The world of Sæmyyr is vast. It is a world in which a rider can travel for leagues upon leagues and not encounter another person for weeks, in which you can walk down the teaming steets of Mtol Dærine, the jewel of Mtol Dærask, home to millions of souls, or in which you can sail upon enormous inland seas for days. Saemyyr's history is equally vast - measured in thousands upon thousands of years, where institutions, like the Brotherhood of Magus, have persisted for over five millenia, and where buildings still stand which were built over two thousand years ago.
Sæmyyr is home to the exceptional. It is a world in which thousands of priests, among millions of holy men, can draw upon the power of miracles - healing the sick, searing blasphemers with sacred flames, and even raising the dead. It is a world in which armed factions vie for ideological dominance and exert as much power and influence as lords and dukes. It is a world in which humans have been altered through unknown forces into whole new tribes of peoples with extraordinary powers. The manifestation of these extraordinary forces is regulated and controlled by a single organization which protects the world from those few thousand that can spontaneously produce what can only be termed magic. It is a place where, it is said, that at the dawn of civilization, over ten thousand years ago, nearly everyone had that power - and more.
There are many themes which play across the pages dedicated to Sæmyyr, but of those many pages there are overarching themes which stand out, tones and moods which seem to strike familiar chords to those people who inhabit Sæmyyr, and concepts which seem central to the lives of all people there. Below are some of the more major ones:
ReManifest Destiny - The enormity of the land and the incredible length of their history have given the inhabitants of Sæmyyr a sense of their collective and individual destinies. The annals of history are long enough and cultural memory strong enough, that people remember the stories of heroes past and they know that they too could be their people's future if given the right circumstance. Destiny and Fate play a big part in the daily lives of Sæmyyr's people, from the Priests of Kalak who preach of His immanent return, to the holy men of Septimus who still speak of the Last Battle, figures of fate and destiny play major roles in every culture across Sæmyyr. When an Utgathain, a Brother of Magus, or a true priest of Tyvaard Votar pass through a village the people notice and generations of superstition, of belief, and mythologized memory come to life both inspiring and instilling fear to those all around. In a world as enormous as Sæmyyr, the individuals who are woven into the tapestry of time are just as big.
Memories of futures past - The traces of time have left long marks on the memories of the people of Sæmyyr, maintaining them, mythologizing them, and forming new ones. Sæmyyr's history spans over 10,000 years and the cultural, collective, and mythologized memories continue to live within Sæmyyr's communities. Sæmyyr's heroes are not detached or forgotten, but are instead remembered, sung about, and reenacted. In Sæmyyr the past and present and future are all alive and interwoven - heroes create the myths of the future by fulfilling and changing the destinies of the past. The sword of a famous warrior is a relic which carries the living essence of the memory of that warrior's spirit. The Brothers of Magus can feel the weight of the past around them as they walk the ancient halls of the Citadel of Magus, researching future arcane spells.
Ancient Secrets - The sands of time have left buried innumerable treasures in Sæmyyr and countless mysteries. The ancient tales speak of magics far more powerful than exist today, of lost cities and a time when the gods walked upon the surface of Sæmyyr. The rich and long history of Sæmyyr is all around and suffuses the cities, villages, and mountain vales with tales of long unused roads traveled by the ancients, of magical haunted cities deep within the jungles of Tar Sequinus and secrets so old that even the Brotherhood of Magus does not know their true meaning. The people of Sæmyyr have a rich sense of the greatness and magic of ancient peoples and each generation inspires a new group of treasure hunters and seekers for the truth.
Motifs & Tone
More than meets the eye - Sæmyyr is a massive world with a massive history spanning thousands upon thousands of miles and thousands upon thousands of years. Not everything in Sæmyyr is what it seems to be, quite often in fact, things are indeed not what they seem to be. From the beggar in the streets of Mtol Dærine who is actually a three-hundred year old priest, to the slender quiet warrior sitting at the bar who in reality is a spy for a powerful group of mentalists and mages, most people in Sæmyyr are not who they seem, situations are always more complex than at first thought, individuals more intriguing than they appear on casual observation, and that unassuming building down the street was built 5000 years ago by people and materials beyond current understanding. Life in Sæmyyr is rarely what it seems and everything is always more than meets the eye.
Wheels within wheels - Sæmyyr is a world of machination, of intrigue, espionage, and conspiracies of designs within designs; of plots which swirl and lay dormant for years before the right set of conditions conspire to bring things about. The many factions, groups, nationalities, and power-seeking individuals of Sæmyyr will infiltrate, bribe, and assassinate each other in order to uncover each others plans, thwart them, and put themselves in a position of control. Intrigue is a part of life in Sæmyyr and permeates every facet of daily existence and interactions. While the kings, senates, and magistrates might write the laws, various independent factions, merchants, and organizations make sure that the laws which become enacted are ones which benefit their group the most. It is a world in which lords plot against each other, clerics plan against their leige lords, and removal through the intrigues of the courtiers, assassinations or poisonings is the norm.
Sæmyyr is a harsh mistress - Sæmyyr is a massive and dangerous place. Wildernesses are expansive, undeveloped, and filled with dangerous creatures. The animals and denizens of the wild are made stronger by the enormous planet and more ferocious by the tenacious need to survive in a savage environment bent on killing them. The wilds are a survival of the fittest and the peoples who do survive are made more potent, and more dangerous. Cities are full of intrigue, of armed factions pursuing their own agendas and often the only activity of law enforcement in most villages is "knocking down drunks and hauling them away before they hurt themselves or others". Most local magistrates are poorly schooled in law, politically corrupt, and depend on assessing fees and fines to make a living. The better ones rule by common sense and experience, but can be inconsistent as they do not resort to statutes to guide their rulings. Nobles tend to have better quality education and follow written laws. Honest witnesses are hard to find and most witnesses are biased by their personal relationships and acquaintances.
At its worst many of Sæmyyr's nations are only just above despotism, many are made more powerful by the union of religious and secular dominion... "in the place of morality it imposed orthodoxy; in the place of unbridled and demoralized expression of the natural instincts, hypocrisy and pretense; in the face of despotism there was developed greed masquerading as poverty, and deep cunning; in religious art and literature there was an incredible stubbornness in the constant repetition of obsolete motifs."
At its best though, Sæmyyr's nations are hopeful promises of a potential future, fertile places where the destinies of individuals, of communities, of whole peoples can rise through the dangerous machinations of a mammoth savage world through the distant memories of the past to become memories of the future. Sæmyyr is a place where knowledge is power, and that power is available to anyone and everyone and the secrets of the ancients are available to anyone who can shape and realize their own destiny.