Athalin is essentially a conglomeration of three large nations on the east coast of the continent. The Northern mountainous islands of dwarves known as Drastilus and the southern plains of halflings known as Lerentia were both annexed by the elven nation of Athal after the completion of the Athalish Canal. The mainland surrounding Athalin north of the Inner Sea, known simply as the Heartlands, was once the elven province of Meithannon. The Heartlands are bisected by the Athal River and the Athal Canal through which huge amounts of trade occur. Athalin has had four rulers since its establishment in 7313 MR. Three of these were Emperors named Redorf and the fourth, the present ruler, is the Empress Dorenesi.
Humans arrived in these lands around 7600 and for the past two centuries they have been experiencing a significant expansion of their population, which troubles the elves who view men as being unstable and a potential threat to their power. Last century, in response to this growing concern, a caste system was instituted wherein every individual is valued only so long as he or she fills a racially predetermined role in the mechanism of society. Dorenesi, like her father before her, keeps order in the face of ongoing concerns of overpopulation and civil unrest by ensuring a high rate of emigration, most recently to the Escher Coast and Meridian. Her father, Emperor Redorf III, had forcefully exiled dissidents. This policy proved disastrous for the nation. A century ago, in the time shortly after the Tusk War, an army of exiles, led by the archmage Voxaminer and supplemented with countless dragons both metallic and chromatic, returned to Athalin to try to reclaim their homes. Redorf was killed in the ensuing conflict, and the nation of Athalin was almost overrun. This fate was avoided only by virtue of some internal intrigue in the exile ranks culminating in Voxaminer’s complete disappearance. The exiles were then forced to return to Karalon permanently.
The brisk pace of trade in the realm is facilitated through the maritime shipping, and through a system of perfectly straight roads uniting all neighboring cities.
Athal City has practically everything an urban center could hope to provide. The city itself is divided predominantly along racial lines. The Inner City is devoted to elves while the Central portion, enclosing the lowest portion of the Athal River, is dominated by dwarves. Humanity makes up the majority of the remaining two districts: the Human Quarter and the New City. The city is home to over eighty thousand people and tens of thousands more stay in the city on a temporary basis. The commerce and trade conducted through this port is unmatched anywhere else in the world. The Athal Channel links Drastilus of the north with Lerentia of the south allowing ore, wood, grain, and myriad other goods to flow through the port making Athal the economic and political capital of the empire, if not the entire world.
Athal has numerous landmarks including three classical playhouses, four Cathedrals of Mechalus, an arena known as the Titan’s Ring, four marketplaces, three aqueducts, and ten floating monoliths in the Inner City including Tirgiliath, which is the imperial palace.
The neighboring towns of Volik, Himerch, and Nirobat have minimal grain fields as most of their land is devoted to vineyards and orchards. Volik is renowned for a terrible uprising of the dwarven guilds in the last decade, which left thousands dead as the empire retaliated, employing their warmages in the center of the town.
Arcenia to the east is a trade city which has open access to the rest of the world. Travelers and adventurers can sign on with ships traveling from here to nearly anywhere else in the world, particularly Karalon, the Orcs Teeth, and Echer. Proculus, upriver from Arcenia, is built around an open rock quarry that provides marble, jade, and many less fine stones for the masons of the empire. Arcenia is renowned also for its fine wool from its many flocks.
Duest is a sprawling city possessed of excellent natural fortifications thanks to its location on the eastern shore of the Brokenhorn River. The city and the surrounding villages are frontier settlements often harried by the goblinoids of the hordelands. The fertile and gently rolling hills of this area have been the site of countless battles and old weapons, armor, bones, and the odd magic item turn up under the plow with frequency. Prode and Undruim are small cities that function primarily as stops along the trade route to Meridian. Both are known for harbouring surprisingly resilient human cults of Valalique.
Domitius is the largest city in Athalin, save for Athal itself. Domitius is the primary naval port of the southern empire and is the primary trade route for goods and grain from the Duest region. Much of the city is built of wood rather than stone, and with the warm, moist climate the scent of mildew and rot is pervasive throughout this otherwise great settlement.
Overall, Lerentia is one of the most civilized lands in the known world. Monsters and other threats have been exterminated over the course of countless campaigns by the Athalish army, and small settlements dot the landscape throughout. It is said that it is impossible to wander the plains of Lerentia without being in sight of some sign of settlement. The region is ruled by proxy by the Governer of Domitius.
There are few large settlements; among these are the following. Papiria, with its unmatched yields of grain, is home to the most fertile and best tended farms in the empire if not the world. Natta is a trading post well known also for its olive fields and orchards. Finge is a small town of halflings who enjoy an unusual quality of life as compared to their peers. These halflings are renowned throughout the empire as the world standard in winemakers. Though they grow the grapes for most of their finest vintages, most of they receive the rest from the vineyards of Romil. Along the coast, Merenia and Telinth are connected to the rest of the empire via roads and maritime trade. Merenia often trades with nearby tribes of sea elves for pearls and sunken treasures.
The northern islands of the Athalish Empire were once home to the Scrow and Rutil, both powerful dwarven clans. These clans were peaceably added to the empire and now provide most of the wealth and mineral resources for the empire.
Rutilus, along with the mine towns such as Torbrek, Glasdon and Brint, is largely self-sufficient. The fields of Rutilus provide grain and cattle to feed the countless clansmen masses working in the mines far beneath the mountains. Rutilus provides much of the empire’s common metals, specifically iron and copper ore. Rutilus itself is a bustling trade city of dwarves and humans located on an inland harbour. The halls of the Rutil Clan King have served for over a millennium as the abode of the regional governor. The clans here take care of their own and few want for anything. Taxes are a frequent issue on the island as the iron is taxed heavily, in part to ensure that the dwarves pass the ore down to the rest of the empire.
The Island of Scrow is by comparison much more industry-oriented. It has few farms of any note, and the dwarven population is located primarily underground throughout the mountains, mining for gems and gold. ]The city of Scrow is huge and diverse with a small hub of wealthy guild masters surrounded by sprawling slums where widows and injured miners live in abject poverty. Other settlements of the island stretch far underground to mines below; these include Crosus and Garfan.
Smaller mining cities, including Rodrun, Premil, and Caser, dot some of the smaller islands. Rodrun is a small island that produces fine slate. Premil, by comparison, has large supplies of coal, and is home to many foundries where the ores of Drastilus are refined into ingots. Caser, located on a desolate island, once yielded large quantities of Adamantine, but more recently much of its population has moved to Ahala on the Shield Coast of the Heartlands where Adamantine has been found in large quantities along the river.