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 eleven 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 tomb’s of Meltarite citizens long since passed.
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 Ocean of Lasimar 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 south and one in the west that open out onto the Port District and the sea gate in the west 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, but 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 Imperial District, 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 that travels the breadth of Turelion Provincee from east to west, and which branches off to Ultaru Province in the north west and one that travels north to Ferio Province. In addition to this, the city’s harbour gives it easy access to maritime trade and traffic and it is serviced by a dedicated Firewing port, with many other private Firewing port facilities available.
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 entirely based there.
Following Machestaro I's conquest of Kelbonnar, a significant portion of the spoils was spent as the first Emperor 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 The Grand Imperial Palace and the The Bureau Palace, and are resplendently decorated with colonnades, shining metal roofs, decorative statues and monumental friezes.
Meltaro is located near the coast of the Ocean of Lasimar which lies to the east, with its northern, western and southern borders being surrounded by the agricultural estates of wealthy Meltarite nobles. 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 six districts which are located as follows: The northern hill being the Imperial District, where the The Grand Imperial Palace and its gardens and other buildings that are directly connected to the Emperor and the Imperial family are constructed; The eastern hill, which overlooks the eastern shore of the Ocean of Lasimar 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 is a district known as the 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 Canthartic Temple. The fifth 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 east 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 sixth 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. Originally the Catacombs were just that, a place that was created and designed to house the city’s dead, but since the foundation of the Empire of Turelion and the boost in status of the city 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.
The Imperial City/ The Capital/ Jewel of the Imperium/ The Decadent Cesspool (derogatory)