With its earthen buildings, sewage strewn streets and the stench of glue making and slaughter houses hanging permanently in the air, one could easily miss the fact that Allerium is the provincial capital of Norgantho Province and the seat of its Satrap and provincial government. For many, Allerium’s rough exterior is the last thing they see before travelling on across the stormy waves of the Southern Ocean to the The Imperial Colonies of Zastral .
Around 95% of Allerium’s populace are deemed to be in the lowest income bracket by the Imperial Bureau, with most of them finding relatively low paid jobs in the city’s textile and slaughter industries. Of the 5% remaining, most are classed as being in the middle income bracket by the Imperial Bureau, with less than 1% being classed in the higher bracket. Because of Norgantho Province's rather brutal assimilation into the Empire of Turelion, and the fact that the native people of the Relialo Plains were driven into the Spiny Mountains, Allerium’s population represents one of the largest diaspora of Turelites outside of Turelion Province, a product of Machestaro I's resettlement of many of the poorer residents of the Imperial Province in the early years of the Empire.
The lack of locally available building materials, along with the large expenses associated with importing wood or stone in large volumes for construction purposes means that constructing a curtain wall for the city out of wood or stone would have been exorbitantly expensive, far more than the provincial government would be able to afford. However, not wanting to leave the capital of his province without a physical defence network, the first Satrap of Norgantho Province ordered the construction of an enormous earthwork that encompasses the entire city. This earthwork is comprised of an earthen ridge that forms a wall around the city’s northern, eastern and western sides, with a large ditch, from which most of the construction material for the ridge was extracted, on its external side. Several wooden watch towers have been built on top of the ridge, but otherwise the ridge-top is open and uncovered. In terms of its garrison, Allerium, has a force of Norgantho Provincial troops, as well as a force of Imperial Drakes placed in the city by the Emperor of Turelion and Kelbonnar. In addition, the presence of the headquarters of the Bloody Wolves in the city means that Allerium is a popular destination for mercenaries to visit, looking for their next job through the Wolves, with these mercenaries, even though they are not contracted to defend the city, acting as a further deterrent to attack.
Industry & Trade
As the majority of Norgantho's economy is driven by pastoral farming, Allerium is one of the major centres for the processing of agricultural produce in the province. In particular, the city has a large wool processing, dying and weaving industry, producing textiles and finished garments for export across the Empire of Turelion. In addition, Allerium acts as the focal point in the south of the province for the slaughter of herd animals reared for meat and the rendering down of their bones for glue. All of Allerium’s industries add to its reputation of being a dirty, smelly, unpleasant city, but they do also make it an integral part of the global supply chain.
Of all the provincial capitals in the Empire of Turelion, Allerium has the dubious reputation of being the worst off when it comes to quality of life. The lack of stone for building and the cost of importing it means that it has not been possible to create a sewage system for the city, with residents instead having to use communal cesspits, or more commonly, throw their waste into the streets. The streets themselves, save for a stone paved square in the heart of the city, are simple dirt tracks, so soiled with filth that it is impossible to tell if one is walking on earth or effluent. From the perspective of transportation, however, Allerium is relatively well connected. It has its own Firewing Port, a busy harbour and it is the origin point for all of the major roads that run through Norgantho Province, making it the most connected settlement in Norgantho.
Guilds and Factions
The largest faction in Allerium is without doubt the Bloody Wolves. Indeed, they have so much influence in the settlement, and at times have more armed men and women in the city that the detachments of Provincial Troops and Imperial Drakes combined that the mercenary group is often said to be the unofficial rulers of the city. Though in reality the Bloody Wolves little desire to actually run Allerium, as it would require them eating into their profits, they are keen to ensure that they always have a voice at the table whenever matters of importance to the city, or indeed the Province as a whole are debated. In addition, the White Fangs have a significant presence in Allerium, where they not only run the local fighting arena, but where they also have a lucrative business model of extracting protection payments and loan shark repayments and interest from the city’s majority poor population.
There are few reasons for anyone to visit Allerium and most of those who do, do so not for recreational purposes. Many members of the Bloody Wolves, and mercenaries who want to join that company visit the city, but most move on quickly after receiving their next contract. In addition, as the last port between the mainland territory of the Empire of Turelion and the Imperial Colonies on Zastral, most ships bound for the Lonely Continent stop at Allerium’s port, as it is their last opportunity to take on water an supplies before the arduous journey ahead of them.
It’s position at the far southern end of the Relialo Plains means that Allerium is surrounded for hundreds of miles by grassland, with little wood or stone available for building with. As a result, relatively few of the buildings in the city are built of stone or wood, the Satrap's residence and offices, the residence and offices of the city Alderman and the headquarters of the Bloody Wolves among them. Whilst the more affluent residents of the city can afford to import building materials for their construction purposes, most of Allerium’s citizens have to make do with the materials they have at hand. This means that most buildings are constructed out of mud-bricks made by combining soil with seawater and then dried in the sun, with many choosing to have sloping roofs and walls to add extra integrity and laying turf on top to provide additional insulation from the bitter winds that blow over the city from the sea to the south. Almost all of the buildings constructed in this way have only one story above ground, but many have basement levels excavated beneath them to provide additional space. The characteristic architecture of the city has led to it being given the nickname the City of Barrows, as to many outsiders it looks at first glance like an enormous collection of burial mounds.
Sitting at the southern tip of the Relialo Plains, Allerium is surrounded on its western, northern and eastern side by rolling grassland as far as the eye can see, with its southern side being the shoreline of the Southern Sea. The city is remarkably flat, with little more than a few feet of height difference between its port to the south and its northern most point. This means that Allerium is prone to flooding, something that causes havoc for its earthen buildings, but the people of the city are hardy and grudgingly muck out and rebuild after every deluge.