The world of Sohte (pronounced So-tay) is a rather difficult place to navigate to. This could partly be because it is known by few outsiders, but is most likely because of the complex circumstances required to navigate there. Few have travelled there intentionally, and none have returned. So the world spins quietly in its corner of the planar sphere, unmolested by external forces.

Should you manage to successfully venture to Sohte (a feat similar in likelihood of happening as throwing a handful of gold pieces into the air and making them all land on their edge, without magical aid) and survive the traumatic trip (a feat similar to the first, only all the gold pieces become silver) you’re most likely to be slightly confused. So should this fall into the hands of such a person, I hope to give you a brief history of this new land.

One of the first things you should probably know is Sohte is flat. It has mountains, valleys, caves, rivers and even the Otiem Sea which surrounds the main landmass, but on all sides the water cascades into oblivion. Many clever people have developed many clever theories, but none quite manage to explain why Sohte hasn’t run out of water. The most likely explanation is a connection to the Plane of Water, but no one has managed to find it yet.

The people of Sohte are split into several large kingdoms, spread to the four corners of the map. The oldest, and most powerful of these was the Kingdom of Flowers, situated in the centre of Sohte. This was the first true kingdom, and from its bloodline sprang the four other Kingdoms, Heart, Diamond, Club and Spade. Each kingdom lived in peace with the other, though Heart and Diamond, situated West of Flowers, found themselves to have more in common than with their brethren, located to the East, and vice versa.

Each Kingdom is ruled by a King and a Queen, with 10 noble houses spread throughout their kingdom ensuring law and order is maintained. The King’s right hand man, no matter which kingdom you are in, is called The Jack. Whether this is their true names, or their title, only the royal families know. While the The Jack is certainly not in the same league of power as the King and Queen, he is far less restricted in his powers. Either way, none are to be trifled with, nor the nobles who carry out the royal commands.

Each kingdom blossomed under Flower’s careful instruction, becoming powers in their own right. It was a time of peace and prosperity, and Sohte looked set to become famous as the most boring place in the planar sphere. Until the War of the Suites.

Quite why the War started is a topic for the historians, and not one which you are probably interested in, traveller. The result of the war however, shaped the Sohte you find yourself in now.

Each Kingdom possessed a unique power, brought into being by the union of the King and Queen. While the power of Heart, Diamond, Spade and Club is a closely guarded secret, it is common knowledge that the power (also known as the Ace) of Flowers was a piece of magic known as the Old Road. This road existed everywhere at the same moment, and allowed those with the know-how to travel leagues in a single stride. It was this power which allowed the different kingdoms to begin heckling each other, taking territory and resources and vanishing before a counter-attack could be made. Tension mounted, threats were made, armies raised, and the King of Flowers was forced to watch as the Kingdoms he had spent centuries creating began to crumble under bickering and backstabbing. The Jack of Flowers urged the King to take to the field, and end the 4 kingdoms, bringing all of Sohte back under dominion of Flowers. The King refused, recognising that his time was rapidly drawing to a close.

In the last day of the war, the King of Flowers gathered his entire kingdom together at his palace in his capital city, and spoke to them. What was said exactly cannot be confirmed. But shortly after the entire capital exploded. When scouts were sent to see what had happened, what they saw is still the greatest wonder Sohte has to offer. The capital was frozen midway through exploding, giving off enough heat to scorch the ground a mile away, resembling a small sun. At the same time, the Old Road fractured, preventing travel between kingdoms, and forcing the Kings and Queens to abandon their wars.

All of this happened centuries ago, and the City of Fire still burns to this day. The kingdoms (now known as the Suites) are in a time of uneasy peace, but tensions are beginning to mount again…

Manaburn

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