Isard is the home of the Aecha Ostai and serves as the center of scholarship for the region. Its university, a sprawling campus which surrounds the Spire of Singing Winds, actually exists on floating lands above the city, placing the mages high above the common citizenry. Situated on the coast north of the ephemeral plain, Isard was hit the hardest in the recent war with Scything Crag, and was sieged for nearly two years.
Isard boasts a civil government rather than an aristocracy, and has a mayor and city council which is elected every three years. The Aecha Ostai have typically occupied one seat on this council, though since siege was broken, a second mage has been added in an advisory capacity. It has a city watch but no standing army, preferring to rely on local militias.
The city histories say that many centuries ago, the plain where Isard now stands was once the home of the three Skyshroud Mages, guardians and masters of the Aetherstone, a strange object which was the source of their power. They exacted tribute from every nearby land through the mastery of storm sorcery conferred by the stone, until a band of warriors managed to penetrate the storms which surrounded their lair. Their names are remembered on the Silent Stone which stands in the centre of Isard. Berik Nimblefingers, lost son of the Crag. Erlan Bogatov, the mountain of fire. Masya Stonebreaker, wielder of the god hammer.
They battled the Skyshroud mages for three days and three nights, until Berik gave up his life for Masya to reach the Aetherstone itself. Bringing the god hammer down upon it, she shattered the stone into a thousand pieces, but the release of arcane energies slew her and Berik, as well as the Skyshroud brothers. Only the warriors’ torchbearer, the halfling Evan of Harriston, survived. He built the Silent Stone to honor the fallen heroes, and others began to gather, hearing of the tale. The city grew and grew, employing great shipwrights to build the ships which would become the Tachros navy, but it did not come into its own until the third war with Scything Crag. Their tower breached by Imaskari mages, the Aecha Ostai destroyed the bottom of their tower, enacting a spell to levitate it to Isard, where the enhanced air magic of the region might keep it afloat indefinitely.
Locations of Note
The Silent Stone has already been mentioned, a three sided basalt block which stands atop the aquifer in the centre of the city. The water of the spring runs through the stone and out the top, creating a small stream which runs into the ocean. Any who wish can touch the names of the fallen heroes engraved in its sides, and see how their action influences the flow of the water. During the festival of lights, many citizens will place their prayer boats on the stream, and watch them float through the city before reaching the sea. As well, there is the university and the Spire of Singing Winds, which boasts one of the greatest libraries in the region. The Shipwright’s Harbour, where some of the finest ships in the region are constructed by masters from Malkara and Salar Ziarat. And the Shades, the part of Isard which is always in shadow from the floating university, home to cutthroats and thieves..