Information taken from 'The Hobbit Shire', 'The City of Traps' and 'Vik for First Noble'
Yosha has always been an isolated frontier in the eyes of the cradle of civilisation, the Midland region. Even now in the shared modern Midlandian culture, the phrase "Behind the Hills" is still used to denote somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and according to the Tortle Linguist Franklin, originates simply meaning Yosha; which sits behind the Shamutanti Hills and has been the extent in the east of knowledge for the old Midlandian Empire, and of influence for the Holy See. A frontier for all the Ages.
Yosha is a city-state on the fringes of the settled and civilised population in the northern hemisphere, situated on the Jabaji River before leaking into the Loch Lumlè, and acts as a border between the Shamutanti Hills and the Kakhabad Wastes. As of the modern day in 4E 297, Yosha is a husk of its former glory; an isolationist city-state of thievery and anarchy which has blocked off its gates from most incomers, with armed mercenary guard troop patrolling the walls as their own kingdom - keeping anyone from entering or escaping.
Since the Treaty of Birritanti which marked the end of the conflict between Yosha and the Kingdom of Analand over rulership of the Shamutanti Hills and rights to the King of Jabaji title, Yosha has been governed by a Council. The Council of Nobles consists of seven notable individuals within the city itself, who are meant to work as equals though the First Noble is first among equals and the de-facto leader of Yosha.
As the years have gone on since the Treaty of Birritanti, Yosha has fallen into chaos and destitute with the power and influence of the Council of Nobles significantly waning. The prior Noble Guards in their traditional Yoshan Empire attire became corrupt pawns of local gangs who rose in the absence of adequate protection from the establishment, as traders sailed in the city through the Jabaji River to join the rising Merchant Guild taking advantage of the society descending into criminal anarchy. Yosha's isolated nature allowed the Guild to become a new power site replacing the defunct Council of Nobles. Mercenary groups from all available parts of the Mortal Realm were hired by the Guild to become the new guards and the city gates were sealed to prevent any potential outside influences seeking to interrupt their newfound power.
When the current Dynastical Leader of Analand, King Faust Arkle, was coronated in 4E 293 he was the first to claim the title the King of Jabaji in his Dynastical Honours for generations. Despite not deciding to have an official coronation of this title until 4E 297, the five years in the meantime were spent exerting more and more influence eastward to bring the Shamutanti Hills into the fold of the Kingdom of Analand and the Holy See.
In his annual speech to the people on 4E 297 as all royalty within the Holy See Territories are expected to give during the festival of Little Nollaig marking the start of the working year after celebrations, King Faust made a declaration. The King of Analand promised that starting in the first month of Handsel the city of Yosha was rightfully within the jurisdiction of the Holy Kingdom of Analand. Throughout the year, missionaries from the Holy See and tax enforcers from the Analander Crown established positions of power throughout the city.
The Temple dedicated to Yarilo was deemed heretical under the Holy See and forced to close, while the temple to Svetovid was converted and renamed accordingly to Courga. The Holy See were gathering settlers together to move in to Yosha and populate the new Courgeion but since the Crown of Thorns was stolen, all attempts to convert Yosha have been recalled. The Analander Crown established a Libreion in honour of their National Goddess to impose their laws on the lawless city.
Demographics & Districts
The dominant population of Yosha are Human, who are seen in every district to some extent and all Nobles in the Council of Nobles since the Treaty of Birritanti being human. With the rise in power of the Merchant Guild, ethnic groups of mercenaries have provided that more races are classed as minorities of Yosha also seen in every district such as Kobolds, Dark Elves and Goblinoids. Yosha also features enclaves of Dwarves and Dark Elves, who each have their own areas of the city which accommodate to their language and culture.
Most races native to the Eastern Wing of the Mortal Realm have some kind of societal group within Yosha, always acting as a cast-off for all rogues and criminals to end up. A safe house for Hobgoblin Royalists and their deposed Emperor Gark is found on Mansion Row, a community of Yikaria sent by the Archmage of Mampang spreads their influence Westward under the noses of Analand. Kenku and Aarakokra gangs fight amongst themselves on the Eastern Docks, while connected households of Gnomes keep the Church of the Broken God alive in the shadows.
There are two single individuals from other races who are unique in Yosha. The Constable of the Libreion established in the city is a Loxodon, and near Festival Fields there is a soup kitchen operated by a member of an unknown race who claims to be something called an Illithid.
Lower Yosha, also known as the Old Town, is the western half of the city, cut off from Upper Yosha by the Jabaji River. The majority of the population lives in Lower Yosha, with the majority being a sprawl of ancient slums harking back to the fact this originally was all Yosha was. Additionally, it is also the centre of Yosha's traditional culture, with the Council of Nobles and Artisan Hall both being found in the Old Town.
The Lower Quarter is opened by the West Gate of Yosha, guarded fiercely by mercenary crossbowmen on the payroll of the Merchant Guilds. The Gate itself is always barred shut on both ends except for those who know the password spoken only by guard battalions and guild members or affiliates. If the individual at the Gate from the outside claims to know the password but isn't recognised, they are allowed into the opening courtyard but quickly thrown into the adjacent Westgate Gaol to be held for questioning by the Guild. The Westgate area of the Lower Quarter extends out slightly to Cobble Lane, where the inn 'The Crooked Finger' lies in wait for any who manage to pass through the Gate.
The bulk of Lower Yosha in the Lower Quarter is divided largely between three streets: Mayne Road; Sage Street; Skiver's Alley. All three are lined with rickety houses in traditional Yoshan architecture, and lead off into either Festival Fields or the Artist's Quarter up the hill. Very few places of note are in this sprawl of population, though there is a Monastery of Miss Fortune and the mansion of Fourth Noble Lorag the Sage, as well as a training yard and barracks for the Westgate Guards across from Lorag's Manse.
The Festival Fields are an area of Yosha that has not been built up which runs along the banks of the Jabaji River. For most of the year, this area is a place of agriculture where the little food of Yosha can be farmed on plots. However on special occasions, such as the annual Festival of Thieves, tents and festivities will fill the open space.
Artist's Quarter rises up on a hill compared to the rest of Lower Yosha, with the Dwarftown being the lowest area of the Quarter. From Sage Street there leads on to Scholar's Crescent which opens up to the Dwarven enclave of the cityport. Like a Dwarven Hall taken out of a mountain and placed in the middle of a city, Dwarftown is significantly shorter than the rest of Yosha, with all signs apart from street signs leading out of the enclave being in Dwarvish written in Giantish Runic Script to adequately portray how foreign this area is to the uneducated.
The majority of Artist's Quarter is in an area referred to by the same name of the mound it is built on, Palantine Hill. In the past, Palantine Hill was where the rich of Yosha built their homes and though the slums of the Lower Quarter have spilled up the hill, there are echoes of this grandiose past. Mansion Row sits on a small sheer-drop which looks over the Lower Quarter and past the West Gate into the Shamutanti Hills, as well as the Hall of Artists adjacent to Dwarftown which acts as Yosha's market ran by the Merchant's Guild. The run-down Temple of Yarilo sits on Ogni's Street, as well as a bathhouse on Trader's Road. At the highest peak of the Palantine Hill lies the Palantine Hall where the Council of Nobles supposedly sit, and the Analand Libreion built directly next door.
The Western Docks are nestled at the back of the Palantine Hill, and is an area controlled by a gang called Vik's Slavers as well as heavily patrolled by Guild Officials. It is an active trade hub area, where the purpose of every building is to suit the needs of the docks on the Jabaji River and to transport the goods from the docks to the Hall of Artists. Another inn, 'The Wayfarer's Rest', lies on Dockland Road and is the busiest establishment in the entire city.
Isle of Yosha
The Isle of Yosha is a small geographical location at the centre of Yosha, lying in the Jabaji River between the Eastern and Western Docks. On the Isle is the Merchant Guild Hall and only official members of the Guild are allowed on the island itself. Another Guildhall has been built below the Merchant's Guild, connected to the Sunken City within Yosha's sewer system, an infamous Assassin's Guild by the name of the Whisperers whose origins lay with the origins of the Yoshan culture of poisoncraft and alchemy.
Upper Yosha, also known as the New Town is the eastern half of the city, cut off from Lower Yosha by the Jabaji River. The New Town was built when the city expanded during the height of the Yoshan Trade Empire and is therefore much more extravagant and diverse, though split evenly in two halves by the modern day.
The Red Quarter is the spillover of population from the Old Town, connected via a Jabaji Bridge between the Western and Eastern Docks. The Eastern Docks are less bustling than those on the west, with the area falling heavily into disrepair as Upper Yosha was abandoned by all those except who live there.
The northern section of Upper Yosha is where this quarter earns it's namesake with the Red Quarter. So named after the Dark Elves with noticeable red eyes which mainly call this area their home and have largely become the unofficial leaders of the New Town in the absence of influences from the Council of Nobles and Merchant's Guild. Red Quarter is a small kingdom for the Dark Elf refugees, and they don't take kindly to incomers walking down Market Street into their territory.
Fireview Square comes off directly from the Eastern Docks and is the opposite direction of Dark Elf Territory on Market Street. The Square itself is a large though sparse marketplace where the denizens of the New Town spend what little coppers they have on vital supplies. As Fireview goes further south to the Fallen Quarter, the buildings get larger though more run-down, last inhabited by the wealthy before the Treaty of Birritanti forced them to relocate out the city. Additionally, the still-popularsits on the border between Red Quarter and Fallen Quarter.
The Fallen Quarter has adopted its name due to its deserted and ruined nature, perfectly encapsulating what it is like for a city to struggle to survive on the fringes of civilisation after falling from such a prosperous grace. Yosha hasn't recovered for two centuries since the Warlord Period, and many believe it never will again. The Briar Gardens depict this the best. Leading from Fireview is a corrupted, rotten and weed-filled garden area which would have once been a pleasant spot of beauty on the banks of the Jabaji River for the wealthy to wander and ponder the Realm they lived in. Now, it is a place for rats and the homeless to feel safe together away from gangs of mansnatchers and wild animals, though Harpies now nest in ancient towers and feed on the destitute every once in a while.
The Yosha Necropolis was once the only part of the city on the eastern banks of the Jabaji River, and is an ancient graveyard featuring crypts filled with the dead of Yosha's earliest iterations as a city. However, since the Dark Times, not all the dead who rose were dealt with and it is now deserted from any living mortals for fear of being caught in their sleep. This is only different for when a Noble of the Council dies, where the Merchant's Guild will send an armed and armoured patrol with the funeral procession for the body to be entombed in the traditional crypt.
The East Gate lies on the road which passes through both the Briar Gardens and the Yosha Necropolis, and has been magically sealed to all but know the Gate Spell for as long as anyone remembers to protect the city and the rest of the civilised world from the horrors of the Kakhabad Wastes which stretch out to the Zanzanu Peaks and High Xamen. No living soul is ever seen in this area except for rare circumstances of a wanderer, as no one even bothers to guard the Gate itself. Only the Council of Nobles know the Gate Spell, though it is split between them with only one Noble knowing one line to keep the secrecy and protection of Yosha. Just off the East Gate is the Ziggurat of Svetovid, now empty due to the Holy See's retreat from their conversion efforts.
Prompts Advent Calendar #19 WorldEmber Article #21
Vik For First Noble
With the power of the Council of Nobles having decreased so much, the people of Yosha have started to blame their increasingly absent government for the high levels of anarchy and crime throughout the city. In the viewed vacuum of power a new figure is rising in the hearts and minds of Yosha's populace, with the phrase "Vik for First Noble!" being regularly spoken in most households.
Vik, or as he is known in his official line of work Garen Alderay, promised to get rid of the culturally and politically invading Analanders and Holy See. With the support from both the Merchant Guild as well as the local priesthoods of Yarilo and Svetovid, Vik quickly found a legitimate base to operate from as others called for him to fully replace the Council of Nobles and arise as a First Noble Dictator. All in the hopes a First Noble Vik will save Yosha from it's multi-century dive into corruption and depravity, and bring the city away from being a fringe of the Realm's civilisation.
For Context to the Treaty of Birritanti;
King of Jabaji
Rank/Title | Feb 19, 2022
Written for Prompt 14 (2020 Advent Calendar) - The Fought-Over Title of the Shamutanti Region
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