Kaarathlon is a more or less flat world, roughly divided into Lower Kaarathlon, which is the earth and lower skies, and Upper or Higher Kaarathlon which is the higher airs and the regions of the sun and moon and stars. Around the earth there is said to run a chain of mountains, called the Rampart of the Stars, that touches the sky and behind which the sun and moon and stars are said to rise.
Three main continents are known. Southern Syrwe and Northern Syrwe are part of one large landmass and are separated from each other by the Trinazee Mountain Range and the Marinaza Desert. Southern Syrwe is a land of diverse climates, from the relatively arid Trinazee Mountains to the deserts in the north-west, to the fertile plains from the Asagora Rivers to the east coast, to the swamps around Lake Zuro, to the Vorsan Mountains, cold in their heights but wet and temperate in the foothills, to the jungles of the Mazorier Forests. Off the southern end of the continent is an archipelago of mountain-islands, with climates from jungle to cold high-altitude rainforest, and sheer cliffs on the shores. Southern Syrwe also boasts several different nations, and people of diverse skin colors from the blond-haired blue-eyed ruling family of Kalakine, Astar, to the dark Southern Tribes, among which is counted Kathaariel, and everywhere in-between.
South and east of Syrwe is Camil, a land with several mountain ranges including the highest mountain range in inhabited Kaarathlon, the Frostflower Mountains, and a collection of volcanic mountains, called the Vinibra (Volcanic) Mountains, a desert, a relatively arid southern region, and vast jungles and swamps across its interior and northern regions. Its people are predominantly quite dark, in keeping with the strong light and heat of the sun in their lands. In the time of Kathreen Alarion and her mentor, Ishtailor, it boasted a variety of different countries with varying social customs and diplomatic relationships.
The structure of society in Kaarathlon is greatly affected by the dragons, intelligent creatures with colorful scale armor and fiery breath. They reach full size between about eight and about twenty years (the largest dragons grow longest), at which point they stop growing. They lay eggs which can wait indefinitely to hatch, and most of them hatch when they encounter the human to whom the young dragon wishes to bind, but some wild dragons exist in certain islands. Winged, empathetic, telepathic, fierce, and having no respect for human class (or racial) differentiation and relatively little respect for national differentiation, they necessarily influence the society around them (for example, no Dragon-rider can be kept as a slave). The rare dragonspell dragons are masters of the power that constitutes Kaarathlon as no human wizard, but their use of the dragonspell is governed by necessity and instinct, and thus cannot be deliberately and consciously mastered or used for pre-determined purposes.
Magic, usually called wizardry, is the ability to “see” and manipulate the energies which constitute Kaarathlon, the flow of which is the substance of water or the path of light or the hardness of stone. This power reaches its finest in the dragonspell dragons, who can use it effortlessly and perfectly, when the instinct comes upon them, but who otherwise have no power over it. Human wizards are usually quite limited in which energies they can “see” and manipulate, and it costs them mental effort and strain to do so, but they are capable of using their power whenever they choose and for whatever they choose, instead of only when the instinct comes upon them. Apart from the dragonspell, all dragons lack any wizardry abilities, except for the rare moon dragons, whose power is limited to healing – and to glowing in the dark, though they have no choice over the matter and cannot stop from glowing.