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The world of the Incarnate is a continent on the other side of the world compared to the known world of Avatar. It is roughly the size of Europe. The world is divided into five regions, the Wood Tribe of the east, the fire nomads of the south, the Earth Republic of the centre, the metal empire of the west, and the water kingdom of the north.
The Wood Tribe is composed of druidic societies scattered across the heavily forrested east. Their national colour is green, and their emblem is a green rectangle depicting a dragon. They generally wear green robes as well as a green cloak over the top. The wood tribespeople focuse on living unmaterialistic lives where everything is owned by the community where everyone is helped out. The wood tribe places great emphasis on the community, that the community and community’s interests are far more important than the individual or individual’s interest. That is not to say they believe that the individual is worthless or that his or her needs are meaningless. A typical wood tribe saying is 'every tree stands on its own. But as a forest, however, it becomes part of something much greater.' In other words, whereas although an individual is capable, when they work together they are more effective. They believe in living in harmony with nature and honour all the woodland spirits, or spirits in general. Indeed their beliefs can be seen in how they obtain resources, given that all of their wood supplies are obtain from the branches of the trees, which they increase in mass and later regrow with xylomancy. Their attitude towards obtaining resources can be seen from a common phrase which is integral to Wood Tribe ethics:
Take only what you need. Restore what you took.
Some people, however, have criticized the Wood tribe by saying that this basically justifies theft. The wood tribe, however counter this by saying that there are only six needs: food, water, clothing for warmth, shelter, a comfortable place to sleep, and medicine. Anything else beyond these six needs is therefore not justified. If however someone steals food because they are hungry and there is no other way, then by all means they are allowed to take what they need in order to survive, however they have an obligation to one day restore that which they took when they are able to. However members of a wood tribe community rarely go hungry, as all goods are owned communally and shared out to everyone. Theft and any crime, however, is a great offence as it is considered to be an act against the community. The worst of these is murder, which is punishable by exile (However because of their philosophy, the murderer would need to restore balance for the life she or he took, whether to beget another child or to save a life).
The wood tribes people are pacifists, who regard all life as sacred, even the smallest ant. Therefore, no life should ever be taken, no matter who it is or how seemingly insignificant it is. There is, however, said to be an exception to this rule, regarding ‘weeds’:
If a weed threatens the forest, then the weed must be removed so that it does no further harm. If the weed further threatens the forest, then all must be done to contain the weed. If the weed cannot be contained, and if even a single plant is threatened, then the weed must be destroyed.
There is no form of central government, each village is governed by a group of elders, however in times of crisis representatives from each village may gather. The members of an individual community also regularly get together to discuss matters, and each member is able to vote (although the heftiness of the vote is based on the age of the member, meaning that the elders generally have the swaying vote, especially given their advanced age (See Xylomancy below).
Fire Nomads- Fire Nomads live in the warm, volcanic south of the world of the Incarnate. They practice Pyromancy (Firebending). Their land is the second largest in the world and they are the most spiritual after the Wood tribe. Their national colour is red and their emblem is a red triangle depicting a phoenix. The Fire Nomads are horsemen organized in bands. They place great emphasis on freedom and the individual, claiming that individual interests are the most important given that everyone is an individual. As such strictly speaking they don’t have leaders (although certain individuals of expertise may 'lead' the band at times, but this is considered different from 'ruling'), and during gatherings of importance everyone has a right to speak, even if it leads to conflicts. However, shamans may exercise some degree of authority over a particular band. Although essentially nomadic pastoralists, the fire nomads are also plunderers, attacking either different bands or areas north of them. A particular favourite is the metal empire, given that fire is the superior element against metal.
The Fire Nomads take great pride in their culture, whether it be their poetry, their ballads, stories, their music, or their artwork, whether is cloth or metallurgy. They view themselves as the most civilized, compared to many of the other nations, because they believe that control stifles freedom and creative expression.
Despite their reputation with fire, central to Fire nomad philosophy is the belief in control, as seen from the phrase, “nurture and let grow what you make, but also control it.” This is also applied to childrearing as well, as, although fire nomads are meant to give their children as much freedom and expression as possible which they believes allow them to grow and flourish, they must also have some control over them so that they don’t become wild.
The Earth Republic resides in the mountainous centre of the world, and is the largest nation. Its national colour is yellow, and its emblem is a yellow square depicting a chimera. It is the second least spiritual country, and produces the fewest mancers compared to the other nations. The country is famous for its large cities (which are also infamous for their filth), however most citizens are farmers. Although described as a republic, it is in fact a militant theocracy, ruled by the Tectonic Order of Knights. The Order believes in living lives free of wealth, and expect their citizens to eschew extravagent lifestlyes as well (even if there is a wealthy minority). The government also has a massive bureaucracy that runs the country. The Earth Republic believes in a sort of harmony with nature, comparing the way they take resources from the Earth the same way a mother feeds her child milk. The Earth Republic has a long policy of isolation from the rest of the world, and its village and town folk, unlike the wood tribe who are quite welcoming and friendly to people who come through their villages (As seen from one of their sayings, 'the forest welcomes all under their leaves and branches'), are openly hostile to outsiders, preferring them to leave. There is also a strong belief in a commitment to the state, therefore breaking the law is the highest offence.
The Metal Empire is situated in the rocky west of the world, and it is the smallest nation and the least spiritual. Its national colour is white (Although citizens of the metal cities have their own distinctive colours), and its emblem is a white circle depicting a lion. The country is ruled by the Iron Emperor, with order enforced by the iron soldiers, who form the Iron Legion. The government is a stratocracy: although an imperial family does exist the emperor is suceeded by his second in command. This the metal citizenship believes has given the empire a long, stable existence, by given power to those most deserving as opposed to the 'barbarians of the north' who hand power to those who are merely the firstborn children of the previous king. Indeed, there is a strong sense throughout the metal empire (particularly in the Iron city, but less so in the precious metal cities) that someone must earn what they have, with no form of help or nepotism. The Iron Emperor governs the empire with the assistance of elite metallomancers that form the circle of metals, which the Iron emperor is a part of. Each member represents a different metal, of which they are the most mancer of. The members (in order of importance) are as follows:
The Iron Emperor – concerned over the use of military force and law enforcement.
The Count of Gold – has control over wealth, along with the viscount of silver, elector of electrum the baron of bronze, and the copper king, in that order.
The Viscount of Silver
The Elector of Electrum
The Baron of Bronze – aside from some over currency also responsible for the production of sculptures.
Duke of Tin – responsible for the production of Bronze
The Copper King – the least important member in terms of wealth but also important in the manufacture of bronze.
Marquis of Mercury - alchemy
Earl of Zinc - alchemy
Baronet of Brass - artifacts
Prince of Platinum - artifacts
Lord of lead - plumbing
Each member is responsible for the control of resources, production and use of their respective metal, and is as powerful and important as their metal.
Aside from ruling the empire together each member also has total and sole control over a city made of their respective metal. As well as a representative there are also metal cities, each made from the different metals mentioned. Although there are stone cities, towns, and villages, they are considered to be common and inferior compared to the clean, refined cities metal. Each of the twelve cities have a distinctive character reflecting the building material of their choice.
The Iron city, a large squared structure, is the capital of the empire and home to the empeoror. Its citizenship is quite Spartan, rejecting all forms of luxury and preferring a rigid, structured way of life. It is also quite militaristic, dedicated to the war effort and fiercely patriotic, even though they are not all benders.
The Gold city, unlike the spartan Iron city, revels in luxury and the accumulation of wealth. The cities of silver and Electrum are similar although not to the same degree. The Bronze city celebrates the making of sculptures, whereas the copper city has traditionally been associated with wealth (But again, not as important as the others)
The Tin city, known as ‘the big container’, is more ‘middle class’ compared to the other cities. The city of Mercury, the only major ‘stone city’, nevertheless is famous for its rivers and pools of mercury, with all of the buildings painted in mercury in order to be on par with the other metal cities. It is also however infamous for its number of sick people. The city is centred around the use of alchemy. The zinc city, like the city of mercury, is also focused towards alchemy, although not as important.
The city of brass, known as the city of music, is famous for its musicians, as well as its artifacts, along with the city of Platinum. The city of lead, the second largest city but the lowest in terms of status, is famous for it’s large piping system. like the city of mercury it has a large number of sick people.
The Metal empire has a strong sense of superiority, considering the wood, fire and water nations to be barbarians (They have a particular hate of the fire nomads, considering them to be savages, although they regard the water kingdom as containing 'noble savages'). Even the Earth republic, the only other nation whose government is as strong as the metal empire, is considered inferior, as the metal empire consider earth to be a 'filthy' element, unlike clean and refined metal.
When people die in the metal empire, their bodies are laid out for respects to be paid for a day. Afterwards they allow animals to devour the corpses and clean the bones of flesh. Once this is accomplished the skeleton is then typically encased in armour with a death mask, and placed in a metal tomb. Poorer citizens, if animals are not available, tend to cleave the body of its flesh before placing the bones, with the clothes worn in life, in a coffin.
The water kingdom, found in the north, is composed of islands although it also includes the long strip of coast on the northern mainland. Their national colour is black and their emblem is a black crescent with a turtle. The water kingdom is a complex society, being both clan based and feudal based. There is also a hierarchy within how important a relationship is compared to others, in terms of which owes greater loyalty. Although it differs from village to village, the typical hierarchy (From the most) goes as this:
First to your mother, for she gave birth and nurtured you.
Then to your father, for he was the who raised you.
Then to you sibling, for they were raised alongside you.
Then to your grandparents, for they were the parents of your parents.
Then to your aunts an uncles,
Then to your cousins, for they are your kin.
Then to your clan, for they are your blood
Then to your friends, for they are like your brothers and sisters.
Then to your village, for they are like your family.
then to your village chief, for they are like your father
then to your island, for they are like your clan,
then to your lord, for he brings order to your island
then to your king, for he brings order to your kingdom.
The importance of friends or those close to the individual but not family also differs between villages. Some stress the importance of blood kinship compared to everything else, whereas others may value them almost as much as certain family members (although typically still second best).
in terms of kings and lords there are held to be restrictions to their powers. Within the Water Kingdom, leaders are considered to be important as they bring 'flow' to people, but should not bring stagnation. In other words, leaders should stop anarchy from happening, but anything that goes beyond this responsibility (e.g. dictating to people what they should eat) is considered to be a violation of their rights. A similar arrangement is meant to held within families as well, that any decision a parent makes concerning a child should only be regarding their safety or wellbeing.
Historians date their world going back at least six thousand years. Before that, it was believed that there were four races that inhabited the continent: the dryads of the forests, the dragons of the warm, volcanic south, the dwarves of the mountains, and the merfolk of the northern seas. These were the original mancers, who taught humans their art before departing to the spirit world. Originally, it was held that there were five tribes of wood, fire, earth, metal and water; at one point, the tribes were at war with each other, before peace brought by the incarnate. At this time the Earth tribe, who lived in a network of stone huts, were considered to be the most powerful tribe. The metal tribe was considered to be the weakest, but was famed for its jewelry made of gold and silver. About a thousand years later, it is said that the second incarnate brought a change to the world, inventing horse-riding and farming. The fire tribe soon became horsemen, herding livestock and moving them to new pastures, whereas the earth tribe took up farming. The wood tribe and water tribe, the latter of whom had long been fishermen, stayed to their old ways. The metal tribe attempted farming, but their land was unisutable for the task. A thousand years after that, the third incarnate 'invented' the city, which was soon adopted by the rest of the earth tribe. The metal tribe, although lacked the geomancers required to quickly build the cities, compensated by using metal instead, which soon led to a number of ‘metal cities’ being built, the most powerful being the bronze city. Whereas the Earth nation was divided into city states, which ruled the surrounding countryside, the metal was dominated by the bronze city, led by the bronze king. Soon the metal nation replaced earth as the dominant nation, but the two became rivals. This rivalry after a thousand years eventually erupted into war, which lasted many years. It was around this time that the fourth incarnate emerged, ending the war and discovering iron as well. After this the world entered a dark age, with the earth abandoning their cities and the bronze city’s power broken. It’s aftermath led to the rise of the seven major metal city states, including the young iron. Eventually the earth peoples returned to cities, and after a coupe of hundred years their kings were replaced with oligarchic councils. The metal nation remained the most powerful at this time. Around this time the wood tribe were said to have their current druidic society, whereas the water tribe migrated to the northern islands.
Sometime after the rise of the first ‘iron empeor’, although the iron city was always the most powerful city, it never directly ruled the others, preferring to demonstrate its influence through intimidation. However, the iron city embarked on a campaign of conquest, taking over the rest of the metal country. It was around this time that the first, true ‘iron emperor’ emerged.
About a thousand years after the beginning of the fourth or iron age, the metal empire started to expand outside of its territory, taking over lands from the fire nomads, Earth city states, even water tribe territory on the northern coast. This process was completed within around five hundred years. By the time they started to invade Wood tribe territory, however, the fifth incarnate had emerged and set out to overthrow the metal empire. She succeeded, but her efforts led to the fifth or ‘dark age’. The metal empire was in ruin, with the metal cities becoming independent. Even the Earth was divided into warring states. About four hundred years after the beginning of the fifth age, however, a resurgent iron city reconquered all metal territory. Around the same time, perhaps out of fear of a united metal empire, unification occurred among the earth peoples, becoming an Earth Republic. Up north, the water tribe became the water kingdom, with an established monarchy and nobility above the clan system. for a brief period the water kingdom entered a phase of plundering the rest of the world, although they would later become peaceful traders. several centuries after its establishment, the council of the Earth republic would be replaced by the tectonic order of knights (although the bureaucracy remained in place).
The world’s fauna can be divided into four categories: those that are scaled (in the east), those that are feathered (in the south), those that are shelled (in the north), and those that are furred (in the west), although the north does have a number of fish. The Earth Republic’s central position leads to a mixture of these different types (although there are rumours of human like animals residing here as well). There are also a number of ‘chimerical’ hyrbrids, such as chimeras and manticores found in the metal empire, and unicorns throughout the world. There are also dragons in the north.
Xylomancy: Xylomancy is the ability to control plant material and growth. Whereas merely ‘bending’ wood is considered the easy part, trickier is to accelerate its growth, or make it grow in a particular direction. This involves the careful regulation of life force or ‘vitae’. According to woodbending philosophy, each living thing vibrates vitae, and in order to increase the growth of a plant needs to make a ‘cut’ in a nearby plant, allowing its vitae to flow into the recipient, like a blood transfusion. This can be done with several plants. This must be carefully done, however as mishandling the flow may lead to the withering and even death of the source plants. Woodbenders can even use this ability to somewhat heal others, by strengthening their lifeforce from that of nearby plants (although it cannot heal wounds, if anything an open wound may end up gushing even more if unclosed, and it cannot eradicate disease, although it can strengthen the victim against it). It is even possible to restore someone to life with this ability, however it would involve the death of a tree, which goes against wood tribe philosophy (however a woodbender could give up his own life in order to save another). Woodbending masters are able to siphon off the viate of surrounding trees in order to extend their own lifetimes, slowing down their aging to a mere fraction, so that the can live for centuries (some have enven known to live for a thousand years).
Pyromancy: Pyromancy is the ability to create and control fire. Pyromancers use this ability in order to create fire balls and streams. It can also be used as a form of healing, able to accelerate the healing of bone and tissue. Like wood, pyromancers masters can use their power in order to extend their lifespans. A bonus is that they are able to rejuvenate themselves, appearing young potentially forever. A downside to this is that pyromancers must refrain themselves from any overt physical activity, and preferably remain sitting down. Any physical activity, even the use of pyromancy, leads to a loss of youth, and although they can still later rejuvenate themselves, too much use can lead to death. It can also be used to restore someone to life, although the revived person is not considered to be the same one who died, a new soul in an old body (as illustrated by the saying 'a fire lit on the same place is not the same fire that was before')
Geomancy: Geomancy is the ability to control earth, as well as fighting used to create walls and buildings.
Metallomancy is the ability to control metal, including on a molecular level, enabling them to change it from solid to liquid and back again, and are able to change metal into any shape. This ability is also useful in mining and the production of metal, as meta are able to draw the metal out of its ore without the need for smelting (although this still needs to be down to iron afterwards in order to strengthen it).
Hydromancy is the ability to control water. Due to warmer temperatures the hydromancers have not the fluidic ability to change water to ice and vice versa (although there are ice benders that live in the icy north), however they have compensated by mastering ‘hard water’, that is with enough force they are able to make water practically physical, e.g. able to grab hold of objects. It can also be used as a weapon, able to slice through anything, and can be used somewhat as a shield. It also can be used to heal, able to cure disease and infection, as well as burns (although it cannot be used to mend bone or heal wounds. If anything, the use of hydromancy would increase the floow of blood). It can also be used to restore life, unlike xylomancy without any risk to the user or anything elst. However, the extent of its power and its effect on the user differs throughout life. As a virgin, it can only be used it once in their childhood. As an adult, they can use it on a number of people simultaneously, however once used they cannot use it again for days, and it also weakens their general hydromancing ability. As a 'crone', they can only use it once in days, although it doesn’t affect their general hydromancing abilities. It must also be within minutes after death, before the soul has completely flowed from the body (according to hydromancing philosophy, body and soul do not instantly separate at death, rather the soul gradually pours out like water would from a jar that has a crack to join the great ocean of souls), and the body must also be intact. Also it can only be performed once on an individual, any attempt to bring back the same person twice leads them into becoming an undead, or a draugr.
The Incarnate is held to be the incarnation of the spirit of light and peace in human form, come down to save the world from disaster. Like the avatar, The Incarnate is master of all the elements, however so far has only appears six times in history, typically held that there is a thousand year gap between each appearance. The cycle is also different, with the order being wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The first incarnate was a woodbender, who appear five thousand years ago, and who brought peace to the warring tribes. The second Incarnate is held to have appeared a thousand years later, and was a male pyromancer. This incarnate was the first to tame a horse, and also invented farming as a way to improve the living of the tribes. The third incarnate, a female geomance, appeared another thousand years later, and invented the city, a place to be secure from attack and where many peoples could live together. The fourth Incarnate, a thousand years after this, a female metallomancer, with aid of her band of friends brought an end to the horrific war between earth and metal. She had also discovered iron, and her descendents and those of her friends went on to found the Iron city. The fifth incarnate, a female waterbender, appeared somewhat later than the others, during the height of the metal empire, and was responsible for its downfall (although was also responsible for the dark age as well). She also created a religion around her and the incarnate. Whereas the Incarnate had always been respected by the people, even worshipped, this was the beginning of an organized religion around the Incarnate, intended to install morality in a harsh, chaotic world (or to put it otherwise, bring light to a world of darkness), and bring unity among the peoples. The sixth incarnate, a male xylomancer , has now appeared almost a thousand years after the previous one.
When learning the different elements, wood and metal are held to be opposites, as are fire and water. Earth is the only element that has no opposite, considered the balancing element, and it is said that the earth incarnte had no problem learning the other four. Along with this apart from the opposite each element is said to strength the other four. So wood strengthens fire, since wood fuels the flames, enriches the earth and life giving properties to water. Fire actually increases the power of wood, a fellow ‘light’ element, as the sun fuels plants, increases the power of earth as it contains fire, and increases the flexibility of metal. Earth improves wood as it gains nutrients from it, metal as earth contains it, and increases the dexterity of water. Metal increases the power of fire, the strength of earth, and the flexibility of water.
: The new world’s spirit world (also known as the other world) is home to many such spirits as fairies, goblins, etc, as well as merfolk and centaurs (whose realm coincide with that of the metal empire). There are also angels who live in the sky, ruled by a quartet of archangels dedicated to worship of the spirit of light and peace (being light spirits themselves), and may save the souls of those they deem worthy. Whereas the subterranean part is home to demons, who in torturing souls. Roaming around are also malicious dark spirits.
Most of the world's peoples are in a sense monotheistic, although the wood tribe and most of the fire nomads continue to worship spirits (particularly forest spirits in the case of the wood tribe). The rest of the world follows a religion that involves the mixed worship of the incarnate (which churches dedicated to him/her throughout the world), the spirit of light and peace and the creator, who is held to be in control of everything. There was once a single church intended to unite the world but this suffered a schism along national lines. In the earth Republic and especially the metal empire, these three are considered to be one. The iron emperor is considered influential in church affairs (although these are generally left in the hands of the patriarch), whereas in the water kingdom there is a separation of church and state.