"(...) and everyone would fall to their knees as they saw the White City. All bowed before the symbol of their queen, symbol of their god, and symbol of their future. No evil nor war shall ever pass these walls.
All they could do was kneel, giving thanks and crying as their misery was finally at an end."
The Menicean capital was named after the name of the Gérouns goddess, Nelandra Aigleran
. Its construction began shortly after half of Menicea was claimed by what would later become the royal family.
proved anything by choosing the location where the city would be built, it was once again his unmatched intelligence and planning skills. At a time where no map of the continent ever existed, he managed to draw one and to place the future capital at its exact center.
Layout and Districts
The White Castle
I bet you can see the whole city from there, it must be majestic. I heard that the kings sometimes offer this privilege when he offers audiences. Maybe we should try. The White Castle
is where the royal family lives. The structure thrones on the top of the hill, in the center of the city where it proudly stands up to the skies.
Surrounded by sturdy white walls, Kelyeran Asturac
ordered that the castle's main gate should be close to the kings' tower so they could give speeches from the balcony. In front of that door stands Queen's lane
, a vast square of one kilometer long where people gather to listen to their leader's announcements. Otherwise, it often hosts parties and festivals and is always packed to bursting point during the Great Nelandrean Market
For more information about the castle's domain and inside, check out The White Castle.
How can we hear the king from up there? That's silly. Everybody can listen to the king as long as they're in the lane. His voice reaches us like the wind does. It's so powerful, yet so warm and benevolent. He truly loves us, as much as we truly love him and you can feel that the second he starts speaking.
The High Garland
The second walls within the city after the White Castle's are protecting the High Garland. This is by far the most beautiful district
of the capital, as it is only populated by nobles.
The first families to gain privileges were often gifted a plot of land nearby the castle to build their own mansion
. As the years went by, kings only offered these to their most estimated nobles and established strict building rules to ensure the beauty of the place. The streets are straight, no entanglement of dark alleys or dead ends can be found here. Everyone living there has to pay a cleaning tax
each month to participate in keeping everything clean.
'You sure we can go in there dressed like that? I mean, look at everyone, they look so good! We're going to draw attention again...
This is also where there are the most Nelandrean Altars at the same location. Most households have their own, and this often turns into an unsubtle fight to show one's fortune through building the most sumptuous altar
to the goddess. Noble swordmen also love to demonstrate their skills in public by provoking someone else to duel
in the middle of the white paved roads, for the pleasure of passerby and the annoyance of coaches.
Some noble families known for their skills as artisans often turn a part of their domain into ostentatious shops
offering the best quality of the continent.
Behind the White Castle are the Royal Guards' barracks
, where they train their new recruits, sleep and organize their patrols. This is also where people come to complain.
The name High Garland comes from the fact that the district is located higher on the hill than the other ones and because nearly every street is rimmed with flowers and every house is festooned with floral compositions as well.
The Outer Ring and the Nelandrean industry
The third and outermost wall of Nelandra separates its larger district
and the outside. Gérouns have a very straightforward sense of naming their places, so they called the last district the Outer Ring as it forms a circular shape around the rest of the city.
While the place is undeniably less wealthy than the Garland, it remains beautiful like everything in the capital. Streets are broad, bright, and flowing with life
YES for the last time it will be faster to take all the way through the north of the ring to reach the west, and yes, it will still take us one hour. It's freaking three, Oronzo, you don't know how many petty nobles are blocking the roads with their idiot fights in the Garland. Now shut it down, and let me tell the driver which road to take.
Residences and shops
are scattered all around the ring, but most of them tend to be concentrated in the Oriental Bazaar
nearby the road that goes to Irisport
. Before the city in the desert became the trade hub with other continents, merchants were more concentrated in the western part of the capital, closer to Silver-Dust
and its metal caravans.
At first, half of the Outer Ring was made of fields
and livestock farms, but everything was replaced by buildings
as the city grew. Nowadays Nélandra is more of a refinery
, taking in raw materials and selling back manufactured goods. The capital is well known for its jewelry, textiles, and forges.
is a famous street known for its scents and beautiful colors. Many cloth and perfume workshops
are based there, and all of them agreed to collaborate into making the alley a memorable place to draw more clients. Wide nets of colored cloth cover the narrow alley's roof, creating a ferric view escorted by a symphony of sweet scents. During celebrations, the mere fabrics are replaced by embroideries matching with perfumes spread in shops. Some also cut patterns in their roof decoration, creating different shadow effects at different hours of the day.
Outside the city
Vast cereal fields are the only thing you can see before sparse hills and mountains when you get out of Nélandra. Right outside of each gate wait merchants and mercenary at each caravanserai to escort travelers if they take dangerous roads.
Only a few houses are directly outside the city, not enough to be considered a district.
Just like most of the Clan War
's precise History, the origins of the persons that lived on the capital's grounds before it was built is blurry. After the war ended and the construction began, lots of people from all over the continent moved into the new city and therefore mixed with the locals.
Since the capital has always been a center of culture and wealth, its population grew to be the same. Even in the lower classes, the nelandreans show a better knowledge of the lands as a whole and a higher level of education. Throughout the years, they started showing some disdain towards people from the countryside. At the end of the first century, they developed a subtle accent that further differentiated themselves from the kin.
As much as they delve into the Nelandrean values
, people from the capital like nothing more than to show the rest of their kind how much they stand out.
The Royal Council
is in charge of the city. They take care of the major part of the administrative matters like laws, requests, and security. Most of the "smaller" management is done by distinctive members of the Nelandrean Nobility
. The Nobles handle everything from housing to taxes and report to the council every month.
Nelandra is surrounded by three rows of walls where the Royal Guard
patrols day and night. The outermost ring is 20 meters tall, the second is 16, and the innermost 12. There are four entrances to the city, one for each cardinal point. Every gate is closed by a sturdy portcullis and guarded by a garrison safely watching from towers on each side. The outer ring is the only one that also has towers on other sections than the gates. These act as watching points and small barracks for the patrollers on duty.
The Royal Guard
is both the police and the garrison of the city. 25 000 soldiers can be mobilized in case of need, but only 1500 of them actively work in the town. The rest of the Royal Guard is either sent on secret missions outside of the capital, training new recruits or inspecting other army corp.
All main streets of the city are paved. The closer you get to the outer ring, the lower the stone's quality is. The High Garland has beautiful White Stones on its roads, regularly cleaned by the city's Commonworkers
, while the less wealthy districts only have simple cobbles.
After it definitively abandoned agriculture within the outer ring, the city turned into a massive refinery. Nelandra takes in gems and various metals from Odelia, gold and some iron from the Eastern Desert
, cotton, and linen from the Insdyl Plains
. All these raw materials are refined into luxury goods and sold back to the rest of the continent.
Thanks to the Morknars
' help, the capital's workshops were significantly improved a century ago. The foreigners also helped with building underground sewers and were rewarded by the king who granted them with facilitated access to the lands.
Genesis of the capital
The first stone of Nélandra was placed shortly before the end of the Clan War
. Kelyeran Asturac
drew the actual map of Menicea and placed Nélandra as its center, to make the travel equivalently long to every side of the continent.
Legends say that the workers that build the walls and The White Castle
refused any payment, claiming that their queen was more than worth their sweat and efforts. This is seen in every step of the capital's rising: the people always helped for free without even being asked to.
The city slowly stretched to match the appearance it has today. At first, everyone lived in the High Garland, the Outer Ring containing only fields and livestock. The arrival of the first nobles and their privileges added to the continuous influx of new people to the capital forced them to gradually reduce the number of fields inside the walls to build houses instead.
From there, Nelandra started to produce no more, delegating its food production to the rest of Insdyl's plain and focusing more on refining and crafting goods, therefore becoming the first commercial hub of the continent.
Wealth and disparities
The taxes are even worse now. We have to move out to the outer ring, they are almost forcing us to leave. The king will hear about this, and if nothing happens we're off to Odelia.
When there was no more room for the people to build in the outer ring, nobles gently pushed the non-rich outside of the Garland and started shaping it into the gorgeous white paved district we now know.
Even after the rise of Irisport
with the arrival of people from overseas, Nelandra remains the commercial and cultural hub of Ménicéa. Nothing can compare to the Great Nelandrean Market held each year, and nothing will ever match the scenery seen inside the Peace Palace.
Sadly, all these years of prosperity made the city hard to reach for outsiders as life inside the walls can be really expensive. People enjoy visiting it, but many who would like to join the white city forever just will not ever be able to afford it.