Through Split Earth

Prologue
Mahara, the Merchant's Paradise

Nestled into the northernmost natural bay in the Roit Archipelago, the merchant city of Mahara is home to many who have come to wish for comfort, wealth, or just a pleasant view of the seemingly infinite ocean. There isn’t a day that passes in the city that isn’t filled with some sort of celebratory occasion, it seems. Festivals buzz late on into the night while horns blare and strings serenade the rallentando setting of the sun.

The city itself, Maraha, is one of minimal historical importance. Though there is a keep and a considerable civilian population, defense is provided by a militia of able-bodied men and women, and defenses are somewhat lackluster. Proclaimed neutrality in all local disagreements between nearby sovereign nations has allowed Mahara to stay out of trouble, and continue its ongoing trade with others during times of strife. The land had, in its passed years, been run by a Monarchy, but has recently shifted into more of an autocratic state, about as close to a free market as can exist. While this provides citizens with many benefits and great wealth, it also brings in some back-handed trade that is often hidden away in the shadows; slave trade, trade with embargoed nations, and the purchasing of banned goods.

This particular evening was like any other, the distant voices of guitars, lutes and wind instruments permeated the atmosphere of the city as revelers drank in the streets, sat in chairs by the docks, and bathed in the gradually cooling sunlight. Hidden away beneath thick stone walls, however, were dealings kept hidden from the common eye. Hands shook, contracts were signed, and the fate of the peaceful city, perhaps even the world itself, was violently jarred off course.

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