now looks like a three mile wide half-sphere of rock with four smaller half-spheres overlapping around it. Large holes in the center of each of these balls emit tremendous blue light that illuminates the entire valley underneath the city.

The top of the city has many pure white stone buildings with large, marble paved streets in between them. The avenues have grass and fruit trees growing in the middle of them. The buildings have a blue trim and are built in an Arabic style. Most food is magically created, but rather bland. Everyone has a garden to make the gruel from create food and water spells taste better. Some people use their gardens exclusively to make olive oil and wine which they sell to the rest of the city.

There is a labyrinth inside the volcano of the city where lava flows to power all the street lights, eradicate all the waste, power the magic that produces all the food and water, and project the forcefield around the city that prevents flying and teleporting intrusions. The artifacts, elementals, and other things that power the fortress are all guarded by golems other elemenetals. The five artifacts that power the blue lights keeping the city afloat are surrounded by a wall of force and are guarded by dragons.

Greshen Dale has a very static population of 20,000. The city has no more room to expand to include more population. Births and immigration have to be carefully controlled. This task is given to the Sky Patrol. The Sky Patrol prevents anyone from flying into the city and anyone who teleports into the city is redirected to the entry pad on the south side. People who can teleport in on their own or have been to the city legally before are allowed to stay with a tourist pass.

There is another way into the city without teleportation. Those who have legally been to the city before can use the teleport pad directly below Greshen Dale to ascend to the entry pad without expending a spell. Everyone can leave the city in the same manner.

This leaves out those who weren’t born in the city and those who can’t teleport on their own. Such people must traverse the caverns that were once the original city of Greshen Dale. The caverns contain many traps and minor constructs to challenge people. Within these winding passage ways are magical items that act as tourist passes and allow access to the city.

All the necessities in Greshen Dale are free. You need not pay for food, water, clothes, or a house. They are all provided by the magic of the city. Luxuries, magic items, and the right to see tourist attractions must still be paid for. Luxuries and attractions are at fairly steep prices as well for this is the only way to make a living in the city without using magic. Magic items are cheaper and the selection wider because Greshen Dale is where most of them are made and exported to other cities.

Greshen Dale is home to many schools of magic including the prestigious War Mage Academy. Entrants are mostly from the city itself, but some foreigners  pay large amounts of money to the city to get in without going through the trials or knowing how to teleport. Education must be paid for just like other expensive goods and services.

Greshen Dale is ruled by a council of mages. A councilor is allowed from each university and from each guild present in the city. They meet every two months to discuss the business of the city. Until recently the presiding councilor was traditionally not a mage, but a psion with the title, Cerebremancer. The last Cerebremancer was a dromite named Talon. The head of the War Mage Academy, a grey elf named Krodius, leads the Sky Patrol which enforces the decrees of the council.

The center of the city has a large plaza where many things are sold and magic tricks are preformed. In the exact center of the plaza is a large well that goes all the way through the volcano. The hole has rails preventing people from falling in. At the center of this hole is the Staff of Oblivion, an artifact known for its power against undead. Twelve bolts of lightning continually emanate and crackle from the staff and go to the sides of the hole. No one is sure why Tentineh placed it there, but most assume for defense or to have a piece of what keeps the fortress afloat visible to the public. The well is used to make offerings to the Dahak who is still a patron deity of the city.

During the First and Second Alliance Wars Greshen Dale has so far remained neutral. The Xorians offered citizenship to the people of Greshen Dale after the Battle of Phoenix in the Second Alliance War, but the council of mages declined in favor of continuing their neutrality. This declination also involved the signing of an official neutrality document. This document allowed free access to the city for Xoria’s Dragovinian population. The Dragovinians moved in, led by Lady Li of Colchis, and began converting the people of Greshen Dale to Dragovinysm.

Cerebramancer Talon, seeing that his people would inevitably decide to join the Xorians, attempted to stop them from joining with an evil power. Talon allied with Amalius, Torin, Tagenadi, and Eathirilu to secure the Red Orb of Dragonkind from the northwestern sphere of Greshen Dale. The sphere could float for a time on its own without the Orb. The Orb could then be used to dominate Lady Li and her followers and expel them from the city. Unfortunately, Amalius deviated from the plan by willfully destroying the Red Orb in order to free the captive red dragons, Invernix and Sartoria.

Talon’s involvement was quickly discovered. He fled into the lava tubes beneath the city with a few loyal followers. In his absence, Lady Li and the new Dragovinian Sky Patrol Leader, Krodius, rule the city. Talon and his followers fight a guerrilla war against the Dragovinians in the city, but it is only a matter of time before the city officially joins with the Xorian Empire.

-GoCorral

Supersonic Jet

Photo of screen

I get most of my news from things my friends post on Facebook. When I look for news on my own, my source is the BBC. I’ve found that American news is… lacking. For example, when the BBC was covering the riots in Thailand and Ukraine, CNN was covering Taco Bell’s introduction of Mountain Dew to their soda fountain.

I read the BBC front page yesterday to get my update on the situation in Ukraine and this story caught my eye:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26258971

A fancy jet company is talking about introducing a supersonic jet for transatlantic flights. It’d be capable of making the journey in under 4 hours. The best part? The entire length of the walls inside are TV screens showing projections of the outside of the plane.

The engineers of the plane explained it as “reducing drag from windows” or some nonsense like that, but we all know why they did this. It looks freaking amazing.

It’s like something out of a James Bond movie. The Bond villain has a flying fortress that Bond infiltrates. Bond breaks into the villain’s minibar and makes himself a martini. The villain comes into his room and finds Bond there pointing a gun at him while we see clouds fly past the window-walls. “Even SPECTRE agent, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve made myself comfortable.”

I would love to take a ride in this plane. Unfortunately, the company plans a passenger capacity of only 18 people. The flights would probably be ridiculously expensive. Still, maybe I can put it on my bucket list with all the other things I will feel bad for doing when I am old and should be donating my money.

That’s all for today!

-Mister Ed