Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Imperial District of Vertiloch -- Updated July 9th

In Vertiloch, one honors the Ruling Family and the Glory of the Empire. It is a land whose borders were designed centuries ago, two vertical lines swiftly drawn on a parchment.  It was the will of the empire to set what lay in between as territories attached to the throne of Alphatia.  They cannot be divided, given away, or inherited by a family.  They aren't the best of lands, but they are centrally located.  Flat, pock-marked with slow-draining lakes, they are home to the confluence of the Greenlake and Greenwall Rivers, augmented by the turbid eddies of the Elfripple.  

To the north lie Imperial Lands officially reserved for emperors to do as they see fit, to carve out domains for new vassals, to hunt, or simply to preserve a vast wilderness at the heart of the empire.  Stories abound on what really lies there.  Some say the land is closed to outsiders for a great danger lurks within, one that defies even the authority of Mighty Alphatia.

To the west of Vertiloch still stands to this day the ancient Wall of Haven.  It is Haven's duty to control all who would cross it.  The Imperial District isn't one easily visited.  It involves papers, controls, magic seals, geas, and many other unspeakable charms designed to protect the Imperial Family and the vast noble estates dotting the countryside.  The east belongs to the Realm of Theranderol.  Long ago, the choice had been made for Theranderol to watch its southern and eastern borders in order to fulfill its own obligations toward the security of the Imperial District.  Vertiloch's Northeastern March wields powerful magic that permits the Watchmen to spy upon anyone seeking to enter.  Guards and wards will thwart the evil-minded.

A fake capital city was created to trap foreign spies and other miscreants.  Its true name is Ampulia.  An illusory palace with phantasmal servants and imperial retinue dwell there, like a giant fly trap.  The entire population of Ampulia has been geased to maintain the ruse, or voluntarily do so as their duty to the imperial throne.  Nearly all travelers are fooled into believing this location to be the actual capital, and they will not believe any differently if told otherwise.  The real siege of power, Sundsvall, stands twenty four miles northwest, along the Greenlake River.  The city and its road are magically cloaked to appear as peaceful countryside.  Illegal maps of the area are notorious among Sunsdvall's spy circles (who gleefully spread them around) for showing the capital in the place of Ampulia. 

River Lock, Canal, and Tower
Vital supplies to the city may only be transported along rivers or roads and trails by officially-appointed courtiers familiar with the capital city's illusion and magical wards.  Visiting merchants are obligated to entrust their merchandise to imperial courtiers at the hub-towns of Ashar or Coronation, or allowed to proceed to Ampulia instead.  River traffic at the confluence of the two major rivers is tricky and requires sailing through locks and canals to avoid low-hanging bridges.  The locks offer another opportunity to identify and magically "process" visitors.

The Greenlake River meanders through Lower Vertiloch and the Haunted Marshes.  Native traders follow its twisting channels to ship merchandise to the Imperial District.  Despite numerous imperial galleys patrolling up and down the river, the great water waste remains dangerous, and one must not stop there for any reason.  Nightly navigation is unavoidable and requires an officially-registered guide.  If a trader does not have such a guide among the ship's crew, it is then necessary to come in person to either Ashar, Coronation, or Ampulia/Pseudo-Sundsvall and submit a request through official channels to obtain one.  Only then can a ship endeavor to navigate the Greenlake River into Vertiloch.

Click HERE to download the map.

Key to the Lakes:

1. Dynasty Lake
2. Seneschal Lake
3. Purity Lake
4. Oriflame Lake
5. Scepter Lake
6. Diadem Lake
7. Monarch Lake
8. Ambrosia Lake
9. Prophetia Lake
10. Lake Suzerain
11. Regency Lake
12. Lake Paragon
13. Lake Polymath
14. Lake Celestia
15. Lake Temporia
16. Lake Eternal
17. Hegemony Lake
18. Lake Chalice
19. Chancellor's Lake
20. Golden Badge Lake
21. Allegiance Lake
22. Immortal Claws