Did You Know? - The Golden Warrior

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The patron deity of the northern nation Batol-Ruan is the Golden Warrior, a fierce, powerful, and shining god. As implied by his title, the Ruanese people learned much of the ways of war from his teachings, and became a formidable military might during the late First Era, coming into frequent conflict with the declining Rivok Empire and various other Meimeran nations.

Part of the Golden Warrior's contribution to his chosen people were the war beasts, enormous magically-mutated animals well suited for conquest. Typically coming in horse, wolf, and tiger varieties, these creatures fought alongside their human masters, laying waste to armies on the ancient battlefield.

Over time, worship of the Golden Warrior became blended with the religious observances of other Meimeran people, culminating in his integration with the Meimeran polytheistic pantheon known as the Xashaormei Court. Under the rule of the neighboring god the Jade Emperor, the Warrior took the role of the Court's General and the position of Chief Over Heaven's Armies. While he was still connected in various ways to the culture and practices of Batol-Ruan, his influence was now spread across the diverse Meimeran landscape, where countless other civilizations could benefit from his guidance.

Though enemies of the Ruanese people often portrayed the Golden Warrior as a bloodthirsty god, the Warrior espoused various virtues to his followers, such as nobility, adherence to law, belief and diligence in fair justice, and courage in the defense of the weak. In myths, the Warrior would appear in various mortal guises to further educate his people, as well as to familiarize himself with a mortal way of life. One such supposed incarnation was the barbarian-hero Kalynust, dressed in a shining robe made from tiger pelts, and wielding a golden trident that could spit fire and cast lightning.


Did You Know? - Animal Languages

Every animal species in Zenkora has a language of its own! It uses this language telepathically, so it's not as though every bark or meow is a word (however, it does seem the barking and meowing helps somehow...). 

These are called the "secret languages of beasts".

Using this language, animals can communicate with each other much as you and I do. It gets a little trickier once more species enter the mix. When a greyhound attempts to strike up a conversation with a dachshund or a chihuahua, they may find it a little strange at first, but very quickly get used to it. For English speakers, it would be like hearing somebody speak with a strong accent for the first time. But what happens when the species get further and further apart?

Well, it's just a matter of learning and getting used to it. To a dog, speaking to a fox may be difficult (at first), but still way easier than talking to a sparrow. Similarly, a sparrow may find dogs quite frustrating to talk to, but fortunately easier to tell that hawk chasing it to chill out. Whether the hawk listens is, of course, another matter.

But if all animals can use this ability, why can't humans? Well, the truth is, humans would be able to - if humans didn't also develop spoken speech. The act of talking blocks out the ability to hear and use these languages, which makes it way harder - though not impossible - for humans to learn it. On that same note, humans who are raised in the wild by animals will find it just as easy to use the secret languages as their new families.

Now that you know, go ahead and practice. You'll be chatting with your pets in no time!

Just don't try to use your newfound gifts on an Ancient. They'll blow your mind in with a single word. Best to just be polite and back away slowly.


Did You Know? - Labyrinth

Sorcerers of Zenkora have a special way to interact with a person's mind. With the right training, a magic-user can enter the "labyrinth" of a host mind. 

Labyrinths are mental recreations of a person's subconscious in setting form. Although constantly changing, they always reflect their owner's mindset and psychological tendencies. For example, a cheerful person's labyrinth will typically be bright and filled with joyful things, whereas a gloomier person's labyrinth will be darker and perhaps spookier as well.

When a guest enters a labyrinth, they can then interact with the host's mind by interacting with the labyrinth itself. There may be books or newspapers found within that elaborate on the host's thoughts. Secrets may be kept in dusty safes or hidden vaults. One may even find what that host truly desires in their heart. Suffice it to say, entering a labyrinth requires trust, for one never knows what secrets may lurk within.

Of course, the sorcerer must also beware, for labyrinths can be dangerous. Especially if the host's mind is troubled, their labyrinths may shift and transform unpredictably. Anger and fear may manifest in all kinds of threats, ranging from traps to monsters, eager to enact the pain and suffering that their host is feeling - or worse - intending.

So explore - at your peril! But while labyrinths may be frightening, they can also be beautiful, and while you visit the mind of another, you may even discover treasures within yourself.


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!).