The kingdom consists of a few major inhabited areas. The first is the court city itself, Rekhanci, where the majority of dragons make their livelihood and trade. It consists of an outer section that is free to all visiting parties, with guards watching from several posts in the city. To the west, the Artisanal Quarter is bursting with life, every corner stuffed with some shop of stall attempting to sell and craft only the best.
Just beside it, to the south, is the Flame Quarter. Here, a great warmth seeps in such a way as to keep the entire city warm whether by magic or the sheer amount of dragons working metal over hot flame. Many visiting Fire dragons find great comfort in this section, where fire and lava are more common than snow and ice.
Most of the northern part of the city is inhabited by homes, inns, bars, and eateries. Many restauranteurs take advantage of being so close to the gorge by raising their restaurants to overlook the mighty cliff. Along the streets, craftsmen sell beautiful pieces of art, or merely sing and play their instruments for those watching. A grand park rests in the center of the city, splitting the trade quarters with the living quarters, and it is kept green and springtime warm with the powerful magic of the Kazirin.
Here, too, is the palace and the Keep on the northeastern side. A gate separates the palace grounds from the rest of the city, and the Keep is a monolith of grand architecture, stoic and impressive beside the beautiful polished castle.
Lastly, squashed into the far eastern side of the city just to the south of the palace and keep, the Beastclan District thrives in its own way. While the denizens of Rekhanci are comfortable amongst these friendly few Beastclan members, both parties prefer their own spaces often enough, however it is common to see non-draconic kind taking advantage of the rest of the city, too.
The palace shines like glimmering gold at the edge of the city. The ground floor is made up of pillars and pathways, beautiful arches extending from the building and out towards the keep, inviting guests in. Here, the Kazirin extend their magic to allow warmth to blossom, and in some ways the sun-stained marble is reminisce of the Sunbeam Ruins.
The main entrance has six main pillars, three on each side, and curling around each is a different dragon. To most, they are nameless faces of great beauty, with their power and importance being expressed through the sculpting. To the dragons of Rekhanci, however, these are the six core Saints of their kingdom, each important in the foundation of their society.
Past the entrance, the grand entrance hall lies like a polished jewel, full of sunlight that filters in from above and decorated with dozens of artifacts collected throughout the years. Richly dyed rugs hang from the walls, their intricate designs catching the eye. Pottery sits on hand-carved cabinets, their painted exteriors depicting scenes from the clans own history: Aelius and Rairye leading a battle before the kingdom was founded, Saint Oses and the purging of the frozen sea, the shattering of the gorge.
Seats wait on the other end of the hall, two equal in size and carved from quartz. Here, Aelius and Mira would hold court for their guests, and in the seats beside they might be joined by the others serving in the High Order of their court.
Through the grand hall, at the center of the palace, the floor opens up to reveal a courtyard. It is brightest midday, when the sun shines straight through the steep palace walls and into the vibrant and lush garden. Old stone and marble pave the way through it, pockmarked with benches and fountains to allow for rest and relaxation. In the night, Kazirin will light the torches with their magic, allowing it to stay burning through the night.
The rest of the palace is a series of halls and doorways leading off into varied directions. Guests, if the situation is needed, might see the war room or the armory, or even the rooms leading to the Keep. The halls circle around and around to higher floors, creating a round shape for the rest of the building all the way to the top. On the outside, the curving walls are decorated with statues and elegant stonework, which can still be seen from afar and from the many balconies that jut out from the palace.
Like a shadow to the palace, the Keep stands stoically just to the south of it. While the palace is made of ivory marble, the Keep is almost entirely stone. It is simpler in design, taking on a squareshape of sorts with one running along the city walls and operating as an entrance into the city. This entrance is one of the less used ones, kept primarily for the guards and knights of the city and arriving guests heading directly for the palace.
Here, the Blades make their home and train when they are not actively protecting the city. It is an advantageous point of the city, keeping watch over the palace, the entrance closest to it, and the Beastclan District. While no Beastclan members have ever acted against the city, they are kept close lest things turn south.
In the center of the Keep, the roof opens up on the training grounds. A large section of flat land, the Blades and other guards are able to train without any eyes watching them from outside. The Keep’s walls tower high enough that even the tallest dragons cannot see over, and once one passes the Keep on the way to the palace, magic is in place to disallow any flight.
The north section of the city is universally dubbed “Uptown” although it has no legitimate name like the two quarters below. It is made primarily of housing, inns, and taverns, and the main streets are also lined with restaurants and other cultural sources of food, art, and play. Music drifts through the streets, and here and there smaller parks dot the streets to allow rest and relaxation.
Towards the center of the city, a large market webs outward. A massive courtyard makes up the middle of Rekhanci, and here many traveling merchants can hawk their wares and services. Any visiting dragons may partake, although one must acquire a permit from the High Order to do so.
The smell of food and spice fill the air here, and many musicians and performers wander into the city to put on a show in the sunlight of day before retiring to the many inns available. Amidst all the visiting sellers and performers, Rekhanci’s own people come to sell their goods in stalls that will remain for many years, and it is this way that the city sees its economy flourish.
When the sun sets, dragons might walk along the streets of Uptown and watch as the Kazirin’s magic lights the air and warms the city. Even while the rest of the city sleeps, Uptown is always full of life as dragons enjoy the simple beauty on display in the city.
On the southwestern corner of the city is the Artisinal Quarter. It’s a large segment of shops, booths, and crafters. Here is where all the imported goods come in, filtered into the city from Port Kaslarec. The shops are all fixed in place and frequently visited, sporting wares ranging from furniture to food. A few services are sold here as well, such as medics, scroll sellers, diviners, and even a mercenary guild.
On the very southern corner is a massive garden, the opus of Archmage Mira. The Garden of Summers is a slice of greenery that blossoms all year round. Beneath the warm fronds of trees and shrubbery, dragons can pass their time doing whatever they choose. A pathway cuts through the city to the east side where, within the Flame Quarter, a second garden sits for dragons wanting a respite from their labor.
Within the Flame Quarter, it is hard to imagine one isn’t in The Ashfall Waste. The heat here is blazing, intensified by the forges scattered about. Here, metal and glass are forged. Weapons and armour and crafted into being and stocked in towering armories that the Blades can access as they see fit.
The clans engineers and scientists also make their home here, taking advantage of the abundance of resources to build and create new technology and tools. It isn't uncommon to feel the tingle of electricity in the air and hear the distant thrum of something booming to life.
A mirror to Garden of Summers, a second garden is within the Flame Quarter. While the Garden of Summers is the picture of summer days, this second garden isn’t nearly so warm. It’s meant as a place of rest for the dragons working with the fire to cool down and relax. It’s a frequent place to visit for the dragons working in the Flame Quarter, and its cool breezes have soothed many a fever.
Just beneath the Keep where the Blades are trained, the Beastclan District cuts its own section in the city. Although the Beastclan living within the city get along well with the resident dragons, both parties agreed at the inception of their arrival that living in separate areas might be best. Perhaps in a few years, long after the war between their kind has settled, they might join each other throughout the entire city.
The Beastclan District might be made with smaller beings in mind, but in all other regards it holds the same beauty and care as the rest of the city. It is much quieter there than Uptown, but most Beastclan choose to visit the dragon dominated section of the city for their recreational plans. It’s easier to sell their wares alongside the dragons than to cater only to an audience of Beastclan within the District.
Although any Beastclan are welcome to live in peace in the city, all are subject to heavy scrutiny upon first arriving. There is little room for conflict in Rekhanci, and any disputes between dragon and Beastclan is settled justly and efficiently. Seldom does an issue arise, as the dragons of Rekhanci know better, and the older Beastclan members living within the city keep their hot-headed kin in line. Visiting dragons are made aware of the rules of the city upon their arrival, and the punishment for infringing upon the peace is being disallowed to ever return.
And who would want to give up the beauty of Rekhanci?
The town itself is only a fraction the size of Rekhanci. There are three entrances, two beings gates and one being by sea. The walls are low and thin, a strong defense not as necessary. Within the city, a few homes are sprinkled throughout. Shops for fishing and sailing pop up the closer one gets to the docks, and along the shore a variety of storage shops are lined up.
The docks are always bustling with activity, dozens of crew members and workers loading and unloading ships. Incoming cargo, if there’s room, gets immediately loaded onto carts and driven up and towards Rekhanci. Exported goods sit in storage units and loaded up as the ships arrive.
Other travel is done by the airships, where dragons themselves often board to go elsewhere in Sornieth. The arrivals is outside the town walls to the west, where the airship docks at a tower and the passengers file down and towards Kaslarec. Dragons wishing to leave can visit the departing tower within the town, a simple building close to the wall between the city square and the docks.
On the northern side of the city surrounded by a beautiful mossy stone wall taller than a skydancer, the city hall stands impressively. It’s carved from beautiful wood and stone and kept dutifully clean. Within, the Honoured Aleksandra and Paris work tirelessly to keep note of every bit of coin and trade going in and out of the town, as well as what heads towards Rekhanci.
Here, visiting dragons fresh off the airship can petition Aleksandra and Paris for a permit to sell their goods in the Rekhanci market. All goods must be inspected before being sold, and all dragons must sign a contract to abide by city law or face the consequences.
Arriving Beastclan may also state their case to the city keepers in order to be allowed residency within the city. This is can sometimes be a lengthy process depending, but the towns select few inns and taverns will happily over accommodations in the meantime.
Rekhanci offers many items up for trade with their allies. They work primarily with metal and magic, and this is evident in their goods. Weaponry, armour, and shields are made with great care and for a variety of dragon sizes and builds. The Kazirin within the city also sell magical trinkets and artifacts outside the city, such as runes of great power or other baubles capable of harnessing magic: amulets, rings, and charms to name a few.
On a lesser scale, the crafters of the city also sell their wares. Clothing and cut jewels are shipped to dragons willing to pay the price for them; books and paintings are carefully packaged and sent out to collectors; familiars trained under the most dutiful eye are lovingly put into carriers and sent to new homes.
Although anyone can buy from Rekhanci, it is often the kingdoms own allies who receive the best deal. It is, usually their bartering chip to secure an alliance in the first place.
It is uncertain where the Witchwood itself was first born. Legend tells of it being spawned over a great wronging, from many spirits first shattering the veil between life and death in their outrage. From their endless grief and rage, the forest first bloomed, and they spilled from it like blood from a wound, saturating the world in their fury.
This is legend only, however, for few have lived long enough to have known the world without the Witchwood in it. The Keepers know only what is before them, which is to say how the Witchwood has always and likely will always be: full of the dead and constantly pulsing with wickedness.
The trees are only tree like in appearance, for surely they are not made of the same thing as what others know. They are frosted with ice entirely, shuddering in the wind, and unchanging no matter the weather or season. Indeed, it seems the Witchwood never changes from its constant snow-covered winter even when the rest of the world is in the flush of summer.
The Realm of Mirrors
Stepping into the mirror realm is not common knowledge. It’s origins stem from the Kazirin’s studying and from the Witchwood own sense of magic. The veil is thin within the Wood, and Audra does not believe that phasing through it into the realm of the dead is possible elsewhere.
The Realm of Mirrors, as it’s come to be called, looks almost like ours. Not enough to be fooled, for the sense of dread one gets in that place cannot be mistaken. It feels inverted, it feels cold, and it feels completely devoid of life.
The Keepers who stay within do so at great cost to themselves. No doubt, the mirrored Witchwood eats away at their souls, at their life, for it is a great hungering void that can never be satisfied. It is dense with the souls of the dead, yet still that is not enough.
The souls of the dead want more life, more warmth, and it is because of this that the Keepers of the Glass Spire must never rest. The entered the Realm of Mirrors through a door that works both ways, and so they must spend their days making sure no spirit ever crosses into the living realm.