"There are forces at work that frown on visitors entering Dead Port and feel even more negatively about people leaving it."
Once the self-styled gateway of the Southern Empire, the Emerald Port, renowned for gem stones and pearls, exotic spices and foods, and the prevalent stench of the Emerald River. In the 5,097th Year of the Age of Gallidon, a deadly plague sweeps through the Emerald Port. Survivors flee the city, leaving most possessions behind. By the Year 5,099, no cure has been discovered for the plague. Those few hardy souls who enter the city searching for people and things left behind never return. The city becomes commonly known as Dead Port. Despite the lure of the Port's wealth, lying for the taking, very few enter the city.
The Empty Lands
"The conflict between Gallidon the First and House Ravan ended long ago, but the scars remain visible on our lands. Gallidon forbid any to reoccupy it, though most agreed it was no longer worth the effort. But with Gallidon gone, who can say whether the wound will finally heal and the Empty Lands will finally share their secrets?"
The Orders recount battles between Gallidon the First and many of those who resisted his appearance and offer for peace through unification. The newly created House Ravan was itself divided on whether to ally with Gallidon, with some supporting the new emperor and others resisting him in both word and deed. The conflict rattled mountains and flattened cities, and when Gallidon and the Greater Houses stood triumphant, the result was a swath of moors and scrub lands. For five thousand years, the Empty Lands have stood vacant and unwatched. Or have they...?
"You’re right to fear the Maelstrom. And anyone who wishes to run it. Even at this distance, I can feel it; the vast energy, nature’s fury and resentment. I suspect the storm that lies over the Imperial Isle is its brother. They have the same feel."
An ever-present, dark, forbidding storm that straddles the Eastern straits of the Inner Sea. The Maelstrom is death to all ships that attempt passage to the great Sea beyond. It defies all efforts to pierce its secrets with even the most powerful sorcery. The storm pre-dates the Empire, a legacy of the Age of Disorder. Rumor persists that it is even more dangerous to those with the Gift of magic than the common sailor. Now, a similar storm guards the Imperial Isle. The wise wonder if the two phenomenon are related in some way.
"As your Imperial Highness is, no doubt, aware, the Rock overlooks the only safe passage between the Inner and Outer seas. The fortress atop the Rock stands guard over that strait."
The Fortress of the Rock is home to the Greater Noble House Melanthias, masters of alchemy. There, they produce wondrous potions, elixirs, ointments, etc. The people of the surrounding area provide the fortress with all it needs to continue. Profitable commissions are not uncommon when the alchemists discover a need for some precious or rare ingredient for their latest experiments. While many claim them mad, all have a desire for what the alchemists create.
"The threat of Imperial involvement had traditionally held the volatile lower noble houses of Tar Mira in check."
The city-state of Tar Mira is a prime example of emerging post-Empire governance. The Imperial Administrator still retains authority, but only at the sufferance of the Nobles. The multitude of Lower Noble Houses vie to fill the rapidly expanding vacuum of power while a bureaucracy struggles to maintain the stability of daily life for the inhabitants.
"Gerin’s failure to stop this attack weighed heavily on him. He had formed The Swordsmen to bring even the smallest hope of justice and civilization to what was left of the Southern coastlands."
A vast stretch of desert. The Imperial presence withdrew long before the Destruction in gradual stages over several generations. A lawless land ruled by might; the strength of a sword arm or the power of magic. Water is the greatest wealth is this dry expanse.