Demonym: Sorana; of Sorairo. Soratami; a person who is Sorana
Climate/biome: Sorairo is a temperate island with one great mountain, Which experiences an unusually cold climate due to its altitude.
Area: Very small
Population density: Very high
Common Inhabitants: Eladrin
Rare Inhabitants: Shar, jotun
The lofty seat of the ancestral eladrin empire, Sorairo is an island rich with Escarnum deposits—so rich, it floats high above the other islands of Alm.
Isolated and aloof, Sorairo is politically neutral toward all the surface nations, while also being overtly socially hostile to outsiders. Build on a rigid caste system, Sorana society places great importance on proper behaviour. They have little interest in mingling with the races of the mainland, preferring to remain above the concerns of other races—and keep their own matters entirely private.
As a rule, Sorairo is the most straightforward feudal system to be found in Alm. It is ruled by a hereditary Emperor who presides over a intense hierarchy of noble families with their ancestral territories, and a rigid caste system beneath them. The Emperor is an absolute authority and a godlike figure, officially considered to be without flaw or vice; beneath them, lords and magistrates and family heads all inherit lesser amounts of this status.
Since ancient times, the Soratami Imperial families have ruled by virtue of a divine artefact, the Gyousei. Though rarely used, this relic of some forgotten god-beast could call down the fire of the heavens, making its wielder virtually indomitable as a military commander. Its last recorded use describes the former Emperor using it to obliterate numerous noble families who raised rebel armies against him, which upon inspection coincides roughly with the founding of Calanshae.
Sorairo boasts the oldest written histories in Alm, establishing that they have lived on their floating island for millennia. The earliest Soratami seem to have been unaware of the surface world, suggesting that if they originally descended from surface dwellers, it was long before they began keeping records. Early mentions of the world below express surprise and curiosity, as if observing newly-discovered animals. However, this quickly turns to disgust and despair at the primitive races that held sway on the surface world.
With such in-depth recordings of their own existence, informed Soratami are well aware that their history is one of countless factions and infighting. To the common folk, however, this is always characterised as a thing of the past—yes, there used to be many conflicts, but not since the divine Emperor showed everybody the way. Outside of those in authority, few even remember that the Imperial family has maintained its power by repeatedly obliterating opposing factions to the last individual.
Sorana society has a complex written language using as many as seven alphabets, depending on the writer and the audience, the origin and purpose of the words, and other factors. This highly structured system has the advantage of conveying much tonal and contextual information that is not immediately obvious top outsiders; however, it has also been used as a tool to maintain Sorairo’s rigid hierarchy across the ages.
Officially, Sorairo has always (and must always) do everything it can to avoid involving itself with the surface world. The truth is more complicated, of course—the first Calanish eladrin were from Sorairo themselves, a faction who favoured colonial expansion to the point where they willingly self-exiled, and were subsequently stricken from Sorana history.
However, in current practice their isolationism certainly holds true; they have no alliances or treaties with other nations, no allowances for cross-border travel or trade, and they do not recognise the sovereignty of any other nation. Sorairo does not attack outsiders on sight, but it does treat them with absolute disregard; few citizens will acknowledge them, and fewer still will help them with their goals. They must be made to understand they do not belong here.
The shar, imprisoned in the labyrinth within Sorairo, are a matter of state secret. It is much easier to escape through the shadowfell than to breach the gate back to Sorairo’s surface, so few Soratami ever have any reason to know of the shar; those who do are high-ranking members of the Imperial family, or its advisers. Conversely, the shar have certainly not forgotten who cast them into the shadow. In the hellish world of the Aganai, hate of the Soratami is passed down like an heirloom, often becoming an achor when all else fails.
Adventurers from Sorairo
Even more than their Calanish cousins, Soratami are known for being aloof and insular. Although the people of Sorairo are not openly hostile toward the mainland, they avoid other peoples, and take advantage of their isolation to keep them away. Appearance and conduct are paramount in Sorana society, where one strives to contain their emotions and present a dignified front at all times.
Even adventurer Soratami are typically stern, regimented folk who place a high value on honour (even as they determine what honour means). Those who mingle with other peoples tend toward a certain blithe arrogance, observing those around them as if studying a strange animal.
Most Soratami adventurers are outcasts: individuals forced to leave their homes for social or political reasons, rebels who spurn the traditional ways of their people, or those born of outcast parents. These individuals are more likely to gain a true appreciation of other cultures, making them much more approachable than their aloof kindred.