General

Known As:
Arbor of Fireflies
Region:
Ninraih
General Location:
Center of Ninraih
Approximate Size:
110 (width) x 90 (height) square miles

History

Historians and scholars wrote that magic was introduced to Khy'eras through Bhelest. At first, he sold the energy and when his own power became too much to handle, it was given freely to the denizens of the realm. Although Bhelest's actions upset the balance of Khy'eras, it was as if magic had been awakened inside certain races and some took to it more naturally than others - specifically the Elves and Fae. Bhelest aimed to use this to his advantage and control those who had magic. This was not always successful, but those that objected his rule frequently wound up dead.

The Fae, concerned that their race might be enslaved, headed for the cover of Ninraih's maze-like jungles. In the middle of the intertwining branches, massive tree trunks, and vibrant flora, the Fae discovered a spot to call their own, naming their eventual city "Ajteire". As they built homes and communities, the Fae needed protection from Bhelest's forces of the undead that took to wandering the jungles. While they could use their magic to a certain extent, the Fae were not always the best with weaponry or close range combat, and as a consequence, their numbers dwindled as they strived to fend off the undead.

Hearing rumors that Cecilia found a solution to the world's chaos through an essence of Ristgir, discussions were had and the Fae planned to use similar tactics of light to defend the people of Ajteire. The only problem was that the city was positioned in the center of the jungle where sun struggled to reach the ground. Instead of protecting the Fae, the jungle's shroud assisted the undead. A mistake the Fae realized after settling on Ninraih.

However, they sought hope in the smallest of creatures. The fireflies had always fluttered about Ajteire and the Fae did not pay much attention to their presence until they were able to enchant the insects with magic. The flickering light that the fireflies gave off henceforth kept the undead armies at bay. And though it seemed like a ridiculous idea to save the city, the plan worked.

As the fireflies kept vigil around Ajteire, the former proud race of the Elves split into two different tribes (Kerasoka and Lumeacia) as they could not agree on how to cope with ongoing war. The Kerasoka stayed visible to the fighting on Khy'era's home front, but their constant resistance was a hindrance to Bhelest and he retaliated by stripping their magic away.

Relying on Elvish skills with weaponry and innate knowledges proved difficult. The Fae, hearing that Kerasoka was set up for an eventual downfall, offered assistance. Kerasoka would reside in Ajteire and provide protection - the steel to the Fae's magic - while further exercising their combat techniques to make up for the magic that they no longer had. Believing that the fight against Bhelest was not ending any time soon, Kerasoka agreed to this alliance with the Fae and headed towards their new home, Ajteire.

Culture

In comparison to Fellsgard, a city that is divided into sections based on an individual's wealth, the folk of Ajteire initially treat everyone on common ground. Citizens are asked to contribute by using the talents and expertise that they possess - such as gardening, hunting, cloth making, cooking, etc. Everyone has a part in the city's growth and those who refuse to participate, are asked to leave. It is very much a communal place to live.

Because Ajteire is built on a foundation of sharing and equality, residents trade wares in exchange for other goods, services, and labor. Inside the city, money is almost useless. However, when outsiders visit, shop owners are permitted to accept money for purchases and in return, these funds go towards resources that cannot be found in Ajteire.

Situated about the town are six cooking stations where people gather at scheduled times to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Cooking tasks are rotated between chefs. If a person misses scheduled eating, there is usually a "watch chef" who manages the area and that person is welcome to speak with the chef about getting food.

Though predominately populated by the Fae and Kerasoka, there have been a handful people from of other races (mostly Humans or Shapeshifters) that appreciate Ajteire's way of living and have chosen to make the city their permanent residence.

Housing

Rather than cutting down trees and clearing the flora of Ninraih's jungles, the Fae made a decision to keep the land in tact whenever possible. Many huts are built inside larger trees or along strong branches and thick vines. Homes are designed with one or two rooms, running smaller in size to conserve space. There are people (those who travel a lot) who have one room lofts, complete with slanted, mud and wood ceilings to keep the rain out. And some folks, who take to rising with Ninraih's sun, reside in lookouts above the treetops.

A network of wooden bridges run across the city, creating aerial paths to and from houses. By building around the jungle, the citizens of Ajteire allowed the wildlife to grow and as such, the trees which support their homes grow stronger throughout the years.

Ajteire has a simplistic way of living and people keep very few personal possessions. Home decor, such as heavy furniture, or abundances of clothing, are acquired in minimal amounts. Instead of beds, people sleep on hammocks fashioned to branches and tree trunks or use cots crafted of comfortable leaves and hay native to the area.

Three humble inns are scattered about the city. If these inns are booked due to the building's compact size, weary travelers are welcome to pitch tents and camp out among the forest floor, as long as they do not obstruct walkways.

Transportation

Owing to the lush vegetation, Ajteire has no room for an airship port, so a person cannot get to the city by flight. With the possibility of air ruled out, there are still ways to travel to the city. Ninraih Station, located just outside the edge of the region's jungles, has a train platform. A person can buy tickets for passage to/from:

After leaving the train station or if a person is going to Ajteire via another city, passing through the jungle requires traditional methods. A person might walk or use mounts such as a horses. Nevertheless, paths can be uneven and treacherous to these animals.

Leadership

Ajteire's decisions are determined by the concept of time and though the process may feel strange to outsiders, the leadership has worked since its creation. Three Fae (between the ages of 20 and 30) are chosen to sleep in a special chamber inside a tree for a period of 100 years. This is a location known by a limited few, people known as "Keepers" that take selected Fae to the trees. During this hibernation, they feel no effects of age and absorb details of the way the city and its inhabitants communicate with Khy'eras. This flow of knowledge from the roots of the tree to the Fae is split and evenly distributed; one Fae retains the events of past, another the present, and the last, the future. Together, with their insight of what has happened and what will happen, the trio of Fae, otherwise known as the "Voices of Fate", determine Ajteire's involvement on all worldly issues.

Keepers are tasked with writing down any wisdom that the Voices give to them. When dealing with the future, words are deemed "prophecies" mainly because the events have not yet happened and may be subject to change. A mistake people make is assuming that the future can easily tell how Ajteire should act. The best possible outcomes for Ajteire are determined by reviewing situations from the past and present, as there have been an insignificant number of recorded cases where an improper reading of the future landed the citizens of Ajteire in an unwanted situation. All parchments from the Voices are sealed in a library that is guarded by Keepers, with only one entrance that also serves as an exit.

When one trio rouses after a century, another group of Fae then occupies the chambers. As trios are replaced, the group leaves the city and are escorted to different trees that fully embraces the Fae in a wrapping of bark and twigs until they become one. Certain Fae scholars speculate that retired Voices eventually return to Khy'eras through reincarnation and because of events in their previous life, they can learn things - like magic - with ease. They never transform to Ghosts either.

On seldom occasions, there have been chosen Fae that have rejected the role of a Voice. When this happens, the Fae may be requested to leave Ajteire or they stay, only to become shunned and criticized by their kin. As a result, these "fallen" Fae end up exiting the city, feeling as if they have failed the entire community. Alternatively, Fae have volunteered to be Voices of Fate, but these requests must be tested and scrutinized before being approved.

As far as the city's protection, being a "soldier" for Ajteire is much like any job. If a person has expertise in fighting or magic, they may use those skills to help defend Ajteire and give back to the city. Because there is no formal army, Ajteire's defenders are viewed as a militia. A substantial portion of this group contain Kerasoka Elves as they are skilled with weaponry, but there are Fae mages and healers that lend a hand. People who do wrong in the city are apprehended by the militia and are brought to court where they are placed on trial.

Views on Magic

If there is one place a mage can go and not have to worry about being chastised or punished for magical abilities, it is Ajteire. Majority of the citizens that use magic on a daily basis are the Fae, as the energy is like an extension of their body. They are receptive of magic and the Fae try to not hide their knowledge and skills. It is hypothesized that (by reviewing patterns in history) if a person confines magic, it can consume, destroy, or transform them. The Fae retain this theory, but they are still respectful not to overdo magic usage. This is largely in part to Kerasoka being stripped of their magic in the past; the Fae do not want to "show off".

Those who have heard of Ajteire or who have visited the city and are fearful of magic, keep their distance as they do not want to be involved with what goes on.