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Underwater colonies tend to be built into sturdy cliff sides, with massive trade districts behind huge thirty meter tall triple-paned walls of glass which give a view of the exterior seas and their submarine docking facilities, showing the bounty of the ocean as well as the beauty of the undersea forests in the sub glacial Sea of Asgard.

 

Aquilon was born alongside the first generation of humanity to never see earth. It began life as a research station situated on the Perpetua Glacier. At that time it was simply known as Glacier Run. The facility dug into the ice below for storage space, and eventually was forced to use that same space for living quarters as colonists moved north.

 

Aquilon's defining moment came when an outbreak of animus caused the residents of Glacier Run to seek shelter in their buried storage facilities. Trapped beneath the ice for more than a year, the colonists were forced to make due with whatever they had available. Necessity saw the invention of space and resource rationing techniques that would turn a casual scientific outpost into a culture of extreme efficiency. When the animus threat was cleared from the surface, many of those underneath the ice decided not to return. These one time storage facilities were expanded into the city of Deep Aquilon. Those who chose to return to the surface began to explore the furthest reaches of their frozen homeland while the inhabitants of Deep Aquilon set their sights on the bottom of the ocean.

 

The Aquilonians were earning a reputation as explorers and visionaries, with many other colonists admiring them. They lost much of their appeal when they drafted a national military spearheaded by their recently formed knightly order, the Templar Aquilonia. Turning their scientific might to the development of high energy weapons, the Aquilonians earned a reputation as warmongers among some factions as these developments were widely unpopular outside of the Kingdom of Ice. These fears proved mostly unfounded, as Aquilon focused more on internal protection than external violence.

 

In more recent times, Aquilon has worried the global community with its ever increasing rivalry with Xanadu. As two of the most powerful factions on the moon, an impending war between the two could be disastrous for more than simply the factions involved. The Nations of Aquilon and Xanadu have an uneasy relationship. Both are members of the Avalon Council, but they are often at opposite ends of discussion. Making things worse is the fact that both factions compete in the production of state of the art technology, and each has some of the best academic institutions in the world. The factions see each other as rivals both economically and culturally.

 

For now, Aquilon seems content to be seen as the slightly eccentric visionary of the world. They still push the bounds of science. Though they do not always go as far as the Quisivati, their wares are often much more useful in daily life.

 

What few outside of the frozen north are aware of is that Aquilon cannot claim credit for all of their advancements. As the Deep Aquilonians dug ever more into the glacier beneath them, they began to discover a network of tunnels already present. These tunnels appeared to be crafted as living arrangements for some civilization of the past, one that has left behind many artifacts buried in the ice. Some of Aquilon's biggest scientific advancements were simply the result of researching the many strange finds that they dig up in their ever expanding empire.

Origin of name: Named for the Greek city of Chania.

 

Form of government: Elected Council.

 

National Color: White & Blue.

 

National Tree: Olive Tree.

 

National Bird: Dove.

 

Salutation: Chanians.

 

Even though the island of New Chania is extremely far to the north, it is blessed with warm air and ocean currents which keep it reasonably comfortable year round, allowing for a large, healthy rotation of all manner of earth and local crops. The unfortunate side effect is a hell of a lot of rain and humidity. The island also sports many northern and southern harbors which allow for both warm and cold climate deep sea fishing.

 

Those that originally flocked to this land of polar opposites were ‘the salt of the earth’ as the ancient phrase goes. Men and women put down roots, growing not just fruits and vegetables but their own family trees. Within a handful of generations, family members who weren’t suited for the farming life had built a thriving coastal metropolis overlooking their main port, and pharmaceutical treasure hunters had discovered the region had a wealth of medicinally valuable native plant life.

 

New Chanians live in towns which have large accessible streets for their main arteries, but have countless side roads too small for automobiles which serve as entrances to a labyrinth of back street stores, restaurants and personal residences.

 

Emboldened by the sensory stimulating incense burned on every building corner and the soft otherworldly lighting of the cities' lower level, hawkers of every shape, size and color entice locals and visitors alike, promising the finest steel from the Garden of Zen, the freshest Xanadian apples, and fresh seafood pies cooked by their own dear mother with the secret ingredient: love.

 

A New Chanians home is usually rather small in the horizontal sense, but they tend to have a decent amount of vertical height. Many neighborhoods even have walkways, rooftop gardens and monorail transportation accessible from several floors up via the homes proper front door or public stairs dispersed around the lower levels.  There is also a thriving business which uses gyrocopters as a local taxi system. Nearly every building large enough as a landing pad on the roof. As often as not their homes are sealed tight as drums to keep the dreaded humidity out.

New Chanians are egalitarian people, either respecting or disrespecting people on their personal merits, not some nominal societal station within or without their own culture. An Aquilonian duke receives no more or less respect than a pig farmer, unless he has proven himself by his own actions. However, locals understand each person’s life and deeds are unique, and any visiting duke is unlikely to need to find themselves knee deep in pig muck in order to be welcomed at a corner pub.

 

New Chania is called ‘The Island of a Million Mysteries’ for good reason. While its alien ruins and artifacts are typically of a poorer quality than other regions of the world,  they number so greatly that tourists are warned to spend most of their time looking down while walking so as not to trip over them. As such, many locals are bit by the exploration bug at a young age, seeking to make their fortune by discovering the proverbial ‘mother lode.’

 

Few ever become wealthy from their time in the ruins, but many are the explorers who have interesting scars and a few trophies to show off at the corner pub on a Friday night to get free beers from the impressionable new generation of explorers nipping at their heels.

 

While their explorers are famous in a machismo sort of a way, the island is far more famous around the world for the Asclepion medical school, the premiere source of education for the world's doctors and wafan engineers. The Asclepion Students spend a substantial amount of their education performing or assisting in nearly free charity medical work which benefits the local population as well as the students. This means they graduate with enormous amounts hands on experience, and a revered status with the locals. Asclepion students seldom, if ever, have to pay for their own drinks.

 

New Chania plays host to the bizarre alien forest known as the Tulgey Wood. Believed to be an artifact of previous alien terraforming attempts, the wood is well known for its subtly toxic atmosphere as well as creatures more bizarre and deadly than even New Horizon's native animals. To venture into the depths of this bizarre alien forest, and the unusual canal like waterways that crisscross it, requires a well prepared party typically with respirators and plenty of medicinal compounds to counteract the caustic vapors produced by its plant life.

 

Even after thirty years, new medicinal compounds are still found with a modest regularity and many are those who are eager for the potentially hefty finders fee they can wring from the local pharmaceutical firms. However, with the need to delve deeper and deeper into the wood, the task is becoming ever more difficult and dangerous. These days, one in ten returns with a new discover, but two in ten simply do not return at all.

 

The Tulgy Wood also holds the origin of the process by which Olympian Humans are transformed into Medeans. Many make a pilgrimage to the small Medean city located within the boundaries of the wood to either undergo or learn about the transformation. The expense of transformation is often rather great, depending on what ideal new form potential individuals may have.

 

Those who either can’t afford the procedure, or dare not venture into the woods, are often lured in by black market procedures performed by disenfranchised Medean doctors. While these procedures are typically less expensive, some of the results are gruesome both in body and mind.

 

While most of the ruins discovered have either been primitive or almost completely destroyed, Janus Lucroix, the CEO of the Daro corporation, was able to purchase the location of a very promising site. Upon discovering a rather stubborn elevator complex, he spent a small fortune excavating the site. After over a month of digging, he had little more than a three hundred foot deep mud hole surrounding the colossal elevator complex.

 

After eventually finding a structural weakness two hundred and fifty feet down the exterior of the elevator shaft, Lucroix' men have managed to send several drones into the complex deep below. They have all returned with imagery which suggests a mostly intact technological ruin of indeterminate origin. The unknown structure registers faint traces of energy usage. For all intents and purposes, it seems to be hibernating, as if waiting for some unseen winter to come to an end.

 

Building the necessary infrastructure for a small settlement around the crater, Lucroixs Daro corporation has set about recruiting local explorers, as his own employees often seem to disappear without a trace.

 

NEW CHANIA