The Silver Marshes are a province near the border between Wildemar and Ter’Arkna. There are two major cities here, the Holy Arknan city of Khiye Ibannon (Ibannon) and the city of Luxor. The two urban areas are separated by the Lake of Leaves, in the center of which is the Nime Monastery, and by a wall that was erected after Luxor successfully declared independence from Ibannon and became its own municipality. The region is separated from Wild Lathe by the Western Marshes, Shiban Swamps and Lathan Swamps, and the Western Run and Wild Run rivers. It is separated from Telgar by the Silver Mountains and though close in proximity to the Ter’Illia, the inhabitants have never been interested in joining the Telgari Federation.
The province of the Silver Marshes is divided in half, north and south, by the two kingdoms of Khiye and Luxor. Both kingdoms’ capitols sit on the shore of the Lake of Leaves, almost directly across from each other – Ibannon on the north shore and Luxor City on the south shore.
True to its name, the Silver Marshes is a land of swamps and rivers. Marshlands include the Western Marshes, the Western and Eastern Silver Marshes, Central Marshes, Shiban Swamps, Lathen Swamps and the Swamps of Farn.
Rivers in Khiye include the Western Run, Wild Run, Glass River, Slate River, Silver River (North and South) and the major River of Stars, on which Ibannon literally sits, as the city is constructed on islands in the river. Rivers in Luxor include the Rolling River, Luxor River, Sable River and the Firth, Farn and Fain.
The Lake of Leaves is the fifth largest lake in the world, and it is a murky, silty lake almost perpetually covered with fallen leaves at its shores. There is one island in the lake, the Isle of Twilight, upon which the Nime Monastery is constructed.
The Silver Marshes were originally inhabited by dwarves, who constructed immense mining works for coal and silver that can still be stumbled into today. When the dwarves withdrew to Westmark, humans from Valdimar came from across the Silver Strait and settled in the region. They brought the Arknan religion with them and constructed several great architectural works to Arkna, a few of which still stand.
Being some distance from Ter’Arkna, the human kingdom here retained a sense of independence and named themselves the Kingdom of Khiye. The city of Ibannon gained the attention of the High Clerics of Arkna and was named one of the four pilgrimage cities of the Arknan faith, showing the distance Arkna’s word had reached out into the darkness.
Although the Valdimarians who settled this area were nominally Arknans, not everyone who settled here clung to the faith. When Ibannon was named as a holy city, dissidents left the city and established a sister city, Luxor City, on the opposite side of the lake. Trade between the two cities was prosperous and the regents of Ibannon did not see this new city as a threat.
Over time, Luxor grew to be the more prosperous of the sister cities. The laws in Luxor City were more friendly to establishments of questionable morality and its location on major trade rivers (versus Ibannon’s on northern rivers that dead-ended in the barren north lands) caused it to become a larger center of tourism than the Holy City. Furthermore, the majority of Luxor’s citizens had little interest in the Arknan Church or its accompanying bureaucracy, tithes and holy decrees. Luxor’s most wealthy and powerful inhabitants banded together and wrote the Decree of Separation, which was a formal declaration of independence from the Kingdom of Khiye and formed a new Kingdom of Luxor, with its borders as the Rolling River on the west and the Silver River North on the east.
Ibannon was incensed by this action and declared war on Luxor. However, Luxor was far wealthier and had hired a mercenary army that proved more than a match for the Ibannon forces. In desperation the council of Ibannon decided to persuade the Nime Monastery to allow them to use the holy relics stored there in the war effort, in pursuit of maintaining Arkna’s kingdom. The Nime Monastery lent the Seven Torcs of Khiye to Ibannon, to disastrous effect. Not only did Luxor succeed in rebelling and defeating the Ibannites, two of the torcs were lost. They would not be recovered until the end of the Dark Age.
Ibannon acquiesed to ending the war but insisted on borders further south than had been declared. They began building a wall on the eastern side of the Lake of Leaves, south of the Silver River. In response, Luxor built a wall on the western side of the lake, halfway between the Rolling River and the Wild Run – far more to the north than originally stated. This caused almost 100 years of bad blood between the ruling entities of both cities. These walls stand today but are open for trade at Ector Gate in the east and D’nari in the west.
Ibannon is still one of the holy cities of Arkna today.
Luxor is a nominally Mortkaw-worshipping city but shrines to a variety of faiths exist here. It is full of gambling establishments, brothels, bars, circuses, art production and frivolity. “Luxurious Luxor” or “Libelous Luxor”, depending on your point of view, is one of the wealthiest and most pleasurable cities in the world.
Other Notable Locations in the Silver Marshes
Shiba – astronomical observatory
Kroix – training academy for Arknan paladins
Fa’resplana – a city of gnomes and half-elves
K’sein – a town notable for spun fabrics
Mines of Wild Lathe – Entrances to many ancient dwarven ruined mines