“Skylands are huge shards of rock and soil that drift through the air. Their upper surfaces are green with vegetation and dotted with mountains and waterways.Their undersides are bro- ken and jagged, with naked stone eroding into the sky beneath. A few are truly vast, spanning more than two hundred leagues from edge to edge. They support rich ecosystems with high mountains, dense forests, seas, rivers and wild plains.They are home to the greatest Kin nations (polities such as Leeward, Bright, Dominion and Verdant) as well as the largest Kin settlements (cities such as Kingsport, Safe Harbor and the fabled Highstone).”
“The Wind fills the skies between the Light and the Dark. It is a primal force and the source of all elemental power. The Wind is a constant in the universe, blowing continually from the Dark toward the Light. Most Guild scholars believe it was first unleashed by the Masters of the Wind, an ancient civilization possessed of limitless knowledge and fantastical science. Others believe that the Wind has always been and that the Masters, in toying with something they did not understand, caused it to destroy their world.”
“The Down Below, the Fell Lands, the Coldway, or just simply the Dark — no matter what it is called, the chill and lightless depths of this black world are beyond the knowledge of the Kin. The Dark defies the imagination and challenges the hearts of even the bravest Knights. It is a land of eternal darkness where the shadows cast by the world above blot out the Light and create an endless black murk that hides ships, landscapes and hunting monsters alike.”
“The Kin are the inhabitants of the Kingdoms in the Light. Though the isolating geography of their strange world has led to the development of many races and unique cultures, all Kin carry clear heritage from their original ancestral lineages. They are generally lean creatures, though those with Stone ancestry can be truly massive. Their faces are open and protracted, with bright, narrow eyes, high cheeks, small noses and narrow jaws.Their ears are wide, pointed and alert and their hair is thick and heavy. Their arms and legs are long, with strong, four-fingered hands and narrow feet bearing four almost prehensile toes. Skin, hair and eye color vary widely, with the differences marking an individual’s ancestry.
Though much debate focuses on the mysteries of their ultimate genesis, there is general agreement that modern Kin arose from four original rootstocks that survived the Great Cataclysm. Scholars call these stocks ancestral breeds and give them various names which archaeological evidence perhaps inevitably links to the four elements - the Spark, the Torrent, the Stone and the Gale being the best translations.”
Kingdoms in the Light
“The Kingdoms in the Light, known more colloquially as the realms, is a loose alliance of monarchies, theocracies, principalities, republics and other sovereign Kin nations that have historically banded together for purposes of trade and mutual protection. Though the politics of the kingdoms is characterized by power struggles and subterfuge, and the frequent infighting of- ten leads to sanctions, embargos, feuds and even war, the kingdoms remain united against their common enemy and single greatest threat: the Children of the Dark..
Verdant is one of the largest of the Kingdoms in the Light and is governed by the constitutional monarchy of Her Righteous Majesty Elsa Elena Worthies and her Parliament of Lords. Other realms may lay claim to greater natural resources — metal ores, timber, major Masters’ caches — but Verdant unequivocally holds title to superior scholars and grander industry.
The Sovereign Domain, known informally as Bright, is the most upwind of the kingdoms, the last settled region beyond which the extreme heat and aridity makes permanent Kin habitation impossible. It is perhaps understandable, then, that the people of Bright would come to give the Light religious significance, deifying it, interweaving its importance with the legacy of the Masters.
The Fortress Dominion
The Fortress Dominion is a lowlands kingdom bordering the Twilight Frontier. It is home to the stalwart Raid tribe of the Kin and is famous for the fierce warriors the culture produces. Its lo- cation along the border has made Fortress the first bastion of defense against the encroaching Children and forced a tradition of martial prowess and stoic vigilance upon the region’s people.”
“The Explorer Knights’ Guild is an ancient and storied order of innately talented and highly trained expeditioneers, sailors, scholars, arcanotechnicians, archaeologists, soldiers and elementalists. They are carefully selected as children and train for many cycles before joining Guild crews and journeying deep into the Twilight Frontier in search of lost Masters’ artifacts. The Knights have a grand reputation. Every child wants to be one, every story of derring-do features them, and hardly a monarch, senate or parliament in the kingdoms does not consult them in its councils. Wherever they travel, the people of the realms respect them, honor them and, sometimes rightly, fear them.”
Denizens of the Sky
What makes them so terrifying is that in every reported incident of a calling screecher, someone has vanished. No one has ever seen what happened, what attacked, or where the victim went.There has never been any blood or other evidence beyond the fact of the missing person and occasionally a dropped tool, weapon or such. No one has ever seen or heard anything save that uncanny, mournful cry, yet every time someone dies.
The hemoth are massive creatures that drift through the skies of the realms in large familial herds.They are shaped like ship-sized teardrops with rows of stubby, seemingly ineffectual wings along their flanks. Their gigantic, ponderous forms are held aloft by the elemental power of the Wind — like the hulls of skyships— though arcane zoologists disagree about just how these massive creatures control this Potential.
No one knows what blinkers actually are. From an indeterminate distance through the Dark, they look like moving strings or chains of sequentially blinking lights, but when approached or pursued they invariably cease winking and disappear. No explorers have ever encountered them up close, or even found anything dead on shore that might anatomically match a blinker.
There have never been reports of a blinker attacking anyone — or no one has survived to publish one — and Guild crews report no sounds or other indicators associated with their appearances. Several cycles ago a small zoological mission was dispatched to solve the mystery of the blinkers.The vessel was armed with several harpoon cannon and an experimental net-casting gun that used arc to stun whatever it caught.The expedition departed Fort Alabaster and has not been heard from since.”
The Children of the Dark
“The Children are the denizens of the Dark and the long-standing enemies of the Kin. There is little evidence of them from the time of the Masters, so most historians believe that, like the Kin, they were born of the same catastrophe that destroyed the old world. Even though encounters with them have been rare since their sudden withdrawal at the end of the Second Incursion, the kingdoms are rife with Child legends, and recent skirmishes have led to concern among some Guild leaders that a Third Incursion may be imminent.”
“Technology is ubiquitous in the world of Upwind; it is a strange synthesis of lost science, baroque invention and raw elementalism. Engineers and technicians across the kingdoms are creative designers and skillful builders, but despite their abilities, there are finite limits to what they can construct with mundane materials. To go beyond these limits, to build the devices and machines most critical to the lives of the Kin, they must incorporate arcanotechnology in their constructions — components salvaged from the ruins left behind by the Masters of the Wind. The inherent rarity and value of these items, such as circuit boxes and spark bottles, makes the Guild’s expeditions into the Dark vital to the technological foundations of the Kingdoms in the Light. These dangerous salvage missions have become essential to the economy and infrastructure of Kin society.”