The homeland of the biata, Jardium lies within the plains in the shadow of the Dulgar mountains. The city is laid out as three walled settlements nestled inside each other, so as to protect the citizens from the various monsters and beasts that roam the plains. Merchants and other travelers are respected members of society, as not only are their jobs crucial to the upholding of Jardium, but also incredibly dangerous. Tourism flourishes, particularly in cooler months, when Jardian guides may lead tours for prospective monster hunters to collect trophies from the creatures that threaten their home.
While most citizens live within the first or second wall of Jardium, the center-most wall is shrouded in mystery and well-protected by the enigmatic biata which guard its entry points, and maintain strict rules about who can visit - and what memories they may keep. Some nomadic tribes choose not to be restrained by the walls, and travel along the plains, surviving through clever magic, attentive trackers, and fierce warriors.
Jardians tend to be outgoing and friendly on the surface, though their hospitality can be sometimes lacking. This doesn’t come from a place of coldness or xenophobia - the city’s population is mostly biata, and the Celestial War in 15K nearly wiped out their population. Those who survived have adopted cautiousness, and are slow to trust.
Jardians have an appreciation for life found nowhere else in the world, as their scarred history is carefully recorded in not only the Homestone, but in the hearts of every citizen. New life is celebrated, and those who have passed are treated with utmost respect.
Jardium is ruled by a figurehead called the Chancellor, who was once appointed by the monarch of Robinsroost. These days, the Chancellor names their own successor, and as of now, is an orange and black feathered biata named Mantri Pebblebrook. Pebblebrook, a low-blood biata, has made great strides in eliminating classism within biata communities. Nevertheless, some discrimination based on blood still exists, particularly in older neighborhoods.
Elder biata are well respected and even cared for by their community. They are seen as great sages, given their years, and it’s custom to approach them for advice and guidance. Even non-biata pick up on this respect, though they typically don’t approach the elders themselves.
Celestial magic is highly restricted, as it can be detrimental to the health of the fine feathered folk that live there. It is only permitted to be practiced in Taber (the outermost wall of the city) and even then, only under certain circumstances. Punishments for breaking this law ranges from a fine to imprisonment, depending on the severity and intent of the caster.
The restricted Celestial magic does not mean they neglect the stars. Jardians have a fascination with the sky, particularly the moon. It was the first biata who created the modern calendar based on the movements of the moon, and many tales about the constellations come from starry-eyed storytelling Selunari. Clothes, jewelry, and cloaks often feature the moon, sun, and stars.
The Chancellor has a council of nine members of the community, which advise them on matters. Jardium maintains a large number of earth scholars which perform rituals to keep the walls safe, as well as warriors and trackers to keep the monsters at bay. The most elite of these warriors are the Knights of the Steppe, which are not appointed based on noble lineage, but instead on their merit and bravery.
Outside the Walls: Here the vastness of Jardium’s planes is untouched. There’s enough to fear outside the walls that our feathery friends typically stay in the comfort of the city’s tall standing protectors, but that doesn’t mean no one lives outside. In fact, many oathsworn, selunari, and a handful of wylderkin and dryads live outside the walls. Some Oathsworn run small settlements and farms. Selunari roam the plains hunting and gathering to survive. There is one notable tribe, sometimes referred to as “The Wanderers.” This mixed clan of both Oathsworn and Selunari came to be when Chief Reidar and his tribe were within an inch of death and Mother Alamina saved him. From then on their families intertwined and now many of those in this tribe have at least a little Oathsworn and Selunari ancestry.
Taber: The outermost layer of Jardium, Taber is where you can find just about anything that can be dreamt of, from pottery to pies to lizardskin jackets. It’s easy to get lost in the bustle of businesses, smells of delicious street food and brightly colored wares from every corner of the shard. Taber hides a dark side, however, namely in the children of the street which find themselves living in the alleys. Jardium has a higher mortality rate than any other culture, particularly due to the monsters. Unfortunately, these victims often leave orphans behind, and those orphans often struggle to fend for themselves.
Domum: The secondmost ring, Domum is where residencies and the more usual storefronts can be found, as well as the political district. There is also a homestone here, which is protected at all hours by a group of biata hand-selected from the Knights of the Steppe by the Chancellor.
Pagnosia: Pagnosia is a walled settlement in the innermost section of the city, closely guarded by biata. While it’s not impossible to visit, few are granted access to Pagnosia, and those who are have their memories carefully screened and redacted by mentalists at the end of their visit. Retained memories suggest Pagnosia is a city of lush, green gardens and polite, friendly biata, but the large gaps of missing memories suggest there is something else there to hide.
Jardian names generally sound rather homely and surnames are multisyllabic. First names take inspiration from Celtic or English cultures.
First name examples: Bowen, Sloane, Margo, Ronin
Surname examples: Tealeaf, Summerbrook, Redfern, Farroot
Allies and Enemies
Jardium was made a colony of the crown in 116K, after the Celestial War with Robinsroost nearly wiped out their population. Though they have since earned their independence, Roosters are still very much seen as their oppressors. Younger Jardians and non-biata Jardians are more likely to have a neutral view of the former empire.
The societies of the Dulgar mountains are well respected, as their resources are crucial to the city-state’s survival. Jardians are careful not to offend the divisive folks who live there. On top of that, certain orc tribes within Grikthar have sworn their lineages to alliances with the biata, as penance for the horrors of the Celestial War.
The looming trees of the Varyyyk Forests can be rather claustrophobic to a Jardian used to the plains, so they typically don’t interact too much with the folks who live there, just collecting their resources and moving on.
Jardium relies almost entirely on mercantilism, importing materials from other nations, combining or transforming them and sending them to others. Many Jardians work with textiles, turning fleece from Grikthar and cocoons from Varyyyk into wool and silk.
Still, the monsters that roam the plains do make for some highly sought after prizes, and tourism is another veritable source of income.
Jardium initially followed a lunar calendar, and while they’ve since updated to the standard one, many of their traditions and holidays are still closely connected to the moon. Due to the Robinsroost occupation, some Robinsroost Holidays might be celebrated.
“A Loved One’s Last Moon:” While this is less of a holiday and more of a tradition, lodestones of the recently deceased are generally brought to the Homestone before the next new moon. Of course, travel, war and other things may mean this tradition can’t be fulfilled, and this is not faulted by the community.
Between January 21 and February 20: Lunar New Year. This marks the first new moon of the year. Gifts of dried fruit and other things that can last the full year are common for your friends and loved ones.
May 2nd: Anamnesis. Established after the end of the Celestial War, this is a day of mourning and remembrance for those who lost their life in that century-long conflict. It’s tradition for biata to take a pilgrimage back to the Homestone there.
June 13th: Vitanova Festival. “Vitanova” means new life in biata, and that’s exactly what this day celebrates. Babies, newborn animals and even new plants are proudly taken to meet their elders. Tiny biata are given their lodestones on this day, which they will carry for the rest of their lives.
Visit the local Pub
Have the Elders tell you how it Was
Visit the Homestone
Wander the merchant stalls
Common Sayings and Dialects
Jardians have a fondness for teasing and snark. Any rude or coarse name can just as easily be spun for a friend as an enemy.
“Shiner” - A newbie. As most Jardian armor is usually second-hand or very old, someone with shiny armor is usually perceived to be inexperienced. Of course, they might also just take care of their armor, but who has time to do that in Jardium?
“Is this your first 13th?” - Referencing the June 13th Vitanova Festival, this phrase is akin to asking “is this your first rodeo?” It can be used in a genuine way to ask if someone has done something before, but also in a mocking way to suggest someone is inexperienced or young.
“A second look is a second too long.”
“Return with a story for the stone or the cups” - Implying the story will be either kept in the homestone or told in a tavern.
The Jardium fashion scene is a curious blend of high quality fabrics and low quality armor. Metal is sparse in the plains, so mis-matched plate or family heirloom armor is the norm. Fabric armor (gambesons, silk armor, and the like) and leathers are more common, with lots of layering for the shifting temperatures of the plains.
Warm colors worn by the Knights of the Steppe are popular with non-nobles as well. The sun, moon, and stars are seen as motifs in fabric, armor, and jewelry.