Respite Settlement in SanZera | World Anvil


"Welcome to Respite. Here, you are safe from the law and the heat, but not your enemies."
— Gatehouse guard

Respite is the capital of the West Province of the Confederacy of the Shadow. It is widely considered to be the safest settlement in the Shadow, but is not considered generally "safe" by any means. The laws in Respite are shifty and unreliable, and the helpfulness of the police depends entirely on how much they like you.

Industry & Trade

Respite relies on outside trade to survive. Its economy is built on tourism and trading with outside merchants. Inns, restaurants, gift shops, and general stores are the staple businesses of Respite. There is always a specialty market open somewhere, and many unique vendors visit Respite during their rounds.

When the suns go down, Respite deals in a different type of business. Thieves and mercenaries come here to trade without worrying about legal repurcussions in their home nations. Banned goods, stolen treasures, drugs, and secrets all find their way to Respite.

However, criminals aren't completely untouchable. Nations in search of high priority fugitives send task forces to stake out the city. It is not uncommon for these task forces to arrest more than who they came for. Therefore, those familiar with the city learn to be wary of anyone in a uniform.


Buildings in Respite are a haphazard scatter of primarly sandstone and stucco. Wood is a rarity that has to be shipped in, so only the wealthiest of structures enjoy the luxury.

A common feature among buildings directly beneath the floating island are metal gutters that funnel into a container inside or outside of the building. These are to catch the water that drips from the bottom of the floating island above. On average, it amounts to less than an inch of water per day, but saved over time, it can create a useful reserve in case of a shortage. Most of the water used by the town comes from a central well, which is also the only place that is policed daily.


Respite is at the edge of The Shadow, literally. About half of the city is directly underneath the island. From morning until about noon, the city relaxes in extended twilight. It must endure the suns for the latter half of the day, but it is spared from their harshest hours.

The usual desert plants don't like the lack of sun, and so Respite is populated by species that prefer a slightly more temperate climate. Many of the shrubs, mosses, bushes, flowers, and even trees that grow around Respite are completely unique to The Shadow.

Fluctuates around 1000
Location under
Owning Organization
Respite's demographics shift constantly as traders move in and out of the city. The ratio of lilthian to human is approximately 3 to 1.
The Shadow
Geographic Location | Jun 2, 2023
Confederacy of the Shadow
Organization | May 30, 2023

Ruling body of the Shadow

Cover image: Solar Cover by Aster Blackwell


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Aug 27, 2022 07:05

So this is a criminal "above ground" if I correctly placed this settlement at some floating island and the shadow this island casts?   Is the city controlled by some gangs or mafias? Or it is city guardians who accepted that they are there to maintain at least the semblance of rules, while all the reputation ruining stuff is happening outside of public sight? It is hard to imagine someone taking a revenge in open when this city reputation is "somewhat safe" is keeping it alive. Or is the city so bad, that everyone goes there only because it is the only option?

Aug 27, 2022 17:52 by Aster Blackwell

so I wrote this article pretty quickly and had a lot of better ideas for it after the fact that I haven't yet had the chance to include. There's also going to be a lot more context in The Shadow's article, because Respite is basically the capital city of the Shadow. The Shadow is basically its own nation, but it's not recognized as an official nation by most other nearby nations. It has a government, officials, etc which is a sort of weird democracy/meritocracy thing, and everyone in the government is Shadow locals, so people that were born in and grew up in the Shadow.   Respite is a unique city in that it's the biggest city in the Shadow that has officials that are not Shadow natives. However, the majority of the people in charge there are natives. They make the rules and so they kinda get to decide who they tolerate and who they don't. Respite has a reputation for lawlessness because the Shadow culture is very eye-for-an-eye based, and since it's kind of its own nation, none of the laws from any of the surrounding countries apply. The Shadow also doesn't have any firm foreign policies or anything, which is why anyone can just kind of come and leave as they choose.   Basically, Respite has a government and rules, but those rules just aren't the rules that most "civilized" societies are used to. "Murder is legal as long as you had a good reason", that sorta thing. It's NOT run by gangs and mafias, technically, but people from the outside see it that way because of how rough it is.   ...sorry for so many words! I really enjoyed your questions, though. Did I answer them alright? Feel free to ask more! lol