Of Swords and Honour
Beyond the Borders and on Foreigners
Far to the north, beyond the Ashlands is rumoured to be a great white desert. According to rumour there exists an entire country of strange, dark skinned people, who live in giant cities and worship strange gods. According to these rumours they possess fearsome weapons that spew fire and smoke at their enemies. They are rumoured to be great alchemists and scholars.
Further to the north and deeper into the desert where even these men fear to go is rumoured to be giant stone pyramids, so great that they rival mountains. These pyramids are said to be the remnants of a great race which lived many years ago, now lost to the sands of time and the desert.
As to what lies beyond them, no living man can tell.
The Xin are strange and alien to most, inhabiting the great mountains to the east. Those who have travelled their have found themselves shunned and persecuted at every turn. Little is known of these lands as hostilities still rage between the Land of the Crane and the Xin Warlords. What is known however, is that within the harsh mountains is that the great and terrible cavalry of the Xin are trained, waiting for the time when the warlords turn their attention away from each other and towards their ancient enemies. But for now the infighting between warlords occupies the attention of their cavalries and will no doubt continue to do so for many generations to come.
As to what lies beyond the eastern mountains, perhaps some Xin know. But if they do, they are not willing to speak of it. Some say that the that the Xin empire stretched across many lands with many different cultures, of which parts (swords styles, weapons etc) occasionally make their way into The Land of the Crane.
To the south are the steppes of the Lizard Riders, feared for their barbarity and giant lizard mounts. Raiding parties occasionally pose a small threat to the Land of the Crane, but the great Nagara River (Blessed be the Dragon) deters all but the most organised raiding parties. It is fortunate indeed that their society is so anarchistic, for if the feuding clans were ever united, they would pose a true threat to the Land of the Crane.
Beyond the steppes is rumoured to exist a dark jungle, its steaming interior filled with terrible creatures and dangerous savages. It is rumoured that the Lizard Riders originally hailed from these jungles thousands of years ago, but were driven from them by some great power. Deep within the core of the jungle is rumoured to exist the ruins of this great society, giant stepped pyramids carved with strange images and soaked in the blood of the dead. Or so the legends go.
Far to the west (a hundred miles or more) is the land of Onigashima, the Isle of Ogres. Little is known of this land except that it is the stronghold of the Oni, from which they seemingly originate from.
Further west, beyond the treacherous waters of Onigashima is the rumoured to be great cities, built by ancient peoples in the early days of the world. Rumours insist that this “City of Gods” is the origin of humanity, the cradle in which it was nursed in the early days.
The Foreigner Within
The Ainu are treated as foreigners within their own lands. They exist in a few scattered villages, often separate from the outside world. It is rumoured that they are the greatest archers in all of creation and that they use arrowheads carved from strange woods, stone and the bones of their enemies.