We close with the two that cannot be properly set aside as belonging to any of the above. They are not part of the Empire, though they are within it in one case, and neither will acknowledge the Empire as having any say over their lives.
One is old – so old, that they have histories and stories that date back before the God’s War. The other is young and new and somehow favored in some ways by some Power or other.
We speak, of course, of the Exiles and the Free Peoples, who defy the Ways of the World and tread paths few others would dare.
The youngest Realm is slowly becoming more than just a rumor or a whispered dream, and those who live there are often more worried about that then perhaps they need to be.
Antilia rose from the disaffected, the outcasts, the left behind, the unwanted. It remains much like that and is deeply different and very much not a part of the Empire.
The thing that those who visit it will most often remark on and carry with them is that in Antilia, even goblins are welcome and more than that there is every kind of person involved in the way the realm operates, is governed, and throughout the realm itself, all living without constant strife.
Worse is that Antilia refuses to be part of the Empire, and stands alone, denied trade, while it uses a from of government where the people choose who leads them, and even a Thyrs can be elected.
The Free City of Antilia
Good (part of day)
Crossing your arms and placing your palms on your shoulders.
Never face someone directly, always turn slightly and look over their shoulder.
Snap fingers twice rapidly to ward off evil.
Rigid, Prejudiced, Crude, Uncivilized
Rebellious, Defiant, Crude, Uncivilized
Haredale: A mining and quarry town, with a side job in lumber.
Miradale: Located in the foothills of the mountains, it experiences some unusual activity from Salathen of different types and is the source of some of the strangest rumors, such as the half-man and half horse people or the goats that walk on two legs.
Arendale: Said to be a town near a dungeon, and for many a year the people there said they were cut off from the wider world by a thick fog that seemed to be the edge of the world. An incarnate named Gigax visited once and said it reminded him of a town called Fandelver in Yrthe.
Antilia is a young realm, and not just in terms of time. It has walls of wood that are just now being changed over to walls of stone. It is ambitious and wants to be mercantile and open to all, yet the overland route from Dorado or Akadia is filled with risks because it is not a well patrolled area. The sea lanes are a battle ground between Duat, Thule, and the Sea Peoples all around the edges of the Sea of Silence and the massive sea monsters that live and prey there.
And this ignores the thing they like to think of as the most important part: they are nearest to the unknown lands. It is said that there are Dragons ruling there. There is little unity in Antilia, and it is as likely to tear itself apart as it is to create what it dreams of – though even that great ideal will have many challenges.
Antelle says that there has never been a Utopia and that there never can be. While I don’t know exactly what she means by that, I cannot argue with my Patron Goddess.
To the far west, in a pleasant regional vale, there is a city that was founded by people who were tired of nobles and kings, laws and rules they could not change or roles they were being bound into and forced to take.
A legend passed among some that there was a place the Exilian were searching for but had never found, and that became the goal: to build that place The rumors were a bit garbled, so they named it Antilia, the Free City of the Lost, and it is the youngest of all the cities, and the towns that support it are even stranger than it is.
One of the hallmarks of Antilia is that they will accept anyone. They will let former Lemurians be a part, and gossip suggests that they are ultimately aiding in the rebellion against the Lemurian Fascian Lords. There are Thyrs who want nothing to do with the Matriarx, and who seek to live a life of peace. There is no known entry of the Underdark, and so it is a place that is sheltered from all save for the Thyrs, who do indeed raid the place at least once seasonally.
Antilians are always concerned, because they are ultimately defying every authority there is in the known world, and forging a path where everyone gets a voice. Their leaders are chosen by casting lots, called voting, for everyone’s favorite pick, and anyone can run for office. They have low taxes – it is said that the high gate fee covers most of it, but the port fees aren’t low either.
They seek to establish trade with the Empire, but that means overcoming the oft demands of the Seneschal that they bow to Imperial Authority and the demands of the Aztani that they pay the tolls to enter the seven seas.
Asa result, they often trade with Islandia, who then take their goods to the Empire, but they are always afraid that someone will take that which is most important to them away: their freedom.
Nobles and rules that they had no say in are something they loathe, and they can be more than a little rude about it. It is only recently that we have been seeing adventurers coming from there – the last ten or so years, and they can be a disruptive bunch.
Antilians have a general problem with authority. Even the authority they themselves chose and have built; they have a problem with. They are a fractious people, often plagued by old prejudices, old ways of thinking, old hostilities and habits. As everyone n Antilia comes from somewhere else unless they were fortunate enough to be born there (and the oldest of those is still only in his 50’s), there can be a lot of strife in a place where Goblins engaging in Rebellion against Lemuria or Thyrs fleeing from an especially cruel Matriarx, or Duatians who decided they wanted to actually do something can all come together and meet with Imperials and Aztani and Doradans who all have been told just how wicked and evil those people are.
As a result, there is a need for and a recognition of that need for Authority, and it comes in the form of sometimes seemingly brutal rules and policies.
During the days, Antilia swarms around the Marketplace, which is not merely a place to sell wares, but also – in the words of the founder – a marketplace of ideas. There are small oratorias around it, two great libraries where even today scribes are collecting oral histories and collating them. There are entertainments that come from all over, and music and so many foods that it can be overwhelming, all among the richness of the crafts and arts and goods of the Antilian people and those who manage to get there.
At night, Antilia is a silent and dark place. They have none of the fancy lights of Durango or Lyonese, only lamps that are set at each of the intersections in a city said to be made of circles and curves, with the only straight lines being those that go up. This is an exaggeration of course; there may be no straight roads, but there are many straight walls for many different kinds of homes.
Antilia’s overall appearance may shock people – it is almost as if there was a little bit of everything all dropped into the same place. Different housing types, different symbolism, and more – each quarter is like a sort of tiny copy of the places that the residents come from. It is the most diverse city in the world, and though each village may be very much the same kinds of people, even there one can see how throughout the lands, the real trick to the peace they seek is to let go of what lay behind them and focus on what lies ahead of them.
Antilians have much the same lifestyle as anywhere else, save that it is not quite so preoccupied with the trappings of wealth or the preparations for war.
Antilia is ruled by a Council that is composed of people chosen by those who live in the assorted quarters. There are specific Quarters for Humans, Therians, Camions, Seraph, Halflings, Dwarfs, Elfin, Goblin, Thyrs, Grendel, Kobold, Triton, and so forth.
Closest to the Council House is the Blended Quarter, where anyone and everyone is able to live. It is filled with a large variety of wealthier folks, and a larger number of folks who serve them. Getting a place in the Blended Quarter is considered a mark of accomplishment.
It is not permitted for someone who does not live in that Quarter to be out after Dusk and before Dawn within any of them. This curfew is strictly enforced, with penalties for simply being out typically consisting of three to seven days in a cell – or worse if they are thought to be doing something illegal or harmful.
The city itself is divided into sections called “Quarters,” of which there are 16. Each Quarter is, in turn supported by three to five smaller settlements outside the city, and all quarters are very specific to the people that live in those quarters and in the dependent settlements. A quarter is overseen by a Secretary, who divides the Quarter up among seven Seats, each held by a Councilor, who is elected from among those who live there. A councilor must live among the town or Quarter they oversee. Villages and Hamlets are overseen by elected Senators and Reejes, and the full Council consists of three bodies: The Reejest, which is the smallest body and has veto power; The Senate, which is the body that makes the laws and appoints the judges; and the Counsel, which votes again on laws or negotiates with the Senate, and which also handles the apportionment of taxes, and how they are used by the City.
Over all of this is the prime Minister, who is assisted by several Ministers of assorted departments – essentially the advisory group that only has power regarding how they negotiate within the Council House and what they bring to the Prime Minister. The PM has the task of enforcing those Laws so passed, Keeping the Peace, and negotiating with the broader world and handling trade and economy. They call themselves very civilized. The citizenry also elects the PM at large, but from all of the hamlets, villages, and towns. An election takes about three months to formally count, and all elections are held in the sixth year out of every seven, overseen by the Reejest.
Antilians enforce a wide variety of essential crimes, but cling to some ancient ideals regarding the propriety of how one treats other people, and all their laws descend from these 30 specific points, often finding ways so that none of them overwhelms others. They do not like criminals in Antilia. They do have jails, but those are for holding criminals until their court dates, and there is no appeal process in Antilia. Lose your case, and you are finished.
Punishments for thievery are branding and exile. Punishments for murder are branding, removal of offending limb, and exile. Judges hear both sides of those affected, with the City often taking the role of those who are harmed if the crime has an impact on the general population. This can be in addition to individual claims – and all claims are individual. While the City can have a Lector speak for it, everyone else must speak for themselves. There are no lawyers or barristers, only police, the judge, and the parties.
Fines are almost always set up to make the folks fined feel like they never want to do that again – they *start* at half of property and go up from there.
Antilia has no military, but it does have a Police Force, a Guard, and a Militia of volunteers. They can field about two regiments in total. They do not want to allow Agents in, but as expected the Agency is present everywhere. I suppose it helps when your secret organization is secretly backed by the powers that be.
Antilia is not part of Any Empire and avoids coastal settlements because of the risk of Duatian or Thulian raids. They have a series of forts set across the entry to their small region to help prepare for such a thing, and there are some plans in the works to construct a massive wall across it.
Children are fairly rare in Antilia, and no one has figured out how to do a school there yet, so most education is limited to that which parents and experience provides.
In the villages and hamlets and towns, it is assumed the family will provide the education for the children – and there are often more of them than adults.
Antilia’s basic core values so far are Respect, Compassion, Understanding, and Temperance.
Antilia hasn’t quite figured this out yet.
Nagasakie: a Goblin who was the first one to ever hold an office of responsibility in Antilia. He was much beloved, because he was a very fair and very wise magistrate and would go to extra lengths to help those in need.
Gaf and Shek: A peculiar partnership and bond of love brought this Imp and Thyrs together. Not only did they help turn the tide of successive Thulian raids, but they also helped to build the tanjin and laid out the roads that link the towns with the city.
Ridel Methis: A former Corsair who is credited with founding Antilia mostly by building a nice little place to live along a river and putting in a damn that helped stop his former compatriots from finding him and the treasure he hid. He was infamous during his days with the Dread Pirate Roberts.
Antilian Longswords are the primary weapon. Straight, double edge, tapering from hilt to point, about 30 inches long.
Antilian Whistles are small, sharp-edged disks with a hole in the center, that are thrown at enemies and slash them or stick to them. Some have small, barbed burrs that stick out, but all have the peculiar quirk of whistling as they fly.
Antilian Beaded armor is a blend of leather in three layers and comes in the form of a tunic that is covered in hundreds of tiny beads made from assorted substances. It is heavy but affords surprising protection against common forms of injury. It Is also extremely expensive, and very rare, and needs repair about once every three months if it sees significant use.
Hello, darling! Welcome to our Evesrest!
How fortunate for both thee and I we are so well met and well come upon so inauspicious a night. I ask thee, what do thee call them? Not pedagogue; ah, yes! I recall, thy Pedant, that half-dressed young woman, to attend to thy mounts. I am sure the men will have a tivalo raised soon. This is a light rain, and my heart is among them so I am sure they will be safe and warm and dry.
I am the Alman of the Caravan Rincon, and I have been asked by Hikory Lass to give you a glimpse inside the world of my people, who are called throughout the wide world by the name of Exilian. It comes from the word Exile, you see, and though many today would say that we are the Exiles of their lands, it is not how the name and the people in all our many Caravans came to be.
The Wandering Ones
Forward, To Atalanta
Right Hand Wave, Left Hand Over Heart
Each is bound to the other, and so what affects one of us affects all, be it shame or harm, the difference matters not.
Find what you can do to help others, and then do it the best of all.
Stand By Family, Accept Consequences, Stand On Your Own, Own Thy Acts
Speaking Untrue, Misleading Others, Going Back On Thy Word, Promising A Future Thing
Busybodies, Paranoid, Accusatory
Untrustworthy, Beggars, Dangerous
Our homes are these, our sturdy wagons, our roving refuges, our merry manors. This collection of them is called a Caravan, roughly like the villages you will have seen on your travels. So, our village is wherever we are, whenever we stop, in our everlasting journey to find the place promised, though most of us no longer believe it will be given.
Ages ago, I and my people, though not us, but our forebears, we did say that we would not be a part of the Armageddon, the End of the World, and so we asked for a sanctuary and we were promised that out in the world somewhere was Atalanta, the City of Wood, and so we set out to find it, and through the end of the world to the one we have today we have traveled, horse and cart, pony and part, we have forged paths that none but few will ever tread.
You may call me Alman Gala. And I shall tell you a little about our people afore the night takes us all into the battle twixt the Shadow and the Nether, the nightmares against the dreamland, and you can learn, perhaps, a little more about the world you are within…
The Exilian have no steadings or hamlets, no villages or towns. They are self-contained, nomadic groups who disfavor permanence. There are, at last known count (from the last meeting of all the Alman, which happens once a decade several miles south of Seahold) some one thousand two hundred thirty-four caravans. There is no known record of all of them or what they are named, much to the consternation of every major King or Queen and the Agency itself.
Scattered over the face of Avilon are the Caravans and their Almans, seemingly always moving, though when they stop it is always for three days – no more, no less. They are the Exiles, those who chose to wander, to travel, and to not become involved in the wars of Gods or the affairs of those things greater than them. For well over a thousand years, they have traveled the breadth of Avilon, but crossed no sea. There is a caravan that moves around the seas, but they are closer to the sea realms and the river folk, and they never come to shore save, again, for three days, no more, and no less.
They avoid the cities when they can, but they are often stopping outside a village, and they offer entertainment and aid and of course they trade, for they are a genial people.
Many think that all Exilian are themselves of that people, but this is not true – aside from marriage and love, there are those who simply tire of the life they once lived and choose to join the Caravans and accept the leadership of the Alman and begin the wandering path themselves.
Exilian have no home and no belongings but that what they carry with them, the stars their lights at night, the sun the guiding light of their days. They are a simple folk, unconcerned with the ways and problems of the Empire they all too often spend far too much time in.
We are seen as thieves and deceivers by the town and city folk, as peddlers and entertainers by the village and hamlet folks, and as chance encounters by those in steadings and outposts, the thousand tiny citadels of watchfulness that even the Black Folk and the Deep Folk know too well to be caught by.
We are not those things, though perhaps sometimes the more rambunctious and less raised of our people will succumb to desire and lust and partake of that which may not be theirs at the first moment but will be the next right or wrong. I, and the other Almans, do not approve nor condone such, but we will let no city condemn our people to the curse of having to remain beyond the three days we are allotted.
For that is the first thing to know; we remain in no single place longer than three days, but when we stop, we will be there for three days. So, for the next three days, we shall be here, in this clearing among that pass that separate the Criminals of the north from the Makers of the south. This is our way, and we will not stop here again until we come back through, though I nor any others have any idea when.
We are a humble folk, who need little and seek to leave as light a step on the world as we can, for we still hold to many of the old ways, many of the Lost Ways, and that was ever and anon one of the oldest, and why it is that so many of the Ancient’s ruins are so well lost and hidden: they built to pass on, to pass away, like the wood of my home here will one day pass on and pass away.
We pay no taxes nor tithes, and we are proud people.
This is my life: I arise in the morning with the cock’s call, give my cow a bit of relief, feed my beasts and my family while my heart goes out to find the meat and the herbs and the roots we shall need to eat later. Then I will check on my peoples, and we will gather around out central firepit and we will discuss the needs of the many and then the needs of the few, and we will find the ways to get such things.
We are not above playing to the superstitions and prejudices of the Staying Folk, but it is not true that we have many Oracles within our folks. Sages, perhaps, as that is like a calling for many of us, to carry the ancient words and knowledge. Not Oracles – we haven’t had an oracle in my Caravan since my grandfather’s grandfather’s time. Nor will you find cards of any sort here, search though you might.
We are masters of Kress, and that is what we play, not cards. Perhaps some Domoes if someone has a newly fashioned set of tiles. We craft and make and use what we need, often, for here in my caravan you will find nearly every major Guilder’s work spread among my kin.
Oh, yes, we are all related here. This is my family. Over there is my sweet Cousin Laura. She married Sweet Willem, who is our wainwright, our maker of cartons and wagons. Tomas there is our farrier. Donabel is quite gifted with embroidery. What we often lack is the raw materials for things. Ore and cotton and wool and such. For that we trade with merchants, for we are a community of artisans and entertainers as well – it became necessary, you see, for us to learn such things to earn the coin with which all are so consumed. Mammon’s Ire is upon them, and we’ll make do and drive bargains as well as any.
We have no marriage or other such chicanery. Should we like someone, and should they like us, we will get together and stay as such as long as we like. We will each still have our home, our cart, our wagon, and we will still care for ourselves – it is more about sharing that load and caring for another.
When my time comes, the child I have that needs the most will be given the cart and my things will be shared among my children by the elders, and note that they are my children, for it was I that carried them and nursed them and we know the power of a mother is the greatest a mortal can have. We haven’t got much to do with many of that. We do like to dance and sing, though, and even the elders join in. Like Elder Jason there. Old fella can still move a jig and shake a leg like a man half his age.
There is one thing we will do as a caravan, should we be needing a great deal of coin. We will go to the grand games and earn it. Just like we do everything else – earn it or make it, there ain’t tween there. My apologies, I should say that there is nothing between the two. When we do that, we do it as a Caravan, and woe betide our opponents, for they will feel the sting of our ways.
Each Caravan is headed by an Alman.
We all gather according to some ancient rules at a camp we founded southeast of Seahold.
For three days we talk and argue and meet and say words, words, words, and then we leave. Should there be disagreements between Caravans, that is where they are settled – if they are to be settled peaceably. Not all can be.
There are 125 families here. I am their leader, their judge, their lawmaker, their peacemaker. For them, and for myself, I am all that there is, for I wear the crown of Ash and Salt. It came to me when I was chosen by the Elders of the Caravan after my cousin Seth chose to let it go, which we do. We do as we will beyond that.
Aye, we teach our young. Every one of us can read Ancient and speak it. We may not be as keen on the many letters and languages of the Staying Folk, but among us there will always be one, and most of us have the trade speech learned enough to bargain and to read signs.
We have apprentices, too. Just as the Staying Folk do. That comes from far older than they, as do the laws we all follow that they are trying so hard not to follow.
We care not if one is a boy or a girl or a themon, they all can learn and grow for one never knows who will be chosen as Alman when the next time comes. Seth was chosen at 15. I was a bit older and had already had one littlun.
We have a few Virtues: Honor thy elders, stand by family, stand on your own, be brave, accept consequences, own thy acts, and be honest. We have what we call sins and the Stay Folk call Vices as well: Speaking untrue, misleading others, promising a future thing, going back on thy word.
For us, each is bound to the other, and so what affects one of us affects all, be it shame or harm, the difference is of no matter.
Fashion & Style
Exilian favor loose fitting clothing that is easily worn by any gender, and that does include skirts and even dresses, which are often long sleeved, shoulder baring, and very flowing.
An Exilian in the distance, with the wind blowing, cuts a very well-known silhouette – and about the only major difference is that the men keep their hair shorn close while women rarely do.
Ricard Klinton: the first Alman, whose name and journeys starts the first of every Record in every Caravan, for all Caravans are descended from the one he led.
Oksana Domeni: An exile whose Caravan took it upon themselves to help forge lost trade routes, protect villages, and repel the Lemurians during the Goblin Wars. She was eventually chosen as Alman for her Caravan.
Donatello Tetsu: One of the few Alman known who created a new Caravan and manage to get the other Almans to back him, despite not having come from a caravan himself.
A wide bladed, single edged, curving at the top on the backside, short sword length weapon called by them a Makh and by most others a Mashetay is the primary weapon, carried by pretty much everyone, often at hip or slung across the waist at the back.
They are also famous for using a long, thin spike or dart that is thrown with great accuracy and a ceramic-based chain mail is what many wear.
How do we manage to stay so free? We are all, to a one, an army. One moment, let me take down my dress. Here, you see what we have on beneath our clothes that cover us save for hands, feet and face. It is called chain mail. It will turn arrow and blade, though it won’t do much for shot or those darn maces the Doradans use. We fashion it from a clay I’ll not tell you the source for, so dinnae ask. That is, do not ask me, for I cannot tell. Oaths taken by all upon our baptisms. Once it is assembled, we fire it in a kiln we build, and then we coat it. The chain you will see in some Staying Folks hands was an attempt to copy our design, which we have carried with us for over a thousand years.
We also have these. Here, hold that while I dress, please. Ah, thank you. That is a Makh. In the ancient tongue they called it a Mashetay. That wide blade, the inward curve at the top on the backside, the short sword length – it is a weapon of power and fierceness that we use to drive our enemies into the dirt and gut them.
We also carry our blow tubes. Lastly, we have the spikes that we use. I am the best among my people with them and can drop a man at 30 paces.