Adventurer is a somewhat rare occupation. Most people who might be called adventurers are more likely be referred to as either mercenaries or tomb raiders (mostly the latter) because that is, essentially, what they are. Basically people who go out and risk their lives in hopes of financial gain. In Archstedt, they are officially known as adventurers and taxed accordingly. They are common enough that peasants can talk about "adventurers" as a group or type but rare enough that they're special when they show up. They're something like professional musicians in the real world: rare but not unheard of, with a few "hitting the big time" but most not getting that far.
The appearance of someone claiming to be an adventurer is a mixed experience.
They are people with great power and wealth, often with no allegiance to any temple or crown. The amount of treasure they can control and collect astounds some people, and envy sets them apart form the rest of humanity. Still some are attracted to the power.
A day of Kire lasts 24 hours. The sun sets at 6:00 and sets at 6:00. This is always true no matter what season or latitude.
The year in this world is exactly 360 days long and consists of 12 months of thirty days each. Each month last exactly one cycle of the moon, starting with a new moon on the first of the month and a full moon on the sixteenth.
The most commonly used calendar is based off of the year that Archstedt was founded. Dates in that calendar are traditionally marked as AY, for Archstedt Year. This particular calendar celebrates its new year at the start of spring on March 1st, for that is when Ambrick the first drew the sword that gave him divine right to rule.
This festival takes place on the first day of the year, the winter solstice. It has been celebrated in different ways throughout Gradallia, but long feasts sometimes lasting over the course of several days or even a week are by far the most common. Many places have gatherings of friends and family during this time called Winterfest, a time of sharing and camaraderie. The hanging of ivy is a popular tradition, perhaps to lift sagging winter spirits and remind the people that spring is not far away, and the greeting of "good health" and "good fortune" is commonly heard for days before and after this holiday.
This festival takes place on the spring equinox, on April 1st. Local traditions vary, but usually citizens take the occasion to pay thanks to local soldiers, town guard, and militia. In many places, for example, it is customary for locals to buy food or drink for soldiers or guardsmen, and they are in turn obliged to accept them. Hence, many persons on duty end up inebriated on this day, and disciplinary action is typically overlooked. This has spawned another tradition whereby many regular citizens disguise themselves in imitation uniforms.
The summer solstice festival is on July 1st and is a traditional time of destroying enemies and waging bloody war. When there is no war to be had, it is marked with military parades showcasing uniformed soldiers and knightly battlegroups in the larger cities, and town guard and labor horses in the smaller, with the horses frequently decorated and marched through the streets behind celebrants dressed as fleeing enemy warriors. It culminates with "shrine fighting" where groups assemble with sticks and attempt to destroy each other's portable shrines while onlookers choose favorites and wagers are often made. Frequently, this celebration results in many injuries and some towns have tried to put a stop to shrine fighting, but it has proven to be much too popular. Veterans are especially diligent in observing this holiday.
For some, the fall equinox festival on October 1st, is a somber festival marked by hard work and judgment. For them it is known as "Dread". For others, it is called "Temptressfest" and is far more interesting. Participants frequently don masks and wear blood red outfits, women often wearing veils of dark lace or satin. Revelers prowl in shadows, tell bleak tales, drink dark spirits, have illicit meetings, keep trysts, and generally comport themselves like beasts. This night is known for ill deeds to come about--some cities have a problem with the annual tradition of setting things ablaze on this night.
These are many languages spoken across Kire. There are only ten that are commonly spoken. There are also others that have varying degrees of use, depending on their history.
There is no specific language of magic. Magic has symbols associated with it, but can be written in any language. A language is as specific to magic, as much as Cobol is to a particular program.
These are the languages that are commonly spoken across Gradallia.
These languages are spoken by only a small number of people, who all belong to the same organization.
These languages are no longer in common use. The only people who would know these ones would be sages, archeologists or secret cults hoping to bring about lost empires. The older ones pronunciation isn’t even known.
These are languages that did not originate on the Kire.
Trade is one of the most popular ways for one to become wealthy within Kire. However, frequently one needs to already be rich to be able to handle the trade routes that exist.
Each part of the world seems to have their specialty that is exported.
The continent of Western Gradallia is considered the center of all trade. The chief products that it exports are finished goods, made from the raw materials of other places. Books, clothing, ale and cheese are frequently exported because of this. These lands are also considered less hostile than others for growing domesticated animals letting the export of pork, beef, and other livestock to continue. In terms of raw materials, both timber cultivated by the elves of Alfheim and stone, such as marble, quarried by the dwarves of Stoneheim are sent out into the world.
The city of Alocotla in Sinaga has yielded exotic imports of spices, oils, furs, ivory, fabrics, perfumes, fruits, precious minerals, coffee, cocoa, lobster and other remarkable trade goods for the traders, making the risks of navigating its long coral reefs and the pirates of the Shattered Lands more than worthwhile.
Far to the east, the town of Major Port is the gateway to other sources of goods. From within the lands around the Maj'Liath river comes many grains that all pass through the city. The natives have become quite skilled at using the available fabrics to also create silk, ropes and rugs that fetch high prices within other lands. Glass is also a common product. Because trading has become such an important aspect of their lives, they have taken to the building of ships which are also sold to the wealthy. But many a merchant has bought a ship there only to lose it when attacked in the Shattered Lands.
One cannot discuss trade in the Majuur desert without mentioning Rhul. This land is almost completely unknown except through secretive merchant caravans who want to maintain their monopoly of trade with this mysterious place. What is known is that they take draft horses, spices, and precious gems and minerals into the desert and return with weapons, armor and steel of incredible quality. The gems also come back, but turned into the finest jewelry that not even the dwarves can match. Some vices also make it back with good tea, pipeweed and wine.
“…And I, weeping at the sight of the land laid waste,
Witnessed the Black Wyrm fell then ‘pon us,
Bore up two score and eight,
And all went screaming into the maw.
Swords and spears were nothing to it,
And their skins were boiled from the bone.
The great Blight-Bringer, the terrible Father of Dragons,
Toruk of the Black Scale had been beckoned,
Defending his Mountain on the Isle…”
—Book I, The Wyrmsaga Cycle
More than mere legend and far from just “wyrms,” some dragons have been regarded by men of ages past as gods. Indeed, their power is such that entire civilizations have been destroyed, others enslaved—or blighted—by the will and actions of such beings. Today, dragon-worship is limited to the island kingdom of Cryx, for in that dark corner of the realm the dark dragon Toruk reigns supreme. Without a doubt, he is both powerful and ancient, and he relishes the homage paid unto him. A church exists in his name on the isle, and the dragon grants power to his priests just the same as Primus gifts his own devoted clergy. His following hails him as the Father of All Dragons and the oldest of the gods; they say all lesser dragon are his spawn.
There are no known good dragons, but there are known evil dragons. They aren’t usually seen, but they have had influences.
Some people say that the dragons have their own language. This has never been proven. The few dragons that have been encountered generally don’t talk until after they have eaten. When they do converse with people, they have always spoken in a language known by the listener. Sages postulate that with the breadth of knowledge that a typical dragon might fathom, knowing a particular dialect would be a minor concern.
Terrible beasts that fly and cause destruction. Mokmurian appears to have had control over several. Their origins are unknown.
Orcs and other chaotic humanoids are spread out all over Kire. There is no civilized place where they are accepted. The Orcs claim that they are descended from the outsiders that destroyed the Dwarven empire, but Orcs aren’t especially known for their historical integrity.
The Satyxis are an ancient warrior race. Once famous for their honorable traditions and prowess in battle, they led a life of conflict and heroism. As it happens, a fight between Toruk and the dragon Shazkz devastated the homeland of the Satyxis centuries ago. Dragon fire and spilled dragon blood tainted the land and ultimately the Satyxis bloodline as well. The women survived somehow, but the men were rendered monstrous and deformed. Over the ages this dragon-blight has crept further into their blood, making the women strong and the men now non-existent.
After the blight took hold, Satyxis women learned it was best to mate exclusively outside their own bloodline. Myth and record show that they often choose to seduce their most capable opponents (traditionally known as chosen) into fathering their children. Once with child, the Satyxis mother leaves the chosen male and retreats to her homeland to give birth. Daughters are treated as warriors with a birthright--the sons are brutally sacrificed.
Today the Satyxis homeland is lost, though it is thought to be close to Cryx. In the modern day, the women the Juncert called "reaver witches" are well known on that dark isle and the surrounding waters. Select daughters are chosen by Toruk to serve his will as assassins or worse. Pirate crews also value the Satyxis as elite officers--Axiara Wraithblade is perhaps the most infamous and reviled up and down the Broken Coast.