|A History of the Tantas
|"For as long as anyone can remember, our land has been ruled over by the Tantas, blessed be their names. It is not for us to know how their powers came to be. We need only give thanks for the countless occasions on which they have delivered us from catastrophe—greatest and most notable among such acts of deliverance being their purge of the nefarious Rheddig. They deserve nothing less than our unquestioning love and respect, for it as they who make us Athian."
|A Mother's Record
|A diary Cinta kept why she was pregnant with baby Alfre. While most of it's pages are now blurry and stained, it's clear from what remains that the besotted Tanta was overflowing with love for her unborn child.
|A mysterious continent in another world that is somehow both stunningly beautiful and deeply unsettling. A thick, foreboding blanket of what looks like fog envelops its medieval-looking buildings, adding to the otherworldly effect. And if that wasn't proof enough that Frey is very far from home indeed, there are deadly monsters to contend with too.
|The most striking feature of Tanta Prav's castle is the great sphere of water that hovers imposingly above the courtroom situated on its rooftop. Within it lies the special chamber of uses to conduct the trial by water, a ceremony in which criminals pronounce guilty must attempt to prove their innocence. While the building itself may appear untouched by the events of recent years, the corpses that line the corridors—the remains of unlucky souls the mad Tanta tortured to death—tell a different story.
|These beautiful bell towers were erected as landmarks to help pilgrims find their way. The bells are not merely ornamental—they once served as a means of communication, so the pilgrims might warn others of danger or simply signal their presence. It was customary for pilgrims arriving at belfries to turn in the direction of Cipal and raise their hands in prayer, asking the souls who rest in the mausoleum there for continued protection on their Journey.
|Chapter 10: None the Wiser
|With emotions still running high after Robian's death, Frey and Auden get into a bitter quarrel about what Frey owes to Athia.
Determined to get some answers, she storms off to Junoon in search of her mother, and without even realizing it, falls into Tanta Olas's trap—a vision of a perfect New York.
The illusion of home is so convincing that Frey doesn't suspect that anything is amiss at first. And when Cuff finally succeeds in snapping her back to her senses, she's forced to fight every step of the way to escape, with Olas doing everything she can to try and trap her forever.
|Chapter 11: Forspoken
|Frey finally reaches the throne room of Visoria Castle, only to find Olas's body resting lifeless upon her throne.
Before she's even had the chance to absorb that shock, Cuff combines with the bracelet Olas was wearing and to transforms before her, revealing himself to be Susurrus—a weapons sent by the Rheddig to destroy Athia and the Tantas.
Cinta transports her daughter to Svargana, where the Tantas revealed that Susurrus was the source of the Break and their madness. Faced with a painful decision, Frey realizes what she must do...
|Chapter 12: Awakening
|Frey in the dragon, who she now knows to be her mother, fly to the aid of Cipal. Though they put up a valiant fight, Susurrus fatally wounds Cinta, whose final act is to entrust her powers to her daughter. As she quakes with Fury and despair, Frey's true potential is awakened, and she and Susurrus said about each other with renewed fury. Just went all seems lost, Frey turns the tables on Susurrus and absorbs him into her body, trapping him once more. Peace has finally returned to Cipal—though at what cost?
|Chapter 13: New Beginnings
|Sometime has passed since Frey's battle with Susurrus, and while the Break has been driven from Cipal, most of Athia remains shrouded in corruption.
As she gazes out from a top the Tower of Binnoi, she laments the fact that she doesn't know how to rid the rest of Athia of it's seemingly incurable Affliction. She was off to continue her work until the problem is finally solved by becoming a so-called "Breakwarden"—whether her closest companion likes it or not.
|Chapter 1: Attachments
|Mere days before Christmas, Frey finds herself in court facing a charge of grand larceny. Luckily for her, Judge Maya Bird decides to give her one last chance, and grants her a conditional release.
Her relief is short-lived, however. She is cornered on the way home by the very gang that ordered her to perform the crime she was arrested for. She manages to escape their clutches and finds her way home, but they eventually track her down. That night, they set fire to the building where she lives, and Frey loses nearly everything she owns.
Utterly defeated, she makes her way to the Holland Tunnel—the place where she was abandoned nearly twenty-one years before. But just as she's about to give in to despair, a glint of light catches her eye. It's a bracelet—and a valuable-looking one at that...
|Chapter 2: Stuck
|The moment Frey picks up the bracelet, she finds herself transported to another world: Athia. And as if that weren't surprising enough, the bracelet turns out to be capable of speech. She's barely had time to adjust to what's happening before finding herself attacked by a dragon, but with the aid of Cuff—her new wrist-bound companion— she manages to make her escape..
She eventually arrives at the city of Cipal, where she's promptly taken into custody and escorted to yet another courtroom. The fearful locals initially seem perilously close to ordering her execution, but are convinced to show Mercy by a young woman named Auden Keen, and decide to lock her up in the tower of Bonnoi instead.
|Chapter 3: The Interloper
|With Auden's help, Frey manages to escape the Tower of Binnoi. The two women strike a deal—Frey will retrieve Auden's father's journals in exchange for information that may help her get home.
She sets out for a Cognoscents' Guild in Praenost in search of them, and once there, not only does she find what she's looking for, but Robian—Auden's long-since-presumed-dead father—as well.
They return to Cipal together to find Tanta Sila attacking the City. The orphan Olevia is tragically killed in the ensuing violence, and as Frey clutches her young friends lifeless body, she vows to make Sila pay.
|Chapter 4: What Must Be Done
|Frey heads to the archives on Auden's recommendation to see if she can learn more about Sila. There, she meets Johedy, the archivist, who hands are a floor plan of Praenost Castle.
While heading for the castle, she is caught up in a Breakstorm, but thankfully manages to find a cave in which she rides out the danger. Once safely inside, she is finally overcome by rage and despair, and spends the night dreading the events the next day will bring.
|Chapter 5: Might and Main
|The morning after the Breakstorm, a bickering Frey and Cuff set out on the last leg of the journey to Praenost Castle. Finding a way inside is an easy, but they eventually arrive in a portrait-lined corridor outside the throne room.
The Tanta of Strength awaits within, and a pitched battle ensues, in which Frey is very nearly overcome by Sila's supernatural strength. Somehow, though, she manages to prevail, and the mad Tanta is deposed at last.
|Chapter 6: Damned If You Do...
|Despite having succeeded in avenging Olevia's death, Frey can't shake the sense that she's done something wrong. Nonetheless, she returns to Cipal to find herself held as a hero. The townpeople's celebrations are at their height when the city is suddenly invaded by the Break. Frey is severely injured in the chaos that ensues, and ultimately loses consciousness in the Council's makeshift Infirmary.
|Chapter 7: The Hue of Blue
|Frey is tormented by horrific Nightmares of the people around her becoming Broken. Unable to Bear the burden of her guilt, she resolves to get home as soon as she can, and seeks out Robian's assistance. To her Chagrin, she finds that he's in no condition to talk, and is barely making sense as the effects of the Break continue to worsen.
A desperate Frey sets out to look for more ballow resin in the hope that it might cure him, or at least stop him from getting worse. As She searches for the right trees, Cuff tries to convince her that Cipal won't be safe until Tanta Prav is killed. Frey is reluctant to take another life, but decides that perhaps Prav will listen to reason...
|Chapter 8: The Truth Will Out
|And yet another courtroom—this time accused of Tantacide—Frey attempts to convince Prav that she was justified and killing Sila. Prav will not listen to reason, however, and demands that Frey prove her innocence by submitting herself to a Trial by Water. She survives the Trial, but to no avail—Prav's mind is fractured, and she resolves to kill Frey anyway.
After a long and grueling battle, Feay finally emergency the victor. And with her dying breath, Prav calls her..."Child of Cinta"...
|Chapter 9: Breaking Point
|Still reeling at the Revelation that she might be Tanta Cinta's daughter, Frey rushes back to Cipal, desperate to save Robian and get some answers about her past
But she arrives to find that her efforts are too little, too late. Heartbroken at the old man's passing, she's left to ponder her path forward alone...
|"Tanta Cinta, may her name be praised, is blessed with the extraordinary ability to nurture life itself. This power goes beyond her acts of healing, which in and of themselves have saved more of our sick than can possibly be enumerated. She is capable of communing with nature itself, and transforming the very world around her. Altering the composition of Junoon's native herbs to give them medicinal properties, for example, or amplifying the effects of various plants and fungi, thereby enabling us to brew the most astonishing elixirs.
And, as if that were not wonder enough--"
|The Cognoscents are a group of elite Scholars originally found in visoria, and tasked with collecting and collating all of atheist knowledge so that it might be put to use in service of the people.
Though originally based in a relatively humble underground facility beneath their homeland, their operations quickly expanded, and the great towers, or Guilds, for which they are known today soon sprang up across the land. At the height of the organization's power, there were as many as thirty guilds and three hundred scholars in total. They were revered as benevolent and knowledgeable savants, a reputation which also earned this exclusive fellowship its name.
|Not a trace remains of the nursery Cinta once built for baby Alfre on this very spot.
Cinta struggled valiantly throughout her pregnancy to withstand the effects Susurrus had on her mind and body. Out of sheer desperation to protect her child, she finally succeeded in giving birth to Frey safely—but the trauma took its toll, and her weekend body finally succumbed to the Demon's Power. The immense energy that was released when Cinta transformed into a dragon split the very land asunder.
|Fake New York
|An elaborately imagined facsimile of New York conjured up by Tanta Olas with the intention of trapping Frey forever.
Olas exploited Frey's hopes, desires, and dreams so effectively that she might have stayed there had it not been for Cuff's untiring efforts to make her see sense.
|Ordinary Athians built these monuments to the Tantas' adorable catlike familiars.
They were erected in places known to be frequented by these much-loved beings, and it became common for adoring pilgrims to leave various foodstuffs and treats as offerings at the statues' feet. The Tantas were unhappy at this waste of valuable resources, and eventually inscribed warnings not to feed their familiars into the statues themselves.
|Founts of Blessing: Conduits of Souls
|"The Founts of Blessing are direct conduits to Svargana—the Wellspring—wherein The Souls of the Tantas sleep for all eternity.
The energy which flows from within them is the selfsame energy that gave rise to all life in Athia, and by which the Tantas have been granted the powers that enable them to guide and govern the people since time immemorial. Little wonder, then, that they, like the Tantas, are considered sacred."
|Frey's journey across Athia to learn the truth of her past ends when Cinta presents her with a choice: Will she returned to New York and Homer? Or will she stay in Athia and protect the people from Susurrus? Either choice would fill Cinta with both relief and some sorrow—she is just as much Frey's mother as she is a Tanta of Athia. All she can do is hope that her daughter chooses what's best for her—only Frey can make the final decision.
|A glowing ball of light that shows Frey where to go next as she learns the truth about what happened in Athia 21 years ago.
What she doesn't know is that the light was left by her very own mother. Cinta knew that a day would come when Frey would need to learn the truth, and thus left her a beacon in order to help her find her way.
|The majestic white walls of Tanta Cinta's former residence once stood as proud testament to the people of Junoon's devotion to perfection in all aspects of the arts. Sadly, the castle has now fallen into disrepair, and barely a trace remains of the beautiful physic gardens for which the realm was once renowned. The ground near the castle has been shattered as if by a giant impact—but from what?
|Locked Labyrinth Altars
|These mysterious shrine-like objects were built by the very first Tanta, and can be found in the depths of the Locked Labyrinths dotted across Athia. They feature Arcane inscriptions, and also appear to once have housed very important objects—until someone or something smashed them open.
|"Perhaps one of Athia's greatest mysteries is the truth behind the Locked Labyrinths found across the land. It is not known precisely what magic keeps them sealed—the Tantas may well have locked them themselves, as they are the only ones who have ever been known to enter.
They are rumored to be treacherous places guarded by terrifying beasts. As for what these beasts may be trying to protect—legend has it that ancient relics lie in the bowels of each one, alongside writings left by the First Tanta herself."
|Lost Memories 1: Cinta's New Hope
|In search of a way to save a struggling Athia, Cinta travel to many worlds before she finally arrived in New York. The city's vibrancy and beauty left an indelible impression on her—one that she was convinced held the key to solving Athia's suffering. Cinta's dream of a brighter future born of Two Worlds would give Frey her birth name, "Alfrey" or "hope."
|Lost Memories 2: Susurrus, Silenced
|The demon of legend, Susurrus, was once Bound by the very first Tanta of Athia. Years later, invaders from Rhedda found a way to free him, unleashing him upon Athia once more. A pregnant Cinta joined her fellow Tantas to put a stop to Susurrus's rampage, and with much difficulty, they successfully divided the demons power, binding him again within four bracelets.
|Lost Memories 3: A Tanta's Power Sealed
|For as long as anyone can remember, Tantas have been forbidden from bearing children. Frey's existence presented them with a dilemma—what would a child do with all that power? After serious deliberation, they agreed to suppress her powers until she might need them.
|Lost Memories 4: Madness
|As Susurrus's corruption gradually ate away at the Tantas, Sila approached Cinta, knowing she had only a few days left. Believing Cinta's determination to survive for Frey's sake would sustain her, she entreated Cinta to look after Praenost in her stead. It was not long after that the madness took her, and the Tanta of Strength became a bloodthirsty tyrant.
|Lost Memories 5: Junoon's Fall
|With all the Tantas but Cinta lost to Susurrus's influence, the Corruption from their realms eventually encroached on Junoon. Cinta did her best to save as many as she could even as she struggled to withstand the demons onslaught. Knowing that even she did not have much time left, she entrusted the people's fate to Robian, her loyal retainer. All that remained was to prepare for the inevitable...
|A mysterious energy that flows through Athia's very veins, and lends its power to all living creatures. Despite its vital importance, only certain very special people can see it. Most go about their daily lives unaware that it flows all around them.
It originates from a wellspring deep underground, and the places where it springs forth from beneath the surface shine with a sacred light—at least for those with eyes to see it.
|Monuments: A Power Entombed
|So formally sites of worship for their followers, the monuments dotted across the land took on a different role when the Tantas began to sense themselves succumbing to the Corruption. Determined not to let their people come to harm, each sealed away a part of her powers in the sacred stones. This was done not out of despair, but in the hope that one day a worthy successor might make use of the sorcery sealed within to save Athia in its time of need.
|These enchanted locks have been around for so long that they even feature in old Athian fold tales. It is said that someone with a magic touch must maneuver the panels in precisely the right way in order to unlock them. They are certainly convenient in that they don't require a key, and perhaps this explains why there are a surprising number to be found—if you know where to look.
|Notes on the Break
|One of the red journals that contained Robian's extensive research on the break.
In the deal she struck with Auden, Frey agreed to retrieve rubian's journals detailing his work on the corruption from the Cognoscents' Guild in Praenost in exchange for his notes on the torana. Upon arriving at her destination, she was surprised to see just how many journals there were. Sadly, some unexpected interference from Sila's soldiers resulted in a fire in which almost all of them perished, leaving their contents a mystery.
|Notes on the Torana
|A white journal containing Robian's notes on the phenomena known as toraana. One of its pages reads as follows:
"Much remains mysterious about the torana. They make instantaneous locomotion possible by altering space and time, but precisely how, I cannot say. The energy required to open one is enormous, and increases exponentially the farther one wishes to travel. And yet I cannot help but wonder—by channeling enough power into one, could we reach another continent? Perhaps even another world?"
|The room Cinta lovingly ready for baby Alfre in an annex of Junoon Castle.
It's contents wouldn't look out of place in a typical nursery on Earth: a crib, handcrafted toys, and even a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Sadly, it only exists in this form in Cinta and Frey's memories—the real Annex was long since destroyed by the Break.
|"The all-knowing Tanta Olas has the ability to weave Illusions more real than reality itself. Though there may once have been a limit to this power, the phantom lanterns she has come to employ grant her a phantasmal skill so great that she can summon entire cities from thin air—cities one might spend a thousand years in and never see for the mirages they are."
|Lamp-like contraptions which give off light due to the dense concentration of Olas's powers stored within.
They're unique construction enables them to amplify this power, creating illusions indistinguishable from reality—illusions not just of static scenery, but of living, breathing beings. Enough of these lanterns in concert can create entire hallucinary worlds. Fantasies in which the unsuspecting can become completely lost...
|Compared to Sila and Prav, whose followers remain many and dedicated to this day, Olas has almost none. But she does have the power of illusion. And for her, that's more than enough. Channeled through her phantom lanterns, it can provide her with an endless dream of mindless minions prepared to do her bidding without question or complaint.
|Devotees once traveled from all over Athia to give thanks an offer a prayers at the Temple's raised in the Tantas' honor. No one knows quite when they were built, but it is certain that pilgrims were making these journeys of worship for centuries before the coming of the Break.
|These special shelters were built to provide safe resting places for the pilgrims who once traveled throughout the land visiting the various shrines and monuments erected to honor the Tantas. The ballow wood from which they are constructed may appear plain, but was highly valued for its protective effects, and was even rumored to actively drive back evil. As dusk fell, and pilgrims looked for a place to spend the night, it was not unusual for a refuge to play host to an impromptu gathering of wanderers from all over Athia.
|Praenost Castle: Floor Plan
|The floor plan of Praenost Castle Johedy gave to Frey.
It was originally drafted as the castle was being built, and as such, may not be an exact representation of its final layout. The stronghold looks to be nigh-on impenetrable, with walls capable of keeping almost any enemy at bay, although interestingly, a narrow passage appears to lead from the walls right to the throne room at the castle's heart...
|Tanta Sila's stronghold purchase ominously a top tall cliffs, and circled by great walls that stretch all the way down to the town beneath. Within these ramparts, a vast army was once stationed, ready to go to war at a moment's notice. The near-impenetrable fortifications were constructed in such a way that enemies would be forced to approach almost in single file, as no normal person could hope to scale the surrounding cliffs. In a rare not to comfort, the corridor approaching the throne room is decorated with paintings depicting the glory of the Tantas in their heyday.
|"Tanta Prav commands gravity itself, and with it, all that falls under its influence. She need not even deign to approach her foes, capable as she is of engaging them from afar, and keeping them there for as long as she pleases. Not without good reason is it said that those who step within her sphere of influence have little choice but to surrender themselves to fate."
|"Sila's power, uniquely among those of our beloved Tantas, lends itself particularly to the art of war. She is capable of magically bolstering her strength to such a degree that her gaze alone might turn boulders to dust, and her cry shred steal like paper... Blessed with such power to summon a might so formidable that entire armies would kneel before it! And yet, she rarely has need of it, for her strength and skill are unrivaled even without magical enhancement."
|Svargana, or the Wellspring, is the final resting place of the Tantas. Though its origins and exact nature are shrouded in mystery, its existence likely predates that of Athia itself. No mere human has ever set foot in this most holy of sanctums, but those with the sorceress's gift may come and go as they please.
|The Athian Script
|The Athian alphabet was devised by the very first Tantas, who wished to promote literacy among their people. The plan was a success, and before the onset of the Break, most of their subjects could read and write. Sadly, the years since have seen a marked decline in the number of dedicated educators and available academic resources, and a corresponding fall in competency among the populace. The script itself is not actually very complicated, however— a fact that Frey has been learning, with a little help from Cuff.
|The Corruption's Creep
|"As the Corruption continue to ravage our lands, robbing us of our food, our homes, and even our lives, we prayed for the Tantas to save us, as they had saved Athia so many times before. And yet even as we trembled with fear, the Cognoscents told us what we could not bring ourselves to believe—that the corruption was coming from the very castles of the Tantas themselves, and that are former protectors may be the source of the blight that has sailed us..."
|The Fall of the Tantas
|"Without warning, our former protectors became our oppressors. The difference in their conduct was stark and perplexing—they were aggressive, hateful... Warped mockeries of their former selves. Tantas Sila and Prav suddenly trusted no one, going so far as to intentionally harm innocents. Tantas Cinta and Olas vanished entirely, abandoning their subjects to the encroaching corruption. This is the sad state of Athia today... a land governed by no one, and ruled by nothing but fear."
|The Four Realms
|Athia is made up of four realms, each governed by its own Tanta.
To the north lies Junoon, with its rich, fecund forests. To the east, Praenost, heavy with mountains. Westward, the great plains of Visoria stretch off to the horizon. And to the south, the shimmering Waters of Avoalet glisten in the sun.
Or at least, they did before the Corruption brought misery and ruin upon the land...
|The Rite of Remembrance
|This ceremony was once held every year across Athia in order to commemorate the dead. Their names would be written on lanterns that would then be released into the sky, both to show the departed that they had not been forgotten, and to ask for their blessings and for continued peace. Though the right has not been observed for some years, it was revived to commemorate Frey's salvation of Cipal.
|The Tantas' Nails
|"Among the most mysterious forms of magic the Tantas perform is the practice of weaving protective enchantments by painting their nails with their own blood. Over the years, the patterns and symbols they draw have come to be associated with their extraordinary effects, leading many to adapt them for use as good-luck charms or wards against evil. Of course, without the sacred blood of the Tantas, these imperfect imitations amount to little more than scribbles."
|The powerful sorceresses who once ruled over Athia's four realms.
Each embodied a different virtue, which in turn shaped how they chose to rule. They were much loved by the people of Athia, who enjoyed lives of plenty under their guidance, but according to Cuff, all was not necessarily as harmonious as it might have seemed on the surface...
|Tanta Olas's citadel juts up from the depths of a great hole in the ground to tower over the plains of Visoria.
Once known as the home of all Athia's knowledge, it's head-spinning heights are filled from top to bottom with books, most of which were written by Cognoscents—her faithful array of scholars and scribes. A huge impact of some kind has smashed through the uppermost layers, leaving the throne room stranded somewhere in the castle beneath.
Pages in category "Athia"
The following 58 pages are in this category, out of 58 total.
- Chapter 10: None the Wiser
- Chapter 11: Forspoken
- Chapter 12: Awakening
- Chapter 13: New Beginnings
- Chapter 1: Attachments
- Chapter 2: Stuck
- Chapter 3: The Interloper
- Chapter 4: What Must Be Done
- Chapter 5: Might and Main
- Chapter 6: Damned If You Do...
- Chapter 7: The Hue of Blue
- Chapter 8: The Truth Will Out
- Chapter 9: Breaking Point
- Cinta's Power
- Cognoscents' Guild