The World Before The World
Before the beginning of the Winter of Wolves, the world was vibrant, warm and alive. Millions lived their lives day to day, not knowing the tragedy that was to befall them. Then one year came a particularly rough winter, but they shrugged it off as spring bloomed once more. That year, spring lasted less than others. And so did the summer, and the fall, and soon, Winter was upon them again. So was the next one... and the next. Each year Winter took more of the year, until there was nothing but Winter left, and the endless snows were all that remained upon the Earth. Then, the Winter moved south. The deserts where the scorching sun had kissed the earth were blanketed in white. Forests that had never seen a cold night and wastelands littered with sun bleached bones were frozen over in a matter of a decade.
Now, the world is dark and cold, a world of Winter, with only lone trains braving the blizzards, their tracks criss-crossing the tundra that is the land, links between the few remaining enclaves of civilization.
The Royal School of Engineers was one of the most powerful academies in ancient DaGuerre, though when it came to matter of states, it had a relatively low amount of power. The people of DaGuerre are said to have come from another continent centuries ago. Either escaping or banished from their homeland, they carved a living among forests and mountains, surviving permanently under the foot of the more powerful empires of the new continent. Unable to understand the strange rituals of the original inhabitants of the continent, the DaGuerians resorted to knowledge they had brought from across the ocean. The Royal School of Engineers was tasked with the training of engineers, the development of new steam and clockwork technologies, the managing of railways and the massive coal mines in the mountains south of DaGuerre.
When the Winter of Wolves came, they were tasked by the queen (the line of succession in DaGuerre is always through women, though all other important positions are filled by men - the idea was that a woman on the throne would be easy to control, but that way of thinking has fatally backfired for DaGuerrian male nobles many times; still the tradition has remained) to transform the few mines which were located near geothermal vents, volcanoes and the sort into cities to relocate the population. The 10 year old labor resulted in the exodus of the surviving population into the underground cities. Some DaGuerrian hamlets still exist in the eternal blizzard, but they are dependent on the coal brought from the city by the Lone Trains. The Royal School of Engineers, however, decided that DaGuerrian society should focus on furthering their technology, with control of the Lone trains and the machines that kept the cities warm and working, Engineers established themselves as the rulers of DaGuerrian society; they bypassed the nobles (which still hold considerable power today, but are very diminished) and established their own puppet queen in the throne.
Though they still refer to themselves as the nation of DaGuerre, the numerically superior but socially inferior Majai are aware of the true power behind the Throne and refer to them simply as the Engineers. Lately, the Royal School of Engineers have had an influx of Majai students, dejected youths which are happy to forfeit their traditions and magic power for a shot at a better life. To keep from granting them engineer status, these people are referred to as Tinkerers, and though they are more wealthy than regular Majai, they are seen as traitors by the Majai and still as inferior by the Engineers.
Much like Victorian society, the Engineers are all about keeping up appearances. They present themselves as men and women of science and virtue, always researching, investigating, and entirely logical, but in the darkness of their private clubs and personal lives, they still very much enjoy expensive Majai prostitutes and dancers and exotic drugs. Some even dabble in magic, although knowledge of engineering makes their magic ineffective, and vice versa. However, all of these vices must remain hidden. A DaGuerrian's reputation is his/her life, and is what sets them apart from the savage Majai. Though they possess no actual faith or religion, they have a pseudo religious belief in their technology and their own superiority.
Physically, DaGuerrians are akin in height, color and characteristics to north-western europeans during the 19th century, with all the variety that entails. (England, northern France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland).
The Majai, prior to the beginning of the Winter of Wolves, consisted of a collection of Theocratic and Mystical nations, spread across much of the world. Although the engineers now generalize the Majai as a single entity, they are far from being one. They still retain strong ties to their home cultures and some resent the name of Majai.
The Original Majai held a large empire south of DaGuerre (original nation of the engineers) and were the most powerful nation in the world. They wielded powerful spells, cast by thousands of mages at once, and had armies so massive that they made DaGuerre's technological superiority irrelevant. They lived in a highly ritualistic and structured society. Each individual was neatly placed within a caste system, with the more powerful or experienced mage families at the very top of society, akin to nobles. Majai society should be interpreted as a mixture of Arabic and Hindi medieval cultures, albeit with far more relaxed gender roles.
Another empire existed east of Majai - known only as Shah, it was their prime contender. The two empires were locked in a centuries long rivalry. It was also the reason Majai could never invade DaGuerre; powerful as they were, they had to concentrate their forces fending off the eastern empires. They couldn't afford war in two fronts.
However, when the Winter of Wolves started, the Magic empires, lacking the seemingly unimportant trains and deep mines of DaGuerre, soon collapsed. Many stayed behind in their large, sprawling cities, trying to sustain them with magic. Nevertheless, they soon degraded into villages, or deserted ruins. Many more escaped, however, to DaGuerre's newly instituted underground cities, as refugees, after being owner's of the world, they settled in the slums and poorer areas of the underground settlements. The engineers call all of them Majai because they never had much contact and shared no border with the Eastern Empire, but the current Majai are more a collection of refugee tribes and peoples and are not a united front, which is one of the reasons the Engineers have been able to relegate them to second Class Citizen Status.
Religion-wise, all Majai cultures share a sort of animist belief. Their gods are embodied versions of the elements, and though they have many different names among the different cultures, the gods remain the same. Many spells and effects fall under the domain of a certain god or spirit, and are cast through the invocation of that spirit. Majai religion is generally open and accepting, and is the unifying factor within many magical cultures.
True Majai - Even within desperation and discrimination, the True Majai, that is Majai that came from the nation of the same name, consider themselves superior to the other Majai. They are black haired but can range from dark skin to fair skin. The Majai are styled after the Rajput Kingdoms of Ancient India.
The Shah - These would be the main rivals of the True Majai other than the engineers. They resent being given the name of Majai, their enemies of old. Though they still cooperate with the other Majai factions, if grudgingly, they seem to be of a culture very different from the Majai, Amiri and Kkala. They are black haired and fair skinned. The Shah are styled after the Han Dynasty in China.
The Amiri - The Amiri were part of a massive collection of nomadic tribes and clans that used to live in the border between the deserts and rain forests of the Majai and the rolling hills of the Eastern Empire. They were mostly herders and warriors who lived in large, traditional family groups. Their hair ranges from black to brown and range from tan to fair skinned, some even have light colored eyes. The Amiri are styled after Turkic Peoples (Anatolian Turks, Tatars, etc) and Persians.
The Kkala - The Kkala were adept traders and warriors that that lived in powerful city states south of Majai. The Kkala are the tallest and strongest of all 'Majai'. They are black haired and dark skinned. The Kkala are styled after the Songhai and Mali empires.
--- Reference images for each Race/group can be found in WoW - Reference Folder ---
The Snow World
The Snow World is the current name of the World, 200 years after the abrupt beginning of the Winter of Wolves and the time when the game will be taking place.
The Royal City was moved to a massive coal mine, located nearby. It was mostly reconstructed there by the Royal School of Engineers. Ordon and Southport were also relocated successfully. The Port of Rue was unfortunately left in ruins by the blizzard and no mine large enough was available for relocation.
Ordon was originally south of where the current Ordon is, and was the main food producing center for the nation of DaGuerre. Ordon was surrounded on all sides by green fields. IT was located close to the abandoned mines in the Phrais Mountain range, which had, at one point, house thousands of gold and silver miners hoping to get rich. The mines were a series of interconnected tunnels which stretched from gold vein to gold vein, giving the Phrais mines the design of an anthill inside the mountains. When the winter started, much of the population starved - that is when the Royal School of Biology (which drew heavily on Majai alchemy, though they would never acknowledge it) came up with a cunning plan. They relocated as much of the population as possible to the Phrais mining tunnels and had them settle there, and there they dug enormous, flat caves under the mountains and had the experienced Ordon farmers grow both mushrooms in the dark, and plants under the artificial lights, irrigation coming in from the snowy peaks and heat from the boilers. Mushrooms are used to feed livestock, and plants are used for foodstuffs. Ordon is now mostly a food producing city. It feeds most of the remaining DaGuerre and is home to the Royal School of Biologists, which produces the finest medics and chemists in the world. Unlike the royal city, it is built in a disorderly fashion, since the houses and streets were fashioned out of the myriad of interconnected tunnels, and it is very easy to get lost in the city. There are multiple entrances and exits and thatched pathways throughout the outside of the mountains
Longfort was never much of a city. It was instead a military enclave and it has remained as such, though its garrison has greatly diminished, DaGuerre spends great resources to keep the fortress functional.
The citizens of Ajdanen and Al Datsa were able to survive for a while in a mix between DaGuerre-produced boilers and magic. Unfortunately the situation left them at mercy of DaGuerre interests - they pushed their influence to the point where Adjanen became almost a colony of DaGuerre. Though it is still over ground, a large dome has been built to protect the city from the blizzard. When the citizens of Al Datsa rioted to escape DaGuerre control, the Lone Train route to the city was destroyed and an embargo was set in place. Although they have been able to stay alive for some 10 years with only magic, making them the only Majai controlled city left in the continent, the city and its population are rapidly declining.
Grall's Platform started as an ice station for the Lone Train in DaGuerre's quest for expansion. It has grown into a large trading enclave, trading with the remnants of the eastern empire. Furthermore, it has been speculated that the very rare, yet productive liquid coal might exist somewhere under the Sea of Ice, so Grall's platform deploys teams daily to perform explorations.
Shah is the only major city left in the Eastern Empire lands. Although it is still dotted with villages and small cities, the country itself is in steep decline after the massive emigration to DaGuerre. Shah is actually doing much better than the rest of the country and on the way to recovery. However, this has been achieved thanks to the Lone Train built over the sea of ice, bringing an influx of machinery from DaGuerre. Though Shah is still under Eastern Empire control, it is quickly following in Ajdanen's footsteps.
The Royal City
The Royal City, Capitol of DaGuerre
The city is divided in two, the lower and upper city. The pillar in the middle keeps the mountain from collapsing, and the city grows downwards as coal is mined. Also in the lowest levels are the machines that keep the electric lights on the rocky roof of each city level running for 12 hours a day (in an effort to emulate a regular day/night cycle), as well as the steam boilers on the pillar and cave walls that keep the city warm. Though there are no spoken rules as to where people reside, Majai are discouraged from settling on the upper level, both by attitudes and living costs. Still, some of the wealthier Majai do live in the upper city. The vast majority live in the lower city, where the greatest magic market remaining in the continent is located. The fact that the Royal School of engineers is set on the upper level makes the Royal City the center for both the pursuit of magic and technology.
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