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La’marri is a village located in the Western portion of Le’raana within a clearing in the Niahi Woods. Modest in size and quaint and clean in style, La’marri is a sanctuary for mages and other beings who just want to live out a simple, and peaceful, life without being bothered. The village is a safe haven for those who want a quiet place to practice and develop their arts, and it also doubles as a sanctuary for those who are perhaps looking to escape from the tyranny of another country or group. One unique thing about La’marri is that it is an independent village in every sense of the word, meaning it has no government, not even a village council. The basic premise is that the village is a free-for-all haven where anyone is welcome under the condition that, to use an old cliché, they come in peace. This makes the inhabitants of the village a rather varied lot, with humans, humanoids, and other magical creatures all sharing the same space together.
This by no means makes the people of La’marri pushovers. Remember, many mages (including some potentially very powerful ones), and even refugees from other parts go there to live or even just visit, so while peaceful, they are certainly not without means to protect themselves, nor would they hesitate to do so. While there may be no real government and no official laws, there are some very basic, unwritten laws to which the visitors and inhabitants abide, and if another inhabitant, or the village as a whole, is threatened, there will be consequences awarded to whoever, or whatever, is deemed the threat.
In the center of the village stands an old stone temple, which serves both as a place of multi-faith worship (anyone of any faith is free to use it if they so desire) and as a quiet, safe space for meditation, reflection, or just some alone time. A portion of the ceiling is cut away in the temple, serving as a sun and moon roof, and at certain times of the year various constellations align within the cutout. At one time, this may have had some sort of sacred meaning, but the relevance has long since been lost. Many younger children like to claim that the temple is haunted.
Zantaric could be called La’marri’s polar opposite. It’s another free-for-all village, independent of any governments, where anyone may come…but unlike La’marri, it attracts those people with a tendency toward shadier dealings. Mages dabbling in forbidden arts make a living here, and various outlaws and criminals may make a pit stop here to hide out or conduct business. Zantaric’s philosophy? Everyone’s business is strictly their own. If someone murders another inhabitant of Zantaric? It’s no big deal, and chances are a blind eye will be turned toward the ordeal—unless, of course, such an event happens to affect anyone else. It’s their business, and only the business of those involved. So, in a nutshell, it’s the perfect criminal hideout. Not the safest one; there’s no guarantee that one won’t be backstabbed by someone else for no good reason, but it’s pretty damned good in the scheme of things.
This is definitely not a village one would want to stop and ask for directions at. An ignorant person, or just someone who isn’t very experienced with this kind of environment, could easily end up dead or simply very, very messed up.
While there is a general lack of unity among the village as everyone is basically just looking out for their own interests, that’s not to say there is no unity at all. People tend to be protective of what they consider to be theirs, so if the village were to fall under attack for whatever reason, chances are, the people would defend it, and given the high population of mages, most with little to no inhibition when it comes to using the deadly magics they practice, attacking the village for whatever reason would be pretty darned stupid.
Zantaric is located in the Southern portion of Le’raana near a jagged mountain range that may have once been volcanic (there are rumored to be lava fields nearby, though very few people venture that far) and an ancient, secluded forest that seems to be gradually withering away. Deep within the woods, an old, abandoned temple also lies. While some inhabitants may use the temple as a place of worship—no one religion lays claim to the temple—more often than not it is used as a secluded spot to conduct business deals.