The Republic of Quelios
Location: Southeast of the Known World. New Quelios lies on a large island southeast of Ceracia and east of Illucien across The Bay of Mist.
Climate: Tropical. Hot air from the Great Desert picks up moisture crossing the Bay of Mist, leaving Quelios warm and humid year-round.
Government: Republic. Each major city in Quelios appoints their own Representative (by whatever means they choose) to the Hall of Servants every year. The Hall votes amongst itself when making any major governing decision.
During the time of the Dominion, the nation of Quelios was founded on the mainland south of Zaravek by wizards, elementalists, summoners, and other spellcasters who had been cast out of that nation. For many years, Quelios existed as a haven for those exiled from Zaravek and despised by members of other nations for the crime of curiosity in the mystic arts. Quelian magic guilds excelled in spellcraft, creating new and unique spells and kinds of magic. By studying rune items purchased from dwarves and the arts of wizardry and summoning, Quelian sorcerers slowly developed the entirely new art of mystic crafting, the ability to summon and imprison magical entities (typically elementals) within ordinary objects to produce phenomenal results. Zaravek leaders immediately decried crafting as an abomination of demonism (and still do), but the items produced by it remain highly prized (openly or not).
However, the Sundering signaled the death of Quelios. Cut off from the mainland, and with former elven slaves conquering the nations to the south, the government of Quelios desperately sought aid from any member of the Twenty Nations. Perpetually untrustworthy of summoners and crafters and preoccupied with their own concerns during the collapse, none of the Nations lifted a finger to assist Quelios, and the nation collapsed in a mere matter of months. Quelian refugees did not find things much better. Most wandered from one nation to the next, often chased out by locals afraid of their crafts.
In time, one of the largest groups of summoners and crafters traveled to one of the few unoccupied (and unexplored) locations in the Known World, the large island southeast of the Great Desert. Naming the unclaimed island New Quelios in honor of their lost homeland, the refugees began settling along the coastline. Shortly after first landing on the island, a group of Quelian explorers found that the island was in fact inhabited when they happened upon several small villages of changelings in the southern plains. Unknown throughout the rest of the Known World, the members of this race quickly found themselves enslaved by the newcomers to their lands. Forcefully kept within small towns in the south of the island, these changeling slaves have been kept as a careful secret from the rest of the world.
As a result of their experiences, Quelians have little faith in the trustworthiness of other nations. Although the Republic has a huge trade in crafter-made goods, they permit no foreigners past the ports and coasts of their nation. Likewise, becoming a citizen of Quelios is very difficult for those not born there. The process has been known to require months of extensive questioning and checks into the applicants background. Only those who are entirely truthful throughout the questioning process and whom the Board of Immigration feels are appropriate material to become a citizen of Quelios stand a chance of truly becoming one, and among that small group, some still are rejected.
For most of the world, the Republic of Quelios remains shrouded in mystery. No embassies are allowed on the island, and the Republic keeps none of its own among the other nations. Instead, the representatives of the Hall rely entirely upon properly trained changeling agents (whom even their own citizens know nothing about) to spy on the rest of the Known World and keep them up to date on current events outside of their borders.
Faragon (captial): Nestled between two short mesas in the northern interior of the island, the capital of Quelios lacks most of the pomp and flamboyancy of other capitals in the Known World. The Hall of Servants itself is a large, yet plain, squat, rectangular building which barely stands out from its surroundings. The only thing to really differentiate Faragon from most other cities around it are the large-barreled firecasters located around the city, mounted on rotating bases to face any direction when needed. These crafter creations are capable of emitting a barrage of flame strong enough to destroy most attacking armies, and serve the ensure the safety of Faragon no matter what happens in the future.
Verakui: Near the northern coast, Verakui is well-known in the republic as a center for mystic crafting. Day and night, the arcane forges of this sprawling town belch out luminous smoke as crafters and apprentices work on the art that has made them famous throughout the world. Visitors to Verakui are likely to find a crafter device for any job or task, and several thousand different frivolous diversions created by apprentices and made to reproduce sounds or music, or just to please the eye through elaborate, perpetual motions.
Gnomet: When most foreigners say they have visited Quelios, they really mean they have visited Gnomet, the island’s principal port on the Sea of Mist. Located near the middle of the island, far from most other settlements, Gnomet is one of the busiest trade cities in the Known World. The piers of the city are crammed with the ships of the gnomish trade guilds (among others), often packed so closely together that one could walk across the bay by striding from one vessel to the next. And, climbing above the inns, restaurants, and storehouses of the city stand the scaffold-like towers of the skydocks. The skydocks are tall enough to lead to the common belief that mystic crafting was employed in their construction (it was), and provide the single largest berth for airships made by crafters in the world. There is space for literally dozens of these odd vessels to tie off against the skydocks and allow their passengers to walk down the broad staircases spiraling down the center of each tower to the city below. It is no surprise that the skydocks of Gnomet are commonly seen as one of the marvels of the world.
Xiphix: Closed off on all sides by stone walls and mystic wards, Xiphix is the largest changeling reserve in the Republic. Although owned by the state, the changelings within are permitted to live as they choose, so long as they never try to leave the town, attack one of their guards, or resist any of their children being taken away to be trained as an Eye of Quelios. Any changeling daring to break any of these rules is quickly disposed of by the human guards of the town. Young are taken for training typically as soon as they can be separated from their mother, and then spend their entire young life with other Eyes in training and human instructors in the Academy of Eyes to the north. Training at the Academy is rigorous, covering both physical and intellectual exercises, as well as extensive practice with the young changeling’s own natural abilities. This training regimen is supported by a program designed to enforce a sense of duty and loyalty toward the Republic in the students. Standards are equally as strict, and regular testing for physical aptitude, mental flexibility, and, above all, dedication to Quelios itself weeds out all but one in ten students. Those that fail are escorted away from the Academy and quietly executed, to ensure security without alarming the others. The precious few who succeed become new Eyes of Quelios, and act as some of the best spies in the Known World, carrying out their orders without question and with complete loyalty to their homeland.