An alchemist's pathway.
Royalty and magic
The Magiocracy of Illustria and islands of the iron moon
An ancient land that’s ruled by an elderly group of mages of some kind, who are collectively called the book of mirrors and are only recognisable by specific astrological symbols they present. Presently not all of their identities are known, and knowledge of the kinds of magic they wield is also unknown. All that is otherwise known about them is that their total number of members is between 20 and 24.
The land of Illustria has always been seen as anywhere from immoral to horrific and damnable by all cultures outside of their own as they practice necromancy openly as one of their magical arts. It’s this very thing which has also kept them safe as any invasion has to take in to account that any of it’s fallen numbers might rise up as soulless corpses to attack brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and other family members mercilessly and without pity or memory of who they just were. In times immediately before war any remains from previously killed warriors, executed criminals, plague victims etc are raised from large areas called the deadfields where they are ‘stored’ in huge festering open pits. At all other times the dead fields are only inhabited by carrion and guardians, ranging from elementals, constructs and golems to the undead themselves.
Within Illustria the deadfields are seen as necessary as there is no large standing army of any kind, after all physical brute strength is seen as barbaric and animalistic in nature, not befitting acts from higher thinking beings, so having a large force that can be summoned at short notice, with no great logistical problems, made up of those who deserve no honour or respect in this life or as a corpse is a good idea. Many also see that the corpse is an empty husk, so there’s not any insult to whatever gods the barbarians might have worshipped.
Every person in Illustria receives a basic education, and magic is used almost universally, from lowest peasant onwards, and it is very rare to find anyone who has no knowledge of magic use in some capacity. Due to the reliance on knowledge and magic as strengths Illustrian life is one of equality with positions of power being awarded to the most adept and most well qualified, no matter their gender.
The Iron Moon isles
There in the South sea, some 600 miles below the Ilsudan mainland rests the Islands of the Iron Moon, under the protection and guidance of Illustria. They are called such because the sands bare the colour of rusted iron, but under the light of the full moons the sand gives off a barely perceptible ethereal glow, and looks distinctly more yellow, as though it’s had it’s colour drained away by the moonlight. It’s thought that it does this because of the high iron content of the islands,, but when it glows faintly under the moonlight it’s sometimes called ghost dust. It’s said that this sand is prized by the magiocracy because it can be alloyed in certain processes to produce synthetic magical glass, almost of the same purity and worth and naturally occurring magical glass.
It’s said that the islands were once inhabited by a primitive, devoutly religious and cannibalistic tribal peoples, and that it’s the blood of so many who have died there being massacred en-mass by the large populace which has tainted the sands over many millennia, though such superstitious tales are usually dismissed by the Illustrians.