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Author Topic: The Districts of New-Santhala  (Read 7151 times)
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Felsid Greytunnel
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« on: 15 March 2017, 02:17:52 »

The great city of New-Santhala is divided into a collection of neighbourhoods and districts, each indentifable by their unqiue character or service to the City. Many of the districts have their roots in both the more recent and the ancient history of the region. The premiers of the City have historically made use of these districts to organise the City into easily administered zones; this tradition has since been formalised and enshrined in the City's legal code and official management.

Much of the City's districts grew with time from the peaceful offerings of Quia'antá, the Eyelian town that preceded it. As time passed, so did the urgency for space and protection. From Santhros' fateful arrival at the rough pallisade wall of that small townb, to the towering spires of the current era, the history of New-Santhala can be found engraved in the cobbles of its roads, the dark wood of its docks, and the ardent smiles of its cherised people.

  • The Banner Districts: a sprawling collection of racial enclaves, market squares and tightly packed houses, the Banner Districts is the largest district and home to most of New-Santhala's population. New arrivals will find themselves drawn in by the constant blare of its people as they go about their business, jovially shouldering each other in the constant struggle for space in an altogether heaving part of town. Perhaps the most notable feature of the Banner Districts are the weaving and fluttering pennants that crowd the skyline. Hundreds of colourful tails of silk are whipped into a frenzy by the wind, signifying the houses and tribes of all the many multitudes that live there. New immigrants are readily encouraged to hang their own banner from a window, or to fix a pennant to their chimney to display the pride of their people. This spectacle can be seen from end to end, in every corner of the district.

    Despite the harmony between the city's many tribes, there will always be the desire to be among ones own kin. Thus, the Banner Districts are divided into an uncountable multitude of voluntarily segregated enclaves; whole market squares dedicated to Erpheronians;  taverns run solely by Boltgrumms, widely known as dwarven-exclusive drinking holes; Avennonorian blacksmiths that provide cheaper rates for the gang of their own youthful kin than those across the street. Sometimes the much-lauded harmony of New-Santhala runs its due course and tensions begin to mount, as they do. In times of simmering emotions it is not uncommon for bands to form and for families to relocate to the safety of the enclaves. In instances such as these, it is the task of the Mayor and his staff and the local Militia to find a way to deescalate the conflict - preferably without having to summon the veteran city guard, the Silvershields from Bastion Ring. The Banner Districts was incorporated as an original district by Santhros the Wise in 2 a.S., then known as Thar's Township (in honour of the Tharian king Thar the Great), and reincorporated in 46 a.S. under Santhran Laenthris as the Banner Districts, to accommodate its unexpected growth and diversified populace.

  • The Rafters: In the northeast side of the city you'll find a place where the engineer's cunning couldn't reach, where the streets ooze and appear to suppurate filth, where the lost and unwanted end up - welcome to the Rafters. Because of its position atop the Chair, the Rafters never received the civilising benefit of plumbing and clean water. So, much like its namesake, the Rafters is a dusty place that is mostly forgotten by the ermine robes atop the Palace ramparts. Although it is technically administered by the Mayor of the Banner Districts, it is well known that the care of the Rafters is traditionally foisted off to the least popular council member, a position rather affectionately termed Mousecatcher. However, despite its unkempt appearance, there are many who swear by the locations eccentric charm, the esotericism of its inhabitants and its astounding sense of community. Where one might find the west of the city aflame with racial tensions, the Rafters remains always quite, always demure. Of course, don't let that be an excuse to let your guard down; that infallible sense of community makes the mice of Rafters particularly hostile to intruders, in a bid to protect their distinctive, grubby identity. The Rafter's was incorporated under the Banner Districts in 46 a.S.; at the time, the Rafter's had an ordinary reputation as simply another neighborhood. It was only after the birth of the first Jyth gangs that the Rafter's began its decline.

  • Seller's Quarters: Wide, heavily-cobbled streets; an industrious cacophony; the pose of severity and moneymaking; each of these will greet you the first time you step foot beyond the Maker's Gates. Seller's Quarter is one of the oldest districts of New-Santhala, corresponding to the same market square that once sat squat beneath the shadow of the old bailey of Quia'antá. Many of the buildings that line its diligently swept streets are almost as old as the city itself. The Seller's Quarter is the center of New-Santhalan industry. Hundreds of workshops, of both artisans and amateurs, huddle around the tight twists and curves of the ancient cobbled streets, belching loud hammerstrikes, the clank of machines and the hiss of foul alchemy. Every renowned guild in the Kingdom's runs a shopfront in Seller's Quarters, including the much-lauded Fymbel's Association and the Quios Shipping Guild, or Stormcloaks as they're commonly known. The Seller's Quarter's stretches from the top edge of the Banner Districts up to the city's northern walls, running adjacent to the wholly less-well-kept Wharves on the western side, and the Bastion Ring and Blue Towers to the east. The district (and its taxes) is closely managed by the appointed Mayor of Seller's Quarters, his staff of overworked clerks, and the elected Chief Signatory. The Chief Signatory is drawn from the district's own informal ruling body of assorted merchants, referred to as the Council of Coins - membership to the Council is generally conferred upon proof of the recipients one-hundredth nune in profit (a thousand silverbards!). Seller's Quarters was incorporated in 2 a.S. alongside the Banner Districts, the Wharves & Quayside and Thar's Road as an original designation.  

  • The Blue Towers: The Blue Towers were inaugurated as a center of learning within New-Santhala with the unannounced arrival of Esra Moskva'an in 302 a.S., an eccentric traveling merchant who had brought with him a supreme collection of texts on the arcane, the scientific and the dry historical, and his own fearsome tirelessness in the pursuit of knowledge. Esra bought some cheap land close to the Palace walls in the Banner Districts, erecting his first ramshackle laboratory, where he proceeded to, over the next fifteen years, conduct experiments in half a dozen scholastic fields, contributing significantly to each of them. His general enthusiasm and astounding collection made him a local celebrity; academics from far and wide came out of curiosity, tired of the intellectual ennui of their own peers, to study this enigmatic man. Before long the district had expanded, gaining notoriety as a (rather raucous) esteemed center of education, and received incorporation in 328 a.S. as the Blue Towers, named after the painted wooden tiles that once adorned Esra's first residence - now demolished and replaced with the gorgeously-named Esra's Azure Minaret, a towering obelisk that now houses his original library. The district was first headed by an appointed Mayor, up until 429 a.S. when it was decided the title should, by rights, be conferred upon the incumbent Grand Steward from the Royal College, as a rule. To befit the rank, the appointment received the privilege of Lord Mayor, affording it a superior rank akin to that of Duke, as well as higher place in the Royal Court.

    The Blue Towers are notorious for two reasons: the widely famous Compendium is being written and compiled within the dusty halls of the Archives; and for being home to the noisy, vociferous dormitories of the Royal Santharian College. Much can be said about the debauchery of the College which can be left for another time. The Blue Towers are partially unique within New-Santhala in that they are completely walled off from the rest of the city - deep canals encircle its walls and the gates are tightly guarded. Entry is granted by the Gate Steward, one of the many Stewards that organise and run the Royal College and the Archives, and from where the Grand Steward elect is drawn. This exclusivity has afforded the students of the College a rather...pompous self-styling, an air that is met with much chagrin by the rest of the city.  

  • The Purple Fold: The manicured, resplendent, neatly-arrayed streets of the Purple Fold are perhaps a point of pride for many New-Santhalans. Here one finds a truly contrasting facet to the chaotic nature of the city's character; the streets are wider and regularly re-cobbled, swept and washed by teams of diligent Nerthers; opulent purple drapes adorn the lamps of every street corner and soaring public fixture; the residents are all suitably cultured and delicate. A home for the deserving and the noble. Understandably, many choose not to stray into the Fold, although their reasons might vary: lest they be beaten for trouble-making or "disturbing the peace" - a loud chortle, a rough visage or perhaps simply an unsavory personal odour - there are many rules in the books that might get you a night in a cold cell. The Purple Fold is home to New-Santhala's rich, its aristocracy. Many rich merchants who operate out of Seller's Quarters make their home here. Most of the greater nation's far-flung nobility maintain an apartment somewhere in the district, for when they decide to visit.

    The Purple Fold began life simply as the closest one could get to the newly established residence of the Santhran. When Santhros Salazath first mounted the Chair and declared it the site of  his new palace, his bewildered retinue scrabbled for the deeds of the land around him. And thus the Fold grew. As a new part of the established town of Quia'antá, the Fold was originally incorporated under the Banner Districts in 2 a.S. before receiving its own designation in 32 a.S. The area is administered by the Lord Mayor of the Purple Fold, a hereditary title passed down through the family of the Duke of Santhala, the House of A'agna, the once indigenous rulers of Quia'antá before the unification, who were duly awarded Santharian peerage.    

  • The Wharves & Quayside: The languid flow of the Thaehelvil completely divides the western portion of the city. The eastern bank, closest to the Palace, is referred to as the Wharves. Many of the buildings in this part of the city are showing their age, a slate of rotting wood, drowned flagstones and the stark spokes of fallen piers. Despite its proximity, the Wharves are seldom used for berthing ships carrying goods, as the states of their disrepair are far too hazardous for any risk-averse business. Rather, the ancient moorings are populated by rakish sloops and courier ships who desire fast access to the city. The haggard buildings that loom over the east-side waters are no less forbidding than the Rafters. The Wharves is perhaps infamous for its violence and profligate taphouses, and the thresholds between it and Seller's Quarters tend to be heavily guarded.

    Quayside stretches across the western bank of the Thaehelvil, from the northernmost walls down to the southernmost. Those passing over the Wanderer towards the Parish must first pass through Quayside; although, this is not a daunting task by any measure. Construction of a slew of dedicated moorings first began in 202 a.S., after it was sufficiently clear that the Wharves were beyond repair and its inhabitants too far gone. Those moorings grew into a complex of warehouses and storage able to accommodate the growth of the city's demands. They were paid in part by the Council of Coin, who saw great necessity in ensuring the efficiency and skillful construction of the new facilities. The purposeful erection of Quayside meant it was built with wide streets, an intuitive design and with an eye for traffic. Most of those who travel to the city via the Yellow Wanderer thus berth on the western bank, Quayside. The Wharves were incorporated as an official district in 2 a.S. alongside the Banner Districts and Seller's Quarters, with Quayside being added in 211 a.S. The district is managed by the Mayor of Wharves and Quayside, a position that is generally considered subordinate to the Mayor of Seller's Quarters.

  • Oric's Silver Gorget, or Bastion Ring: The fanfare inherent in much of New-Santhala's daily enterprise is a stark contrast to the tight silence of the Bastion Ring. Serving as an integrated buffer zone between the hoarding rabble and debonair aristocracy, the Bastion Ring also serves as the city's martial district. It is here that one will find the August Martial Academy, where the nation's finest military heads are trained, as well as the courtyards of some of New-Santhala's more martial Orders. The district consists of a thick ring wall, completely encompassing the Bastion Ring, Purple Fold and Palace districts. Towers soar at regular intervals along the fortifications, draped in pennants and regularly patrolled. Squat barbicans crouch over the few entrances into the secluded region, giving the Ring a very threatening and bleak expression.  At the southern portion of the district, flush against the walls is the Hold, a vast, spartan stone castle, built primarily as a reserve fortification, given the Palace's lack of real defensibility. Much of the architecture here follows older Tharian traditions - prevalent stone, fluted arches and tall, narrow windows. The martial spirit of the district runs incredibly deep; noise is restricted during the early hours and in the evening during drills, drinking is controlled and much respect is paid towards the Santhran.

    The Bastion Ring's correct title is Oric's Silver Gorget - following the seemingly local tradition of laborious official naming. The area originally belonged to the Banner Districts and the Blue Towers. In 495 a.S., the ruling Santhran Jedira I, consumed with an irrational paranoia that the orcs which had terrorised much of the northern quarter of the Kingdom under his father's reign (Santhran Gant the Grey, who had ruled Santharia during the first phase of the Troll War in 488 to 490 a.S.), had somehow invaded Rimmeran's Ring and were hiding in the woods just beyond the city. Despite the constant reassurance of his councilors, Jedira I ordered much of the local land stripped and patrols sent out to hunt for the elusive suspected orcs. It was not until Lord Oric, the Thane of Manthria, gifted him a vast ring of stone fortifications, built and paid for by his own engineers and laborers, as a sign of good faith. The construction of the ring soothed the delusional Santhran's fears...for a time - in 502 a.S., Jedira I died inside his chambers after setting fire to himself. He had mistaken his wardrobe as the sillhouette of a hulking green intruder. He had struck the shadow with an oil lamp, unwittingly dowsing himself and his room in liquid flame. He died before help could arrive, leaving his adolescent son Pysamon as heir to the throne. Construction of the Bastion Ring was completed in 503 a.S., and officially incorporated as an administrative district later that year. As it fell squarely over much of the city's original martial buildings, such as the barracks, the area gradually developed as a center for such affairs. The district Mayor is joined by a council of leaders from the various military Orders that make it their home, as well as ranking officials from the August Martial Academy, and the Steward of the Hold.

  • Thar's Road: It is well known that Santhros the Wise greatly admired his predecessor, King Thar the Great. Thar's lasting legacy can be found in many places across the United Kingdoms. Upon his ascension to the throne, Santhros the Wise honoured the old king by designating the primary causeway between the city gates of his new capital, New-Santhala, and the doors of his palace, as Thar's Road. He went so far as to designate the path as its own district, with its own Mayor. Thar's Road is a widened causeway that cuts directly through the Banner Districts, the Purple Fold and the Bastion Ring right up to the palace gates. Its administration is left to the Mayor of Thar's Road, who's only task is making sure it remains in good repair, essentially. Understandably, it's considered an easy office, an a great honour of retirement for aged commanders of the Kingdoms.

  • The Parish: To the west, across the Thaevelhil and beyond the bustle of the city proper are gentle green parks and vineyards that make up the Parish district. As the warehouses of Quayside fade and the huddled shacks and slums that crowd around  beneath their shadows retreat back into the city, the land takes on livelier hue. Arcing into the distance, the city walls still encompass this pastoral area of town.Sloping gently up from the river, the Parish is a mixture of gentry and humble dweller; palatial estates preside over tightly-packed hamlets and winding, high-banked little roads. Bristling hedges hash the sloping hills, dividing the Parish into a jester's motley of vinyards, orchards and meadows. It is here that much of the city's wealthy withdraw to retire - those rich enough to afford an estate within the walls, of course. As for the little hamlets, they belong mostly to the servant families of the estates, as well as the ancient cottage-holdfasts of the original dwellers, the old people of Quia'antá. The people of the Parish - the true people, those from before Santhros arrived - are known for their curmudgeonly attitude. Protected by royal decree, they are steadfast and deeply-rooted, with the face of every scowling patriarch the bowl of a gnarled old oak. This part of the city was recognised as a district in 213 a.S.

    The Parish soon grows sparse and subdued as one travels out, and the estates also fewer between. Much of the land here is dedicated to quiet vinyards, and is typically referred to as the Royal Winelands. As one draws further from city, up the soon steeply-inclined hills, one reaches the westernmost walls of the city. Thick and studded with bastions, the walls loom from their vantage point, visible from any point in the city. The land beneath the walls are known as the Hinterhills, a designation that stretches beyond them and into the wilderness beyond, all the way to the western warden and the stony face of Mount PocRotrum.

  • The Palace: Santhros Salazath's royal seat of rule, from where the nascent United Kingdom's of Santharia has been ruled since his time. The Palace District is a relatively small parcel of land, locked entirely by the Fold. The edges of the district are shored up by tall walls sheathed in alabaster stone. In the sunlight the walls are ferociously illuminated in a true spectacle of dazzling colour. Within the walls, the palace complex sprawls out leaving very little open space, no more than a few courtyards for any of the royal inhabitants to practice sparring or enjoy some outdoor leisure. However, as the highest point in the city, the bright walls and tall minarets can be seen from any direction; on a bright summer's day one can stand upon the Warden's in any direction and witness the dazzling fire of the Palace walls.

    The Palace foundations were laid by Santhros Salazath and was given official status alongside the rest of the city, in 2 a.S. Since then, the Palace has grown to its limitations. Much of the original buildings still stand, however. Subsequent Santhros' have been cautious to take great care when renovating their august home.  

  • The Four Wardens: Whilst they might fall outside of the city walls, the Wardens of New-Santhala are still considered a part of the city, as far as the books are concerned. The Four Wardens are imonumental stone towers built by Santhros Athaelath in 401 a.S., and given to the then newly-formed Order of the Towers alongside the decree that they shall be a first response in the defense of the city. Maintained year-round, the Wardens are garrisoned by a cadre of troops trained in the Order chapterhouse in Bastion Ring, typically drawn from other military orders and veteran companies from across the Kingdoms. The towers are built from heavy stone boulders in the Eyelian fashion: each boulder retains its original shape with only the exterior and interior walls hewn smooth, creating a distinctive interlocking pattern. Beneath the towers are large cellar stores, enough to provide for a sizable force of refugees fleeing from the city. The Towers are rarely quiet. Despite their (relatively) remote location, they serve also as waystations for those exiting the northern and southern passes of the Ring, as they loom  a short ride from the main road. On clear days, it is possible for all four towers to be visible from the Refuge, the nesting tower that soars above the Palace.

    The Four Wardens are named the Fair Warden to the west, Rangwar Warden to the north, Silverrock Warden to the east and Wings Warden to the south.

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