The Summer Empire
Location: Lower reach
Themesong: Crystal Chimes
Characteristics: The second nation primarily populated by the People of the Wood, Svartheimr is as different from Alfheim as night and day. Alfheim is dominated by gigantic trees, peaceful rivers and game animals. Svartheimr is also primarily wild, but its own landscape is mostly enormous mushrooms, lightless valleys, and the strange animals of the lower reach—sporebats, striders, traversers, thallids, blackmouths, suckerbirds, and so on.
The Svartalfar have ancient legends of how they used to live in Alfheim, but fled or were expelled after a civil war fought before recorded history. Despite the legend, there is little bad blood between Ljosalfar and Svartalfar, as the iron hand of the Nobility made previous slights pale in comparison. Nowadays, the Svartalfar are a more common sight abroad than the Ljosalfar. Cynics say they do it to escape the ever-present gloom of their home, but the Svaralfar mostly lack the grim disposition found in those who live too long in the lower reach.
The path of Svartheimr is extremely low, and for several months out of the year it actually floats on the surface of the Sea of Shadows itself. While this makes Svartheimr rich from the water trade, it also exposes it to frequent attacks by the Nobility and their servants, and a good portion of the money the Svartalfar make in the water trade goes to paying for mercenaries and weapons for their defense. They are also famously skilled thaumaturgists, though they receive few students. While their schools are second only to those of Amura, few who aren’t native to the lower reach want to spend years studying there.