By Tooth And Claw Dragons
ARCADIA, Land of Fire

Above the hinterlands of Everdark, Ristell’s vast territory is carved six ways by the great nations of Arcadia, Nyx, Zaegrim’a Oqh, Tempest, the Cloudkingdoms, and the Wilds.

The central region - dominated by a vast desert - is the proud home of Arcadia. Patriotic and wealthy, Arcadia is the ruling power of Ristell, and headed by an ancient line of sphinx who hold the rank of Pharaoh above all other races. In many of the cultures that grace the face of Arcadia, the royal sphinx are seen to be mortal incarnations of Azcen himself. Governed by the clever and the resourceful, what would be a desolate land to foreigners has been expertly shaped into the center of trade; its fearsome army, mages, and merchant power maintains the law over the heart of Ristell.

Country/Area Name(s): Arcadia

Ruling Species: Sol'tera, sphinx

Native Language: Signis

Capital(s): Eden

Monarch(s): Pharaoh of Arcadia


These are the cities found within this area; each one is marked on the map, and divided by tiers. The larger the tier, the larger the city - tier one may be a small village or town, while tier four may be sprawling cities of grand proportions.

RACE: sphinx, mixed. LEADER: High Sphinx Lilzet (NPC). TIER: four.

APPEARANCE: The lower third of the tower is designed like a typical ziggurat, with successively smaller levels built atop one another, carved from sandstone. These lower levels are primarily living quarters and storage rooms, while the central tower, carved from glistening marble, rises from the center of the ziggurat, high above the lower levels. Powerful wards protect the tower from sandstorms, leaving a calm eye in the center of the storms that commonly tear across Ristell's desert surface.

CULTURE: Nothing about Akhetaten's culture is known, other than it is Ristell's Tower of Magic and belongs to the Order of Mages.

RACE: desert sphinx. LEADER: Lord Pofedas (NPC). TIER: three.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: While the high outer walls of Eden are constructed of smooth sandstone, the rest of the city is predominantly made of whitewashed granite, and polished marble. The skyline is dominated by a vast, towering temple-palace complex, home of the royal family and their retainers, and the priesthood. Rivaling this structure is the Great Library, wherein is gathered all manner of scrolls, codices, and tomes. The main gate, called the Sun Gate, is positioned to face the rising sun. A large, open square is ringed with shops, and outside the walls, docks for Eden's large fishing fleet are situated. Towering, gold-capped obelisks stand on the four corners of the city, reflecting the light of the suns for miles around.

CULTURE: Within the throne room, five ceremonial thrones dedicated to the Ristell Five are positioned on an upraised gallery overlooking the royal throne below, with the Throne of Azcen at the center, and slightly higher then the others. Within the Library, new books or scrolls are dedicated on an altar of Azcen before being added to the library's records while a priest recites a prayer beseeching Azcen to accept the offering, or consume it should it be unworthy. The Sun Gate is traditionally closed at sunset, and opened in the morning when the first rays of the rising sun strike it.

RACE: sol'tera. LEADER: Lord Lajsd (NPC). TIER: two.

APPEARANCE: Edjo almost appears to be two cities, rather than one. Built near the summits of two mountain peaks, and joined by a massive stone bridge supported by stone pillars and solid archways, the city is constructed from two different types of stone. The northern side of the city is constructed of primarily marbled granite, while the southern half is primarily made of primarily dark red sandstone. On top of the northern peak, statues of the Ristell Five stand, facing southwest towards Eden, with gemstones inset into their eyes. A winding path way leads down the southern side, sloping towards Ife.

CULTURE: Draiyd is the chief deity of Edjo, and a temple dedicated to him stands in the northern side of the city, towering above the rest of the city. While they don't have the same connection to the god as the Dwarves of Dun Modon do, they still celebrate whenever the god awakens and moves. This celebration lasts until he has resettled, and returned to his deep slumber. During the year, various smaller celebrations take place, featuring feasting, dancing, and physical contests. The primary event is a foot race across the great bridge. Mineral wealth in the form of precious metals and stones is mined from the various mines and quarries nearby, and precious gems adorn many statues. Much of this wealth goes to Eden, while a smaller offering is set aside to be sent to Dun Modon every few years, to honor Draiyd.

RACE: human, selkie. LEADER: Lord Farjad (NPC). TIER: two.

APPEARANCE: A beautiful city constructed from limestone coral. While the coral is primarily shades of blue, green, and grey, much like the sea, all colors can be found in various shades. The primary center of Arcadian fishing, a large temple dedicated to Meryl dominates the town, and carvings of the sea goddess are common throughout. A number of large warehouses stand near the wharfs, and a large lighthouse, tended to by priests of Azcen to keep a bright flame lit for all passing ships to see, towers high above the town.

CULTURE: Offerings are annually made to Meryll, and it is customary for ship captains to make their own small offerings and offer prayers before and after voyages. The people of Flightfish tend to be a bit rowdy, and full of life, considering they live so close to the domain of such a capricious deity. Newly-promoted ship captains, and priests upon dedication to Meryll, are rowed out a small ways from shore, and, in a solemn ceremony, are baptized by lowering their heads under water for a few seconds, before being unceremoniously tossed overboard to swim to shore, whereupon they are greeted by the laughter of the spectating crowd, and a warm drink. Once a year, the entire fleet, and every inhabitant of the town who can still take to sea, heads out into the Tempest Sea to make offerings to Meryll, typically in the form of pearls, carved coral, or shells.

RACE: sol'tera, mountain sphinx. LEADER: King Zikarj (NPC). TIER: three.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: The city of Ife lies in a canyon which takes the shape of a crescent moon, and is carved straight into the red sandstone cliff sides. The outer facades have been skillfully carved out of the living rock, making for ornate structures. Columns, statues, roads, all have been carved from solid rock. A specially carved window set in the building which serves as the city center faces The Moon That Never Sets, illuminating the rotunda inside.

CULTURE: Stonemasons from Ife are valued throughout Arcadia, but none so much as those who possess the ability to manipulate Elemental Earth. Since the canyon keeps most of the city shaded even during midday, the afternoon is filled with light activity, as opposed to full relaxation. Upon the birth or coronation of a new member of the royal family, stone masons in Ife present the royal family with a statue carved in the likeness of the new royal, or monarch.

RACE: sol'tera, human. LEADER: (NPC). TIER: two.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: A rather small, but very wealthy, fishing town constructed largely of sun-baked brick, centered around a market square. Four gates, centered to face the four cardinal directions, allow access into the low but stout walls. Outside the north wall, fishing huts, and docks sprawl along the lakeside. During the morning and evening, fishing boats fill the lake. Inside the walls, shaded archways jut from the front of buildings to allow the inhabitants to seek shelter from the heat of midday. A towering stone obelisk carved with bas-reliefs partway down its surface stands in the center of the town, outlining Ristell's general history, particularly in Arcadia itself.

CULTURE: Citizens of Khu will retreat into the shade during the hottest midday hours, napping, telling tales, playing board games, or simply relaxing. They hold five annual festivals in honor of each of the gods, and once a year, more is added to the great obelisk, outlining the past year's important happenings. Time off is taken to honor the gods, and rulers, during the carving.

RACE: sol'tera. LEADER: Elite Council (NPC). TIER: three.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: Mau is constructed from a dark stone quarried from the nearby mountains, smoky grey in appearance, glossy when smoothed, and highly resistant to erosion caused by wind and sand. The main gate is flanked by towering obelisks, and smaller obelisks top the walls at regular intervals. A broad avenue, lined by tall pillars topped with aqueducts, leads from the main gate to the town center. The city consists of several terraces, with the city center, sitting atop the highest, and the various residential and market districts occupying the lower terraces, with the lowest sitting on ground level.

CULTURE: Mau is rather unique among Arcadian cities due to its caste system. However, while the different social statuses are clearly defined, the various castes are not forbidden from mingling, and even the lowest class is allowed free access to the city center. A council of five is elected from among the highest caste, and serve for life. The people themselves are prone to be rather stoic and dutiful workers, and their celebrations tend to be rather subdued compared to other cities. An hour each day, typically during the hottest part of midday, is devoted to meditation and introspection.

RACE: mixed sphinx. LEADER: Lord Musroksr (NPC). TIER: three.

APPEARANCE: The city of Miina takes the form of a vast spiral, with the outer gate marking its terminus. Their is a slight elevation built into the city foundation, so that one venturing further into the city will be heading uphill, although most might not notice. The city is constructed out of blue-tinted granite, and a towering, cylindrical obelisk topped with a mithril cone rises from the exact center of the city. Structures inside the city follow the curve of the walls, while a vast spiraling avenue runs from gate to center.

CULTURE: Miina is home to the most prestigious academy in Arcadia, and is built around the university. Mental games are commonly played, and the most prestigious is the Game of Riddles. A game between two masters can take months to come to be concluded. As knowledge and truth are both highly valued, Azcen and Nirni are both honored to such an extent that the Moon That Never Sets superimposed over a golden sun is the symbol of not only the university, but the city as well. They are both honored upon the equinoxes, and solstices. Scholars sometimes spend hours on end meditating on some conundrum or paradox in specially designed rooms that muffle outside sounds. Outsiders who visit are expected to be interested in intellectual pursuits.

RACE: sol'tera. LEADER: Governor Oklex (NPC). TIER: two.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: The city of Mir is a veritable fortress, constructed of red brick atop sandstone foundations. Ornate windows grace the outer facades of tall towers, and the main gate is situated in an archway overlooking the long ramp leading up to the entryway. the tops of the towers and walls are decorated with ornate crenelations, and the houses within are often conjoined to form long apartment rows. Most streets are little more than narrow alleys, and the main entrance opens up to a lane leading right to the governor's palace. Irrigated gardens, kept alive by the intricate aqueduct system running down from the nearby mountains, grace the tops of many structures.

CULTURE: Hospitality is very important to the inhabitants of Mir, and they are quick to welcome wanderers, although they are quick to send them on their way again if they prove to be ungracious guests. Nirni is the prime deity worshiped in Mir, and the Moon That Never Sets is a recurring emblem carved, woven, and painted on many surfaces. In reflection of their devotion to Nirni, desert guides from Mir are often touted as the finest in Arcadia, and the inhabitants value truth greatly.

RACE: sol'tera. LEADER: King Aamir. TIER: two.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: None; the nomads.

APPEARANCE: Mirage is settled around the largest oasis in the Ristell desert, formed along a broad section of an underground river that breaches the surface. A small population of those too elderly or young to be on the road fill its core center, with several hundred dwellings radiating outward from the riverbanks in various states of disrepair. Most of its buildings are crafted from sandstone and reinforced with spells. Those nearest the water are the grandest, with great arches and beautiful gardens of olive trees and desert ivy. A large hall dominates all other residences, crafted from rare, fragrant sandalwood, and serves as the quarters of the most powerful tribe.

CULTURE: Mirage is empty for most of the year, as the nomadic peoples rarely like to remain in place; yet at times of great celebration, it swells three to four times in size and is often decorated with myriad trinkets collected from around Ristell. It gets its name from the secrecy of its location; fearing those who would destroy it, the nomads are forbidden to speak of its presence, though its elusive existence is known to many. Visitors who are invited to Mirage are accorded a great honour to learn of it and may, in rare cases, never be allowed to leave.

RACE: sol'tera, mountain sphinx, human. LEADER: three officials (NPC). TIER: two.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: One of the northernmost cities in Arcadia, Nuru was built on the side of a mountain, and, over time, has taken on a layered, terraced look, with successive payers of new construction moving up and down the mountainside since its founding. Its architecture has hints of Nyxian architecture, the various statues and obelisks are purely Arcadian.

CULTURE: A cosmopolitan settlement, newcomers are welcomed, but meticulously accounted for. The town is governed by three officials, one form each of the main races present. Due to the relatively close proximity of Crysaria, and Dun Modon atop Draiyd's mighty back, some of their traditions have worked their way into Nuru's yearly celebrations as well. The inhabitants tend to be outgoing and cheerful, and celebrations can sometimes last for days.

RACE: desert sphinx. LEADER: Lord Unthr (NPC). TIER: two.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: Silensil is constructed of sandstone, polished to reflect the light of the suns and moons, making the city look like a mirage from a distance, as travelers catch glimpses of the city through the shimmering haze of the Mirage Desert. The main gates are intricately carved and decorated to appear almost illusory. An observatory, with a vast orrery powered by magic, and towering observation tower, sits in the center of the city.

CULTURE: The inhabitants of Silensil are rather insular, and tolerate outsiders with polite formality, but don't tend to socialize. They have a keen interest in celestial happenings, and a dedicated cadre of academics and priests seek to further their knowledge of the suns and moons, and the paths they take through the sky. The entire city celebrates with various feasts, festivals, ceremonies, and rituals whenever a rare celestial event, such as eclipses, alignments, or such like occurs.

RACE: ocean sphinx, sol'tera. LEADER: Lady Ikaji (NPC). TIER: two.
LANGUAGE(S): Signis; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Arcadia.

APPEARANCE: While nearby Flightfish might be the center of sea trade, Tabari is the link between the trade capital and the inland cities of Arcadia. The city's appearance reflects this. Docks and warehouses face the sea, and a veritable town of tents sprawls in the direction of the desert. The city itself is largely constructed from clay brick, and a large, colorful market square often filled with merchants, ship captains, and caravan masters all bargaining over their wares lies in the center of the city. Even during festivals, the market square is a hive of activity. A sizable temple dedicated to Meryl occupies a prominent position atop a small hill within the city walls.

CULTURE: A bustling trade center, the town is host to many races, although only sphinx and sol'tera live within its walls permanently. As such, the local residents are largely tolerant of outsiders' customs and beliefs, so long as they don't cause trouble. Worship of Meryl is more casual than at Flightfish, but taken no less seriously. Once a year, the inhabitants take part in a ceremony much like the one held out on the Tempest Sea by the people of Flightfish, whereupon offerings are dropped into the sea for Meryll.

RACE: human. LEADER: Lord Nafaro (NPC). TIER: one.

APPEARANCE: A small, rather backwater town off the main trade routes, Tarik is a town of small but sturdy wooden houses built on upraised stone pillars. A small fishing flotilla anchors at the small wharves dotting the beach during the night, and during storms out on the sea. On a nearby hill, a sturdy stone temple dedicated to Meryll stands, inside of which the people take shelter during storms. A small parapet surrounds the town, consisting of an earthen rampart reinforced with stones.

CULTURE: The people of Tarik are prime examples of the steadfast nature of humans. Although the town has been destroyed by storms more than once, they have always rebuilt (albeit in more easily constructed wooden houses instead of the stone and brick the original settlement was made of, as only the temple remains from that era) and continue to live there. A quiet fishing town, Tarik occasionally sees guests from Tabari arrive to spend time away from the hustle and bustle of their home. They tend to live day to day, and don't often concern themselves with what happens in the wider world.


These are the landmarks and important places scattered through this area. They can be anything from forests and rivers to special caverns, monuments, ruins, and more.

Arcadia Desert

A vast, sandy desert filled with a myriad of shifting sand dunes, shaped by the hot, dry winds which frequently sweep across its surface. The sands reflect the light of the suns and moons, and the various light sources and blistering heat make mirages not only common, but almost ever-present. Travel without a guide is not a wise move, and most humanoid races are best served by traveling at night, if they must cross the desert.

Canyon of the Pharaohs

Numerous tombs are carved into the walls of the canyon, each one safeguarded by numerous spells, watchful golems, and patrols of guards. As an added measure, each tomb is sealed by a warded door made of solid stone that will only open at the command of the reigning Pharaoh. Numerous powerful hexes and curses will afflict any who dare to enter a tomb through any other means. Within each tomb, the mummified remains of pharaohs past recline within ornate sarcophagi, surrounded by various treasures they had in life.

One prominent secret concealed within the canyon is the Hall of Wisdom. Should a reigning pharaoh decree it to be necessary, a tomb may be opened, and the remains of one of the pharaohs will be carried in a grand procession from their tomb to the Hall of Wisdom. Within the hall, the remains are placed on an upraised dais. The reigning pharaoh will then kneel before the reliquary, and call upon the spirit of the dead to offer advice.

Aside from the remains of the dead being removed from their burial place, the dead are otherwise not truly disturbed. Reigning pharaohs are buried with the crown or headdresses they wore in life, which in turn have been infused with an imprint and memories from the deceased. It is this imprint that may manifest to advise the reigning pharaoh.

City of the Dead

Deep in the desert lies a large collection of tombs arranged like a city. The tombs are reserved fro those Arcadians who can afford to be interred there. Most of the tombs take the form of flat-topped mastabas, tombs made of mud bricks built over underground burial chambers. A few larger tombs take the form of small pyramids that nonetheless tower over the mastabas.

Cloudbourne Mountains

Tall mountains that often have crowns of clouds at their peaks; they are the homes of multiple d'jini prides, and often serve as the meeting places between the cloudkingdoms and the Blessed Houses of sol'tera, as well as sphinx and their nobles. Rare are days that the Cloudbournes shed their crowns, and they are known to have more rainfall than most of Arcadia's vast and arid land.

The Red Pyramid

Built as a monument as much as a tomb, the Red Pyramid stands in the deep desert, and houses the remains of the first pharaoh. Constructed from polished red sandstone and capped with a small pyramid of gleaming gold, the pyramid houses a vast labyrinth of chambers and corridors within. At the heart of the pyramid, the pharaoh's tomb is said to be plated in gold and inscribed with various spells to ward off would-be intruders.

The various other chambers are said to hold various other royal treasures, and gifts given as tribute to the pharaoh in life. Darker tales tell of the trapped souls of the restless dead who dared try to make off with the treasures within, only to find themselves cursed to wander the dark for eternity, guarding the tomb themselves as penance.

About Ristell

The world of Ristell is one of extremes; with only a single continent rendered habitable by the gods, the rest of the Realm is said to be covered in fire or ice, and nothing is known of any lands without. Several suns blaze brightly in the daytime, and a handful of moons at night, carefully watched and controlled by Azcen and Nirni. The Moon That Never Sets hangs ever in the sky, worshiped by the iahake, while the suns are honored by sol'tera and sphinx alike.

Ice covers the northern half of Ristell, accompanied by fierce blizzards that tear at the countries of Nyx and Zaegrim'a Oqh, and at Ristell's heart can be found the vast Arcadia Desert, often too hot for most weaker species to tolerate. South lay the jungles and forests of the Wilds, and to the east lay the Tempest sea, holding the kingdom of Tempest, and the various cloudkingdoms led by the keht'shu in the sky.

The Underground is called Everdark, and is vastly different from the surface world - lit by gemlights and sunstones, the peoples of the Everdark fight fiercely the attempts of Arcadia to gain control. Dark-skinned peoples of the surface are often attacked simply for the color of their skin, and many racial slurs exist against sol'tera, liniah, and keht'shu alike.

Realm Contributors: Fyfergrund, Bagelsworth, Darkeh, and Verridith