Wednesday, 18 April 2012

damned city: manescor

Lagelido shelters the two-mile wide crater of Manescor, the city's heart rests where a star fell.  Built on catastrophe, sustained by tyranny, such is Manescor.  The south Chantákia road forms a viaduct into the crater, sloping down a full half-mile.  Rising heat, smoke and clanging steel makes this descent memorable. Beneath the arches is Atmízon, a ghetto of Chantákian smiths, Oroguidan alchemists, poisoners, procurers and prostitutes.  The viaduct slopes downwards towards a rampart where the crimson citadel of Gelusanguis sprawls.  At sunset it's red-stained stones glows like a coal.  Red-robed emissaries and troops in crimson-stained platemail bleed from it's fortified gates.  The soldiers (nefas) bear hooked goads and gladius.  The former hook or snare foes, the latter are stained with virulent giant centipede venom. Each swears eternal loyalty to the lord of Manescor.

The lord is known to everyone only as Manescor. A horned casque in beaten gold with hollow eyes and no facial features erases his identity.  Robes of crimson velvet and black kidskin hide his body.  He always bears an iron rod adorned with rubies, concealed venomed blades and ancient, evil magics. His daughter, Lady Aureglas is chatelaine for Gelusanguis when Manescor himself is preoccupied or travelling.  This only
happens if the city faces crisis.  Most officials who serve him are either red-robed wizards or experienced nefas bound to him by magic.  Manescor understands power and the use of law to constrain unacceptable situations.

North-east of Gelusanguis, the Lagelidan waterfall sinks into Malicoram's shattered maze of chasms and mines.  Those foolhardy enough to descend the hidden stair behind it find oolite cliffs rich in hematite and red garnets.  Mining camps and placer mines cluster in the valleys and cavernous mansions for mine owners and ex-miner traders.  Packs of orthus (feral two-headed dogs with vipers for tails) roam Malicoram's edges, scavenging and preying on the weak.  At the western edge Lake Kokytus embitters the air.  Poisoned by the ancient meteorite within, it's bony sands hide rubies and carbuncles.  Gangs comb for gems, dying over fortunes.  The criminal syndicates that sponsor them command fearful wealth.  Milky, toxic waters calcinate
anything immersed in them with an effervescence of opaque mist.  The only structure on Kokytus is Albumoles, a jetty long-ossified by the lake.  It's sole visitors are nefas and the condemned they escort.  Criminals are swaddled in pale hessian then entombed in the lake, calcined by it's poison depths.  Over weeks, their bodies sink and dissolve

South of Kokytus, writhing between it and the glare of Gelusanguis is the squalid ghetto Rubralitus.  Reeking, gloomy and claustrophobic, Rubralitus never sleeps.  This dog-eat-dog environment breeds wrathful schemers, envious whores and grasping gluttons from artisans and labourers.  The reticulated concrete apartments are barely maintained as corruption funds wealthy guilds and gem prospecting gangs.  The poor riot every midsummer but little changes.  Those caught rioting are executed and their body parts assemble golem brute squads who break up future riots.  Ringleaders are taken to Kokytus for calcination.  From
these mean streets, the strongest and most brutal nefas are recruited.

East of Rubralitus is sinister Felicunas.  Fortified villas for rich artisans, gem-wrights and merchants are leavened with ancient, cat-haunted ruins and black walnut groves.  Lamias yowl under gibbous moons every month.  A local law decrees only nefas may harm cats here, enforced by hellcats, experienced nefas never exercise this privilege.  The walnut groves provide wood and oil for the city.  At the easternmost edge of Felicunas is a copse of cedar and eucalyptus housing broken souls.  Here, the Dantis, tributory to the Fiumorte rises.  Within this cloistered idyllic grove, lamia and hags prey upon the mad with Manescor's written approval.  Political rivals usually end up here, discredited, delusional and eventually dinner.

North of Felicunas is Rupemagus, a sprawling well-lit suburb home to Scholaes, a college of scholars, scribes and wizards.  Most anything a wizard or scribe may wish can be bought here, a brisk market in magical manuscripts keeps wealth rolling in.  Most students are intelligent, rich and bound by geas to their masters.  Manescor recruits many officials and emissaries for Gelusanguis here. This fuels the arrogance of some residents.  Wealth and magic are the keys to prosperity in Rupemagus, survival depends on which
battles you choose and respect for Gelusanguis. Necromancy is considered one Art among many.  Waterwheels powered by mindless skeletons are one example of how magic benefits the community.  For all this, Rupemagus is dependent on the other suburbs for getting things done.  Scholaes sits at the heart of Rupemagus, though individual masters dwell in towers along the northern crater wall.  Intrigues along the wall have led to more than one murder victim coming back to seek revenge.

1 comment:

  1. Also good to have another damned city installment.


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