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Estheim - The Radiant City

Estheim carries many names and monikers. Also called the Radiant City or the City of Dawn, it is believed to be the cradle of mortals all over the world of Var'Kana. The first settlement to be created, which over time grew into a sprawling metropolis. Estheim is built upon the rubble of a former city, whose name has been lost to the rot of time and the ashes of war. What leading historians are in agreement over though, is the fact that the rubble Estheim is built on originates from a equally grand city, which was destroyed due to the events of the Calamity.    The Church of Dawn has its seat in here and it draws many guilds, too. It is by far the biggest city that this world has to offer. Separated into five districts as well as the Under City, which lies beneath the streets of Estheim, the capital city of Orduras offers all sorts of adventure and many sights to see. Sporting a wide diversity of races and characters, Estheim is known as a refuge or sanctuary for races, which might be discriminated against in other places around the world. Some would argue, that this is because the city itself has been blessed by the gods to keep evil outside.

The City Districts

 
    • The Kingfisher Wharf: The harbor and industrial district of Estheim is called Kingfisher Wharf named after a fish, which is often found within the waters surrounding Estheim. The district is located along the coastline to the north-west of the city and hugs the countryside from the rocky shores in the north to the long road and the main gate of Estheim in the west. The Kingfisher Wharf is the cheapest of all the districts, home to many seedy inns, brothels and vendors, but also the harbor and the industry, which is closely linked to the in- and outflux of wares and resources. Here you can find part of the Orduran Admiralty as well as the Royal Shipyard, alongside many outposts or even headquarters of different Trading Organizations. The most prominent of which is the Merynwell Trading Company, which has made Orduras their main base of operations. Other places of interest to be found in the Kingfisher Wharf is the Temple of Hixdall, which sits proudly at the helm of the grand nautical gates, which separate the harbor of Estheim from the rest of the ocean. This main temple is the only one, which cannot be found in the Kestrel Terrace.
    • The Sunhawk Commons: Also called the Sunhawk District for simplicity sake, this district is the biggest of them all. In a shape reminiscent of Hawk's unfurling wings, the Sunhawk commons encircle the Grand Plaza at the center of the city. The Sunhawk Commons is a vast area of interconnected buildings, which house ten thousands of people. Through the center of the District runs the Heart Road, a broad road for carriages and pedestrians alike. Every alleyway eventually leads to a road, which eventually leads back to the Heart Road. It runs through both the center of the Sunhawk District as well as the Grand Plaza. The Sunhawk Commons are littered with small shops and points of interest for visitors to explore. From small taverns and tarprooms to tailors, smiths and other independent businesses. Those, who cannot afford a shop around the Grand Plaza or in the Kestrel Terraces, will opt to open a shop here. Aside from this, the Sunhawk Commons have many hidden and not so hidden entryways into the Under City. All in all, this district serves as the main body and circulatory system of the city. Aside from the mentioned points, the Airship Spire can be found here as well. It is a huge tower, sitting halfway between the Plaza and the Kingfisher Wharf, allowing multiple medium sized airships as well as a handful of grand sized ones to dock. Close to this spot is also the Gryphon Guard Keep, which houses the Orduran aerial forces as well as part of the Crown Guard. 
    • The Kestrel Terrace: The Kestrel Terrace sits above the Sunhawk Commons. It can only be reached through the main gate alongside the Heart Road or through four other side gates, which are located two to each side of the main gate. The Terrace is the district of the upper echelons of the Orduran Citizens. It is build on a higher foundation and surrounded by a secondary set of city walls. In case the other mentioned districts are taken, the walls around the Kestrel Terrace provide a secondary line of defense. The high alabaster wall is thick enough to withstand the assault of a giant and atop its broad top heavy ballistas litter the wall, always ready to shoot down any aerial threat besieging the city. The Heart Road finds its stop here at the center of Terraces, where a secondary smaller plaza is located. At its center stands an ancient golden statue of the goddess Auvala and behind it one can find the first major attraction of the Kestrel Terrace. The Cathedral of the Church of Dawn stands tall and beautiful, with its white stones and golden tipped roofs. In the entrance hall of the Cathedral is the Eternal Light, a brilliant flame in a brass brazier, which has burned for centuries now. Lucky visitors may spy the illusive Flame Tenders, pure maidens of the Church, who tend to the flame as a sign of worship to the goddess Auvala. Aside from the seat of the Church of Dawn, one can find the seats of many different guilds and factions. Different Druid Circles have taken to the outskirt of the Royal Parks in order to do their business. When talking about major faction residencies on the Kestrel Terraces, one cannot forget the Mystic Assembly, which has a big spire sitting in the southern reaches of the Terrace, close to one of the side gates leading back down to the Sunhawk Commons. The Mystic Assembly's spire has its own small walled off area, and serves both as a center for learning, yet also as a public library for those interested in learning more about history or the arcane arts. This Library is shared with the organization of the Lorekeepers. Those with heavy coin pouches will find plenty of opportunity to lighten it, whether for food or drink in one of the venerable inns and taverns, for magical items or custom spell scrolls in Reverence's Magical Emporium of Wonders or other likeminded stores, for tools, weaponry or armor in the smiths, from masterful smiths such as the world famous Rydegard family. The main forces of the Crownsguard can also be found here, seeing as their headquarters reside in here.
    • Grand Plaza: The Grand Plaza serves as the main merchant area for the Estheim citizenship. Merchants of skill with a decently sized budget will seek to open a store here, which draws a large amount of clientele with medium sized coin pouches. It is the smallest of all the Districts, but is nevertheless proclaimed the heart of Estheim. Every main road eventually leads to the heart road and the Grand Plaza. At the center of the Plaza is the central square as well as the Monument of Serenity, which depicts the closing battle of the Calamity and the Sealing of the Gods. To the people of Estheim it serves as a reminder that the gods conquered evil that day and portrays that sometimes conflict is needed to preserve peace. In front of this monument, the king will honour the fallen in times of war and it serves as the central spot for annual festivities and holidays. On weekends the Plaza's central square. becomes one giant marketplace, where people can advertise and sell their wares. 
  • High Seat: Beyond the Kestrel Terrace, escalating up the side of the mountain, is the High Seat. The giant castle is where the royal family resides with their Elite Guard. Alongside this, the Royal Court can be found here, too as well as other royal institutions such as the staff of generals and the ministers sitting in the King's council.
  • Demographics

    38% Human
    15 % Dwarves
    12% Halfling
    10% Dragonborn
    7% Elf / Half Elf
    5% Tiefling
    5% Troll
    4% Gnome
    3% Orc / Half-Orc
    ~ 1% Other

    Government

    The City is run mostly by the King of Ordruas, seeing as Estheim is the Capital of the monarchy. Despite that, the City also has a governor, who runs the daily affairs in the king's absence or supports him, whenever needed. With the ongoing hostilities between Orduras and Angiris, the seated governor is taking over more work.

    Defences

    The City has three main line of defenses, before it could be seen as conquered. The first line is the outer walls, which encompass the whole of the Sunhawk Commons. Large alabaster walls, of thick and sturdy stone, which are littered with stationary heavy weaponry. The last upgrade was constructed by the late king Ricard Tarymgor II., who after a particularly heavy attack by the Underdark dwelling Trolls during the brutal war with them, saw it fit to bolster his defenses with siege weapons strong enough to punch a hole through the Troll's greatest summons. Since then the ballista and catapults have stood silent, daring any opponent to attempt to set foot into the Radiant City.    Beyond the first wall lies the second wall, which encompasses the Kestrel Terrace and the High Seat. The only difference between the previous and this line of defense is the fact that the walls are thicker still and lined with expert rune works, which make the stone resistant to even the most powerful of magic, as long as the runes are intact.    The third and last line of defense is the High Seat. While it does not sport any walls it can only be besieged from the outside. The only path to the High Seat itself leads through a narrow path going through the stone of the mountain itself. A winding path leads the attacker upwards into the Courtyard of the High Seat. While the main keep and palace can be sieged with appropriate long ranged weapons, it is incredibly hard if not considered impossible to get a decent amount of footmen into the courtyard itself.

    Industry

    Being the Capital of Orduras the inhabitants of Estheim follow many traits and walks of life. From owning a business to being employed in said business. Travelling merchants come through by the hour in order to sell their wares to curious citizens or shop owners and farmers come to the weekly market in order to sell their fresh produce. In the harbor and air ship dockyard, people in need of convenient travel can find ferries going to distant places by (air) ship.  In the harbor and industry area ships are constantly loaded with wares and sent elsewhere with Estheim serving as a central gathering point for wares from all over the nation.

    Infrastructure

    The City has its own sewer system, which run through the Under City of Estheim like a network of veins, getting anyone lost, who does not know how to navigate them. The sewer system is the reason, why Estheim is not dirty. Aside from that, the city employs two Airship Towers. One is located in the Sunhawk Commons, while the other is a much smaller one located off to the side of the High Seat, partially built into the mountain side.

    Guilds and Factions

    These guilds have "official" outposts in the different districts of Estheim: The Lorekeepers
    The Twisted Branch Association
    The Wayfarers
    The Crownguard
    The Church of Dawn
    The Mystic Assembly
    The Merynwell Corporation

    Alternative Name(s)
    The City of Dawn // The Radiant City // Imri'leth (Elvish)
    Type
    Large city
    Population
    110.000 (Without the Under City) // 134.000 (With the Under City) // 1.000.000 including surrounding farm towns

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