The Rock IV
Al-Quaz is a collection of verdant Oasis inhabited mostly by humans and connected by a complex magical railroad system. It is cut off from the other realms by natural and unnatural barriers. To the North and West are vast impenetrable mountain ranges. To the south is another range, but there are two passes through them. One pass is through the Vancallan city of Hellral and is heavily tolled. The other pass is into the Valley of Blood and is shunned by even the tough nomads who roam the desert wastes. To the east is the sea, and several port cities that are the realms only connection with the rest of the world.
Each Oasis, being separated from each other by the desert, is somewhat autonomous. Small goat-like herd animals provide milk and meat, and rich avocado like fruits supplement the Al-Quazian diet.
The capital, and center of government is in the central portion of the realm and called Raasal. Many colleges devoted to the studies of all kinds of magic are found here, as well as carefully guarded and hoarded caches of ancient knowledge, some books even dating back to before the great exodus. Most wizards will try and travel to Raasal at least once in their lifetime, if they don’t come here to apprentice just to have access to the massive magical librairies.
The Three have no churches here, though they do have an embassy in the southern city of Yaammel, near the border to Helral. The Old gods still have churches in most cities of Al-Quaz, though all the clerics are old and none can remember when last their order wielded Divine magic. There are skilled surgoens and Doctors in Al-Quaz, and given time they can cure all but the most grievous wound or deadly disease.
The Gods that are still worshipped in Al-Quaz are: Illmater, Gond, Helm, Sune, St. Cuthbert and Silvanus. Most of the priests of the Gods have other skills relevant to their deity and boast some psychic powers that emulate some of the divine powers of old. Many Ardents become priests in Al-Quaz, and a fair number of Druids are worshipers of Silvanus and Illmater.
The Fated Hand, a group of elected officials, upholds laws, maintain the railroads, patrol the borders and ports, and oversee relations with other realms. Many younger members are pushing for increased relations with Talbral and Vanir, but they do not hold the power that the older members do, and have yet to propose any actual plans to the council.
Officials are elected by votes, each resident of Al-Quaz can vote in their home city and the wizards of Raasal use magical devices to ensure that each voter is counted and counted once only. Even the Nomadic tribes that wander the sandy wastes are offered a vote, but they have yet to participate in the governing of The realm.
Nomadic tribes wander the vast plains and strife between the tribes is not uncommon. These nomads pride themselves on their dedication to the old ways, and still follow a Caliph that can trace his bloodlines back 20 generations. They are survivors, and are rumored to know of Utopian-like oasis’s deep in the wastes that they fanatically guard from outsiders. The tribes still practice slavery, taking defeated rival tribes women as booty, and some of the more violent tribes, like the desert wolves, even raid smaller towns ruled by the hand or loosely guarded trains.