High Walls for the high floods and to protect deep secrets, the gateway city to Esplorzeni.
The exotics have few great cities to their name, but Izala is the cream of the crop. With her high walls and the grand mansions of the merchant families standing stark above the city like the crowns they all wear, the city is different enough from the cities of the mainland to get a special mention. You see, even though the Izalans have imported airships, and the mainland has had airships for a while now, I can't approach Izala by an airship, indeed, they say things about distances, tailwinds and errant squalls that wreck traverse between Izala and the rest of the civilized worlds, but this means that you have to approach the city via a boat. Do try to book the best of the batch, as only a few captains make the pre-summer run to Izala. When you do get there, however, the great wall and it's set of gates are a beauty to be seen, along with the stark dome of the Seacrest Temple as you slowly make out the chaos of the storm so amazingly detailed on the outsides. I recommend attempting a visitation with one of the families for the sole purpose of seeing the mural from it's most complete view, right on the edge of the great ledge.
The former seat of power of the Izalan EmpireIn ancient times, this city was the home of Naval Champions, Artisans and Shipwrights that possessed unparalleled skill and created wonders that are difficult to match even with modern understanding. As the Seat of the Izalan Empire, the city gained all the benefits of hundreds of vassal states spread across the islands, and now, even a thousand years past the fall of the empire, the city still retains much of it's former glory. In modern times, the city acts as the main port of call for the entirety of the Islands of Esplorzeni, any trade, movement of goods, or even basic transport has to be approved by the Merchant Council before they can make the journey further into the islands. This obviously means that there are a large amount of outlaws and bounty hunters throughout the islands that are constantly seeking out venues that won't be destroyed in the yearly floods.
GovernmentThe Royal Families of the Izalan Empire have survived the millenia and now rule as the six seats of the Merchant Council. They have immeasurable wealth that has been accumulated over the years and have stored those wares in Magic Items, Shipping and Slave Contracts, Exploitation of Natural Resources, Development of new Sea-based technologies and ship designs, and most importantly, secrets. The darkest whispers claim that the Merchant Families have secrets that could warp the fabric of Ithungsida as we know it, but would only reveal such things to those that offer the right price. The merchant families are:
The Goa house The Kain house
The Winthrop house The Salma house
The Raim house The Tetra house
This massive ledge rises high above the city dominating the southwestern horizon. Arranged on the ledge are the six mansions of the Royal Families, each showcasing the highest levels of craftmanship available to those that work with the Merchant Families. Above and behind the houses is the lone tower that stands at the apex of Izala. On the solstices the shadow of that single tower completes the design of the Seacrest temple far below. It also acts as the only easy entry point to the top of the ledge, all other access points having been destroyed, forcing all traffic to use Airships to make the trip.
Far below the Ledge is the gargatuan dome of the Seacrest temple. This Temple is the sole surviving structure from the height of the Izalan empire, it's height and craftmanship outstripping even the most complex of the SosIwan. The dome itself is adorned with a stunning mosaic of storms and lightning strikes that look as real as any actual storm. This serves as the temple to MeyGana, with daily services that are attended by a wide majority of the population.
While the city is massive, the wall that separates it from the sea is of an even greater magnitude. This wall spans the vast valley that makes up the majority of the island is known to be a necessity, for when the summer floods kick up and the sea rises to meet the sky, it is the only thing that keeps the water from washing Izala away. The many gates that cut through it are lined with an intricate rail system that is primarily staffed by specialized carts designed to move boats en masse. Every year they are put through their paces as the entire Izalan fleet is moved inwards to the drydocks before the floods.
Beyond the wall are the docks. These docks span miles of heavy stonework that has been cut from the hardest of granite. The designs made to last against the ceaseless annual batterings of the floods. This makes it easy for the work to stop for the few weeks of flood weather that destroy docks and progress in places like Aegis. Over the past hundred years, the rails have spread through the docks and been heavily refined, these machines and lift mechanisms for moving ships are some of the most advanced in the world. This has made the local Longhouse an envied posting for Longshoremen.
The Grand Bazaar:
The Grand Bazaar is named as such because it takes up the entirety of the area nearest the wall. Every gate has a ten foot by ten foot grid system that is filled by specialized auctions headed by a member of the Merchant Council. Only those that are in good terms with the council can get a position at the best gates, while anyone with poor standing is shifted to the least trafficked gates while still being charged full price for the privilege of selling. This has resulted in the creation of illicit dockside markets that don't exist if Council Guards come through, but offer better prices on anything sold inside and offer many things that aren't allowed to be sold by the council. This has turned the markets into a complex game of exploiting things in the right way over the years.
Far below the Ledge and in sight of the SeaCrest Temple is the massive stone block that acts as the sealed entrance to the Mine. Historically, this mine is the primary reason for the prominence and continued inhabitance of Izala, as it is one of the only known natural sources of Adamantine. This mine has been actively exploited for thousands of years and, until recently, new veins of the ore were still being discovered deep beneath the surface. After some unfortunately explosive accidents with Bulette Powder caused a dangerous instability of the Ledge and many higher levels of the mine, the Merchant Families banned any further exploitation of the resource. However, highly illegal mining operations are still funded and still pull tons of Adamantine from beneath the city.
Unlike many libraries where books can be read inside or borrowed, the Library in Izala is a trading post of knowledge, magical and mundane. A greater Androsphinx known as “The Keeper” lies before an underground vault of books the size of a hamlet (roughly 100k square feet). He refers to all who seek to purchase or sell books as “truth seekers.” Before the vault is a marketplace of books, scrolls, and secrets. It is rumored that inside the vault are Illithids bred to protect the vault at all costs. Each Merchant family has a smaller vault of their own on the perimeter of the marketplace; they have a family member present at all times.
Guilds and Factions
Truth Seekers:This faction exists in direct opposition to the Merchant Families and the Library. They view all knowledge as the right of the people and deem it free to obtain by anything that can think. To this end they have raided the homes of several of the Merchant Families in attempts to find, steal and release the secrets they guard so fervently. Because of this, the Merchant Families and City Officials view and treat them as terrorists. Any Truth Seeker hideout or sympathizers are raided and removed.
The Royals/Merchant Families:These families are the height of power in Izala, quite literally with their mansions taking the summit of the city for their residence. Each Group holds a monopoly on a fashion of trade, as well as countless secrets to do with that and to do with each other. While no longer in direct competition, the houses are very aware of the fact that any single house can remove the others on their way out. For anyone else that threatens them, death is a much simpler solution.
ArchitectureA mix of Indian and Persian style architecture of stone and clay buildings typically outfitted with stained glass windows. Most buildings have courtyards in the center similar to Roman structures.
GeographyIzala is nestled within a valley carved by a river long gone and flattened by the floods. One slope of the valley is shallow with terraces holding neighborhoods.
The gateway city