A wealthy city rich with culture and historical significance for the New Voxelian people, Silkenvault is the illustrious capitol metropolis of Voxelia as a state.
As the seat of power for the Voxelian state, Silkenvault is over 90% New Voxelian in ethnic makeup, with small populations of vale verdials living in the 'little vale' trade district. A few Rostran diplomats and traders (along with their ovinex retainers) hold residence in Silkenvault as a part of their profession. Because they were persecuted by, and driven out of, the old Voxelian Empire, almost no fully ethnic Elovisians live within Silkenvault - though many families still come from mixed Elovisian blood. A sizeable majority of Silkenvaulters profess membership in the Church of the Unexpected. A small minority of Eyes of the Void also reside in the city, as do a few scattered followers of the Way of the Biocosm, though the latter group faces discrimination as a schismatic sect of the Unexpector faith.
Because the old Voxelian Empire was subdivided into seven kingdoms, with the boundaries of each kingdom meeting within the city by decree of the old Voxelian Emperor, the Council of Liars found it easier to maintain the multilateral civic structure of city governance once the Emperor had been deposed. In the same way each Master Harlequin sees to the needs of the kingdom they represent, each is also considered to represent the interests of one of the seven districts of the city which falls within their territory. The minutes of each meeting of the Council of Liars are interpolated between deliberation on national affairs and local affairs, with accomodations made for one over the other during extenuating circumstances (i.e. attacks on or near the city limits by Coalition forces). Similarly, part of the bureaucracy maintained by each Master Harlequin is dedicated solely to administering the affairs of that Master Harlequin's district.
In addition to raised roadways serving as protection for people on the road, like many other major cities in the Manifold, Silkenvault features a large network of underground bunkers and supply depots in case of a siege. Numerous anti-air emplacements around the city limits and concentrated atop the Court of Liars complex make the city incredibly difficult to assault from the air. Because Western C, the adjacent cube layer, is all water and, therefore, has no traversible commissures, it provides a natural protective bulwark against attacks originating from across the inflection layer. Skystations both in the inflection layer and local commissure bristle with anti-air guns and Grand Army auto-armor units to intercept attacks from these vectors. Infantry and armored units trained in urban warfare are covertly garrisoned in buildings throughout the city. In the event of a ground assault, the Grand Army does not expect to prevent attackers from entering the city limits; instead, attackers will be assaulted from unseen directions, with the intensity of resistence increasing the deeper they penetrate towards the Court of Liars complex. Checkpoints are often concealed near on- and off-ramps, as these make for natural chokepoints when other units barricade the surface-level road access to the Court complex. Internal security is handled by both local security forces and by the local cadre of Bards-Recursant. The Voxelian College of Bards, being both an educational institution and a training facility for the Bards-Recursant, provides a potent defense against intelligence and propaganda efforts made against the city itself. The Bards-Recursant are believers in preventative action above all, also spreading to adjacent regions in an effort to detect any plans for attacks against Voxelia (and Silkenvault in particular) and pre-empt them with surgical sabotage or assassination operations.
Industry & Trade
Major industrial interests headquartered in Silkenvault include Auburn Aerotechnical and Silkenvault Combat Solutions, Ltd., though international organizations such as MartMart International and Medial Works Equipment Company also have a presence there. As of the year 10,000 AR, the Ghostleaf Foundation has been in talks to provide medical equipment, drugs, and chemical reagents to Voxelia through a partnership with the Voxelia Academy of Sciences in Silkenvault. The city maintains strong trade ties with Petalcap Vale and the Manifold Conservation Society, along with middling trade ties with the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy.
Silkenvault gets most of its electrical power from biodiesel plants and wind turbines, though it also gets seasonal peak power from the Grand Leyline. Like most major cities in the Manifold, the municipality of Silkenvault rigorously persuees recycling, salvage, and waste treatment efforts designed to recapture limited resources (i.e. fertilizer) for reuse. From a massive roundabout that circles within the outer ring of structures in the Court of Liars complex, all major roads in Voxelia radiate out from Silkenvault, though this central hub (being within the Court of Liars) does not lie directly in the center of Medial A1. Outlying districts, being the most recent in construction, transition to a square grid pattern to better suit regularized construction patterns and to aid in navigation. As the city has expanded, many roads have had highways built directly over the tops of them, with previously empty lots at the edges or corners of city blocks making prime locations for on- and off-ramps. These raised roadways serve a double purpose, as drivers and pedestrians on the roads beneath them have a hardened roof to conceal them from aerial attacks - a serious concern as the War of Reunification rages on. Silkenvault features an airport and a skyport (for aerodynes and airships, respectively), each with primary and secondary fields to separate personal and commercial traffic. The city possesses powerful RadNet facilities to ensure that news, culture, information, and propaganda of Voxelian origin can be widely distributed throughout the Manifold; it is hoped that this will serve to convert or demoralize would-be opponents in favor of the Voxelian cause through saturation. Frequent parades of public entertainment floats advertise upcoming events and bring musical entertainment (with a dash of wartime propaganda) to those who can't travel within the city for whatever reason.
Guilds and Factions
New Voxelian folklore states that Silkenvault sits atop the original site of the first major human settlement beneath the Manifold Sky, and this belief has been backed up by some compelling archaeological evidence. While the city has undergone numerous changes in layout over cycles of prosperity, destruction (whether due to war or natural disasters), and rebirth, a scant few structures still stand which date back to as early as 5000 AC.
As a cosmopolitan city with a rich civic and artistic history, Silkenvault is a common destination for tourists from all over the Manifold - barring Coalition citizens, of course. Verdials, Rostrans, and Ovinex all find the weather agreeable in equal measure. Numerous outdoor stages, theatres, and cinemas serve to draw crowds interested in Voxelia's famed performance arts. Holidays such as Rainmaas and Veldrinalia often draw family members to the city to visit. Due to its central location within Voxelian territory, Silkenvault is also a common hub for travel to other tourist destinations within Medial A; the Ambergrain Brewery Fair in Ambergrain often draws large groups of tourists to the city.
Architects and structural engineers working within the city are accredited by the Voxelia College of Bards, as architecture is regarded by the local government to be as much a form of art as it is an applied science. Through control over the training and accreditation of architects, the Council of Liars also enforces a standard of architectural continuity with the classic forms of antiquity. As a result, there is a remarkable uniformity of style across all major buildings in Silkenvault, with bright earthones, intricately carved mable, brick, or plaster facades, realistic statutary, and red tile roofs being the hallmarks of this style. Silkenvault Cipher is often incorporated into both interior and exterior architectural elements, though public knowledge of this practice is limited. Silkenvault's name derives from the high, vaulted ceilings which overhang interior spaces. These typically feature numerous anchor points for lines from which bolts of the traditional red linen or silk can be hung to insulate the space against reverberation and cold weather. In an age of cheap steam heat, the former purpose for these hangings has largely overtaken the latter, though they would be maintained anyway as a matter of cultural pride. Even so constrained in style, advances in structural engineering and material science have allowed these buildings to reach sizes which would have been fantastical to the trend-setters in classical antiquity. For example, the Court of Liars - the administrative complex for the Council of Liars - has doubled in all dimensions from the old imperial palace that once contained it, turning the old castle bailey into a bustling city-within-a-city solely for the use of Council and their bureaucratic machinery. The original keep is now invisible behind the towering, khaki brick edifices of authority, though these newer towers are sometimes difficult to distinguish from old construction by dint of historical preservation efforts and the uniform style requirements of city planners.
Silkenvault is located on Medial A1, spanning both sides of the commissure leading to Medial H4. Silkenvault lies in the basin of what used to be a gently-contoured flood plain. With the Western C cube layer lying just across the inflection layer overhead, the region experiences frequent rainfall and is scattered with numerous small ponds and rivers, though the erosive force of this weather is not enough to overcome the soil-stabilizing quality of the abundant plant life.
In addition to abundant access to water for drinking, irrigation, and biodiesel production, the region produces a prodigious quantity of fruit (especially apples) and honey. Artificial gardens on rooftops and in underground agri-mines provide surplus produce. Farms for the local production of flax and silk are maintained in and near Silkenvault not for their outright utility, but because the linen and silk industries of Silkenvault are defining local cultural institutions. Unfortunately, the need to maintain arable land around the city to sustain the burgeoning population puts hard limits on how spread out the city can become. Underground petroleum reservoirs have been tapped, but are left in the ground as a strategic reserve in the event of a Coalition siege.