Lucar is known as the Azure City, which conjurers all sorts of images of a bright, clean and sparkling city of blues and whites. In fact the capital is anything but. It is a dull and grimy place which many say represents the current state of the empire: old, dirty and past its prime. The city is built entirely on one huge headland which sticks out into the Inner Sea for a few miles. The promontory is rounded, with the neck of the headland only a few hundred yards across. A large granite wall circles the headland, making it a very defensible place, but in the five hundred years it has stood it has never been attacked so its defences remain untested. The city boasts two harbours, one on either side of the headland, in the coves formed by the neck. Harbour walls have been built out on each side to produce two very sheltered bays. The eastern bay is deeper and the deep hulled ocean-going ships are directed to dock there. The western bay is shallower and tends to be full of smaller ships and boats. Both harbours have multiple granite staircases leading up to the outside of the city walls and to gates which lead into the city. Each harbour has also given birth to its own waterfront district, outside the city walls, complete with all the usual trappings these places acquire: taverns, gambling dens and brothels. On the southern side of the city, beyond the city wall, the neck stretches out into the mainland. Here the city continues to sprawl. Many of the city’s poorer inhabitants live here outside the protection of the walls, and the Azure Watch who patrol the city streets inside the wall, rarely come here. Gangs of thieves and thugs roam the streets in Poor Town, as it is known, and violence is a way of life. Inside the walls life is safer, but the city is still rough and ready. The market district lies just inside the South Gate and the thieves of Poor Town populate this area too, picking on merchants and their customers alike. Beyond the market district are rows of shops and residential areas, clustered tightly together. Many alleyways and short cuts crisscross the area and litter and rundown buildings are common. A lot of these buildings are five hundred years old, having been built when the city was originally constructed. Some look like they have not been renovated at all during their lifetimes. As you move north you pass by the Temple District where large temples to the city’s main gods can be found. These are fairly well looked after, testimony to the religious nature of the populace. The Azure Watch patrols this part of the city regularly, keeping unsavoury types away. Hanging onto the edge of the Temple District, almost like it is trying to infer it is a temple to a new god, lays the Guild Hall, home of the Guild of Master Merchants and Sea Farers. This place is constructed of white marble, much like the main Guild Hall in Cansae, but is a smaller structure than the Guild base in the Red City. It is in pristine condition and very clearly shows the wealth and power wielded by the influential Guild. Beyond the Temple District is a large park with tree lined avenues and decorative ponds. This was once the jewel in the crown of the city but now is like a tiny vision of the state of the empire. The paths are cracked and have weeds growing through in places. Low walls which separate the ponds have bricks missing and some ponds are beginning to be choked with algae and reeds. The few fish which still swim in them look brown rather than golden and in places the odd tree on the avenues stands dead and leafless even in summer. The park, like the empire it is at the heart of, lies decaying and broken, in its last days of life. Past the park, right on the northern most edge of the island rises the Azure Palace. Built by command of Lucar and the very first building to be raised in the city, the palace still looks an impressive sight. It has been kept regenerated, perhaps at the expense of the rest of the city. The palace is made of white marble, flecked with blue in places. Azure decorations break up the stark white façade and compliment the colour scheme. Pendants showing the great blue whale, which is the sign of the Azure House, flutter from every available cornice. The palace soldiers, known as the Thought Guard, guard the palace inside and out. Dressed in polished breastplates with spears in hand and swords by their sides, they wear long flowing cloaks of azure and plumed helms with bright blue feathers. Their surcoats are white with the blue whale of the house emblazoned on the front. The Thought Guard are so called as they are rumoured to be trained telepaths, able to tell what a man is thinking and able to get into a person’s head and turn his brains to jelly with a thought. So their reputation goes, in the city and throughout the Empire. Emperor Jovius Azure II lives in the palace. He is ancient and has been said to be on his last legs for many years now. He is the last living descendent of Emperor Lucar Azure, who formed the Lucarcian Empire five hundred years ago, and he has no children. When he dies the line of Lucar will end. House Azure has no heir and will likely crumble too, leaving no royal house in place. Most fear civil war is inevitable.