Saloondrian Short Stories, by Blake Propach
The Final Decree by Michael Kuroda
The common salmon continues to swim long after it is dead. The body, so absorbed with its simple task of traveling up the river, works toward this task fruitlessly, and the brain simply cannot keep up. The oldest salmon, the big ones that make it up the rapids past the bears and the raccoons to reach the tranquil ponds high up in the mountains, beyond the reach of civilization… it is said that these salmon continue to swim even there, their decaying faces pressed up against the cold stone of the mountain, swimming, swimming, pressing their snouts into the rock as their tails swish back and forth. Back and forth. Until their long dead bodies finally run out of energy and sink to the bottom where they are consumed by their own offspring, who will one day make the journey downriver to the sea, before climbing back up again to meet the same fate as their parents.
A flag flies proudly above the walls of Hatbrim, a massive flag whose blue and orange and pink can be seen a dozen miles off, flapping violently but crisply in the ocean breeze. The common river salmon on a background of ocean blue. An appropriate mascot for the corpse of an empire, whose own actions led to its catastrophic decline, as it continues to swim, a dead and rotting brain carried along by the unthinking body to no destination at all. The old Saloondrian Empire, once controlling swathes of land from the tip of the hat to the barrel of the gun, as far as an eagle could see across all the forests and the wastes of Saloondria, reduced to a barnacle clinging to a rock on a monster-infested lake of its own creation.
Hatbrim Council Meeting by Licheng Mai
So begins the partial transcription of the two thousand, four hundred, seventy-seventh congress of the Principality of Saloondria held in the council chambers of Hatbrim. Transcribed by Sir Michael of Kurodia.
Unnamed Curse by Licheng Mai
I write this now in the case I do not return. The spell was far more powerful than I expected. The warnings are not enough, could never be enough to prevent the foolhardy from traveling here. If you are reading this now, know that it may already be too late, that you must retrace your steps immediately, exit this library, and never return. I have cast a strong spell of my own to ward off the greater effects of this cursed air in the surrounding area, but I assume it will not last until you find this book. I implore you. Turn back while there is a chance you still can.
Boon in the Plague Lands by Michael Kuroda
They fell out of the sky to an empty desert. No spectators watched their desires go up in flames. No crowds witnessed their wealth and pride vaporize upon the ground. Whatever dispute had led to their entanglement up in the air meant nothing to them now.
Before us stood two massive airships, one with its bow smashed straight through the hull of the other. Notably, they were smashed and half buried in the cracked earth of the Plague Lands, not floating far above as they were designed to be. Their sails were deflated, devoid of the magic that propels them. The mana-infused planks that composed the ships were missing their signature blue glow, the spells inactive now that the engines were destroyed. Millions of coin worth of vessels reduced to scraps and waste, forgotten by their owners safe in distant lands.
Trickdraw Junction by Michael Kuroda
Barrelmouth City Resident
"I never meant to be one of the cityfolk, and to hear them speak about me, which I know they do, behind my back, day and night, nothing good, mind you. Always bad. They hate me here. I’m still a big deal, a huge thorn in their sides, certainly. I supply my wisdom, and at a good price, far too good for these people. But no, I’m not one of them. Never meant to be. I’m from Trickdraw Junction, or the surrounding parts. Born and raised in the desert sands. Takes a real stock to live through such a thing. Not for the faint of heart. I should be charging for this. Good wisdom, this.
Trickdraw Junction’s overrun, now, of course. Long as I’ve been alive, long as my Daddy’s Daddy been alive, Trickdraw Junction’s been a heap and a half of nothing. It was once a grand outpost, many years before the invasion, before the savages overran it. An outpost worthy of an empire, with a tower that touched the sky. From the top of that tower, you could see all the way to Barrelmouth. And back then, you’d better believe anyone that could see that tower in the distance knew full well they were being watched, and looked after, so long as they were good.
The savages never could have built such a tower, which is evidence to the fact that the gods themselves had a hand in its creation. Because before civilization, savages were all there were. And to our great misfortune, all that are left. Sure, they inhabit the Junction now, but it’s not their home, no more than this city is mine. We all belong elsewhere than where we are, unless of course we’re where we’re meant to be. It’s a right shame, the occupation, and if I had my way, we’d smoke them out.
Saloondrian Short Stories, by Blake Propach
A Looming Danger by Michael Kuroda
We didn't always fear the deep. In fact, it was only recently we even learned a reason to. Almost overnight, the city of Barrelmouth militarized into a fortress. The wooden buildings were reinforced with heavy stones, the docks welded with massive spikes of iron, the watchtowers armed and the windows facing the sea covered in metal bars. The dockworkers became our frontline soldiers in a war we never meant to enter, a now necessary force to ward away the darkness below.
A darkness summoned from our own greed. Barrelmouth was once no different than any other small town hugging the northern hills. Its position was economical, controlling the heart of the river. In times long past it was the trade hub for all of eastern Saloondria. But times change, and Crater River became less important, as dams were dug and reservoirs filled. The east inevitably fell out of favor. The seaside towns became the new heart of Saloondria, as the ocean was mapped and civilization advanced. And while it went unsaid, the added distance from the Plague Lands did much to ease the minds of civilians.
Barrelmouth fell into disrepair. Investors, bankers, traders not dependent on the commerce of the hills, these people left the already shrinking city in droves. All those that remained were the small businesses, the loggers and the hunters, and any of those loyal to the land over their own prospects. For years this became the spirit of the city, and the people changed, or rather hardened. Sturdy, protective, but loyal to each other and with strong collective memories of what Barrelmouth once was, perhaps one day still could be.
Kingdom of Saloondria by Michael Kuroda
A curse was not always so common. Nor was it so evil. There was a time, long forgotten, when to curse was to create. To curse was to protect, to cure. That time is no more.
Once, there were no curses, and the Plague Lands flourished under some other name. The land beyond the plague was once connected to the lands of Saloondria, and great nations lost to our histories dealt with us, sharing technologies and culture. In the Plague lands themselves, farmers reaped bountiful harvests from healthy soil. Forests and rivers, plentiful wildlife, a paradise in a different world. The Cursed King changed this. And in so doing, changed our world forever.
It began as evil often does. Quietly and from the shadows, creeping on the innocent and unexpecting. At first the reports were strange but not unprecedented. Horses and cattle began to come back fewer and fewer from the pastures. Strange lights and frequent fires emanated from the forests, but no search parties could find their sources. Some search parties lost men in the darkness, and some entire groups never returned.
The townspeople had explanations for such occurrences. The wolves were more active that year. The native peoples had become bolder, pushed further into the lands of the civilized. But some things they could not explain. The cemeteries were emptying. A mass graverobbing had begun. But whoever it was that was responsible, they were not taking the valuables. Jewelry and finery were strewn across the stones as if they had been discarded by the unhappy ghosts. The bones, however, were missing. And the holes were not square, as if they were not dug out from above, but rather from below.
This encyclopedia entry was created for and posted to Reddit, reposted below for better readability.