The city of Solana stands tall amidst the golden fields, at the very heart of Rathe; it is a radiant beacon for all to follow. Its soaring stone walls glitter in the light of the sun as it watches over its outlying villages like a stalwart guardian. It shepherds its charges along the path of the Light. Through its grand gates lie shining city streets, lined with banners of white and gold.
Once a small settlement, the city of Solana has grown throughout the centuries, providing a place of sanctuary to all who follow the Light. Benevolent scholars smile upon the crowds, providing enlightenment, guidance and counsel, while noble knights patrol the city walls and fields beyond, protecting the innocent with sword and shield. Together, they work to protect and provide for their people, dedicating their lives to upholding the word of Sol.
All are welcomed within Solana, whether inside the city proper, or in the villages which lie beyond its walls. The citizens of Solana honour Sol in every aspect of their lives; they carry the glory and wisdom of the Light within their hearts as they seek to guide all of Rathe into a golden age, where all will be free of pain and suffering.
History of Illumination
Legends speak of blessed pilgrims from a distant land, drawn to Rathe by the will of Sol. Upon sacred ground, they built the small village that would one day bloom into a paragon of virtue and enlightenment. Under the careful guidance of the first Grand Magister, the great city of Solana blossomed, growing ever larger in scale and in stature.
In time, its radiance drew attention from a malevolent gaze, and the fledgling city found itself targeted by the onslaught of the Shadow, a great evil which spread forth, intent on extinguishing the Light. Despite this sinister force, which threatened to overwhelm them, the Solanians stood strong; fortified by their faith, they refused to bow before the foul storm.
A Radiant City
Solana stands proudly at the very centre of the world, its marble walls gleaming as they reflect the light of the sun. Its ramparts are reinforced with hundreds of years of layered spellwork, which form an impenetrable barrier to defend the city against both physical and magical attacks. Deliberately built in accordance with Sol’s divine will, the city’s elegance and symmetry are apparent to all who enter. Beyond the eight imposing gates lie eight city sectors, with eight grand walkways leading through the city, converging at the grand Solarium. A colossal complex of shining towers, the Solarium is Solana’s crowning jewel, beloved to those who call the city home.
Throughout Solana, the grand walkways are interlinked by plazas, great open spaces in which her citizens can gather to hear proclamations and news from the city’s Magisters and archons. Massive markets are supplied by meraducts, raised paths which allow goods to be transported quickly from one side of the city to the other. Individual stores line the roadways’ paving stones, spilling out into residential and trade areas alike. From wall to shining wall, the city of Solana surges with joyous, bustling life, its streets lined with cheerful homes and vaulted rooftops, colourful banners swaying in the gentle breeze.
The people of Solana are amicable by nature, welcoming all into their city so that they might see the splendour of Sol for themselves. While born Solanians feel a deep connection to Sol, they believe that it is their sacred duty to spread the teachings of the Light to all of Rathe. Visitors are commonplace, welcomed by the people of Solana, and greeted by diplomats who are specially chosen to receive them as honoured guests. Each and every citizen is chosen for their role; their duty to Solana is revealed through divine providence. As such, Solanians are incredibly dedicated to their respective crafts, as many believe that they were born to fulfil their purpose, and thus serve their beloved city.
A vast, open arena which can hold all the citizens of Solana, it is used for ceremonies, public events, celebrations, and proclamations. Anyone, citizen or visitor, is welcome to come there and listen to one of the daily lectures, which are usually given by a Magister speaking on the doctrine of Sol.
The Library of Illumination
Many scholars and seekers of knowledge have travelled to Solana for the sole purpose of seeing the Great Library, a labyrinthine complex found at the base of the Solarium. An imposing sight; the floor is constructed from lustrous marble, with floor-to-ceiling shelves containing thousands of tomes and scrolls, as well as bound parchments authored by the scholars of Solana. Above, towering mosaics of coloured glass depict scenes from the history of the city and its people. Five colossal statues stand at the very centre of the Library’s main foyer, constructed in gold and ivory, each one portraying one of Solana’s five Grand Magisters.
Any Solanian may enter and read the tomes found within its walls, which contain accounts of Solanian history, the legends of Sol, tales of the world beyond the city walls, and information on the various districts of Solana. Large tables line the hallways of the Library of Illumination, which include spaces for any visitor to read and study. Only the uppermost level of the library is open to the public, while the remaining levels lie hidden underground, accessible only to scholars of the Light of Sol.
A concealed vault lies deep beneath the earth, guarded by both physical defences and powerful wards. Throughout history, many ancient artefacts from Rathe’s past have surfaced, and since the time of the first Grand Magister, Solana has retrieved these powerful items and hidden them from those who might use them for nefarious purposes. The existence of the Signarus remains a well-guarded secret, known only to the highest-ranking members of the Light of Sol.
A series of colourful, verdant gardens encircle the Solarium. Home to thousands of species of flora from around Rathe, the Silvaris is open to the public; the city’s inhabitants frequently visit the gardens, walking amongst the trees and enjoying the many flowering plants that grow along its borders. From lofty trees of verdant green to vibrant purple blossoms, the gardens are a burst of colour against the brilliant white stone walls of the Solarium. Almost any plant in existence can be found within the Silvaris, including restorative herbs and ingredients for spellwork, carefully cultivated by the Light of Sol.
Standing at the very heart of the city, the Solarium is an enormous complex of shining towers that form the central nexus of Solana, encompassing the Library of Illumination, the Great Hall, the Amphitheatre, and the Inner Sanctum. The Solarium includes a number of rooms set aside for the Light of Sol, with classrooms and lecture halls for training acolytes and squires alike.
The Awakening Ceremony
When a child of Solana turns eight years old, an Archon will arrive at their home to lead them to a special room within the Solarium, where they will conduct the Awakening Ceremony. This sacred space is filled with a wide and varied selection of items, from ancient tomes to swords and shields, smithing hammers to aprons and looms; every trade and profession in Solana is represented within this lofty space. Once the ceremony begins, one of the items in particular within the room will resonate with Sol’s light and begin to glow, revealing the child’s divine calling. Many families within Solana have passed down their trades through the generations, honing their craft over the centuries with the help of Sol’s divine guidance.
The Blessing of Sol
Throughout the centuries, Solana has fought valiantly against the forces of the Shadow, working to protect the innocent from corruption and despair. In times of great strife, when this constant battle has threatened to overwhelm the many lands of Rathe, Sol has gifted his blessings upon his most devout followers, bestowing upon them the power to drive back the Shadow. The radiant glory of the Light grants them divine grace, enhancing their natural abilities and lending to them the might of Sol.
In recent times, as the Demonastery is unleashing the full force of its fiendish power upon the city, Sol has once again gifted his blessing upon the devout. Some have awakened to the calling of the Light, finding their strength and talents augmented by Sol’s favour; others have found themselves marked by the sigil of one of Sol’s Heralds, choosing some of the Light’s followers as their charges in the battles to come.
The Order of the Light
In ancient times, the light of Sol guided the city’s founders onto the shores of Rathe; it showed them where to build their home, and was what protected their fledgling fortress from the Shadows. The Order of the Light was born of these ancestors, noble individuals who sought to spread Sol’s blessings and watch over their people. The Light of Sol is mainly composed of scholars, those born with a connection to the aether, who study spells in order to embrace the Light, while the Hand of Sol are an order of knights, dedicated to protecting and watching over their people.
The Light of Sol
The Light of Sol is predominantly comprised of scholars, including acolytes, chancellors, archons and magisters. They are the spiritual lifeline of the kingdom, providing a variety of services to their people. The members of the Light of Sol are healers, academics, researchers, scribes, guides, confidantes, leaders and fighters, working to serve and defend their people in whichever role they are most needed. Many such scholars will journey beyond the city walls in their lifetime, fighting alongside the knights of the Hand of Sol, and joining their parties on expeditions and patrols. However, there are far more roles incorporated into the Light of Sol than only these examples.
These operatives work to defend Solana from its enemies by walking the fine line between light and darkness. They blend seamlessly into their surroundings, hiding in plain sight; masters of disguise who remain vigilant in their mission to unearth the enemies of Solana. Across the lands of Rathe, the Gemini collect intelligence and send information to the Light of Sol, scrutinising any potential plots against the city.
In Solana, illusionists are hailed as revered emissaries, bringing the light of Sol beyond the grand gates of the city. Illusionists are unique in that they draw their power from a keen understanding of the world around them, an ability which allows them to bring the stories and word of Sol to life by creating breathtaking spectacles—powerful, tangible illusions which are almost indistinguishable from reality. They are often dispatched with parties of knights to travel to foreign lands, creating visions of the radiant city for outsiders to behold.
The guiding light of Solana, Magisters are champions who are specially chosen to execute the will of Sol. There are eight Magisters in the city, each representing one of the eight sectors. Their ornate masks mark them as divine messengers, who have dedicated their lives to delivering the word of Sol. Each Magister is an accomplished scholar of the Light, and each is responsible for one of the city’s landmarks, in addition to serving as a member of the Grand Council.
In the history of Solana, there have only been five Grand Magisters, each one serving the city as the highest representation of Sol, the embodiment of Sol made manifest in physical form. It is their sacred duty to ensure the wellbeing of the city through Sol’s blessings, and guide their people toward a more beneficial future. They are not only the leaders of their people, but their caretakers, their heralds, and their mentors. The current Grand Magister, the Steadfast, is known for their firm, wise leadership, helping to guide Solana into an age of peace; perfectly calm as they steer their people through stormy seas.
The Hand of Sol
The Hand of Sol is Solana’s order of knights, who defend the city from outside threats. While all in the Hand of Sol call Solana their home, they frequently travel beyond the city’s walls, scouting for dangers, watching over settlements, and defending the innocent from harm. Beyond the grand gates, these knights travel in parties, their numbers ranging anywhere from small adventuring squads to massive war brigades. Many of these companies are assigned a member of the Light of Sol, who not only provides healing and guidance to the knights, but helps them to spread word of the Light in their travels.
While all knights of Solana come from the Hand of Sol, not all members of the Hand are knights. There are some who serve a more specific purpose, becoming a part of a more specialised team who are able to respond to unique threats.
Where the Gemini seek out information and uncover peril, it is Inquisitors who strike at potential menaces, and work to root out the evil which is sown across Rathe. They scour the Golden Fields and Northern Realms, hunting down cultists, heretics, and all those who jeopardise or sacrifice the innocent in their quest for power. The Inquisitors endeavour to eliminate threats to Solana before devious plots can come to fruition and endanger the lives of its citizens.
Aether affinity in members of the Hand of Sol is rare, but not unheard-of. There are some who not only display a talent for weapons and melee fighting, but also show a potential for magical abilities, and are taught to intertwine the two in their quest to defend Solana. Clerics possess both the strike of a warrior and the touch of a healer, fighting to protect the innocent, cure the sick, and mend the broken.
The leaders of the Hand of Sol, Templars guide their parties to glory, oversee the training of all squires, and watch over those in their care. Many Templars number among the most talented and experienced fighters in Solana, and use their knowledge of the battlefield and the lands beyond to protect their home from evil.
The Battle Against the Shadow
Once, many centuries ago, an apostate betrayed the people of Solana, and turned his back upon the light. Driven mad with power, he embraced the vile corruptions of the Shadow and unleashed his toxic ideology upon the world. When the noble warriors of the Light sought to stop him, he fled to an isolated island and soiled the earth there with the corruption of the shadows, severing his place of horrors from the rest of Rathe. The Demonastery was thus born of blood and sacrifice, a cursed, blighted castle which harbours the horrors of the damned.
Ever since, the Demonastery and Solana have stood in direct opposition to one another. It is the nature of the Shadow to destroy, seeking to eliminate the Light; the Light seeks to defend the innocent from the Shadows, and halt the spread of its vile corruption across the land of Rathe. Solana has fought many battles in its quest to bring an end to the scourge of the Shadow; however, for many years the city knew a kind of peace, untouched by the raging wars of their past.
Yet in recent times, that peace has come to an end. For the first time in centuries, the Demonastery has struck at the very heart of Solana, raining down shadows upon the city like a vile plague. With the blessings of Sol and the guidance of the Light, the Solanians have risen to the challenge, taking up arms in their quest to defend all of Rathe from the horrors of the Demonastery. Now, as then, they will drive back the Shadow, and guide the common people into an era of peace and prosperity.