Population: (humans 60%, merren 15%, dwarves 10%, elves 5%, manx 5%, drakken 2%, half-elves 1%)
Government: Theocracy/(Effectively Plutocracy) with Exotic Influence (The Matriarch)
Religions: The Pentatra
Imports: Virtually everything. Ozaan’s climate is hard on foodstuffs, and there are few resources around the area. Ozaan is dependant on trade to exist.
Exports: Magical items, rare metals, crafted items, jewelry, fine silks, red wine, uncut gems.
Alignment: LN, LG, N, NG
High above all other nations it lies, the Jewel of the Shards, Ozaan. Here, unknown ages ago, the gods left the shards. Their divinity growing as their worship spread, the gods became incandescent in their glow, and burned the eyes from the sockets of those who looked upon them.. The gods gathered, followed by a train of their most zealous worshippers, journeyed to the highest of all the shards. Knowing their time amongst the thinking races was at an end, they gave unto the devout the sacred tablets of the Pentatra, which held all manner of secrets, as well as the psalms and hymns most pleasing to the gods. Then they departed in a blinding flash of glory, and ascended to the Solar Hearth forevermore, leaving behind only their kageshin.
The point that the gods departed became over time, Ozaan City, the most holy of all cities in the shards, and here the temples eventually joined. The departure of the gods burned the land, turning seas of grass to vast deserts, and sand flats to glass. The ruins of blasted gardens and starved cities can be found dotting the deserts about Ozaan, though the sand slowly consumes them. No one is sure of the cultures of these derelict cities, and some are sure to be sites of ancient worship of the gods; the divine arm of the Pentatra sometimes funds expeditions to recover these lost secrets.
In the city of Ozaan stands the mighty Grand Tabernacle of the Pentatra, where the new Pentatra has rebuilt their organization after the last Rising. Now, however, the ranks of the true priests have been depleted, and wizards have taken their place. Ozaan is known as a city of miracles, both divine and arcane.
Lured by the safety of a shard so far from the Beneath, and able to buy favor with certain arms of the Pentatra, the rich and powerful make their homes here. They buy favor with the city magistrates. The Council of the Pentatra meets to decide matters of trade, and oversees the nation as a whole, guaranteeing that food and goods arrive from the port cities on the edge of the shard. Without regular supply caravans through the desert, Ozaan would soon starve.
Watching over all is the Matriarch, a wounded kageshin of great power and uncertain patronage. She is said to have received her ever-bleeding wound during the Temple Wars, when kageshin led their Temples in bloody conflict against one another to determine the fairest of all the gods; the Matriarch refuses to speak of the results of the Temple Wars, or the identity of her patron god. Though her peers have left the leadership of the thinking races, the Matriarch stays in Ozaan, and on some rare occasions sees fit to speak to the Pentatra’s inner council when she desires them to take certain actions. This is rare however, and the Matriarch is rarely seen. Her prophecies and visions more commonly find there way to the ears of men. She sometimes receives strange visitors, and it is whispered they are her divine servants, or perhaps her peers. The presence of the Matriarch adds an extra sense of security to high Ozaan in the minds of its citizens. By her decree only those who humbly approach the city, traveling from the port cities by foot, may enter the holy place. Air travel is forbidden, and this edict is enforced by the guards of the holy city.
Though Ozaan is secure, there are those on the shard who are not. The "Desert Folk", or Halmati, one lived on the shard before the arrival of the gods and their followers. The people today called Ozaani, noted for their dark skin and often copper-colored hair, forced the native Halmati out. The Desert Folk, a race of thinkers and architects who did not turn to the worship of the gods with great fervor, were left bereft of livelihood when the gods left in the blaze that turned the lakes to dustbowls and the fields to ash. After great hardship they adapted to desert life. Many of the ruins that lay hidden in the desert are thought to be of Halmati origin, and it is said they jealously guard them.
Life and Society
Life in Ozaan is a wonder if you are wealthy, and prohibitively expensive if you are not. The prices there are outrageous for nearly all things. Mystical items, compared to other places, are somewhat cheaper. Many retired merchants or once-rulers of the Shards have made their home in Ozaan, gambling that the Beneath will not extend there on its next Rising.
Ozaan survives because of trade and religious taxation on all nations that wish the security of Pentatric mages to defend their cities (via the Aegis spell), magical items, and the (thinly spread) healing services of Pentatric clerics. This inflow of income and tribute makes Ozaan one of the wealthiest shards of all, rivaling the glory of the Empire of Xauphinelle.
The people of Ozaan have strong ties with the Circle Sea, who provide them with a great deal of their needed imports. Ohjavia, in particular, has profited thus, and has become a haven from Pentatric adepts who have been forced to leave the fold, or decided to retire. In fact, the emirs of Ohjavia are often entertaining this or that dignitary from the Pentatra, and some of these dignitaries have purchased summer homes in the Golden City.
Relations with the Empire of Xauphinelle are always tense. Xauphinelle is the closest source of various foods for Ozaan, while Ozaan provides the Empire with the rare metals the ælven prize. Though the ælven mined out their veins of mithral and adamantine long ago, the Pentatra’s clerics can sometimes quest into the Divine Realm of Earth, Grimnél and Malvorn’s domain, to return with these most precious of the magical ores. Despite this mutual need, trade agreements between the two nations are fragile.
Ozaan’s military is small, but extremely well equipped. The port cities are protected by formidable warships with potent wizards amongst their crews. The port guards and the city guards of Ozaan are also well equipped with magical weapons and armor, and their men are loyal in the extreme.
Major Geographical Features
Scourging Desert: A trial for the devout, the pilgrimage to Ozaan leads through the Scourging Desert. Sand Drakken raiders make their homes here in ruins that may or may not be theirs, while they venerate the dragons that make their home amidst the dunes. The Scourging Desert is full of unpleasant wildlife, and many pilgrims never see the glass bowl of the Holy City.
Dancing Pools: Priests debate whether the Dancing Pools are a gift of Gulmé’s, or a less than humorous joke of Marthayn’s. The Dancing Pools are oases that well up from the sands a few hours before the Solar Hearth dims. When the light leaves the shards, and the solar disc is dim, the Dancing Pools vanish as quickly as they came. The pools appear randomly, and often a group of pilgrims in need of water will spot an oasis, only to have it disappear by the time they get to it, and the sun goes dark. Worse yet, the Dancing Pools can sometimes lead travelers astray from their pilgrimage routes, and take them into dangerous territory. The Halmati are said to be able to predict the appearance of the Dancing Pools.
The Mirror Hell Canyon: The quickest way to Ozaan is by way of this treacherous passage. A canyon whose walls resemble polished glass, the Mirror Hell is the hottest place in all the shards. Only the toughest creatures survive, and incidents of travelers bursting into flame while passing through the reflected light of the canyon have been recorded. The legendary fire scorpions of the Scourging Desert make their home here.
The Stone of Thought: A strange flat sky blue stone that can be found hubward from the city of Ozaan, the Stone of Thought is a site for monthly philosophical debate amongst the Desert Folk. Here rage battles of ideology and thought, all witnessed and judged by peers of the Halmati. The way of life for the Desert Folk is decided here, and any change to their ancient patterns is rooted in the debates that occur here,
Ozaan City: Built in the crater left by the departure of the gods, the city of Ozaan is a small oasis of life in the center of the otherwise barren desert. Called the City of Wonders, Ozaan boasts many impressive sites thanks to the whimsy of powerful Pentatric mages who make their homes there. Jaldiin’s Garden of Singing Fire, the Floating Plaza of Endless Contemplation, the controversial Bazaar of Dead Voices, and the Bottled Demon Museum make up but a few. While pilgrims receive some assistance from the Pentatra when they arrive, they soon must leave due to the exorbitant prices of Ozaani food and wares.
Grand Tabernacle of the Pentatra:
Laraja Mujan: The Holy Gate is the largest of the port cities, and the one closest to Xauphinelle. Due to this, it is heavily fortified. The emir of Laraja Mujan has the right to commandeer any skyship in the port to aid in the defense of the city. Some pilgrims run out of money when they get this far, and take various jobs, saving for the day they can continue their journey, which due to Ozaan’s inflated prices sometimes never comes. Other pilgrims turn to begging, and so the Holy Gate is sometimes called the City of Beggars. Though beggars can only ask for alms outside the city walls, this does not stop a large population of such unfortunates from living there, hoping for charity from their more fortunate pilgrim brethren to see them on their way.
Plots and Rumors