Page II

 The lands to the south of Asuka and Nara rise in a sharp line of mountain peaks. To the south, the mountains drop away into the lush jungles and swamps of Heinan. The cloak of green jungle extends unbroken to the long white beaches of the Irain Ocean. Thousands of miles of jungle lie unexplored, but not necessarily uninhabited. Wild tribes of oni, humans and even Sennyo are rumored to live both below and in the thick canopies.   

 The few areas of civilization are concentrated in the northwest where the capital Nurikaa sits in the jungle like a besieged fortress. The city is small, no more than a large town surrounded by thick stone walls, bristling with weapons. There are no building outside the walls, for in these jungles even the plants can learn to crave the flesh of man. 

  Only a few thousand acres have been cleared for farming, the thin soil making for poor crops. Most of the people and oni there make their living by harvesting the rare plants and animals that live within the jungles.  

 Such a living is a dangerous one and the dark shadows of the jungle are perfect breeding grounds for the Corruption. The Samurai and Zentai under the Banner of the Tiger are all grizzled veterans and vicious hunters and trackers.  

 To the southeast, in a sprawling complex of bathhouses and spas lies the resort town of Granhall The population is often double that of the capital, filled with tourists, diplomats and nobles who travel down the short highway from Koyatzu to enjoy the clement weather, warn seas, good hunting and white sands. The Daimyo has expressed serious misgivings about the resort's proximity to the jungle, warning all who will listen that the jungle takes back what is its and that the resort has been running on luck and borrowed time. So far his warnings have been ignored and his posting of more troops to the area  seen as paranoia. The Daimyo spends many restless nights praying that they are right.  


 Hilly and wet, this province, along with Namboku to the east, are the food producers for the Empire. Rolling hills and shallow, quick moving rivers fill the northen half of the province, the hills give way the vast Varlen plains, the breadbasket of the empire.  

 The northern hills have been cut into staggered rice paddies that go on for leagues. The lower plains carved into farms and fields for daikon (a type of giant turnip), soy, shoga (ginger root), tea and hundreds of other crops.  

 Located just across the border from Namboku's capital city Gizanami, Sengoku's capital and sister city of Gizanagi is really nothing more than a sprawling town around the Daimyo's castle and is filled with acres of open spaces. Around harvest time these open areas fill with farmers selling their goods to the caravans that will transport them across the Empire.  

 The Samurai ride under the Banner of the Rice Leaf. They are well supplied and well trained. They spend their days administrating their lands and sending the Zentai out on long patrols. Very little of the province remains wild but the rocky highlands to the north often hide bandits and Corrupted waiting an ready to prey upon the rich lands below.  


 The Varlen Plain spreads out across this province like a blanket. The rich soil of the land is covered in a thick blanket of farms, grazing land and vast fields of crops of every desription that seem to stretch out to beyond the horizon.  

 The most populated of all the provinces, the people and Oni live mostly on small, tightly bunched farms or in the hundreds of villages and towns that dot the land. The  towns are the often the centre of a Samurai's land, and each  has a small garrison for the local Samurai and Zentai who ride under the Banner of The Cart Wheel. The open terrain of the land perfect for the mounted patrols that constantly roam the leagues of roads looking for rustlers, thieves and signs of the Corrupted. 

 The capital of Gizanami lies on the western border and spills over into Sengoka and her captial of Gizanagi. The streets are wide and filled with open air markets that fill with farmers who come to sell their goods to the caravans that will transport them out to every corner of the Empire. 

 Namboku and Sengoku are considered brother and sister by the local inhabitants and a spirit of cooperation and sharing between the two extends all the way from the local peoples up through to the Samurai. As a result the two Daimyo often cooperate when dealing with criminals, political matters and trade. Traveling across the border is much easier than any of the other provinces and the many roads between are rarely monitored closely.  



 The smallest of the all the provinces, only a few hundred kilometers square,  this weatherbeaten and rocky land just north of Sengoku sits on high, sharp cliffs above the waters of the Kobitan Ocean. There are no towns, villages or peasants within this province and only one city rises up to break the quiet desolation.  The legendary and enchanted city of  Jidai.  

   No two people who have see the city ever describe it quite the same way.  All speak of  spiraling towers, floating walkways hundreds of feet above the city streets, strange lights and miraculous devices.  But no two visitors will agree on the layout of a city street or the exact location of a tower, even those who've spent their entire time within the city walls side by side. 

 The reason for this phantasmal architecture is that the city has become to be inhabited almost exclusively by those who have been touched by the gift of magic. Wizards, Spellweavers, Weathersingers and TechnoSorcerers; magic users of every type, and every race make their home within the city walls. Even the provincial Samurai, who ride under the Banner of the Burning Fist, are trained in the powers of battle magic. There are no Zentai. 

 The city is the centre of magical learning throughout the continent. Sennyo nobles send their children to be trained by the most powerful masters in realm. Kobito Weathersingers often come to hone their skills and even many of the Daimyo and their families have spent time under the tutelage of one of the old Masters . Humans seem to dominate, perhaps because unlike most of the Empire, should they survive the trials, they are treated as equals.  

 The path from hopeful prospect to Mage is a long one filled with grueling tests that begin as soon as the would be apprentice enters the province. Those that live long enough to find a Mage with whom to train are the minority, but that does not stop hundred of hopefuls from attempting every year. 
 The lands beyond the city are as mercurial and dangerous as the Mages within. Vast stretches of bleak red rock, sandy desolation and  sharp and dangerous plants are occasionally broken by patches of strange colored glass that glow at night offer mute testimony to a failed experiment or lost duel.  The wastes are inhabited by animals and monsters who have been trained to attack travelers who deviate from the one road that winds its way north to the Jidai city gates.  
 Traders and merchants are common along the road as caravans come from the up from the south to fill the city's constant need for food and the rare plants, minerals and animals. Despite the constant trade, travelers moving along the road often talk of not seeing a soul.  

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