Geography: The World As We Know It
An map of the physical features of the Earth, including major mountain ranges and significant river courses (a labour of love which took twenty-four days to make from start to finish), as well as the names of the continents and oceans:
A climatic map of the Earth:Gallia: A Continent Divided
Gallia is the Europe of the world; a tightly-packed mass of thirty-two fiercely independent nations, of which fourteen were under permanent Vishan occupation up until the 28th of May, 2002. Unlike most of the world’s nations, the Gallians are conservative and in many cases strongly religious, believing in a single god (represented by the symbol of the Heavenly Cross) as opposed to the pantheons of the other continents. There is a vein of hardliners centering around the Republic of Ulteria; those on the fringes such as Rahilia and Holfand are much more liberal, though this means than pan-continental relations can be a little frosty at times.
The Gallian nations were once fairly united under the terms of the Gallian Alliance, signed by all except for Gatchanee, Vleno, Isselbard, Holfand and the islands of St Tolter & St Kipp. This alliance, formed in the mid-1800s with the rise of the Industrial Innovations, was responsible for causing some of the deadliest wars in all history, including the Great Trans-Austral War, in which sixty million people, mostly civilians, were slaughtered in a brutal battle for the Khemsu continent, and the ultimately futile First Vishan-Gallian War.
Persistent Gallian military buildup following the First Vishan-Gallian war, coupled with a wave of nationalistic hate crimes against foreigners in Ulteria, led the Empire of Visha to embark upon a second invasion in 1949 in order to ‘culturally educate’ the Gallian peoples in the more liberal ways of the Velan culture. The nations of Perienta, Arrion, Lulpe, Masalaux, Ulteria, Rubelia, Dexia, Bormarelde, Babué, Pallarion, Carmento, Boriquem, Parrias and Rahilia suffered resounding defeats in the Ulteria theatre, and each was eventually compelled to surrender to Vishan rule. The remainder of the Alliance continued to wage war on the borders of the Vishan-occupied territories, but the Vishan military maintained their grip on their positions, and by the mid-1970s most of the military conflicts had petered out as the Occupation became entrenched.
Controversial, however, was the perceived betrayal of the Gallian people by the Kingdom of Holfand. Holfanian troops had contributed to the early Alliance victory at Val Moraine, and by 1950 formed the centre of the Gallian defensive line at the River Lin in southern Ulteria. Back in Holfand, however, both the bureaucracy and the general public had become tired of a war which none of them had wanted, especially since Holfand had never been part of the Gallian Alliance in the first place. As the Vishan army prepared to launch a renewed attack along the length of the Southern Front, Holfanian diplomats negotiated a secret non-aggression pact, promising to withdraw all of their troops from the conflict at once in return for full neutrality rights. As the Gallians prepared their positions, the Holfanian troops simply marched away from their defensive lines, leaving a yawning gap in the centre of the army which could only be hastily filled by inexperienced volunteer units. A few hours later, the Vishan army smashed through the volunteers and rolled up the Gallian lines on both sides, effectively ending the defence of the central Gallian nations and sealing the fate of the Continent for the next fifty years.
Despite this, a determined resistance effort arose in the occupied nations. Initially, the Gallian Liberation Militia took the fight to the Vishan garrisons, but a lack of clear aims or unity caused its collapse eight years into the Occupation. In its place arose the Reclamation Crusade, an arguably theo-fascist ultra-Gallian resistance organisation dedicated to the purging of both Vishan forces and Vishan culture from the Gallian continent. Each of the occupied nations (and indeed some of the indepent ones as well) played host to their own branches of the RC, the most notable being the Ulterian Reclamation Crusade (URC), which carried out a campaign of assassinations, bombings and small-scale military skirmishes throughout the course of the Occupation and beyond.
With the withdrawal of Vishan forces, therefore, Gallia is now a potential hotbed of unrest: ultra-nationalist factions seek to ride a wave of xenophobia and popular support to secure majorities in the infant governments of the formerly-occupied nations, while hostile eyes now turn upon those who have adopted the teachings of the Cultural Education. It is to be a war of ideals; traditionalist conservatives squaring off against new-thinking liberals in a climate of suspicion and distrust. It remains to be seen whether Gallia can forgive the wrongs of the past to move forward into the present...Vela: Cradle of Civilisation
The lush, fertile Velan continent is believed by many to have been the birthplace of the human race, and indeed the birthplace of human civilisation. Indisputable is the fact that the Velan peoples have always been at the forefront of cultural and technological change, and exert the greatest influence upon the global community.
The general Velan culture is liberal and dynamic, encouraging free thinking, gender equality, academia, science, art, sexual liberation and religious tolerance, all under the watchful gaze of the benevolent Velan pantheon of gods. The degree to which these ideas are expressed across the world reflects the spread of Velan culture which took place around 500BRH (Before Recorded History), and almost all of the cultures north of the equator have religious systems founded upon Velan polytheism.
Vela is also a colossus in terms of its power. The Grand Empire of Vela once ruled the entire continent, holding the largest contiguous territory until the Empire of Visha in the modern day. When it fell in 1282, its people divided into the three main nations seen in the continent today; the Vishans, who laid claim to vast swathes of the fertile Velan plains, the Vijarani, who were forced northward by war into what is now the Vijar continent, and the new Velan kingdom, comprising the remnants of the old Velan regime. Over the next four hundred years, numerous border wars were fought, but none of the new kingdoms ever managed to completely conquer the others. By the 1600s, however, the Vijarani had turned their attention to trade and the Velans to piratical raids against the Kingdom of Sundia. Visha, however, embarked upon a vast campaign of global conquest and colonisation, spreading east and west as the centuries ticked by until the 1900s, by which time many of its former colonies had become semi-autonomous protectorates.
When the Gallian Alliance invaded Sundia, they unleashed the wrath of the vast Vishan armed forces, which bulldozed the Gallian forces in the space of three brutal years. This feat was then repeated in the Second Vishan-Gallian War, with a near-comprehensive conquest of Ulteria and the surrounding nations marred only by the failure to storm the Gallian defences at the Battle of Val Moraine in the south.
As the new millennium begins, the peoples of the Velan continent stand armed and ready at the head of some of the most advanced and efficient militaries in the world, backed by their vast economies and the labour of two billion people. The great Vishan cultural and colonial experiment appears to have failed; how then will its people exert their will upon the nations of the world...?Vijar: Bleak Heart of Silithia
Roughly analogous to the landscapes of central Eurasia, Vijar is a continent changing with the seasons, at one moment unbearably hot and at the next cripplingly cold. Its people, therefore, are hardier than their Velan cousins, and as such Vijar society is much more robust, to weather the elements with both body and soul. The relatively temperate east of the continent (really a subcontinent of Vela being driven against Greater Silithia) is also the most populous; the steppes to the west are the domain of scattered nomads and goat-herders seeking to eke a living from the unforgiving landscape.
(More to come)