First nation proposal is in from the esteemed Lord Lucan. Some neat ideas in there, and he has come in first to claim the/a moon. March will see how much of this makes it through to official Lore but a high standard has been set it seems.
The Belrathi, while considered a nation in the present of Lore, were originally merely a sect of Mages who gathered together upon Lore’s surface under the leadership of Arch-Mage Prosun Belrath. The mages of the Belrathi sect were adherents of several disciplines and utilised many different magical elements, including (of course) Ki, but they shared one fervent wish; to explore the void beyond Lore’s skies.
For millennia, the heavens had been only the domain of the hundred pantheons; the gods of Lore. Prosun’s cult was fascinated by the heavens, wishing to rise up and meet the gods themselves. They were shunned by the majority of their peers, for they feared that the gods would smite the Belrathi for their audacity. Thus, the initial research into travel between worlds was slow for Prosun’s people. They gathered every scrap of arcane history on the subject, from the old Runic portal magic practised in the unbelievably ancient Age that preceded the Age of Great Beasts, to the fanciful fictions written by elven scholars. In the lawless pirate islands, they hired unscrupulous hobgoblin mercenaries to retrieve various artefacts buried within war torn territories, in exchange for granting the shamans of the hobgoblins access to true magic, where before the hobgoblins had only ritual. They were opposed at every turn by those magicians and alchemists who feared their potential. There were shadowy wars of espionage and misinformation fought between the Belrathi and their numerous opponents.
Only in the decadent city state of Garn was a safe haven for unfettered research, and it was here that Prosun perfected the charms of Topeku. Using a powerful telescope, the Belrathi mages focussed their attention upon Topeku, the largest of Lore’s moons. They crafted hundreds of spells and runes in honour and imitation of Topeku. Finally, the first enchanted mirror became mystically connected to Topeku. With a great whine of released power, the mirror shot itself skywards.
Months later, the mirrors inside the hidden Belrathi stronghold upon Lore shimmered into life. The mirror no longer reflected the chamber it was in, but instead it reflected a strange alien world. After testing, it became clear that one could walk between worlds easily. From that first step, Belrathi exploration exploded. Within a quarter of a century, they had hundreds of portals connecting the two worlds, and had built a grand estate upon Topeku itself. The Belrathi had discovered that Topeku was a world covered in blue-green mosses and fungus, and that it bore a thin atmosphere of breathable air, even if it tasted vile upon the tongue and was not as nourishing as Lore’s thicker air. Not only this, but there were sentient creatures living upon Topeku. They were ugly, trunk-faced hunchbacks, but the Belrathi found they could manipulate the creatures, uplifting their leaders before fashioning Prosun as the returned God of the Topekuan monotheistic pantheon. This seems at odds with the Belrathi’s innocent explorer image, but the two were not incompatible. Prosun’s mages had seen that beyond the sky, there did not seem to be any gods. Thus, they realised they must take this role upon themselves.
The Belrathi made deals with the over-awed population of Topeku which saw the Topekuans lead them to known magical sites. In exchange, the Belrathi protected their villages from the voracious predators that scuttled across Topeku and fed upon the trunk creatures. As it transpired, the magical minerals unearthed upon Topeku were of incredible rarity and value.
The Belrathi became fabulously wealthy upon Lore, and used that wealth to build ever more extravagant palaces, towers and estates upon Topeku. But spell-craft never exists in a vacuum; soon other mages and guilds of alchemists began to discover crude methods of reaching the moons of Lore. However, they often required the aid of the Belrathi’s expert elder mages in constructing and maintaining these gates. Thus, even once these guilds set up their own colonies upon Topeku and beyond, they remained (technically) vassals of the Belrathi. Eventually, the people of Lore used ‘Belrathi’ as a shorthand for all the Moon-Mages.
Topeku hence is host to a wild array of nations and rival mages vying for supremacy, as well as numerous other racial groups who have been brought to or escaped to Topeku. The original Belrathi, the Disciples of Prosun, maintain the largest settlement on the world, called Balphaemon. It is a grand metropolis built by Golems, semi-sentient clay and stone creatures constructed and animated by the spells of powerful spellcasters. *
The Belrathi Order itself has a strict hierarchical structure, even if those vassals beyond its walls are as diverse as any nations upon Lore.
The Belrathi are still distrusted by many on the surface. This was not helped when they used their magic to steal the Sea of Corbullo, sucking the vast inland sea in its entirety directly from Lore to Topeku. The Belrathi required large quantities fo water for its populace, for Topeku had no large standing bodies of water. However, this created the Corbullo dustbowl, and created an eternal hatred for the Moon-mages amongst the nomadic desert-dwellers who survived the theft of their sea. The fishing nation turned their harpoons and nets to spears and snares, becoming a scattered nation of nomadic raiders.
Recently, the Belrathi’s telescopes have begun to scour the heavens for other worlds to travel to. However, they require almost perfect visual images of their target worlds in order to send mirrors to them. Mercifully, they have yet to obtain a clear image of Might…
*(I’m seeing Golems as being sort of ‘magical robots’ the more wealthy Lore-nations make use of)