Welcome, friend, to the world of Midgard. Maybe you’re brand new to this world. Or maybe you’ve been around since the beginning. Either way, stay—all are welcome! Please, sit and listen to the tales. You see, the world has been changing, and oh, the sights to see. It’s a living, evolving realm where things happen after all. So why shouldn’t it have a life all it’s own? Where to start…
[From the Midgard Worldbook]
Serene Isle of Kyprion
Since the fall of Kadralhu and Roshgazi to dragon’s fire 300 years ago, the Serene Isle of Kyprion has served as the homeland of the minotaurs. In addition to its strategic position, this volcanic island has rich fields of wheat and barley, and vast orchards of olives, apples, pears, and nuts.
In exchange for defense, Kyprion owes fealty and allegiance to the Maritime Republic of Triolo, but recent events threaten to unravel this strategic and important alliance. As retaliation for the destruction of their fleet, flights of fire dragons razed the city of Gramvar to charred timbers and ash, and while the minotaurs scrambled to aid their stricken fellow citizens, a large draconic force seized Chamiras, City of Rope. Instead of advancing, however, the dragonkin dug defensive trenches and began fortifying the city using the inhabitants as slave labor. Furious minotaurs hurriedly established their own lines of defense with a no-man’s-land in between. While Queen Kitane pleads for aid from her Septime allies and struggles to hold back her furious subjects lest they perish in suicidal attacks, the Serene Isle is anything but serene.
Government: The Queen Of Kyprion
The title of “queen” on Kyprion is largely hollow, though saying so is a sure way to provoke nearby minotaurs to a duel, or worse. As vassals to Triolo, the minotaurs are subjects without a real nation of their own, a fact which rankles most on the island. Outwardly, Queen Kitane tries to maintain her image as a gentle priestess, kind and merciful to her people, who honors and values the alliance with Triolo. She finds great solace in the military alliance forming between Triolo, Kammae, and Kyprion, especially since they have some signs of support from Nuria Natal. Kitane sees this alliance as her people’s best hope. Privately, however, she seethes over Triolo’s refusal to send military aid and her anger has driven a wedge between herself and her consort, Pinaruti, who has sworn fealty to Triolo. It is clear to everyone the foothold in Kyprion is nothing more than a ploy to draw forces away from Triolo. Should the First Duke-Admiral send his troops, the Dragon Empire will surely descend upon Triolo in force. This realization does little to alleviate the suffering of the people of Chamiras. Deep down, Kitane acknowledges and even agrees with First Duke Cadua’s decision, but she cannot help but feel betrayed and abandoned.
It is all Kitane can do to keep her people from descending into the storm of anger and fury and reverting to the old ways of blood-fueled dunamiphagy (the consuming of an enemy’s heart to gain spiritual power). The queen knows she must keep her people from throwing off Triolo’s gentle yoke for doing so would leave Kyprion wide open to the Dragon Empire’s wrath.
Vespras, City of Song
A truly great city, the capital boasts wide avenues and wellpaved streets, lush foliage, and fragrant groves outside its walls. Wells near the top of the city’s main hill send magically raised water cascading down through a series of fountains and channels to the markets and rich houses on the waterfront. Humans and gearforged are welcome, especially those who share a faith with the minotaurs.
Palace of the Bull
Queen Kitane and her consort Pinaruti rule from the palace at the top of the city’s hill, an enormous structure of colossal stones and heavy pillars in the style of Nuria Natal. The palace stands within the Great Labyrinth and boasts sweeping sea vistas, large inner courtyards, and beautiful music by day.
At night, guests hear screams, thrashing, and the sounds of the queen’s enemies dying in agony. Rumors say she invites her friends and enemies to sleep in her halls, but only her friends survive the visit. The palace guards—all enormous minotaurs, skilled in magic and combat and fanatically loyal—lend credibility to the whispers.
The Great Labyrinth
Surrounding and containing the Palace of the Bull, the Great Labyrinth stands as both protection and religion to the minotaurs. Even as far back as Kadralhu and Roshgazi, the minotaurs have always honored the power of the maze. Much of their arcane and divine magic contains a hint of the labyrinth about them.
The Great Labyrinth has two natures, reflecting the duality of sun and moon. During the daylight, to walk the halls of the maze is to commune with Hecate and the minotaur ancestors of old. At night, however, the labyrinth becomes a maze of death when the traps littering the labyrinth become active and beasts prowl and hunt. Several times a year, the Resheig is held—a special hunt through the labyrinth featuring convicted criminals as prey. The spiritual power of the Great Labyrinth should not be underestimated. Utilizing minotaur magic, clerics of the moon and sea can open portals from hidden locations throughout the Great Labyrinth to nearly any distant locations possessing twisting halls or mazelike qualities. This drains the Great Labyrinth, however, so the queen uses this power infrequently.
But this is where we must stop for now, my friend. My mind, it wanders so at times. Do come see me again, though, for more of the wonders and surprises of Midgard.