Tales from the Inner Sea
Ateliket was originally a satellite of the Armavine Empire, the original indigenous people being joined by Imperial settlers 900 years ago to form the current cultural mixture. It was well regarded as a resort city for Imperials whilst under Imperial control, and when the civil war struck local nobility, merchants and religious figures moved quickly to protect the city and it’s many achievements. This unity and solidarity in uncertain times allowed the city to survive much as it did before, and the taking of power by the city elders who would later become the Council of 9 was largely bloodless.
Since then Ateliket has went from strength to strength, consolidating it’s position as a maritime trading power well able to defend itself with it’s powerful and excellent navy. The Council of 9 (a misnomer as there are actually 10 total members in the Council) rules and guides the fate of the city and it’s surrounding islands, with 3 being merchants, 3 priests and 3 nobles, with a tenth being named First Lord, who acts as Head of State and is drawn from one of the other councillors every 5 years before passing his or her burden on to the next councillor. At times such as these political manoevering is brief but brisk as favours are called in and pitches wooed amongst the councillors as to who becomes First Lord and who then is elevated to the position of new councillor. The current First Lord is Lord Belathin of Noble House Maraphail, having been in First office for 1 year and one of the 3 Noble House councillors for 10.
The city Ateliket is the capital, numbering some 120,000 people in a beautiful city of canals, towers and bridges and another 400,000 living in the surrounding islands and the 3 outlying cities of Tielor, Mahliki and Palamar (each located on an island in the cluster of islands under Atelikets domain). The islands themselves are full of well ordered and organised woodland, orchards and groves, with fields of well regulated barley and wheat growing. Seaweed is also harvested from the sea as foodstuffs, and the fishing fleet of Ateliket is organised and well protected as lobster, prawn, fish, pearls and the aforementioned seaweed all contribute to the citys wealth and upkeep. The clergy of Bumi-Bijiran ensure excellent crops and are heavily involved in the agricultural administration of the islands.
The citystate is notable for banning vagrancy and beggary; all who dwell in this island jewel must contribute, either in labour, commerce, defence or wealth. The peace and law are maintained by the 3500 heavy infantry who are all professional soldiers armed and armoured to the best of quality, and their presence amongst the capital and the outlying 3 cities goes a long way to protecting commercial and civil prosperity. The remainder of the military comprise 10,000 marines, sailors and auxiliaries who man both the naval siege defences and the 150 Ateliketian Galleys that comprise the Naval Defence Force. The Ateliketian Galley, (called the Barracuda) is a bireme with superior seagoing and handling attributes that is manned by professional sailors rather than slaves and has several ballista mounted to cause mayhem with foes.
The peoples greatest passion for entertainment is the many pools, artificial lagoons, canals and lakes that are part of the city and it’s surrounds, where pastimes like boatracing, swimming and such activities divert the masses. Music and good cuisine also cheer the people, and the original islander culture is respected and admired for its music, dances and food. The Colissea is popular, but the Chariot Racing not so, in large part to the popularity of the boatraces.
In matters of religion, Sensu and Nerukata are revered as is to be expected, with smaller temples and presences for the other gods present. Unusual for such a city, the Cult of Ba’ath the Moon Goddess is tolerated publicly for her influences on the tides. This causes occasional friction with The Indomitable Sun Father in distant Armarissa who does not approve. Mowta, Yesan and Neraka are of course still forbidden and proscribed. The Temple of Sensu is slightly larger than Nerukata and is almost a rival in terms of splendour if not size as it’s counterpart in far Armarissa. Sorcery is allowed (though not formally organised) and a small Delegation of Valheeni reside here.
Slavery is present but uncommon and normally is a sentence for crimes that fall short of capital offences. People enslaved in this way may be manumitted and freed by petition to the Council or when their term of service has passed, though the legal status of slaves brought into the citystate is traditionally that of their owners parent country. Interestingly, if a foreign slave brought to Ateliket escapes and seeks enlistment in the military or work crews of Ateliket, they are accepted and protected by law from their former masters wrath and punishment. A good reason for many foreigners not to bring slaves with them some say.
Modern Ateliket is a vibrant and forward thinking place to live and visit, that regards no-one as its enemy (for who can oppose the Ateliketian Navy?) and anyone as a possible trading partner and friend to be.