|Colors:||Gold and white|
|Known for:||Rough desert Harsh climate Competitive Sport|
The Desert Luccina
Alexia, The Desert, is the southernmost and traditionally the least-populated province of the Eelian Empire. Its borders are defined by the sea to the south and west, the River Elios to the northwest upon whose shores mark the end of the province and the beginning of Batus, and the looming presence of the Lillirond Mountains to the east. The capital city of the same name is located far into the desert that encompasses much of the province's south and east, just short of the rocky foothills marking the base of the mountains. The province is renowned for its unique architecture, heavily dependent on the sandstone and marble so abundant in the arid and unforgiving south, and for its love of sport, athletics, and competition. Its people are fiercely independent and unquestioningly proud, but throughout their history have proven to be stubbornly loyal to their rulers. Since the First Imperial Age, the Traditional Tyrne family Alexios - the namesake of the province - have governed the desert lands.
The Province takes its name after its capital city, Alexia. The city originated as the southern outpost of Luccina, built to expand the reach of High King Darius Sostrate during his reign. The outpost and associated town wer largely abandoned during the ensuing civil war, perpetuated only by a handful of remaining Eelians until the great expansion of the First Imperial Age when Eelian forces swept south to subdue the indigenous populations occupying the desert. Upon completion of the conquest the land and fort were given over to Tyrne Titus Alexios, whose efforts had played a crucial part in the expansion, and renamed in his family's honour.
Built upon a rocky promontory overlooking the largest and most important oasis in the desert, Alexia differs from many of its northern counterparts in that its structures are built of sandstone and marble, a much more abundant resource than lumber. Its walls, surrounding three sides of the city, are a remnant of its historical identity as an expeditionary fort. Since the Tor uprising, the walls have been meticulously maintained and guarded. Unlike many of the other forts dotting the arid landscape, Alexia benefits from a static source of fresh water, though in the summer months laws dictate the rationing of this most important resource among its citizens. The Circus Arenae, a grand open-air stadium and chariot racing track, is Alexia's most well-known landmark and second oldest, after its walls. As the only permanent settlement a hundred miles in any direction, dominates the landscape in which it is situated.
Alexia is traditonally demarcated into three distinct geographical regions. In the province's northwest is its fertile coastal regions along the bank of the River Elios, opposite Batus. Much of Alexia's available food supply originate here and are transported southeast. Heavy trade occurs with Batus and, to a lesser extent, Tor.
The central portion of the province, colloquially called the Elios Flats, is a wide grassland plains characterized by low shrubs, poor soil and sparse rainfall. The region is known for its largest predator, the Alexian lion, unique in that they do not form prides due to the scarcity of food. Hunts for this beast remain a popular sport and rite of manhood in the south. Velia is its most populous community and an important bridge between the capital city and coastal agriculture. A convergence of decidedly Alexian culture and a number of settlers from other provinces, it sits on the western edge of the Elios Flats, three days' ride from the coast.
The easternmost region of Alexia, and its largest, is an unforgiving wasteland of sand and rock. The natural topography is interrupted only by forts lining the road between Velia and Alexia, built to protect the few natural freshwater sources available in the desert; mortality is astronomically high among those who veer from this road when travelling to and from Alexia. Very little vegetation grows in the deep desert, with taller shrubs and the occasional tree only appearing near oases and gueltas and in dry valleys where moisture intermittently collects. Sandstone and marble are found in abundance here and are a major source of Alexian economy, along with iron and gemstones.
The basin of Luccina derives its name from the legendary Orien city-state of the same name, which was reputed have survived countless wars and several cataclysmic events of the Gods' doing. The true origins of the city had already passed into myth when the Orien landed upon the shores of present-day Eelia, but the legend of Luccina survived the journey across the sea and is still discussed today, albeit amongst only the most learned of scholars and historians.
The original outpost established during the reign of King Darius Sostrate was named for the legendary city, because of its ability to sustain life despite the desolate landscape surrounding it. When the city was retaken and renamed Alexia after its conquering general, the name Luccina again endured, this time as a colloquial term for the entire oasis basin. Today the basin serves as the main fresh water supply to the capital, as well as a minor source of local agriculture and a haven for desert wildlife. Dates and figs are a highly valued export cultivated in the region, and are renowned across the Empire.