The capital, a city blessed—and cursed—by the gods

Table of Contents

Thanks to the support of our patron gods, our city has always been a leader and model for the rest of the continent from the time we were a mere city-state to now as the capital of a magnificent empire. However, being so amazing comes at a price...  

Geography

 
We are located in a region that is very dry and arid but that is crossed by a huge river and its many tributaries. They all used to flood often and make the plains very fertile, however our Lord the water god Lydien, ruler over all waters, is now stopping all of that—unless He is very angry about something, of course. Our Lord also helped put an irrigation system in place that makes a big part of the plains cultivable, and so we are now farming them.   Our city is located in the center of the country where several tributaries join together. They are navigable in both directions, upstream towards the other countries, and downstream towards the ocean. On the other two sides of the city, the desert stretches, only cut by a few more minor rivers along which are located other cities. And lost in the middle of the desert are a few Eldritch Horrors, primal gods kept asleep but that unfortunately need to be appeased regularly with a tasty human meal.
 

History

 
Our city was one of the very first cities founded in the world and one place where farming was inventing independently. Here, it was, of course, our Lord who taught us how to do it. Our Lord was one of the gods responsible for the founding of the city alongside the architecture god who showed us how to make the first houses and temples, and the forging god who taught us how to make farming tools and weapons.   Our city-state quickly grew in size, power, and wealth, and it made an attractive target for, at first, nomadic invaders, then rival cities. However, we were able to triumph over them all, even the war god's own city.   At first, we just beat the cities, pillaged them, and took back the spoils. However, after a few times of having to do exactly the same thing to the same people again and again, we just decided it was a lot more practical to maintain a continuous domination over them, thus creating the first empire. For good measure, every time a city was vanquished, we carried out a ceremony inside its wall to formally invite the patron gods of the city to join us instead. Many, like the war god, immediately accepted, eager to join actual power and wealth and not stay with inferior imitations.   After a while, our empire fell and the city-state was alone and independent once again, though still prosperous on its own. When later we regained enough power, we started conquering our neighbours again. This cycle of city-state/empire/city-state kept happening through the millennia. What is constant is the very deserved respect, admiration, and wariness everyone over the continent feels for us.   Right now, our city is again the capital of an empire. This time, we are also one of the leader of a big industrial revolution. The interesting point is how we are using this to wage a trade and technological wars against our neighbours, rather than taking part in the enormous war that is currently engulfing the rest of the continent. For once, we are not the one getting killed!
 

Current activities

 
The main output of our country has always been crops thanks to our Lord's assistance in farming and irrigation. Not far behind it is the forging god's products: farming tools, weapons, and now precision instruments, and industrial goods. Both our Lord and the forging god have always been fierce rivals, but they occasionally deign to collaborate, which always gives awesome results. Our Lord has invented many designs for magical artefacts that the forging god has then taught us how to make, and those artefacts are now our most famous export.   As the capital of the kingdom, our city is where all the important buildings are located: the royal palace, the main temples of each Churches such as that of the water god or of the forging god, and the royal archives. People from all over the world come on pilgrimage here to pray to our gods and consult the superior wisdom and knowledge of our archivists and priests. The buildings themselves are also famous for their beauty and uniqueness, all thanks to us having our very own architecture god as one of our founder and her very much disliking leaving the kingdom.   We also have a very vibrant culture and art community, which often surprises foreigners, as we do not have any major artistic god. However, it is thanks to this very fact that we are superior to the rest of them. We might not have one style that we do better than everyone, but since we have a lot of minor artistic gods, this has led to a fierce rivalry between them and their adepts, and so in a constant struggle for renew themselves and out-compete each other. So long as it does not turn deadly, we all get to enjoy the amazing results. And even so, the tragic battles between artists make for amazing tales and are one of our specialities, the bloodier the better!
 

Opinion from the archives

 
Despite being one of the firsts, initially our city was really nothing special. It's truly only the rivalry between the founding gods that incited them to put so much effort into us so as to gain our primary reverence, as highlighted by the royal heir selection. Thus, all our amazingness is indissociable from the constant violence and wars that still kill so many of us.   Of course, our beautiful city and wealth has always attracted other jealous countries and gods alike, further adding to the violence. Having three founding gods instead of one like most other cities has given us an undeniable advantage, but this only means that war is always one of our first answer. And the fact that a war god is one of our main patrons has not really added to our diplomacy skills. Yet, all of this is truly not the main danger.   No, what is is the fact that, because we have so many major gods making our city their major residence, we can never get very far from them. All of us live directly under their yoke, having to follow all of their ridiculous edicts and submit to their tantrums. It is even very likely that a council of the major gods is ruling us indirectly!   Worse, more than anywhere else in the world, here a random citizen constantly runs the risk of being in the presence of the gods without realising it, and so of offending them by accident. Fools will see this as an opportunity to impress them and gain their patronage, or even better, being possessed by them! However, anyone with sense will realise the futility of this and that they had better focus on giving them the worship they demand and constantly watching their words and actions. Just in case...




Cover image: Ancient city-state made green thanks to our Lord Lydien, Ruler over all waters by zarevv on DepositPhotos

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