“A seething mass of geniuses, madmen, and heroes,” is how the poet Mellia Aswith once described her home, the city-state of Selenthea. This bustling metropolis sits on the edge of the Elliyen Wilds and is hundreds of miles from the any other civilized nation. Founded by a circle of wizards and protected by a legendary order of valiant knights, it is a place where dreams are made and broken every day.
“A seething mass of geniuses, madmen, and heroes,” is how the poet Mellia Aswith once described her home, the city-state of Selenthea. This bustling metropolis sits on the edge of the Elliyen Wilds and is hundreds of miles from any other civilized nation. Founded by a circle of wizards and protected by a legendary order of valiant knights, it is a place where dreams are made and broken every day.
The city of Selenthea was founded by a group of mages who broke away from the venerable college of magic at Winterskeep. These mages dreamed of an arcane college free of Winterskeep’s tired traditions and entrenched hierarchy. The mages hired a unit of honorable mercenary knights to accompany them, and they traveled to the edge of the Elliyen Wilds where they could pursue their goals free from outside interference.
Over the years Selenthea has become a city of endless possibilities. People see it as a place where they can live free of the constraints of tradition and pedestrian expectations. Anyone might become a noble in Selenthea, and no goal seems too lofty. Of course only a lucky few find the success they seek, but the hope of rising above one's station nevertheless continues to draw people to this city in the winds.
Lay of the Land
Selenthea is built on a series of islands at the mouth of the Gylyn River. The islands are connected by magically constructed bridges, and the entire city is dominated by the massive tower of the Silver Circle that sits on the central isle. The silvery-white tower was erected almost entirely with magic and stands as one of the wonders of the Amethyst Sea basin.
Beyond the walls of Selenthea is an untamed wilderness. Most of the land is covered by dense forest, and the foliage grows increasingly dense and difficult to traverse as one moves southeast toward the Elliyen Wilds. There are hills and highlands to the east where a spur of the Stonegate Mountains, known as Modren’s Arm, stretches down toward the sea. To the southwest along the Windsinger Sea's southern shores, vast salt marshes blend land and sea into a single, vast swamp.
A young mage bringing an ancient scroll to the Silver Circle gets her first glimpse of the Tower. (Art by Mitchell Malloy)
Villages Towns and Cities
The land around Selenthea is not completely wild. Here and there sit small towns or villages carved out of the unforgiving wilderness. Many were founded by young nobles who, for whatever reason, have no hopes of inheriting land in their home countries. They come to Selenthea with a chest of gold and a dream of building a kingdom of their own in the vast, untamed forests. Sadly, this is easier said than done. Travelers in the forests around Selenthea will find as many of these would-be kingdoms abandoned as they’ll find occupied.
Every settlement that hopes to survive is walled, either with stone or palisades. The houses are typically constructed from wood, an abundant resource in the region, and their builders make use of heavy beams, plank siding, and chipped shingles. Glass is rare since there is no glassworks in the region, so most windows are covered with grills and shutters.
Law and Order
The arm of the Silver Circle is long and little goes on in their land that they don’t know about. A codex of laws governs proper behavior and punishements are severe, however the enforcement of these laws is inconsistent. In a land ruled by eccentric mages and scholars, whose plots and attentions change as quickly as the wind, the application of the law tends to shift based on their most recent whims and desires.
Selenthea's remote location and loose approach to legal matters attacted one of the city-state's most infamous residents: The Black Diamond. The Black Diamond is the largest and best organized guild of thieves and assassins on the Amethyst Sea basin. They secretly operate guild houses in cities throughout the region, but their headquarters is in Selenthea. They appear to have an agreement of some kind with the Silver Circle, since their operations in the city-state are a well-known "secret."
The greatest draw to Selenthea for adventurers is its close proximity to the Elliyen Wilds. Hidden in the thick undergrowth of this immense forest are the ruins of one of the most powerful fey kingdoms that ever existed. Those who can survive its dangers often return with amazing treasures.
The mercenary knights who the mages originally hired to escort them from Winterskeep stayed on at the end of their term. Known today as the Knights of Selenthea, they are the sworn protectors of the city, and they are always looking for new recruits.
The Silver Circle only extends rudimentary protection to those who establish settlements beyond its walls. Fortunately the Knights of Selenthea have dedicated themselves to protecting the fledging kingdoms that dot the countryside, but their numbers are limited. With a wide variety of strange and dangerous creatures prowling the wild lands, plus endrori coming down out of the mountains on a regular basis, there is plenty of work for adventurers looking to help the Knights protect remote setlements.
A group of heroes emerge from the Deeplands near Selenthea. (Art bv Mitchell Malloy)
Art & Illustration
- Map of the Amethyst Sea by Mike Schley
- Art by Mitchell Malloy
Journey to the Undercity...
Want to learn more about the Selenthea? Check out NEVER A MOOON SO BRIGHT, a short story by Elaine Cunningham in CHAMPIONS OF AETALTIS, an anthology of 17 short stories that all take place in the World of Aetaltis!
To learn more about the World of Aetaltis, check out a full index of our past content posts here!