Exalted: Pillar at the Roof of the World
The Lujang Province
The Lujang Province: Far From the Center.
The Lujang region is also considered a Realm province in the far north-east – one of (if not the) farthest Realm dominions in Creation from the Blessed Isle. The reason for this may seem surprising; Lujang is far enough away from the Realm that they could, by all rights, be an autonomous kingdom ruled by Dragon-Blooded Exalts. During the First Age, the region was turned into a bread-basket, where a long-term project of establishing beneficent geomancy created a warming effect allowing for several planting seasons of cool-weather crops to feed garrisons of troops, miners, foresters, and artisans at the top of Creation.
In fact, the province was rich in material wealth; mountains held metals both precious and base, along with fairly substantial amounts of jade – white jade deep within the mountains, blue on the peaks and hidden within glaciers just to the north, and even green jade in excursions to the east outside the borders of the province. Lujang brought salt up the river and sent food down it, all while serving as a province-sized bastion against fair folk incursions.
The province remained largely the same after the overthrow of the Solars; even during the First Age, it was considered something of a backwater. Most manses were small and rustic, dedicated to geomantic principles with few amenities provided for caretakers besides being protected, free-standing structures. Even their abilities to produce hearthstones were usually truncated in order to channel greater power to the structures themselves. Several mansions date from this time period which were little more than glorified hunting cabins, though they would seem grand now, providing they still survive. Most, however, were pillaged by Fair Folk armies during the Contagion.
Lujang hung on only by the skin of its teeth – the large percentage of Dragon-Blooded serving garrison duty helped contribute to this, along with the dense network of manses and fortresses that allowed constant fortified, fighting retreats. One fortress would fall and another would be re-taken, or else Fair Folk armies would stream past some allowing Shogunate legions to assault from the rear. The loss of mortal and Dragon-Blooded life was astronomical, but fighting in the province was a nightmare. After a time, the soldiers were driven back to the walls of Lujang itself, but they could not crack the city. Although it is likely the city would have eventually fallen, it never did; the province wasn't an especially critical target for the Fair Falk once the soldiers were pinned down and by that time, the Empress was able to activate the Realm Defense Grid.
What was left of the Shogunate-era Dragon-Blooded family immediately swore fealty to the Empress, and since then, the relationship has been good. The Muras family was accorded the rank of a minor House simply because of their relatively few remaining members, and because none of them were willing to permanently relocate to the Blessed Isle. Instead, they would send their children to the Isle to be tutored like the Great Houses and the Empress agreed to send some of the graduating classes of other Houses to the Province in order to facilitate ties between the two regions.
Today, Lujang is considered a bad detail by some, but there are often volunteers for whom the out-of-the-way region seems amenable – just like during the First Age. Most of the manses are out of operation, cutting the growing seasons down to just one, occasionally two in particularly good years. The rest of the time is spent mining, hunting, fishing, and engaged in forestry. Adventurers occasionally arrive to unearth long-abandoned manses and towns left for the frost and specters, but many are never seen again. The Guild troops slaves in one direction and raw materials and finished goods back, along with gossamer relics and sinister artifacts from both the fair folk and the dead – while straining relations with the Realm-based principality. Still, as of yet, there is no way to force the Guild to neglect its trafficking with unwholesome forces.
For now, Lujang continues to exist as a pillar supporting the entire direction of the north-east, sheltering Halta and the Linowan from the worst of the Tear Eater tribe depredations, and holding back the glacier with its slowly failing geomantic infrastructure that both the Deathlords and the Fair Folk would be eager to pull up by the roots.