“Who else would take a slab of rock in the middle of the desert and turn it into one of the largest and most important cities in the world? It’s so quintessentially… Kalriv.” -a Heartlander trader describing her journey to Var KalrivVar Kalriv is a city in the northern Sapphire Coast. It is the capital city of the Kalriv Empire, one the largest cities in Arikanda, and is the spiritual and ancestral home of the Kalriv people. The city is built atop a large flat mesa near an oasis in the Venderan Desert, making it considerably less hospitable than most other cities in Arikanda. The mesa is bordered on its north side by Lake Kalreva, a medium-sized freshwater lake which provides the water needs for the settlement. The city is known for its high and thick stone walls, its densely-packed adobe buildings and its wondrous religious and cultural landmark buildings. Over time, the city has expanded well beyond the limits of the mesa surrounded on its west, east and southern flanks by broad stretches of mismatched buildings, workyards, sprawling slums and small farms stretching out across the desert.
As the ancestral home of the Kalriv tribe, Var Kalriv is home to a large number of ‘true’ Kalriv. However, as one of the largest cities in the world and as the capital of its largest empire, it also has a vast population drawn from all over the Sapphire Coast, many being the descendants of conquered people who were added to the Empire. In terms of social class, the city is populated by around two-thirds Kalriv citizens; consisting of 5% from the Solar caste, 10% from the Guardian caste, 25% from the Forger caste and 27% from the Worker caste. The remaining population is made up of non-citizens, of which 30% are slaves and 3% are foreign merchants. Foreigners that reside in Var Kalriv are almost exclusively traders of Heartlander and Avadian origin. A small number of Sapphran dignitaries and merchants are permitted to live in Var Kalriv, however their freedoms are heavily curtailed due to simmering tension between the Helikan League and the Kalriv.
As the capital of the Kalriv Empire, the city is under the direct control and command of the Kalriv Basileus. In practice, the governance of the city is divided up between eight military prefects and the highest-ranking Solar priests, who administer different aspects of city life according to the Basileus' orders. The judicial system is run by the priesthood, while law enforcement and taxation are directly operated by the Kalriv Legions. Civic works and projects are usually shared between the military and the priesthood.
Var Kalriv has two sets of defensive walls; the first is a semicircular wall of stone blocks enclosing the outlying Outer Crescent district. This runs all the way to the shores of Lake Kalreva on both its northwest and northeast sides, and can only be passed by a main gateway on the very edge of the desert. The mesa that makes up Var Kalriv's core is entirely enclosed within high walls of glazed and fired brick, making the entire inner city one giant fortress. Turrets and guard towers are regularly pipped along the walls, and this effectively forces access to the main city to be made from one central point - a broad road gouged into the mesa like a ramp. The ramp is studded with checkpoints, barriers and guard towers, making an assault on the mesa extremely difficult. The most recent towers are statues thay have been cut in the forms of legendary basileii, hollowed out for soldiers and guards to set up and shoot arrows from inside.
Industry & Trade
As the capital of the Kalriv Empire, Var Kalriv is home to strong commercial and industrial sectors. It is particularly well known for its craftsmen and artisans, with fine weapons and armour produced both commercially and through the great forges of the Legions. Var Kalriv is also the centre of the slave trade throughout the Empire, serving as a convenient central hub for citizens from all of the provinces to purchase and sell slaves.
Var Kalriv is connected to the rudimentary highway system that runs through the Sapphire Coast. The highway passes directly through the centre of the Outer Crescent, before connecting directly to the ramp connecting the Outer Crescent to the mesa city. The mesa itself is serviced by a number of arterial roads that split off from the Concourse of the Ascended, allowing for more routes throughout the city and a more free flow of foot and chariot traffic. Water is provided to the city by way of Lake Kalreva, the freshwater lake directly to the north of the mesa. Water is both hauled around the mesa to and hoisted up the mesa wall itself via pulleys and containers. A reservoir has also been cut in the north edge of the mesa in case of siege. Wastewater is disposed of through a series of clay pipes which have been cut into the mesa and on-flow to cesspits in the Outer Crescent.
Var Kalriv is split up into a number of districts, including; The Plaza of the Sun, the central square of the city and the oldest part of it. It is believed to be the location where the prophet Mirkos and the first , the central square of the city and the oldest part of it. It is believed to be the location where the prophet Mirkos and the first basileus Kalros received revelation from Venderus. It is home to the Venderan Ziggurat and the terminus of the Concourse of the Ascended, along with the homes and estates of the oldest and most powerful citizens. Spearward, home to the city garrison, Legion command and the logistical and administrative buildings that support the Empire’s military. Highsun, an enclave dedicated to the Solar priesthood. Many temples, homes of priests, and the Solar Gardens can be found here. The Chisel District, where homes for the Forger caste and more affluent members of the Worker caste are built. It also houses specialised shopfronts and workshops for Forgers. The Commerce Ward, a dedicated portion of the city for trade and commerce in the southeastern portion of the mesa. Various stores and stalls can be found here. The majority of the Commerce Ward is dedicated to Kalriv artisans and workers selling their wares, however a small enclave known as the Foreign Goods Market is set aside for foreign traders. The slave markets, hub of most of the slave trade in the Empire, can also be found here. In addition to the districts within the mesa itself, the mesa is encircled by an outlying district known as the Outer Crescent. This ring is home to poorer Workers and slaves, along with the more noxious and ‘unclean’ elements of every city, such as tanneries, dyers and butchers. It forms a semi-circle, beginning at the fringes of the desert, then flanking both sides off the ramp accessing the city proper before reaching the shores of Lake Kalreva on the north ends of both flanks.
Var Kalriv is one of the oldest cities in the world; it was founded nearly six thousand years before the present day in the Neolithic, coinciding with the Kalriv discovery of agriculture. According to Kalriv folklore, the mesa was discovered by the prophet Mirkos and the hunter and warrior Kalros. It is said that the sun god Venderus himself guided Mirkos, Kalros and the then-nomadic Kalriv tribe to the mesa that would become the site of Var Kalriv, and instructed them to form a great nation there. Var Kalriv began its ascent from a tribal town to a powerful city in 1200 DoM, with the beginning of the Kalriv conquests against the city of Lycrus in the northern Sapphire Coast. Through a combination of protection of surrounding towns and conquest of hostile towns, Var Kalriv established a hegemony over a confederation of towns and cities in the central and northern Sapphire Coast, and this saw the city swell both in size and influence. However, it was not until the latter half-millennium of the Dawn of Man period that Var Kalriv truly became the imperial city that it was today. With the Kalriv military expansions of that period, the alliances and confederations across the Sapphire Coast began to take on the role of client states to a larger hegemon, with Var Kalriv serving as its hub. As the home of the ancestral Kalriv, it became both the seat of the Solar faith and the home city of the Kalriv Basileus. It also became home not only to the original Kalriv people, but many new citizens coming from all over its client states. In the 2nd Century TE, the city could no longer be contained within its mesa, with new buildings spreading out into what is now the Outer Crescent. With the official formalisation of the Kalriv as an empire in 332 TE, the de facto status of Var Kalriv as an imperial capital was formalised, and it is now officially the city around which the rest of its holdings orbit. It is arguably the largest city in the Sapphire Coast, if not Arikanda itself.
Points of interest
The most prominent building in Var Kalriv is the Venderan Ziggurat, an enormous adobe ziggurat that serves both as the religious centre of the city and the government headquarters. The Concourse of the Ascended is a wide concourse that connects the Triumph Gate to the Plaza of the Sun. It is decorated with pedestals and statues to the greatest warriors in Kalriv history. The Solar Gardens, a renowned sanctuary and house of healing known for its tiers of exotic, tranquil gardens built in terraces along its walls, is another major point of interest, found in Highsun. The ramp granting access to the main city is another site of interest, studded with guard towers, some of which are carved into the shape of great heroes and basileii of the past, culminating in the Triumph Gate at its apex. The Triumph Gate is a large arch carved into the wall encircling the mesa, decorated with intricate artwork of battles and heroes. The Slave Markets are the largest source of slave commerce in the Empire. Slaves are brought in from all over the Empire and then shipped out all over the Empire. The Foreign Goods Market, located in the Commerce District, is the one location where foreign merchants are permitted to trade their wares. Here many finished goods from beyond the reaches of the Empire can be acquired. Legion Command is located in the heart of Spearward, and is a compound dedicated to the operational and logistical directions of the Kalriv Legions. It is here that the Sun Legates who command each legion meet. Adjoining Legion Command is the city garrison and the War Campus, where officers are trained.
The buildings of Var Kalriv are primarily built from adobe brick, with sandstone used for more advanced buildings. The city maintains a limited colour scheme, with most buildings either beige, white or dark red in colour. The exception are state buildings and temples, which use the iconic white and blue colours so prominently featured in Kalriv culture. Residences are uniform square adobe buildings, usually built up atop each other to form step-houses. State buildings and temples consist of multiple-tiered buildings of rectangular or square design, supported by buttresses.
This is a very detailed read! Some sort of images would help it too, I think, they don't need to be drawn or anything, just some related stock images would help readers' imagination picture things here. :D
Liam J. Johnston
Agreed! I do definitely want to find some that will fit it!
Well if you need suggestions for free stock photo websites, I use pexels for basically everything! But the article is really well written I think.