Although commonly referred to as a continent, geographically the term ‘Circilia’ (sometimes spelled Circillia) describes the westernmost peninsular of the enormous Pelegaria landmass and its surrounding islands.
The southern boundary of Circilia is the northern coast of Jaltania. The western border is the Silent Shore. In the frozen north, the border is marked by the beginning of the ice caps. Circilia’s eastern border is contentious; the majority of geographers consider that the boundary follows a rough line drawn between the mouths of the Charos and Yalga rivers. Taylach academics disagree; they argue that Circilia ends with their western border.
The southern border of Circilia is scorching. The temperatures in the centre of Jaltania are so cruel that travellers say nothing survives there other than blasted rock, slithering basilisk and hissing sand. As one heads north, the desert slowly surrenders to scorched grassland and then the grasslands to rich coastal plains. In classical antiquity, before the long insurrection in Jaltania these rich, red soils fed many of the Tenebrarum Nations.
North of Jaltania lies the temperate Tenebrarum Sea. This warm and pleasant sea cools the lands on her shores and nourishes the rich crops of grape, olive and maize in Jaltania, Caladia, Solene and Gelani. Although placid in summer, this sea can be wild and dangerous in winter. Many historians consider this sea to have been the nursery of modern Circilian culture.
To the north begins Circilia proper as away from the sea, temperatures cool and olive and pomegranate gives way slowly to elm, oak and larch. Snow falls regularly in winter and many mountaintops keep a snowy crown the year round.
While inland on the continent the climate cools quickly, for nations on the shore of the Circilian Ocean the change is more gradual as the Life Current swirls up through the Sunset Isles warming all it touches. It is the effect of this current that both warms the Realm of the Mists, and gives the nation its name.
The Life Current reaches no further than Dovinae’s south and once the current falters, the ocean cools rapidly. It is this peculiar feature of the ocean’s currents that is the cause of the old saying that Dovinae has a ‘summer shore and a winter shore’. Ivanstir receives almost none of the currents warmth and hence suffers through her cruel, seemingly endless winters.
Past Dov forests march north for countless miles till they thin and then vanish entirely into the endless tundra that marches north towards the ice caps.
While the nations of Circilia are often in competition or even outright war, they do share a common cultural ancestry.
Most Circilian historians identify the ancient democracies of Gelania and the Eastern Jaltanian city states as the well spring from which modern Circilia was born. While philosophically Circilia as a cultural entity can chart her birth to these ancient democracies, one also should not underestimate the unifying shadow cast by the Arentan Empire. While her matchless legions never marched further north than Anshville and even her traders rarely reached Ivanstir or Taylach, the Empire’s ideas on trade, law and military service still linger on. Of course, the Empire also gave us our alphabet and numeric system and even to this day Caladian is the language of theology and academia.