Seated at the centre of all Creation was once a world called Yonaddin, home of the Wild Gods. Aspects of the Breydd more than traditional deities, the Wild Gods were both inseparably bound to Yonaddin and projected by it across the stars, fickle stewards of all they surveyed. Such power would be difficult for even a sober mind to wield judicially and, unfortunately, sobriety tended not to be one of their defining characteristics. Their games and semi-serious squabbles resulted in the Ravelling, a catastrophe from which none would have been saved were it not for the Whevren, whose origin remains steeped in mystery. What is known is that they saved nine cities from the Ravelling by encasing them in cocoons of skeansilk, giving birth to the world now known as Aramhethe, named so after its two most instrumental progenitors, Arakhisi and Matheas. So teaches the Church of the Twain.

That was five hundred years ago. The Nine Wards of Aramhethe remain encased in their impenetrable Skeathes, shielded from whatever horrors have supplanted Old Yonaddin. The great city of Einkinadun broods at the centre, its skies teeming with Dragonoughts which ferry goods to and from the eight Subordinate Wards by way of the Silk Roads. As the hub from which every Silk Road extends, all inter-Ward travellers must pass through Einkinadun, which is only fitting and proper as it is the home of both the Breathless Temple and the Arkitextylos (the Sublime Bureaucracy) and thus the principle seat of power of the Church of the Twain. Passage between Wards is strictly monitored by the Bureaucracy in order to preserve the stability of Aramhethe; given the somewhat provisional nature of life therein, security is a constant and urgent concern.

Obviously the Wards wouldn’t survive long without air and light and other necessities, and here the foresight and benevolence of the Whevren is apparent, for such is the wonder of skeansilk and the Luminous Looms which spin it that the Skeathes enshrouding the Wards display upon their inner surfaces a living tapestry, motile and cyclical, in which a moon arcs across the sky, waxing and waning in time with the months, and a sun declines and ascends with the changing of the seasons. Both betray their unnatural origins via certain fanciful artistic embellishments, such as the curvy waves extending from the sun and the dozing, nascent face in the moon, and the same can be said of the landscapes they depict, all bearing stylized touches and preternatural colours… but these marks of artificiality vanish once one steps into the Skeanlands, as these textilescapes have come to be called. With a Loom wizard acting as a medium, it is possible to be “translated” into the tapestry contained in the fabric of the Skeathes. Once there, the Skeanlands appear as real and natural as anything and – looking back – it is the Ward one has just left – now a living, two-dimensional reproduction woven into the looming, egg-shaped “exterior” of the Skeathe – which seems to be a work of artistry.

In the Skeanlands, crops are grown, minerals are mined, livestock is raised and animals are hunted to support the Wards. Further out, far from the settlements which huddle around the Skeathes, more enterprising souls sometimes happen upon ruins and other sources of adventure, which can provide artifacts of historic or arcane interest for which the Church of the Twain pays generously. While traffic to and from the Skeanlands is regulated less stringently than traffic between Wards – to avoid congestion, given the need for the resources harvested in the Skeanlands – the Loom wizards who enable the transition are still members of the Arkitextylos. As such, they bear a responsibility to ensure that destabilizing elements do not find their way in from the Further Skeanlands, where – it is whispered – the noumenal presence of the Wild Gods can still, somehow, be felt….

Aramhethe

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