Lebalos Settlement in Totania | World Anvil
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Lebalos is the Capital City of the Gnomes, built on the outskirts of the Uncharted Desert. It is home to the Bard College and Clown College.  

Major Locations

As the capital of the Gnomish Grand Duchy, Lebalos is home to many locations worth visiting. Of course, the city is very intentionally designed to give first time visitors a bit of heatstroke so they will have no choice but to stop in any large tourist hub in the city, bringing in revenue to the city.  

Obelisks of Sia

The Gnomes called these Tekhenu, but it was a visitor from Alzirgos who named them instead. They are great wonders of Gnomish construction, up to 100 feet (30 meters) tall despite the average Gnomish height being about 3 feet tall.   They are found on many street corners in Lebalos, and each are inscribed with symbols from the Goddess of the Gnomes, Sia. They are said to be pillars of Knowledge, her major domain of worship. To climb atop an obelisk would be to gain knowledge, if not truly then at least in a representative sense.   Therefore, many were built, and tourists are watched carefully to ensure that if they intend to climb one, they do so with Gnomish supervision to not destroy them. To destroy an obelisk is an affront to Sia herself.  

Tomb of Bada

The first Grand Duchess, Nifi Bada, was the one to found Lebalos. She died of poisoning, and while no exact culprit was found, there were many who were believed to have taken part in it. When the next Grand Duke, Totix Mablios, took power, someone who served Bada, they did not deem it necessary to determine the singular person who poisoned Bada. Instead, they took each member of her court and had them build a tomb for Bada. Then, the suspected collaborators were wrapped in bandages and tied to the walls, sealed in the tomb with Bada's body.
Nifi Bada by Jarhed
  It is said Nifi Bada was dipped in gold after her corpse was discovered. Her body, in her tomb, is thus encased in gold after an embalming procedure was performed to remove the liquid in the body. Then, it was said, she would live forever in honor. This process has been followed for many, but not all, Grand Dukes and Duchesses.   The tomb itself is underground, with a long staircase leading down into the catacombs that hold the first Grand Duchess. Candles line the walls, lit by attendants every day to honor Bada. Descending the stairs, one finds a door carved with the legend of Bada, from her birth in Ironforge to the first Avos to her poisoning.   There are various treasures of Bada in the tomb. Things from the Dwarven Kingdom, as well as gifts given to her by all she met. One that is put on a pedestal is that of Dwarven King Vonnus, who was the one to exile Bada in the first place. It is said this shows how Bada legitimized the Gnomes as their own people, that even Vonnus acknolwedged them.
Sainter by Jarhed


Prior to their settling in the Desert, the Gnomes lived in the mountains of the Dwarven Kingdom. However, the King of the Dwarves in -1533, Vonnus, decided he no longer wanted Gnomes in his lands, so he forcefully removed them. They attempted to settle in places like the Elven Forest, but it did not work. This led them, instead, to the Uncharted Desert.   Nifi Bada, a Gnomish woman, was the one who led them to the desert, helping to found Lebalos in an area that could suit the foundation of a large city even in a desert. It was built in -1510, 23 years after their migration began.  


However, the Gnomes were not suited to a desert. They were unaware how to grow crops in their new surroundings or fight off the animals of the desert. In -1470, however, their saving grace arrived: A Korvian named Sainter taught them to grow crops, protect their village, and even established a holiday for them in honor of it called Avos.   Avos is celebrated every year on the twenty-fifth day of the fifth month of the year. It is central to Lebalos, but is celebrated by other cultures and cities as well.

Other Tombs

There are some other tombs in Lebalos, though few are visited as much as that of Nifi Bada. These are of some Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses who were deemed worthy enough by their successors to have their tombs in the capital.  

The Tir Pyramid

Once built as a tomb to Grand Duchess Welza Tir, it began construction in -778 and was completed in -727. However, in -458, the tomb was emptied out and the body and treasures of Welza Tir were tossed aside. The Tir Pyramid, then, became the hub for all duties of the Executive Branch of the Gnomish government. Now, it houses state secrets, with all decisions made for the entire Gnomish Grand Duchy made here. All diplomatic meetings with the Grand Duke or Duchess happen here as well, and it is said that a great treasure lies somewhere within as well.   Tourists are not allowed too far inside. Normally, tours go around the exterior and into some few curated rooms that present what the Gnomes want to show and nothing more.  

Sainter Statue

For Avos, all gather around the statue of the hero who saved the Gnomes: The Korvian known as Sainter. He has become a fixture of the holiday, with many dressing like him. Any tourists who visit Lebalos around Avos time will see all citizens in the area dressed like Sainter celebrating his legacy.  

The Bard College

The Bard College is a major institution in Totania, rivaling the Magic College in many ways. The only major difference that sets the Magic College on such a higher pedestal is that the Bard College is much more specialized than the Magic College. That, and, unlike a floating castle in the sky, the Bard College is built to be something a bit different. It is a large obelisk that stretches into the sky. Atop the obelisk is a multi-floor box that would blot out the sun over the whole city if not for the fact that it is made of glass, made unbreakable by various earth mages over centuries. It also has a balcony where bards can perform to the entire city.
A Really Funny Fit by Yumedatchi
  However, most of the greatest musicians, artists, chefs, and other kinds of talents have studied at the Bard College. After all, Bardic Practice is not just about music. It also includes visual arts, culinary arts, performance arts like theatre, and even literary arts like poetry or writing novels. When it comes to the forbidden art of Lebalos, however, that has its own institution within the Bard College. That institution being: Comedy.  

The Clown College

The Clown College is the secondary institution within the Bard College. While all other arts are appreciated equally in the Bard College, Comedy is seemingly exiled to a secondary building beneath the Bard College, in the sand.   The Clown College is much more strict, based on the teachings of famed clown Cafkoy Lown. Those who do not follow Cafkoy's teachings, then, are expelled or punished.   The Clown College has produced some true wonders, like being the place where the Really Funny Fit was made, and producing famed clowns like Henroik D Qlown, Sylvirlouc Zamrarano, and Sirlini "The Comedian" Glirdog.  


The government of Lebalos is of course split into two parts: the National government and the Local government. The Federal works on behalf of all Gnomes in all cities under their control, while the Local officials make laws only for Lebalos itself.  


The Grand Duke or Duchess of the Gnomes is in charge of most Gnomish affairs. They have other people who do much of the work for them, but all decisions are ultimately up to them when not vetoed by the Magistrate. Grand Dukes are not voted on, but instead appointed by the previous Grand Duke.   The Grand Duke has many major duties. The first is likely the most difficult, being that they are often required to both make laws for and visit all Gnomish settlements. Due to the Uncharted Desert being a place that is near impossible to map out, this will be difficult. It is not easy to inform all settlements of changes to laws or to visit them. Then, returning from them is just as difficult.   Grand Dukes also deal with foreign relations and disputes between Gnomish settlements. There have been Civil Wars between the Gnomes when a Grand Duke has been particularly spineless. There have also been wars with nearby Draconians, Human, Ophidians, and Elven armies due to disagreements on anything ranging from territory to trade.  


As opposed to the Grand Duke or Duchess, there is a Magistrate in Lebalos and all other Gnomish settlements. The Magistrate of Lebalos has a court that is right outside of the Tir Pyramid, which anyone could sit in on. It is associated with the World Court in many ways, but due to being a local government rather than a national one, they have little oversight.   The Magistrate makes laws for the city and sits in on all cases deemed of high enough importance to the city. Often its rulings determine the way things will proceed in the city. A magistrate, however, is not an appointed position. Magistrates are elected in local elections.   They are also the only power that can challenge that of the Grand Duke or Duchess, as the Duke or Duchess does live in Lebalos, they are technically forced to follow any laws made by the Magistrate of Lebalos. The Magistrate of Lebalos also regulate places like the Bard College, and therefore they are often put at odds with the Bard College's main rival, Ealla, and its Village Chief.  


The population of Lebalos has changed quite a bit over the years. Initially, it was just populated by the Gnomes who left Dwarven Territory. After some time, those Gnomes split off to expand their empire, and now their land spans across the whole desert. Those who come from Lebalos and other settlements on the outskirts of the desert, then, are called Secci Gnomes.   For some time afterwards, Secci Gnomes tried to keep outsiders out, including Gnomes that did not come from the outskirts. However, thanks to the Emetian Vaaki Goatrunner Elaniago, a project called the Lebalos Open Borders Project was started that allowed all Gnomes and Emetians residence.   Later on, Draconians who left places like Ealla, Dembar, and Evity moved to Lebalos as well, along with anyone studying at the Bard College. It is now fairly diverse, though its majority population is still Secci Gnomes.

Cover image: by GregMontani


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