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  • Eztalpaltl is a nation seated in the eastern hemisphere, known primarily for their legendary abilities of alchemy, their mythical flying cities above a continent encompassed of volatile swampland, and their seclusion from western society. Were it not for their brief periods of contact with Aloreh, the nation’s name and tales may have been lost entirely at the Second Calling, remembered only through the Vrovonic Sagas of Conquest. Though many of their outer cities have been lost, crashing into the sea or the toxic swamplands that encompass their continent; the empire has stabilized from its self-wrought wars. Even so, Aloreh has received only one letter of trade within the past twenty years, leading many to believe that the nation has isolated themselves even from their sole ally in the west. In the 7C-266, an occurrence like none other happened south of the Loghec coastline; the rediscovery of the city Etzecelecuia.

    The city was rediscovered by accident via a Loghec fishing vessel along the borders of the Transcendental Ocean. Investigation into the reported ruins revealed them to not only be surprisingly intact, but inhabited by Eztalpaltli survivors who had managed to prevent the city from sinking into the ocean as its sister cities had done. Over the course of the year, through great effort of the archaeologists, militia, and priests that arrived among the first immigrants, the Loghecs hoped to piece together the city's story. Utilizing rudimentary sign language to communicate with the surviving natives, cryptographers learned what they could from these Eztalpaltli and the city's remnant pictograms. At the close of Tide’s Flux, 7C-267, they reported many strange facts of the alchemy nation's city. This sparked a phenomenon never seen before among the Loghec people; interest not only in exploring and studying, but eventually utilizing the city as their own. On the eighty-second of Wind's Renewal, 7C-267, the Loghec government and Eztalpaltli came to a colonization agreement. The city has since been dubbed Llan Ruth in their native Hauad Logh – which can be loosely translated to 'place of sorrow', and under the colonization agreement has been placed under the strict jurisdiction of Calon Gwyrhelm.

    Until the arrival of this first wave of Loghec immigrants, the natives were illiterate, as members of the lower classes had not been taught to write. What little knowledge there is of Etzecelecuia and its history has been passed down verbally; a fact that made the language barrier between the Eztalpaltli and the immigrant waves an immediate issue. While the archaeologists now understand some of the relevant technology associated with the city's function; their knowledge is limited to what they can learn through patient translation of the natives’ speech. Indeed, it is fortunate that it was the Loghecs who discovered the island, rather than more conquest-driven nations, or worse, the curiosity driven engineers of The Daggerlands.

    Etzecelecuia is the first glimpse of Eztalpaltl that westerners have been able to see in person. Unlike the stone and brick edifices of central A’therys that sit squarely upon the earth, the central buildings of Etzecelecuia contain multi-tiered roofs that end in an upturned eave. Each seems intent to look as airborne as the city itself; the roof sits on a series of four-part brackets, which are themselves supported by clusters of brackets set on the columns. They are composed primarily of wood and rice paper, replacing walls with columns to let light inside and permitting the air to flow freely. These structures, nicknamed hives, and the streets between them once boasted loud murmurs of daily activity and merchants shouting over passersby, selling their wares in the crowded sidewalks. Blinking alchemical lights still flicker. Rusted carts house alien alchemy engines that spout bursts of flame at random intervals. Weathered parchment fliers from the government line dust-covered desks, urging people to abandon the city in a mesh of hastily scribed pictograms.

    The hives serve as the city’s foundation of living spaces, akin to the modern apartment systems that dot the cityscape of crowded Calastore. Each level of a hive contained dozens of small homes within, and it's likely the citizenry preferred to spend their days among the city's walkways and gardens, utilizing the dwellings only for the purposes of sleep and private study. Though hopes of finding alchemical data was the primary reason for exploring the hives, it seems most of the documents left at the city's abandonment were of a bureaucratic or personal nature. Other buildings have been gutted and repurposed entirely by the descendants of the original Eztalpaltli. At the city's fall, these few residents who did not flee, be it by choice or by virtue of being left behind (as the poor and destitute so often are), kept what they could functioning. This primarily included tending to the farms and animals they could herd from the panic, and utilizing what little knowledge of alchemy they had to ensure the city didn't sink into the ocean entirely.

    Among the largest of the intact hives likely served as a fortress before Etzecelecuia's fall and is currently being utilized by the first wave of immigrants as a base of operations. Located just northeast of the island's center-point, it is here that the archaeological teams have compiled their data and where the priesthood has created a small temple to Dorrod Muth. Across from this base of operations sits a small alchemic engine which, through trial and error, has been restarted successfully to provide power to the hive. To the island’s northwest, a majority of the hives have suffered a majority of the damage – few left standing taller than two or three stories. Although this city region has been rebuilt, it now serves the second wave of immigrants as a central marketplace; thus it bears the more crowded feel of western towns. Buildings have been haphazardly laid where they will fit, almost matching the dregs below. A makeshift airship dock has been placed to the north of this settlement. On the south-side of the island a majority of the Eztalpaltli till their farmland. The area declared by the Loghec government to be free of foreign settlement in order to guarantee the natives their farms and land. Many of the hives here had been disassembled over the past two centuries as a means to repair and maintain the breaking city. The native families who reside here number a population in the hundreds, and thus have spread out their community over this area. It should also be noted that this settlement lies furthest from the entryways to the city's undercrofts.

    As with many large cities, Etzecelecuia was not without its faults. Though most of its lower segments have broken away during its tenure at sea, the remnants of these lower dregs have revealed more about Eztalpaltl's underworld than one would have previously expected. The structure itself is believed to have contained eight levels, each constructed below the next as more room was required. Initially it was presumed that the lower class citizens lived in the swamps, but it seems no one dared set foot aground; preferring even the terrible conditions of the dregs to the dangerous creatures that are said to make the swamps their homes. With beasts, toxic funnels, and wild magic aground - even living under the flying city via glorified scaffolding was preferable.

    Counter-intuitive to logic, the higher in which one goes, the more abandoned and run-down the buildings get, leaving an archaeological wonder dotting the underside of Etzecelecuia. While unconfirmed, it is likely that most who lived in the lower dregs were not allowed out of them; as the upper hives held both a fear and prejudice to their lower classes. A trail of crime, deceit, and unwholesomeness along their streets lingers in the evidence stuck to the walls and floors of the establishments - if one could call them that - speaking a tale of terrifyingly uncouth circumstances. Among the more interesting finds was a bottle whose pictograms translated to “Eastern Nightfall”. The crimson cocktail was, of course, tested by the archaeological team, and found to knock out even the heartiest drinkers. It's best feature seems to be a guarantee to forget whatever terrible things you've recently seen, while retaining pleasant and positive memories. At present, these undercrofts are primarily home to the Quraxotl, beings of alchemy created long ago for the purposes of labor, corrupted in mind by war and bloodshed.

    When the goddess Chuelaiia departed at The Second Calling, the nation of Eztalpaltl lost several abilities of alchemy whose origin seemed derived from the goddess herself, or at least the physical presence of her domain. Seemingly a primary cause of the outer cities' fall relates to the loss of control over the Quraxotl that once acted as servants to Etzecelecuia’s high society. The present generation of Eztalpaltli who inhabit the island consist of a few small families and the Quraxotl that lurk in the undercrofts, avoiding the sun and it's inhabitants. It's an unspoken 'truce', broken only when the horrors cannot find food in the dregs, and to this day, it's become a tradition to leave offerings by the dregs’ entryways to ensure their presence on the surface is brief. Whilst the situation among the natives has not degraded enough for this to be considered a form of god-worship, they certainly have learned to fear the Quraxotl - if only for their own survival.

    The second wave of immigrants to Etzecelecuia has primarily been comprised of merchants, archivists, and mercenaries. The merchants and traders arrived seeking opportunity, either through the sale of goods to those studying the island, or by bringing much needed supplies to the rebuilding efforts. On the opposite end are those who hope to locate some great treasure or secret to sell. While the Loghec militia has done well to prevent the immediate rise of a black market for Eztalpaltli goods, it is only a matter of time before something is discovered that threatens to be a catalyst for such an event. Those who have come as archivists hope to learn as much as possible of the city as it was in its original state, transcribing pictograms in extensive detail to learn the city's story, and writing extensive letters to colleagues around the world to seek insight and pass on what they've learned. The last, mercenaries, were drawn by the promise of monsters and have sought to rout the Quraxotl from the undercrofts. Initially anticipating a quick fight, the alchemical monsters proved far more dangerous than anticipated, and as such, several taverns have set up shop for the incoming adventurers who have taken to assaulting the dregs in shifts. This process, while seemingly tedious to the more hot-headed hunters, has successfully cleared the uppermost level of the dregs. It is this success that has led many of the other factions within the city to seek them as escorts when delving into the undercrofts of Etzecelecuia.

    To the nation of Roreg Logh, who had never expanded their territories on their own, the terms of colonization were not of dominance, but of brotherhood. They sought to protect these souls who had been living in fear of the Quraxotl - in a similar manner that citizens of the remote Laoner feared the undead of Shol. As a non-territory, the task of overseeing Llan Ruth was passed to Calon Gwyrhelm, a skilled tactician against the toothwizards of Shol and an unusual case among the priesthood, serving their order outside the title of Loghath. Appointed as Hraethfauldur, which translates roughly to 'watcher of distant brethren', he manages both the front against the Quraxotl, and diplomatic communications between Llan Ruth and Solemnus Tholses Murrhon.

    Of course, one cannot mention Etzecelecuia, Eztalpaltl, or the goddess Chuelaiia, without mentioning the technology within its walls. Alchemical engines are massive constructs comprised of several large conductors attached to a focusing crystal, directly transmuting compounds into energy. Unlike crystal batteries utilized by the House of Candles, these do not require a locus of magic nearby to charge it, although the direct cost of material to energy has yet to be properly measured. Each crystal’s core is inscribed with symbols via a process which has not been determined, save that the crystal's exterior remains unmarred. These symbols seem to specify the exact compound it can transmute, and it's highly possible that the technology that created Golgorai Asthas' soul furnaces utilized similar principles. Once an alchemical engine has been infused with transmuted matter it will run until its source has burned dry, and cannot be manually shut down. While this may seem impractical, one should note that this technology is also dated by nearly three centuries, far before the first engines were forged by westerners.

    The largest of the functional alchemical engines utilizes a transmutation method to directly process a composition of sixty-seven different plant species. While there are several shorts and breaks in the engine itself, the city has managed to stay above the waterline through the continuous efforts of its natives. Seemingly decorative botanical gardens of perennial flowers suddenly have come into new light, the patterns of floral arrangements both serving as decoration and fuel. Each autumn the gardens are pulled up and the healthy plants are sorted into wagons. These wagons are then taken to be brewed together in a large vat, creating a viscous, indigo liquid. It is in this stage that the fuel is at its most volatile, the ratios of each plant cautiously proportioned to ensure a correct composition. Any concussive force or impact could easily explode the fuel before it has finished brewing-a task made far more difficult with the engine's proximity to Quraxotl territory.

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