The White Wastes of Aultha
The Center of an Empire
Aultha is a massive city that sprawls out many miles and is home to thousands of people. Even though it lies in the middle of The White Wastes it is breathtakingly beautiful. Countless gardens sprawl all about, in fact it is said that if one were to never look beyond the gates one would never know that Aultha lay in the middle of a hostile and barren land. It is the center of political power of the Aulthanian Empire, which consists of The Seven Cities and many of the tribal lands in between and beyond.
Many centuries ago it is said that Aulthanians lived in ruins. Their buildings crumbled to the ground, their metals grew brittle and rusted, and no crops would grow. A curse had befallen the city and then the land which spread out like a disease. Citizens were abandoning their home for the wilderness of the tribes and even the elven forests.
Then Mana Stones were discovered by a channeler and the fortune of Aultha reversed. The curse was held at bay by the power within the stones and the city was rebuilt. The stones were so powerful and the fate of the city so important that it was decided that only specially trained and empowered wizards should be able to operate them. Thus the guild of Channelers, Arcanus, was formed and was given the responsibility to oversee the good fortune of the city.
Government and Political System
The city, and hence the Empire, is ruled by Arcanus, the guild of Channelers (magic users who draw their power from Mana Stones). All other forms of magic, arcane and divine, are strictly outlawed and practicing such magic is considered treason and is usually punished by public execution.
The entire economy is centered around Mana Stones. Aultha receives taxes from the other six cities in return for training and use of its Channelers, which it has a monopoly over thanks to their guild, Arcanus. Also since the handling of Mana Stones is restricted to guild members only the production of Mana Stones is also monopolized by Arcanus, and hence all revenue from the sale of Mana Stones comes back to Aultha. Moreover, since Mana Stones cannot be produced except by natural processes, their “production” is more like mining than craftsmanship, and the search for them has reached the borders of the empire, which is often disputed or even occupied land. This process requires a large army to maintain, and since Aultha “can’t be bothered” with all of that since it is “so busy” training Channelers the army is made up of people’s from the other six cities and conquered peoples.