Leader: Margrave Council Nesta Arethusa, Gabriel Lyons, and Tealle Luxemberg
Population: Approximately 250,000
Margravates: Northgate, Southgate, Eastgate, Westgate, Polaris
Known For: Magic
Colors: Black, Crimson, and Silver
Major Towns and Cities: Polaris Port
Characters of Mists: Here
Description: The Isle of Mists is a beautiful land comprised of rolling green hills, murky swamps, mysterious remains of the prior demonic kingdom, and a host of dangerous creatures. The oldest principality after Gateway Isle itself, Mists was forged when the Champion sundered the lands forever apart. Once connected to the Isle of Gateway, Mists is the smallest of the five isles under the Keeper's dominion. The very center of the isle is the highest point found at Sorcery's Crest; mountains rise there into snowcapped peaks, though not comparable to Guardians' lofty heights. Four margravates are carved out of the isle, each proud of their individuality and independence.
The Breath of Imperius is the name for the deadly, wondrous fog that once gathered here at night, and occasionally daylight, supposedly the source of all magic. Within its veil, many oddities were once found. Dark magics at moonless midnight ceremonies, strange experiments to create new creatures, subtle coalitions of unspoken purposes... much was hidden by the Breath, and now that it is gone, is only veiled by the shadow of night.
For more Mists specific information and questions, please visit the Mists FAQ.
Map of Mists
- Best known for the impressive depth of the lake of Dark Waters and the pearls once produced from its depths, now missing after the Great Schism of 508, and the minimally producing coral reef just off of the coast, the Northlands are almost entirely rural and dotted by small settlements along the waterways and coast.
- The margravate of Southgate is a land marked and shaped by the waters that dominate its landscape. From the western waters that make up Midnight Lagoon, to the eastern waters that flood and permeate the soils of the swamps to the west, to the sharp, howling cliffs of the southern coast, elemental mages -- water mages in particular, but also a number of earth mages -- seem to gravitate towards the lands there.
- Brief blurb about Eastgate goes here.
- Westgate is a land of scholars, mystics, and superstitious traditionalists, where gnarled, majestic forests crawl in on all sides of the lordship to give an almost claustrophobic squeeze on the coastline. Enchanting, if occasionally unsettling, still-lingering rumors of abyssal cults in the thick of the deep and secretive forests have prompted the line of margraves to make a grand display of hunting these fanatics and their places of hiding, resulting in more unrest than has traditionally been evident in this tucked-away and hazy dreamland.
Beautiful and graceful, from the pristine beaches to the verdant forests that rest not far beyond the water's edge, the land is well tended and the citizens and margraves take great care to protect the forest and shores. The recently constructed port at Diuturnal's Cove was named its capital, and much of the population dwells in close proximity to the sea.
| Other Holdings
- Brief blurb about Polaris here.
Sorcery's Crest - Ducal Seat
- Brief blurb about Sorcery's Crest here.
While all isles contribute their individual specialties to Gateway's overall economic engine, Mists holds a special place in inter-island and international trade. Few other places in all Ikol possess any sort of arcane tradition, much less one as richly developed as found in the westerly duchy. The practice of producing magical objects ranging from mere fripperies to enhance an outfit up to highly coveted treasures like unbreakable blades goes back nearly to Mists' foundation, and Mistian enchanters are true experts in their craft sought by those with the means to afford their wares.
Though a smaller proportion of Mistians participate in producing tangible goods than elsewhere in the empire, their contributions dramatically elevate the standard of living enjoyed by all but the poorest residents. Light globes illuminate homes and businesses and labour-saving devices can be found aboard ships and within workshops. With few materials otherwise for trade, limited activity in primary industries like forestry and mining serves mostly to provide components for magical consumption and enchantment purposes. The lack of manufacturing forces innovation in other areas, particularly among human services catering to the diverse and often very specific needs of scholars and mages forming the backbone of the working population.
Mists boasts an active knowledge economy where information is a commodity to be bought, sold, traded and cultivated like any other, be it Guardians steel or Green Fields wheat. Beyond printed books, they trade in the knowledge of spells, academic study, or ideas. Mages study much of their lives to perfect their craft, developing new arcane formulas or researching deeply into many fields to attain mastery.
| Life on Mists
Mistian homes depend largely upon where they are made. In the swamp areas, they're largely wood and occasionally uplifted on stilts above soggy ground. In hilly areas, they are often stone and set slightly into the slope. In cities, wood or stone predominate.
Most homes are fairly small as it is rare for people to live with extended family. If a mage is a member of a magely order, they might live in the hall of that order.
The amount of education a person gets on Mists is largely dependent on what their family can afford. A place in the Academy Imperius is in no way guaranteed for anyone except those blessed to be born into wealth or nobility. A very few exceptions are made for the especially gifted who can find patronage, most of the time parents must endure the full cost of seeing their children educated.
Education at the academy beyond Journeyman can continue for those who are able to afford the increased cost, some mages remaining there until they reach Master. Those who wish to remain while studying until High Mage status do so performing in the capacity as a teacher while continuing their study. Those who do not wish to remain must find private instruction, either in the form of apprenticeship to an elder mage, or tutoring, the latter being costly and most often reserved for those of noble blood, especially landholders.
Before the Schism which changed everything, on the first day of the new year all children the age of five were gathered, usually by the village midwife, and escorted to the Cave to endure the traditional ritual that every mage underwent before formal training could begin. This tradition did not ensure education, however, merely the ability to be educated should the child be of a family that could afford it. Those who could not were often the people you would see in menial jobs, hard labor, waiting tables and tending bars. Those that are afforded higher education are given the better jobs, frequently due to being highborn and having the privilege of connection.
Since the Schism, there has been a shift in this tradition and way of life. The foremost being there is no longer a Breath of Imperius, which makes the previous ritual obsolete. The isle is seeing other changes as well, some services like the Chapter houses are being organized so that even the poor of the Isle can continue their magical training.
Marriage is important on Mists, but more important than that is the ability to trace a bloodline. Be someone trueborn or a bastard, their lineage is meticulously documented, this job often done by midwives in the smaller villages and appointed officials in larger cities.
Because of necromancy, for generations burning the bodies of the dead has been a tradition on Mists. Even if a tomb is constructed for someone who can afford it, it's most often ashes that rest there rather than a body.
Mages of stature often wear robes to signify magical rank, position within an order, or sphere. For those not inclined to wearing robes, the female garments tend toward full-length skirts and sleeves (although shorter sleeves are acceptable in summer), while trousers or breeches for men are paired with a full shirt, at minimum. Fabrics are often as linen, cotton and wool for the lower to middle classes and velvet, silk, and satin for the privileged.
| Festivals and Traditions
First Day (January 1st) - It is a ceremonial day where the children who have turned five during the year are brought into the cavern where the Breath of Imperius wells forth, to feel the Breath and be consecrated to their new lives as mages of Mists. It is a high day of solemnity and great joy for those whose children are involved. For those not having children involved in the actual ritual, it is a day of celebration for the continuation of our way of life.
Incipiation Day (February 2nd) - Sometimes called Emancipation Day in more proud-blooded circles which favour Mistian independence. It is the day when Mists was separated from Gateway, and is celebrated by mages all trying to do something for the first time.
Day of Restoration (March 21st) - The traditional time for the Day of Restoration takes place at the vernal equinox. Finally, the cold winter is over and celebration is in order. The vats of colored dye that have held the sheared Haven sheep fleece are opened and blessed so as to be made into the ceremonial robes all mages are given to wear. It is the day of renewal, when the return of spring is welcomed with dancing and song. Children conceived on this day are considered to be especially talented in magic.
Everday (June 21st) - The summer solstice is called Everday on Mists. A time for fun and frolic, Magic contests are held, feasts are prepared and eaten, joy is had by adults and children alike. Dancing begins when the sun begins to descend and continues till the sun rises the next morning. Many a girl is asked to be a bride traditionally on this night so the preparations can begin to be wed on Evernight.
Balanceday (September 23rd) - The autumnal equinox celebrates a time to weigh the duality of life, and mages are encouraged to remember the two-fold nature of all things. They seek to embody it in their actions, such as having something sweet and something sour to eat, wearing light and dark, or anything else creative. Students of the Academy of Imperius tend to come up with some rather crazy equivalents of this, such as drinking all night and sleeping all day. Magical pranks can prove especially problematic, and everyone keeps a watch out.
Evernight (December 22nd)- Marking the winter solstice, Evernight's a solemn holiday recalls the depths of despair and the times of Chaos and how they were overthrown by the Champion. Couples often marry on Evernight as a show of faith that once again the sun will rise on the morrow and life can go on till the Day of Restoration of order comes again in three months.
Double Eclipse - The Double Eclipse is thought of as a potent time for magic, many couples getting married on that day, even more attempt to get pregnant believing that a child conceived on that day will be more magically powerful than those conceived on any other day. Because of the believed magical potency, rituals are also common place, especially those of a darker nature. Historically the cultists of the Isle are known for stirring up additional trouble on that day.
| Justice of Mists
Justice on Mists is handled at a local level by Magisterium, officials appointed by the duke or the duchess to handle infractions of the law that carry menial punishments. These Magisterium members travel regular circuits to established communities to hand out justice in the name of the Duchy.
Crimes that have more serious consequences or that are committed by nobility must be brought to Polaris Port to be heard before the Magister's Council. The council is all Magisterium and the Duke and/or Duchess, and it convenes every other month. The duke or duchess can overrule the Magisterium, but it happens rarely and is looked at askance when it does. Primarily, if a duke or duchess wants to have a certain verdict come up, they'll speak with the appointed beforehand and indicate their preference.
Those who have committed crimes that must be heard by the Council will either wait in the gaol if they are common citizens or under house arrest in well-appointed townhouses if an aristocrat.
Most punishments are not of a physical nature, but rather involve a period of indentured servitude to the injured party as recompense for a crime, and for nobles punishment can include loss of title. This servitude can be as brief as a day for something minor, extending to years for the greatest of crimes. If the punishment is death (only for the most heinous of crimes such as rape, planned murder or the tampering with another's magic), it is to be exacted by the hand of the duke or duchess personally.
Any crimes viewed as treasonous are brought before the Emperor to be heard on Gateway.
Magical duels play a large part in Mistian society, and can be used to settle both personal or legal matters. It is only occasionally used in conjunction with the law, and only when both parties are in agreement that the outcome of a duel will settle a matter.
Although magical dueling is not often discussed with those outside of the isle, duels are integral to many facets of Mistian society. Dueling can see a mage ascend ranks within the Orders of the isle, settle personal or political conflicts, and on rare occasion, they have been used to seat the next Mogur Imperius when a successor has not been named.
Battles traditionally occur on Sorcery's Crest, though less formal duels can take place in the halls of magely orders, and even on occasion in alleys or village squares.
| Character of Mists
The people of Mists are usually viewed as a mysterious or even strange lot from the outside, but Mistians often think of themselves as superior to the citizens of the other isles. Magic is the heart of Mists, magic is what sets the isle apart and makes them so much better. Any old isle (in theory) can grow food, make swords, or become healers, but only a person born of Mists can use magic. This is a source of pride, even for the uneducated, lower class.
Subtle games for power and prestige create a veritable quagmire for anyone who decides to attempt carving their own slice from the political landscape of Mists. Political power on Mists pulls from many directions, beginning at the Ducal seat, who goverened the whole of the Isle but must walk a careful political line between the Barons and Lords, and the Mistian High Council who has, on more than one occasion, abused their authority on Mists to sway the outcome of something for their benefit. Magical Orders have also at times used their power to influence events, be it magical law on the Isle or the selection of a spouse.
Recently, politics on Mists were turned on their ear. In February of 512, all hereditary nobility outside of the ducal household was abolished. While multitudes of rumours abound as to the reason for this, the only unshakable fact is that the population of Mists -- much reduced after the Great Schism -- now find themselves under the authority of the Margraves of Mists, citizens appointed into non-hereditary positions of nobility equivalent to the barons and baronesses of the peerage on other isles. Presently the Margrave Council rules the isle of Mists in the place of the Duke.
For more information on the ancient historical baronies and lordships of Mists and their politics, please see: Historical Politics of Mists.
| Magical Spheres
There are four main schools of study when it comes to magic.
- The school that teaches holding influence over forces of the physical world.
- The school that teaches the manipulation of the senses.
- The school that focuses on movement, time and space.
- The school that studies mastery over both life and death.
| Magical Orders
- The Order of Cassandra: This order believes that since magic removes the physical domination of men, it makes women superior to their counterparts.
- The Order of Dawn's Grace: Devoted to the eradication of darkness and evil in the empire, the Order maintains a subdued presence.
- The Order of Icarus: They hold faith that mages are growing stronger and stronger, and it is the duty of all mages to submit their bodies to trying to mate and breed the perfect mage.
- The Order of Oberon: They believe transportation magic thins the veil between worlds, and they work to find a way to stop in the middle of any transport, to find worlds beyond this.
- The Order of the Ready Arm: This order believes that demons will ultimately break out of the Gateway and they study magics to hold nefarious or extraplanar creatures at bay.
There are many suspected Orders, but even less is known of them than those that claim a more public front.
Created in 509 a few months after the restoration that saved the mages from extinction; the Mage Chapter House is a consolidation of mage services that range in skill and experience from the Weather mages on the Fields or Draught, to Earth mages on Guardian or Gateway and beyond. The Chapter House simplifies the process of hiring a mage of any sphere or skill level and helps to secure employment for mages that need work. In addition to providing work for mages, the Chapter House can also provide a home for a mage, as well as much needed training. Though the training often follows a narrower path than you would be provided at the Academy of Imperius, it is a good alternative for those who cannot afford the more formal and costly education.
Members of the Chapter House must tithe a portion of their earnings to help maintain the administrative cost of the Chapter House, and the House in return must pay taxes for the income received to the holding that they are based from.