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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.

The Garden of Zen

Form of government: Subsidiary to the Walk of Man.

 

National Color: Gold and Scarlet.

 

National Tree: Cherry Tree.

 

National Bird: Eagle.

 

Salutation: Gardeners.

 

When the man named Kazuki Hijiri entered the Azuremar mountain range, equipped only with his trusted rifle, a weeks worth of supplies and a completely worthless map, he never expected to discover a window to the past. But discover a magic window he did. After becoming hopelessly lost he chanced to stumble upon an enormous idyllic valley high in the mountains, calling to mind the fairy tales his parents and grandparents told him of his ancestral homeland of Japan. When he eventually returned, he brought tales and photographs of this new untapped paradise. He shared his find with the other lost orphans of pan Asian and eastern pacific rim heritage. Though much of their history had been lost, many believed the time was right to resurrect ancient traditions and, where knowledge was absent, forge new ones.

 

This valley became the first of many so called Cultural Revival Centers. The ancestors of these well meaning souls would most likely have an interesting mixture of pride and profound embarrassment for their descendants. While much of what they practice in their daily life is right, much of it is also… questionable.

 

The Garden of Zen sets a golden standard for cultural revival. The main city, ‘Summers Glory,’ is separated into many districts, each paying homage to their many diverse ancestral roots. Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese districts are the largest and most well-known, but even those heritages which, in and of themselves, do not necessitate an entire district will often have small shrine like museums dedicated to the memory of a culture now extinct.

 

The Gardeners, as they’re often called, are a diverse group of peoples, with many different forms of dress, and subtly different mannerisms and customs. However tranquility seems to be the order of the day, as they tend to be very accepting of outsiders in direct contradiction to many of the stereotypes attributed to their ancestors. In fact, a large number of their residents have little to no true ancestral heritage in common with the founders.

 

Young men and women of the Garden of Zen are as likely to take up steel or lead as any other star eyed youngsters. These individuals have acquired the name Ronin. They take to the outside world to mingle with their patrons, the citizens of the Walk of Man, as either mercenaries or traders of their very fine steel and other valuable commodities.

The so called ‘Samurai’ of the Garden of Zen are in actuality an extension of the law enforcement of the Walk of Man. Unlike their fellows from the flatter lands of the Walk, they take their duties a trifle more seriously. They often embrace what other law enforcement agencies might call minutia as important, almost ritualized, elements of their daily duties.

 

The local Blacksmiths are as renowned as their ancestors were for their mastery over steel. Mixing iron with carbon ash and a carefully guarded blend of additives to create a light, flexible, and hard steel sought the world over for its resilience and faint scarlet hue.

 

Working the ‘Sanguine Steel’ with a combination of techniques both ancient and new, durable and unique weapons are created which are the envy of all lesser weapon smiths. Not only their samurai swords, but a wide assortment of blades are born from Sanguine Steel. In fact, one weapon smith has taken the unusual step of creating hand tooled firearms of a truly superior nature for discerning clients. Though some say this flies in the face of their heritage, the Jotun locals call ‘Forge Maiden Asuka’ shrugs her shoulders and replies “There’s a time for cold steel and honor, but there is also a time for the passion of hot lead.”

 

A small, but increasingly vocal minority exists within their otherwise calm and collected society has begun to raise an angry voice. This group who simply call themselves ‘Gaijins Leave’ believe that the only way to truly restore their heritage is to expel those who are not of the valley, including those who don’t have the ‘proper human lineage.’ Though they don’t seem violent, reports of disappearing citizenry of European ancestry are starting to outweigh the more usual disappearances.

 

Every year, roughly two tons of Sanguine Steel is made by an order of Buddhist monks called the Brothers of the Crucible who have an interesting philosophy of tempering their spirits as they temper their steel. Producing it through an arduous forty eight hour ritual which produces the raw alloy as one huge mass, it is usually divided into lots and sold to those smiths who are considered among the masters of their craft.

 

Recently, however, the latest giant ingot produced by the brothers has disturbingly turned out to be a counterfeit, the finished unworked ingot of sanguine steel somehow replaced with ordinary steel. The Brothers of the Crucible are nearly as furious as the blacksmiths who had already paid for their share of materials. Suspicion has fallen on a young Aesir woman who has recently become the first Sister of the Crucible, but she claims her innocence. With tensions running high, many are howling for her blood.