Did You Know? - Giyaten the Mad Goddess

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The ancient Tabar worshiped a pantheon of seven gods. Giyaten was the divine expert on the balance between sanity and insanity, and often manifested as an eerily tall masked woman or a grotesque giant scarab.

But among her dark siblings, Giyaten was also one of the kindest in her lucid moments. Humor was also her area of providence, and would often travel incognito from place to place, interacting with humans as a humble trickster and riddle-maker.

Wherever she went and however she appeared, she would always be found with a mirror or near some reflective surface, giving rise to the local myths of the "Mirrormare", who might show you your fortune, but just as easily drive you mad.

In the First Era of Zenkora, Giyaten's worshipers used her divine gifts to create a unique undead creature called the "stilker". This bizarre monster has the ability to absorb the qualities of its surroundings - in swampland it becomes muddy, in forests it becomes like a tree, and deserts a devilish mass of sand and dust. But it is in cities where the stilker can become truly frightening, for it can then masquerade in the plain sight. That mannequin over there? It's not really looking at you... is it?


Did You Know? - Ectaghan Capitals

The nation of Ectagha (Z- USA/Canada) has had three capital cities over the centuries:

  • First Landing: the oldest city in Ectagha, was founded by pilgrims from Laraenia. First Landing served as Ectagha's capital, cultural and commercial hub, and primary port for nearly a thousand years, until the extreme decline of the city and the surrounding state of Desdemona caused the national government to relocate to the brand-new city of Istapolis in the late Fourth Era. (Learn more about the decline of First Landing in the new Virtuetown storyline).  
  • Istapolis: a planned, purpose-built city on Ectagha's beautiful eastern coast in the state of New Faur, nestled between the mountains and the sea. Istapolis was completely destroyed at the beginning of the Great War, but quickly rebuilt after the war as a symbol of Ectagha's recovery. The national government fled Istapolis just hours before the massive firebombing campaign that leveled the city.
  • Unareos: the current capital of Ectagha. Originally a dusty waypoint town in the frontier state of Mandrake, Unareos was chosen as a temporary wartime site to host the national government. Unareos was chosen because its deep inland location and inhospitably hot climate would make it difficult for invading armies to capture. The government never followed through on their plan to return to Istapolis, as the World Assembly made that city their headquarters (indeed, even repurposing the restored Ectaghan Capitol Building as their new primary office.) Unareos quickly grew from a sleepy frontier town to a bustling metropolis, although most Ectaghans still scoff at their country's rough-and-tumble capital city- even the national government refuses to acknowledge their own presence in the city in any official documents, and continually refuses to budget federal funding to improve the city's nearly non-existent public transit and other services.


Did You Know? - Zenkora Geography

Zenkora has 4 major continents:

  • Eimia, the Mother Continent
  • Axia, the Northern Shattered Continent
  • Evyia, the Western Shattered Continent
  • Nielia, the Southern Shattered Continent

In the first era, there were actually only two continents- Eimia and Yadolba. A cataclysmic event during the War of the Titans in the First Era brought a massive meteor hurtling down into the center of Yadolba, causing a massive a tectonic movement that broke the continent into 3 separate pieces. 

All humans in Zenkora can trace their genealogy back to Eimia, home to 6 major regions:

  • Meimera (Z-Asia)
  • Naranija (Z-Indoarabia)
  • Oromanta (Z-Africa)
  • The Four Nations (Z-Native Americans/First Nations)
  • Laraenia (Z-Europe)
  • Tabar (Z-Mediterranean)

Prior to the Third Era, there were no human settlements on any of the three Shattered Continents. The first settlers from Laraenia set sail from Ostangos at the dawn of the Third Era, landing on the arid, scrub-covered western coast of Evyia, founding the city known today as First Landing (the setting of the Virtuetown storyline). A decade later, the first Meimeran pioneers sailed from Changmei and landed in the swamps of eastern Nielia. 

In the modern Fifth era of Zenkora, there are many nations and cultures spread across these 4 continents- a topic for another Did You Know post! 


Did You Know? - The Tarot

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As a big fan of tarot card motifs, I wanted to ensure that Zenkora had its own variant of the system. Therefore, despite being largely similar, the Zenkora tarot also features some structural differences from the one traditionally used in our world. 

The Zenkora tarot deck is divided into two sections, called the "minor" and the "major arcana", much like the traditional system used in our world. The deck can is also organized by suit, similarly to the decks that we use. In this case, however, the suits are instead: leaves, flowers, moons, and stars. Much like the ones we use, these suits are found in modern decks and have descended from different ones from the ancient past.

The minor arcana of the Zenkora tarot consists of fourteen "ranks", each with a variant for the four suits. Pictured above is the card of rank VIII, also known as "the Plundered Fortune", of the Leaves suit. Each rank has a specific set of meanings and common interpretations associated with it, which also vary based on the suit of the card. These meanings experience additional changes based on the positioning of the card (e.g. whether it is sideways, upside-down, face-down, etc.). All of these variations allow your standard sorcerer an essentially limitless range of interpretations he or she can draw from the deck.

The major arcana of the Zenkora tarot consists only of seven ranks, and do not have suits associated with them. These cards are typically treated differently by professional sorcerers than the minor arcana, due to the greater complexity of their associated meanings. In enchanted decks, the major arcana are also usually imbued with additional magical power, and so must be treated with care. Shown to the left is a card from the major arcana, rank XV, known as "The Law".

Many ancient interpretations of the Zenkora tarot have been lost to time, surviving only as myths. Some of these suggest that the cards themselves hold secrets to other worlds, dimensions, and peoples...


Did You Know? - The Dreamscape

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The Dreamscape is an alternate plane, one of many that lie parallel to the "normal" world of Zenkora. As with its sibling realms, the Dreamscape governs one of several facets of existence; in this case, imagination.

The physical make of the Dreamscape is unique among all Zenkora "universes", being comprised almost entirely of a mysterious substance called "dreamstuff". Remnants of the primordial universe, dreamstuff is extremely volatile and reacts to pure thought, and can transform itself into virtually anything. Residents of the Dreamscape are able to use this substance to live a life of extravagant abundance. This is practical within the Dreamscape only, as dreamstuff decays rapidly once it leaves the realm.

All souls of Zenkora, regardless of their location, are at least partially immersed in the Dreamscape at all times. This trans-dimensional connection enhances the ability of the individual to imagine and think. When a being conjures in their mind the image of a tree, their soul manipulates the Dreamscape around them until a tree appears, which the soul then perceives. When asleep, souls are drawn further into the Dreamscape, allowing for even more vivid possibilities.

The Fae are native residents of the Dreamscape, and are described as "physical manifestations" of various concepts. They are typically as powerful and unpredictable as the Dreamscape itself, and once enjoyed a capricious relationship with humans in ancient times. Though their influence and presence faded from humanity in subsequent millennia, their remnants and traces remain hidden for all sharp-eyed and open-hearted to find.


Did You Know? - Rionkanta

Rionkanta is the conlang developed specifically for use in Zenkora. In context, it serves as the requisite "mystical magic language" that is often in vogue for fantasy worldbuilders. Residents of Zenkora's ancient past use it to construct spells, names of importance, and otherwise facilitate communication. 

Rionkanta's true origins are unknown to most. Was it the creation of a prehistoric society? A gift from a forgotten god? The true nature of this strange and often bewildering language are a fascinating subject of study for Zenkora sorcerers and academics.

The alphabet of Rionkanta consists of an alternating pattern of three consonants followed by a vowel, repeating eight times, for a total of fifty-six letters. In the vein of similar real-world languages, each letter of the alphabet has 1 or 2 specific words and meanings traditionally associated with it! This feature allows mystics and spellmakers an additional layer of complexity to utilize in their magic.

As a language, Rionkanta possesses two distinct supernatural features. The first is that usage of Rionkanta facilitates magical action more easily than any other language; the cause for this is unknown and is the subject of much study. The second is that Rionkanta will naturally degrade in a user's memory more quickly over time than almost any other subject, similar to the effects caused by your standard memory-wiping spell. Practitioners therefore must spend a sizeable amount of time reviewing Rionkanta and its features in order to maintain their grasp of it. The most widespread theory for this is that whoever created the language must have wished to limit the usage of this language. Assuming that to be true, it nevertheless must have failed, for Rionkanta has become the dominant standard in most of modern sorcery!


Did you know?

Did you know?

Hi all! As we try to breathe some life into this website, Wesley and I have decided to start a few regular series of posts in the blog section: Did you know?, which shares interesting background information in the Zenkora Universe, Story Tidbits, which shares excerpts from in-development storylines such as the Feather Saga and Virtuetownand Character Profiles, which introduces fascinating in-universe characters who you may not have heard of (yet!).

General Mi and The Pastry Chef

General Mi and The Pastry Chef

Amongst the many intriguing stories of mighty warriors, corrupt Emperors, and plotting concubines during the magnificently tumultuous era of the First Dynasty in ancient Hiangsha (Z-China), the indisputable favorite is a legacy that remains mysteriously vague and controversial to this day. A tale of heroism, of bravery, and magic.