Tales from the Inner Sea
The largest city in the known world and the capital of the Armavine Empire, it has stood for over 1300 years as the centre of the Empire founded by the first Emperor Hajinus Armavii. In that time it has seen wars, riots, times of great strife as well as times of great joy and growth, and now in the year 323, it is at its absolute zenith. A city of over 800,000 people, it seethes and buzzes like a hive. It sits astride the river Delthine, with the river splitting into the many tributaries making up the Delthine delta. There are a number of small islands that dot the bay leading to the harbour with most being private reserves and dwellings of the wealthy but several are fortified castles and defences against sea invasion. The city also has numerous orderly canals linking it to its nearby cities and the huge tracts of farmland that go towards supporting a city of such enormous size.
Great walls surround the city, on average 20 metres high though 10 metres taller at the defensive towers that are scattered along the walls length. Great wharves, docks and moorings in the huge harbour hold hundreds of ships of all sizes, even before the Naval Dockyards are taken into account. The docks and harbour lead directly into the huge Gilded Quarter, a place of trade, commerce and mercantile pursuits that is known throughout the world as a rich and phenomenally affluent area. Padiha may be busy, but the Gilded Quarter is busier and substantially larger than Padiha itself.
A visitor to the city by sea will see the colossal 30 metre sea walls first, and if they arrive in daylight, the great towers and spires of the Vaunted Palace in the centre of the city; indeed, the sight of the rising or setting sun striking the gilded and brazen roofs and surfaces of the city can be like seeing a blaze of fire. They shall also see the huge structures of the Stadia Magna, the Colissea Invictora, and also the 2 Great Temples to Nerukata and Sensu (the Hama Encanda and the Hama Salleia respectively). These edifices dwarf and tower the areas around them and much of life for the citizens and visitors within the city hinges on the goings on in all of them.
Bridges criss cross canals and the river, seemingly at random, and the streets can vary between small winding rookeries in the slums like those of the Peleides district, to clean and busy throughfares in the mercantile and middle class regions epitomised by the Sarpacca district, and finally the wide avenues and Ways where the wealthy dwell. There is substantial parkland and wooded areas in even the lower class areas, all maintained by a mix of Bumi-Bijiran clergy and civic workers and slaves. This parkland helps to break up the monotonous urban landscape of the city and by custom the various fruits and vegetables that are found within them are the property of the poor who can eat them though not remove for sale. The extensive use of viaducts and aqueducts linking large buildings and canals high above the streets and rivers is also noteworthy, often used as fast transport out of the public eye, and they can be seen in the city from a distance, the spans of them soaring above the people on the ground as further examples of Imperial greatness and engineering expertise.
Order is kept by the Consul of the Prefectoi Urbanus, a Quoria position in charge of Law and Order within the city in matters of low and middle justice. The blue tunics of the Prefectoi guards are a familiar sight with their staves, leather armour and shortswords marking them out. It is known that under cover and plain clothes Prefectoi work quietly to watch and maintain order. Matters of High Justice, such as treason are dealt with by other agencies.
A familiar sight especially during racing season is that of the Racing Partisans travelling the city, on their way to the Stadia Magna to see their Factio compete in the Chariot races. In garish tunics marked in either the colour (if of one of the 4 Old Colours Factio) or the emblem (if of the newer Elementals Factio) of their beloved allegiance, they can at best be rowdy, boisterous and loutish though on race days (and especially if they have been at the taverns and cauponae) this can easily (and often) turn into the worse case scenario of a riotous and dangerous mob, with pitched battles in the streets between rival fans. In such cases most citizens head for home, shut up their shops and wait until the Prefectoi turn up to suppress the disorder. The fans of the Colissea are a notably more orderly crowd and though there are many differing fans of the various Gladiatorial Stabila in the city, they tend to keep their disagreements to raised and passionate voices instead of raising fists or weapons.
The Embassy Compounds of the various other Inner Sea nations are found in the Peyarca district, adjacent to the Vaunted Palace. Here, a cosmopolitan blend of Valheeni, Vardonnais, Padihans, Menetians, Ateliketians and many others watch one another, politick furiously and try to win Imperial Favour for mercantile issues, political issues, military issues and much more.
One of the most unusual customs in the city is called Patrii Imira; that the general compounds and courtyards of the Patrician class are open to all (though not the actual private residences or chambers); this is for charitable as well as political matters, where supporters, friends and clients of a Patrician can meet and find aid, cameraderie and mischief in equal measure. There are some rare Patricians who shun this practice but the peculiar Honour and Face of the Patrician Class (a concept and ideal called called Horeia) is only strengthened by Patrii Imira.
The Holy District is where the faithful go to pray, dominated as it is by the 2 great temples to Nerukata and Sensu. The other major deities are represented here, with fabulous places of worship set aside for ones like Satrom, Perang and Bumi-Bijiran, a good sized and opulent Temple to Armanixes, and a large yet modest Infirmary to Ciha offering both means of worship and also means of treating illness and injury. Clean and patrolled by Templars of Perang and Satrom, this place is considerably calmer and less dangerous than many other areas in the city (though not quieter, Armarissans being a religious lot for the most part). All religions have small shrines dotted around the city to allow the faithful access to spiritual support and aid no matter where they are, and also the small and esoteric Cults of foreigners are also allowed to have small shrines.
The Ludata District is where the huge seat of learning and the arts called the Magna Ludata resides, incorporating the University and Library, the living places for students and Masters, and also something popularily called by the commoners The House of Mysteries; this latter place is the dwelling of the greatest native Armavine sorceress still alive, one Adeline Kothui (unkindly known as Black Adeline to the masses). She is the unofficial Sorceress to the Imperial Family and due to her long life (reputedly over 250 years old if the rumours are true) and business acumen she has become rather wealthy, having bought the mansion in the Ludata area with the permission of the Imperial Family. Whilst not a Guild, and certainly not receiving the tax breaks a Guild would have, there are at least 8 Adept Sorcerors living there and they all have a number of Apprentices. That they all assist one another in training Apprentices and Sorcery students in no way makes them a Guild, no sir.
There are a number of municipal granaries and foodstores kept under heavy guard, kept near large municipal bakeries where state sponsored bread can be issued to the genuinely poor and destitute; the bread may not win prizes for taste or quality, but on the balance it is to the credit of the city and the ones who run it that such places exist. Several hospices and infirmaries also exist, run by a mixture of nobles, wealthy citizens and Cults like Ciha, Armanixes and Sensu to assist the ill and the injured.