Thursday 22 December 2016

Spirit lanterns

Nature spirits guarantee good health for their homestead, which is most interesting for plants and the people who care for those. A lantern is supposed to attract tiny spirits by burning incense; the then occupied lantern can, very carefully, be taken away and the spirit offered a new home in a plant of choice. Especially plants grown indoors or in greenhouses, or in otherwise inaccessible places, can lack a spirit which would normally turn up eventually.
Larger spirits are not as impressed by lanterns, unless there are many, but apparently they still notice them.

"Those blasted children stole my lanterns again. My crop of famkafeathers will be mediocre at best - but the wild rurgra trees ot the end of the street are just brimming with spirits. They will bear excellent fruit this year, I'm sure."
— Revchira, greenhouse owner
Lanterns are regionally different but often playfully designed to appeal to spirits, and are filled with carefully chosen incense, containing bits of the plant the lantern-owner wishes to become home to a spirit. Some also have windchimes, or are bird-shaped to glide down through hopefully spirit-inhabited spaces.

Artists' notes
These were a random bit in a drawing once, but the idea was pretty. Mostly spirits will just arrive one day, but in the middle of the desert or winter-dark lands, a little help is appreciated. Great Forest children conduct runs, snatching up an many lanterns as they can, and watch how many spirits come to see them. 

Tuesday 13 December 2016


A mindsmith is someone whose job it is to forge a mind into something less raw. The smiths themselves often laugh at that description, but the name stuck with folks. They are a proper profession - unlike voices, who have a calling - and are taught in small schools. Their methods range from philosophical debate, to torture-like practices best described as brainwashing, to meticulous mental exercises, and each only takes on one pupil at a time. Former voices may take this profession, and all plasmats are seen as mindsmiths.

"It's true that Lady Etto was one of the rebel leaders - she had started the capital's fires. When the mindsmiths returned her some years after her capture, they advised us to not waste her skills. She's been invaluable in the city's protection, and the murder attempts on her become fewer every year."
— Djigferra Solmor, citizen
Mindsmiths are often called upon to educate someone for a difficult position. They are found in royal households, teach diplomats or lunatics, but are also employed to "fix" criminals who seem utterly unwilling to behave. No pupil of theirs ever complained about the treatment, and all agree that it was a strenuous but worthwhile experience. Nobody taught by a mindsmith has not risen to greatness.
Known pupils are the Crowned Aslahenead of Brighthold, or Digaëner from the Summerstar Isles. Among the most famous mindsmiths are the plasmat Kortife of Echamien, and Avaqui Der, who teaches in Gdera.
"I can't complain about the captain's ways, but she sure doesn't seem human - she's nigh-infallible, barely rests, always has an answer, and iron-clad principles. As long as we're on the same side, I feel invincible beside her."
— Quahna, dust sailor

Artists' notes
The danger of brainwashing cannot be overestimated. And it is so easily done. In fantasy however, I can downplay dangers, and reap the benefits of one-on-one teaching with no other goal than perfection of a person. Mindsmiths are the legendary teachers one finds so delightfully often in Asian tales. I don't even want to know what they do with fake mindsmiths, but it can't be good.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Mainalhar II of Tsir

Mighty Tsir in northeastern Lozir is surrounded by the warlike Discordant Cities in the north (which it can easily hold at bay), the wastes to the west (which bring some distance to its more neurotic neighbours south), Urlakal (that has recently been turned into a tyranny by civil war), and Brunnavah (the neurotic neighbour, mortally afraid of speechcraft) to the south, and Starwatch to the east (its only quiet neighbour. Maybe too quiet).
"The proximity of Urlakal's renamed capital Uhlenburg to its Tsiranian border throws a dark shadow ahead. The new rulers claim part of Tsir used to belong to them - let us hope the Tsiranian army can hold its own in that far-flung corner of the map."
— Getnamir, Tsiranian parlamentarian
Mainalhar I was a weak and warlike ruler, under strong influence by his egotistical cabinet. When the much-beloved prince Mainalhar II recently took the throne, he began to change many things. The relatively young gar has so far managed to strike a good balance between a firm hand and diplomacy. If he can keep the country's interests unsabotaged by the Discordants, and make safe the border to Urlakal, Tsir's future is looking quite bright.
Mainalhar II is unmarried, and for the moment doesn't look like he takes any interest in partnership at all, instead investing all his strength into politics.

Artists' notes
I have quoted a stressed Mainalhar before, threatening the Discordants, but that was a rare moment. That corner of Lozir is slowly forming into an interesting place. 

Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Horr

After two and a half days locked in their cabins - luxurious cabins, but even a golden cage was still a cage - it was relieving to finally get fresh air again. It had been an unpleasant surprise when the captain had announced they weren't even allowed to watch the takeoff. Furthermore, not leave the preinstructed corridors or make any drawings of the ship, interview the crew, or a number of other, seemingly absurd instructions, that had made Orjugran call them a delusional band of oversuspicious scoundrels, just less polite. Captain Korslamin had laughed about the garren outbreak of disapproval, but only shortly; explained that she expected everyone to follow the rules, and that she would personally put a spell on any deviant.
Now, the maneuvers that might have told the passengers how the legendary dustship flew seemed complete, and the crew was friendly; so was the weather, which was unexpectedly sunny for a spring day in the Pillar Street.
Orjugran, who was happily lolling about in the sun, Vasmir, with an excited Mokri on his shoulder, and Benové met on the middle deck, where other passengers were stretching their legs as well. Vasmir blinked into an almost cloudless sky; the days before and during departure it had rained in varying strength.
"It gets drier towards Lozir", Benové yawned, "in case you're wondering why the rain stopped." The mapper was knowledgeable about climates and could tell them much about their travel destinations besides that. She stretched and, a little more awake, leaned on the railing betweeen Vasmir and Orjugran. Mokri had went to play with some other solano and a ball.
Below them stretched the sea, dotted with single rock spires. Many spots were so shallow the ground could be seen - reefs, shipwrecks as well, countless fish. Vasmir regretted to have missed the seafolk settlements off the coast. But the trip with the dustship was worth some sacrifices. The movement was completely smooth, and the Gral-én'tach was so big it seemed like a village. The crew had leisure while things were calm, and played with each other, the solano, or the many flying animals living aboard. On the afterdeck, the message master was teaching some of the half-meter-tall hallromm butterflies and his apprentice, a handful of yaafs chased each other around the masts. Vasmir followed the hallromms with his eyes to the first of the three floatrocks above the ship. He spotted a stately bush on it, covered in pink blossoms, which was buzzing with the coming and leaving butterflies. Benové sighed blood-curlingly and conversation-demanding. Vasmir noticed she had for the first time taken off her many bags. She looked slim and, most of all, bored.
"No maps? Papers, compasses, measuring tools?", Vasmir bantered. Benové looked to the sailors. Four out of five wore wizard's belts, and she had seen over twenty collectors. After Korslamin's urgent instructions, she didn't want to imagine the reaction if she turned up with drawing tools. She groaned inside. Maps of the Pillar Street were really lucrative, and the air view was fantastic.
"I suspect I couldn't take it as well as you when they threw me overboard, just because my solan dug a hole through two decks", she said loftily. Vasmir looked, made uncertain, for Mokri, who was peacefully playing with her companions. No signs that the pound-o'-rodent would bring doom upon the world's largest dustship. Orjugran giggled.
"Well", Vasmir answered with dignity, "if one will create destruction worthy of mention in history, one should at least survive it to tell the bards the story correctly."
Benové inclined her head to show she yielded, Orjugran applauded lightly.
"The Gral-én'tach will not fall from the skies from a simple digging fit of a solan." The sailor nimbly set down on the railing and took the half step down to the deck. The railing didn't reach the hip of the many raganaj sailors. Her solan, an wiry creature, spryly scurried over her middle wing to the ropes and hurried to the playground. "They tell each other how things are done aboard. Don't worry", she turned to Vasmir, grinning.
The sailor's name was Map'heela, she was amiable and very proud of the ship. It was her pleasure to indulge them with stories about passengers and journeys, the weather was pleasant, the sea colourful in the shallow waters and mysterious in the deep. When Benové had Map'heela about to take her to the navigator to gain permission to map, the sea arched below them. Moments later a smooth island rose, quickly gliding forwards, followed by an enormous tailfin that slapped the water thunderously.
"The horr."
Map'heela said it quietly into their astonishment. The tailfin had been just the first, many more backs and fins followed; some horr rose up further from the water and fell back heavily. The swarm was seemingly endless. It was said it was so big, it all but spanned the world. Orjugran was at first stiff with astonishment, then broke into ardent restlessness, ran to and fro and gestured wildly, while she buried Map'heela in questions.
"Do they pass Gdera in the north or south? Do they rest in the Ryaq? How many are there? How old do they become? Is it true they eat ships?"
"That you can check yourself", Map'heela laughed, then jumped over the railing to follow other sailors into the rigging. The shadow of the floatrocks quickly crossed the deck while the ship was lowered, until they were only a few dozen meters from the surface, and could see the young horr under their parents. Some fountains they blew up almost reached the ship, and it seemed to Vasmir like the horr also came up higher out of the water now. The Gral-én'tach was enormous, but the horr dwarfed it. Orjugran hung far over the railing, tail twitching excitedly.
"Can we go too?", she inquired breathlessly and punched Vasmir with the elbow. She pointed towards one of the smaller rocks, which had so far been floating below the ship. Now they were low over the water, and two carried raganaj and other passengers. Vasmir liked flying with Orjugran, but it was part of the game to play hard to get.
"I dunno; with all those fountains and your twitchy tail, we might drop into this grinding apparatus of fish."
"Oh, I'll warn you, and I'll hold perfectly still", Orjugran assured him eagerly. Devotedly, and suppressing a grin, he held open his arms. Orjugran stepped on his foot, stressing to hold her trembling tail still, and held on to Vasmir's arm. Vasmir swung over the railing and let them fall. At least his worries about the fountains were real, but Orjugran kept her word and warned him about every single one. The floatrock was just large enough they could stand on it comfortably, but Vasmir had to use his wings to keep them from falling, while Orjugran was pointing in every direction. The procession of horr endlessly swam past them. After three hours, they had crossed its width and rose up again, and Vasmir and Orjugran returned aboard. Benové and a crewmember sat in comfortable, slightly oversized low seats; she just laid finishing strokes on a map.
"Navigator Pakrahna bought my powerline maps", she said contently, stamped the paper and handed it over with both hands.
"We appreciate quality", said the navigator and returned Benové's politeness. Orjugran loosed her flood of impressions on Benové, enriched with gestures and sound effects. Finally, she sat down exhaustedly. A moment she was still, then started rummaging around in her pockets. Finally, she pulled a paper out that had been folded many times, on which she put two marks with Benové's pen. Mokri, who sat on Orjugran's chair's back, squeaked inquiringly.
"Go on a dustship - check. See the horr - check", Orjugran said more than satisfied and put away the paper. "Now, a hiller in Lozir, and I'll call this journey a success."

Artist's notes
I hope my use of prepositions isn't awful. I'll be happy for corrections. This is one of my first attempts to provide prose for Genius Loci and was written in German first. From names to my personal expressions this was hard to translate; I think it went okay, but I'd love to hear opinions.

Die Horr

Artist's notes
This was the original German text to the translated English version above that I provide here for your interest. While I ususally get along fine in English, I am a native in a different tongue.

Nach zweieinhalb Tagen eingesperrt in ihren Kabinen - verschwenderisch ausgestatteten Kabinen, aber auch ein goldener Käfig war ein Gefängnis - war es wohltuend endlich an die Luft zu kommen. Es war eine unerfreuliche Eröffnung gewesen als die Kapitänin angekündigt hatte, sie dürften nicht einmal dem Abheben zusehen. Außerdem nicht die vorgeschriebenen Korridore verlassen oder irgendwelche Zeichnungen des Schiffs anfertigen, die Mannschaft ausfragen und noch eine Anzahl anderer teils absurd scheinender Anweisungen, die Ordschugran dazu veranlasst hatten die Mannschaft als wahngeplagte Bande von vermutlichen Halsabschneidern zu bezeichnen, nur weniger höflich. Kapitänin Korslamin hatte über den garrischen Unmutsausbruch gelacht, aber nur kurz, erklärt, dass sie Folgsamkeit erwartete, und jeden beflüstern würde der die Anweisungen missachtete.
Jetzt waren anscheinend alle Manöver abgeschlossen, die den Mitreisenden hätten verraten können wie das legendäre Staubschiff flog, und die Mannschaft war freundlich; ebenso wie das Wetter, das unerwartet sonnig für den Frühling in der Säulenstraße schien.
Ordschugran, die sich wohlig in der Sonne räkelte, Wasmir mit einer aufgeregten Mokri auf der Schulter und Benowe trafen sich auf dem Mitteldeck, auf dem auch andere Passagiere herum spazierten. Wasmir blinzelte in den fast wolkenlosen Himmel; die Tage vor und während des Abflugs hatte es wechselnd stark geregnet.
"Es wird trockener Richtung Lozir", gähnte Benowe, "falls ihr euch wundert warum es nicht mehr regnet." Die Kartnerin kannte sich mit den meisten Klimalagen aus und hatte auch sonst viel zusätzliches Wissen über ihre Reiseziele zu bieten. Sie streckte sich und stützte sich etwas wacher zwischen Ordschugran und Wasmir auf die Reling. Mokri tummelte sich mit einer Handvoll Solano mit einem Ball.
Unter ihnen erstreckte sich das mit einzelnen Felsnadeln gepunktete Meer. An vielen Stellen war es so flach dass man den Boden sehen konnte - Riffe, auch Wracks von Seeschiffen, unzählige Fische. Wasmir bedauerte dass er die Seevolksiedlungen vor der Küste verpasst hatte. Die Fahrt auf dem Staubschiff aber war einige Entbehrungen wert. Die Bewegung war absolut glatt, und die Gral-én'tach war so groß dass sie den Eindruck eines kleinen Dorfs machte. Die Mannschaft hatte Freizeit während die Fahrt so ruhig war, und spielte miteinander, den Solano oder den vielen Flugtieren die auf dem Schiff zuhause waren. Auf dem Hinterdeck bildete der Botenmeister einige der halbmetergroßen Hallrömmfalter und seinen Lehrling aus, eine Handvoll Jaafe jagte sich um die Masten. Wasmir folgte den Hallrömms mit den Augen bis zum vorderen der drei Flugfelsen die über dem Schiff hingen. Er entdeckte einen stattlichen Busch darauf, mit rosa Blüten bedeckt, um den ein emsiges Kommen und Gehen der Schmetterlinge herrschte. Benowe seufzte markerschütternd und gesprächsheischend. Wasmir fiel auf dass sie das erste Mal ihre vielen Taschen abgelegt hatte. Sie wirkte schmal und vor allem gelangweilt.
"Kein Kartenwerk? Papiere, Zirkel, Messgerät?", fragte Wasmir neckend. Benowe sah zu den Seglern. Mehr als vier Fünftel von ihnen trugen Zauberergürtel, und sie hatte über zwanzig Sammler gesehen. Nach Korslamins eindringlichen Anordnungen mochte sie sich nicht vorstellen wie die Reaktion ausfiele wenn sie mit Zeichenwerkzeug aufkreuzte. Sie stöhnte innerlich. Karten der Säulenstraße brachten wirklich viel Geld ein, und die Luftperspektive war fantastisch.
"Ich glaube nicht dass ich so gut wie du überstünde wenn sie mich über Bord würfen, nur weil mein Solan ein Loch durch zwei Decks buddelte", erwiderte sie leichthin. Unsicher blickte Wasmir zu Mokri, die friedlich mit ihren Gefährten spielte. Keine Anzeichen dass der pfundschwere Nager den Untergang des größten Staubschiffs der Welt herbeiführen würde. Ordschugran kicherte.
"Nun", erwiderte Wasmir würdevoll, "wenn man schon geschichtsträchtige Zerstörung anrichtet sollte man sie wenigstens überleben können um danach die Dichter zu belehren."
Benowe neigte den Kopf um ihre Aufgabe zu bedeuten, Ordschugran applaudierte verhalten.
"Die Gral-èn'tach stürzt nicht von einem einfachen Grabanfall eines Solan ab." Eine Matrosin setzte leichtfüßig auf der Reling auf und ging mit einem halben Schritt aufs Deck hinunter. Die Reling reichte den zahlreichen Raganaj an Bord nicht bis zur Hüfte. Ihr Solan, ein drahtiges Geschöpf, wieselte flink über ihren mittleren Flügel in die Seile und beeilte sich zum Spielplatz zu kommen. "Sie erzählen einander wie's an Bord läuft. Keine Sorge", wandte sie sich grinsend an Wasmir.
Die Matrosin hieß Map'hila und war freundlich und deutlich stolz auf das Schiff. Bereitwillig erzählte sie von Fahrten und Passagieren, das Wetter war angenehm, das Meer farbenprächtig im flachen Wasser und geheimnisvoll im tiefen. Als Benowe Map'hila schon fast soweit hatte sie zum Navigator zu bringen um eine Genehmigung zum Kartieren zu bekommen, wölbte sich unter ihnen das Meer nach oben. Augenblicke später erhob sich eine glatte Insel die schnell vorwärts glitt, dann folgte eine gewaltige runde Schwanzflosse, die mit einem Donnerknall aufs Wasser schlug.
"Die Horr."
Map'hila sagte es ruhig in ihr Staunen hinein. Die Schwanzflosse war nur die erste gewesen, es folgten viele weitere Rücken und Flossen; einige Horr stiegen weiter aus dem Wasser empor und ließen sich schwer fallen. Der Schwarm schien kein Ende zu nehmen. Es hieß er sei so groß dass er fast die Welt umspannte. Ordschugran war erst in Staunen erstarrt, dann in begeisterte Unruhe verfallen, wuselte hin und her und gestikulierte wild, während sie Map'hila mit Fragen überschüttete.
"Schwimmen sie nördlich oder südlich um Gdera herum? Rasten sie im Ryaq? Wie viele sind es? Wie alt werden sie? Ist es wahr dass sie Schiffe essen?"
"Das kannst du selbst überprüfen", lachte Map'hila während sie über die Reling sprang und anderen Matrosen ins Segelwerk folgte. Die Schatten der Felsen liefen übers Deck während sie an Höhe verloren, bis sie nur noch wenige Dutzend Meter über dem Wasser hingen und die Jungtiere unter den Eltern ausmachen konnten. Einige der Fontänen reichten fast ans Schiff heran, und es schien Wasmir als ob die Horr jetzt auch höher aus dem Wasser kamen. Die Gral-én'tach war riesig, aber die Horr waren um einiges größer. Ordschugran hing mit erregt peitschendem Schwanz weit über die Reling.
"Können wir auch?", fragte sie atemlos und boxte Wasmir mit dem Ellbogen. Sie zeigte auf einen der kleinen Felsen die bisher weit unter dem Schiff gehangen hatten. Jetzt waren sie nur noch knapp über dem Wasser, und zwei trugen Raganaj und Passagiere. Wasmir flog gern mit Ordschugran, aber es gehörte dazu dass er sich zierte.
"Ich weiß nicht; mit den Fontänen und deinem Schwanz stürzen wir womöglich in dieses Mahlwerk aus Fisch."
"Oh, ich warne dich, und ich halte ganz still", versicherte Ordschugran eifrig. Ergeben und unterdrückt grinsend hielt Wasmir die Arme auf. Ordschugran stellte sich auf seinen Fuß und hielt mühsam den zitternden Schwanz still während sie sich an Wasmirs Arm klammerte. Wasmir schwang sich sitzend über die Reling und ließ sich fallen. Zumindest seine Sorge über die Fontänen war echt, aber Ordschugran hielt Wort und berichtete von jeder einzelnen. Der Fels war gerade groß genug um bequem darauf zu stehen, aber Wasmir musste die Flügel einsetzen damit die in alle Richtungen zeigende Ordschugran nicht fiel. Der Zug der Horr schwamm unendlich an ihnen vorbei. Nach drei Stunden hatten sie seine Breite überquert und stiegen wieder höher, sodass Wasmir und Ordschugran an Bord zurückkehrten. Benowe und ein Schiffer saßen in bequemen, etwas übergroßen Sitzpfuhlen; sie legte letzte Hand an die Legende einer Karte.
"Navigator Pakrana kaufte meine Kraftlinienkarten", erklärte sie zufrieden, stempelte das Papier und überreichte es beidhändig.
"Wir wissen Qualität zu schätzen", sagte der Navigator und erwiderte Benowes Höflichkeit. Ordschugran ließ ihre Flut von Eindrücken auf Benowe los, unterstrichen mit Gesten und Lautmalereien. Schließlich ließ sie sich erschöpft in einen Pfuhl fallen. Einen Moment hielt sie still, dann begann sie in ihren Taschen zu kramen. Schließlich zog sie einen oft gefalteten Zettel hervor, auf dem sie mit Benowes Stift zwei Markierungen setzte. Mokri piepste fragend.
"Staubschiff fliegen - jepp. Horr sehen - jepp", sagte Ordschugran überaus zufrieden und räumte den Zettel wieder weg. "Jetzt noch einen Berger in Lozir und ich nenne diese Reise einen Erfolg."

Sunday 13 November 2016

The Eastwesterners

"A few years ago, some wise guy thought if he murdered an Eastwesterner, there would be an open spot for him. It speaks for their skill that the fool survived his stunt. I think they made him a listener as punishment, but that won't improve his chances either."
— Adjila, Gamahanian
The Eastwesterners are the famed defenders of the great city Gamahan. They defend the city first and foremost, while they also have less known objectives. Their honour is legendary, as is their strength; their main weapons are the five-man-bow and the hammeraxe, even the raganaj among them wear full armour and can still fly, in short, the Eastwesterners are a sight to behold.
The Eastwesterners are a small order, with little more than two hundred members at any time. The city council may call upon them, but rarely does, and so the Eastwesterners frequently lend their strong arm to the voices and their unfathomable goals.
"As students we used to imagine legendary warrior team-ups, and we all agreed: The most impressive would be a bunch of Eastwesterners and a handful of Brightholdians. We excitedly shuddered at the thought; I do hope that a need for something like that never arises."
— Renolen Megurin, captain
The legendary feat of the Eastwesterners was the protection of Gamahan during the Splinter War. When the shapeshifter armies invaded, the Eastwesterners were the spearpoint of the counterattack, and their devastating blows, fierce tactics, and unwavering line freed Gamahan within only days; a service the Gamahanians have not forgotten.

Artists' notes
Factions, orders, and guilds are among my favourite subjects in computer rpgs; which to choose, how to balance the sometimes contradictory principles, what ranks to obtain in which order to gain what special feats and skills...
Ever since I learned of the existence of oversized bows - to be drawn lying down and using both hands and feet, with arrows the size of spears - I wanted to have a fantasy element where that is the actual main weapon, and here we are.

Wednesday 9 November 2016


The burrmo are large predators of the Great Forest in Gdera. They are about three meters long, with a plushy tail, long head, and dirty-looking greenish fur. Burrmo are man-eaters - literally, in a group of people, they'll go for the humans first. Otherwise they hunt appropriately large quarry. The burrmos' ferocity is infamous, and being allowed to wear any part of them is an honour; most wanted are the thick fur and hide, claws, and teeth. Several body parts make a festive dish for hunters. Only skilled and extremely shrewd hunters will get a burrmo, however.
"Korr the mage invented burrmo-steel, that is all but indestructible. Entirely appropriate, but the good joke didn't bring my arm back."
— Kalvemar, hunter
Burrmos have been long known for stealing children from humans and other species, and also other animals. Rrani, gubras, even pervons have been seen hunting alongside them and obvioulsy been part of the pack. The best known abductees are the burrmo princes Darous and Darem, elven twins that have been their spokesmen for years, and are taken as bad omens by travellers these days. The actual lord or lady of the burrmo are not publicly known.
"They dropped down from the branches, struck down everyone but the humans, ate the iunas, and fled with their victims. Nine days later two of them emerged from the forest again. They never said how the got away from the burrmos, but they had been given provisions and pointed the way. I later heard they left the Forest for good."
— Ninkang, Greatforester

Artists' notes
I love inventing animals, and burrmo are among my current favourites, from their spelling to the abduction habit, but sketching them was hard. This is often the case for especially my critters since there are so many possibilites and my descriptions usually come first; but writing and drawing work differently, and sometimes I describe things that are really hard to get across visually.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

The Burners

The principle of the South is new beginnings without compromise or remorse, trying the new and unknown, and the Burners do what they can to follow that. They can be harmless enough, when they form spontaneous choirs in the streets or disturb sessions of parliament that were entirely foreseeable. But also quite bad, when they upset delicate balances, or burn down entire cities to redistribute wealth.

"Burn it! Start new! What do you expect this old thing to do for you? Has it served you more than once? Can it even ever again? Burn it! Free yourself!"
— Burner Tshaklai, to a citizen

Artists' notes
"Köhler" is a charcoal-burner, but it seemed so long that I went with just burners instead. They came up when I thought about what kinds of spiritual currents there would be in Genius Loci, and of course there are those who hold up one principle of the Four above all else. Potentially problematic, when that principle is "starting over, unburdened by the past".

Thursday 6 October 2016

The Standing Stones of Vrebin

As any standing stones, nobody can say when they were erected or who did it, and if one falls, they stand up again. Vrebin in southeastern Lozir is a widely known and mighty place of power. Around a handful of tall rock spires lie some buildings and ritual places; it is particularly attuned to cleansings and whisperings, and so, many craftsmen and collectors come here to do their work. Like most, the stones stand on a power knot. The actual city Vrebin lies some distance away, but is named after the same speaker, who first established the standing stones as a ritual place.
"I am going to Vrebin to become a speaker. I have long dreamt of it, as many of my family are speakers too - now I will join them. It must be wonderful to finally feel the Fifth Power."
— Enmit Riumnin, villager
Many places of power are protected by speakers, but of only one tradition at a time. If both traditions send guardians however, they always fulfill their duties harmoniously. The wizard and mage in charge of the Vrebin stones are known to be reasonable and understanding, but still hard as nails - they will not tolerate any violation of the rules. Among their duties is the keeping of the peace, but they also are caretakers of several dangerous artifacts, the mightiest being the Bloodcollar - the infamous necklace that, despite its power, is undesirable to most, because it got all its wearers killed; several times even by placespirits.
"Five attempts to steal the Bloodcollar, like there's a war coming. Don't they understand how dangerous the cursed thing is? I will send listeners to smoke the raiders out."
— Guard Olripe, to Guard Vastumid
Artists' notes
Menhirs are really cool, and I like "nobody sees how it happens" a lot, and made them erect themselves, like grass growing. When I came up with artifacts, I asked myself, where would they put the really dangerous ones? The answer is of course, you'll put it in a place where people are so powerful they can defend it against virtually anything. And so, standing stone sites are vaults for the most dangerous artifacts.

Friday 9 September 2016

Council City Clom Vah

"The discrepancy between the rough cliffs and the friendly citizens, the bright port and light-dappled city, the carelessness and involvement of Clom Vah is nothing short of puzzling, and amazing."
— Lerronor Stronghand, traveller
Clom Vah is the council city of Gdera. All Gderan states and peoples send emmissaries here for talk, trade, and dispute. It lies at the bend of the Mahal Bay on the east coast, atop a sheer cliff, and is built into the gigantic trees of the Great Green forest, the boroughs connected with hanging bridges, high streets, passenger birds, or even sailgliders. Its only competition in importance is mighty Gderet's capital Etnaprishta.
Most famous is the Clomvahian voice hall, the largest there is, roofless and housing the sitting dryads' statues, as well as a large number of voices, and a veritable army of listeners.
"There's no point in denying one's own fault, and stupidity and pride along with it. Better, and wiser, to admit, and fix, and no tears will have to be shed."
— Gderan saying
The Clomvahians dress in vividly coloured chestcloth and hip-wrap, and what skin shows is bedecked with large jewelry and graphical shapes of paint. They are, as most Gderans, happy to share living space, and Clom Vah's streets are bustling with animals. Clomvahians embrace the new, are optimistic to a fault, very forthcoming, outspoken, and open-hearted. Some visitors are irritated by this, but the chance of meeting an actual Clomvahian amidst all the travellers is only one in three.

Artists' notes
I remembered adventure novels of my childhood, describing the foreign ways of exotic peoples, and wanted some of that to be mirrored in Clom Vah's culture - almost radical, but suitable to their environment; certainly strange, but relatable; and smart, even noble, once understood. The idea for the traditional dress came from the elven race sheet. I recently developed institutions of Clom Vah which will be introduced later, like the Mage's School.

Thursday 1 September 2016


Listeners are the voices' armed forces and carry out their orders. Many were voices themselves and trust them implicitly, but anyone can become a listener when approved by the voices; some join the ranks as pilgrimage or for repenting crimes and sins.
Some rulers grant listeners ambassadorial status and help in their tasks, others point out that listeners, other than voices who are utterly truthful, are just regular people and might have their own agenda. The treatment of listeners has been in debate for ages.
"The council doesn't care if the voices send an army of listeners! We will not agree to any search of the catacombs unless we hear it from a voice that they need to!"
— Short Jugiel, councilman
All listeners are skillful warriors, focusing on traditional weaponry associated with the Four, as well as experts in manners and travel. Accompanying the infirm voices is a common task, but they do much more; they seek out collectors, negotiate with elementarians, acquire artifacts... They often hire more hands for extensive tasks.
"No, I have no idea why I am taking a sealed spear across half of Lozir and into the Singing Ryaq. That's what trust is for, and I trust the voices with my spirit."
— Shagruun, listener

Artists' notes
Stuff for legends is what listeners are. Some of the greatest heroes currently alive are in service to the voices, like Vranu Whiteblade. Many of the fantasy settings I enjoy, particularly computer rpgs like the Elder Scrolls, have several orders to join, and the listeners are one of those - handing out tasks of increasing difficulty to the heroes, with appropriately increasing prestige for surviving each one.

Friday 12 August 2016

Funi Oldjor

The funi oldjor are creatures of legendary might. In A'ruhs, the rhu'khach language, their name means "king of honour". Funi, as they are called for short, live in the Lozirian wilderness. They are hunters, and it is said they choose one opponent whom they hunt down, to challenge them to a duel. And that there's no escape from them. The duel need not end in death, but there is a certain etiquette to follow; it's considered impossible to hunt a funi outside of a duel it chose itself, and on the few occasions it was tried, the funi created terrible devastation. The few survivors swore the funi could whisper.
"Then it bowed to me. And then it came charging. I parried, I struck, I jumped aside; it bit, it kicked, it tumbled me like a ball. Finally, breathlessly, I came to stand again, but only just; it bowed again. I bowed back. Then it left. I have never come home from hunt without quarry again."
— Eralin, Lozirian hunter 
A funi oldjor is as tall as a human, slender, and white with dark saddle and mouth, and has a red-tipped tail. It's said this red colour was the blood of its slain enemies when it swishes through it.
Funi have recently gained even greater renown when their rulers, Lord Giva and Lady Tchiboyé, came to human society to teach them shapeshifting.
"The speakers think one of them is a human, but don't know which one. So human shapeshifters never died out after all? Or is shapeshifting a gift a beast lord gives their love?"
— Genarha, Lozirian

Artists' notes
Ah, mythological beasts, I could invent them all day. These are rooted deeply in the history of Genius Loci already, since their lords came forward to teach the lost art of shapeshifting again. And they are the first who were a couple, almost all other lords I invented are single. Except for the burrmo, who stole children.

Sunday 31 July 2016

The Making of the World

Before the beginning of Kitas, the Great Spirit gave mighty foci to the Four, and they created the world with them. First, the Axeswinger made the unliving world, the land and air; then the Spearbearer made it move by giving the fire; then the Swordmaster brought compromise between endurance and change by adding water to unify both. Finally, the Bowarcher put living creatures into the world. When this was done, the sun rose for the first time, and the Four died, and were chosen anew by the Great Spirit among the new beings.

"The Four are equally obvious and secretive, and while you will always know them when you meet, we usually know little about the Four. Where they came from, who they were; with some notable exceptions, like Lady Ghelined."
— Farganah, historian

How long it took them to make the world is unknown, and theories are wildly debated among scientists. Just as unknown is the species of the First Four, but there is a traditional canon assuming the Axeswinger to be a rhu'khach, the Swordmaster a beja, the Spearbearer a raganaj, and the bowarcher an elf. Since nobody today knows the shape of a rhu'khach anymore, the Axeswinger is commonly depicted as either a tall human or a fantastic creature assembled from different sources.

Artists' notes
This is how Kitaians assume the world was made. Because the Four are the primordial beings resembling gods in Genius Loci - making them kinda important -, I come back to them time and again. Being one of The Four is a title, not a trait; they're not reborn, but new Four are chosen every cycle. 

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Sabiré's Wall

Glaspia, a southern Gderan country, spent centuries pushing its border northwards. Its neighbours might have objected, if it hadn't been for the wall of Sabiré, growing in Glaspia's hinterlands for almost three millenia. During a speaker war in 3602EL, the spell relic was caused, and the wall that rose due to it didn't stop growing until two centuries ago. It is only a few hundred meters wide, but now over four thousand meters high and several hundred kilometers long. It influences local weather significantly and has created drylands on its western side.
"Ah, the mages around here never let you hear the end of it. A wizard appears, and they start whispering there's going to be another wall, as soon as we cast a spell. It might be interesting to the voiceless that most civilized regions were disrupted by mages' spell relics, not wizards'."
— Emketju, wizard
As all landmarks of importance, Sabirè's Height, as the wall is also called, is inhabited by a nature spirit. Ednini is very tall, and strange. He has not been at the wall for long, but his presence has caused local plantlife to improve greatly. Unlike other spirits, Ednini speaks a lot, is easily upset, and wants company. But since most people think the wall to be cursed, scary, or uncomfortable, he has little of it and jealously guards what few people he has.
"I almost pitied him, being so alone, if he hadn't been so creepy. There are almost no mid-sized spirits around the wall, only Ednini and the tiny ones in the plants he helps growing, and in some rocks. Maybe spirits, too, go mad when left alone?"
— Wenemmes, traveller

Artists' notes
This is one of those places where the things you hear about it are almost all wrong, over the top or way too harmless, and most things you can't learn at all. Nature spirits had personalities before, but with Ednini I discovered they could be influenced by supernatural affairs as well. 

Sunday 3 July 2016

Area thresholds

"This was the fourth threshold we stepped through in these mountains. The map says nothing about it, so they must be new - I worry who would poke holes into the Here in six valleys."
— Szagrat, traveller
An Area threshold is where one can step over into the Area. Natural thresholds are, as many things about the Area, seemingly random - any crossing could lead into the Area, a riverbank, a door, a line between shadow and light.
Artificial or drawn thresholds are easy to make, but require precision, and are best done by signmakers. Each of the four corners, then the opening, of the threshold-to-be is marked with the First Sign "Create Threshold". Because this last, fifth sign must therefore always be made into the air, and First Signs are complicated, it's hard to successfully create a threshold artificially.
"That was your tenth, no, eleventh, attempt at it. I suppose we can always wait for a Nightly Traveller to happen by when you're having such trouble with that damn threshold... I'm just joking!"
— Jagir, to Vramde

Artists' notes
Because Genius Loci is also built as a roleplaying world, sometimes I think in terms of difficulties for dice rolls. But imagining how it actually looks is exciting; making a threshold should be mysterious and strange. Most travellers know how to make one, even if not all are good at it.

Sunday 26 June 2016

Technology and development

Kitas' technological development sees sophisticated husbandry methods, strong, durable materials for large structures, ship trade routes between continents, and medicine that can remedy common ailments. People don't starve on the streets or die of everyday diseases. But travel is lengthy, exotic goods rare, and payments are done in natural goods rather than gold.
Common technologies include pocket sunclocks, spyglasses, and lighters. On a larger scale, glass windows, concrete, aqueducts fed by norias, domed buildings, and cannons make regular appearances. Farmers know about crop rotation, creation of black earth, and use clever irrigation methods. Medicine includes knowledge of epidemics, and use of anaesthetics.
"Straws were drawn who had to camp closest to the cannon site. Just the month before, a powder stock had blown its crew to bits so small there weren't even spirits left."
— Gabunda Hes, soldier
Spells play only a tiny role in technology; speakers are too quickly exhausted for everyday affairs and artifacts are notoriously ill-mannered. Instead, engineers invent tirelessly, with important schools in Lebridge and Bargassa, making mechanics powered by wind and water commonplace. However, the mages' taste for detail, and the wizards' open minds still put speakers at the forefront of scientific progress.
"Oh, curse this mechanical clock. The slightest movement, it misses the time. I'll never buy one of those idiotic Sawan contraptions again, and stick with the good stuff from Bargassa."
— Tilibriin, Ryaqan merchant

Artists' notes
I've learned a lot about what mechanics were possible in ancient times, and the Greek or Chinese were far more advanced than most people would think, so I had no problem putting complex, timed mechanics into play, and founded the two large engineering schools from which nearly anything can be expected. Technological advancement also allows for more interesting buildings, larger settlements, and peoples cultivating unfavourable lands. 

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Art on deviantArt: White forest dwarf and Standing Stones, and an announcement

New artworks have been published on deviantArt: a concept of a dwarf girl from the white forest, and a landscape concept of standing stones. You can learn more about dwarves in their article:

I want to increase the amount of artciles published here. I also want a picture to go with every article, and therein lies the problem; I create Genius Loci solely in my spare time, and making images takes much longer than writing articles. I will therefore also use sketches to illustrate my articles from now on. When I get around to creating a finished piece for any subject, it will of course be shared here as well.

Friday 10 June 2016

The Discordant Cities

"I don't care who thinks to be the first, greatest, or smartest. If I lose one more shipment of medicines because of their daft squabbling, I'll make them Tsiranian, and that will be that."
— Mainalhar II. of Tsir
The first of the Discordant Cities was Eligei, which was a rhu'khach city until they left, and returned to greatness some centuries later. Then the ruling families of Eligei began to quarrel all the time, until finally two of them left and founded new cities nearby. Then fighting started there too, citizens left, and founded their own cities. As they are located in the Tsiranian Gulf in Lozir, with rich fishing grounds and moderately fertile lands, new cities can survive easily. Today, they are twelve, and constantly fight among themselves. Pirates and mercenaries are set on each others' trade routes, cities are spied upon and sabotaged, embargoes enacted, and alliances are as short-lived as the morning dew.
"All the Oparikans have to do is acknowledge that Tassaar makes the better frigates, or we can just show them if they won't believe it. What do they take us for - Henassetans?!"
— Benengei, Tassaarian
On the other side of the gulf lies Lozir's largest kingdom, Tsir. The Tsiranian traders also fall victim to the dirty tricks of the Discordants, and the traditionally grumpy government grows impatient. Urlakal used to send diplomats, but since the Dimnerians invaded and the royal Urlakal family was exiled, it has been too unstable, and the Dimnerians are uncompassionate. Council city negotiators are still sent from Plokin, but the only solution - unification of the ridiculously likeminded cities - is openly attacked as an affront to the cities' sovereignty by all twelve.

Artists' notes
When I dotted city states onto the maps, a whole lot appeared around the Tsiranian Gulf, and I wondered how they got along. The more they became, the less they did, and now the "Streitende Städte" are a mischievous bunch of rascals. It spun away into the political situation of the entire region; Urlakal's civil war fitted perfectly. I love it when the open ends of my world connect seamlessly.

Saturday 28 May 2016


It's said that each continent or element has its own biggest animal, which are so attuned, or incredible, that they function outside the normal workings of living creatures. Hillers are considered the embodiment of the powers of the earth, and thus to be Lozirian animals, although there are some in Sawa as well, and nobody knows what hides under the canopy of Gdera's forests.

"Some of the hiller tribe spoke to the hiller by waving flags. They said they used them to talk about which way to go, but from what I saw, their conversation was much deeper than that."
— Sasi, traveller
It's said that they are born under mountains, and when they are big and strong enough, lift the mountain up and walk away. Their gargantuan bodies are covered with rocks and sediment, and they are big enough to house a large tribe. Hillers move very, very slowly, nobody knows what they eat, and there's barely a way of communicating with them, although those who live on them can tell if the hiller is happy, sad, or calm. Hillers seem to generally enjoy the company of humans, especially when they decorate their mobile home.

Artists' notes
The original German name is Berger, which would translate to mountainer, but it lost its whimsicality in the translation, and I went with hiller instead. Walking mountains are a wonderfully fantastic idea,  and they make several appearances in Genius Loci. I haven't even invented all biggest animals yet, but the horr in the seas and the clouders in the skies are of similar incredulity.

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Collector's tools

Spirit collectors can work entirely without tools if needed, but prefer using them. They're usually made by pendulors, and totems and tubes need to be of certain quality - broken totems release their spirits.

The wooden totems are for trapping dead spirits. They are blue at first, turning brown when inhabited, and are painted with spirit-bonding patterns. The figure is sitting with folded arms, and must be of the appropriate species; a rope can be pulled through for hanging them up. In the cleansing rituals to unite the dead with the Great Spirit, the totem is destroyed.
"It was custom for collectors on their way to the cleansing to wear blue as a warning. Crowds parted around them, but more than once, the rebels shot them to release all spirits in the masses, causing great turmoils."
— Benerare Pikale, historian
Spirits are reflected like light and cannot escape rings, going in circles forever. Echo tubes are therefore made from mirroring materials. They can be glass tubes that are screwed shut or crystals closed with clasps, while metal tubes are not commonly used - since there is no light inside, there's also no reflection, and supposedly this makes them less useful.
"And when they had reached the clifftops, they started throwing down items we took for bottles, that shattered on the ground, but we soon realized in horror that they were echo tubes releasing their spirits among us."
— Ratirra Merruh, listener
The collectors' rings also use the ring principle. Young collectors start with them on arms and legs, moving them outwards gradually. A collector's body is a vessel, every inch makes room for more and greater spirits, and the rings are like stoppers. Seasoned collectors wear their rings on toes and fingers.

Artists' notes
Needless to say, there are also legendary collectors' rings or echo tubes that supposedly work better than the average. I always liked all the precautions you are supposed to take when interacting with the supernatural - turning mirrors to the wall, guarding thresholds with brick dust or salt, and so on. With equipment, there's also the storytelling element of precautions gone wrong, to add danger and difficulty to the task. 

Friday 22 April 2016

The horr

Horr aren't normally mentioned in singular, because there seem to be no individual swimmers among them. The gigantic sea beasts instead only appear as swarms, or more specifically, as one swarm, so large it would emcompass an entire continent if they swam in a line. A horr is far over a hundred meters long, has four flippers and four eyes and thus is able to see below and above him. They are dark greyish blue in colour, with a dull red stripe on the side.

"That was a day to remember, when the horr pushed themselves into the fleet parade and dwarfed the ships that had seemed majestic and huge moments before. They are given their own holiday now, and seem to greatly enjoy the attention; they even take a small detour to come by our coast."
— Ordjugral, Sawan

The horr swarm is not very well researched. Their enormous size makes it difficult to get close; while horr are quite gentle creatures, they go about their business trusting that smaller things (like ships) will make way. They seem to like the Summerstar Isles in southeast Ryaq, and are said to know paths between oceans not known to mankind. Horr are not hunted. Aside from the incredible effort it takes, the last time a horr was killed in Lozir, the swarm stayed away for a Great Quarter and with it, most other sealife as well.

Artists' notes
Whales have always held great fascination for me, and never cease to amaze me with their intelligence and integrity. Horr are my chance of mystery on top of it. Because they're so difficult to travel and opportunities so different, many fantasy worlds leave out great parts of the sea, but I intend to give Genius Loci a lot of ocean adventures as well.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

The mul'ahman

The mul'ahman, or diggers, are a species that is very quiet and barely ever noticed, and they're fine with that. A mul'ahman is a stocky person averaging 1,50m in height, covered in dark brown to black, velvety fur with small eyes and lots of white whiskers. Their shoulders and arms are very muscular, their clumsy fingers make shovels, and indeed diggers do dig surprisingly fast. Not being too good with colours, their clothes come in trademark earthen tones.

"They are gentle, well-mannered, peaceful, and value musical instruments over weapons. We wish we could convince more to come to us as sappeurs; still, Mul'geranan is probably our best neighbour. Sadly, it is also our shortest border."
— Diramanashka, Brightholder
The diggers' most known settlement is the state Mul'geranan in southern Sawa, where the underground dwellers live undisturbed; unlike other species, they show little interest in other folk. Because of their small numbers, they are left to their own devices, but enjoy company when given the chance.
"It has long been discussed if we should invite above-grounders to live with us, but we fear our love of slowness might be to our disadvantage, and so we keep discussing. Slowly."
— Nambi, mul'ahman

Artists' notes
These guys are just so nice. I don't even have anything planned for them yet. One might think such a calm people among all the rowdy neighbours of Brighthold would be in constant danger, but because of their peacefulness, Brighthold keeps them safe. I considered throwing them out several times, because they're so literally anthropomorphic, but I looked around my species and let it slide.
Now, this is probably really the last species in Genius Loci, although I won't promise there aren't any living in the far mountains or the deep south or wherever.

Friday 1 April 2016

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Council city Gamahan

"Seriously, there's only two species in your village? Odd."
— Kalimaik Gennidar, Gamahanian, to a traveller

Gamahan is Sawa's council city, and as such invites emissaries from all lands and tribes for talk and trade. Like all three council cities it's an own state, and may be the oldest city in the world; legend tells it stands where the spearbearer put down the spear Lefenned for the first time after the making of the world. The architecture is rich and diverse, and filled with primeval mechanics that are taken care of by the engineers from the neighbouring state Lebridge. Gamahan spreads over a cliff, with two thirds up above, and the rest down in the plains.

Gamahan means "circled land" in the old language Sorit, and the four city walls are perfect circles, spreading flawlessly over the cliffs. Each of the four boroughs is dedicated to one element and shows it proudly, with the western quarter (the Forest or Green Borough) being practically a forest, while craftsmen flock in the eastern quarter (the Earthen or Yellow Borough). The city's center is the Plaza of the Heavens, a gigantic open space surrounded by the world's supposedly most ancient structures, among them the famous Magician's School. Gamahan is infamous for its predatory paperwork - travellers may find themselves dutiable citizens sooner that they think.

"I'm supposed to pay taxes for what now?"
— Taqil Horan, new citizen

Most places have a traditional costume, but Gamahanians dress eclectically, only striving for a simple elegance. Common clothes are straight trousers and short-sleeved pullover shirt. In the third circle, nobody wears a hat; otherwise, clothes are combined freely.

Artists' notes
I made an ambitious street plan of Gamahan early on which had to be discarded because of its many mistakes; but the general structure, and some of the deep secrets have never changed. Although almost everything else about the council cities' role has - the geographic location, population, inner workings...
I don't dare call the image a matte painting, but it's drawn over a photo. I use this technique for concepts sometimes.

This article was sponsored by Samuel Ruggieri ( CEO ) via my Patreon account ( )

Monday 15 February 2016


Coats are a special kind of artifact, mostly done by whisperers. They're marks, applied along the body's vertical side axis, down the flanks and over the soles, and some emphasise certain body parts. Coats are meant to be permanent, and one needs to be very skilled to make a coat that works, and can be taken off. They are to be tattooed, burnt, or cut in, but with lots of work, they can be made with less crippling methods.
A coat basically turns the wearer into an artifact; she is subject to Signs and makes a bit more noise in the Fifth Power, but the benefits justify these small comfort problems.
"It's a lot of work closing the coats on the children every morning, but I can't let them outside without Firecoats and not die of worry. I hear the Xom burn them in after birth."
— Vahir Daquinor, Sawan whisperer
Coats each do one thing, albeit very thoroughly. The most popular are Dry Coats, that prevent the wearer from losing water by breathing or sweating; Flying Coats, that make one able to "swim" in the air; and Firecoats, which enable wearers to go even through boiling lava.
A coat must be a continuous line around the wearer, and because of their violent making and unique inks, are unmistakable and can rarely be hidden.

"Using a Shadowcoat makes this crime especially treacherous, and therefore the purpetraitor shall be put to death by fall, to be executed in one week's time, unless proven guiltless."
— Pe-kalhaniar judgement

Artists' notes
"Mantel" translates to both cloak and coat. I decided to call it coat to not invoke the idea this might be a cape or any other sort of clothing, but coat, as in an animal's pelt. Sometimes I worry that I might lose perspective on the intended nature of Genius Loci and make it too grim, too dark and frightening. But, people do weird things to fit in, to get a bonus, to appeal to someone, and while some customs in my world are strange, I think none of them border on human sacrifice, crusades, or unvalued life as seen in other settings.

Friday 22 January 2016

Art on deviantArt: Gubra and the Great forest caravan

Two new artworks are now published on deviantArt with new quotes: A concept of the gubra, and a caravan trekking through the mid-level of the Great Green forest. Both have their own articles in the blog as well, which the gubras share with their Lord Gahatenge, while the forest has more room to itself.

Thursday 14 January 2016


"If you think the Star Sea is littered with treasure islands, you really have no idea what it looks like under the surface. Let me show you."
— Krriinana, seagirl
Seafolk live in the seas, of course, preferring saltwater, but they live in brackwater as well. They are humanoid, but with an long, sluglike tail instead of legs. Seafolk have a skin pattern of filled irregular dots, six webbed fingers, and large black eyes. They don't have to breathe air, are weak but agile, and have good senses.
"Some had been worried after the construction of the canals, how the seafolk would fit in. But the children, of course, used the basins and flooded steps to be jolly with the seafolk kids, and when they grew up, seafolk seemed quite normal."
— Wyrnan, Avnidaran
Seafolk live with the other species where they can, as normal members of society. While being limited to saltwater, architecture often accomodates for them with tiny canals or stacked basins, and some rich cities even built waterfilled tunnels and elevators for them, like the Greater Talash-Kehs capital, Mourinor.
Off the coasts, the seafolk harvest the treasures of the seas; they farm algae and clams and herd fish, they act as pilots for ships, and as midwifes for garren - who have certain ideas about their eggs - and of course they find pearls and corals. Famous products are the clam soap made from fat clams, and algae silk.

Artists' notes
Of course there are mermaids in my setting. They're just not the tradiotic vixens luring seafarers to their death, they're people. I most enjoy the idea of cities with tunnels and canals and fountains so seafolk can be about with everyone else. I wonder what their relationship with the fleeters may be, as those prefer freshwater and the seafolk lives in the oceans.