Foremost amongst all of the cities in the Empire of Turelion, is Meltaro, the Imperial capital. It is the cradle of the Imperial system, being the place where Machestaro I first set out on his wars of conquest and is now where the Empire’s most important and august institutions are housed to this day. Many flock to Meltaro seeking personal or political fortune, but many find that despite all of the wealth that surrounds them, making a life in Meltaro can be harder than it is even in the most remote of the Imperial Colonies.
Meltaro, as the Imperial capital has a rather skewed demographic composition compared to the rest of the towns, cities and settlements in the Empire, skewed even in comparison to the seven Provincial Capitals. This is because, someone who is regarded as being ‘low income’ in Meltaro could well be ranked as one of the richest citizens in another area. The city is so vastly expensive that those who live there and are classed as being in the bracket of its wealthiest citizens have so much wealth that it is beyond the comprehension of most people. This is precisely the reason why the poorest in the city, those who work in trades or jobs that have always been regarded as being ‘working class’ or ‘low income’ occupations are forced to live underground in the area of the city known as the Catacombs, where they reside next to and among the tombs of Meltarite citizens long since passed. As is typical of cities within the Empire of Turelion, Meltaro has a majority Human population, but as an incredibly cosmopolitan city, representatives from all races can be found within its confines, almost all in much larger numbers than in other settlements within the Empire.
It’s status as the capital of the Empire of Turelion, means that the governance of Meltaro is put in the hands of the Imperial Prefect, who is appointed directly by the Emperor and who is also granted a seat on the Congregation of Lords. The Imperial Prefect takes responsibility for all of the bureaucracy involved in the management of the capital, including oversight, though actual command is delegated, of the Meltaro Guard. In order to help them in their duties, the Imperial Prefect has a bevy of staff to help them, based in the Prefectorium in the Administration District.
The city is ringed by a monumental defensive curtain wall that encircles the whole of the city and that even stretches out into the Centric Sea to create a walled maritime area so that even the port is encompassed within the city’s outer perimeter. There are three gates to the city, one in the north and one in the east that open out onto the Port District and the sea gate in the south that allows direct access from the ocean beyond to the port. Each of the city’s three hills is further surrounded by their own defensive curtain wall, with the area of the Bazaar District between the three hills having a curtain wall stretching across the valley mouths which is separate to each of the hills’ defences. As the Imperial capital, Meltaro does not rely on a force of provincial troops from Turelion Province to protect it, but instead has its own dedicated protection force, the Meltaro Guard, a well-trained and disciplined force whose sole job is to protect the Imperial capital. All of the city is watched over by the Meltaro Guard except for the Grand Imperial Palace itself, which is protected by the Emperor's personal troops the Imperial Drakes.
Industry & Trade
Meltaro is not a city of production, but a city of consumption. Hundreds of tonnes of goods and consumables arrive in the city’s port and are dispersed throughout the metropolis to be sold. Some high end production does go on in Meltaro, mostly in the circle of the Port District where artisans and craftspeople make luxury goods to sell to the capital’s wealthy citizens, or who create bespoke commissions for the most affluent residents.
As befits the Imperial capital, Meltaro is well endowed with well maintained, paved roads, cutting edge sanitation and drainage, large public spaces and parks and easy access to clean water. The only exception to this rule is the area of the city known as the Catacombs, where the people there are more or less left to fend for themselves, and who often dwell right beside open sewers. It is also serviced by two well maintained roads, one, the Great Imperial Road that cuts through the heart of the Plains of Gold and travels the breadth of Turelion Province from east to west. It branches off to Ultaru Province to the north west and eventually to the political entities beyond the Empire's borders in north-west Euristan. Its eastern reaches eventually linking up with the Great North Way that traverses the Kaldara desert. The second road, the Centric Way, snakes along the coastline of the Plains of Gold, connecting Meltaro with the city of Scyath, the provincial capital of Turelion Province. In addition to this, the city’s harbour gives it easy access to the maritime trade and traffic of the Centric Sea and the city is serviced by a multitude of private Firewing ports.
The city has five official districts, each with their own character and concentration of activities: Administration District – Located on Meltaro’s eastern hill, the Administration District is the beating heart of the bureaucracy of the Empire of Turelion. All manner of Imperial departments and bureaus, as well as numerous private companies, banks and merchant factions have offices and headquarters there. The Hastellion Trading Company is one such eminent company to have an office in this area. Dominating them all though, is the enormous mass of the Bureau Palace, the headquarters of the Imperial Bureau from which all of the Empire’s administration is monitored and directed. Of all of Meltaro’s districts, the Administration District has the smallest population of residents. Those who do live there tend to be associated with one of the many enterprises or bureaus located there. Bazaar District – Set in the area in-between the city’s three hills, the Bazaar District is the most vibrant of all of the city’s regions by day. Its streets ring to the sounds of vendors selling their wares in the Grand Bazaar in the south of the district, whilst Meltaro’s refined citizenry wander the many shops and boutiques littered about the rest of the district. Its proximity to the Imperial Family, lying as the district does at the feet of the Grand Imperial Palace, means that it is a popular place for Meltaro’s upper and upper-middle class citizens to reside. Gardens of Meltaro – Set on Meltaro’s western hill, the Gardens of Meltaro is a hot bed of luxury, decadence and debauchery. It is regarded as the playground of the Empire's richest citizens and its grand streets are littered with exclusive bars, clubs, casinos and almost every high or low brow entertainment establishment one could imagine. The Gardens of Meltaro have the highest priced real estate in the whole city, which means that only the excruciatingly wealthy are able to afford to live there. Port District – The largest and most populous of Meltaro’s above ground districts, the Port District surrounds the three central districts and is where most of the skilled crafts people and their workshops in the city can be found. The south of this district is dominated by Meltaro’s port, which gives the area its name. Hundreds of ships pass through the port every week and a large number of taverns and other less salubrious watering holes have popped up around it to cater to the many sailors who take shore leave in the area. The Catacombs - Originally the Catacombs were just that, a place that was created and designed to house the city’s dead. However, since the foundation of the Empire of Turelion and the boost in status of Meltaro to being the Imperial Capital, the shocking rise in real estate prices meant that most of the city’s poorer citizens were priced out of their homes and sought shelter in the catacombs. Now Meltaro’s poorest citizens live cheek by jowl with the city’s long deceased inhabitants and have created a thriving community under the feet of their lords and masters. Most who live in the catacombs only leave it to work on the surface, returning to their subterranean homes each night. Indeed, the Catacombs has become so large that it is now regarded as being a separate city from the above ground parts of Meltaro. Whilst Meltaro’s Imperial Prefect is still responsible for the Catacombs, theoretically, it is rare that they ever take an interest in the district, unless it is a matter of the safety of the rest of the city. In addition to these districts, the heart of the city is given over to the sprawling megastructure of the Grand Imperial Palace. The palace, and the plateau it is located upon are regarded as being under the direct control of the Emperor of Turelion, rather than coming under the auspices of the Imperial Prefect, and it is considered to be a separate entity from the districts surrounding it.
Guilds and Factions
The city is awash with all manner of guilds and factions, with every organisation that sees itself as a major player in the political, religious or commercial life of the Empire ensuring that they have premises, however modest in Meltaro. Organisations such as the Scarlets, the White Fangs, and the Hastellion Trading Company have a significant presence in the city, with other such as the Imperial Bureau being headquartered there.
Following Machestaro I's conquest of Kelbonnar, a significant portion of the spoils was spent as the first Emperor of Turelion termed it ‘for the public good’ beautifying the city of Meltaro so that it was worthy of its new position as the heart of the Empire of Turelion. Ramshackled buildings were torn down and the whole metropolis was clothed in a gaudy collection of marble, granite and sandstone fronts, with all manner of styles competing for predominance. Many buildings follow the example of the grand Imperial structures like the Grand Imperial Palace and the Bureau Palace, and are resplendently decorated with colonnades, shining metal roofs, decorative statues and monumental friezes.
Meltaro is located on the shore of the Centric Sea at the head of a bay which puts the sea on its southern and western flanks. It's eastern border abuts onto the Plains of Gold which are dominated by the agricultural estates of wealthy Meltarite nobles. The northern border of the city is bounded by the River Cormarron and beyond its banks the Relialo Plains and Ultaru Province. The city is built around and upon three hills, one to the north, one to the west and one to the east. These hills are the foundations of the city’s five districts which are located as follows: The northern hill is completely dominated by Grand Imperial Palace and its gardens and other buildings that are directly connected to the Emperor of Turelion and the Imperial family are constructed. The eastern hill, which overlooks the Plains of Gold is the Administration District where important buildings to do with the bureaucracy of the Empire, such as the Bureau Palace are located; The western hill, which overlooks the Centric Sea is a district known as the Gardens of Meltaro, which is an area renowned for its expensive, and often seedy entertainments, high end shops and is where the wealthiest and most high class citizens live or desire to live. The area between the three hills is known as the Bazaar District and this is an area populated by the city’s upper middle and merchant classes. It also has notable buildings such as Salastar's Arena and the Grand Astartic Temple. The fourth district, which encircles the three hill districts and the Bazaar District is known as the Port District and it encompasses Meltaro’s docks in the south and the whole of the area abutting the surrounding outer defences of the city. It is populated by upper lower to middle class citizens, most of whom work in the arts, as craftspeople or artisans. The fifth district, known as the Catacombs, is not actually on the surface, but has been built underneath the rest of the city and is accessible from numerous entrances that emerge in the Port District.
The Imperial City/ The Capital/ Jewel of the Imperium/ The Decadent Cesspool (derogatory)