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Overview

Arcadia is one of two principle settings for The Longest Journey and its sequel Dreamfall, and is expected to be explored further in the upcoming Dreamfall Chapters and the untitled MMO offshoot.  It is a world inhabited by several distinct human cultures as well as several civilized non-human species.  The physical laws of the world are more like general guidelines, frequently bent or broken through the application of magic and alchemy, so advanced science and technology have proven all but impossible to develop.

Arcadia is different from most fantasy settings in that it exists in tandem with an alternate dimension ruled by logic and hard physical laws known as Stark.  These two planes are separated by a great Divide which is preserved by a solitary human Guardian who maintains the delicate Balance which prevents the physical laws of one world from polluting the other.  Despite these precautions, major events in one world have demonstrated an ability to affect the other.

History

Thousands of years prior to the events of The Longest Journey, Stark and Arcadia existed as a single, unified Earth where the inhabitants could fuse elements of high science and powerful magic to acquire phenomenal power.  Their ability to accumulate power grew faster than the wisdom to control it responsibly, building towards a vast techno-magic apocalypse that would not only annihilate Earth, but likely affect many other parts of the universe.

To head off this catastrophe, a team of six brilliant scientists and six powerful wizards joined forces with an enigmatic extraterrestrial race known as the Draic Kin to split the planet into two smaller worlds: one governed exclusively by science and empirical logic, and the other by arcane mysticism and intuition.  These realms would exist side-by-side, occupying the same space and time, but separated by a great Divide which would preserve the special physical laws unique to either side.  This delicate Balance would need to be actively sustained by a lone human, a Guardian who would occupy the space between dimensions for a thousand years at a time and prevent any "leaks" between them.

Little is known about the specifics of Arcadia's history over the next several thousand years, except for specific wars and cultural schisms which are briefly touched upon as part of the main plot.  Unlike in Stark, the population of Arcadia has preserved extensive knowledge of the great Divide and the nature of the Balance, and have developed a quasi-religion headed by the Order of the Sentinel.

Advancement

Due to the mutable and irregular laws of physics, technology in Arcadia has never advanced much past the medieval era on Earth.  Goods are transported over land using carts and wagons drawn by animals, and seagoing vessels remain of the wood and sail variety.

Where technology has failed, however, magic has flourished.  The sailing vessels seen in The Longest Journey appear nearly as large as aircraft carriers thanks to the enchantments which keep them afloat.  Aircraft exist in the form of large dirigibles but can be precisely guided through magical command of the wind, and at least one memorable alchemist successfully coaxed his entire castle into floating serenely in the air.

Races & Cultures

Arcadia is home to several human cultures as well as all of the intelligent non-humans who inhabited the world before the great Divide.  All linguistic differences are circumvented through the use of Alltongue, a ubiquitous magic spell which acts as a universal translator.


Marcuria

Marcuria is the captial city of Ayrede, also known as the Unified Country.  A bustling seaside community, it is headquarters for the Order of the Sentinel, a solemn brotherhood dedicated to preserving the Balance between Arcadia and Stark.  Its population is principally human, but the prosperous trade ports and large central marketplace have brought a steady flow of non-humans as well, some of whom have elected to settle there as residents.

The country of Ayrede is bordered by the Border Mountains to the north, the nation of Tyren to the west, the Great Sea of Songs to the south, and the civilization of Corasan to the east.  The region is also home to the Banda, an intelligent subterranean race who are preyed upon by the Gribbler, a wicked monster who can disguise herself as a human.

Venar

The Venar are a reclusive race who live north of the Border Mountains and are virtually incapable of interacting with the other races because they lack any concept of linear time.  From the moment of birth, every Venar is simultaneously aware of every moment they have ever lived in the past or ever will live in the future.  This makes communication almost impossible because the Venar simply cannot distinguish between the beginning, middle, and end of a conversation, though some rare individuals can learn to focus on a specific moment to speak with outsiders.

Maerum & Alatian

Deep beneath the Sea of Songs is the civilization of Maerum, an aquatic race which occasionally employs captives from the surface world to help harvest food from their underwater farms.  Their territory is frequently attacked by non-sentient beasts such as the massive snapjaws, and they have a traditional mistrust of the Alatian, a bird-like civilization who inhabit the peak of an island above their city.

Dark People

The Dark People are an enigmatic race whose sole motivation seems to be the collection and preservation of every written work in Arcadia.  They inhabit the Sea of Songs in an immense floating city which drifts with the currents, making its location impossible to divine to any outsider.  Every member appears in a hooded shroud which floats a few feet off the ground with no visible means of support.

Draic Kin

Native to neither Stark nor Arcadia, the Draic Kin are actually an extraterrestrial race which assisted the humans in splitting Earth into two separate halves and left a small contingent behind to monitor the results.  They are rare, ancient and immensely powerful, and while the people of Arcadia accept their existence despite generations of absence, the inhabitants of Stark contracted the name "Draic Kin" into "dragon" and have dismissed them as legends.

Azadi

The Azadi are a deeply religious civilization of humans who originate from some distant part of the Northlands, but who travel around the world to liberate Marcuria when it is conquered by the barbaric hordes from Tyren.  They are ruled by a council of Six who speak for the Goddess worshiped by the Azadi, and train fanatical Apostles to convert non-believers by force.  After freeing Marcuria from the Tyren, they remained to occupy it themselves and commenced the construction of an enormous pillar in the center of the city.

The Azadi are intolerant of non-human races and treat them as inferiors, segregating the magical residents of Marcuria into walled-in ghettos apart from the general population.  They also appear to be somewhat more technologically advanced than other civilizations and began installing mysterious steam-powered machines to virtually every Marcurian structure regardless of whether or not they were inhabited.

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