Ezego is, for many, a place worthy of pilgrimage. It is the harathi homeland, riddled with energy wells and the residence of the most advanced schools of channeling. It is, simultaneously, the most dangerous. Here, vestigial energy flares like the beat of a drum, shifting all sorts of creatures into stranger forms, including the residents of Ezegoyan cities. “The blessed,” as the harathi call them, and all the rest of Ezego have no choice but to band together to survive the harsh winters and the threat of the lives shifted beyond sanity. Travelling to Ezego promises to question the survival of the planet, our species, and ourselves through lives of danger that necessitate cooperation.
The continent of Ezego is the northernmost continent, encapsulating the entirety of the north pole and all the regions north of M’Qara on the mainland. Just northeast of the M’Qaran border, montane forests begin to stretch along the east coast. As they reach the northern Uka Bay, the mountains spread westward into an alpine forest region. As they reach the north pole, the alpine forests give way to a sprawling taiga. People are rarely able to live beyond the edge of this region.
On the southwest coast of Ezego, broadleaf forests and temperate steppes compose most of the flatland that stretches north of the M’Qaran border. The contour of the land curls westward as it nears the north and a few sparse rainforests appear near the coast in this region, but steppes and broadleaf forests continue to dominate Ezego. Near to the northern taiga, a vast tundra extends across the continent.
Generations ago, a group of humans descended into a cavern network at the edge of the eastern alpines to prospect the area for mining. While they failed to find many resources, they instead happened upon the strange, faintly luminescent harathi. Both parties were bewildered. Despite sharing a common ancestor, the humans and harathi met there, beneath the Ezegoyan mountains, for the first time. This was the first contact, and the origin of human and harathi relations.
Humans and harathi have maintained a distant relationship since. The harathi were well-adapted to subterranean homes, amassing colonies beneath the inhospitable eastern mountains. Their colonies were loosely governed and were structured strategically around energy wells that emerged from the vestige. The humans, however, continued to brave the western surface of Ezego. They were, at large, uncomfortable with extended contact with the harathi. Settlements and countries emerged and parents began to warn their children about the strangers that dwell in the caverns. Many years passed before these disparate cultures began to integrate.
The harathi were the first to move to establish further contact. A harathi travelled to the surface, out of curiosity, and began to explore human society. After many months, the harathi chose a mate, and within time the first interspecies child was born. Due to the child’s genetically abundant harathi heritage, the child was later able to breed with other harathi. The harathi were astonished by the outcome of this contact. It held many possibilities for a species that depended on expanding its genetic pool for survival. For the first time in generations, they emerged from the earth and began to migrate. The humans and harathi, though still distant from each other, began to embrace their neighbours.
This was ultimately beneficial for both parties, as Ezego began to suffer an abundance of energy wells. These wells, though more or less harmless in small quantities, were dangerous in their frequency and magnitude. The wildlife began to suffer, shifting into new forms and becoming rampant and uncontrollable. Even the harathi and the humans began to shift at an unprecedented rate. The people of Ezego became nomadic, moving every few months to evade the emergence of great energies, though some sedentary communities and colonies still remain in more dormant regions. This new threat in the north tells of greater and more dangerous things to come, not only for Ezego, but for all of the vestige.
Ezegoyan culture is most recognizable by its strong emphasis on cooperation, particularly between species and races. The people of ezego admonish independence, often as a sort of selfish search for recognition. It is in the collective that the people of Ezego are strongest, and it’s through this paradigm that they are capable of surviving in the north. As a consequence of this, the people of Ezego are guided into roles and responsibilities dictated by the need of the whole group. People are granted positions and careers based on personal aptitude rather than by personal choice. It’s in this way that many of the cultural and social leaders emerge as well.
Due to the strong history of interculturalism, Ezego is heavily influenced by both harathi and human traditions. Ezegoyans are a people who celebrate and encourage sex and procreation. Few aspects of sex are private, and people often gather on celebratory days in ritualistic multiperson sexual acts. Monogamous relations are also not commonplace, as more romantic and sexual partners in Ezego is praiseworthy. Conversely, monogamous and asexual relationships are often frowned upon.
This sexual and romantic encouragement stems from Ezego’s history of high mortality rates. Both the humans and harathi suffered from short lives in the inhospitable north, and though the average lifespan has, over time, increased, the traditions that emerged from this history remain. For many in Ezego, all life is precious and worth saving. Though vestigial energy warps people and creatures in the wild, and though these shifted beings may lash out at their friends, family and communities, they are blessed by the spirit of the vestige and are worthy of saving. To the people of Ezego, mercy is the highest honor.
The abundance of energy in Ezego has similarly made its citizens more accepting of channelers, rather than more fearful. People who are adept at channeling are held in the highest regard. People from across the vestige travel to Ezego for the sole reason of studying channeling and unraveling the mysteries of the vestige. It is here, they believe, that we can hone this new supernatural craft, and more importantly learn more about this dying world.
This subterranean metropolis in the centre of the alpines is the largest harathi colony in the vestige. It is a massive underground network of hollowed out caverns that were constructed around a massive energy well. Though large, the energy well is weak and it is considered to be a dormant well. Some people still worry for Athati. Will it be the site of a future tragedy? These people are in the minority, however. Athati continues to be the largest harathi cultural centre and boasts one of the largest populations per capita.
This small harathi colony is known for wandering the western forests in search of blessed people and creatures. Unlike many Ezegoyans, this colony believes the blessed who have lost sanity to be a threat to the survival of Ezegoyans, and so they swiftly put them to death. This, they believe, is the greatest act of mercy they can deliver.
This city emerged around the site of human and harathi first contact. The city, now, is old and worn down, but it continues to hold against the stormy northern winters. Uniquely, the city is partly exposed to the air, and partly buried within the mountainside. It is the home of Unity Day, a uniquely Handolian tradition celebrating the day of the first contact.
Masacha Channelers’ Guild
The Masacha Channelers are a travelling guild of academics studying energy and its many uses in the tundra and taiga regions of Ezego. They are considered to be the most eminent in this field of research and their members are made up of a renown international team. They travel in teams housed in vesper wagons, driving from place to place examining the wells and their effects on the environment. Every once in a while, a team will attempt to head farther north, but often these teams are lost to the cold, uninhabited wilderness.
This bay is the largest in the vestige and lies on the eastern coast of Ezego. Small ice fishing communities and colonies have sprung up around the bay over the years to take advantage of this area’s wealth of natural resources. Recently, a Lussian trading post has emerged at the southern edge of the bay, bringing immigrants and foreign fortunes to the numerous settlements across the bay. These new fishers, of course, are not welcome by everyone.