the reiux, the vale
ountain ranges encompass Lornesse, the highest and densest ranges seen on the continent. The heartland of the province, where the capital is situated, is a large valley that clefts between two sierras reaching from Ouesthohl all the way to the basin bordering the Northern Expanse. Despite its wildly varying altitudes, Lornesse boasts a variety of flora and fauna, with forests of mixed oak and pine nestled at the bottoms of the gullies and crawling up the sharp sides of the crags. In the southern valley, a stretch of slightly hilly plains have patches of farmland that stretch to the mountains themselves. Crops and livestock make up about two thirds of the Lornesian diet, with the remaining third filled with the livestock they raise, game that prowls the valleys, and the frequent purchase of food from Argonne.
All the seasons are felt extremely in Lornesse, though winter is felt most keenly of all. Summer, on the other hand, is renowned for its beauty. Especially in the well-kept gardens of the capital, the plants of the pale bloom into a multitude of hues and wrap the valley in a quilt of colors, highlighted by the clear skies. Autumn, too, is a beautiful time as it reddens all the leaves and makes the valley appear as if it is burning with energy, as the winds from the north begin whisking those leaves away. The bite of winter eats away at the colors of the valley, burying it under the snow from the north winds, carried in by the blizzards that happen each year. With the coming of spring comes the respite long-needed, as the rain washes away the snow and nourishes the plants as they ready to bloom again.
Not only are the mountains that surround the Vale the ideal natural barrier from dangers of all kinds, but they are blessed to be rich in bountiful iron as well as other useful metals such as copper and tin. A long history of using these metals and their alloys have given the Lornesians the upper hand in metalworking, and their steel is superior to any other found elsewhere on the continent. Large deposits of silver have also been found between and alongside the more common metals, particularly in the metal-rich mountains of the west.
Also in the eastern mountains of the Vale is a type of metal that has not been found anywhere else in the known world. The metal is named Losmium, and is the key element of the alloy known as Losmian Steel. Only rarely is this metal found, always on its own and always whisked away to the Caemire vaults in Errevet.
Little can be said that’s true of all Touennes, given its political rather than geographic boundary. It encompasses mostly the westward parts of Lornesse, except in the north where it reaches eastward into Kassel, and contains rivers and forests and fields that rise and fall with the topography. Most notably, its political boundaries lay claim to the many mountainous and volcanic peaks in western Lornesse, and their counterpart valleys -- some gentle, some harsh - that slowly climb the mountain ranges. With mineral-rich veins and even hot springs at various levels, these mountains are the most distinct feature of Touennes.
Cities of Note
Home to the Etethron, Lornesse's royal court and seat of power, Errevet
is a massive city that winds its way up the side of a mountain face. A truly beautiful city with renowned architectural features, it exhibits the opulence and power of the Lornesian royal family, even from afar. Mountain runoff trickles between white-stone spires and arches, the city’s main source of water. Famed artisans – painters, sculptors, and masters of other arts – flock in numbers for the inspiring view and access to the royal court.
Water is most of what makes Orenbad distinct from its counterparts. It has the greatest amount of coastline of any of the territories, and unlike in Kassel it has soft sandy beaches and naturally level harbors that are well-suited for seafaring. Inland, rivers that form from the joining of tributaries further afield snake their way through the well-cultivated fields and provide seasonal nourishment for the soil as snows melt routinely, if not regularly, brings with it the nutrients from the mountains. Wherever there aren’t fields or coastline, there is either a small forest that’s being reduced to make room, or a small mountain ridge that limits growth.
Cities of Note
sprawls across the eastern coast of Tnarem with its palace overlooking the mouth of Dueis Bay, making it the port for all ships bearing goods bound for the rest of Lornesse. It is a vibrant city with a large market in a massive public square lined with flowering trees. The streets are winding, lined with residences packed together in tight rows, though a more affluent district exists on the north end of the city. The docks bustle with merchants and sailors, often from places other than Lornesse, and it is a favorite curiosity of the common locals to go and gawk at the strange imports – and people – arriving from the east and south.
In the southern half of central Lornesse is a wide and mostly fertile plain used, in part, to grow grapes for the liquor that is the favorite of local elites. While some of this is grown Rhyon, it’s far more common to see a patchwork quilt of farmland covering the land. Some rivers crisscross the countryside to break up the otherwise monotonous landscape, which continues to be so right until the mountain range that marks its southern border. Here, the low ridges and jagged stone cliffs provide refuge from the world, inhospitable as they are. Only the Blackreach pass, along the southwestern border, is even remotely safe for people to travel.
Cities of Note
The southern mountain range of Lornesse cradles the city of Thann
, with a castle towering over the strict grid layout of this stone fortress city. It seems a pinnacle of order, as it should. It is there that the Reiux’s military affairs are painstakingly overseen, and as such there are suitable barracks, training yards, and sparring facilities for His Majesty’s finest just outside the main keep. Like all of the large Reiux cities, Thann is built primarily of stone, the common white mingling with the slate blue of the southern mountain range overshadowing the buildings. Despite its functional purpose, the city’s master stone masons are responsible for the beautiful reliefs depicting Lornesse’s accomplishments in war, carved into buildings and walls across the city.
Cities of Note
The dark forest that is Kassel fills the large valley in the northeast of Lornesse, spilling forth from its constraints into the realm of neighboring territories. Not every inch of cold dirt is hidden from the sun by branches and leaves, but nowhere in Kassel is there a place to stand where the treeline doesn’t escape your vision. From rocky coast to frozen peak to political border, the dark forest defines the area more so than any other feature. Only in the stretches between trees or where they have been forcefully cleared is there room for development, just beyond the reach of the dark forest’s shadow.
Cities of Note
Along the northeastern coast of the Vale, the city of Strasenau
sits comfortably on a large hill with tiered districts mimicking those of Errevet. Of all the capital cities in Lornesse, it is the simplest in architecture and the smallest in size. The castle sits on the highest tier, built on top of a large rock formation, its unusually plain, austere walls implying its original function as a large northern fortress. Within the city limits, references to Kassel’s timber industry are everywhere, from the high concentration of master carpenters to the beautiful wooden beaming in the rows of residences and shops.