is the capital of Serpentis
and the planet's second largest city. The city itself is highly valued and cared for due to its cultural and historical significance. Thess was the first major settlement developed. Its founding dates back to the first era which is believed by some to be a time when the Ancients
still roamed the universe. The city was built by early sefora
as a celebration of their kinship and peaceful coexistence. Today, Thess flourishes. The city is home to the largest concentration of sefora, shyr, and hybrids on the planet, and is a favorite location for tourists, travelers, and natives alike.
For those who visit or choose to live here, shopping is an excellent opportunity to experience both traditional and modern takes on Serpentian culture. From specialty goods to cuisine, Thess offers a diverse range of products and places to choose from. Shops one would encounter include street vendors, flea markets, department stores, restaurants, and modern shopping centers.
Street vendors are the most common and favored shops for many Serpentians, particularly those who adhere firmly to tradition. Vendors are present in all areas of the city, but tend to collect in and around market squares and major routes. While many goods are locally sourced wherever one may shop, particularly produce and animal products, street vendors reliably sell locally sourced products and tend to have available less common and homemade goods. And if one knows where to look, some rarer imported goods are sold by vendors.
The availability of certain foods and items are heavily dependent on the seasons. Grains, produce, fish, eggs, and meat are the most affected. Most notably, during Serpentis' dark, sunless winters, plants turn black and many go dormant while others come into season. Certain animals will go into hibernation or migrate to difficult-to-reach areas while others wake only for the duration of the darkness. In addition, winter is a time when demons run rampant so agriculture tends to slow drastically as farmers and growers stay within the confines of the city.
There are generally three types of street vendors: food and grocery, food and drink, and wares. Early mornings are the best time to drop by the market square when pickings are the best. One may find a rich variety of produce, fish and seafoods, a wide range of proteins, meats, and insects, noodles, rice and grains, bread, eggs (depending on the season), tespr
products, specialty homemade goods such as honey, dried/cured meat, artisanal cheeses that change with the season, butter, sweets and confections, alcohol, tea blends, bean custard
, herbs and medicines, and lactose-free or plant-based dairy goods. Those with permits might also sell oxi
One can be sure to find authentic Serpentian cuisine on nearly every street. A great deal of street food comes in the form of ramen, soups, sandwiches, sushi and sashimi, rice bowls, savory fried pancakes, custards, dumplings and buns, grilled fish and vegetables, bean custards, rolls, kabobs, and sweets. Because tespr is a major staple in Serpentian cuisine and is a highly prized delicacy, many meals have some form of tespr included. The most enjoyed meal however is ebelu tii tespr
. One might even find a street bar with limited seating. These locations tend to offer homemade brews, especially the popular shyrven ale
Aside from food, Thess holds a number of flea markets and individuals selling homemade crafts. These sellers are an excellent way to get ahold of uncommon goods, unique items, and a variety of speciality items. Many are artisan crafters and provide chopsticks, bowls, and other kitchen utensils, jewelry and ornaments, clothing, weaponry and armor, tapestries, mosaics, draperies, pottery and ceramics, paintings and other arts, and mekhos
. Others may sell very specialized adornments and materials for traditional shyr such as korriiattu covers, beads and medallions, wrap and fabrics, gloves, and ores for crafting masks and swords. Some markets might carry odds and ends like trinkets and antiques, books, plants, statuettes, more common fabrics and materials for personal crafting, CUs
, furniture, etc.
During festivals, a number of limited time delicacies and wares can be obtained in certain regions of the city. There are a few festivals held in Thess that are also celebrated all throughout the planet like Tespr Day
, the week long Korriiattu Festival
, and the return of spring. During Tespr Day, an explosion of tespr products ranging from food and drink to chitin bowls and utensils take the city by storm. With the return of spring -- a much loved time when the darkness is lifted -- comes the return of new and bountiful harvests. Hetenkaa however is the most important time for sefora and shyr. It's a time to remember when the people returned from hiding for centuries after Nagis Keb
befell the planet. During Hetenkaa, cities, towns, and villages overflow with life and color and so much more.
Department Stores and Shopping Centers
For those who would prefer not to navigate busy market streets or compete with others to get the best morning picks, more modern shopping is present in every community. Department stores are generally mid-sized to large indoor shops intended to be a one stop shop for home goods. Shoppers are expected to have their own bags or baskets, therefore virtually no shop has carts, bags, or baskets on hand with the exception of what might be on the sales floor. Shop staff also don't typically interact with shoppers unless to answer a question or offer any needed assistance. Prices are very fair between products so shoppers can spend less time worrying about cost and more about quality of goods.
Serpentis is extremely environment-conscious and prides itself on quality and presentation. Extra care is taken to maintain this standard through environmentally safe and sustainable practices. As a result there are few large scale production operations, especially with food, and packaging is biodegradable or non-existent where applicable.
Every shop is complete with grocery, pharmacy, produce, meats and seafood, dairy, and bakery departments. It should be noted that dairy departments generally only consists of butter, artisanal cheeses, creams, cultured products like kefir and yogurt, seasonal eggs, and plant milks. Off-worlders would be hard pressed to find animal milk in Thess for the expressed reason that Serpentians can't digest animal milk. Therefore, it has never been valued for any other purpose than creating lactose-free dairy products.
Although the selection would be sparse in Thess compared to Oringul
, department stores are good places to find more common imported goods, especially goods from Ethiea
given the strong relationship Serpentis has with ethieans
. The most common imported goods from Ethiea are plant-based meat alternatives that largely cater to ethiean inhabitants.
There are a variety of other shops including clothing stores, mekhos experts that might sell and repair, farming or feed supply, hardware stores, etc.
Shopping centers are less common in Thess, but are extremely popular and favorite spots for tourists. These multi-level super stores are generally found near skyway
stations in the business district where development is dense and traffic is high. Shopping centers are packed full of small and large businesses, and often are accompanied by street vendors outside. One could get groceries, snag the latest CU, play at an arcade, get a manicure, grab a bite to eat, or find a whole array of wares, trinkets, toys, collectibles, entertainment, and so forth. There are plenty of things to do and see in and around shopping centers which make them great attractions and places to find a souvenir, exotic goods, or that one last piece in a collection.
, sometimes referred to as "Serpentian salt," is Serpentis' most valued resource, and is as important as water for similar reasons. The mineral is in all organisms from Serpentis, including plants. In certain quantities, it is toxic to non-natives with the exception of species from the Shyrofor solar system. Due to laws and regulations on its purchase and distribution, oxi is sold only to sefora and shyr, natives of Beross and Soros, and those with buying passes. Because oxi has a certain flavor about it that Serpentians adore, it is often treated as a seasoning or garnish. Food service providers are prohibited from adding extra oxi to foods for non-natives.
In stores, one might find an entire section dedicated only to oxi. In dry form, it is usually packaged in color coded paper bags to distinguish between beroxi and soroxi. It may also come as a paste or oxi water in bottles or larger volumes, all with similar color coding. And while street vendors do occasionally sell legally farmed oxi, it is altogether easier to find it in stores.
Thess vs Oringul
, the planet's spaceport and largest megacity, is a colossal melting pot of cultures and races. Thess however is far less abundant in non-natives. Off-worlders who choose to visit or live here must bear in mind that because of the low demographic of non-natives in the city, items that would be readily available and easily accessible in Oringul may be more difficult to obtain in Thess. Especially imported goods. The capital adheres more to Serpentian culture in its city planning, architecture, shopping, food, and many other aspects. This makes Thess an excellent place to experience Serpentian culture, taste authentic cuisine, and learn some history along the way.