The Kingdom of Light
The Free Cities
Located on the Southern Coast of the Westreach, The Free Cities is a loose conglomeration of eleven city-states. They have a language in common, Werozzi, and share a similar culture – but the cities themselves are unique and distinct, with their own political systems and laws. Most of the cities adhere to democracy of one kind or another, and the cities have a tenuous military alliance in order to preserve their independence from the Kingdom of Light to the north. However, the cities are just as likely to be found fighting each other as the nation to the North – their ancient enmities run deep.
The Free Cities hold to the massive pantheon of ancient gods that ruled the Westreach before the coming of the lightbringer. Their cities are tolerant of all religions – from the beliefs of the Lightbringer, to the Elven pantheon, to gods stranger and more foreign still.
The nobility of the Free Cities busy themselves fighting wars, but in peacetime, having no worthy foes, they fight amongst each other. Older nobles wage intricate intrigues against their rivals in the political arena, while young bravos, engage in what is essentially gang war, abiding by the peacetime code duello, a means for young gentlemen and women of quality to settle their differences by single combat, using the sleek, slender rapiers for which the cities have become famous.
Because of their dominance of the coast of the Sunlight Sea, the Free Cities dominate trade between the kingdom in the north, the The Wasteland Empires, and other, even more mysterious nations, some claiming to come from beyond the Western Shore. Thus, the cities of the Sunlight Sea are wealthy, gaudy, and decadent. Anything can be found there, for a price.
Some of the notable cities are:
Jax – The Republic of Jax is one of the largest and most powerful city-states. It has a large maritime fleet – some legitimate merchants, some little more than privateers – that dominates the coastal waters of the Sunlight Sea. A senate of 120 men and women from the noble patrician families rules Jax. Laws are passed by a 2/3 majority vote. Jax’s dominance of the waterways means that it has become a centre of wealthy folk from all over the world to acquire rare and exotic items.
Harbanon – Once called Parnassus, this city, until recently, shared the language and customs of the other free cities. However, it has been taken over by a barbarian chieftain of the Great Wastes, a fearsome warrior known as Bavelnorn the Great. He sacked Parnassus four years ago, and has occupied it ever since. It is now the capital of his empire – which at present, only includes the lands immediately surrounding it. However, with his army camped outside the walls growing larger by the day, it is only a matter of time before Bavelnorn decides to expand his kingdom …
Cervantia – Ruled by a Queen and Council of elected officials, Cervantia is one of the most powerful of the Free Cities. It has been called the Vertical City, as it is built in the cracks and hollow towers of an eroded cliff above the ocean. It controls the small area between the Arvoreal Hills and the sea (a collection of towns clinging to the cliffsides), from Zaranti in the East to Solasia to the West.
Fellbast – A city-state famed for its universities, and it’s school of fencing known as the Steel Academy. Crixus Cardazzio, acknowledged far and wide as the greatest fencer of his lifetime, founded the Steel Academy, and only the most talented students – or the wealthiest – pass through the doors of the Academy intact.
Zaranti – Though in population Zaranti is no more than a town, it is famous far and wide as the home of the Zaranti-Colvassi Smithworks (named for the two founders, two smiths who famously fought their last duel atop the mountain above the city, each trying to prove his sword superior, each killing the other in the same moment with the mythologised cries of “Take that, you Bitch!” and “Fuck You!”, as the story goes (though who said which is still a matter of heated debate among sword history buffs)). Here, Zaranti-Colvassi Swords are forged by the best smiths on the coast—or, as they like to say, the best on the continent. 90% of the town’s population are smiths by trade, and the streets are lined with competing signs from various smithies. From shops specializing in left-handed rapiers to those whose primary clients are gnomes, Zaranti is sure to supply you with the blade you desire. Twenty miles North-East of Cervantia, Zaranti relies on the larger city for protection and law enforcement, and is allowed one delegate to the Cervantian Council. It is located in the rocky, dry Arvoreal Hills a few miles North of the coast.
Ledgerdomain – This city is a mageocracy, ruled by wizards, for wizards. One of the most liberal-minded cities on the continent, nearly sixty percent of the population are arcane spellcasters of one kind or another. Sorcerers are not discriminated against, and the prominent place of magic in the society allows for technologies not seen anywhere else in the world.