Tales from the Inner Sea
The 8 Imperial Wonders
For an Empire to have lasted in one form or another over 1300 years, one would expect there to be formidable achievements and monuments to indicate power, wealth and success, and it is commonly held that there are 8 such things within the Armavine Empire. In order of cultural import and relevance, they are as follows;
The Vaunted Palace of Armarissa Invictor
This city sized palace sits right in the centre of Imperial Capital Armarissa and is itself a walled off and enclosed citystate of over 20,000 people. The most senior and important residents are current Emperor Khelsine and his Daughter Heir the Imparioi Katarivix, followed some way behind by the many other members of the Imperial Family; some way down from that are the members of the Aristocracy invited to live within the Imperial Grounds, along with the most senior Quoria Bureaucrats and their offices; all are supported by a small army of servants, eunuchs, staff and lastly but by no means least the Legion strength Imperial Guard barracks housing the Fist of Armanixes. An enormous gilded series of minarets, towers and walls peek over the 50 metre high outer walls, with lesser internal walls within restricting access to those with the correct authority. With its own bath houses, inns, shops, storehouses, stables and other civic and Military amenities, the Palace is truly a self contained city given over to the government of the Empire and the proper housing of the Imperial Family.
The Hama Encanda
This magnificent Temple and its great central dome with many glass panels sits within Armarissa, with wide statue adorned avenues leading to it from all over the city. Great gardens and even a park surround it, and it is home and workplace to thousands of Priests, Initiates and staff members who keep it running smoothly. The Great Sun Father holds court here, ministering to the orthodox faithful of Nerukata and being his Most Holy representative on the Mortal Realm. The only building within the capital that exceeds its majesty is the Vaunted Palace, and the only one that matches it is the Hama Salleia. The Central Nave holds thousands of the faithful, with perfect acoustics throughout, and there are also 4 lesser Basilica that can accommodate many more worshippers within the grounds. The Altar is an ornate and golden raised dais with a gold, copper and brass statue of Nerukata standing 10 metres high in a pose that has the armoured deity holding a great spear in his right hand and his left held high in benediction over all. The sight is more than a little awe inspiring.
The Hama Salleia
This temple covers more area but does not reach so high as the Hama Encanda, as is appropriate for the Greatest of Sensus Temples. It is a magnificent building, with fabulous fountains, gardens, parklands and pools around and sometimes within it, and it is close to the southern walls of the city, and close to the docks. The scale of civil engineering required to support it is truly monumental, and it is a popular place for lovers of all kinds to meet, where the peaceful and oft enclosed gardens and arbours exalt Sensu as the Mother of the Gods and the Queen of Love. The Great Wave Mother is the ruler here, and her words roll out like the waves and surf to her people. Her great hexagonal Basilica is called the Heart of the Lady and has 7 great pools within it, 6 placed at the points of the hexagonal structure and the seventh at the centrepoint. The central pool has the Altar built into it and the 10 metre tall statue to Sensu sat astride a dolphin is a marvel wrought in gold, silver and marble.
The Hama Armanexiad
Located within the city of Videssa (the Second city of the Empire), this mighty Temple to the Cult of the Demi Goddess Armanixes is a marvel wrought in marble, stone and glass, and within the main transcept the magnificent statue called The Armanexiad towers over the awestruck onlookers, being 20 metres high and worked in marble, gold and ivory. The High Priestess of the Cult resides here, and the many statues of the God-Empress are evident all throughout the city and its surrounds. By custom a new statue is added of the most recent Empress when she ascends to her Throne, though Emperors get a bust within the Hall of the Emperor. Easily as large and opulent as the Hama Encanda, it points to the continued growth and influence of the Cult of Armanixes.
The Magna Ludata
The greatest University and Library within the entire Inner Sea and almost certainly in the world is a solid architectural edifice, with little outer ostentation, though pleasing parks and even some small woodland within its grounds. It is severe by comparison to other great buildings, though an architecturally impressive building. Its library is enormous, reputed to hold millions (millions!) of tomes, treatises, books and scrolls for every subject known to man. The hundreds of clerks and workers who labour in the library keep their paper and metal charges in the best condition, though none know where everything is. The University side of the Magna Ludata is no less important, with many amphitheatres and halls for students to learn so many different subjects, and many offices, residences and chambers that belong to the widely respected scholars and Masters who work here. Whilst access to the University has a limited number of scholarships (to allow the worthy commoner to make something of themself), most applicants and students pay a handsome fee to gain admittance. The library is also a difficult thing to access, except by invite or sponsor.
The Great Southern Wall, and the Fortress at Satrus
This 2 part wonder guards the southern limits of the Empire, where the dry southern Imperial climes change to the scorched deserts of the Caphaelian Expanse. The wall extends from the port city of Sieva along hundreds and thousands of kilometres to the East with the wall height varying between 8 metres at its lowest and 16 metres at its highest, and around 500 kilometres along from the coast lies the strategically important Fortress city of Satrus. This many walled and heavily defended city (ranked the tenth city of the Empire) is the bastion on which the defence of the Southernmost border hinges. 2 full legions are always stationed here, with one always being the famous 10th Legion and the other being rotated. The 10,000 families and support staff of the 10th Legion make up a good third of the citizens of Satrus. The mighty engines of war on the walls point towards the forbidding desert, and the outer walls are purposely 40 metres high, for the occasional attacks by giants many years ago necessitated such mighty defenses. Great canals act as both irrigation for the dry soil and also assist the Imperial Highways in troop movements to support the Fortress. Not even the Vaunted Palace in Armarissa is as heavily fortified and defended.
The Stadia Magna
Accommodating up to 90,000 spectators, this venue for the Chariot Races is a magnificent home to the most popular sport in the Inner Seas and the Empire. With statues honouring famous charioteers and even horses, the avenue known as The Victory Way is the famous throughfare that leads to the main entrance to the Stadia. With great underground areas given over to stables, quadriga repair, stores, physicians (for both humans and horses) and more, this structure is always in a state of perpetual busyness, even in the autumnal and wintry closed seasons. Each of the 8 Factio houses licensed to operate within the city have quarters here, though all such quarters are lesser to their main Faction Compounds. There is a large viaduct that leads from the Imperial Family Section of the Stadia to the Vaunted Palace, allowing members of the Imperial Family (and even the Emperor or Empress on occasion)to travel in regal safety to view the races. There are also great statues to all the Gods along the central spinos in the centre of the racing area, along with commemorative obelisks and monuments to past racers and events. To be remembered in stone and bronze here is the crowning ambition and achievement of every racer within the Inner Sea.
The Colissea Invictora
The Theatre of Glory as it is often known, but to give it its formal title “The Colissea of the Undefeated”, this 60,000 seating venue is where the Stabila Houses and their gladiators battle for their Honour and Glory, and the entertainment of the roaring masses. Not as large as the Stadia Magna but certainly as imposing, it has many statues to Perang and Satrom, to whom the majority of its participants worship. There is a temple to both gods within the innards of this palace of battle, and there is also a small shrine to Ciha attached to the infirmary within the Colissea. The Honour Field is a small park attached to the Colissea which has a number of plaques, statues and commemoratives to remember great champions of the past and new ones of the present. Busy during the Autumn and Winter months, the Colissea season doesn’t clash with the Racing season, allowing full houses for a populace yearning for entertainment. The busiest parts of the season are for the High Holy days of Satrom and Perang, when festivals of battle and glory are held.