I’ve heard it called many different names. ‘The Gilded City’, ‘Little-Giant Island’, ‘Land of Opportunity’, and my personal favorite: ‘Cesspool of Degeneracy’.
-Evie Darling, Legate of Gast Academy’s Panacea Hall
Hafland is a sprawling city located in the Altum Ocean, at the halfway point between the Populo Federation and the Radiant Empire. This convenient location between the two was cause for the rekindling of their war, but also the greatest boon to trade and intermingling afterward; Hafland has become a melting pot for humans, kavi, and dalyéwos.
Originally inhabited by only the native dalyéwos, the island was discovered by the human pirate, Henry Barbanero in 490. A notorious pirate lord of the time, he quickly overcame the pacifistic dalyéwos and established the island as his base of operations, using it as a staging point to raid the Populo Federation’s coasts. His wealth and power grew tremendously in the following years, since no one from the human continent thought to check for him in the Altum Ocean. Eventually in 505, Barbanero’s son, Henry Junior, would kill his father and take over the pirate lord’s duties. However, unlike his father, Henry Junior was recklessly ambitious; Barbanero was smart enough to maintain the Long War’s Treaty and not raid any kavi ships. Henry Junior was not.
The Radiant Empire’s navy found Henry Junior’s base in 507, killing the pirates and claiming the island for themselves. The kavi mistook the island’s bases and fortifications as belonging to the Populo Federation, and thought the humans were preparing to mount another war against them. Thus, the second Human-Kavi conflict began.
Unlike the previous war, the majority of this conflict took place at sea, which led to it being called the Sailor’s War. Luckily for humans, by this time their naval technology had advanced far enough for them to put up a fair fight; they had steam-powered, ironclad warships that put them on almost even footing against the Radiant Empire’s navy.
Some land skirmishes happened upon either nation’s coasts, but the majority of ground battles took place on Hafland. Being the only significant land mass between the two continents, the island was a military advantage to whichever side controlled it. Hafland would be the center of many bloody conflicts during the Sailor’s War, and the island would change ownership every couple years.
Unfortunately for the dalyéwos, they weren’t spared from the conflict and almost ¾ of their population either died as collateral damage or were conscripted to fight for whoever controlled the island at the time.
Finally, in 538, after 31 long years of fighting, the Populo Federation and Radiant Empire signed another peace treaty: Treaty on the Bloodied Beach, which declared an end to hostilities and established Hafland as neutral territory neither nation could lay claim to. The Populo Federation and the Radiant Empire returned to their isolationist policies, refusing contact or trade with each other.
But something strange would happen on Hafland over the next hundred years. Despite the two nations’ animosity toward each other, people from both continents began populating the island. People looking for a new place to start, disenchanted soldiers from the war, adventurers and academics—they trickled onto the island little by little, learning to live among each other. Humans and kavi that had grown tired of the fighting banded together on Hafland, and in 613 declared themselves a sovereign city-state, ruled by The Council of Six.
Trade with both the Populo Federation and the Radiant Empire was initially banned, for fear of showing favoritism to one nation and invoking the wrath of the other. But in 678, the Council of Six voted to open trade routes with both sides. The two countries’ governments still refused to deal with each other, but allowed trade to the island itself; for more enterprising individuals, this became an opportunity to finally trade between the two giants. Hafland reaped the benefits of such an arrangement, becoming a beacon of free thought and wealth. The island’s population swelled, and Hafland quickly evolved into the cultural hotspot of opportunity we know of today.
As of the 728 census, the current population of Hafland is 18.977 million. 68% are human, 17% are kavi, 10.5% are dalyéwo, and 4.5% are other.
Hafland consists of two islands. The larger of the two holds most of the city’s population and industry, and has a landmass of 4318 mi². The smaller island is a mountain (10,290 ft peak), home to the mercenaries of Gast Academy and has a landmass of 1106 mi².
The climate on Hafland is a temperate oceanic climate; in general, the weather is cool and often cloudy, with narrow temperature ranges—hot extremes are rare. The island receives rainfall an average of 117 days per year. Temperatures usually range from 20°F to 80°F, depending on the time of year.
The southern coast in Anchors is usually the sunniest, with cloud coverage increasing as you progress north into the island and toward Gast Academy. During the winter season, Gast Academy gets extensive mist and fog. Due to the island mountain’s higher altitude, the temperature and weather extremes are also harsher than the main island with more severe snowfall and rain storms.
Spring: This period lasts from March to May and is a calm, cool, and dry season. As the days get longer, the weather gets warmer, but usually drop off again at night. Snow can still occur early to mid-March, and thunderstorms/heavy rain occasionally develops toward the end of the season.
Summer: Summer takes place between June and August. The temperature rarely exceeds 85°F, but there are rare moments when heatwaves have briefly hit the island. Of all the island’s seasons, summer is considered the most stable.
Autumn: This season lasts from September to November. Hafland’s weather is particularly volatile during this season. High cloud coverage brings heavy rains to the island and strong winds can form, leading to severe storms—especially near the end of the season. Low temperatures and heavy snowfall can occur during the month of November and early December. Adding to this mixed bag of weather, there have been years when the climate becomes milder, especially by the evening, and temperatures rise to 60°F.
Winter: Hafland’s winters last from December to February. The climate is windy, cool, and wet; temperatures average in the lows of 23°F and highs of 42°F. Despite the cooler temperatures, snowfall usually does not happen on the main island, except intermittently and in small quantities in areas with higher altitudes. The early parts of winter are often the wettest and windiest times of the year, but taper off as the season progresses to spring with less wind, less precipitation, and lower temperatures.
Between December and April, snowfall can be expected on the smaller, mountain island where Gast Academy is built. Most of the academy is covered in snow during this time, with the snowline receding up the mountain as the season progresses to spring. However, at the peak of the mountain snow exists year-round along with extreme gale-force winds.
Hafland is divided into six boroughs, each with a councilor on the Council of Six.
|Borough Name||Current Councilor||Land Area||Population|
|Gast Academy||Gabriel Fletcher||1106 mi²||268,663|
|Anchors||Edward IV “Chummy” Cortez||439 mi²||1,611,209|
|Van Buren||Cornelia Van Buren||781 mi²||8,137,551|
|Emerald Crater||Hach’hihem||1404 mi²||1,929,178|
|Magitech’s Coast||Setunjee Deol||388 mi²||1,390,154|
|Kings||Jun Xia Shang||1306 mi²||5,640,355|
Gast Academy: Gast Academy comprises the entirety of the mountain island, though much of it is uninhabited. The borough is named after the mercenary academy built there, and serves as both the training grounds and living quarters of the famed mercenaries.
Anchors: This borough is comprised of the major harbor on the southern coast of the main island and oversees hundreds of ships sailing in and out on a daily basis. Hafland’s harbors are among the largest in the world, and is considered the busiest in the world. Hidden in the depths around it is a large graveyard of sunken ships leftover from the Sailor’s War.
Van Buren: This borough was created by the wealthy Van Buren family. When an outsider thinks of Hafland, it is most likely they are thinking of the iconic skyscrapers and lavish lifestyles of Van Buren’s elite. The city is said to never sleep, with bustling parties going well into the early hours of the morning.
Emerald Crater: Dalyéwos call this massive, forested crater their home. Most of the island’s food grows here, enchanted by dalyéwo magic to grow at great speeds and to great sizes. The Feral Forest, an undeveloped and dangerous area for unwary travelers, covers much of the land. Anyone visiting the crater will also be surprised to find the climate to be nothing like the dreary weather across the rest of Hafland, but rather a tropical paradise . . . if not for the dangers that lurk in the dark forest.
Magitech’s Coast: Scientists and chanters alike have set up shop on the eastern cliffs of Hafland. Human technology and kavi magic have combined here to create a new and wondrous thing, colloquially called magitech. Research facilities and factories dot the high-rising cliffs, which lead the world in cutting-edge products and advancements.
Kings: Kings is the second largest borough on Hafland, only beat out by Emerald Crater by 100 mi². The borough is considered the residential zone of the island, taking up the northwestern chunk of the island. Suburban homes dot the landscape and provide a quiet escape from the busier city-life of Van Buren; as one nears the western coast, the family homes become larger estates and mansions. More than half of the borough is protected land. In an effort to preserve the local wildlife, the Council of Six has barred development in these areas, allowing for beautiful hikes through the mountains and visits to the beaches and lakes. Although Kings is considered one borough, the locals have unofficially split it into two: Upper Kings and Lower Kings. Despite a population of several million, most outsiders don’t realize a vast city lies beneath the nice houses and clean streets. A network of caves exists underground, and the poor have created their own homes there, dubbed Lower Kings.