Maldene is a fantastic world of magic, mystery, and strange science, but can perhaps be a little dangerous for the uninitiated tourist. Consider this, then, your tourist’s guide to some of the highlights of the world of Maldene. Remember, you have now been warned.
Tedelnosho: The first thing you’ll see as you come down through the atmosphere, is a geological feature that is rather odd even for Maldene. Tedelnosho, otherwise known as The Great Whirlpool (literal translation: really big hole in the water), is a phenomena that can be seen from space and has been around as long as History currently records. Since the dim mists of pre-history, this gigantic whirlpool has been spinning. A whirlpool nearly fifteen hundred miles across, a great slow beast turning round and round, never stopping. How it started and what keeps it going is the subject of its mystery. But, there is more that adds to its mystique, for the winds do not blow over Tedelnosho, and nary a cloud passes overhead. No wind to set sail against, the currents will pull in any ship if one gets too close, crashing it down the endless fall of water at its center.
Or would it? There are stories of ships disappearing within Tedelnosho. Not just from sinking, but transported to other places. Some return, bearing with them stories of other places, other worlds, while others return unaware of the long passage of time since they had vanished. Then there are the creatures sometimes seen to exit from the heart of the Whirlpool, ones from other worlds or dimensions. A portal hundreds of miles across? Perhaps. Or perhaps… Maybe tourists should simply keep well clear of Tedelnosho.
The Sea of a Thousand Islands: Located just south of Tedelnosho, the name pretty much says it all. A vast sea, with the massive continent of My-Thov on the west and the Lamicas on the East, the Sea of a Thousand Islands is so named because of the vast number of islands within it– said to be at least a thousand that are known of. Small broken pieces of rock a mile or two across for the most part, though there are exceptions. Enough islands, though, to make for quite the number of hiding places for ships, or even entire fleets, and lying as it does between several major trading centers, it does get rather well traveled.
Despite such a vast number of ocean-going hiding places, however, pirates are not generally a problem, for the Sea is a favored home for Thirdocian villages, those masters of the sea. And Thirdocians do not tolerate pirates, nor any unfriendlies in their seas. Between three to five thousand miles across in places, if you want a home that may very well remain hidden from anything the outside world has to offer, then the Sea is a very good choice. And, if you aren’t a pirate, Thirdocians make for rather amiable and good-natured hosts.
My-Thov: Bordering the Sea is the biggest continent on a world of big continents: mighty My-Thov. Home to a wide range of terrain, it is also a key area strategically and hence one of the first places to be targeted by our resident bad-guy, Miro (tourists should beware of any priests of Vold they encounter in the area lest you find yourselves working for them as a Sentinel).
The Great Desert is one such section of My-Thov and can be as dangerous as the people who inhabit it, the Destir. Bigger than your Earth's Sahara, it is populated by many unseen dangers. From thirty-foot sand beetles, the Sarka which are sand sharks a hundred or more feet long, plants that will absorb the moisture straight from your body if you get too near, to the Destir whose mastery of their homelands has kept the forces of Miro out of the desert for hundreds of years. On the other hand, if you can actually get a Destir to befriend you, it will be for life.
Then there are the great forests of My-Thov, Cho Tehïr. Trees a thousand feet tall and a hundred thick, it is a place of natural magnificence, with the deeper woods favored by the Elves and faerie folk who live therein. Elves that really love guests that know how to party.
East of these great woods are The Grassy Plains; vast fields of grass and sporadic trees that go on for several horizons. These plains boast the legendary masters of riding, the Plains Riders. A nomadic people, from the time they can walk they are trained on the horse, with a few mastering the massive bear-cat. They are a fierce and proud people, not easily given to declaring one as their "plains brother".
Finally are the mountains, The Great Barrier Range. A central range that stretches west its arms into the desert, south as the border between the woods and plains, and east into the plains to separate them from the rocky northern coasts. The Tadalnka are the mountain people who guard their realm as fiercely as any of the other peoples of My-Thov, but they do have some dark neighbors, for deep within these mountains lies something sinister. Something that has long been lying in wait for word from their master. For this reason, tourists are advised to go nowhere in these mountains without a Tadalnka to guide them.
The Elven Islands: Our last stop in the southern hemisphere, the Elven Islands is home to, naturally, elves and fairy folk. A pleasant land with a consistent temperate climate, despite its southerly reach, it is a group of five, what we here call, ‘faltes’: that would be a land mass too large for an island yet far too small for even the smallest of continents (your England would be a perfect example of a faltes). The local elves are very hospitable and have a party every single night (you can do that when you don’t need to sleep). When you visit there, ask for Gwendel’.
The Farlands: Far to the upper part of the northern hemisphere and bordered by the Desert Sea, the Outlier Ocean, the Northern Sea, and the Foring Sea, lies an aptly named land. Its only natives are those whose ancestors landed there by way of being shipwrecked with no way off this little continent. Something like a crossbow would be considered a major artifact, and a single goblin holding one would be considered the local warlord (without the army, just the crossbow). It is an unremarkable land of fields, woods, and some rivers. Even though its location puts it not too far out of the way of some local trading routes, ships at sea will still go out of their way to avoid it. Not because it is dangerous– it is not and everyone knows it– but because the place just is not worth the time. Any ‘city’ around here would be considered as being large if it has more than twelve people. Definitely no nightlife, so moving on…
The Harbor Of The World: Forget the Farlands, this is the perfect tourist-trap. Located in the middle of the southern coast of the continent of Cenivar, it is the single largest port of trade in the entire world. Picture something the size of your Gulf of Mexico with the only outlet to the sea being the distance from the tip of Florida to Cuba; the rest is one huge harbor. But despite the size of this inland wonder, its waters are calm; the perfect port of call. From there, the entire coast, for about 100 miles inland, is one continuous line of stone buildings. An endless coastal city, sea of stone roofs. Then the Harbor being in the tropics, just a little bit above the Equator itself, it has found its way to being the number one trading port. Cultures from all over the world, ones that have met no place else but here, meet and trade in the Harbor. There are even many traders who ply their living exclusively in the Harbor, trading from one coast to another, never leaving the Harbor. In fact, it is said that at any one time there are a million ships in the Harbor's waters; perhaps an exaggeration, but no one has taken the time to count.
All this has made the Harbor a permanent collection of a hundred cultures; people from all over the world coming through, some staying and contributing their cultures to the rest. With as much as goes through the Harbor, it is safe to say that very little surprises the locals, be it wizards teleporting in at random, or strange creatures walking the streets. There is also another accepted fact: the Harbor is safe from invasion. It is, after all, a key component of nearly every culture's trade and economy, and with as many ships as sail these waters, invasions would be foolish and benefit no one.
The Harbor never sleeps, and you can find entertainment of nearly any kind… Just be careful of which street you walk down.
Thïr Glomdäitaÿor: The final stop on our quick little tour is the continent of Degaloth, specifically the walled city of Thïr Glomdäitaÿor, home of the King. Not just any king, but thee King (notice I spelled it with a Capital "K"), the one guy trying to engineer his own counter-plot to that of Miro by recruiting a few heroes (applications taken in the Main Keep, if you’re interested). Needless to say, this castle is a bit beyond the normal and the high-point of our tour.
First off, a quick analysis of this grand city’s unusual name, since I know you’re all curious. Start with that Prefix, "Thïr"; an ancient prefix once used to designate a truly great city, one both wealthy and powerful. Like if you were to stick all of your Manhattan inside gigantic castle walls, then that castle-city would have earned a "Thïr". It is a title used by the Great Human Kingdoms of long ago, but since their fall thousands of rels ago, no city since has earned the right to use that title... Until now. For the rest of the name, ‘Glom’ means "Strong", ‘Däe’ means "pearly white", and ‘Taÿor’ means "free". So the whole thing translates to "Great pearly white city of the strong and the free", pointing to both its grandeur and rough physical appearance, and the nature of its inhabitants.
Okay, on with the city itself. Designed to not only be a self-contained metropolis, but to house some fifty-thousand troops as well, with gardens, marble statues painted in the colors of life, stone buildings rising up a hundred stories, and the flying longboats called ‘kitearns’ patrolling the skies. The Keep of the Royal Family itself is about the size of a more normal-sized lord's castle.
The shape and design of this city is equally unusual and majestic. A six-pointed star with a set of gates at two opposing ends, 800-foot tall walls, armed towers at every vertex and point of this star rising higher yet, the outer walls sporting a golden sheen run through with darting prismatic colors of obvious magic power. The inside walls, meanwhile, are fashioned of polished Maldene bedrock, that pearly-white stone that when polished ensures that no place is left in foreboding shadows.
Beyond all this obvious, there is something else that makes Thïr Glomdäitaÿor special, and that is its King and the attitude he represents. Everyone everywhere is deathly afraid of Miro (and with good reason), but here, though, there is at least the spark of hope, that maybe for the first time that anyone knows of, people can take a stand. Thïr Glomdäitaÿor is a palace and a fortress, both the safest and most majestic location on the entire world of Maldene.
Conclusion and Final Warnings: That ends this quick little tourist’s guide of our large Earth-swallowing world, but a final note of caution. We’re all pretty proud of our home here, but always remember to be extremely wary of Miro and his minions. Management takes no responsibility for what happens to anyone venturing away from designated safe areas. Also remember to wear your adaptation bracelet at all times; our world has six times your Earth’s gravity, which also makes the atmosphere a bit denser, not to mention a few other details we can ignore for now.
The point is to have fun and enjoy your stay in the world of Maldene.