CITIES OF NOTE
MISH'AKAOriginally known as Ometon, Mish'aka was built in 125 by the Angolians, as a river port. Being the main trade town in the northern regions of Arandor, Ometon was a prosperous town, and quickly grew in size. In 238 a university was built on the grounds, dedicated to the teaching of magics and sorcery. Following the split of Arandor in 465, Sorana, son of Ardim, took Ometon as his capital. Vast towers and fortresses were built along the walls, and Ometon became a fortified harbour. Due to its proximity along the western edge of Alqador, it was necessary to build great defences. In response to this, the Magic University was adapted, and became Aetherhall, the home of the Aetherlords, a group of powerful wizards who defended the borders against the other Aradan kingdoms.
As the war against the other kingdoms settled down, Ometon once again became a port of trade, and the Aetherlords became more interested in the pursuit of magic and knowledge. Thriving on trade, Ometon was the main city to benefit from the rich gold deposits to be found in Malidor. With the new-found wealth of the Northern Kingdom, Alqador sent hundreds of ships north, to trade and sell items they thought the Malidorans would need. The only thing they refused to sell were the magical items the Malidorans desired so much; the Alqans were unwilling to compromise their defense, considering the past feuds between the countries. Their reluctance proved their downfall however; the Daenorim scourge overran the country, with the Malidorans unable (and unwilling) to help. The Scourge ended at Ometon, which was besieged for two years, before finally falling to Kalimar. With the destruction of Ometon, the downfall of Alqador was complete.
Today, Ometon is occupied by the elite Orcs of Gorzan, and is known as Mish'aka (O. The Pit). Dominated by The Orcs of Screaming Death, led by their warlord, Kuma'gala, Mish'aka is a cesspit of filth and violence. The once-proud towers are mostly toppled, and the Aetherhall stands in disarray, its deep chambers serving as Kuma'gala's whorepits. The docks lie burned and broken, and foul things are reputed to live in the once clear river. Hundreds of slaves are brought into the city every week, and most do not live past a couple of days. The ORcs who dwell there are Gorzan's favourites, and usually serve as his elite guard in the Three Towers. Mish'aka, with its ruined marble towers, and burned laen roofs, is a constant reminder to the mannish races of the power of the Dark, and the necessity for vigil and alliances.
Established in 935 by Kalimar, Kali'Kadum was once an Elven town known as Mirluin. Kalimar and his horde slaughtered the elves early in the Scourge, and for decades it remained unoccupied. Located deep in the eaves of the North forest, Kalimar realized the location was perfect for his fortress, hidden from the eyes of the Malidor, yet close enough to mount an attack when the time was ripe. He and his Orcs took over the town, modifying and destroying the works of beauty, and erecting huge stone monstrosities in their place.
Kali'kadum is now a dark and sinister place, and a place of nightmares. An enchantment by Kalimar means the city is completely covered in darkness, with no sunlight or starlight ever reaching its black buildings. Torches burn day and night to light the way, and the city mirrors the great fortress of Carakum in Daenor. Countless statues of demons and vile creatures line the unpaved streets, and a gigantic image of the Death Queen has been erected in the main square. Kalimar's gigantic palace occupies the direct centre of the city, its huge black spires towering into the night. Most of the palace lies underground, and huge fires burn in the lowest pits, and serve as smithies for the Black Prince's war machines and tools. The city is off limits to all but the Orcs of Doom, Kalimar's band, and the other warlords of Ilmanor.
Dominating a large hill overlooking the city is the Citadel of Shadow, the high temple of the Black Fang. Every day, hundreds of Orcs are led there, to partake in ritual sacrifices and killings. Elves are particularly valued by the dark priests, who make cruel offerings to the Dark Gods. The Citadel serves as the centre for the Great Darkness, where the Dark Priests perpetually fan the flames of Kalimar's enchantment.
Formerly known as Jersular, this town was the location of the famous Treaty of Jersular, the alliance between the Mearri and the Alqans. Since the Scourge, the town has been taken over by the Skullbiter Orcs. A relatively large town, Rish'nar is the location of the former Guild of Smiths, an Alqan society for magical tools. The Guild, though fallen into disarray, is still used by the Orcs for the smithing of various weapons. The Skullbiters are reknown throughout the Territories for thier superior equipment, second only to the Orcs of Doom.
Once known as Fraliel, Lugmian is the capital of Zar-Mian. Named for the giant tower, Wulfspire, which dominates the northern end of the city, Lugmian is occupied by the Bloodfangs, Mian's own group of Orcs. Rugged and feral, the Bloodfangs live in constant fear of their master, Mian, who is known for his foul temper, and dislike of Orcs. Wild wolves roam the streets, and the Bloodfangs possess more battle-wolves than any of the other bands.
Wulfspire is the home of Mian, the warlord of Zar-Mian. Converted from an old Lightsage observatory, it towers hundreds of feet above the city, dominating the skyline.
Formerly Rhysilome, Blackswan is the home of Kimun'aza. Originally, Rhysilome was a beautiful city, consisting of thousands of canals and fountains, criss-crossing the streets. Left to ruin after the Scourge, Kimun'aza, with her love of beauty and heightened ego, has set restoring its former glory. Rebuilding most of the ruined bridges and statues (in black obsidian, rather than the original marble), she had dedicated the site as a monument to her own greatness. Statues of her stand in every square, and black swans dominate every tower. Fountains and canals have been restored to their original beauty. Blackswan Keep, her personal fortress, is located in the heart of the city, a beautiful palace, decorated with statues of herself, and black swans. Once a stately home, the interior is lavishly decorated, and modelled on that of the Ilman royalty.
Due to their inherent ugliness, her Orc band, The Orcs of Swan Fountain, are kept behind a great wall she calls The Black Curtain. The Orcs are more than happy to stay clear of the city, which they find uncomfortable and embarrassing (as well as their name, which they change to Orcs of Blood Fountain when she's not listening). The centre of the city, away from the Orcpits beyond the Curtain, is a beautiful place. Its streets are mostly-empty, save for the occassional 'pretty' Kimun'aza has sent to run an errand.
SHINI-MIRShini-mir is a large metropolis, located south of the Hills of Giarra. Dominated by the Mian Blood Claws, lead by Wozrug, the city is atypical of all those under the Shadow. Buildings stand ruined, and the rotting corpses of elves and humans line the walls. Urine and faeces litter the city, and squabbling and fornicating are present in every street. Shin-Mir is particularly famous for the Vaults of Tirini. This once-proud fort was the Alqan mint, not to mention the royal treasury. With Halan's escape to Salacia, most of the artifacts were removed for safe-keeping (including the Gauntlets of Mist, later to be found by Auberon et al). The Vaults now serve as Wozrug's repose.
COMMERCE AND TRADE
Due to its aggressive nature, Ilmanor enjoys very little trade with the surrounding lands. Being effectively at war with Malidor, Tauron and Ardadain, most of the borders are guarded, and very traders allowed in. The Orcs of Ilmanor are almost entirely self-sufficient; any weapons which may be needed are made in their own smithies, and food is generally grown in the underground forts. Most trade is internal, with weapons being shifted from the capital to the lesser towns, and food being sent where it is most needed. The main external trade is from Daenor, to the south. As travellers are few and far between in Ilmanor, the Orcs rely on slaves and sacrifices from the lands to the south. Every few months, slave ships are sent north from Daenor, hundreds of elves and men captured in the surrounding area. Most of these eventually arrive at the Warlords' forts, or the capital, where they are put to work building siege engines and towers, or pleasuring their masters. Occasionally, food is also sent north, usually by wagon, or along the river Fornarda. This is common when a campaign is imminent, and food is required to support the swelling armies.
ROADSThe roads of Ilmanor are of a very high quality in comparison to other lands ruled by the shadow. Most roads are very wide, and paved with stones. They were built centuries ago by the Alqans, and were built to support their Inertiacarts, and Go-wagons. In addition, wide pavements line the side of each road. The roads have fallen into disrepair over the centuries, but are still traversable, and allow quick access to the towns. The drinking fountains which normally line Angolian roads have fallen into disuse, and very few are still functioning. However, the milestones and direction pillars are still there, and in most case still standing. The same cannot be said for the locations they represent however. A lot of the signposts direct travellers to places long-since destroyed, serving as a sore reminder of what has been lost.
The Riverway- This road runs north from Daenor, and dissects Ilmanor, eventually arriving in Malidor. It follows the eastern bank of the Fornarda river, and is often used for vanguards and patrols, accompanying the slave and trade boats. The Malidoran end is heavily fortified, ensuring no one from the northern lands enters easily. Wide, and flanked by drainage ditches, the Riverway is the Territories' finest road.
The Forest Road- The Forest Road crosses the entire land of Ilmanor, running west from Tauron, and all the way to Mish'aka. Here the road ends, as the large bridge which once crossed the river Duinon has long since been destroyed. This road is not as heavily traversed as the Riverway, being neither a trade route, or heavily guarded. Nevertheless, it is still the second most important road in Ilmanor, and links the eastern and western territories. The forest road crosses the Fornarda via an immense bridge built centuries ago.
The Blood Trail- Starting just north of Daenor, passing through Lugmian and ending at Skullfort, the Blood Trail is the highest road in the realm, for the most part being constructed on a causeway. Passing through the hilliest regions of Ilmanor, the Blood Trail allows a glorious view of the surrounding lands. The Blood Trail is so named as it was the first road used by the Daenorrim to access Alqador; the immense engineering of the Alqans was used against them as the Scourge passed quickly and easily along their roads.
The Road of the Damned- Formerly a trade road, built by the Alqans, the road of the damned linked the major cities of Fraliel and Rhylsilome, at the same time passing through Marnole. As such, the roads are wide, with frequent (now ruined) inns along the path. The road now serves as a link between Lugmian and Blackswan, skirting the northern edge of the dreaded lands of Eglagor. Despite its importance, this road is rarely used. Its proximity to Eglador makes it undesirable, and recently several patrols have disappeared whilst travelling through the forest of Lial.
The North Trail- The north trail was the first of two roads constructed by the Daenorrim. It is narrow and unpaved, and at times becomes nothing more than a small path. However, as it links Blackswan and the Three Towers, it is frequently travelled. Kimun'aza has taken it upon herself to line the southern end of the road with statues of herself, in all her glory.
The Shadowroad- The Shadowroad is another road built by the Daenorrim. Unlike the north trail, it is paved with stones, and quite wide. The road is lined with spikes, each with the rotting corpse of some orc, elf or human who incurred Kalimar's wrath. This road is used only by those who have permission from Kalimar, and is heavily guarded.
CITIES OF NOTE
Liara is the capital city of the Netherrealm, and is situated in the centre of the first of the Great Caverns discovered by the Blessed. A thriving metropolis, Liara has actually spread to encompass another two grottoes. Liara was the first place settled by the fleeing Ilman, following the Scourge, and it was many decades before the people decide to expand. Liara was considered a temporary haven, and as such the majority of the population settled here. It was only many years later when the Ilman realized they wouldn't be returning to the Surface, and decided to start other comunities.
Liara is home to the Ulgor Palace, a vast building carved from the rock of the grotto. It is a beautiful construction, capturing the beauty of Alqador, including large statues of swans and doves, and images of Melina. The town is also famous for its Great Viaduct, a large struture which dominates the northern end of the central grotto, and carries water from Lake Mogi, 15 miles distant. The main gate of Liara, The Ulgor gate, opens upon the River Amor.
Lenica, situated only a few miles from The Lakes of Shara, was the second city to be founded in the Netherrealm. A beautiful city, countless rivers flow through the streets, and boats sail everywhere, fishing in the dark waters. The rivers were diverted long ago from the lakes, and the city is generally regarded as the most fruitful in the Grottoes. Countless small fish dwell in the rivers, and the soil around is perfect for cultivation. Lenica is actually the chief exporter of food in Netherrealm. Hundreds of beautiful bridges cross the rivers, and boats sail east in large numbers, towards the Lakes.
Lenica is perhaps just as important for the Academy of Light. This large marble structure, standing in the centre of the city, is home to all those training to become Mage-Seekers. Situated virtually across the river is the Lighthall, the largest in all the grottoes. Lenica is considered the centre of learning for the Netherealm, as well as one of the most beautiful cities.
Situated in the approximate centre of Ilmanor, near to the Labyrinth, Mira is an isolated city. Originally set up as a small place of study for Sages and seers, away from the disruption of the grottoes, Mira quickly grew in size. The construction of the Dome of Seers by a group of like-minded individuals (who desired a place for meetings and study) eventually led to the establishment of the Sage Council. As this 'Council' grew in numbers and strength, so did the Dome and city grow to service its needs. The dome is large affair, rising over 300' at the northern edge of the city.
Despite this emphasis on knowledge, Mira is a frontier city, located on the edge of the Labyrinth. As such, it is a breeding ground for bandits and cutthroats.
Located on the southern edge of Ilmanor, under the hills of Blood and near the border of Daenor, Realmsend is the southernmost town of the Blessed. A border town, most of the Ilman realize they are the first line of defense should anything come north to bother them. Despite this, the people are generally of high morale, and the town boasts one of the largest numbers of inns and temples in the Netherrealm. It is worth noting that this town is a frequent stop for Hrusso One-Eye, and his Skyrangers, who recognize the towns strategic importance. The Skyrangers protect this city even more than most (excluding the capital).
Located beneath the Chatmoig hills, Lysan is the home of the Guild of Fine Arts. The Guild is responsible for some of the most beautiful art, sculptures and poems in the Netherrealm, and their members often work with the Gerallini to produce works of beauty. Lysan is located just a few miles from Diamond falls, and many of the guild members frequently visit there was inspiration.
A beautiful city, on the eastern edge of the realm, Diana was originally simply a temple. now, the large temple is the centre of a growing city, with the largest statue of Melina in the Netherrealms dominating the grotto. Diana has some of the finest architecture in the land, and the Gerallini have a large base on the outskirts of the city. Its proximity to the Forest of Darr meant that once Diana was a very rich city. Since the ban, the City has become more impoverished, and the Gate of Darr is only rarely used.
Diana has recently had contact with a small group of the Feanna, from Tauron. The Dianar have invited the Feanna into the city, and most have settled down happily.
Once a small farming community, Desre grew quickly in size once Awl's Tomb was discovered. Pilgrims came from miles around to visit the holy shrine, and Desre was a common stopping location. As such, a large market was established in the town, and the community quickly grew to a city.
Desre possesses the largest inn in the Underrealm. Known as Melina's Glory, the inn is a towering six stories, and is unique in that it is connected to the main temple of the Grotto. The inn serves as both a temple and resting place for those visiting Awl's Tomb. However, the inn is outrageously priced, and most pilgrims settle for the city's cheaper inns. There are always a large number of pilgrims wandering throughout the city, and the city boasts one of the largest populations of Bringers.
The nearest city to Malidor, Momo once served as the main trading hub for gonnes, until the Northern land restricted their sale. Momo, being far from the capital, and close to the Shadow, is a dangerous place to live. Criminals and bandits rule the Grotto, and the Underlord is both corrupt and uncaring. A crime syndicate is believed to have been established in the city, though the guards have been unable to locate any evidence of such a group. Momo is generally avoided by those who have a choice, and traders and travellers are rare in the city.
TRADE AND COMMERCEDue to their isolation, the grottoes of the Netherrealm have very little contact with the outside world. Trade with the surface world is very limited, due to a lack of knowledge of the Overrealm. Despite this, the Blessed are not usually found wanting. They have simple tastes and needs, and most of the food and resources they require can be found in the caverns and chambers of their realm. The city of Diana has recently begun a small trade network with the Feanna, who supply fruit, meat and other luxuries to the Ilman. This is a unique case, however, and most of the Ilman are happy to be self-sufficient.
The skyrangers, the only Ilman with any real knowledge of the Overrealm, have links with a few of the other countries, as well as the Skydwelling Ilman. Through these links, they manage to obtain rare foodstuffs such as wine and exotic fruits. There was once an agreement with the Malidorans, who supplied gonnes to the Skyrangers in return for gold; this has since been cancelled however, following the death of king Louhen, and the the rein of Kuros.
The roads of the Underrealm are actually large canyons, carved from the rock by the Gerallini. Stretching for hundreds of miles, these dark caverns are an engineering miracle. Every hundred foot or so, Lightgems are fixed in the ceiling, illuminating the otherwise dark passages. Pillars line the edges of these canyons, holding up the high ceiling. These pillars are usually carved with distances and directions of the nearest grottoes. Though the canyons are obvious, and virtually straight, taking a turn into a lesser canyon can get you lost rather quickly. As well as the major canyons, which traverse the entire realm, there are also many lesser canyons (trails) which lead between each grotto.
Canyon of Light- The first canyon to be built, the Canyon of Light leads south from the capital city of Liara, all the way past Realmsend. After disecting the Great Caverns, and passing the Lakes of Shara, the Canyon comes to a premature end at the Shadow Barrier, a great gate designed to keep the grottoes away from the Daenorrim warrens. The Canyon of Light is so named for the Lightgems which illuminate the passage. Yellow in hue, the Canyon was the first to be built and illuminated, hence its name. The Canyon of Light is usually very busy with traffic and travellers, and is heavily patrolled.
The Myla Canyon- Built shortly after the Canyon of Light, this Canyon stretches far to the west, joining the capital city with the distant grotto of Myla. It is expanded frequently, as the Underrealm grows in size, and its name changes according to the furthest destination. Almost as busy as the Canyon of Light, the Myla Canyon shines with a blue hue.
The Holy Canyon- Originally a group of intersecting tunnels, the Holy Canyon was carved shortly after the discovery of Awl's Tomb. As many pilgrims used to visit the site, it was deemed necessary to create a clear way, to prevent them getting lost. Since then, the Holy Canyon has expanded to reach Saryn. It is also the route which leads to the beautiful Diamond Falls. Not as heavily traversed as the main canyons, it is nevertheless a frequent road for pilgrims and clerics alike. The canyon shines with a red hue, the sacred colour of Melina.
The North Canyon- The last of the great caverns to be built, the North Cavern stretches from the Myla canyon, and goes north via Milas, to the northernmost reaches of the realm. The North Canyon is not heavily travelled, but is necessary for those who live in the Northern regions. It glows with a blue hue.
The Shara Trail- An example of a lesser road, the Shara trail extends from the Canyon of Light to the Lakes of Shara and the city of Lenica. Not as high now as wide as the great Canyons, the Shara Trail is illuminated with a white glow (as are most of the lesser trails).
The Labyrinth- The labyrinth is a vast maze of intersecting caves. Largely unexplored, the Labyrinth is avoided by most Ilman, as it is very easy to get lost. There are tales of Ilman who have wandered around the caves for decades, without finding their exit, only to eventually giveup. Hundreds of myths have built up around the labyrinth, and many claim there is vast treasure at the centre, or a great dragon, or a wizard's Grotto, etc. The tunnels near to Diamond Falls have been widened and iluminated, but after a few miles, the labyrinth passes into a complex maze of ascending and secending tunnels, and travellers are encouraged to keep away.
The Underdeeps- The Underdeeps are the tunnels and caverns which exist deep under the earth, even further below than the Ilman Netherrealm. Reputedly the home of foul creatures and demons, the Underdeeps are claimed to have been carved by Balzot in the early years of Gaiana. The Underdeeps are accessible in many places, but most entrances are heavily signed and guarded, so as to protect unwary travellers.