“The highlands 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 broken and jagged, with naked stone eroding into the sky beneath. A few are truly vast, spanning more than a hundred leagues from edge to edge. They support rich ecosystems with high mountains, dense forests, seas, rivers and wild plains. The highlands are home to the Kingdoms in the Light - nations such as Verdant, Loft, The Fortress Dominion and The Sovereign Domain of Bright.”
“The Wind fills the skies between the Light and the Dark. It is a primal force and the source of all elemental power. Most Brotherhood 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, allowed it to destroy their world.”
“The Dark defies the imagination of any Kin and challenges the hearts of even the bravest Knights. It is a land of eternal shadow where the shade cast by the highlands above blots out the Light and creates an endless black murk that hides ships, landscapes and monsters alike. There is a constant need for vigilance in excess of normal shipboard life. The shadowy world is full of predators that can silently strip a crew member from the deck and highlands that can loom out of the blackness without warning.”
“The Kin are the citizens of the Kingdoms in the Light. Though the strange geography of their world has led to the development of many crossbreeds and unique cultures, all Kin carry clear heritage from their original ancestral stocks. They are generally lean creatures, though those with Stone ancestry can be truly massive. Their faces are open and protracted, with bright 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, or more colloquially 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 against their common enemy – 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, undiscovered Masters' ruins - but Verdant unequivocally holds title to superior scholars and grander industry.
The Sovereign Domain, known less formally as Bright, is the most upwind of the Kingdoms, the last settled region beyond which the extreme heat and aridity make 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 breeds. Its location along the border has made Fortress the first bastion of defense against the encroaching Children and so has forced a tradition of martial prowess and stoic vigilance upon the region’s people.”
“Every child dreams of being an Explorer Knight. Captivated by the tales of adventure and glory that pervade every culture, the allure is irresistible. Regardless of their reasons, those who prove worthy eventually learn that service in the Guild is nothing like they dreamed. It proves equal parts challenging and rewarding, wondrous and terrifying, painful and noble. It is both the highest service and the greatest sacrifice they will ever make.”
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 personal item. 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 Upwind in large familial herds. They are shaped like ship-sized teardrops, with rows of stubby, seemingly ineffectual wings along their flanks, and huge sail-like tails. Their gigantic, ponderous forms are held aloft by the elemental power of the Wind - like the hulls of sky ships - though arcane zoologists disagree about whether their flight is an innate use of wild Potential or something more enigmatic.
There have never been reports of a blinker attacking anyone - at least no one survived to issue 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
“Though the Kingdoms are rife with legends and myths about the Children, according to the Brotherhood's archives, veriﬁable reports of encounters with them were once rare. Frighteningly, incursions by, and skirmishes with, the Children have increased. The Brotherhood's leadership is worried that either there are more Children than in the past, or that some need is making them bolder. Either possibility is chilling.”
“Technology is ubiquitous in the world of Upwind, and 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 considerable abilities, there are ﬁnite limits to what they can construct. 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 of these items, such as circuit boxes and spark bottles, make the Brotherhood'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 very survival of Kin society.”