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BLACKHEART (Kingdom of)
Location: Northwest-centre of the floating continent of Alphatia, south of Frisland, east of the Kerothar Mountains, west of Alphas'ar and north of Shiye-Lawr. HW
Area: 74,326 sq. mi. (192,505 sq. km.).
Population: 45,000, including Shraek (pop. 15,000). [Population figures are tentative, pending census. Ed.]
Languages: Alphatian (Arogansan dialect).
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp). Blackheart sees no need to mint coins. Indeed, Blackheart mints no coins of its own, but rather accepts the coins of other Alphatian kingdoms.
Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher. Slaves are counted as the property of the owner and the product of their labour is taxed as income for the owner. Payment of taxes and fees by the mages, including the "tower tax" (which actually applies to all types of structures built by the various wizards) insures that the kingdom will stay out of their affairs and leave them alone. Those who fail to pay often receive unwelcome visits. There are also tolls to enter Shraek, as well as surtaxes on all transactions conducted in that city.
Government Type: Monarchy, member of the Alphatian Empire.
Industries: Magical research, privacy, herbs.
Important Figures: Belgoroth the Lamer (King).
Flora and Fauna: It might be easier to list the things which cannot be found in Blackheart. That list follows: Anything pure of heart.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperor boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Furrny Mallok.
Blackheart is a land that few people survive unscathed. Those who enter its borders and are able to exit again with their bodies intact might have been better off if they had died.
The countryside of Blackheart is dominated by dense and overgrown woods. The canopy is dark and what little light makes it through to the forest floor does not provide a traveller with a single shred of comfort. Foliage near the ground is warped and misshapen, and more often than not is covered with vicious barbs and thorns. Many of the larger trees are choked with creepers and vines. It is a wonder that anything lives here at all...and unfortunate that they do.
Dark canopies are the favourite hiding place of lurking predators, ready to pounce at anything that should wander by. The rivers and lakes in this land are the most dangerous places of all. Many beasts and monsters wait for the unwary to let down their guard while they drink. Nearly any monster imaginable, and many that cannot be imagined, are to be found in this forsaken kingdom.
Decrepit keeps and crumbling towers abound throughout the forests. Many are built from the bone-white stone that is quarried here and protrude from the earth like desiccated carcasses of something long dead. Some of these sites are abandoned and long forgotten, but many more have occupants. Which sites are worse to visit is hard to determine.
Blackheart is a twisted realm filled with the foulest miscreants that Alphatia can produce. The wizards that thrive here are those that thrive upon the blackest of arts. They conduct tortuous experiments on beast, and man, and they do so without fear of retribution from the local authorities. The results of these experiments-twisted and hate-filled creatures for the most part-roam the countryside having either escaped, been discarded, or been released into the wild on a whim.
Shraek is the only large settlement in the kingdom. Its corrupted streets serve as meeting places for those that need the less than reputable services that the occupants of Blackheart can provide. Its king, if he can be called such, has only one law: Do not disturb the king. Anything else is fair game. Private wars are commonplace, although you won't see many duels in the streets. Wizards here are more silent in their plotting, and more subtle.
Most of the wizards of Blackheart stayed locked in their towers during the Great War several years ago. Messengers were dispatched to garner their support of course, but most of those can now be found either strapped to a research table or wandering the Ugly Woods in mangled and misshapen bodies.
A few wizards died during the week of no magic. Be thankful for small blessings. Some Alphatians might say that, but not those in Blackheart. Those wizards that died were for the most part killed by experiments set free when magic failed, and many of those experiments are still terrorising the countryside.
Blackheart remains a quiet realm. Quiet if you discount all of the screaming. Few wizards here make themselves known by interfering in Alphatian politics.
Do not venture here. The entire realm is a cesspool of villainy.