Nation: The Empire
Ten Cities, a confederation of city-states west of Eloesus, has always considered itself half Southron and half Eloesian, with a foot in despotism and a foot in democracy.
WHERE TWO WORLDS COLLIDE
Though the people of Ten Cities folk trace their ancestry to Eloesus and speak a dialect of Eloesian, they have long established relations with Fharas and Khazidea. Before the Empire took control, certain government posts were elected democratically but the true power brokers were the kings. Each city had a reigning king or queen — positions established by birth.
Ten Cities has a hot desert climate, but a river flowing from the adjacent Red Mountains has allowed for irrigation and agriculture. The main crops are date palms, barley and wheat. Unlike Eloesus, beer is the drink of choice rather than wine. The river is home to numerous colorful birds such as herons, ibises, egrets and cranes.
The Sand Drakes, a red-scaled breed of drakes, are the iconic animal of Ten Cities. They can often be seen soaring above the Red Mountains on their bat-like wings, searching for prey. They generally fear humans, but react fiercely if approached. Their fiery breath can immolate enemies and burn them to ash.
Somewhere south of Ten Cities lie the Venom Flats, a salt pan dotted with caustic, acidic pools. Basilisks, the most venomous creatures in Varda, can be found there.
The first settlers of Ten Cities are said to have achieved such greatness that they became minor gods or “Divines” with each founding their respective cities: Megara the Huntress, Kytheris the Warlord, Biblyos the Magus, and others. Each city favors its own Divine, producing a great deal of rivalry between the competing cities.
In ancient times, the Ten Cities had an official policy of allowing exiles and escaped criminals to become citizens. This policy changed long before the Imperial conquest; but is remembered with scorn by the other city-states. Thus, the upper crust in Thénai might say “those Ten Cities folk” are the descendants of thieves and murderers.
In 605 Y.E., the Empire consolidated power over the region and appointed a prefect. They also enforced the magistrate and town council system common throughout the wider empire. Each Divine has a small shrine in Imperial City, built soon after the prefecta was established.
In order of size:
- Megaris (pop. 60,000)
- Kythera (pop. 40,000)
- Biblis (pop. 31,000)
- Galea (pop. 30,000)
- Sarhai (pop. 30,000)
- Boas (pop. 29,00)
- Phadris (pop. 28,000)
- Adrax (pop. 26,000)
- Rexis (pop. 26,000)
- Reha (pop. 25,000)