Regions of Ivalice and the Lands Beyond
For a map showing the cities and other locations in the region, see the Cities and Locations page.
The Giza Plains
For Emberstrand information see the separate Emberstrand page
Nalbina is the name now given to a small city, slowly growing up in the desolate desert around the holy site of what was once called Nalbina Fortress. Once, before the Folly, a mighty battle was fought here; two small nations banded together, and their soldiers fought valiantly in a last stand to hold off the tyranny of an Empire. They fell as valiantly as they stood; the battle was lost, and the fortress shattered. During the Folly, the very land was sundered; huge cracks rent the earth, starting from the center of where the ruins lay and stretching out in three directions. Later, it was this site where Saint Bellatrix chose to build the sanctuary, and as the downtrodden and persecuted gathered to be protected, a city began to grow. Nalbina is a bright city, of color and life; bright pennants and streamers wave from ropes draped between buildings and strung from poles, pigments are mixed into clay before making ceiling shingles, and artists paint murals on city walls and the sides of buildings on a regular basis.
Nalbina is a city built upon hillsides. The great cracks that opened up pushed the ground upwards, and have since filled with subterranean water, forming a three-point chasm lined by high cliffs and crossed with crude rope and wood bridges. Subterranean water spills out of the cliffs in great waterfalls; some of it is caught in great troughs built into the cliff side, and pumped up to the city. Nalbina is divided into haphazard thirds. The southern third has grown into a center for the artisans; smiths and weavers and potters and all manner of tradespeople live and work here, arranged around squares, bazaars, and markets. Farmers come here too, to sell their produce, and at least one auction house has opened up. The north-eastern third of the city has been given over to scholarly pursuits. A small library has begun to show promise here, with donated books lining the shelves; there is a modest but well reputed college as well. One of the most notable features of this part of the city is a great hillside theater, which doubles as a forum; it is said that it is built from original stone from the old Nalbina fortress, and it serves not only for the showing of plays, but for academic lecturing and political discourse as well. The north-western third of the city sports the highest hills, and is given over to those religions that wish to maintain temples here; several modest shrines and churches make their presence here, close to the center of the city. Nalbina is an unplanned city; people make their homes where they will, and the wealthy often are not far separated from the poor in the sprawling areas around the inner city where residents make their abodes.
The city is run by council, and discussion take place in the forum. Political discourse is a public affair, and all are permitted to watch, though the actual speaking and decision making is reserved for the councilors. There is no set number of councilors; in order to become one, an interested party need only allow the council to total up his overall worth, before he donates half of his possession to the good of the city. This donation must be performed every five years, in order to remain a councilor. In practice, this typically restricts the council to only the wealthy, though in the past there have been many poor councilors, such as Agatha the Humble; a beggar woman who became a councilor with the donation of a single gil to the city, and remains a respected and formidable councilor to this day.
In the center of the chasm stands a mighty stone pillar. The pillar is nearly half a mile wide, and is connected to the city by three narrow stone bridges, one to each section. These stone bridges are just wide enough for four men to walk abreast, shoulder to shoulder. The top of the pillar itself is lush and overgrown with grass, ferns, and flowers; there are several tall fruit trees, covered with vines, and songbirds make their nests in the branches. All this growth conceals the temple in the center; the pillar-top as a whole forms the Nalbina Sanctuary. Within the Sanctuary, there is usually only a handful of people at any given time, aside from a few acolytes who tend the grounds. No violence is permitted within the Sanctuary; even the drawing of a blade is forbidden, and even Judges in pursuit of a criminal must obey this edict they would have to either wait for the criminal they hunt to come out, or petition for his expulsion.
Also notable, is that an oracle lives within the Sanctuary. In the center of the Sanctuary, there is a room where the tiled floor ends, and bare ground is revealed. In the middle is a hole; from this hole, vapors from the ground waft up, giving the air a hazy quality. Stood atop this hole on a high stand is a crystal bowl; and when the oracle pours water into the bowl it creates a mirror. Looking into the mirror, an observer would see images, hear sounds; perhaps it would be the future, perhaps the past, and perhaps things that might be. For some, the Oracle will give interpretation; but for others, their own contemplations would need to suffice, and the Oracle does not explain why she chooses to aid some but not others. The Oracle herself is known to be blind. She cannot see into the mirror herself, though it must be she who pours the water to create it. She gives no reasoning for who she pours and for who she helps interpret; and she almost never appears without her warder, a warrior chosen in a festival held once every ten years, who is given the best arms and armor that the craftsmen of Nalbina can produce.
In Nalbina, special care is given to remember the dead. Funerals processions are always given right of way, and even the most rich and noble of men will step aside, even for the funeral of a begger. Outside the city is a cemetary which is kept in order by a priest; the duty is passed from parent to child, though not necessarily to the eldest child. On the first day of each new year, the Festival of Balloons is held; residents of the city and travellers who may have come for the event will write messages to their lost loved ones, and tie them to balloons. The balloons bear a simple enchantment, and are generally donated by local mages. As the sun sets, the balloons are released, to soar upwards into the sky with their attached messages; it is believed that they eventually ascend to the spirit realms, where they can eventually find the souls of the deceased.
Though there is no esper homeland, Nalbina has become for many, the next best thing. Though espers remain as scattered across Ivalice as their duties and callings are varied, Nalbina has become a gathering place, of sorts. Most espers and half-espers make a pilgrimage here at least once in their lives, and a few have taken up permanent residence, though they do not form any more than a tiny minority even here. Because a handful of high profile espers do live here, though, many young espers tend to come here to seek guidance and advice as they come into their powers, and often to speak to the Oracle in the hope that she can help them commune with the spirit that has marked them.
Law enforcement in Nalbina is a carefully handled matter. There are usually two or three judges on hand in the city, normally called upon when a Judge is deemed neccessary for a case. The apprehension of criminals is also dealt with by the Hunters in the area (Clan Orothos). Within the Sanctuary, all are protected; even criminals. Even a Judge is not permitted to take someone from the Sanctuary against their will, and must either wait for the accused to come out of their own volition, or petition to the Oracle to have them ejected. When the Oracle agrees to hear such a petition, she sometimes agrees, and sometimes does not; her reasons remain her own.
North of Nalbina, the Folly left several deep holes in the ground, that have over time filled with water. These lakes are knowns as the Saint's Gifts, or simply the Gifts. Though the city is in the middle of the desert, the lakes make irrigation possible. Many staples are grown here, and there is enough that some is left over for export, most notably to Emberstrand. Grapes are grown here as well; wine making is a favored pass time of the wealthy, though the wine made here by no means rivals that of Emberstrand. Also, within no more than a few days travel of the city, there are several mines; chiefly yielding copper, tin, and silver. There is also a quarry, yielding mostly marble. All of this makes for good exports.
The vast, sweeping desert of the Sandsea has long been home to structures and ruins dating back to time out of mind. In the days before the Folly, the Sandsea was home to little else but Fiends and the Yensa Riders, a barbaric tribe of insectile peoples who harried the few brave or foolish souls that chanced to find their fortune across the shifting dunes. In these times, the only discerning feature to break the shifting dunes was a network of massive metal structures, whose purpose has been lost to history.
With the Larsan Folly came the great diaspora, however, and now the Sandsea has become an unlikely wellspring of civilization; the great trade city of Kandhala, the Candle of the Desert, sits in the cliffs at the mouth of the Nam-Yensa River, and among the raging sandstorms, somewhere, lies the Sanctuary of Cleyra. Said to be a city built within and throughout a massive tree, defended by an eternal sand-cyclone, Cleyra is a city often searched for, rarely found, and those traders who have done business there speak little of it.
Besides these two cities, the Sandsea is host to countless small clans of nomadic folk, who make their lives by pulling it from the teeth of the deserts many dangers. Perhaps surprisingly, many of these nomads count the lost Viera among their number, exiles of the Wood who search for their Firsthome, somewhere within the scorching winds and scouring sand.
The city of Kandhala is located at the mouth of the Nam-Yensa River. In the middle of a vast, dry desert, is is built into the cliffsides overlooking the ocean, amongst the lush greenery of the river delta. Kandhala is a great city of stone, with high pillars and grand domes coated in gold, that shine like the sun in the sun in the daylight, and alight like fire with the reflections of streetlights at night. This is a three tiered city, where each tier is separated by mighty cliffs – these are called the High Cliffs and the Low Cliffs. The Nam-Yensa River cascades over these cliffs in great, beautiful waterfalls, as it makes its way to the sea. Kandhala's wealthy live in grand mansions on the top tier; much of these mansions are left open to the air, protected by guards, and only have walls around the surrounding gardens. Trade is conducted primarily on the riverside, along the multitudes of docks and the barges that crowd the waters; trades spring up to either side, offering all manner of services from smithing to scrybing. The rest of the city is largely unplanned; behind the great harbor for oceangoing ships, the middle classes build their abodes as they may, while the poor are sequestered away into crowded, stinking ghetto of a slum, built from whatever happens to be on hand at the time. The city's renowned bank is built directly back into the cliff face, and forms a mighty fortress that the rich may buy protection within, during times of peril. Up on the high clifftop, a huge signal fire is maintained in a bronze bowl. It is called Kandhala's Vigil; it is a beacon for oceangoing traffic and gives light for the city guards at night. It is a whispered superstition amongst the lower classes that if Kandhala's Vigil should ever die, then so would Kandhala itself.
Kandhala is ruled at all times by a council of nobles, and always at its head there presides the philosopher king. The king rules by right of blood, and the title is passed down from king (or queen) to eldest child. The king does not wield supreme power, however. In the king's hand rests the power to enact and collect taxation, and to pen new law; however, the military is within the control of the nobility. Twice in Kandhala's past, unsatisfactory kings (once a king, and once a queen) have been pulled from their throne in bloody coups, and executed; both times marked the beginnings of new dynasties, as the old ruling family were forced to drop out of Kandhala's history and into obscurity. The nobles and king, in turn, rely upon the merchant classes to provide them with the money to finance their operations. Kandhala is a city where strength, honor, and intellect are valued highly; but sometimes, money talks louder than all else. Noble families tend to be small, numbering no more than a man, his wife, and their children; though many families are related to each other, and it is sometimes hard to keep track of the bloodlines.
The great bank of Kandhala is renowned as one of if not the most secure vaults in all of Ivalice. Recessed into the High Cliffs, the bankers employ mundane and magical means to secure their customer's holdings. Someone concerned about their possessions may store money or goods of any variety within the vaults; the bank will ask no questions, and no vault has ever been opened for any but the one paying for it, not even at the philosopher king's orders. While it is rumored that a daring thief has once managed to rob a vault (it is whispered that he stole a golden rose with petals of thinly carved ruby, that a prince had meant for his bride; the wedding was in fact called off), the bankers vehemently deny that any theft has ever taken place. The lord protector of the bank, though a 'lord' only in title and actually of the merchant class, is a man who can expect the ear of noble and king alike whenever he wants it; and if they are wise, they will listen.
Kandhala has a Mage's Guild Hall and Library, which is part of the University at large, in front of the Bank. University learning is almost entirely exclusive to the wealthy, given the cost of attending classes; the mages maintain the same rates as they offer across the country. For a poor man to attend classes in the University, he must gain scholarship funding from the wealthy classes; doing so will almost certainly ensure that he spends much of his adult life working for the person who funds him. The Library of Kandhala is expansive, but a fire remembered by some of the city's elder citizens robbed it of most of the collection. There is a standing bounty offered to any adventurer who can bring forth worthwhile texts. In the meantime, those who wish to study usually seek passage to Emberstrand.
The city's pleasure district is nestled into a hilly area, behind the docks on one side of the river. Here, the streets are illuminated at all hours of the night; the roofs are adorned with gold, the wine never stops flowing, and the musicians never stop playing. The narrow streets are lined with high stone buildings, offering taverns and gambling houses, brothels and pit fighting arenas where you may watch animals and people alike having their blood spilled, and apothecaries selling anything you might wish to buy.
On the opposite side of the river is the city's industrial district. Crude factories crowd in with each other, working to perfect the mass-manufacture of all manner of goods, so far with only limited success.
Law enforcement in Kandhala is, like many other things, determined by money. The royalty and nobility, as well as the most wealthy of merchants, are defended by the White Guard; a private military force that keeps the highest members of society safe. The rest of the city is left to the devices of the Akala Clan. She slums, however, are a twisted subterranean warren (built into the Low Cliffs) that even the Clan and the Judges will not enter, except in force, and only then to quell a riot. A man who does not live in the slums and emerges from them having lost only his purse, is a lucky man by all accounts.
Located on an island in a small lake on the top tier, near Kandhala's Vigil, is the city's temple. The high walls surrounding the compound protect the lush gardens and open buildings within; high pillars in place of outside walls on many buildings, and a mighty golden dome that can be seen for miles. The inside of the dome is painted with intricate geometric designs, with a great deal of gold inlay inside the dome and all over the pillars and tapestries. In this temple, it is the spirits who are worshiped, under Bahamut. Some other religions have missionaries have set up their own modest churches in the city's poorer districts, where they seek converts among the gullible and the desperate. Kandhala is blessed with verdant fields, and irrigation techniques have expanded the viable farmland out into the desert. The city largely feeds itself, and has crops to export, such as cane sugar (and rum), bananas and other fruits, cotton, and smokeweed. Kandhala is further blessed with rich mineral deposits. Gold, silver, adamant, and mythril mines are booming, and there are diamonds and other gems here as well. These minerals more than anything else have made Kandhala a wealthy city. Kandhala is also an important port on the slave triangle shipping route, as it is here that slaves are unloaded and auctioned off for gold. Because of this, the waters around Kandhala are rife with pirates. These pirates usually have informants stationed inside the city, to tip them off when a slave galley, laden with treasure, is on its way out of the harbor. (There was a movement, for a time, to try to outlaw slavery within Kandhala; while that movement still exists, it is largely without voice. Afterall, Kandhala is a city who's wheels are greased by money; and trading in slaves is highly profitable.)
In the years after the cataclysm, refugees fled to Mt. Bur-Omisace seeking refuge. Enough have come here, that it is no longer just a religious shrine; now, built onto the mountain slopes, is a modest city. But for all its modesty, this city has become one of the most important cities in the world, for it is the home of the new religion. The leaders of a variety of religions make their homes here, sitting in watch over their various faithful, scattered across Ivalice as they are.
Bur-Omisace is a city not technically run by any one person or group; the various religious leaders or their highest followers often meet in public, to discuss important issues and to hear the voice of the people on the issues at hand. Bur-Omisace is a very communal city, and even the voices of the lowest of beggers and pilgrims are heard.
Bur-Omisace has one of the greatest libraries in Ivalice, and is the only library to have survived the cataclysm more or less intact. As such, it is one of the few places where one can study pre-Cataclysm literature and knowledge. However, much of the library is sealed away, and accessible only to the priesthood. If you wish to study such texts, you would need to earn favour in the eyes of at least on of the religions; how easy or difficult this is to accomplish, will depend on your motives, and who you are.
Bur-Omisace is a small city, with few resources in the surrounding area; the mountains are difficult toe mine, and aside from a few farmers and herders eking out livings in the surrounding valleys and up the slopes, little is grown here; barely enough to feed the city, and only then on thin rations. Yet Bur-Omisace is a thriving city; across Ivalice, everywhere that the new religion has spread, tithes are collected, and the proceeds are sent back here. There is enough for some of the more popular faiths, that their leaders can live in sufficient opulance to rival that of any monarch.
Officially, Bur-Omisace has no military, as such; in practice, there is no great need. The city is defended from monsters and the like by their local Clan, and by the watchful eye of a single Judge, invariably posted here in rotation. Within Bur-Omisace, weapons are not permitted, and mages are expected to be bound by oath only to use healing magics within the city.
Bur-Omisace is kept strictly peaceful, as a mecca for people of all religions to gather, worship, and converse; but stemming from Omisace and flooding out over the lands of Ivalice is the growing movement of Zealotry. Zealots, as they are collectively known, are individuals and groups of people who promote their own religion to the exclusion of all others. They set to themselves the task of chastising the faithful, and converting people to their religion – through violence, if necessary!
Law enforcement in Bur-Omisace is handled by the less fundamental members of the various religion's priesthoods, and by the Judge who keeps attendance. The death penalty is seldom exercised, though when it is it is a public affair, for all to witness and learn from as a sinner is purified. Maiming is also rare; fines, imprisonment, penance, and banishment are the most common forms of legal retribution.
Bur-Omisace's trade is simple. They import everything, and export virtually nothing. This is sustained by the tithes they receive from across Ivalice.
The city of Archades is a city being rebuilt. All across the city skyline, scaffolds go up the sides of unfinished buildings, driving them higher, brick by brick. Though the grand buildings are still being rebuilt, Archades is already a populous city once more, and as the gothic architecture goes up the former glory returns, bit by bit, every day. Armored troops patrol the streets, and practice manouvers in the outlying fields.
Archades once stood at the helm of a mighty empire; and though that empire is shattered, though the cataclysm has wiped so much away, the memory of empire refuses to die. Archades is already no mere city state, having the allegiance and control of other cities; only a handful, but no other city state in Ivalice can make this claim. Archades is ruled by a Senate; a coalition of the most powerful nobles and wealthiest men in the city and surrounding country. With them rests absolute power, but for two things. The right to enact and levy taxation, and the command of the army, rests solely with the Emperor. While he may have to work with the Senate for many other issues, he has the power to make war and the means to pay for them firmly in his grasp; no other leader in Ivalice can make such a boast. Though there are often rumors of friction between the Emperor and the Senate, outwardly they project an image of seemless cooperation; a sober ruling council, with the Emperor at it's head.
Archades is a normal seeming city on the surface; the people are well fed and happy, there are centers for the arts, as well as scholarly and magical learning. Under the surface however, and behind the gothic facades of the new buildings, there is a dark world of intrigue, politics, and sometimes even assassination. While the Senators certainly appear to be seemlessly working together, in reality there is a constant struggle between them, as they make and break alliances and look for leverage to force each other to do what they want.
The tithes collected from Archadia are among some of the largest contributions that Bur-Omisace sees. It is no surprise, then, that Bur-Omisace has given the Emperor his blessing, to continue his actions in the unification of Ivalice – albeit in the name of the faith. While there is plenty of talk that the Emperor and the Pope do not see eye to eye, such talk is best kept in the back alleys, and away from the ears of soldiers.
Law in Archades is enforced by the military and Judges, as there is no police force. Trial usually consists of questioning before a Judge; if you are poor it is unlikely you will be able to afford a lawyer, though the wealthy can usually pay for the priveledge, and stand a good chance of clemency. The death penalty is common, especially among foreigners from foreign lands; imprisonment, fines, time in the stocks, and maiming are all used as punishments as well. Usually during a trial, the word of the soldier who made the apprehension is worth more than any other testimony. Clearly, there are few who are eager to test the patience of any member of the Archadian military.
Archades is surrounded by vast tracts of rich farmland. Though no exotic crops are grown here, there is wheat and other grains, potatoes, various fruits and vegetables, and any basic staple you can think of; also raised are a wide variety of livestock. The reuslt is that Archades, and it's armies, do not want for food; they grow enough that they regularly export it to other cities. Also to be found near Archades, are deep mines that still produce basic metals, such as iron and a great deal of tin. This not only allows them to maintain an army, but to make enough steel to arm their soldiers as well. Archades staunchly refuses to export steel; for an independent merchant to sell it to a foreigner is a crime. Archades tends to import a great deal of raw materials, and then export finished products, such as textiles or machinery. Archades also supports its fiercely growing economy through taxation of subjugated cities, and by levying tribute from places that they don't quite have the power to take yet, but do have enough military to threaten.
Situated around the Lumes Strait, which lies between the continents of Loar and Ordalia, the Jylland region is found well to the west of Rozarria, separated from the lands of what was once Galtea by the dangerous Nazan Mountains. Because of the tenuous land connection, the bulk of trade and communication out of Jylland has always been via ship, whether air or sea.
Prior to the Larsan Folly, the region was governed by a number of Clans, which provided protection and services to the people of Jylland while often competing with each other for the right to champion a given place. Governed by Judges and the Laws, true hostility was kept to a minimum, and the system worked for some time.
However, in 714 OV, the balance of power in Jylland shifted when, for the first time, a single Clan earned the right to champion the entire region. While the existing governing structures of the city-states was unharmed, the other Clans harbored a considerable resentment towards Clan Gully. However, the disappearance of one of the clan's key members at the beginning of 715 OV resulted in a rift in the clan itself. The end result was that of a power vacuum--Clan Gully was still officially the champion of all of Jylland, but their numbers were too few, and those few were caught up in internecine struggles. Crime came to Jylland as never before, as even some former Clans took up banditry. Within a few years, Clan wars had replaced the old competitive spirit, and blood ran thick along the high roads.
Being far distant from the Ridoran Cataract, Jylland was not immediately enveloped in the effects of the Larsan Folly; however, once the Mist rolled over the Nazan Mountains and the Mirhelian Sea, the region was as troubled as any other. Just two cities managed to survive the onslaught. The moogle city of Goug managed to prevent total destruction only by smashing the two great bridges that gave them contact with the mainland; with only the Mistborne creatures on the island itself to fend off, the moogles and their ingenuity managed to salvage some fragments of their city. The city of Moorabella, on the other hand, had more warning than any other, and the Aerodrome. A mass-evacuation onto the airships, coupled with the tireless work of the Moorabellan magi, allowed them to retain their identity, if little of the physical structure of their city, after the Mist receded. Other cities were not so lucky. Fluorgis, one of the largest cities on Ivalice, collapsed beneath the weight of the mist, while the port city of Graszton, weakened by a recent Clan war in the streets, could not hold. But no fate was worse than that which befell the adventurers' city of Camoa and the nearby Targ Wood. Here, the Mist itself seemed to hunt people down, and its effects were swift and merciless on the Viera of Tulque Grove. The Mist never really receded here, and in time the whole region became a vast, harrowed Jagd. Few dare brave the vast forests of Jagd Tulque now, as feral, animalistic, and bloodthirsty descendants of the Tulque Viera roam it now, shredding the unwary adventurer apart.
Two hundred years after the Folly, Jylland is in many ways much changed from the land that came before, while in other ways strikingly similar. Most of the lands consist of either wilderness or small villages under the protection of a Clan. A few larger towns have begun securing areas outside their own walls in recent years: Melby Point, east of old Graszton; Seagull Rise, along the Sant d'Alsa Bluff; and Mirhelia, lying on the Mirhelian sea in Aisenfield. The chief powers in Jylland, however, are the magi and the moogles.
Moorabella has thrived over the last two centuries, and in the last few decades has become expansionist, claiming large swaths of land in the north of the Loar continent. The mageocratic Moorabellan Empire, whether through sweet reason or force of arms, has conquered the whole of the River Shirenia, from Zedlei Forest to the Rupie Mountains, and a great stretch of territory north and west of the river as well. The soldiers and merchants of Moorabella can be found virtually everywhere else on the continent, except for Melby Point and Jagd Tulque. The forces the Empire has at its disposal, along with its historic connections with aerial commerce and the Sky Pirates, has led it to a unique relationship with the Judges--mutual contempt. Judges are an unusually rare sight in Moorabella for this reason, as while they are welcome, their motivations and their secrecy are distrusted at best. The Judges, for their part, are displeased with the autocratic leanings the Moorabellans have developed, and worry about the increasing unrest in the outlying provinces of the Empire. Refugees are sadly becoming more common, often people from the borderlands of the Empire fleeing what they consider Moorabellan oppression; while most of these refugees find their way to one of the other towns of Jylland, a few have fled further west, to the lands of Loar beyond the Galerria Deeps, or eastward, occasionally as far as Emberstrand.
The resurrection of Goug has been a slower process, and indeed even today the clockwork city of the moogles is but a shadow of its former self. They have, however, managed to recover by exploiting the closest source of economic well-being at their disposal; the abandoned magicite mines in the Nazan Mountains. After rebuilding the bridge north of Goug, the moogles established outposts in the Kthili Sands, doing whatever it took to maintain as safe a path as possible before settling the area around the old Nazan and Gorday mines. For many years, now, Goug, via these mines, has become a primary source of Skystone, Spellstone, and other magicite, although the moogles (or, more often, mercenaries hired by them) have had to fight off rival clans, monsters, ghosts, and in a few cases Rozarrian interests.
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