Eternal Ur, the First City, is the greatest of the Four Cities, the largest, and the most powerful. The Ziggurat of Ur reaches towards the twilight sky like a sacred mountain, and its walls encompass 35,000 Keldians at any one time, crowded into its twisting streets all the way to the water of the great harbour. Here the Council of the Winds reigns supreme, and the Warders of the Black Order enforce their will. It is a city of ancient power and vast opportunity, for everything that can be bought or sold in the world can be traded somewhere in Ur's streets, all the canny trader has to do is work out where.

The Rulership

Ur, the Eternal, is ruled by a council of the Black and Red Orders, who call themselves the Council of the Winds. Six in number they keep their true identities secret, partly from fear of assassination, partly from tradition. When the Council does appear it is always robed in Black, regardless of Order, and its members wear black veils that hide their faces. They do not speak, but their edicts are issued through two Consuls. The current Consuls are Sakistra and Dolos. The Council makes all the decisions in Ur, save what is ruled by the Judges of the Law of Nastrim, and even then the Council may overrule them if it feels that the Code has been abused. Unfortunately no one ever said that the code was fair, and Nastrim was certainly no commoner. Most people try to avoid the eye of the Council, in the form of its Warders, whenever they can.

The Warders are an elite force of Black Order Warrior-Mages, recognisable by their distinctive Black and White robes, Obsidian Weapons and tasselled helms, if not from their cruel eyes and the way the crowd parts before them. A Warder is a high level Bonded One, with the power to administer 'justice' as he sees fit. Further they are assigned important posts in the running of the city, which they perform while lining their own pockets. The Council, it appears, does not care how the job is done, as long as it gets completed.

The Warders are the most tangible manifestation of the Council's power on the streets, but in fact the warrens of the Ziggurat are filled with Clerks and lesser Bonded Ones engaged in tallying the endless stream of Crdlu, Sand Spider, and grain that pours through the Raven Gates. There are a thousand records to be kept, and a thousand petty Clerks to bribe if you want anything done, such is the way of Ur.

The City

Great Ur is roughly circular, surrounded by a wall of obsidian 40 strides thick through which a single passage runs, closed to all but the Council's Guards. Some say, however, that a hundred secret chambers and passages branch off the darkness of this tunnel, reaching all the way to the Ziggurat itself. This wall is pierced in three places, the Lion Gate in the East, the Raven Gate to the Darkwards, and the Harbour at the Counterturnern end of the city. From the harbour a canal runs through the city, all the way to the Turnwards end of the isle of Ur, where it rejoins the One River. This is simply known as 'The Canal'. In the middle of the City rises the Ziggurat of Ur, home of the Order Mages, the vastest of all the Keldian Ziggurats. It is said to contain miles of passages and acres of granaries and animal pens, which border onto the Pit, or slave pens, where those who could not escape the Warder's justice live out what remains of their lives. To the other side of the river lies the merchants quarter and the Suk, which runs down to the wide harbour in a series of narrow covered streets designed to keep out the burning dust or rain that sometimes escapes the Red Cloak's spells. Throughout the city lamps fuelled by plant oil and Crdlu fat burn in nooks of the brick buildings, lightening the twilight and deepening the shadows. These lamps burn all day, from star rise to set, and only the regular and relentless striking of the gongs on the Ziggurat marks the passing of time.

The People

The people of Ur keep on the right side of the Warders, while at the same time breaking every law that they think won't matter. Ur is a place of routine and industry, tied up into a vast bureaucracy. The Eternal City was not built in a day, it was constructed by sustained effort and cunning trade, and now it grows rich on the same principles. Everyone takes a little of each transaction, every Clerk and Bonded One has to be bribed, and yet the goods flow through the gates in a seemingly endless stream, carrying glassware, grain, animals and stone in, worked goods, cloth, fruits, metal and obsidian out again. The people are proud of their city, they know how it works. If others think that the Warders act more like tyrants than police or that corruption is a crime it just proves how little they understand Ur. The naive don't last long in this city.

The people of Ur make no distinction between men and women, except in dress. The men wear simple tunics and robes that drop to the mid calf. Arms are usually bare save for bracelets, but a coloured scarf is often round about the waist and then passed over one shoulder. Women too wear short robes and tunics, usually cut down across the chest, but seldom wear scarves. Children wear loose white shifts if they wear much at all. As far as the people of Ur are concerned a child's first ten years are his or her own. After this the child is educated, and apprenticed to a guild or craftsman for training. Those who wish to enter the ranks of the Clerks, however, must go to a Calmecac school at the age of nine, where they are entirely under the command of their Bonded One teachers. As in the other great cities the Mages test children for mystic ability at an early age, as soon as they have their first Gift-day, and those they want they take into the orders. However a child found to have aptitude normally stays with his or her family until he or she is ten.

The attitude of the people of Ur, or the enlightened, as they often call themselves, towards the other cities is one of insufferable superiority. If you are not from Ur then you are nothing, and nothing worth having lies beyond Ur, because everything you could want is already brought through its gates. Those from Ur with an interest in other places, or a desire for adventure, usually leave young, and seek their adventures elsewhere. The way it is in Ur is the way it has always been, and it is the best way of all.

The Country

Ur sits at the Counterturnern tip of an island in the middle of the One River, overlooking the bay of Ur. This island has been stripped bare of its cover of Poison Forest and is covered with the fields and irrigation channels of its slaves and peasants. These fields run right to the walls of mighty Ur, from which a series of roads run out across the island. The chief of these run to the two landward gates, the Lion and the Raven. The Raven gate leads to a road that runs Dayward across the island, till it reaches a village where a ferry runs to the foot of Nistray's cliffs. The Lion gate leads to a similar road running along the banks of the canal. From here one can hail a ship on the Canal or the river, and gain passage to Black Chald. Most travel to other cities, however, is through the mighty harbour. To the East of Ur is an elevated area of hills, containing small villages of hunters and gatherers. It is here that Mighty Nastrim is said to have been born, his powers detected by a wandering Mage of the Black who took him to Ur to learn his craft. Most villages in the hills insist that it was in their village, and no other, that Nastrim was born and raised. In the city itself such talk is best forgotten. The Council of the Winds does not like it implied that one might be raised to power in their places.

The Sights

Nastrim's Obelisk
Nastrim's Obelisk rises a full 15 strides into the air, a solid block of granite. In its sides Nastrim's Law Code is inlayed in Obsidian, by some artifice now unknown. Obviously many copies of the code exist in more convenient forms, but the original is treated a potent sacred thing by many Keldians.
The Arena
For those that offend the Warders the penalty is usually slavery or death, but sometimes they deem it more amusing to send them to the Arena for the entertainment of the people. It is usual for such prisoners, usually those most skilled at combat, to be set to fight one another, or to face deadly beasts from the forest or the Dead Lands. There is no freedom for the winner, only the prospect of more combat, but sometimes a warrior may survive many fights and be taken on as a Gladiator by one of the many Gladiator stables that run the entertainments.
The Harbour
Ur has the largest harbour of any of the four Cities, and it usually packed with barges carrying cargo from the other three, small skiffs belonging to the peasants, and Ur's fleet of Black Ships. On the wide area of the dockside many traders sell their produce to local merchants while they can, getting the best price, while wagons trundle by bearing supplies to the Ziggurat's storerooms. Of course the Clerks are meant to ensure that every cargo sold on the docks is properly approved and taxed, but many traders try their best to sell at a better price, and a better profit, first. Woe betide them if it is a Warder or a Red Cloak that inspects their cargo and not a Clerk, for he will need a fast tongue or a large purse.
The Lion Gate
The Lion Gate stands at the Turnwards end of Ur, beside the Canal, and the phrase 'passing the Lion Gate' is used to refer both to entry via the Canal and by the road that runs beside it, for the two huge bronze doors of the Lion Gate can be used to close off the Canal entirely to the East as well as the road. It is through this gate that new visitors to Ur, and important residents alike, usually come, and thus the best houses and the best Inns lie close to the Lion Road.
The Merchant's Quarter
The Merchants of Ur are rich and powerful, in fact most are Bonded Ones of the Council. Their houses rise above the warrens of smaller brick buildings, their walls all of stone painted white and surrounding courtyards where fountains constantly run. A bridge over the Canal connects the Merchant's Quarter directly to the Ziggurat, otherwise all the roads in are arched over by gates and guarded by private soldiers of the Merchants. To gain entry one must carry the seal of a Merchant or Bonded One of sufficient rank, or to be a Mage.
The Raven Gate
The Raven Gate is the opposite of the Lion Gate, for it is through this gate that the produce of the Island of Ur is brought into the city. The dusty road is almost constantly churned under the wheels of carts or the hooves of Crdlu, and it buzzes with talk and shouting. There are always many Bonded Warriors and Clerks on hand here, and as many traders trying to sell goods or services to the newly arrived.
The Slave Pit
The Slave Pit is a walled compound set into the lower tiers of the Ziggurat. Into its hot depths go the criminals of Ur, those who cheated, or smuggled, or stole, or insulted a Warder. Though many of the punishments of Nastrim's Code involve fines or exile the Judges take the opportunity to send as many as possible to the Slave Pit. These slaves are sometimes sent into the fields, and sometimes sold to Merchants, but most often they spend their short lives building endless additions to the Ziggurat, threshing grain in the granaries or slaughtering the Crdlu that they seldom get to eat.
The Suk
The Suk is a large market, its narrow streets covered by awnings to keep out the rain, wind, mist or the burning dust storms that the Order Mage's magic does not always ward off. Here most of the trade of Ur is carried on, on stalls, stands and dim shops hidden in the side streets. These traders sell everything from food to Star Iron Weapons. If one knows who to talk to, and has the money to pay, it is said that you can buy anything, even magic. Since the Suk lies just below the walls of the Merchant's Quarter it is usually full of the Merchant's slaves and servants come to buy whatever their master or mistress desires. For those with an interest in what is going on above this is the perfect place to find it out.
The Tower of the Seers
The Seers are those with the Prophetic Eye, gifted with visions of the future. They are especially strong in Ur, and have their own tower, a seven story structure of red stone, that rises from the crowded Stone Quarter of the city.
The Victory Circle
The Victory Circle surrounds a vast monument in celebration of Ur's victory over Nammu.
The Ziggurat
The Ziggurat is, in many ways, the heart of Ur. A vast and irregular pyramid of rooms, stairs, and passages it houses the granaries, animal pens, and the Slave Pit. It is the centre of Ur's administration, housing schools, courts, and the Nam (or offices) devoted to every aspect of government. There are roughly 12 divisions of the Ziggurat, with the highest given over to the Council, the next highest to the Consuls, and the bottom to the halls of the Judges and the public spaces. Thus there are nine divisions of Mages, usually referred to as the 1st to 9th steps, the highest the step the greater the status of the Mage. A Mage of the 3rd step, then, would be on the 5th tier. In addition to these general divisions the Clerks, Mages and Bonded Ones recognise a hundred other petty details and offices that distinguish one from another.
It is a common conceit that the Ziggurat is almost a second city within Ur, sustained by the greater city around it, while the Warders keep order outside much as they please. Many Urites refer to it as The Inner City and the rest of Ur as The Outer City.

Tales and Rumours

Ur is the city of a thousand tales. Everyone gossips about the Warders, and about which of them might in fact be members of the Council of the Winds, and they gossip about the merchants and their slaves. Everyone has something to tell, and everyone has a price to tell it.

Attitudes and Misconceptions

We are the greatest people. Ours is the first city. Outsiders seldom understand the complexities of life in Ur, which is not their fault, since they were born in a lesser place.
Their Subjects
The people of the Drylands are simple farmers and peasants. They should be proud to send tribute to Ur. Even their Magi are lesser beings, but they bow to the correct Ziggurat, which is something. It must be the ambition of all of them to come here, but we can't let just anyone in.
How terrible it must be to be terrorized by your own city. No wonder they built it in the dark, so they didn't have to stare at themselves too long. The only ones that make sense are the ones who have left. Still you can trust a Chaldian to follow orders and keep their heads down.
Hotheaded warmongers. This is what happens when you let the Red Order rule without supervision. The last war won't be the end of their agression, but they will always attack before they are ready. All Derzaki are soldiers, and none of them know the value of waiting before they act, which is why they will never threaten Ur.
Despicable traitors. Ur gave them life, it gave them money, it gave them everything they have. They should have been greatful. Instead they have turned their backs on the mother city and stolen the mines. It's only a matter of time before Ur takes back what belongs to it. The people of Nagash make themselves slaves, what more do you need to know about them.
If you put aside their strange religious obsession, a Nistran is a shrewd businessman who knows the value of material comfort. A Nistran is the best choice after an Urite to manage your affairs. The way they waste money on statues and crowns though, maybe they live too close to the Sun? Maybe this is what happens when you don't have someone really famous, like Nastrim, to call your own?


Black Chald is the most Turnwards of the four cities, a massive edifice of glittering Obsidian. Where the other cities spread outwards Chald rises up, each successive layer belonging to those of a higher station. In this close environment politics and envy rub shoulders with hate and greed. The Mages of Chald are split into a hundred petty factions, ruled over by the ruthless Slayers of Chald and the two Principles elected by them. Those who cross the Slayers go to the Arena for the pleasure of the people, or are cast out of Chald forever.

The Rulership

At the highest point of Chald sits the Citadel, its version of the Ziggurat, where the Mages of the two orders live together. At any one time the halls of the Citadel swarm with the servants of half a hundred factions, each holding to some ideal, each attempting to gain dominance over the others. Assassination and blackmail are the weapons of the factions, sometimes even open war. No one can keep track of who is who for more than an instant. The only constant in this turmoil are the Slayers of Chald. The Slayers are the biggest faction, so large that they ignore the machinations of the others as if they were children. So long as another group does not threaten their power the Slayers are content, otherwise they are crushed out of hand.

The Slayers are almost entirely Red Order Mages, though some of their leaders are of both factions. They live in their own halls, outside the Citadel (The Halls of the Slayers) and elect two Principles, or leaders, to rule the city, one from each Order. The current Principles are Urisat and Kledan.

The Slayers are, in effect, the sole and only law in Chald. Though they have Judges and Clerks to do their work for them most of the powerful Slayers like to take a hand in their own work, and the people of Chald live in fear of a call to the Halls of the Slayers or the Citadel.

The City

Chald is split into four main sections, divided by three circular walls. At the top lies the Citadel, surrounded by its own wall, outside of which is the Upper City, the domain of the Nobles, Clerks, and Bonded Ones, as well as the Halls of the Slayers (in fact raised above most of the upper city, but below the Citadel). The Upper City also holds the Arena, which just through is wall so as to place it against the sky for those in the best seats. Outside of the Upper City's wall lies the Lower City, home of the Slaves, peasants and common people. Finally, outside the city proper, lies the 'Freetown' where the transient and the dubious make their homes outside the Slayers immediate interest.

The entire city is built upwards. Houses are high, built of stone and obsidian, and pile on top of one another like heaps of roots. Almost all the streets are narrow and twisting, the one exception being the Merchant's way, which curves through half the town on its way from the Freetown gate to the Citadel. There are two gates in the outer wall, the Free Gate and the East gate, both heavily protected, and but one between the Low City and the Upper, overlooked by the Halls of the Slayers.

The City is also very much split into zones, each cast living in their part of Chald's hierarchy. Nevertheless the City buzzes with traders and craftsmen trying to sell their wares, especially in the Freetown. Just where the Counterturnern road enters the City there is a vast Suk and Bazaar, which, during market time, becomes almost continuous with the more dubious premises in the Freetown outside, something which the Slayers appear to tolerate. What the Slayers tolerate the people do, goes the saying, and the Freetown certainly swarms with goods of suspect origin that the other cities would never tolerate. Indeed there are few of the Clerks and Mages that one sees in the markets of other towns in Chald, perhaps because the factions are too busy fighting amongst themselves to care about the people.

Further into the city a person's status is measured by how high in the city his house lies, and how large it is. The most favoured are built on a rectangular plan, enclosing a courtyard with plants and flowers within. These exclusive residences are lit with the Shining Stone of Chald, a strange rock cut from somewhere near the city that glows with a pervasive white light. Poorer houses use the more common oil lamps of the other cities.

The People

The people of Chald project a public humility, always ready to scrape at the feet of the Slayers. In private they are always looking for a way to circumvent the laws of the Principles. Chald can be a harsh place for the unwary, and it requires a tough person to thrive there. Those in power did not get there by birth or by favouritism, these get you only so far in Black Chald, they got there by their own wits. The people of Chald lack the fanaticism about their city that those of Ur, Derzak or Nistray have, for they are the ultimate realists of the Eternal Empire. They know what the Order Mages are like and they know they just have to live with it.

This fatalism does not hold true for quite everyone, however. Some people cannot live with the cruelty of the Slayers or the petty whims of the factions and they decide to take a stand. Many of these crusades quickly vanish into the ways of one apparently sympathetic faction or another, many others are crushed or destroyed, but a few survive. The most powerful of these band together into an organisation that they call the Messengers. The Slayers refer to them simply as renegades, dangerous elements who would get in the way of their plans, and many of the people see them simply as malcontents. The Messengers, however, are quite convinced of their cause, and can be dangerous foes.

The Country

Chald sits at the Turnwards extremity of the Eternal Empire, some way Darkwards of the One River. Beneath its walls lies a smaller channel and the Poison Forest crowds very close to the walls, always threatening to overwhelm the patch farmlands. Chald supports itself in food much less than the other cities, and it is a long way through the forest to bring Crdlu, thus the city relies on grain and cattle being brought up the river by barge to feed its people. A single road runs through Chald, entering the city by the Counterturnern, or Freetown gate, and going on Eastwards through the East gate towards the edge of the Empire. Both these gates are open almost all of the time, since few of Chald's people pay much attention to the chiming of the official hours.

The Sights

Freetown is a sprawling and irregular area of buildings between Chald's walls and the river. While the buildings in its centre have gained some sort of permanence over the years those on the edge are little more than huts, caravans, or tents. Indeed much of the Counterturnern fringe of Freetown is simply made of boats anchored to each other and built upon. In this slum organised law is non-existent and the Guards of the Mages few and far between (The only exception being the road, which is well guarded). Instead Freetown is governed by a semi-official Thieves' Guild. The Guild manages the illegal trade of Chald, passing a share of the profits to the Slayers. Thus the city abides by the laws of Nastrim's Code, while profiting from their breaking. While this fact is 'well known' nothing can be proved, and even suggesting it to the wrong people is a way to ensure a visit by the Slayers.
The Arena
Chald's arena is bigger than Ur's, and set on a high platform that arches over the Lower City, mostly as a warning to the people not to get out of line, and also to more attractively silhouette the games against the sky. Unlike Ur or Nistray Chald the majority of the fights in the arena are conducted by professional Gladiators, and competition between the stables are fierce. Some of the Red Order's best warriors join these stables, and fights involving magic are a special attraction. When a serious rebel or criminal must fight, however, it is almost always a Slayer who goes up against him. At other times the Orders hold games just to amuse the people, and to allow the factions to pit warriors against one another is a safe, for them, fashion.
The Citadel
The Citadel is an armoured Ziggurat much like those of the other cities, however it does not keep to the normal order of Red Order at the top and Black at the base, rather the factions hold various areas almost like fortified complexes. Again, unlike the other cities, the Citadel is not the true seat of power in Chald, for it lies in the Halls of the Slayers instead.
The Clerk's Quarter
The Clerk's Quarter surrounds the Citadel, and is one of the most exclusive areas in the city. Here the Clerks of the Slayers work to run the administration of the city, most of them being of the Black Order as is usual. These Clerks both live and work in the Quarter, indeed some never leave it.
The Fighter's House
The Fighter's House is the home of the professional Gladiators that the Orders maintain for the arenas. For many youngsters with a yearn to fight but no magical ability the Fighter's House is a place they dearly wish to be, though the life there is harsh and often cruel. There are always various popular fighters, such as Sulim Kar and the enigmatic Naru Karin.
The Halls of the Slayers
The Hall of the Slayers is a long building of four stories (and many basements) that runs in an arc around the outer wall of the Citadel, to which it is connected by its own internal gate. This building is the home of the Slayers, and of the Principles they elect. Unlike the Citadel the Halls are well ordered, neat and quiet. Although the slayers are individualists in the extreme none wishes to cause trouble in the Halls. Indeed many have homes elsewhere in the city, and only come to the Halls when the situation demands it.
The House of the Lamp
The House of the Lamp is a legendary establishment situated somewhere (where is not common knowledge) in Chald. In this shop you can buy anything that your heart desires, as long as you can give the Mage Strigo something in exchange, often a story or an object that Strigo particularly wants from somewhere else. Naturally admittance to the shop, if it exists, is strictly by invitation or recommendation.
The Nobles Quarter
Chald's Nobles are in fact rich traders who have become Bonded Ones for the Slayers. In general they continue much as they did before, bringing money into the city, with the added benefits of being a Bonded One. Many in the city, scared of the Slayers and distrustful of the Factions, look to the Nobles for guidance.
The Suk
The Suk of Chald is an area where the more expensive goods passing through Chald's gates are sold, sheltered from rainstorms. More illegal goods are sold outside the gates, and grain and cattle are sold in the Bazaar across the road from the Suk.

Tales and Rumours

It is well known that neither Urisat nor Kledan hold Hastru of Derzak in high regard. The common story is that the main cause of their hatred is some personal insult that Hastru is said to have made to Kledan. When Urisat objected Hastru openly threatened him. However, those with an ear open for gossip in the Citadel suggest that this is just an excuse to cover up for a more well planned Slayer reaction to Hastru's growing military strength. The Slayers dislike being threatened, and it may be that they plan to engage Derzak in open warfare. Certainly many people claim that certain Slayers have been making their way towards Derzak in the guise of common merchants, for what purpose it is not known.

Other gossip usually concerns itself with the doings of various factions or of the successes of Noble Merchants.

Attitudes and Misconceptions

Life is not fair. If you want to succeed you have to understand the rules, and know when and how to break them. If you need a rule broken you ask a Chaldian. Only a fool lets others know he is breaking the rules. Keep your head down and your hands busy.
Their Subjects
If you can't handle the politics of Chald there are always the provinces, maybe things are easier there, but imagine living your whole life under the sun like that. It's no wonder that provincials who come here don't know how to hide what they are doing, the darkness isn't their friend. Still they can learn. The forests are worse, full of Messengers.
The Derzaki want our lands and our mines, everyone knows they don't have enough resources of their own, but if they think Chald will be easy prey they are in for a surprise. You'd have thought they would have learnt from their wars against Ur. It the Urites can beat them then we certainly can! Individual Derzaks aren't so bad, I knew a few myself.
Nagash? That town that calls itself a city? It's hard to feel worked up about something half a world away. It's difficult enough to imagine what it must be like to live in the Drylands, the Deadlands are beyond comprehension. I've heard that they wear their hearts on the wrong sides of their fur, don't know how to hide their emotions. Maybe it's different there.
For a people who call themselves traders the Nistrans are easy enough to fool, must be a Sunwards thing. They are like crusaders who got fooled by someone a thousand years ago and never got the joke. It's sad to see good people get taken in so badly. Still without Nistray we'd struggle for grain and cattle, so it's usually good news when you see their ships in the bay.
The biggest joke about an Urite is that they actually believe they are the best, as if the city you were born in was the sum total of someone's worth. Ur is surely rich, and surely great, but everyone's the same under the fur. Be careful though, plenty of Urites know how the world works, and know how to act dumb to others to get a better angle.


Nistray of the plains is the second biggest city after Ur, and in many ways the most pleasant to live with, as long as you do not disagree with the word of Ningaur. Perched on the edge of a cliff over the One River Nistray looks out over the endless plains which give it its name, opening its gates to the constant flow of Crdlu from the Dead Lands, and the trading expeditions travelling to the towns and villages beyond. The red sun here is strong and bright, moreso than in the other cities, since Nistray lies on the edges of the Poison Forest, and the gleam of Ningaur's crown is always visible atop the wondrous Ziggurat.

The Rulership

Nistray is ruled by Ningaur, the Ancient King. Nistray has always been ruled by Ningaur, King after King, each of the Black Order, has taken the name, the position, and the ritual mask to rule the city. Each Ningaur acts in much the same way, though with variations, keeping to the original set of pronouncements made by the first Ningaur. Though Nastrim's Code holds here, as elsewhere, Ningaur's Laws are thought o be more important.

Below the Ancient King are five Houses of Mages, The Blooded, The Grass Runners, The Chosen, The Reapers and The Faithful. Each House has power and responsibility over some area of the City, ad they seldom quarrel or interfere with each other, though each leader naturally distrusts the others.

The Blooded
The Blooded are exclusively Red Order, and form the main protective force of Nistray. Their base, the Castle of Blood, overlooks the Low City of Nistray, and they often send out patrols to visit Nistray's villages and Scion Towns. Their current leader is Swordmaster Huron.
The Grass Runners
The Grass Runners are Nistray's smallest and most elite House, consisting of specialist Scouts whose duty to Ningaur is to travel the Dead Lands and the Burning Plains, looking for danger that might threaten Nistray or opportunities that might interest it. Its leader is the now retired Sular Chir.
The Chosen
The Chosen are Ningaur's favourite, the Mages who run the city. Almost all the Bonded Ones in Nistray (Bar the Bonded Warriors of The Blooded and The Faithful) belong to The Chosen. The Chosen run Nistray with an easy efficiency from The House of the Chosen next to Ningaur's Ziggurat. Only rarely do the Chosen need to resort to the heavy tactics of Ur's Warders, because all of Nistray loves their Ancient Ningaur with an almost religious passion. The current leader of the Chosen is Loremaster Ditik.
The Reapers
The Reapers, despite their ominous name, are a House mostly composed of Clerks and Scribes, for it is their responsibility to tally the harvests and the herds, ensure that taxes are collected and that gate dues are paid. Unlike the other houses The Reapers are mixed Red and Black, and are few in number. The current head is Taxmaster General Suonis.
The Faithful
The Faithful rival The Blooded in martial ability. Warmaster Finok's Black Order Swordmasters are supposedly the internal guards of Nistray, and Ningaur's bodyguards, but in the last few centuries they have become more and more like secret police and less like the devoted friends of the first Ningaur. Where many of the Blooded are happy with a passive defence The Faithful council aggressive action against their foes, especially Derzak and Nagash.

Below the Houses is the usual structure of Bonded Ones and Clerks, mostly working for either The Reapers or The Chosen. Nistray is a rich and well fed city, and its bureaucracy is amongst the most efficient in the Eternal Empire, not least because all is done at the command of Ancient Ningaur, the benevolent King.

The City

The City of Nistray perches on the top of a cliff that arches over the One River. Two semi-circular walls delineate the city, one about its outer extent, the second dividing off the High City at the top of the cliff. Outside these walls extensive slums have built up about the major roads on the Sunward side. To the Counterturn, at the foot of the cliff, is a sheltered and walled harbour, connected to Nistray by its own road and gate. When the passing is bright you can look down from the cliff of Nistray and see the distant walls of Ur in the river below and to the Counterturn. Naturally this positioning only helps to reinforce the Nistran's sense of superiority.

Five Gates define Nistray, four in the Outer Wall: The Harbour Gate, Dayward Gate, Corn Gate and East Gate, and a single heavily fortified Upper Gate in the wall of the High City. Above all this rises Ningaur's Ziggurat, unique in Keldian Cities because it is almost totally solid, being little more than a huge plinth supporting Ningaur's Crown at its top. Surrounding the Ziggurat are many of the wonders of Nistray, including the Hanging Gardens, built by the 23rd Ningaur, the Tombs of the grandest kings, the ornate House of the Chosen and the red Castle of Blood which perches over the Low City like a gigantic monster waiting to strike.

Nistray is a bustling and profitable place. Its ruling Houses generally care more for their internal politics than the policing of the people, and those people are, in any case, so devoted to the Ningaur that they would never dream of threatening it. With its gates open to the unending stream of Crdlu and Grain from the vast fields of the Sunwards Plains Nistray overflows with food. If one can avoid the purges of the Faithful's Swordmasters then it is an easy life in Nistray.

The other element that dominates Nistray is the cult of Ningaur. There are no Gods on Sun Keld, but Ancient Ningaur is the next best thing in the eyes of his people, a benevolent and eternal ruler, manifested time and again in the body of a new King. While each individual King may have flaws or individual traits The Chosen and The Faithful ensure that the laws of the first Ningaur are carried out to the letter. Indeed many idealistic Ningaurs have attempted to change or amend these laws before finding out, to their cost, that their own Mages would not permit it.

At four times through the day, just before the 4th hour, at midday, at the 14th hour and at the 17th, gongs are struck in the Ziggurat, and all the people of Nistray turn towards Ningaur's Crown and give homage to their King. It is only required to bow ones head and clasp ones hands, but many of the devoted will prostrate themselves, chanting the words of Ningaur's First Law "And I shall rise and come again in the body of another, and I shall be reborn to an eternal life, and my words shall be on the lips of my children forever and forever till the ending of days." Those closer to the Ziggurat may see the Clerics of The Chosen performing the rituals on its steps, and each day as the Day Star passes they may see Ningaur himself. The Clerics rituals bind the King and the people, requiring feast days and sacrifices where blood is spilled on the eternal fires of the Ziggurat.

The People

Apart from their religious devotion to Ningaur the people of Nistray are very much like those of the other cities. This is a very big 'apart' however. The Nistrans are convinced that all other cities are inferior because they are further from the guiding spirit of Ningaur, and those that will not accept his eternal spirit are attacking the city itself. They will not tolerate such as suggestion, and even mild shopkeepers have been known to become rabid fanatics at such heresy. The worst example of such devotion can be seen in the Mages of The Faithful, who search the city for unbelievers to purge, and would welcome the opportunity to shut the gates to foreigners forever, or even take the crusade to the unbelievers by force. Luckily wiser heads prevail in Nistray, but the question of such fanaticism influences every decision made. It is for this reason that there is a 'Foreigner's District' in Nistray, near to the east Gate, where unfaithful may be separated from the people. Similarly a native Nistran who grows too doubtful about Ningaur's right to rule may find himself on the sands of the arena, with a drop to the One River behind and the shouting Blooded and Faithful on the other.

Another effect of this religion is that the people expend a lot of their resources on appearing particularly faithful. They will purchase images of Ningaur's Crown for their houses, construct miniature pyramids, and invest in expensive clothes for the feast days. Those that appear most devoted quickly rise in status, those that cannot do so are shunned, many ending up in the slums outside the walls.

Nevertheless people flock to Nistray every day. Every tribesman and villager for whom life is too hard wants to find luxury and fortune in the well-fed city of the plains. The saying goes that the gates of Nistray are always open. This is true, but it is another matter whether you can get through them or not. Thus the poor collect outside the gates trying to work their way inside, often as someone's slave.

The Country

The Hill of Nistray faces Sunwards, towards the wide sunlit plateau that marks the edge of the Drylands. Here vast herds of Crdlu roam, feeding on the razor Grass and other plants, tended by the herdsmen and Reapers of Nistray. Though some of these lands belong to other cities the greater portion is Nistray's, and the city does well from selling its produce on to Ur, Chald and Derzak. From the very gates of the city fields of cleared land spread away, where Maize, Coloured Corn, Night Fruits and Razor Grass plants are raised. These fields are fed by irrigation channels which carry water from the One River, around the outcrop of Nistray, and across the flat plains below.

50 klegs due Sunwards of Nistray sits the Town of Last Home, built around a fortress of The Blooded. Much of the cattle and food of the Dead Lands is brought to Last Home, where a pass makes an easy route up through the escarpment. Needless to say much of that food finds its way to the open gates of Nistray.

The Sights

The Arena
The Arena of Nistray sits at the very edge of the cliff. Though set lower than the Ziggurat it still juts out over an incredible drop of at least 100 strides, straight to the One River below. Indeed the river wards side of the arena is open, the seating being on the other face, and many a crowd have been delighted by the sight of a contestant falling from the edge. Although The Chosen generally run the city in a benevolent way they still follow the normal practice of sending certain criminals, especially those that have angered the people, to the arena. In Nistray those who doubt the power of Ningaur are especial favourites.
The Castle of Blood
The Castle of Blood is a square fortress, many floors high, carved from solid red sandstone, unadorned with any decoration. The Castle straddles the Inner Wall, looking down on the Low City below it. The Castle is the headquarters of The Blooded House of Mages, and its roof is used as both a watch post and a training space for its warriors. A Covered road leads from the Castle to the Circular Road, allowing armed patrols easy access to the city and the Dayward Gate.
The Corn Gate
The Corn Gate is the major route for Gain and Cattle coming into the city. Historically Crdlu herds were brought through the Dayward Gate, but the press of slums and the flood of people now mean that Nistray follows Ur's lead in having one gate for the people and one for food and produce.
The Foreigner's Quarter
The Foreigner's Quarter sits on the inside of the East Gate, whose road leads to Chald via a ferry to the East. Here the streets are narrow and crowded together, with what is almost a wall about them. The Quarter always has its complement of soldiers and Faithful guards to prevent trouble. Amongst its population of Chaldians, Ur-folk and Derzakis, the Quarter also holds a large (3-400) population of the savage Lix'xiti tribesmen.
The Hanging Gardens
One of the wonders of the Eternal Empire, the Hanging Gardens of Nistray jut out from the side of the Ziggurat, surrounded by their own wall. Here huge buildings of red stone rise up, their jutting balconies trailing with the most fragrant and beautiful of plants from the forest, which hang down over the paths below. The plants are constantly watered with a fine mist of water by ancient magic, forming a cool and pleasant atmosphere. Only the king, The Chosen, The Faithful, and the most favoured of their Bonded Ones are allowed into the Gardens, though they can be seen and smelt from much of the High City.
The Harbour
The Harbour of Nistray is a squarish bay able to hold about 20 to 25 of the large barges used on the One River as well as some smaller boats. Mud flats easily build up around the entrance, so teams of slaves are constantly at work keeping the harbour clear. Although the wide clear dockside often fills up with goods and tents there is little permanent building here save the walls, the Harbourmaster's office and a guard post of The Blooded. There is not even an Inn for sailors!
The House of the Chosen
The House of the Chosen is a 4-5 story structure, L-shaped, that sits on a wide courtyard on the Counterturn side of the ziggurat. It is here that The Chosen live and do their work, the Clerks and Bonded Ones travelling past the Ziggurat from their homes to report to their superiors or to carry out their tasks. The Building itself is luxurious, filled with green courtyards and fountains.
The Tombs
Behind the Hanging gardens is a vast plain of bare stone on the edge of the cliff. Here lie the tombs of the former Ningaurs. Some are mere tunnels cut into the rocks, but those of the eleven most powerful in history are huge (16-20 strides high) replicas of the great Ziggurat, though their sides are smooth. Inside are supposedly:
Ningaur the 2nd Ningaur's son, the first Ancient King
Ningaur the 5th The first Ningaur to copy the tomb of the 2nd for himself
Ningaur the 11th The Conqueror King. Ningaur carved Nistray's place as a great city and founded the Blooded
Ningaur the 14th The poet king
Ningaur the 23rd After a series of very short lived Kings (the 22nd died at 14) the 23rd reigned many years and built the Hanging Gardens
Ningaur the 25th This Ningaur defeated Derzak in battle Counterturn of the City
Ningaur the 28th When Black Chald thought to take Nistray's Lands this Ningaur threw them back
Ningaur the 30th The Grey King. Ningaur purged the city of those that were untrue to him.
Ningaur the 31st Like his father Ningaur crusaded against the unfaithful, dying the streets red with blood. A thousand slaves died to make his tomb, while he married his own sister.
Ningaur the 32nd The last of the Bloody Kings, this Ningaur was overthrown by a new King of The Chosen who took up the true Law of Ningaur again.
Ningaur the 35th Great Grandfather of the present Ningaur (the 38th), who brought prosperity and peace with Ur.
The Upper Gate
There is only one gate between the High and Low cities, and it is heavily fortified with thick walls of rubble in the way of most Keldian City Gates. However rumour has it that many of the Bonded Ones and Mages have secret tunnels that pass under the Inner Wall, perhaps even outside the city itself.
The Ziggurat
Nistray's Ziggurat is unique in that it is almost solid. Though there are chambers in the ground level the rest is just a massive heap of stone. At the very top stands Ningaur's Crown, which is supposed to be actually supporting itself in mid-air. The outer surface of the Ziggurat is used for religious ceremonies by the Clerics of The Chosen. On each corner, three-quarters of the way up, there is a cupola containing an ever-burning Bloodfire, which maintain the magic that protects Nistray from the sandstorms of the Dead Lands when they blow this way.

Tales and Rumours

There are many stories told in the streets of Nistray, and almost all of them are about Ningaur. Of course people are careful what they say about their current King when the Faithful are about, but the deeds of past Ningaurs is always a favourite topic.

For those who do dare to discuss the present King there are always two main rumours. The first says that the whole story about the spirit being passed from King to King is a lie made to protect Ningaur. In fact the Ancient King has been alive for 1100 years, protecting Nistray from harm by his magical powers. The other, more dangerous, rumour also thinks that the passing of the Law is a sham, but holds that Ningaur is nothing more than a tool of the Mages, a symbol chosen to keep the people happy while the Mage's feed off their labour.

Attitudes and Misconceptions

Not everyone is lucky enough to be born in the Ningaur's light, but we are, and we should be greatful every day for that difference. The King keeps the dust from our eyes and the ice from our mouths. It is no wonder that countless tides flock to our gates, if we didn't live here we'd want too! It is sad that the other cities don't see the same light as we do, but we have to provide for them regardless. Everyone eats our meat and our grain.
Their Subjects
The other cities disdain the people of the Drylands, but we know that without them there would be no Empire. Our gates are never closed, and the Crdlu never stop, so it was in the legend of Ningaur. Most of us have kinsmen in the provinces. It's hard to be away from Ningaur's light, but it's no shame to work the land and the herds.
Chald is further from Ningaur's light than even Nagash, because they hide themselves in darkenss and refused to open their eyes. Even the most friendly Chaldian is mocking you in their hearts, no matter what they say, but it's jealousy that moves them. They raise a hundred would-be Ningaur's every year and cast them aside just as quickly.
Your average Derzaki is a lot like us, they believe in an ideal, and they pursue it with all their spirit. The ideal they follow may be a long way from ours, but it's easy to admire their dedication. In the long run Derzak and Nistray will rise, because we are peoples of vision. If you can hire a Derzaki for your caravan it will be well guarded, but that doesn't mean you should trust their leaders.
It's hard to know what to make of the Nagashites. Thye follow Rashin like we follow Ningaur, which is to be commended, except that theirs is a false belief that can only bring them ruin. If Nagash were of Nistray instead of Ur, they would never have broken away. Still their rebeliion gives us access to more Iron than Ur would ever have allowed.
You can see Ur from the hill of Nistray, down in the shadows and the swamp. No one can deny that it was the first of us, but it has sunken low in its old age and will never rise again. The Urites have not yet noticed that their time has passed. When they do they will be angry, but perhaps they will look up and see Ningaur's light and find a new path. In the meantime it is good to learn their lore, hear their knoweldge and treasure the past.


Derzak the Mighty, Derzak the warlike. The city has many names. Almost as large as Eternal Ur Derzak is a city always ready for war. Here the Red Order rules, letting the Black Order only administrate, and Hastru marshals his people for a war of conquest as many other Sorcerers have done before him. Above this all the Sorcerer's Eye glows from the top of the Fortress-Ziggurat, shedding a baleful yellow glow over the City.

The Rulership

Derzak is ruled by a conclave of eight Mages called the War Council, made up of 5 of the Red Order and 3 of the Black, who elect a single one of their number to be Sorcerer of Derzak. The Sorcerer has supreme power, advised by the council, till he dies, or is slain in battle. The current Sorcerer is the fiery Hastru the Warmaster, the Judge of Derzak. Hastru's Red Order control the city, leaving only petty administration to the Black Order and the Bonded Ones.

In Derzak martial ability is supreme. Fully half of the massive dockside is given over to the Warrior's Quarter. Here there lives a permanent army of 1000 Red Order Warrior-Mages and Wizards, almost all of whom have a Bonded Warrior in their service. This backed up by twice or more of their number in Soldiers and a large navy of black ships, greater than that of any other city. These warriors are almost constantly preparing for war on the massive Training Grounds outside the city.

Almost all of the war Council is involved with the army in some way. Suil is Fleetmaster of the Navy, Sandir Kas commands the infantry, and Teklos Tirran the cavalry. While Seerdan and Daras of the Black Order are responsible for the traditional areas of trade and food. Quartermaster Salados is in charge of supplies and weapons for the army. Finally Teochran Pal is the head of the Silent hand, Derzak's spies and secret police. Untill the rise of Hastru, Derzak's war effort had been effectively crippled by infighting. Now, however, the Warmaster's spirit seems to have welded them together into a formidable fighting force.

The City

Derzak is circular, and almost as large as Ur, though not so grandly built. It curves around a vast harbour, the East side of which belongs to the Warriors, the Counterturn to the Merchants. In the middle of this bay rises the stubby Fortress-Ziggurat. Unlike most Keldian Ziggurat's this one has only two steps, topped by a sheer walled fortress. Atop this fortress sits the Sorcerer's Eye, a potent artefact of the ancient days. The Eye is a golden sphere, perhaps 14 strides in diameter, that sheds a constant yellow light that illuminates all of Derzak. This beacon can be seen for 50 klegs in the darkness of the Twilight lands, proclaiming Derzak's mastery of the land.

Derzak is a city built for war. It is divided by a series of heavy internal walls between districts, each with a single heavily guarded gate. Beside the Fortress-Ziggurat are extensive Granaries and Crdlu Pens where Derzak hoards the food that it cannot produce itself. In addition a canal runs from the harbour under the ziggurat and through the city, ensuring that it is well supplied with water.

On the opposite side of the Ziggurat from the granaries sits a massive arena, again with its own wall, connected by a covered road to the Ziggurat. Though smaller in floor area than Nistray or Chald's arenas Derzak's can sit most of the city, for it is not only a place of punishment for criminals, but an area of display and practice for the best warriors. Derzak prefers to send its criminals to the penal legions to be used in war.

Outside these features Derzak has a similar structure to most Keldian Cities, with a Clerks and Bonded One's Quarter, and a Suk. However it also has a vast Warrior's Quarter, housing the fleet, the Red Order and the army.

The People

The people of Derzak are fanatics about their city. Kept in an almost constant state of fury by their Red Order Masters they desire only to create one vast Empire of Derzak where all other cities and towns bow to them. Hastru has said as much in his speeches. Derzak has always been militant, and has, through the history of the Eternal empire, fought many wars, against the other cities and against tribes and bandits, but Hastru's reign seems to have brought a new kind of fanaticism from his people.

At least half the adult male population is either serving in, working for, or supplying the army. This massive military formation is larger than the fighting forces of any of the other cities, a fact which the other cities are well aware of. With his personal magnetism Hastru appears to have welded the rival factions of Derzak's Orders into one group. Unsurprisingly Hastru now never goes anywhere without a heavy guard, well aware of how ready the leaders of the other cities would be to assassinate him.

The rulers of Derzak are clearly convinced of their cause. They are dedicated warriors whose aggression has been challenged by Hastru's manipulation. The people are less fanatical on the whole. While they are convinced of Derzak's superiority they are not so willing to throw away their lives on a dream of conquest. Naturally most of Derzak's citizens are careful not to let the Warrior-Mages know of their reservations.

The Country

Derzak sits far to the Counterturn of the other three cities of the Eternal Empire, surrounded by fields cut into the forest and abutting directly on the river. Once fallen Nammu linked Derzak to Ur, Chald and Nistray, now the city relies heavily on its harbour. Derzak has the biggest fleet of any of the Cities, indeed it probably has more ships than all the other cities together, and its merchants constantly ply the One River, carrying cargo from Ur and Nistray, and ferrying grain and cattle from Crab Need, Darkin and Thorn Town. A large part of this fleet is Fleetmaster Suil's navy of Black Ships. These fast war vessels guard the barges from pirates living in the swampy banks of the One River, but also represent a significant threat to the other cities.

Surrounding the City is a low flatland, thick with the Poison Forest. Though some areas near to the city, such as the warrior's Training Ground, have been cleared, Derzak is hemmed in by the forest, and is often harassed by malicious and destructive night Goblin patrols. Derzak's satellite villages all lie very close to the city. The only exception to this dense jungle is the Turnwards road to Ur and Chald. Though little travelled Derzak makes sure that it is kept reasonably open, and a well prepared party can use the land route to travel the full cycle's journey to Ur.

The Sights

Fort Sudor
Fort Sudor is a vast pile of red stonework, set to protect Derzak's Harbour. Though it does have some military uses, its main function was to occupy the efforts of Derzak's previous generations of warriors while their rulers bickered. Begun in 1002 it was completed in 1090, just before Hastru's rise to power began.
The Arena
Derzak's Arena is large enough to seat most of the population. Unlike the arenas of Ur, Chald and Nistray wild beats and criminals are seldom seen here, instead warrior champions hone and demonstrate their skill. Naturally for Derzak these are no mere shows of force, and many successful warriors have climbed to power over the bodies of their opponents in the arena.
The Canal
Derzak's Canal is not intended for the passage of boats. Not only is it narrow and shallow, but it is crossed in many places by low bridges and walls. However it does serve to bring water to the Nightwards half of the city, another protection against a siege that might cut the inner quarters off from the harbour.
The Cattle Pens
Few Crdlu are raised in the close fields surrounding Derzak, so they must be imported by river. Those cattle are immediately herded up the Cattle Road and into the vast holding pens beside the Fortress-Ziggurat. Along with the single huge granary these pens are where Derzak's Slaves, many captured from the warrior's patrols, are forced to work. Some may get lucky and be moved into the army, the others either hold onto life or are crushed beneath the hooves of the Crdlu.
The Fortress-Ziggurat
Derzak's Fortress-Ziggurat is a huge faceless castle set atop a two layer plinth of mud brick that overlooks the harbour. In the bottom two layers, and the maze of small streets that surrounds them, the Clerks, Bonded Ones and Black Order officials run he city. The Fortress itself being reserved for the Red Order, War Council and the Sorcerer, and whomever thy might care to invite inside. Such an invitation is not always wise to accept, for the Fortress has vast dungeons that never see the light of the sun, and is connected directly to the arena by a covered road.
The Harbour
Derzak's vast harbour is deep and calm. all around its edge wooden piers run out, their sides covered with boats. On the East side is a long line of the sleek black ships of the navy, clustering near to the hulk of the Sunidal, a massive warship whose construction was abandoned over 100 years ago. On the Counterturn side the ships are an assortment of small boats and fishing vessels, and the huge flat barges of the traders. This is the busy side, indeed a line of warships usually anchors in the middle of the harbour to make sure that no merchant vessel strays over to the warrior's side.
The Warrior's Quarter
The Warrior's Quarter covers a large segment of the city in barracks and mess-halls. Since the army is permanent, many of its members, the Mages, have proper houses, thus the remainder is crammed into long single story barrack buildings. The streets here are, of course, swarming with soldiers, but also with traders and stall-holders, since the soldiers are reasonably paid and always willing to spend their money, especially after they have been out on a long patrol. Normally there is little trouble here, but soldiers are a rowdy lot, and small fights break out easily. The whole quarter becomes quiet after the 16th hour, however, since a curfew comes into force until the 5th hour of the morning.

Tales and Rumours

One talk dominates Derzak, what Hastru plans to do about the growing tension with Chald. Both Chald and Derzak want a larger slice of the hills Nightwards of the river, and neither wants the other to get any. Already the Black City has sent its Slayers to scout Derzak's Land and Derzak has sent patrols far further East than normal. Is war certain? Hastru's rhetoric would say so, but he has bluffed before. At the same time there is the question on Nagash. In response to Nagash's apparent move towards independence Ur and Nistray have been gathering their forces, will Derzak do the same, or is this the perfect opportunity to strike at Ur while its army is away? Every soldier has his opinion on all this, and every merchant is bribing some Bonded One of one of the War Council to tell him more about their plans. Hastru, however, is keeping most of the plans to himself.

Attitudes and Misconceptions

This is the time of our destiny. We have never been stronger. Soon all our old enemies will come to fear the might of our armies, the sight of our ships and the keenness of our blades. The old Empire of Ur will fade, the new Empire of Derzak will rise. We will achieve this through dedication, through training, through unity of purpose.
Their Subjects
Once we had many holdings beyond the flatlands, but rebellion and the weakness of past leaders robbed us of them. Those few places that still cling to Derzak's rule are our brothers in adversity. They will be the first to benefit from our new rule, but only if they are willing to show common purpose. Their soldiers must march along side ours. Their fields must feed our armies.
The people of Chald are duplicitous and dishonest. They say one thing and mean another. They are cowards who rely on deception and intrigue to do a soldier's work. They steal our lands, and turn allies against us, but they will not prevail. Many of the common people will welcome the rule of Derzak and freedom from their corrupt leaders.
Derzak bleeds for want of the metals the Nagashites dig from the Brightlands. They trade with Nistray when they should be trading with us. Still those Nagashites who come to the One River are brave soldiers and loyal slaves. They have a talent for hard work that is much like a Derzaki. They will fit in well to the new Empire..
A soft people, grown fat on the fruits of the land. They do not know what it really means to survive this harsh world. They starve us of our supplies, while blaming it on their imaginary King. Do not trust a Nistran merchant. While they are not yet our enemies they do not wish us well. They care only for money and show.
Old Ur is not to be underestimated. Urites can appear soft and decadent, but they have pride in their hearts and the cunning of old soldiers. Many rulers have made the mistake of thinking Ur is weak and suffered the consequences. The Urites are tolerable allies. Their shipes bring valuable cargo and they do not seek to trick us as the Nistrans and the Chaldians do.


Nagash is quite unlike any of the other Eternal Cities, indeed it is hardly a city at all. Where the Four Cities rest on the shadowed and wet plain of the One River, surrounded by food, Nagash clings to life in the harshest land the Keldians have ever conquered, the Burning Hills at the very edge of the Deadlands. Nagash is equally harsh, clinging to the shadows beneath a overhang of a great cliff the towns Orders are driving their slaves and people to death to build them walls and ziggurats for the city's glory.

The Rulership

Nagash, or Dragon's Canyon, was until recently the least normal of the Keldian Towns, rather than a city. Founded in the distant past to oversee the vital flow of Sacred Iron from the mines of the Dragon Mountains, it was beholden to Ur and ruled by a group of Mages and Bonded Ones. Over the years the city grew in influence and size, and new Magi, raised and trained in this distant land chafed at the commands of distant masters and planned the command of their own city. Less than 30 Long Years ago the Mages of Nagash rose up against their superiors and claimed independence for their town, renaming it the City of Nagash. This uprising had the popular support of the Nagashian people, followers of the Rashin (or Talite) way, who believed strongly in the principle of living by their own hands or dying by them.

So far, due to distance, and the control of the Sacred Iron trade, Nagash has kept it's new status.

Nagash is ruled by the Council of Three, all of whom are dedicated followers of legendary Rashin, founder of Nagash. The Red Mage Harrin rules the Council, aided by the enigmatic Black Mage Seerha and the ill-tempered warrior Kee-horsha. Harrin is the grandson of the Mage Horkusa, who led the uprising and formed the first Council of Three, but it is not yet clear if hereditary rule will become the norm in Nagash as it has elsewhere.

Below the Council of Three are the Inner Chamber, which comprises the leaders of various factions, such as the well-keepers, the wall-climbers, the builders and so forth. Below the twelve Inner chamber members is the Suthik, which comprises 1 in 20 adults in Nagash, and carries voting rights to approve the laws of the Inner Chamber (so far the Council of Three has been above Suthik control, but the Suthick constantly agitates to change this). Many of the Suthik are Bonded Ones of the Mages, whose own council, the Kalik exists alongside the Suthik. Finally the masters of the Satvans, the clerics of the Earth worshipping pits, also have great power in Nagash.

The City

Nagash is in no way a normal Keldian City. Instead of the usual circular city on a flat plain Nagash huddles in the shelter of a cavern 200 strides up the face of the great canyon through the Burning Hills. Angled sharply away from the sun, and sheltered by the overhang above, it escapes the worst of the heat, burning ash, and the deadly sands. Red Order spells, constantly renewed, offer protection from the storms that regularly scour the canyon floor clear of life.

Within the cavern the buildings of Nagash fill every available gap, driving far back into the rock face through further, smaller, caves. The largest of these caves, the Cave of The Spring, holds the real secret of Nagash's survival, a pure and large artesian spring, maintained and guarded by the Black Order of Nagash. The Legend of Nagash's founding holds that it was this spring that Rashin created with his staff.

Nagash is a far and smaller city than Ur, Chald, Derzak or Nistray. In much of the Empire it would be accounted a Town, no matter what it's ruling Mages say. However the buildings look old, many of them crumbling from the harsh air, or built at odd angles to one another. Many houses rest on a 3 or 4 strides thick foundation of rubble and ruins from previous buildings, and tales are always told of secret ways through thee old ruins by which a thief might gain access to the richest of merchants' houses. The whole aspect of Nagash is of a place slowly becoming one with the dead majestic rock about it.

The face of Nagash has been violently changed over the past 100 Short Years. The Council of Three has put in action plans to turn Nagash into a true Keldian city. Fearing an invasion from Ur the Nagashites have laboured to erect a huge defensive stone wall along the lip of the chasm, reinforced with square towers and buttresses. Within the city boundaries the old Zigguarat is being rapidly enlarged, the better to suit the newly found status of it's Magi. Much of this work is done by those under Talite vows, though Nagash has recently started making slaves of it's own in the law courts.

The People

The people of Nagash are like their land, harsh, enduring, weathered by the wind and rain. The Nagashites take everything stoically, as they believe Rashin did, knowing that the world is stronger than they are, they prosper or fail entirely by their own efforts. Where other Freemen put their trust in the Orders to deliver food, prosperity and safety, a Nagashite will always attempt to guarentee these things by their own efforts. Someone who cannot look after themselves is both pitied and despised, and no Nagashite likes to be indebted to another.

This hatred of debt has led to the system of beliefs known as the Talite ways. The Talites hold that all debts must be repaid as soon as possible, by returning the favour in kind to the one who gave it. If a Talite is forced to accept charity they will do everything in their power to pay back the one who gave it as soon as they can. If the debt is very great (for example if you feel that someone has saved your life) or you cannot return what was given (for example you are given the food you need to live, and cannot return it) then the right response is to make a Talite Vow, and offer yourself as a willing slave to the one you are indebted too, until the debt is paid off. A Talite is highly respected in Nagash, and it is a great dishonor to refuse such a service. In recent years it has become something of a fashion to make a Talite Vow to serve the city itself for a time, raising the walls, or enlarging the cavers.

The Talite philosophy has served the Nagashites well. The smaller settlements that dot the Dragon Mountains are fiercly independant, well able to survive even when cut off for many cycles at a time. The system of vows, in turn, makes sure that every Keldian pulls their own weight, and that those in need can accept help when required without shame.

The Country

Nagash lies above the infamous Dragon Canyon, the one route through the Burning Hills to the Dragon Mountains. Although much of the canyon lies in permanent shadow, it is nevertheless arid and harsh, its crumbling stone and dry soils hostile to any living thing. Only the toughest of plants will grow in small irrigated fields close to the cliff side. Nagash overlooks the Nightwards end of this canyon, connected to the floor by a long winding road cut into a shelf in the cliff side. Traders and travellers are allowed up this road, but what Tribesmen there are in the desolate hills are forced to camp at the base where a slow spring feeds a shallow pool of azure water.

The Hills of the plateau are scattered with a small number of similar settlements, many founded by miners, or escaped workers from the expeditions of the other cities. Where possible these settlements are sunk into caves in the stone, the only places where cool temperatures, darkness, and water are to be found..

Food here is as hard to obtain as water, and the Nagashites have had to learn to live from the strange plants that cluster around the minderal springs. A certain hardy breed of Crdlu, smaller than their Nightwards cousins, can be raised in the long valleys, but they are too infrequent to be a staple. Most staples that the rest of the Empire takes for granted must be imported into Nagash.

The Sights

The Arena
Nagash's Arena is small, and cramped against a rock face, and sees little use for spectator sports. Nagash's criminals are hurled from the cliff or sent to work in the slave camp, and the Arena is kept mostly for the training of warriors.
The Burning Tower
Flung out on the end of a long bridge the Burning Tower is outside the overhang of Nagash's cliff, and consequently burning hot. Nevertheless this fortress is constantly manned so as to keep a watch on the valley below.
The Canal
The Canal runs from Rashin's Spring through the town, crossed by three bridges. It helps keep the air cool, and water is drawn from it, but no waste may be thrown into it, because it is sacred.
The Cave of the Spring
This is the deepest of Nagash's three Cave dwellings, cutting back around 750 strides into the cliff. Here a cleft rock pours with water, said to be the result of Rashin striking his staff against the rock. This water source feeds the city, and most of its irrigated fields in the valley below, and is carefully protected by the presence, and magic, of the Black Order of Nagash, which is mostly based about the spring. After emerging from the rock much of the flow is channelled into pipes, while some of it waterfalls down into a series of open pans where people may look on it and throw offerings into it of stone and coin. This flow is then channelled into the canal. The Cave of the Spring is the coolest and most exclusive part of Nagash.
The Caves of Fire
The Caves of Fire are a small side cavern of The Cave of the Spring. with a steeply sloping floor. As well as residences this cave is used to house glass kilns and furnaces, for a natural chimney of rock in the roof carries the fumes away.
The Caves of Silence
This small cavern has, for many centuries, been the home of a group of meditative sages, Stonetalkers and Windtalkers, who live here in brightly, and mystically, decorated huts. Only those they invite may come here, even the Mages. They are led by the very old Damaquira Surriat Len.
The Satvans
The Satvans are circular pits in the ground covered over by wooden or stone rooves. The main chambers are 18 strides across by 7 deep, and are ringed by a series of smaller chambers, rooms, and corridors dug into the rock. Through the centre of the roof a single ladder descends, allow a shaft of light to pierce the interior and fall on a carved sacred stone. Together the three major Satvans of Nagash can hold 1200 people at once, crammed into their tight spaces, and most of the resident population visits the Satvans once every few days. Here ritual ceremonies are held that give thanks to the nurturing earth, and supposedly propitiate it for aid. Surprisingly the Satvans and their Clerics have little to do with the Mages, who do not bother them.
The Slave Camp
The slaves here work on Nagash's massive wall, which has already been 18 years in the making. Though many are criminals from Nagash, most are foreigners. Lost travellers who could not pay for their rescue, local villagers who have broken laws, and captured Tribesmen, especially Lix'xiti.
The White Tower
This heavy fortress is built into the wall of the canyon and protects the one gate into the city. From here it overlooks most of the road up into Nagash, giving sure warning of any attack on the city.
The Ziggurat
Nagash's Ziggurat is still small compared to that of the other cities, and built at a shallow angle. Although new stone is being added at a rapid rate, the structure is mostly solid, and contains little in he way of rooms and storehouses. The Clerks and Bonded One tend to conduct their business from their own quarters of the city.

Attitudes and Misconceptions

Life here is hard, death is always around the corner. No one is going to come and save you if you get in trouble, so you have to save yourself. It takes a certain kind of Keldian to survive out here. That's why we honor anyone who helps us, they don't need to, but they do. If we remember our values then I am sure we can succeed.
Their Subjects
There is no difference between those who live in Dragon's Canyon and those who hide in the shadows nearby. We are all of Nagash.
Few of us have relatives in Chald, and they are so far away it's hard to pass judgement on them. The rivalry of Ur with Chald seems silly from this distance. The Chaldians might be as desperate for our Iron as the Derzakis, but we can't afford to lose the contacts we have. Our Elders say that Chaldians are full of deceit, but those are the words of Urites and can't be trusted.
We need allies back in the Twilight Jungles, maybe the Derzakis are the ones? They are a hard people, but we know how to be hard too. Like us they work together for a common goal, and they need our Iron more than any of the other cities do. We are too far away for them to conquer, so for now we are happy to see their faces. Be cautious where many Derzaki gather, they are all soldiers at heart.
Nistray controls the far end of the thirsty road, so all our trade must go through them. Luckily the Nistrans seem to find it funny that Ur is angry with us, so for now they let our caravans pass, but that may not always be true. Nistrans place all their faith in an external thing, and that means they cannot be trusted to be rational. Always be careful where they are concerned.
Many of us were Urites once upon a time, or our parents were. They say you always hate family the most, it seems to be true. They won't forgive us for striking out on our own. If we were not far away they would have made war already. Some Urites still travel the thirsty road, making offers of peace, we can't trust them. No Urite ever admitted that someone else was their superior. They don't know how to be greatful for help when it is given, just as they were never greatful for our work.


Once Glorious Nammu rose by the shores of the One River, a magnificent edifice of golden towers and wide avenues. Built from the ruins of a city of the Ancients Nammu rivalled Ur in prosperity and Nistray in comfort. Placed between Ur and Derzak Nammu was a significant power. Nammu's ruler Senjee, however, made the mistake of challenging Ur in battle when Nastrim was in power. After a long war Ur's armies crushed Nammu and ground its ancient towers into the earth. Then Ur's Mages cursed Nammu, so that the Poison Forest swallowed it forever.

The City Today

Now Nammu is no more than a shadowy ruin hidden by the trees, its people long dispersed to the other cities and their origins forgotten. In the 1100 years since its destruction most of Nammu's wealth has been stripped away. Certainly all that remains of the great Golden Towers are skeletons of a strange substance that no weapon will cut, and which cannot be removed. Now only the Poison trees and the dangerous beasts of the forest call Nammu home.

Nevertheless it is not uncommon for brave, or foolish, bands of adventurers to venture into the ruins in search of some item of treasure that has been left behind by previous fortune hunters. The main prize is fragments of gold that were once part of the coating of the famous towers of the ancients, but gemstones, weapons, tablets and magical objects might also be found by a successful hunt.

Only the brave and the skilled find profit in Nammu's ruins, for the crumbling city has been entirely reclaimed by the Poison Jungle, and is thick with toxic plants and dangerous animals. As if these dangers were not enough old men in taverns will mutter about Ghosts and ancient magics that they say survive until this day, protecting the secrets of the city from outsiders. The most commonly heard version of this tale has it that Chalandac, the Prince of the city, and son of its King, still leads a spectral horde of warriors. Unable to leave Nammu's ruins and take revenge on Ur he strikes against those foolish enough to try and steal from the ruins. Others say that it is the alien Halfmen that inhabit the ruins, eager to set their lethal Halfhounds on the unwary. Whatever the truth of these tales only the well prepared and skilful take profit from Nammu.