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Transcript of Venalice Districts
Venalice, the Garden of Ten Princes, the “Den of Lice,” the Crooked Stairs, The Vanodesian Throat. The country of Vanoden is an inhospitable place. Among the cold stone and dead plains there are only bastions of workable land, of natural growth and prosperity. They are such a stark contrast against the rest of the barrens that they are called Gardens instead of cities. In the southern most stretches of the Martisian salt-seas, there is a Garden older than recorded history. Not only is Venalice the elder of all the Gardens, it is one of the most ancient points of civilization in the world.
Also known as the guildborough, Burgisot long ago came to hold such a vast majority of all things economic, that the law simply followed. Now there are more merchant kings than could be named in one breath, and their control of the district is absolute. Those born into the district of Burgisot live and die with their companies, often down through generations. And though few are bold enough to speak of it aloud, it is generally understood that when it comes down to brass tacks, the Guilds are a stronger force of government than the Republic itself.
The Garden of Ten Princes
Skye is the highest point in the city, both physically and economically. It is where the richest of the rich live in exceeding luxury, spending vulgar amounts of money few of them actually earned. Naturally it is one of the less populated districts, but it is also one of the most complex from a social standpoint. The noble houses are in constant states of hostility and temporary truces. Small empires rise and fall inside its walls every decade. Though the cloak and dagger mercenary might stand to gain and lose the most here, it is well policed and there are comparatively fewer murders per capita.
As of late the popular culture in Skye is notably communal, as a fad of mimicking the "practices of the plebian" has now become a long standing lifestyle choice. Bathhouses, “public” libraries, even communal sleeping areas. Consequently the youth dilettantes of Skye have been venturing out of their haven more readily, becoming intensely social and surprisingly pervasive in many other districts.
Lachesis is a quiet place. Almost all crimes beyond the realm of fines result in punishment either corporal or capital, or exile. So those who are taken away to live their life in the solitude and cold of Lachesis are truly notable. Lachesis is a well kept secret, partially because what information has been gleaned by others in the past has lead them to discontinue their pursuit out of fear. It is a prison without bars, so what could possibly be keeping such dangerous people in?
Residing deep in the roots of the Aquila district, Basque is your home, and has been since you can remember. Though nowhere as destitute as Lydia, nor as dangerous as Gladian, it is still a division in decline. Its glory days are well behind it, from a time when the truce between Vanoden and Remecca brought a surge of travel in tourism and merchant trading. As such, most of its institutions and structures are rotting away and hidden under newer construction. Still, there are always foreigners, resilient and resourceful, to ensure the district will never truly die out.
Known colloquially as The Jaw, Titan Hill, or Bannerstain, Gladian holds the mile-wide barracks, impenetrable forts, and world renowned armories of Vanoden's finest military might. It is also where the slave trade is managed, where the Stadia-Grove holds the worlds largest and most brutal gladiatorial battles, and (controversially) where all primary schools hold classes for citizens aged 6 to 16. The district itself is relatively small, or rather, condensed. Between the spike walls and forts and towers lies nothing but hewn rock and sands blown from the east. The guards of this district are infamous for their barbarity, and their blood-red tabards. The residing lore is that their garb was once cerulean like the rest of the city watch, but was changed because "they simply could not keep the stains out."
Aquila is the most naturally intact area of the ancient oasis that came before Venalice. It is now a protected reserve, its flora and fauna an attraction for the extremely wealthy all over the world. The least populated of any district, is home only to a select few Druidic sects, and they are carefully regimented by the government.
Eptheca is the heart of the Republic, home to the
judiciary and legislative forums. It is also home to many of the embassies kept in Venalice, and as such was largely designed with a multi-cultural aesthetic in mind. Eptheca is very commonly the destination for international summit meetings, famously having housed fourteen sovereign rulers from across the globe under one roof, during the secession of Hadoshept.
Lenentine, known also as the Temple Aggregate, is home to a myriad of pantheons. There are more temples, groves, and shrines in this one district than all of the rest of Vanoden combined. Naturally, this diversity of creed and code can result in tense relations between religions, and as such Lenentine is guarded as vigilantly as the embassies of Eptheca, the slave pits of Gladian, or the noble houses in Skye.
Argentis, the Silver District, also known as the Rosewater. It is home to a balance of residential neighborhoods, market streets, and civic structures. Argentis is seen as the finest district one could hope to strive for, if it so happens that one does not belong to old money or other forms of entitlement. It is nowhere near the lavishness of Skye, but no one could lament their circumstances if they could afford to even visit the district for longer than a day.
Several millenia of city-building has caused a unique problem for Venalice. Within the city limits there are districts underneath districts, built upon and tucked away. But there are depths below even that, depths that a solitary person could spend a lifetime exploring, and (provided one could survive such terrible, unknown danger) still see only some small fraction of what is kept in all that darkness and all that quiet.
Most travellers and foreigners unfamiliar with the great capital of Venalice could spend years among its people and still never hear the name Lydia, and never learn of that tenth principality. It is a secret place, kept hidden in shame. Though all the other districts have memorial groves, to keep the names of the dead, it is in Lydia where the dead themselves stay. Centuries ago when the city was the source of widescale tragedies, the Lydii erected a single, great columbarium, in order to burn the mountains of the dead. This left their entire district painted gray in the remnants of their ancestors, and this profane taint seemed to become their entire culture. They are a silent, close-knit community, strange undertakers, and as such there is all manner of dark rumors regarding them.