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Northwest Kerofinela (Akkad and Tarsh)
[Map of Northern Akkad in Peloria]
[Map of Northwestern Kerofinela]
After the destruction of the True Golden Horde in 1100 ST by the Dragonkill, many of the survivors settled in what is now the Grazelands, Akkad and Tarsh. Pressure from the Lunar Empire first drove the two regions to unite as countries, then eventually led to their conquest in the 14th century (Akkad) and the late 15th to 16th century (Tarsh). A group of exiles from Tarsh took refuge in Sartar; the largest group settled around Kero Fin in the Dragonspine Mountains.
This area is an important breadbasket for the Lunar Empire, producing huge amounts of potatoes, maize, barley, wheat, rye, and oats, along with tomatoes, beans, squash, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower. The last two vegetables are especial staples of the Lunar diet and thought to promote intelligence.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth: I am greatly disappointed in how they have turned their back on Orlanth and betrayed him for the love of the Red Whore and her filthy servitor gods and goddesses. We'll see what they do when the Red Moon falls.
- Grakk Barukk, A Troll: The more they become pansies, the easier it will be to eat them.
- Harrathos, a Minotaur: I frankly can't tell the difference beyond the fact that they're less filthy than Sartarites. But my people never get that far north.
- Sir Frederick of the Righteous Duchy of Maniria: Heretics and insane worshippers of the Red Moon, but at least they bathe, have proper roads and cities, and don't generally carry on like monkeys the way the Heortlings do. I expect eventually, they will be brought to the true faith.
- Harmast, a Trickster of the Torkani: A decent place to visit, but too mired in rules and laws for my taste. Justice needs to be flexible, not rigid, though I hear an expert can make their laws dance a jig in a courtroom.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: One day, Sartar will look like Akkad and Akkad will be like First Blessing or one of the other heartland provinces. It is well on the way to full civilization and I thank the Red Goddess and all her servants for that. They have a proper government and a proper army. They could probably do with a better gender-balance though; the only man with any authority is an Aldryami. Who also serve the Goddess, but I would just be a footsoldier if I lived there, and I was meant for more than that.
- Atieno the Star Gazer, elder of the Impala Tribe: Anything beyond this point is only legend to us, though I know a group of Sable Riders, utter traitors to the Covenant, dwell somewhere north of here. Turn back before the Lunars devour your soul.
- Simeon, son of Corwin, Member of the Vantaros Tribe and Initiate of the Seven Mothers: Akkad is what we aspire to become. I would like to see it one day. I understand it has Lunarized Elves; I wish ours would come to the Red Goddess; did we not all fight together in the I Fought, We Won? The Unity Councils were born in Dragon Pass. I would like to see it an empire of all peoples.
- Aileen, Daughter of Ennis, Chieftan-Governor of Ankdan: Akkad is a great nation and only becomes moreso as we flourish under the rule of Vinga and her mother, the Red Goddess. Vinga it was who protected our people in the Great Darkness. Vinga it was who guided our warriors to the I Fought, We Won. Vinga it was who shielded us when the dragons ruled. Vinga it was who slew the dragon who sought to devour us when the dragons thirsted for blood. And Vinga it was who guided us to the service of her mother. In her service, we will crush our enemies and rule wisely and well. We are a rising sun.
- Eamon, son of Donncha, Wheelwright in Leilan: When we worshipped Orlanth, he taught us to murder each other in endless feuds and to rob and rape our neighbors. Women existed only to be violated and anyone not kin to you was licit to abuse, murder, and rob. Who would want to go back to that? Orlanth murdered the *Sun* in a fit of pique so he could abduct and rape the Sun Emperor's wife. He is filth and I don't know how anyone can worship such a filthy Chaos-servant. I worship Iolan the Wood Shaper, who watches over every kind of craftsman who works with wood, from carpenters to furniture makers to me, a god of peace and prosperity who teaches hard work and determination. A god for people who do not live like animals.
- Niall, son of Murtagh, Priest of Lhankhor Mhy in Bursa: With time, we will become like Akkad and I look forwards to it. My home, Bursa, is a fine city but the cities here are finer, the temples richer and bigger and learning more widespread. I'm a little envious, really. I can only imagine that cities further north are like miracles upon the land.
- Roisin, Daughter of Nessa, Steadmistress of the Six Fingers Clan of the Chulan Tribe in Tarsh, Initiate of Ernalda: Akkad is a light to the nations; I can only hope my homeland abandons its violent ways and adopts those of Akkad. We must remember what Ernalda teaches us: There is always another way. Akkad has found that other way.
Akkad is inhabited by Lunarized Orlanthi who are increasingly shifting to the northern model of society and away from their roots. Indeed, the cities and towns are hard to distinguish from those of the main body of the Empire with temples to the Lunar Pantheon, the Lunar style of dress, and the total collapse of clan and tribe structures. Units beyond the family have been replaced by guilds and associations and temple societies. On the other hand, there is clean water, public baths, few bandits and rampaging monsters and access to wealth (for some) beyond that of any true Orlanthi (except the greatest Heroes). The borders of Akkad glow a soft red, the boundary of the power of the nation's Temple of the Reaching Moon, which strengthens the power of the Moon Rune within its limits.
Akkad, like Esrolia, has been dominated by women but not to the extent of Esrola. The cult of Vinga is strong here; Vingans form the officer corps of the mostly male army and eleven of the twelve chieftan-governors are Vingan and Ernaldan initiates; the twelfth is Horsikos, an Aldyryami man and initiate of Flamal who is Chieftan-Governor of the Lunarized Aldryami who dwell within the Queendom (he is also one of the husbands of the Queen). The Chieftan-Governors form a Ring which acts as the royal council with Queen Phirgia as the tie-breaking vote. She tries to build consensus among her council and is generally reluctant to support any measure which can't get 9 votes in the council.
Akkad now contains a small region of Aldryami who have converted to the Lunar way; they come out of their woods to trade and visit the urban temples and the Akkadian Temple of the Reaching Moon and freely allow visitors to the forest. This is connected to how in Akkad, Ernalda is seen as the wife of Flamal. The Queen formally has two spouses; a human consort Vistikar, and the Chieftan-Governor of the Aldryami, Horsikos. Akkad had pursued a deliberate policy of growing more trees as a result of this union.
- Ankdan (12,000) is home to one of the twelve Chieftan-Governors, Aileen, Ennisdottir. Located where many roads intersect, it trades with the Balazar Lunar Colony, the Temple of the Fallen Star, Imther, and the rest of Akkad. The city thus is constantly full of people from many local lands and sometimes folk from further north or south. The roads converge on a central plaza which is a bustling market; a spear has been thrust into the ground here since some time in the Great Darkness and there are a million rumors about what it is for; it is known that the Second Unity Council, Arkat, the EWF, the God-Learners, a Dara Happan Expedition, The Conquering Daughter, Monsoon, and Sheng Seleris all tried and failed to pull it out of the ground and that Sartar came, stared at it, then went and bought a lot of chemicals in the Alchemy Guild, then went back home. The Alchemy Guild likes to claim he used it to light the Holy Flame of Sartar, but most are dubious; this did lead to the Imperials mucking about the place a few years ago, but whatever they wanted, they didn't get it. Maybe.
- Erbil is a strong Lunar fort that doesn't fully merit being called a 'castle'. It guards the road entering the Balazar colony; it is traditional for the soldiers here to mock those soldiers entering the Balazar colony, which is seen as a punishment duty. Commander Annia tries to stop this without much luck. Erbil is a good place to buy exploration gear if you don't mind inflated prices and no credit.
- Gazkoth (24,000) is the entrypoint for trade coming down the Oslir and departure for trade going north and thus is very rich. The city has many buildings of marble, though most are stone and brick, even the slums are brick Chieftan-Governor Rina Corwinadottir is an initiate of Vinga and the city's guards are of exceptional skill. The city has a rivalry with Hrazdan but it's mostly a matter of Hrazdan being envious of them. The Temple of Heler here is devoted to his aspect of 'Rivermaster' and is the biggest temple in town, having been expanded to outdo the Seven Mothers, who get their due, but little more. Around midnight, the streets flood two feet deep, so all buildings are elevated; all the garbage then washes out of the city. This keeps the stone streets clean and disposes of beggars. Orlanth worship is ruthlessly hunted down by the Chieftan-Governor. who promotes Barntar, Gustbran, Heler, and Humakt as substitutes.
- Ghazdan (12,000) is an unusual city; some forty-percent of the population are Dara Happan, who basically supply services to the Temple of the Fallen Star and to pilgrims heading there. Their services are also tapped by various other travellers, and by the Mostali who trade *only* with the leadership of the Dara Happan community, according to a contract from the First Age. This contract protected the city from Arkat, it is known. Most of First Age Ghazdan is long gone but in the Dara Happan 'quarter', there is a great Temple of Buserian, surrounded by two blocks of stone buildings in First Age style; the leadership of the Dara Happans lives in them, using magical comforts which only work for those who follow the Solar Pantheon. There is a small lunar garrison in the city, but it largely allows the city to govern itself through an elected council which chooses a Mayor. Chieftan-Governor Aileen, Ennisdottir has authority over the city but lives in Ankdan and rarely visits. Many of the Dara Happans worship Yelmalio or Lokarnos; the elite worship Yelm; most of the Orlanthi population serve the Seven Mothers, Vinga, Barntar, or Gustbran.
- Hrazdan (20,000) is a major trade and craft town with trade links to both Imther and Syllia. Gazkoth is their hated rival because a lot of trade from further north flows through Gazkoth on the Osilir river. Chieftan-Governor Olga Mindadottir is a priestess of Ernalda and the lands around the city flourish; it is a peaceful place and the streets are paved with cobblestones, the buildings of brick and stone, save for one area of wooden buildings where the poorest dwell, on the east side of the city. The west side are docks and merchants, the north side holds the wealthy, and the south side the craftsmen. There is a citadel where the Chiefan-Governor keeps 100 thanes and 500 full-time footsoldiers supported by city taxes. They also help maintain law and order. There is a Lunar citadel but a token garrison of 25 keeps it from being robbed; it could hold several thousand men if need be, but need hasn't been in a long time.
- Leilan (30,000 strong) is a flourishing capital of sturdy brick and stone buildings; much of the populac lives in multi-story apartment tenements while the wealthy have houses known as 'islands', a ring of buildings around a central courtyard shielded from the outside world. Many 'islands' rent out rooms in the front facing the street to save some money for the rest of the house. Only the family is allowed deeper inside the complex. There is running water, but it's just the same temperature as the Oslir river. The Temple of the Seven Mothers is grand and beautiful and various old Akkadian temples flourish, all in the step-pyramid style popular here with the shrine at the top. The city has many trees in it, protecting roads from rain and generally soaking up rain so the ground stays dry even during Storm season. These trees are sacred to Flamal. A grove of them grow together into a small palace where the Queen's husband, Chieftan-Governor Horsikos of the Aldryami, lives when in the capital; the queen's consort, Vistikar, dwells with her in the original royal palace.
- Mani is in the throes of a crisis caused by the murder of the High Priest of the Seven Mothers temple; foreign agents have been blamed and paranoia, murder and rioting now washes through the city. Many have long tried to stick to the old ways, but have been on the verge of being wiped out. Now trouble is picking up.
- Sippar is a major center for magical studies and astronomy; the city is booming on the Aldryami trade, but this leads to conflict as the successful families hoard their wealth and don't share it with now largely defunct broader clans, many of whom are now poor. This has become a major source of discontent and trouble.
- Tuttel is a city where fine cheeses are made and other dairy products; the city is flourishing and new apartments and islands are constantly springing up. More people flock in and new businesses are arriving; the inhabitants have become thoroughly Lunarized and people from all over the Empire come here for cheese. Perhaps the oddest signs of this are seeing Rinliddi folk pulling wagons with large ostriches and the moonboat landing station on top of the merchant's guild.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth: Tarsh betrayed us all because its king was eager to stick it into the filthy whore-hole of a daughter of the Red Emperor. I... why are you looking at me like that? I wouldn't fuck Jar-Eel if you paid me! SHUT UP!
- Grakk Barukk, A Troll: They're tough folk, but slowly being corrupted into lazy weakness by the Lunars. It's like watching someone go senile. Someone human. We'd eat anyone who was going down that road. Humans have this strange desire to keep decrepit people around well past when there is any point.
- Harrathos, a Minotaur: They used to be mostly like Sartar, but now they're walking the Lunar road. I'm going to laugh at them when they all die trying to conquer and hold Sartar and the Holy Country and Prax. This is where empires come to die. Weirdly, the Tarshite Exiles are good trading partners now. They need hides and we need metal. That's fair dealing.
- Sir Frederick of the Righteous Duchy of Maniria: In the process of becoming civilized but they have a long ways to go. And they worship an evil goddess, the Red Moon, who I expect is a Chaos Goddess. And they're part of our enemies, the Lunar Empire, because their King was dumb enough to surrender to lust. Why do people like redheads, anyway?
- Harmast, a Trickster of the Torkani: It's like looking in a broken mirror and then you cut yourself. Fun to visit if you can fake obseiance to the Red Goddess. That's what fake tattoos are for. Want to instantly become an initiate of the Seven Mothers? I can hook you up. Anyway, Anyway, Ephesus is basically the city Eurmal would create, except it hasn't caught fire and sunk into the swamp yet. Admittedly, it lacks a swamp. But if you're looking for sex, fun, alcohol, drugs, organized crime, disorganized crime, fences, etc, it's the place to be. Of course, every city has a black market but some are harder to find.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: Tarsh struggles with the legacy of Orlanth - chaos, death, feuds, rape, murder. But it's gradually coming into the light of the Red Moon. Indeed, Konya is an island of peace and high culture in the middle of its current messiness and I highly recommend the theater festival.
- Atieno the Star Gazer, elder of the Impala Tribe: In the process of being devoured by the Red Goddess. But I have seen there is still hope for it. Do not abandon your traditions, people of Tarsh! The time of your liberation is soon at hand! Or so the stars tell me.
- Simeon, son of Corwin, Member of the Vantaros Tribe and Initiate of the Seven Mothers: We will become like Tarsh, then Akkad, and finally like the great lands of the North. They face many troubles, but I know the Red Goddess will guide them through it. Please pray for the valiant soldiers at Taralasgard, who protect Tarsh from the evil elves of the Taralas Forest, which many in my land call the Stinking Forest. My confederation holds the line against those same Elves on the other side; if we could only defeat them, trade would become much easier with northern lands.
- Aileen, Daughter of Ennis, Chieftan-Governor of Ankdan: Tarsh is our little brother; we are proud to see him grow up and come into the light of the Red Goddess. Tarsh still has problems but with time they will be free of the Curse of Orlanth, which trapped Dragon Pass in an endless cycle of murder, theft, and rape. I especially admire the King's devotion to knowledge. I worship the mighty Vinga, but Lhankhor Mhy was one of the Lightbringers and to be respected. And without his initiates, it would be impossible to govern Akkad.
- Eamon, son of Donncha, Wheelwright in Leilan: They are still struggling into the light, but the Red Goddess cannot be stopped or turned aside; with time, they will come to her light. Caravans heading to Tarsh are major customers of my work and those coming from Tarsh as well. Tarshites can be rough, but they are good people.
- Niall, son of Murtagh, Priest of Lhankhor Mhy in Bursa: I serve the greatest King Tarsh has ever had, and we share a common devotion to Lhankhor Mhy. There is no where else I would rather live, though I will be happier once this country is better settled and calmed. Thankfully, my temple is safe, but many of those in the countryside get burned by fools every so often. Knowledge is precious! It's like burning gold. Why would you do that? Yes, I know you cannot *burn* gold. It is a metaphor.
- Roisin, Daughter of Nessa, Steadmistress of the Six Fingers Clan of the Chulan Tribe in Tarsh, Initiate of Ernalda: I hope our colony in Balazar finally civilizes it; the Balazar are pathetic and every time they raid us, we crush them, but people die pointlessly. Why cling to stone weapons and live like it's the Great Darkness if you don't have to? Mind you, my ancestors already had metal weapons in the Great Darkness. And what kind of stupid name for a god is 'Foundchild'? Sad, pathetic folk. We live fifty-six miles upstream of Chalcedon, a fine stone city with magical lights at night, running water, and soft, comfortable beds; fifty-six miles the other way is the land of the cave people. It's very strange living here, sometimes.
- Population: 1,244,572
- Army: In theory, up to 25,000 thanes and 125,000 fyrdmen. In practice, at most half that could be put on the offensive. There are also some 25,000 Lunars. 5,000 guard the Temple of the Reaching Moon and 5,000 each occupy Balasgard, Taralasgard, Iconnum, and Erzincan.
Tarsh is still turbulent with some groups trying to resist Lunarization but they are losing the battle. Rural villages cling to old customs while the cities become increasingly Lunarized. The focus on the war to conquer the rest of the region has slowed applying the benefits of the Lunar Empire, which has in turn slowed assimilation. The borders of Tarsh glow a soft red, the boundary of the power of the nation's Temple of the Reaching Moon, which strengthens the power of the Moon Rune within its limits. But the glow sometimes flickers and fades more than it should. It is ruled by King Pharandros, who is descended from Hon-eel, a Heroine of the Lunar Empire, who married a king of the original dynasty; battles between her descendants and the Tarshite Exiles eventually ended in complete Lunar dominance of Tarsh.
King Pharandros is hailed as a wise philosopher-king; he is an initiate of Lhankor Mhy. He is trying to speed the civilizing of his land and greatly regrets how much of its resources are being drained by the wars in Sartar, the Holy Country and Prax. Not that he thinks they should be independent but surely they could stop fighting so hard and forcing him to spend money on spears instead of books and schools! He must pay annual tribute to the Provincial Overseer, who dwells further north in another one of the southern Kingdoms which owe fealty to the Lunar Empire.
His uncle Fazzur Wideread is the second most potent noble in Tarsh; he holds the imperial offices of Provincial General and Governor-General of Dragon Pass; he is known to be very loyal to his nephew but also usually very absent, dealing with events further south.
Six 'Dukes' rule over the Six Lands of Tarsh; each is a collection of tribes and clans; the Duke typically also heads a powerful tribe which is linked to a city.
- King Pharandos, Duke of the Tarsh Founder Tribe, based in Konya: Why must the Sartarites be so stubborn? We will never advance as a nation while they continue to cause pointless trouble instead of embracing the Red Goddess as our ancestors did.
- Duke Horust of the Castanamir Tribe: Duke Horust and his tribe are based in Castamon. He is an initiate of the Seven Mothers, but more a merchant-warrior than devout. Trade is the future of Tarsh; it is good that Akkad are no longer our enemies for they are our gateway to infinite possibilities for trade with the rest of Peloria.
- Duchess Erin of the Ephestar tribe: Duchess Erin is a very potent priestess of Jakaleel... which means she spends most of her time on religious duties and allows her duchy to mostly govern himself, which tends to mean anarchy. It's assumed the King does nothing because his resources are being tapped out by the wars to the South, but he may well be afraid of her. I frankly can't tell the difference beyond the fact that they're less filthy than Sartarites. But my people never get that far north.
- Duke Calanthar of the Antelope Slaying Tribe: Based in Antalya, Duke Calanthar is a militant initiate of Elmal who is deeply involved in the Southern Wars, to the point of often neglecting his Duchy, which is administered by his son, Maranthar. The Rebel scum of the Southlands will either kneel or die.
- Duke Buros of the Bursa Tribe: Based in Bursa, he has to oversee much of the western border and is usually busy leading forces to fight Broo and other things which come out of the mountains; his wife Melisandre ably runs his home city in his absence; she is initiated into both Ernalda and the Seven Mothers. We need to redirect our resources from a futile war in the South to deal with the Broo before they swarm over the lands as they did in 1589. Before it is too late.
- Duke Ian of the Ancylia Tribe: Based in Ancyra, the Duke must defend the northwestern border of the nation, and takes his job very seriously, though beyond a few raids from Balazar, there has been no threat in a long time. He's known to consider the Southern wars a waste of resources, when Balazar could be so easily fully crushed and colonized and should be. They're all savages there. He is a Devotee of the Hero Cult of Ancillius, the founder of his tribe, and wields powerful Earth magics, using copper weapons; he is sometimes called Ian the Red. Many suspect he is not very fond of the Lunars as religion or empire, but he makes no open attacks on them. The King need but say the word and I am ready to strike a blow against Balazar that they would never forget if any of them survived it. More land for us would reduce our internal quarrels and enable the young men to have steads of their own. And who cares if Sartar and the Holy Country bow to us? Sartar is a monster-riddled wilderness and the Holy Country is run by Trolls and the insane. And Prax is very much the garbage dump of Genertla. Though I suppose there is a lot of meat.
Southern Tarsh has recurrent problems with raids from the Tarshite Exiles further south in Dragon Pass, and from the broo to the southwest.
- Ancyra (13,000) is a major trade hub and the headquarters of Duke Ian of the Ancylia Tribe. The city is clean and orderly, though low-level fights between people from rival fights are common, especially in bars and there's a substantial black market if you know where to look. But you are unlikely to be robbed, raped, or killed here. The walls are currently undergoing probably unneeded improvements; no one minds the jobs, but many worry this is a waste of money. If you want raw materials from Balazar, this is the place to go, though there is no direct link and the Duke opposes creating one, fearing invaders would use it. There is a large temple of Yanafal Tarnils which doubles as a fortress and a smaller temple of the Seven Mothers as a whole, along with prominent temples of Ernalda and Etryes. The city processes a lot of timber floated down the river, turning some of it into river boats of high quality.
- Bursa (11,000) is not actually a giant slaughter-house but often smells like it; the tribes of the west bring their cattle, sheep, and goats to pay their taxes and these are then turned into meat to trade to the rest of the country or to supply the eternal war to the south. Lunar masters of frost magic freeze the meat for shipment, enabling it to stay good in the form of meat cuts for weeks or months. The cult of Uralda ensures the quality of the product and forces the slaughterhouses to remain clean and safe. They also sacrifice the offal to Uralda, ensuring the river isn't full of it. But the *smell* is ubiquitous, even inside the homes of the rich and the temples. Duke Buros' wife Melisandre oversees the city and ensures it remains as clean and orderly as possible with her Harmony magics and management skills.
- Castamon (13,000) has flourished as the place that Akkadians and those from points north on the Oslir come to trade for Tarshite goods. The city is full of Caravanseri designed to accommodate wagon trains and merchants, and there is a large temple of Etryes which outshines the Temple of the Seven Mothers. Etryes is very popular here with almost anyone who doesn't worship a god of their occupation. While Castamon has Duke Horust living here as the head of the city, in practice, the High Priestess of Etryes, Masani, has more power than him (within the city limits). There are also many soldiers, though joint Lunar rule means it's been a long time since the city has had to be defended and the walls are not in good repair.
- Ephesus (12,000) was once home to a great temple of Ernalda; it has been badly rebuilt as a temple of the Seven Mothers. All of whom look suspiciously like repainted versions of Ernalda and her kin. The pilgrimage trade has collapsed but the caravan trade replaces it; the city suffers from many drunken caravaneers running wild all the time. Law and order is weak in most of the town. The current Grazelander alliance has reduced the threat of outside attacks. Many still remember the Broo invasion of 1589, however; a quarter of the city had to be leveled to cleanse it of Broo taint. Many fear it's been long enough for them to breed another horde. Duchess Erin of the Ephestar tribe rules here, descended of a long line of Ernaldan priestesses, though she is a priestess of Jakaleel and seems more interested in studying the night sky and exploring caves than in governing or in the broo menace. She is known to be illuminated and is noted for spewing cryptic wisdom. At her command, a strange mix of tar and gravel now coats the streets; it seems quite durable, though it makes wagons rattle a little.
- Iconnum is more fortress than city, with the task of stopping raids and invasions by the Tarsh exiles and the Earth Priestesses of the Earthshaker Shrine. Two past commanders were torn apart by Maran Gor devotees and one past Earthshaker High Priest was hacked into 27 pieces by a Devotee of Humakt in past battles; there is a temple to the Seven Mothers, but it is upstaged by the huge shrine to Humakt.
- Konya (15,000) is a bustling city, with streets paved with cobblestones thanks to the Lunars and a fine temple to the Seven Mothers which suffers from always being upstaged by the nearby Temple of the Reaching Moon. This has led the temple to invent a dramatic festival to try to do at least ONE thing better. Playwrights compete for 'most holy', 'most dramatic' and 'most funny' prizes. The king has constructed a great ampitheater and everyone is quite excited. Large parts of Konya are crude wooden housing with thatched or badly done tile roofs but there is a growing district of multi-story brick tenements and finely made stone multi-story homes which are usually designed to surround a central garden and private plaza. A new royal palace is under construction; the home of the king's Lunar 'advisor' dwarfs his current palace, leading to tension between them. This city is the headquarters of the Tarsh Founder Tribe, headed by the King himself in his role as Duke of Konya.
- Niksar (12,000) was founded by local clans in the aftermath of the Dragonkill War; now they squabble over control of it and some of the city guilds seek Free City status. If you want timber, stone, or metal or things made from the above, or want to hire on in Dart Wars / actual overt raiding, it's a good place to go. There is a local Hero cult of Nikos, the founder of the city, who grew a tree made of stone, wood, and bronze; his cult makes fine tools and magical weapons from its branches, but can only make a few a year as it grows back slowly.
- Taralasgard has the unwelcome duty of trying to contain raids by the Taralas Elves; casualties are high and success is low. But the Empire ignores the commander's pleas because they'd rather let the Elves serve as a bodyshield against Snakepipe Hollow. Captain Coilin, son of Dalaigh (Chief of the Five Axes Tribe) is clearly rather frustrated by this, and many fear he will do something crazy to try to stop the raids, as his Tribe, though it now serves Ernalda and Barntar, still has a lot of the old Orlanthi aggressiveness despite their goddess and god. He himself is a Disciple of Yanafal Tarnils, noted for his divinely-inspired use of infantry and cavalry together to full effect.
- Trabzon (7000) was founded by the forest-hill clans as a place to sell all the bulk metal they mine in the hills. While now a free city which answers directly to the King, it still does business with the same clans who founded it centuries ago. Because of ancient pacts, *only* these clans can sell bulk metal in the city, though anyone can buy. One of the 'clans' is now actually a front for Mostali. Another is controlled by Aldryami; several others defeated original clans, then took their names in order to exploit the magic. Trabzon has a very impressive temple of Gustbran and many skilled redsmiths.
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