CITIES OF NOTE
Angletown: The official capital of the Belestari Imperial Colony is located in an angle formed by the two rivers Bonn and Nanhu. Angletown was once the village of the Vultani Murr tribe. Since their alliance with the Imperials, the town has gradually changed into an Imperial city. Dominating the centre of the city is Murr Fort, the administrative building for the colonies. Built in typical Atlantean fashion, it was the first building constructed next to the Vultani village.It is the location of the Trade and Colony headquarters, as well as the Rhutalathian Embassy (run by Sir Barbaro de Skaril), the Ardanian Embassy (run by Lord Artris) and the Malidoran Embassy (run by Etienne Jeanti). Also within the complex are the Legion barracks and the prison. People from all over the Empire come here to trade with Belestar as well as the rest of the Parzifan Kingdoms.
Stretching from the southern walls of the great fortress is the city itself, filled with inns, shops, brothels and markets- Angletown is primarily a tradetown, established to serve the Legionaires and the colonists, although many Imperials have made the town their permanent home.
To the north of the fortress is Tribetown, the original Murr village. It has changed a lot since the construction of Angletown. Whilst the village is still home to the tribespeople, several large halls have been built to house other Vultani who visit the town, who have no wish to integrate with the Imperials. The ethnic Tribetown is not off-limits to the Imperials, but visitors will be treated with suspicion. Conversely, it is not uncommon to find Vultani wandering around the large markets, dressed in both traditional clothing and Imperial garb.
A stone tower, connected to the fortress by a stone span, overlooks Tribetown. This is Vultan Heights, the home of Horsatia the current High-Queen.
Fort Belestar- Despite its name, Fort Belestar is more than just a fort, it is a thriving port-town. Fort Belestar was founded by the first Imperials to land in Belestar, and was mainly used to protect the harbour. It is here that the main barracks are located, as well as the Atlantean Mission. The Regent-General makes his home here. Also, within the walls stands Belestars oldest inn, The Eastern Gem, as well as some of the original shops and a market.
As the colonies were founded, the town expanded. Although not as large as Angletown, it still boasts a thriving population. Most of the populace are temporary visitors, staying only until their ship departs. The entire harbour is lined with warehouses. Behind the fortress and the harbour-strip are countless inns and brothels, set up for the sailors and tradesmen. A few houses and manors line the eastern end of the shore, though most of the residences are located on the northern end of the city.
Rolmor Colony- The first colony established by the Imperials, it was founded originally as a mining town. It was originally meant to be temporary, until the Rhutalathians took over. The Rhutalathians refused, and vast reserves of diamond, jade and ebony were discovered, and the settlement slowly became permanent. Since then the town has grown into a real settlement, and new settlers have arrived constantly over the years to swell its walls. Before the founding of Angletown it was the only Imperial city. The inhabitants of Rolmor still owe allegiance to the Emperor but no longer think of themselves as Atlantean- now they are Belestari. The town has several inns and taverns, and has begun a fine industry in the manufacture of ebony weapons and jewelry.
Gerios Colony- The second Imperial colony founded. Like Rolmar Colony, it has quickly outgrown its original purpose and now rivals many of the Atlantean towns. It is famous for its tavern, The Lusty Dame, which employs three tribeless Vultani women as serving-wenches, and is notorious for its brawls. Oil has recently been discovered to the west, and is bringing more trade into the region.
Ixia- The capital of the Pachacaca Dominion. The city was originally the home of Palorme and his lizardmen slaves. When the Elf left, the lizardmen bred and before long a city was founded over the ruins of Palormes castle. The original lizardmen called themselves the Cacan, and the city is still home to that tribe. The southern half of the city is dominated by Jade Hill, upon which stands the jade Temple of Nama. The Temple of Nama is the palace of Pachunama as well as the capital of the Pachacaca religion. It is decorated with countless statures of Pachanama, and is surmounted by The Queens Altar, from where Pachunama addresses her people, and important sacrifices are made. Surrounding this is the Forbidden City, home of the Izmec. The Izmec live in beautiful golden ziggurats, similar in nature to the Temple of Nama, though without the splendour. It is prohibited for any of the Pachacaca to enter the Forbidden city, resulting in death. The northern end of the city is home to the rest of the lizardmen, and is a mixture of both splendid and run-down houses, and wooden docks. The wide streets which lead through the city up to Jade Hill are lined with palm trees and statues of the Queen.
Xochitla- This city is really an extension of Ixia, and was built only shortly after. The high Machu of Ixia find the Ultec repulsive, and ensured that most of them were out of sight, and placed here. The city is unique in that there are no temples or Machu, and the lizardmen are kept under control by the Taltec-Zo. Because of this, the lizardmen have free control over the city, and shops have been opened and even a brothel and an inn! The two cities are connected by three Elven bridges which cross the swamp. The city is dirty and run-down, and filled with birthing-halls, and the Queen is considering having it purged. However, she is reluctant as the numerous Ultec make up a large portion of her army.
Vinyaro- The beautiful elven city of Vinyaro lies on the northern border of Belestar, near Edhelnore. It is home to the Elf-Lady Rowenna and her kin. The tall silver spires mark the end of the wilderness and the beginning of Elven civilization. Vinyaro is home to a small group of Elven scholars who occasionally make forays into the peninsular to study the flora and fauna.
Isilmar- This Elven city lies deep in the midst of the Chaca-Apu Jungle. The elves who dwell here, led by Lord Ferneron, are those who refused to leave when the Vultani forced the Elven armies back. Though they remain on good terms with the other Aglani, they seldom leave the confines of their city and have little knowledge of the outside world. They welcome travellers, however, and offer sanctuary to all the mannish people who require it.
Meric-The home of the Ursani high-Chief, Kalham Mabb. Meric was originally a small outpost of a large Ursani territory, but over the centuries the Ursani have been pushed back. Now Meric is but one of a handful of Morrim cities in the region. It is larger than most Morrim cities, as many of the retreating Ursani arrived here centuries ago, and agreed to add themselves to the tribe in return for protection. Like all Ursani cities, the citizens live in large stone buildings, entered by the roof and connected to each other by overhead bridges. The Burg and the Temple of Vrijinka dominate the skyline.
For the Vultani towns, see the relevant tribe.
COMMERCE AND TRADE
Belestar is important, commercially, in many ways. It is primarily maintained as a base of operation for the Atlanteans. Its location, so close to Rhutalath, Cymuria and even Edhelnore, means that the Imperials have a base from which to conduct trade from, rather than just relying on shipping. This is particularly useful for the Xenophobic Elves, who restric shipping along thier coasts. Also, Fort Belestar serves as a friendly haven for those ships which have come from Atlantea to trade; whilst the Rhutalathians are welcoming enough, there are those Imperials who would prefer to dock at a port where their own customs and food dominate.
Belestar, despite its harsh environment, as several useful resources, which the Atlanteans make good use of- the two colonies, for example, provide coal, gems, oil and ebony, all of which are useful to the Atlanteans. The gems and ebony naturally provide great wealth, the former fron the Cymuria and the latter from the Elves. Belestar is a relatively unexplored land with a lot of potential and untapped resources. The plants and many of the creatures are useful for medicinal reasons (and other more sinister effects) and are highly sought after by healers and apothecaries. Spices, perfumes and even fine silks are often created from the Belestar resources.
The Vultani do not concern themselves overly much with trade, and are generally self-sufficient (save for the more Imperialized tribes). The same is true for the Ursani, and the Pachacaca. The Belestari and the Imperials, however, rely heavily on trade from Atlantea and over Imperial provinces. Despite the abundance of potential food, the Imperials prefer food and wine from their homeland, and ships arrive every week bearing salted meats and Atlantean wine. Other ships bring iron or steel or other useful materials, though these are often imported from nearer places, such as Rhutalath.
Several trading embassies have been established, particularly in Angletown. The members are from all over the Imperial provinces, including Ardadain, Malidor and even, more recently, Pandarat. The Rhutalathians are also permitted to join. The trading embassies extract taxes from members, but allow the nations to trade with any of Belestars inhabitants, and to purchase any of its natural resources. Trade is major industry in Belestar and is essential for its survival; should its riches suddenly deplete, the Imperials would lose interest quickly, and the Belestari would be left to their own devices.
There are few real roads in Belestar; once grand Elven roads criss-crossed the countryside, but most of those have since been conquered by nature. The most important road runs from Fort Belestar to Angletown, then onto both Rolmor and Gerios colonies. Although there is no official name, it is affectionately known as the Penal Road by the Imperials, as most of the legionnaires think of the Belestari assignments as a punishment. The name has stuck, despite its negative conotations. The road mainly passes through swamp land, and as been built on a raised ridge, reinforced with stones. It is wide enough for three wagons to pass each other, and has been constructed upon an old Elf-road. At times, the original marble of the Elven road can bee seen. The road is paved, and lined with a rough fence to keep the traders away from the swamp. The ridge needs to be maintained constantly, due to the heavy traffic, to ensure that the road is not reclaimed by the swamp. There are several hostels built along the road; these are mainly small inns for traders to rest in, rough and wooden. The upper floors serve as barracks for the patrols. The patrols wander the roads, protecting the trade-wagons and keeping dinosaurs and predators away from the roads.
The Vultani and the Pachacaca do not build roads, nor are they necessary; most know their respective regions well enough, and often they know the location of former Elven trails, or natural animal trails. The Ursani, who are more urbanized, have built several roads in the Pampa valley, though most of these are little more than dirt-trails.