THE CITY OF STRATA

LOCATION - DESCRIPTION - ARCHITECTURE - PROMINENT BUILDINGS/SIGHTS
THE UNDERGROUND - ROADS AND PLACES - HISTORY

Ancient capital of the Stratanian Kingdom, located near the southernmost point of the Sarvonian Continent in the province of Truban, nowadays one of the major cities in the United Realms of Santharia. Founded by Drafas Tristin in 1649 b.S. as new home for the refugees from the Vardýnnian Atonement. Infamous for its crime but well known for its large harbour and trade district. Though Thalamabath's rise to power has caused a decline of Strata's former importance and wealth, it is still a magnificent sight. Coming from the sea and arriving in the harbour or from the desert entering through the grand Northern Portal every visitor agrees that in front of his eyes lies the "Beauty of the South".

The dry heat presses down on the town. The air is shimmering in the brilliant light of the Injérà. The hot winds coming out of the Rahaz-Dath carry a fine sand which covers everything with a fine layer. But on the bottom of the canyon the tall houses are forming, the shade is deep, the wind cut out and life is possible. Archways border the broader roads and precious trees give shade to those who have to follow their affairs during the heat of the day. But those are not two many. The town comes to life when the Injérà is sinking into the sea far in the west and the winds are ceasing to blow, lamps are lit all over the main places and roads, and the times for business other than that during the day has arrived. The traveller is advised to avoid the darker sideways and hopefully he knows already where to put his head in the night. But which newcomer to Strata can withstand the market down at the harbour, where goods from all over the world can be looked at - or even bought. Or the colourful places all over the town, where shops are lined up, in between taverns of all kinds and where you find musicians at every corner who compete with each other.

But this is only one part of Strata. The other Strata, not visible easily for the traveller, is as extended as the visible one. Built on a flat rocky shore which contains a lot of caverns, the sewers under Strata are older as the town itself. And it is said that the "funny" business which flourishes there, is far more important than the transactions made in the upper town...
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Location. The southernmost point of the Sarvonian continent, Cape Strata, is a flat rocky region which is covered by a thick layer of sands which gets thinner the further south you travel. While the rocky underground is still quite dense near the Yar'Dangs, which are a two days travel north of Strata, it contains a lot of caverns near and under Strata. These flat rocks elevate near the southern tip just a few, maybe three peds over the sea level when the tide is high, farther north in the town it has raised already to about six to eight peds. Strata slightly rising from south to north and from east to west allows therefore a magnificent view for those ships coming from Milkengrad wanting to sell their goods in the harbour near the north-east side of the town. Due to the water currents of the sea, Strata has only few beaches or sandbanks. One is near the southern point, directed to the Scattersand Shoals, the other north of Strata on the eastern side.
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Description. People are arguing about which approach to Strata is the more splendid one, coming from the desert and looking onto the town stretched beneath ones feet, framed by the blue sea, or approaching by ship from Milkengradand sailing along the front of beautiful houses lit by the sinking Injérà, or - after being then guided away again from the sight of the town to avoid the undepths of the Landfall sandbank - entering the harbour in the east in full sight of the town, preferably when the Injérà just rose above the horizon.

Architecture. The houses in Strata are up to seven, eight stories high and built out of dried clay bricks.

The wall is covered with plaster out of the same, fresh material and coloured while the plaster is still fresh. The Strata orange is the most seen colour, but the Sor‘inyt yellow and the Aeruillin red are common as well. Few houses have a pale blue, but this is a new habit and the Stratanians still don‘t know if they like it or not. So far this colour was only used for the temple of Baveras or for interiors and seeing it on the outside of a house divides the citizens.
 
Though the houses would look great, tall and slender as they are, built together or standing close with only small lanes between them, they get their characteristics from the ornamentations running like a baize around the bottom of each story and around the plenty windows which are the pride of every owner of a house. Each of this ornamentations is built from the plaster the wall is covered with and highlighted and enriched with the brightest white colour available in the south.

The roof and the upper story is painted with a white chalk mixed with a binding agent which protects the claybricks and plaster from the wind, the burning sun and a very rarely rainfall.

The windows are mostly small, but high, sometimes stretching from the bottom to the ceiling. The upper part is often curved. Sometimes they are divided in a lower part with shutteres which can be closed or opened, the upper, curved part which can not be opened. A very thin sliced special stone which allows the light to penetrate sometimes covers this openings. But big pieces are very fragile, and so small pieces are set in a framework creating a special look to these windows. To guard the windows, they have small gracile balconies in front of them, delicately build out of the same material as the houses themselves.

To shut out the early heat of the Injèrá in the morning, every window has white painted shutters which allow the air of the western sea to bring a cooling breeze to the interior of the houses, in the middle of the day however they can be closed to prevent the hot air coming in. Some noble houses have imported glass from Cavthan in their windows, but it is often blind due to the sand carried by the desert winds into Strata which finds its way into every chink.

The roofs are flat, surrounded by a wall to prevent people from falling off. In the late evenings, when the air is pleasant, the winds have ceased and the tasks of the day are done they are the meeting place of the families and their guest, from neighbours and friends.

There are two different types of houses in Strata:

All houses on the main four roads have archways at the bottom level, each house connected with its neighbours, so that walking in the shade is possible. The same is to find at the houses standing around one of the various markets of Strata.

Prominent Buildings/Sights. Among the many noteable buildings and locations of Strata we'd like to name the following few:

The Founder of Strata Drafas Tristin

View picture in full size Picture description. The Founder of Strata Drafas Tristin. Note the phoenix medallion around his neck, signifying his Erpheronian roots. Image drawn by Shayan Ashkani.

Roads and Places. But lets now take a look at roads and places of major importance:

The Underground. Strata has lost some of its splendor due to the rise of Thalamabath and the decay is visible for observing eyes, the trade in the upper town is not the same as it was in former times, but that doesn‘t affect the business in the sewers.

The underground Strata is build on is rocky ground, but has many caves which are connected with each other. It is said that once a civilisation of giants existed here which built the sewers and the very high lighthouse, but there is no proof for it, though the caves are connected through a number of big tunnels as well as very small openings only useful for Brownies. There exists a net of channels in the underground which is flooded regularly with seawater when the tide is high, especially when the currents are strong during the winter months. Strata gets rid of its debris this way. Due to the openness to both sides , to the sea in the west and the east, the sewers can be a dangerous place to be. It is hard to predict how high the level of water is at a given time or in which direction it is flowing. So only skilled people are able to visit the sewers and anyone who has to hide from authorities of the upper town might find refuge or a silent death.

History. In 1649 b.S. a group of refugees reached the Burning Sea after a long travel from the north. Led by Drafas Tristin they founded a new city at the place where they saw the sun rise for the first time after the Year of Darkness. The remnants of the first Temple of Foiros "Tremgala" currently still remind of these events: the citizens errected the temple to honour the God of the Injèrá, their guide in dark days.

But there's more to the location of the city. When reaching Cape Strata the refugees stumbled upon the ruins of an old and forgotten civilization. It is thought that they belonged to the same time as the ruins found in Thalambath, stemming from the War of the Chosen. The ruins of the town were long abandoned, but a system of large sewers was found intact under the ground, as well as some crippled walls and most striking a lighthouse of huge dimensions. The legend goes that a tribe of giants once lived here, but this was never confirmed. The only thing known is that the Thalambathian population considered the ground cursed, and they were therefore astonished when they heard that the refugees had settled at the cursed grounds.

Not believing the stories of Thalambath's population the refugees continued their constructions and soon a small town formed above the ruins of old. Not long thereafter the first constructions for the harbour where started, and it was finished at the same time as the temple devoted to Foiros, "Tremgala". Now the first fishing ships sailed out over the waters and thus started the seafaring nation of Stratania. In the centuries following the population would suffer several catastrophes, but they always managed to recovered. The will to survive was stronger in the newly founded city of Strata.

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THE AGE OF AWAKENING
(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
1649 b.S. Drafas Tristin founds the City of Strata
Trafas "Longstep" Tristin, who left Voldar in the Year of Darkness with a band of citizens to search for light and a new home in the south, after a long trek south eventually founds the city of Strata at the southernmost tip of the Sarvonian continent.

When Tristin and his men see the sun dawning in the south they agree unanimously that this was the place they have sought for and found a town upon the ruins they encounter there. Drafas calls it simply "Strata". It is a Styrásh name, meaning "south". The people following Drafas from this time on are referred to as the "Stratanians".
  

1646 b.S. The Temple of Foiros is constructed in Strata
The Construction of the Temple of Foiros in Strata commences. The Temple is called "Tremgala" ("Foiros Guide in Dark Days").
  

1628 b.S. Start of Construction of the Harbourquarter
Under the supervision of the youngest brother of Drafas Tristin, Gerwon, the Construction of the Strata Harbourquarter begins.
  

1603 b.S. Strata Temple and Harbour are finished
The Strata Foiros Temple, the "Tremgala", and the harbour are finally finished and a big celebration is held due to the occasion. First (fishing) ships sail from the harbour.
  

1457 b.S. Discovery of Shan'Thai by the Stratanians
The Stratanians discover Shan'Thai and a long trade co-operation between the two cities begins. Shan'Thai provides Strata with necessary goods they can't produce in their desert climate while the Stratanians mainly provide Shan'Thai with pottery, tobacco and wines.
  

1288 b.S. Floods and Storms in Strata
Major Floods and Storms cause main parts of the city of Strata to drown in the high level sea water. The harbour quarter is completely destroyed, along with the Temple of Foiros, Tremgala. The complete Tristin family drowns in the flood.
  

1287 b.S. Strata's Year of Chaos
The town of Strata is majorly crippled by the natural disasters of the past year and left under the rule of the City Council as the Tristin family is no longer present. Miyal IV. of Varcopas appears, the closest living relative of Miyal II., daughter of Fantyn I., Queen of Varcopas, and Drafas Longstep, demanding the leadership over the city.

The Ruling House is passed over to the Varcopasian family, Miyal IV. takes the new title of "Tristin" (used synonymously for "ruler") in honour of her great-great-grandfather and the old ruling family. This marks the first time of woman rule in the city. Stratanian influence now begins to grow as Varcopas and Strata are under the same rule.
  

1286 b.S. Start of Reconstruction of the Strata Temple and Harbour Quarter
This time the new harbour is constructed further away from the city at the westcoast. First appearances of large amounts of thugs in the old harbour quarter are noted which is only partially reconstructed for the grain supplies from Shan'Thai, all other ships sail to the new harbour. The old harbour quarter becomes known by the population as "Vagabond's Hideout".
  

ca. 1000 b.S.
to 700 b.S.
The Golden Age of Strata
A period of large prosperity for the Citystate and its allies can be noted coming from trade mainly. Expeditions are sent out to look for new trade partners or perhaps land for conquest colonization.
  

956 b.S. Three Stratanian Ships reach the Ferrath Islands
First contact is made with representatives of the Old Empire of Korweyn. Strata establishes a trade route with the islands but isn't allowed to explore the continent of Nybelmar further.
  

912 b.S. Murder of Tristin Granat III.
After the murder of Tristin Granat III. rumours about the Templars of the Black Pearl start to spread.
  

854 b.S. Discovery of Rat Brownies in Strata
First reports are given of sightings of other life in the sewers of Strata than the usual thugs and smugglers. A colony of Rat Brownies is discovered later that year.

THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
806 b.S. The Beginning of the First Sarvonian War: The War of the Blood
The south remains untouched by the ravages of war for many years.
  

759 b.S. The Siege of Thaehavos
Thaehavos is besieged by a small contingent of elves emerging from the forests located in the north. Messengers coming from Thaehavos reach Strata begging for aid in their situation. Strata recognizes the threat of the elven forces and sends out an army in the direction of Thaehavos. The town is saved and the elves are forced to retreat to the Sharadon Forests by the combined armies of Thaehavos and Strata.
  

758 b.S. Founding of the Kingdom of Stratania
The Kingdom of Stratania is founded consisting of the city states of Strata, Thaehavos, Varcopas and the lands surrounding the cities. Uderza and Rahmat remain Shendar cities, while Thalambath decides to remain independent. The Tristin of Strata holds the power over the Stratanian kingdom. A council is formed and placed in Strata which forms the capital of the kingdom.
  

744 b.S. The Trade Routes to the Ferrath Islands cease to exist
As the Stratanian merchant ships find another power holding the Ferrath Islands the trade routes to the islands cease to exist. First signs of weakness show in the economic structure as several companies depended on the trade with the west.
  

713 b.S.
to 636 b.S.
The Shadow War with the Black Pearl
A Templar of the Black Pearl
A Black Pearl Templar
In the streets and sewers of Strata a terrible war is fought between the Seven of Thalambath and the Templars of the Black Pearl. It bears the name the "Shadow War" because the war isn't faught openly, only in the dark hours of night, the shadows of the Vagabond's Hideout and the sewers. Murders and small skirmishes are daily events and the city is in chaos for many years. The war results most likely in the end of the Templars and the leaving of the Seven to their hometown, although both facts were never confirmed.
  

635 b.S. Thalambath joins the Kingdom of Stratania
THe city of Thalambath eventually join the Stratanian Kingdom but gains power quickly because of the chaos pre-dominating in Strata.
  

628 b.S. Milkengradian Offensive against the Stratanians
The Milkengradian navy launches an offensive against Stratanian pirates in the south. The Stratanians consider that a vile provocation.
  

618 b.S. The Strata Economy collapses
Though the outcome of the punitive expedition against Milkengrad is victorious for the alliance, it can be seen as a victory with many losses: Many men and material are lost due to the terrible battles and the economy of Strata collapses. The harbour falls into ruin as it is barely used and crime takes control over the city. The Tristin and his family, last heirs to Drafas' throne leave the city and flee to Marcogg.
  

602 b.S. The Council of Stratania moves to Talambath
Governmental agendas of the Stratanians should from now on take place in Thalambath, not in Strata anymore. The leader of the city takes the title "King of the United South", easily overthrowing the Tristin of the weakened city.
  

474 b.S. Offensive of Stratanian patriots against the Thalambathian government
Stratanian patriots attempt to overthrow the Thalambathian government. The rebels are easily defeated and flee to Thaehavos. In the following centuries several groups of patriots demand the restoration of Strata's most important part, the harbour, by acts of protest as well as violent actions. It is thought that the Tristin partially organized the resistance emanating from Marcogg.
  

250 b.S. Trade Relations of the Stormcloaks with Strata
Trade is done for the very first time with Strata. The Stormcloaks note the importance of this port, especially with its connection to Shan'Thai and all of the goods of Aeruillin. Strata, being proud and secure in its own trading abilities does not allow the guild any special port areas.
  

203 b.S. The End of Demise for Strata
The King of Thalambath grants the city a large sum of money to reconstruct its famous harbour. The Tristin family is reinstated as holder of the Ruling House.
  

150 b.S. Trade Relations with Shan'Furionis
After getting rebuffed by Strata, and more importantly their strong fleets, the Quios Shipping Guild searches the Aeruillin coast for their own trading partners amongst the peoples that live there. In time they find Shan'Furionis and establish relations there.

THE AGE OF CHANGE
(YEARS 50 B.S. - 172 A.S.)
3 b.S. Stratania enters a tight contract with Tharania
Strata and Thalambath agree to strong ties with Tharania. Thalambath gets the secret covenant to become the capital of a future province which will be named "Truban". Strata, nearly destroyed by the past wars, gets the promise of massive funds for rebuilding and reestablishing of their trading fleet. Only Varcopas disagrees.

THE CLERICAL AGE
(YEARS 610 A.S. - 825 A.S.)
800 Pirate Attacks near Strata
The Stormcloaks try to expand to the west, but Strata and the western ports fear the competition and that the Stormcloaks may start to overtake the trade with Nybelmar and Akdor. Their ships are attacked by "pirates" as soon as they pass Thalambath.

THE ERA OF THE SOUTHERN WARS
(YEARS 825 A.S. - 1.062 A.S.)
827 Stormcloak Port in Strata
After many years of quarrels, finally a treaty is signed, which states that the Stormcloaks will stay away from the western seas. In exchange they get a space in Strata for their own harbour, along with the right to found one in Shan'Thai as well. Trade is not completely free though, and conditions are put upon certain goods, so Strata is still only trade partner with Shan'Zarathan and the only provider of the jakesha fish.
  

850 Stormcloak Port at Thylascuran
In secret negotiations, Strata talks with the Stormcloaks to open a direct way to Thylascuran, which so far has been the trading privilege of Shan'Thai. Several problems arise at first with the new people that the Quios Shipping Guild meets. With the expertise of Stratanian merchants however, the contact to the strange culture is successful and a new port of the guild can be established there.

THE AGE OF HAVOC
(YEARS 1.440 A.S. - 1.540 A.S.)
1.441 The Tyrant Dekron Lashes Back
War breaks loose between the Royalists and Helcrah. The Centoraurians and Helcrah revolt against the Tyrant Dekron and his Erpheronian supporters. Vardýnn is turned into a battlefield, and Nermeran is annexed by the Royalists. Cruelties against the people of Enthronia ensure that the Caltharians remain loyal to the central authority. The royalist conquer Varcopas and Strata.

Ximax declares neutrality in the progressing conflict.

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