Central, well defended, civilized and beautiful, Astolat is the heartland of the nation. It is famous for its rose gardens, and the offering of a single Astolat rose is considered the perfect gift of true love (as in the Dawnish song The Rose Garden). In the north of Astolat, the majestic granite mountains are rich in ore, but occasionally threatened by their proximity to the wild forests which shelter beasts, barbarians and bandits.
The Castle of Thorns
Seat of the old Dawnish Kings and Queens, in Withy. Given over now to a great park, and almost completely engulfed in rose bushes, the Castle of Thorns serves as an academy for the training of civil servants, and is where most of the day-to-day business of running the Nation takes place. Each Dawnish Senator has apartments within this beautiful edifice, decorated with the produce and images of the territory they represent.
According to legends, the roses that enshroud the castle of thorns are the remnants of a magical defence created in pre-Imperial times by the enchanter Queen Jessamy. When the castle was besieged, she wove a great thicket of magically strengthened roses that surrounded the castle and tore the attacking forces to pieces when they tried to press the siege. The thicket lasted for only a season, but bought time for Jessamy's husband and allies to rally and come to her defence. The roses of the castle of Thorns are highly prized to this day as a symbol of enduring love and loyalty.
The River of Sighs runs past the Castle of Thorns. This wide, deep, fast flowing river was the site of the First Empress' legendary leap that won her entry to the house of Cevise. Traditionally set as a challenge for yeomen who were considered to be seeking to rise above their station, there are still knights-errant today who try to duplicate the Empress' jump, and the majority of those who fail are swept away and drowned.
The Harps of Astolat
The glorious tales of the great victories of 381YE in Weirwater and Semmerholm inspired the people of Astolat no less than they inspired their neighbours. An impromptu summit of enchanters and represenatitves of Astolat weaver cabals came together at Weaving shortly after the Autumn Equinox to discuss how they could express their pride and aid their nation. In the end they recognised that the witches already supporting the armies were more than a match for the Druj sorcerers - but they needed a ready source of power to wield their magic on the battlefield, or to weave the enchantments that will help the knights achieve victory. Lord Joshua of House Cadence devised an ambitious plan to construct a series of grand aolian harps at key locations throughout the territory. Commissioned by the Imperial Senate during the Winter Solstice, work was swiftly begun and swiftly completed. Aolian harps now stand in key locations throughout Astolat.
Six feet tall or more, these harps respond not to the wind but to the currents of mana, producing not only eerie ethereal music - the Music of the spheres - but harnessing, directing, and focusing the flow of magic itself. Each is built of blue-stained weirwood, with strings of polished moonsilver. As long as the central harp at Weaving remains unmolested, their beautiful, haunting music echoes across forest and field alike, weaving the magical currents to channel their power into the mana sites of Astolat.
A peaceful settlement in the glades on the edge of Miaren. Famed for Aurelie's Rest, a Dawnish centre of healing, where physicians and surgeons do what they can to aid those who are crippled or seem beyond cure -- in Brightway they may find rest for a while.
Famous for its tournament ground, which sets a standard for pageantry that other, lesser, nations can only envy. Many Dawnish who care for the glory of the duel hold Laroc in their hearts as they fight elsewhere. Several miles to the southeast of Laroc lie the Rosered Woods, a stretch of forest with a mysterious reputation said to be aligned in some fashion with one of the night eternals. It is said that anyone who spends a night in the forest will dream of their one true love - whether that be a person or a cause.
A short distance from the tourney grounds of Laroc stands the so-called Laroc Cathedral. The grandiose name is a bit of a misnomer as it is closer to a large chapel in size and import, but it is beautifully decorated and dedicated to the virtue of Courage.
An ancient town famed for its fine fruit brandies, set in an unusually verdant landscape; blossom is abundant in spring and its autumns are fruitful. The weaver cabal here weaves in willow withies, not cloth, and if any in Dawn have links to the Marchers, it is the weavers of Oldheart.
A centre of learning for ritual magics, where cabals plan the greatest of rites, and discuss what their voice in the Conclave should say for the greater good of Dawn and Empire. As a waymeet, it's also a town of many inns, where you'll often find questing knights or squires swapping stories, desperate for news of chances for heroism in far-flung places. Adelmar the Lion, Exemplar of Ambition was born here, and a small shrine marks the site where his family once lived.
A glade dedicated to the Paragon, Kethry, thought to be where Makin once courted her. Often used by the Dawnish as a place of vigil for those who follow Pride.
A great statue of a boar, fully 20 hands high, moss covered and inscribed with writings of Terunael, stands here in a small hollow, apparently watching the border with Varushka. Some amongst the Dawnish regard it as a place of fertility.
- Each region of Astolat is under the control of the Dawnish (and by extension, the Empire), making this a staunchly Imperial territory.
- The Harps of Astolat are a great work that provide an additional 45 crystal mana each season divided among the mana sites of Astolat.
- The Castle of Thorns is a rank three fortification.