Points of Interest #1: The Riven Autumn
Today I want to share something a little special. Rather than talking big picture dyanamics like region or plane of existance, I want to narrow it down to a specific location therein. Somewhere players can visit along their travels. This time it is The Riven Autumn, one of four season-locked localities on Idhomlya and a place with an intimate connection to the Fae Refuges. Future points of interest will include the Ruins of Minnethras, Azaezim, the other Riven, and more!
All photos from Pixabay and used under the CC0 licence.
Riven Autumn is a region located in the eastern borderlands of the Dragon Song Empire. The name is something of a curiosity as it implies the destruction or ripping apart of the harvest season. However, it is quite the opposite, Riven Autumn sits in a canyon that has a unique connection to the Fae Refuges. A few miles of the land west of the canyon is in perpetual winter while the few miles east are perpetually summer. The canyon itself sets itself in various shades of autumn, its trees shifting in color from green in the east into yellows and reds in the center and turning into brown near barren things in the west. It is a land of constant fall harvest, beautiful colors, warm days, and cool nights. It holds a special place for those who seek to talk with their ancestors and remember the past, as well as those who must come to terms with the inevitable end that comes to all things.
After passing through the initial forest of Riven Autumn, you will encounter vast empty fields with almost nothing growing. In fact, it is a criss-cross of roads all parallel to one another and very few running the length of them. These are farm-roads of the canyon. Pulled by aurochs, teams of giant stag beetles, or carried by teams of gigantic ants are huge carts that are nothing more than mobile farm plots. Growing a variety of autumn crops, these farms move east to west in time with what crops would experience outside the canyon’s walls. While this has proven difficult to adapt to, the people of Riven Autumn have made due. It should be noted that out-of-season crops are exported at quite the premium for the farmers here.
Deep within Riven Autumn is the city of Nethermourn, a place of dark beauty, gothic architecture, and ethereal mystery. Here the mood is always a constant dichotomy between somber remembrance of the dead and the happy celebration of those who were and fresh harvest. The craftsman of Nethermourn have specialized in the making of things which can only be made seasonally elsewhere. Moreover, they hold the most learned libraries and temples relating to spirits and the cosmic cycle of life. Here many come to learn how they might bring the dead back to the living only to leave, still alone, but with great comfort and wisdom. Here a mortal might talk to a psychopomp directly or even get word from fallen loved ones. Finally, Nethermourn is a seat of Fae power in the mortal world. It is said that the Refuges might be entered through Riven Autumn but the secret is kept by the ruling courts of Nethermourn, Faerie one and all.
The Pumpkin King & The Masked Queen
The courts which rule Nethermourn, and thus Riven Autumn, are a mixture of Seelie and Unseelie Fae which are ruled over by The Pumpkin King and The Masked Queen. Dagda Donn is the Pumpkin King and Seelie Lord of seasonal change, the transition between life and death, and the harvest of crops. Morgana Crowmother is the Masked Queen and Unseelie Lady of transformation, transitions, divination, and fates. The two are wed and oversee the families which technically rule the Nethermourn. While they visit regularly, the true rule comes down to their perceived desires and preferences. The courts of Nethermourn focus on pleasing their associated fae court and making sure not to anger the opposite. The Pumpkin King and Masked Queen are often seen bickering but it is unknown whether this is due to their incompatibility or as a method of manipulating the courts of Riven Autumn. In all likelihood it is a bit of both and, either way, maintains a balance within Riven Autumn and Nethermourn that actually allows mortals to regularly interact with the faerie city.