Beyond the Oasis
|City-State||Sorcerer-King: The Dictator Andropinis Crastus|
|High Templar: Septimus Aquilis||Chief of the Guard: Phelot Tem|
The city of Balic is nominally a democracy with the Dictator-for-life Andropinis ruling from high atop the Andropine Hill where he has lived for centuries. The ancient marble facades of the buildings in Balic have been scoured by the blasts from the Sea of Silt, leaving the great columns pitted and wind-scoured. Still, things continue apace in Balic as though nothing has changed and she still ruled thousands of fertile acres; nobles scheme in their palaces and templars play the games of power.
Balic is famed for the orange groves which ring the city, watered by careful and mendacious irrigation. The great noble families of Balic each own a section of the massive groves and the whole city is hurt when the sandstorms and siltstorms and duststorms damage the ancient orchards.
The Andropine Hill
The massive palace atop this hill serves as the nerve-center for all government in Balic. Only templars and palace slaves are permitted to walk the grounds with Andropinis’ direct knowledge and agreement. The high sandy bluff of the hill is actually blossoming with life within the walls of the White Palace. Vines drip over its walls, and the sight of tree-tops can be made out from adjoining hills. Those who have visited Adropinis in his stronghold have spoken of flowing water, huge trees, and green grasses.
The Forum of Lucius Aquilis
Beneath the bluffs of the Andropine Hill is the huge sandy open forum dedicated to the Dictator who served before Andropinis. He was victorious in several major wars against Tyr for iron. A huge statue of Lucius stands at the southern entrance of the forum, commemorating this hero of Balic.
The Forum serves as a place for templars to gather and announce the laws of Balic, to hold votes, and on normal days to allow merchants to gather and sell their wares. A massive pillar of pure iron commemorates Andorpinis’ accession to Dictator. This is the center of public life in Balic, where servants and merchants can rub shoulders and discuss the affairs of the city.
The Civic Temple
The largest of the great temples in Balic, the Civic Temple sits at the foot of the Andropine Hill and guards the passage up the hill to the gates of the White Palace complex. This is also the central library of the templars of Balic, as well as their commandery. New templars regularly train here and the High Templar Septimus Aquilis has his offices here.
The Iron Market
Iron from Tyr is brought to this extremely high-class market (mostly by the will of the Iron Merchants) and sold to the nobles and the city. Of course, the total amount of iron moved on a day to day basis is very low (no more than a few grams). Thus, other services have sprung up in this market as well; money-changers are a common sight here as are fabric merchants and tailors. It’s dominated by the massive fortress-like appearance of the Iron Merchant’s compound on its south-eastern side, which towers in heavy sandstone and paint, out of place amongst Balic’s brick, marble, and stucco.
The Low City
The Low City is located in the extreme south-east of Balic, partially outside its walls. These buildings are made of brick, plaster, and stucco instead of marble. Tenements without fountains or access to wells are the norm, requiring the inhabitants of the Low City to walk to the Forum or the Square of Fountains to draw water.
The Flesh Market
Slaves are an important part of Balic’s economy. They work the fields that still blossom, they serve in every house, and they are brought by the wars into the Flesh Markets of the Low City. The Flesh Market is the largest of these. Representatives from each major noble house and the merchant combines and houses in the city are always present to view stock and purchase something from the blocks.
The Noble Houses
|Patriarch: Cascus Aquilis|
The highest and most famous of the Balic houses, the Aquilis gave life to the dictator Lucius Aquilis, he who came before Andropinis. For this reason they have the most bitter hate towards their current dictator. While he has managed to subvert some members of their family (such as Septimus Aquilis, a lesser family member elevated to the position of High Templar) most of the Aquiline family wouldn’t serve Andropinis if he threatened to level their vast estate or burn down their share of the famous Balic orange plantations.
|Patriarch: Theodosius Mekorlius|
The Mekorlius house is a newer patrician family, risen to power based on their massive Mekillot herds and the orange-estates they’ve managed to parlay their wealth into a permanent compound in the city as well as patrician status about a generation ago. As “new men” in the city, the other patrician families look down on them. They have a number of their kin in the templar administration and are known as toadies to the Dictator.
|Patriarch: Avax Theolendus|
The Theoline family was one of the great warrior-tribes of ancient Balic. They’re known for subduing the thri-kreen of Allaq’q, defeating the Publian Giants of the Estuary, and having led the charge in almost every war that Balic has ever fought. A number of Theoline watch-commanders and centurions are to be found throughout the Dictator’s service. The Theolendus pride themselves in their warrior-spirit and their potency in combat. The Theoline Gladiator School is a source of great joy and huge incomes for them – and the gladiators themselves have been known to supplement the forces of the Dictator (for a fee) come wartime.
|Patriarch: Laudus Carnolenus|
The only one of the great patrician houses ruled by a psionicist, the Carnolenus are one of the chief supporters of the Order of the Marble Mind. They are an esoteric patricians house, more fond of collecting histories and lores than engaging in complex politics or trade wars. This makes them almost always a neutral third party in the battles for control of Balic… which grants them considerable influence.
|Patriarch: Sagrus Helion|
The Helion are the patrons of almost all the builders, bricklayers, and masons in Balic. Whenever there’s construction, Helioline money is at stake and Helioline power is in action. The Dictator tolerates them because their vast slave-forces help the masons for very cheap and keep the city in good repair. The moment the Dictator could take control of this municipal maintenance army for himself however… well, thanks to the machinations of Sagrus, perhaps that day will never come.
Local Schools of Psionics
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