Lyrise is a country in north-central Anatis. It is currently run by the church of Echoe. The head of state is St. Alice. Since Alice is not always available, rule usually falls to the Perilune Claire and the Oneiroi.
Lyrise experiences a cool-temperate climate meaning mild summers and snowy winters. The country encompasses much of Anatis’ northern coastline along the Emerald Sea. To the south the country is bordered by the Dalien Mts and the Gynari Desert beyond. The Shedlands, a range of coastal foothills and old mountains, lie off to the northeast and marks the general eastern border. The capital city, Aventurine, lies on a small peninsula in the middle of the country, fed by a river. Hills in the east-central area of the country contain many old ruins and graveyards and travel was, for a long time, discouraged by the presence of undead.
The Time of Alice
Lyrise records its official history by the church of Echoe. 2000 years ago the area was a loose collection of villages and towns generally following a form of ancestor and spirit worship. Legend says that the first attempt at unification was made by Alice who spread the teachings of Echoe across the land, unifying the towns and villages and converting the people. After a few years she declared, under the guidance of Echoe, the country of Lyrise and began building the city of Esnam in the hills. Upon the completion of the city and the temple therein Alice was called to Echoe and placed the High Priestess in charge, giving her the title of Perilune, meaning “Closest to the Moon.” When she left, she left behind her dream companion and a prophecy of her return.
“By the Grace of Echoe I shall return and this is how ye shall know me.
When the skies are bright and the land is dark,
when corruption fills the mind and heart,
together silver and chaos shall aid the prince
to purify the heart.
By the Saint’s dream shall she return
and the impure shall fall and burn
but not until the Exalted dies
will the land be purified." The Prophecy of Alice
The Time of the Four Alices
At first, many speculated on the meaning of the prophecies but as Alice never appeared, save in dreams, they became forgotten. When they were nothing more than legend, then began the Four Alices. The First Alice appeared in a small town to the East. She was called this because she traveled with Alice’s Dream, but it overwhelmed her and she went mad. She vanished into the forest. The Second appeared in Esnam. He was a bard and one day produced such music that the dream came to him. During his time Esnam grew in culture and influence, expanding Lyrise’s influence to its current size. Trade also blossomed and merchants from Manscell and Ominia came from the north through Aventurine, then just a small port city on the Enigmaris Sea. As they spread into the land they met with elvish traders from the west and desert traders from the south and founded Wyltine Fair.
Amidst this growth, however, the Second Alice became more and more obsessed with the idea of beauty in his works and his music became more and more charming. No one noticed until it was too late, the darkness growing in Esnam. The Second professed beauty in death and, at one of his concerts, his music, amplified by the power of Alice’s Dream, took the minds of the audience. They worked themselves into a frenzy and went throughout the streets in a macabre parade of madness, song, and death. Alice’s Dream knew this was not the true Alice and left the bard. He could not bear the pain and commanded his fanatical devotees to burn the city and profane the temples. He personally confronted Perilune Friegel and killed her, her daughter, and then himself. In the chaos of that night, Esnam was destroyed and from then on restless spirits roamed the hills.
The surviving government defaulted then to Aventurine. Her trade made her the economic center of Lyrise and the oligarchs of the city held the country together for another century. The church was pushed into the background and lost its power until Dayin Thelfar led a force of paladins in defense of Wyltine Fair from a plague of undead. The Perilune declared Dayin the Selene and established the Battlemaidens of Lyrise. With the Battlemaidens under its control, the church forced a deal with the oligarchs to share in the rule of Lyrise. This arrangement worked for a long while, allowing the church to build temples and cathedrals. But this also allowed Alice’s Dream to find the Third Alice: Queen Miku.
Miku was the daughter of a wealthy banker and trader from the Esterlands. She was exceptionally charming as a child and she was the darling of the oligarchs. When the dream joined with her and she was recognized as Alice she became the darling of the church and through them, the darling of the people. Everyone she met loved her and she declared herself Princess with the assent of the Perilune and the oligarchs, whom she had charmed into loving her. Any who opposed her were simply treated to an audience and afterward were enthusiastic supporters of the new Princess. Eventually she was crowned Queen of Lyrise. At first she led Lyrise to prosperity but an assassin from Ominia troubled her. Not because he had tried to kill her, but because he had spoken words of truth, that eventually her beauty would fade and she would die, hated by the people.
This thought tortured her and she looked for ways to prevent her senescence. She learned the magical schools of Enchantment and Illusion to maintain her beauty and love, but was not content to stop there. Her magical learning and intelligence with the politics and economy helped her withstand the strain of Alice’s Dream, but the words of the assassin chipped away at her sanity. Through her studies of the arcane and her lessons on Echoe she learned of great disasters in the past caused by mortals attempting to bring the gods into the world. She had no intention of causing such destruction, but her studies and her connection to Echoe led her to the secret of the Antithesis and she created the first Dreamless. None of the church noticed immediately but over the years her rule became more and more twisted. First only criminals were converted, and then guards and priests. The Battlemaidens were divided, but most went into hiding. The new dreamless were presented as spiritual advisers and spoke to the people of the gift of immortality. Many took it and the dreamless spread.
The creation of the Dreamless broke the connection with Alice’s Dream and it left Miku, driving her completely insane. She severely limited trade and culture, aside from the worship of her. The western borders of Lyrise were neglected completely and the nation began a slide backwards. During this time, Alice’s Dream found a pair of twins and found them to have the same curiosity and wisdom as Alice had and declared them the Fourth Alice. They traveled the lands of Lyrise as Alice had, but they were too young yet to begin teaching the word of Echoe. Word spread to Miku and she carefully led them to Aventurine. The Dream didn’t like it, but was drawn to the Isle of Dreams, a small island off the coast of Aventurine which had been a holy site of Echoe since the days of Alice. The Dream led the twins to the island, but when they arrived Miku cursed them. It would have killed them , but Alice’s Dream instead put them to sleep through the grace of Echoe.
For years they slumbered and the kingdom withered until Prince Seith and his party were noticed by the Queen in the western lands. They had a spark of will she had not seen in a long time. She summoned them to the castle, but it was her undoing. In their travels they met the First Alice, held as a prisoner in the forest by the druids since she had wandered in there centuries ago, and in battle killed her, bringing peace to the forest and allowing transit. Then they entered the hills and ruins of Esnam and there put the shade of the Second Alice to rest. They met the Dreamless and nearly fell to their ‘gift’ but the wisdom and grace of their paladin kept them from falling. Finally they arrived in Aventurine and met with Queen Miku. She offered them a chance to join and Seith nearly accepted. Then he was punched by the githzerai monk and they fought the queen. On that night they killed the Third Alice. The church had waited a long time for this day and on the full moon, a bridge to the Isle of Dreams appeared. The party crossed and found the Fourth Alice within, but as they returned to the Palace, Alice returned. As the prophecy had predicted, silver and chaos (the two gith) had aided Prince Seith and opened the way for Alice. She declared the time of the Four Alices to be over and appointed a Perilune. Seith and party were offered a place in the new government, but they declined and left to wander.
Under Alice’s rule trade has flourished and the borders have been re-established. The undead were destroyed and the dreamless were cleansed in a ritual of sacrifice by the Exalted Nagel Navari. The western and southern borders were solidified and the eastern border was extended through a military campaign, causing tensions with Manscell and Calisaele. These tensions were somewhat diffused by the Black Company but the machinations of the Wyrd interrupted any further expansionist plans.
Since Zerstorung, Lyrise is ruled by Ur-Lord Sithern through her governor Lady Thatcher. Ur-Lord Sithern has taken a liking to the Isle of Dreams but no one is certain what she has done with it. The Wyrd banned all worship of Echoe and divine casting in general and began systematically converting or killing all clerics and battlemaidens. The traditional borders are meaningless and trade has completely ceased in favor of supply lines. Any remaining clerics, paladins, or druids have sought refuge and gone into hiding either in the hills of Esnam or the forest of the druids. In Aventurine, construction has begun of a strange building covering what used to be the temple district. As of the events of The Isle of Dreams Lady Thatcher has been killed and Valorie of the Resistance of Manny has been turned to an Antithesis. It is uncertain how this will affect the local governance of Lyrise.
On Liberation Day, contact with Lyrise was lost. The most reliable report came from Elone Trakand. All sources agree that shortly after the heavenly announcement, Sartra eclipsed the sun, allowing Echoe to briefly touch the world in some way. During Totality, a green blast came from the eclipsed sun, striking in the vicinity of Aventurine. The blast sent a magical shockwave over most of the land, with unknown effects. Whatever spell was cast was clearly limited to the borders of Lyrise, though it didn’t stretch much farther east than Valeria, nor did it reach the Dalien Mountains to the south. The limits of the spell are clearly defined by a barrier that still remains, sealing off the majority of the country. Rumors abound. Perhaps St. Alice sealed it off, or maybe Echoe put the country to sleep? Some say that the battle between Sithern and Perilune Claire destroyed Aventurine or sent it, and perhaps a large part of the country, to another plane. No one has been able to approach from any direction or even come within sight of the city by way of the sea. Attempts at sending, divinations, or teleportations all end in failure. Trade routes that once went through the country are being re-routed through Manscell and the northern border of the Gynari Desert (though such routes are significantly riskier). Various wealthy patrons have offered significant rewards for information or a way inside.
The economy of Lyrise relied mostly on trade. Since it is somewhat centered on Anatis and since it has a port close to Ominia, Lyrise has been able to provide a convenient marketplace for traders of Calisaele and Jeberra to meet with Ominian merchants. Despite competition from the Esterlands and Manscell, Lyrise has done well for itself and frequently sees goods from those places. Tariffs on goods are not expensive, but they fund a significant portion of the government. The church also makes money through tithes and selling healing potions and wands. Lyrise’s currency is complicated and currently three different systems are in circulation: Miku’s, Alice’s, and Sithern’s. The denominations of each are the same (copper, silver, gold, and platinum) and the values are the same by decree. Coins from the time of Esnam or before are worth more to the right people, but most merchants treat them as counterfeit. Money-changing services are common here and performed for a fee of 9% (as a means of motivating international trade) instead of the more common 10%.
Lyrise imports most luxury goods and a large portion of its strategic goods. It produces some coinage metals as well as iron in the mines to the south, near the Gynari Desert. The hills of Esnam once contained iron and copper but were mined out long ago. The mountains along the north-eastern coast contain some gems and some metals, but are inhabited by drow and illithids, making mining difficult. Lyrisian farmers produce an adequate amount of food for the country with most villages supporting themselves and providing annual taxes to Aventurine. Farmers also breed horses in the western plains and sheep in the hills of Esnam though Lyrsian horses and wool are each considered mediocre by the traders. Because most trade happens internally, Lyrise doesn’t export much, but goods sold at Wyltine Fair include horses, woolens, wine and whiskey, and charms to Echoe made of semi-precious stones. Lyrise is also the only source of Echite, but that is rarely sold and is very expensive.
Notable Cities and Places of Interest
- Aventurine: Capital, located north-central on a small peninsula.
- Wyltine Fair: Trading post/city, located on main road a day’s walk south of Aventurine.
- Redsky City: Farming village, located on far eastern border outside the seal
- Valeria: Large village on the border of the Druid’s Forest, marks the eastern border of the seal.
- Esnam: Ancient ruined city in the hills west of the Druid’s Forest, located east-central.
- Druid’s Forest: Forest of the druidic clan that imprisoned the 1st Alice, located in the east, between Valeria and Esnam