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Mystral, the Isle of the Magisters
Culture: Mystral is an island nation of motley characters far to the west of Heled. Not all Mystralites are wizards, but they may as well be in the eyes of others. Mystral attracts eccentrics from every nation of Heled, who have developed a society rich with exaggerated courtesies. In a land of fireball-wielding magi, social grace is not optional. Mundane folk are generally content to raise their families and ply their trades, while magi spend more time closeted among dusty tomes and alchemical equipment, marrying far less frequently. Since Mystral is a young nation, composed of immigrants from throughout Heled, their culture is a melting pot. Generally, villages of like folk maintain essentially true to the customs of the “old country.” Cities tend to self-segregate into districts reflecting the dominant society.
The Arcane Order of Enchantment and Exposition sponsors sages who manage schools for children between the ages of seven and thirteen. Mystralite children are taught to read and speak no less than two languages. Icatian, Lavinian, Hammadi are popular on the Isle. Arithmetic, History, and elementary Thaumaturgy are also taught. During this time, local regents request semi-annual progress reports to determine how many students may be eligible for the College of Wizardry at Mathghamnha. Young boys and girls accepted as apprentice wizards can bring great prestige to their families and home villages if they perform well at the College. Approximately one-in-six Mystralites is a magic-user of some kind, and no more than half of these individuals are members of the Arcane Order. Mystralites believe that mastering spellcraft requires a measure each of intelligence, hard work, and innate talent. As to how much of each is required is subject to ferocious debate in the tea-houses of their island.
Geography: Mystral is a volcanic island of moderate size, in excess of 9,000 square miles. The volcano Mathghamhna (10,890 ft), from which the citadel gets its name, has been dormant since before the Warlock Strife and earthquakes are unheard of. The island is characterized by a densely mountainous landscape. The main mountain ranges are Mydon and Nibrody in the north and Pyloryte in the north-east, whereas the south-eastern Hyblaea are considered geologically as a continuation of the Korthan Gœtthelm range. The mines of the Eanna and Caltanyssa district are a leading sulfur-producing area.
Climate: The winters upon Mystral tend to be mild, with four months of freeze and moderate snow. At times, blizzards brew up in the Muirfion Sea and sweep across the islands, but only rarely do such snows block the passes for any length of time. The students of Mathghamnha and their masters pay little heed, as initiate transmuters are tasked with melting the frost off of the buttresses and floors. Summers on Mystral are pleasant. The sea breezes reach far inland, cooling the island and breaking up clouds that might otherwise linger.
Lake Mystral is a body of fresh water fed by a series of artesian springs issuing from Mount Mathal. Strong and unpredictable winds blowing in off the mountains make it a tricky place to sail and fish. Swift-flowing streams are managed by a system of levees and mystical locks permitting barge traffic back and forth from the coastal towns.
Politics: Day to day running of Mystral is handled by local regents who meet annually at the Regency Conclave in the city of Athanwy to speak with Chancellor Japheth Arcane on behalf of the citadel of Mathghamhna. Mystral has little contact with the outside world, receiving news only through contact with sea traders from Midhjard. Their island is quite far from Malecor, and so has never been invaded, nor seen open warfare. Local law is enforced by appointed magistrates, and a small contingent of spellswords and battle mages are maintained to accompany diplomatic missions and guard the citadel. Icatia has traditionally refused contact with Mystral, but the King James II is more progressive-minded than his forebearer. Three outposts of the Arcane Order have been given charter from His Majesty, in the three largest cities in Icatia. Korthos is occasionally visited in secret by Guild Wizards who are investigating rumors of a community of necromancers in the marshy wilderness of their realm. Lavinia enjoys vibrant trade relations with Mystral, as do several cities in al-Hammadi, since the eastern realms hold less prejudice and superstition for the practice of sorcery.
Trade: Mystral has long been noted for its fertile soil, pleasant climate, and natural beauty. It has a long, hot growing season, but summer droughts are frequent. The main agricultural products are oranges, lemons, almonds, grapes and wine; cattle, mules, donkeys, and sheep are raised. Mystral’s main natural resources come from mineral mines in the southeastern part of the island. Besides trade to other realms, Mystralites’ most valuable exports are expensive finished alchemical products and enchanted items.