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AERIA (Kingdom of)

Location: Island in the Alatian Islands chain, southeast of the Isle of Dawn, northeast of Aegos. SD

Area: 49,384 sq. mi. (127,905 sq. km.).

Population: 17,000, including 10,000 in Feather Fall (includes 5,000 students), 650 in Anumoneh, 450 in Rabestah, 400 in Tephtah, 300 in Tephotepneh.

Languages: Alphatian (Alatian dialect, with some other dialects among the students). Thothian also spoken in some villages.

Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).

Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher, plus a 5% tax on the wages of Aeria's wizards and an import/export tax of 2% on magical items and components, and 1% on all other goods (Naycese kingdoms, Karameikos and Thyatis excluded). 10% of tax revenue goes to the Naycese treasury, and an additional 10% is spent on military forces in the name of the confederation.

Government Type: Monarchy, member of the Nayce.

Industries: Agriculture and teaching of magic.

Important Figures: Aiklin (King, General and Headmaster of the University).

Flora and Fauna: The island has normal animals and plants found for lands of tropical plains, hills and forest (which are too numerous to all list here). Most of Aeria is wilderness, and almost any type of monster can be found here due to the presence of the university and the more recent escape of monsters from Gaity, plus many exotic herbs grown for use by the school.

Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.

Description by Aiklin.

Aeria, with its school of air magics at Feather Fall, is far and away the most important of the Alatian Islands. After a brief accommodation with the Thyatians, we have resumed our relationship with the Alphatian Empire of Nayce, though not without some difficulties which I will describe shortly.

The Land

The island itself is large and well suited to the needs of our school, with farmers toiling at our behest to provide us not only with crops and meats for our gastronomic needs, but growing special herbs and even raising creatures for use in spell research and enchantment. Other commoners are allowed to live in Feather Fall itself to operate establishments at our behest and convenience, for relaxation and provisioning of the school itself, and to guard the facilities. Many of those who toil are of Thothian extraction, as those of that race are known for their disposition to serving quietly and competently. A small port provides for the importation of whatever is not locally produced, so that every convenience is at the disposal of the deserving staff and students.

The People

Most of those who operate establishments within Feather Fall are of good Alphatian bloodlines, though it is true that of late most of the ships that dock here are from foreign lands, Karameikos, Minrothad, and even Thyatis, but these merchants sell their goods, buy others, and then sail on, thus fulfilling a proper role of serving our needs. We let-indeed welcome-others bear the burden of such base commerce, as it allows us Alphatians to devote our attention to the important matters of magical study.

Some within Nayce have, and continue to, criticise the temporary accommodation we made with the Thyatians, but would they rather have seen our institution ruined by war? Nay, nay, three times nay I say thee-we preserved our institution during those difficult times as we needed, and shucked off the Thyatian yoke as soon as the opportunity arose. The Thothians, at least, understand. Any who have trouble seeing why we did as we did should visit Gaity and see what the alternative could have been.

But now I must turn to describe the difficulties under which we have had to work since the restoration [this is what the re-establishment of relations with the rest of the Alphatian kingdoms through the formation of Nayce is described as by the people of Aeria. Ed.]. Many who did not face the same circumstances we did have contempt for the decisions we made, and look down upon us, while needing-and exploiting-the facilities of our university. They insisted that we assist the barbarous Karameikans in constructing a skyship, and take in Karameikan students and teach them how to do so. As if the Thyatian barbarians having access to this knowledge was not bad enough, and yes I agree that was an unwelcome development, but circumstances and fate forced that upon us, we had no choice. Then, though, many of the same well-meaning lords within Nayce who were appalled by the Thyatians gaining this knowledge pushed us into providing it to the Karameikans as well, though no circumstances compelled us to share it with those barbarians! However, we at the school did as best we could to limit the knowledge the Karameikans were actually taught, so at least they will have difficulty producing skyships on their own, unaided.

Even more, though, beyond this, many in the Council of Nayce decided that our role should be that of enchanting skyships for the military. They seem to have forgotten that the purpose of the University of Air Magics is to teach and conduct research, and they are treating us as little more than commoner ship builders, expecting us and our students to devote all of our time to enchanting skyships! Studies and research have suffered considerably, as we have hardly any time to teach or even advance our studies. Aeria's budget has been distorted badly as well, as we've had to cut many teaching programs in order to fund the enchantment of skyships (the Nayce government expects a lot of ships but does not provide sufficient funding for them). We've even drawn down our endowments and cash reserves during this time, to the point where the treasury has been emptied and we've been compelled by circumstances to sell some parts of our collection of rare curios to wealthy foreign interests. The Nayce sent a modest influx of new immigrants to expand the construction yards, but these persons have the manners of sailors and dock workers, they do not fit in with the university environment of contemplation and inquiry which I have tried to foster throughout my tenure as chancellor of the university, and now they're talking about settling mere refugees here! This is a school, not a labour camp! But we have little political influence in the Nayce Council at present, due to their disdain for our brief, unwilling affiliation with the Thyatians, and the discredit that those who decide political policy have for our opinions now. Some are musing that perhaps we would be better off if we forged closer ties to Thothia, which at least has the political influence to make their voice heard in the council's deliberations, but I hope to maintain the university's independence. Adding insult to injury they've even imposed an additional tax upon the income of the wizards of Aeria, something I can see doing to commoners, but such exactions should not be imposed upon the aristocracy. Things cannot be allowed to continue this way for long. This is a place of learning, not a shipyard, and we are aristocrats, not servants!

Don't Miss

The university grounds in Feather Fall. Our community is just large enough to suit our needs without the bustle and noise of a city, with glorious edifices constructed over the past three centuries by the finest masters of arcane architecture, wondrous buildings that almost seem to float in the air with only the most slender and delicate attachments to the ground, just to allow entry and egress from the buildings. Some of these structures were damaged and one or two even fell, along with the floating buildings we had, when magic failed back in AY 2009 [AC 1009. Ed.], but the damaged ones have been repaired and structurally improved since then so that they can withstand the Day Without Magic. Alas, the floating buildings are gone now, as are the toppled ones, but the rubble has long since been removed and open areas created as a result. It is too bad that these areas are now usually filled with dry-docks for the enchantment of skyships, for I would have preferred to turn them into auditoriums and astrological observation facilities (much needed now that the facilities at Starpoint are no longer available), but one makes due as best one can, and in any case the funds I had hoped to use for these facilities have long since been spent on-what else?-military skyships for the Nayce.

Of the buildings that still soar over Feather Fall, the Magnificent Library of Glorious Air Magics is the most impressive, rising as a spiral or spindle majestically over the town. The few minor cracks that appeared along its shell during the Week Without Magic actually add to its charm, giving it a sense of both great age and durability. My own suite, the Offices of the Exalted Chancellor of the Glorious University of Air Magics, sit atop this spire. They used to be within one of the floating buildings (which thankfully I wasn't in when it fell), but circumstances compelled them to be moved to here, which is fine since it still provides a splendid view of Feather Fall and the nearby lands and waters.