Guide to the Cities of the World

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The icon will appear in the bottom left state interface, below its population, if it has any lore.

Twinkle Sprinkle, faithful griffon scholar and friend of King Kloseu de Kissau of Brodfeld (Not to be confused with Twilight Sparkle, faithful pony scholar and associate of Princess Celestia of Equestria.), took it upon herself to chronicle what was known about noteworthy locations around Equus and Griffonia. This guide has been titled Twinkle Sprinkle's Abridged Guide to the Cities of the World. When a state is selected, a button will appear if any lore has been categorized. Clicking it will bring up the location's entry. At the moment, there are 97 locations catalogued.

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When you click on a state, look for this icon and click on it to receive lore about the area!




The Heart of Equestria:

Canterlot, the capital of the shining realm of Equestria and the definitive nexus of the country. Walking down the storied streets and avenues that make up the pristine city, you can spot the small tell-tale signs of the 1002 Canterlot Invasion. And yet, looking at the vibrant life in the city; the cafés, the restaurants, the theaters, the parties, the soirees, you wouldn't be able to tell. Canterlot, as with the rest of Equestria, has moved on, content in their idea that the changelings were a bad event but one that will never repeat itself. Least of all anyone expects is for Queen Chrysalis to come back. But whatever the history, Canterlot is, and has been in step with the rest of the country. As Equestria grew under those first years under Luna and Celestia, so did Canterlot. When Equestria industrialized and grew past the years of medieval castles and nobles, Canterlot did too, when Luna was welcomed into the fold, it happened in Canterlot. Be it during the battle against Nightmare Moon, the battle against the Changelings, or indeed, as it has been for most of its history, the vibrant capital of Equestria, the home of ponies and Harmony, watched over by Princess Celestia's gaze, Canterlot has always been a snapshot of Equestria and its condition.

But indeed, if you took up the railroad to Canterlot, arriving at the palace, you will find the curriculum at the School for Gifted Unicorns the same as it has always been, and at galas at the Canterlot Palace they stick to routines from decades ago. While it may serve Equestria well now, they are outdated for the era, and are overdue for an overhaul. However, if a storm should hit, it would be a woeful one indeed.

Time will tell what will happen to Canterlot as a new era dawns on the world. An era of opportunity, and an era of risk.


The City that Never Sleeps:

Throughout its illustrious history, Manehattan has been given many titles: the City of Dreams; the Big Apple; Caput Mundi — the Capital of the World. Situated where the Hayston River meets the Celestial Sea, the Three Boroughs — Manehattan and its satellites, Hayston and Bronclyn — make up this sprawling megalopolis on the East Coast of Equestria.

Being Equestria's largest and most populous city, Manehattan is also the most diverse. As the premier seaport of the continent, centuries of continuous foreign immigration has meant that, alongside the ponies of the Three Tribes, there exist substantial communities of thestrals, hippogriffs, zebras, kirin, and griffons within the metropolis. Canterlot may be the seat of the Diarchy, but it is the melting-pot of Manehattanite society that truly embodies the Equestrian spirit — that of harmonious coexistence, strength in diversity, and friendship free of prejudice.

The glamour of Manehattan's nightlife and entertainment industry, and its unassailable status as an international locus of arts and culture, all belie the true roots of the city's wealth — its massive industrial base, located on the outskirts of the suburbs. If one should gaze to the west from the crown of the Mare Statue, over and beyond the elegant arches of the Bronclyn Bridge, they would glimpse the smokestacks and cranes that juxtapose a parallel skyline — one that is gritty and grimy, yet no less grand — against the opalescence of the skyscrapers downtown.

The Celestial Sea Fleet — the backbone of the Equestrian Royal Navy — has its moorings in the deep waters and sheltered bays of Manehattan Harbour. Where prodigious amounts of capital flow through the wharfs and dockyards of Bronclyn, from Griffonia, Zebrica, and beyond, the iron hoof of maritime law ensures that the waters around the metropolis are kept safe, from threats both monstrous and mundane.

Like all big cities, Manehattan has its fair share of problems. Only a few blocks away from the glitzy shopping avenues of Bridleway are run-down waterfront neighbourhoods teeming with the city's immigrant proletariat, and in the shadow of Manehattan's skyscrapers lie the inner-city slums and ghettoes — the proverbial undergrowth of the concrete jungle. Should the centuries-long peace in Equestria collapse, there is no doubt that strife and scarcity will come to Manehattan; in the face of rationing, curfews, and blackouts, it is all too easy to forget about solidarity and friendship.

Now, in the new millennium, the city is threatened from without and within. Across the sea, Griffonia is poised for a decade of brutal conflict, whilst Manehattan's own Lunarists grow more belligerent by the day, as the horrors of mechanized warfare encroach on ponies' nightmares. In the years to come, what fate will befall this great city?

(The following addendum added should the Manehattan Protectorate be formed.)

Following the defeat of the Principality of Equestria in the Great War, the East Coast fell under the control of the victorious Changeling Hegemony. In the year (Year of creation of the Manehattan Protectorate), Queen Chrysalis would subsequently devolve the governance of the East Coast to a military Protectorate centered around Manehattan.

Upon the arrival of the Protectress Lilac in the city, the Changeling Administration commandeered the Crystaller Building — the tallest skyscraper in all of Equestria — as the headquarters for the new regime, whilst the Garrison's Schutzbataillons occupied the barracks and military bases vacated by the disbanded Equestrian army.


The City of Sisterly Love:

One of the largest cities on the Equestrian east coast only rivaled by Manehattan, Fillydelphia has long been regarded as a center of industry and learning, and one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution in Equestria. It was once known as the workshop of the world, producing goods for export across the planet, and is famed for its medical school located beneath the pegasus district of Bells Air (commonly known as "Little Cloudsdale"). Other notable features of the city are its all-unicorn police force and Dragon Town, a district inhabited exclusively by dragons, as well as the yearly Grapefruit Festival. In recent times the city was struggling with a severe parasprite infestation, which took years to clear out.

The city has a long and rich history, being founded before Luna's Banishment over a thousand years ago, when the Princesses were still young. Indeed, the nickname of the city refers to the mutual love the sisters had for each other, which unfortunately meant that after the Banishment Celestia did everything she could to avoid the city. Despite Canterlot's neglect, Fillydelphia thrived nevertheless. After Luna's return and reformation a grand celebration was held in the city in honour of the Princesses' reconciliation, and the ponies of the city happily welcomed Celestia who could once more visit them without issue.


The Twin Cities:

Located near the border with the Crystal Empire lie two settlements, on the opposite sides of the river: the suburban town of Riverpool and the thriving city of Whinnyapolis. Both of them have benefited greatly from the recent return of Crystal Empire from limbo, growing even more as centers of commerce and industry. Many crystal ponies inhabit the city and imports from the north are always on sale.

Whinnyapolis surpassed its smaller twin Riverpool during the Industrial Revolution. Flour mills and sawmills powered by the rapids between the towns formed the core of their economy. Nowadays the city is more reliant on commercial services such as banking and transportation, being known as "The Gate to the Crystal Empire".


The Hidden City:

Bales is an ancient city, one of the oldest ones in Equestria. Containing countless libraries and book stores, it was known as the "City of Wisdom". However, several decades ago the bustling city vanished into thin air, and no one knew why. It remained a mystery until relatively recently.

Princess Twilight Sparkle managed to find the hidden city and break the curse that had made it vanish. She learned that a wizard named Comet Tail the Starry-Eyed had cast a spell to protect the many books of the city from harm, but because he did the ritual at the wrong time, it ended up hiding the city entirely from outsiders. She cast the spell at the right time, breaking the curse and revealing the city. The ponies living in it, who had become reclusive over the years, were overjoyed when visitors flooded Bales.

At the present Bales is a center of learning, trade and book printing, producing ever more tomes not only for its own libraries, but for all the libraries of Equestria. The yearly Book Festival held in autumn draws ponies from across the nation.


The Queen of the North:

Trottingham, located on a small peninsula in the Griffish Isles, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Equestria. When the three tribes first migrated south, some of the seafaring ponies decided to settle on uninhabited islands east of the lands which later became known as Severyana. It is not known when exactly the city was founded, but the earliest records come from before Luna's Banishment.

The settlement quickly became an important center of trade when overseas routes to Griffonia were established, which gave the islands their name. This importance further increased when Celestia became the ruler of Severyana in 592 ALB, integrating the neighbouring region into Equestria. Trottingham's harbour was greatly expanded and thousands of migrants arrived from both Severyana and Griffonia, diversifying the population. During the Industrial Revolution, textile manufactories were founded, lace became one of the primary exports and the town grew into a true city.

The inhabitants of the Griffish Isles still speak a dialect that derives from Old Ponish, which is one of the more distinct accents of Equestria. This means that ponies coming from the Griffish Isles can easily be recognized for their archaic way of speaking. The age of the venerable city can also be seen in its architecture, with its buildings having various styles from different periods and cultures. The most famous sights are the historical Lace Market, the Council House, the Great Harbour, the remains of the city's stone walls and the nearby Trottingham Castle. Many who visit the historical center of the city say that it almost feels like travelling back in time. However, this illusion fades away the further away you go, as the outskirts of the city are more recently constructed and far more modern.

More recently, the Trottingham's history has taken a darker turn. With the Winter Revolution in Severyana, one of the most important trade partners was lost, causing an economic downturn and making the city more reliant on aid from Canterlot. This in turn has led to unrest among the workers, partially thanks to communist agitation. In addition, the breakup of the Griffonian Empire caused an influx of griffon migrants and refugees, which have caused increased racial tensions. The city's future is now uncertain, but nopony doubts that the ancient city will continue to stand the test of time.


The Town of :

Ponyville, located next to the Everfree Forest southwest of Canterlot, was for most of its history an unremarkable rural settlement. The first pony inhabitants of the area were part of the Apple Family, who were granted the land as a gift by Princess Celestia herself almost a century ago. The first apple orchards were planted, but while the trees grew, the ponies discovered magical Zap Apples inside the Everfree Forest. The jam prepared from these apples became famous, attracting many migrants. Stinkin' Rich, the grandfather of the entrepreneur Filthy Rich, opened a market selling the jam, which soon grew into a burgeoining business. The Apple and Rich families still live in the town to this day and are honoured as its founders.

In the years since, many ponies have moved to Ponyville, making it a very diverse town. All three races are present and live together in harmony. It is for this reason why Princess Celestia sent her young pupil, Twilight Sparkle, to live in the town and make some friends. She and the ponies she met soon became close friends and the wielders of the Elements of Harmony, who have saved Equestria from countless threats. After her ascension to Alicornhood and her defeat of Lord Tirek, Twilight Sparkle now lives in the Castle of Friendship north of the town. Next to it, she has opened the School of Friendship which has students from all across the world. Despite its small size, Ponyville is known across Equestria as the haven of friendship and harmony.


The Town in the Sky:

There are several towns in Equestria which can only be inhabited by pegasi. Such settlements are made out of clouds, which only pegasi can walk on, and float in the sky. Cloudsdale is the oldest such place, and is regarded as the home of the Pegasus race.

It is famed for its architecture, its tall pillars and high halls made entirely from vapor and held together by magic. It also has the largest Weather Factory in Equestria, for pegasi are responsible for weather management. The clouds, rainbows and snowflakes made in the city are distributed all across the nation. Another notable feature is the Cloudeseum, where the annual Best Young Flyer competition is held. The city is also known to be the birthplace of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, wielders of the Elements of Loyalty and Kindness respectively.


The Charm City:

Baltimare is the largest settlement in the Equestrian South-East, located in the Horseshoe Bay. Originally a small fishing settlement, it industrialized and grew rapidly, mostly thanks to its natural harbour. It became a center of shipping and manufacturing with thriving docks.

However, the workers have been treated worse than in many other Equestrian cities, especially during the reign of the last Mayor. Because of this Baltimare became the center of the Equestrian labour movement, housing the headquarters of the CAN-TER anarcho-syndicalist federation of trade unions and anarchists. A large protest had been held in the city during the Winter Revolution in Stalliongrad, and the Mayor of the city had been sacked by Celestia herself.

Due to being located in the South-East, the city also houses a considerable minority of thestrals, whose conditions are even worse than that of the workers, but who are not allowed to join unions. Many Coltjuns from Hayseed Swamps inhabit the city as well, speaking their strange creole of Equestrian and Aquileian.


The Mining City:

Surrounded by countless rock farms and nestled among hills, Rockville is a center of mining industry and mineral processing. Its name derives from tonnes of rock regularly brought into the city from the farms for refinement. It was an insignificant village before the gemstone rush of 931 ALB which attracted countless migrants.

Rockville is a city of foundries, steel mills and mines. The landscape around the city is barren and the air in the settlement itself is difficult to breathe. Yet it is also a prospering town, producing a large amount of gold, coal, sulfur, tin, copper, platinum, gemstones and more.

Its inhabitants are grim-faced, their faces often covered in soot, but hard-working and relentless. Some call it the least friendly place in Equestria, but those outsides who have earned the trust of a Rockville pony know that they are the most trusty and reliable companies one may have. The Element of Laughter, Pinkamena Pie (more commonly known as Pinkie Pie) breaks the stereotype by being one of the cheeriest ponies in the country, despite coming from a hardy family of rock farmers.

Las Pegasus

Equestria's Playground:

Among the sparser areas of Southwest Equestria, Las Pegasus stands out as the largest city in the Southwest and is known as the gambling capital and entertainment capital of the continent. It's filled with luxurious hotels, casinos, arcades, amusement parks and restaurants that brought the city much fame. Despite it being a floating cloud-city, even earth ponies and unicorns can walk on it thanks to more modern magical engineering, with long platforms of metal and concrete functioning as walkable streets. The service-orientated economy is thriving, and though there is a lack of farmland to sustain the city, food has always been imported from elsewhere in Equestria. There's something for everyone here, from newborns and young partiers to elders looking for something new and exciting.

Under this shining cloud-city however is the second half of Las Pegasus. Here, large companies such as Horseco and Rockville Oil dominate, their factories cluttering the cityscape. Gigantic steel foundries churn out endless tonnes of stainless steel, which is used by the huge shipyards in the construction of new luxury cruise ships and military vessels. Surrounding this industrial heart are the apartments of the common workers, who toil in service of large companies. It is fertile ground for leftist movements, some more radical than others, and the ponies of the cloud-city above demand the police to ensure that Stalliongradian influence does not spread. So far, they have only been moderately successful, but as long as Equestria remains stable the proletariat are unlikely to cause trouble.


Saltwater City:

Located in Luna Bay, Vanhoover contains an excellent natural harbour, and has thus long been a vital port-city. Founded on the ruins of an earlier settlement which had been destroyed by Olenian Vikings, it grew into an important trade port even before industrialisation, being located near the mouth of an important river as well.

After the Industrial Revolution, the city grew even more, becoming a vital base of the Equestrian Navy and a center of shipbuilding. It is the terminus of the transcontinental Equestrian railway and its port is among the largest in the country. Its primary trade good is lumber, imported from Vaverfront across the Luna Bay, but in recent years the service sector has continued to grow. Many movies are filmed here, earning it the nickname "Applewood North", and numerous tourists come there from the south to enjoy the cold weather.

A large portion of the populace consists of Olenian deer, who work on the docks or sell their wares at the markets. There are even some changelings living in the city, though they are viewed with suspicion by the rest of the inhabitants. In recent years the countless dock workers and sailors of the city have unionized and now agitate for better rights. There are rumours that they receive support from the Supreme Soviet of Stalliongrad, but it is not known if this is true.

Tall Tale

The Green City:

On the southern bank of the Tall river lies the city of Tall Tale. Despite its size, one might easily think it's a small rural town, thanks to its rustic buildings, many parks and numerous trees. Yet it is in the end an industrial city, as evidenced by the high grain silos and the car traffic on the streets.

Tall Tale grew from a humble farming village to a proper city after the Industrial Revolution. Yet it never forgot its roots, being surrounded by farmland and having food processing and transportation as its economic foundations. An important railway leading to Vanhoover passes through the city, and is used to transport countless bags of grain and other farm produce for export. The city is especially famous for its bread, said to be the best in Equestria.

Notable sights include the centuries-old Tall Bridge, the Farmers' Market in the central square of the city, and the Museum of Agriculture. The yearly Harvest Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year thanks to its generous offering of delicious baked goods.


The City of Two Races:

Since its foundation, the city of Acornage has been defined by the relationship between ponies and changelings. Indeed, the first encounters between the two races occured near Fort Acorn, the predecessor to the city itself that was founded by Equestrian settlers who colonized the uninhabited wilderness of northwestern Equestria. Different sources explain the nature of these outcomes differently. According to Equestrian historiography, it was cautious but ultimately friendly, as ponies presented gifts to the strange shapeshifting creatures. Traditionally, Changeling records did not mention gifts, but during the reign of Queen Chrysalis history has been reinterpreted and the encounters are seen as hostile and even violent.

Whatever the case, the fort soon became a trading post, and then a town. It was the only place in Equestria where ponies could acquire finely woven Changeling silk, so commerce boomed and thousands of migrants arrived. Changelings arrived in the city as well, initially living in a separate quarter but soon integrating into the populace, often shapeshifting into ponies to fit in better. Acornage was - and still is - the one place in the world where one can see changeling hive spires next to traditional Equestrian houses.

When the changelings were unified under one nation in 982 ALB, the border of the newborn country was drawn right next to the city. Equestrians agreed to Chrysalis' demands, thinking it would be the foundation of a friendly relationship between the two nations. They would later regret this when relations soured and the complete lack of a buffer zone made the city strategically vulnerable. Despite the rising tensions, business in the city continued as usual, with the local changelings and ponies remaining on friendly terms. This changed in 1002 ALB, when Canterlot itself came under attack. The treacherous stab at the heart of Equestria shocked everypony, especially the inhabitants of Acornage. Overnight, the mood in the city changed, and many saw changelings as unreliable and a potential fifth column. Racial harmony was replaced with racial tensions, and thousands of fearful changelings fled the city across the border.

After the initial harsh reactions, the situation calmed down as Chrysalis licked her wounds in Vesalipolis. There was an attempt at making amends, but most citizens felt like there was no going back. Yet, deep in their hearts, the inhabitants of Acorange know that their home city is proof that changelings and ponies can not only get along, but be true friends with one another.


The Frontier Town:

Appleloosa is a young town, having been built within a year in 999 ALB. Established by Equestrian settlers, it is surrounded by apple orchards which are used to produce the town's primary export, famed apple pies. Unsurprisingly, many inhabitants of the town are part of the vast Apple family. It is governed by Sheriff Silverstar who maintains law and order. The town has a saloon known as the Salt Block, a clock tower and a stage for musical performances. It is known for its horse-drawn horse-drawn carriages and local mild west dances.

In 1001 ALB, Appleloosa was at the epicenter of the short but violent conflict known as the Apple War. It erupted after nearby buffalo tribes demanded the ponies to tear down their orchards, for they had been planted on their traditional stampeding grounds. The ponies refused to destroy their livelihoods and the buffalo attacked. Compromise was only reached when Chief Thunderhooves was downed by an apple pie, which he found to be delicious. Soon a historic agreement was signed: The ponies get to keep their orchards, as long as they gift apple pies to the buffalo. Ever since, peace has prevailed between the two races, but time will tell if it lasts.

Dodge City

The Old Frontier:

When Equestrians first began to settle in the sparsely populated lands of the buffalo in the 900s, they established Fort Dodge to guard a vital trail to the Mild West. Soon, a frontier settlement sprung up nearby as accomodations for travellers and adventurers were built. By the time a railway connected the settlement to the rest of Equestria, it had already grown into a prospering town known as Dodge City. Thanks to its new railway junction, it soon also became known as Dodge Junction. Both names are used to refer to the place, although Dodge City is the more common one.

An influx of settlers made the town grow at an exponential rate. Soon enough business boomed there: Countless saloons, rodeo arenas and parks were built, which attracted even more visitors and migrants. The unique culture of the Mild West is still the strongest here, and many ponies come visit just to experience it firsthoof.

Yet the primary economic activity is not tourism, but agriculture. Dodge City's most well known exports are yellow and red cherries grown at the sprawling Cherry Hill Ranch, owned and managed by Cherry Jubilee. At the same time, when the cherry trees blossom in spring, it also attracts even more visitors, strengthening the tourism sector further.

While Dodge City is still seen as a place that embodies the Mild West, many original settlers and frontiersponies have left the city, moving to greener pastures. The small frontier town has become just another bustling city dominated by business, and some would even call it a tourist trap. It is likely that those who left went searching for the true spirit of the Mild West that was lost in Dodge City.


The Pride of the South:

Like many other settlements in the Equestrian south, Hoofington was founded as a small fort by pony settlers coming from the north. The fort was built on a river island that was easy to defend from buffalo raiders or monsters. This hoof-shaped island gave the settlement its name as it grew around the fort. Despite its location, it was nevertheless destroyed by a fearsome buffalo raid that used canoes to cross the river. A pony who led the defence and perished, Flanchard, became the mythical founding hero of Hoofington.

After making peace with the natives, the determined settlers rebuilt Hoofington from the ground up as a modern planned city. Mining operations in the eastern Macintosh mountains and increased trade with the buffalo resulted in rapid growth of the town. Soon enough, money began pouring in from Canterlot and the Celestia Dam was built, creating the Hoofington reservoir. Investments into education also allowed the opening of many research facilities and schools. With the expanded knowledge base, a source of energy and a steady supply of raw materials, industrial facilities soon opened, and with them came a flood of workers from the north. Within years, Hoofington rivaled Dodge City in size, despite being much younger.

Prospectors dug many tunnels around and beneath the city in search of ores. While they didn't find any, there are plans to use the tunnels for metro stations, as the rapidly growing city could greatly benefit from new methods of transportation. What the miners did find was a large and ancient meteorite that had magical properties. It has been studied for many years now, and researchers hope that it could one day be used as a source of energy. In the meantime, a second hydroelectric dam was recently built, and it was named the Luna Dam, to honour the reformed Princess of the Night.

While the "Spirit of the Mild West" is almost nonexistent in Hoofington, it has nevertheless established itself as one of the greatest cities of the Equestrian south. It is a testament to the diligence of ponykind and a shining example of what ponies can accomplish in mere decades by working together.


The City of the Sun:

Deep in the steamy jungles of the Tenochtitlan basin lies the largely ruined city which gives the region its name. In fact, when explorers from northern Equestria first discovered it, they called it a "Lost City" even though it has been continuously inhabited for over a millennium. To this day, the ponies of the Neighua tribe live in the city like their ancestors did.

Surrounding Tenochtitlan is a vast network of canals, gaining their water from the river which flows past the city. On these canals, as well as the river itself, one may find the famed Floating Gardens—or what remains of them, at least. The natives still use them to grow plants such as maize, beans and flowers, though many of them are overgrown.

In the center of the city itself stands the imposing Pyramid of the Sun, the primary religious site of the Neighua. Although it has seen far less use under Celestia's rule (and no sacrifices whatsoever), locals still use it to affirm their loyalty to the Princess. In return, she provides modern medicine, fertilizer, machine tools and more, albeit the natives are left alone to live their peaceful lives in the traditional manner, in huts of stone, mud and wood.


The City of the Moon:

There is a charm in the city of Ayacachtli that begets wonderous thoughts in anypony; here is a city, that was ancient before Equestria had even been formed. Located in the southern jungles, in the mountains on the border of Badlands, Ayacachtli has the dubious honour of being the oldest thestral city in the world. Legends hold it, that it was constructed by a thestral Moonspeaker with the aid of an Ursa Major. Historians, however, place its origins to many millenia ago, to the times when thestral tribes and the Neighua came into conflict and a need for a safe haven was born. Whatever it may have been, thestrals have been living in the city for so long, that only bare estimates can be given with current historical records.

Quite an unusual aspect about Ayacachtli is the fact it is located inside the mountain range, inside a cast cavern dug over time by its denizens. Even as times have advanced, majority of the city is still located safely there, with just part of the more modern city located outside. Where, along with them, plenty of terraces for farming are located to feed the mountain city. But it is not food that Ayacachtli is known for; for the mountains contain many riches such as copper, silver and gold. Historians have traced many ancient trade routes leading to Ayacachtli from the north, carrying goods such as iron weapons and armour in exchange for the mined minerals. Evidence shows that Ayacachtli served as a vital link for trade between the jungles and north, through which luxury goods such as sugar and cocoa from jungle tribes passed by. Once the princesses proceeded with their formation of Equestria, Ayacachtli found itself in a favourable position - at least until the incident with Nightmare Moon occured. Now shunned, the thesrals returned to living amongs themselves, in fear of reprisals and revenge for siding with the horrid monster that had once been their beloved princess. This especially hurt Ayacachtli and the city endured for centuries as but a hollow shell of a once mighty realm.

Today, Ayacachtli stands as a testament for vigority of thestralkind as a near total majority of its denizens are made up of thestrals. Even the ponies there are usually tribals from the jungles, who have interacted with the thestrals far longer than any northener has and even tend to share a common tongue with. Modernization is present in the city but mixed in to tradition and the peculiar aspects of thestrals; Ayacachtli has no real streets, as near-every denizen can fly. This has led to the city developing not horitzontally as a traditional city but primarily vertically. Tall towers, reaching from the cavern's ceiling to the floor, dot the vast cave, with the odd bridge crossing the gaps between them. Even with modern electricity, most of Ayacachtli is cast in but dim light, to better suit the sensitive eyes of thestrals. Further caverns extend out from the main one, which lead to the many mining tunnels; Ayacachtli even to this day is mostly dependant upon its ore exports to many Equestrian industries north; one could perhaps find some irony in how some things never change.

Central part of the city and an aspect that cannot be missed is the Temple of Moon, located at the city's center and remains a staunchly visited complex by the thestrals. It is the place where every Moonspeaker comes to learn the traditional ways and read the ancient texts stored within there. Some said to more than millenia old but no outsiders are permitted to see them, not even a certain Princess of Books. But what a visitor can see is already extraordinary, and a sight to rival even that of Canterlot. For right past its entrance, visitors are met with a giant dome covering the main hall. On this dome there is a vividly well-detailed star map, one born from countless generations of work from the Moonspeakers. Every possible inch of the carved stone accurately details the wonders of the night sky to the point that astronomers from Princess Luna's Academy of Stars have praised the meticulous work the priests have done, even rivalling achievements historical astronomers such as Galloping Galley and Leap Ordinance. There have been calls to preserve the temple complex for sake of history but for thestrals, however, the temple still serves its original purpose, as it did since its inception; to venerate the Moon, as their forebears did before them. A work that continues on, and will do so for more millenia to come.

Everfree Forest

The Untamed Wilderness:

Located south of Canterlot, the Everfree Forest has long been completely avoided by ponies. In fact, the only sapient inhabitant in the entire forest is Zecora, a Zebra shaman who lives in isolation. The other denizens of the forest are far less friendly than her.

Unlike in rest of Equestria, weather and nature in the Everfree Forest are outside the influence and caretaking of ponykind. Clouds move on their own, gnarly and thorny plants grow without limits, and fearsome beasts stalk the shadows. Groves of Poison Joke and nests of adorable but ravenous Parasprites lure the unwary traveller to their doom.

Getting lost in the Everfree Forest is the nightmare of any pony living near it. Those who dare to travel through it do it as quickly as they can and are prepared to fight for their lives. It is a magical, cursed place, and so far the advances of technology have provided no means to tame it.

Castle Of The Two Sisters

The Ruins of Royalty:

Hidden inside the dreaded Everfree Forest are the forgotten ruins of the former home of the Princesses. It is a huge structure of stone and has almost completely broken down over the centuries. Once, Celestia and Luna lived there together, having established it as their capital. But those days of splendour ended when Luna was consumed by jealousy and became Nightmare Moon who tried to slay her beloved sister. Much of the castle was destroyed and Luna was banished to the Moon, but Celestia was overcome with sorrow. She and the entire court abandoned the castle, leaving behind nothing but painful memories.

The location is avoided almost entirely by ponies, for it is rumoured to be haunted by the dreaded Pony of Shadows. Those few who have dared to enter the ruins have quickly become lost in the labyrinthine hallways of stone, watched by statues of stone dragons eroded by centuries of rain. They will also quickly discover the numerous hidden passages and traps that Princess Luna had commissioned for her amusement, and possibly stumble upon the personal library of Princess Celestia, or what remains of it.

The Elements of Harmony were hidden in the castle before Nightmare Moon's return, after which they were retrieved by the Wielders of the Elements. In a ravine near the castle is a cave with the Tree of Harmony, planted by the ancient Pillars of Old Equestria a thousand years ago. It is a magical tree which controls and contains the Everfree Forest, and held the Elements before they were used by the Princesses to defeat Discord. After Princess Luna's return, there were some talks of renovating the castle, but the site has remained abandoned.



The Home of the Revolution:

Originally Stalliongrad was known as Princessyn, the capital of the northeastern Severyana region. It had been a relatively small town before the Industrial Revolution, when the abundant natural resources of the region allowed it to grow massively. Within centuries, it was one of the largest cities in Equestria, a thriving center of industry always covered in thick smog, especially during cold winters.

Yet the growth of the city had a dark side. Its workers were mistreated and discontent grew. Due to its distance from the capital, Princess Celestia remained unaware of the tension before it was too late. The workers revolted, inspired by the writings of Caramel Marks and led by Steel Stallion, and seceded from Equestria in the Winter Revolution.

After Steel Stallion died from illness, the Supreme Soviet renamed Princessyn in his memory to Stalliongrad, which remains the city's name to this day. Nowadays Stalliongrad is a proletarian city, with any remains of capitalism erased. Gone are the houses of the merchants, the markets and the shops, the colourful adverts and the luxurious cars. It is now exclusively the city of smokestacks, factories, apartment blocks, machines, cogs, smoke and steel. In the center stands the imposing Palace of the Soviets, a grand project that has been years in the making, a testament to the industriousness and ambition of the Stalliongradian proletariat.


The Window to the East:

Throughout its history, the port of Petershoof has been Severyana's gateway to the world, and occasionally functioned as its capital. Named after the mythical ruler of pre-Equestrian Severyana, Tsar Peter, it is a major shipping port and shipyard, and a center of commerce. From this strategically important warm-water port, the resources and goods produced inland are shipped abroad.

Despite two revolutions, the Industrial revolution and the Winter revolution, the city retains its classical look especially in its historic city center, with most buildings made out of brick and stone. Countless monuments dot the city, the most notable one being the Bronze Horse, a statue depicting Tsar Peter himself. On the outskirts of the city are more modern apartment blocks and industrial factories.

Alongside Princessyn, now known as Stalliongrad, Petershoof was another major center of resistance which sparked the Winter Revolution. The sailors in the city's naval base mutinied and revolted against the Princess' rule and seized control of the city with the help of factory workers, joining the newly formed Soviet Republic afterwards. There have been talks of demolishing the "monarchist" monuments of the city, but their cultural and historical value have so far been deemed too significant.

Our Town

Starlight's Town

The Birthplace of Equalism:

Formerly known as Our Town, and sometimes known as "The Town With No Name", Starlight's Town has since struggled to find a fitting name for itself. Its founder, Starlight Glimmer, built the first houses of the town with her followers. She had gathered a small but loyal following with her fiery speeches and desired to make her dreams a reality. One day she gathered her followers and travelled past Stalliongrad. There, she had received a small amount of land in a dry valley from the Supreme Soviet, who tolerated her radical ideology, Equalism, and were sympathetic to her cause.

Using her magical powers, Starlight Glimmer forcibly removed the cutie marks of her followers, erasing their talents and making them perfectly equal. No one was superior in Our Town, and everyone behaved almost identically. Yet in secret, Starlight kept her cutie mark and acted as the town's firm leader who ruled with an iron hoof.

The equalist experiment came to an end when the Wielders of the Elements discovered the town and unveiled Starlight's secrets. They revealed the hidden vault where the magically-extracted cutie marks were hoarded by Starlight. When the inhabitants had realized their leader was a fraud and saw how much happier ponies with cutie marks are, they lost faith in equalism and drove Starlight out of town.

Nowadays the town is a peaceful and pleasant place, with everypony being proud of their talents. The Sunset Festival is held every year, and a tree grows where Starlight's house once stood.

Nova Griffonia


The Griffenheim of the West:

Originally built on the site of an ancient, migration-era pony site, Weter was the first settlement the Griffonian Empire founded on Equus, and its city charter came directly from Emperor Grover I. While initially little more than a military outpost meant to control the strait to the north, it rapidly grew from the various explorers and ambitious settlers who saw Nova Griffonia as the place to build a new life beyond the confines of the empire. Weter became one of the main ports of entry in the region, leading to a population explosion during the late 800s and early 900s that took Weter from a small frontier town to an actual city. It became considered "The Gateway to the West" and hundreds of thousands have entered Equus through the Weter Harbor, hoping for a new life in Nova Griffonia.

While Nova Griffonia is an immense region, most of it remains frontier regions. Weter, near uniquely, is more like Griffonia than the rest of the nation, with tighly packed old-style buildings near the city centre and an opulent gubernatorial palace overlooking a city plaza in which a statue of Grover I stands. Further out, however, the Griffonian veneer fades quickly, and already at the outskirts of the city one can see the more uniquely Nova Griffonian identity spring forth. This has always been Weter's role in these lands though; to stand as the link between Nova Griffonia and the old homeland, enforce imperial order and ensure that this rugged and harsh land far from Griffenheim remains a testament to the Griffonian Empire's drive and ambition."

Nouveau Aquila

The Home of the Brave:

Before Nova Griffonia and before Weter, Nouveau Aquila was established at the mouth of the Dulli River. In the beginning, it was little more than a camp for Rilan fishergriffs and whalers on their journeys, allowing for a safe place of rest after weeks at sea. However, over time trade with the local ponies and yaks meant that more and more Aquileian griffs stayed there permanently, creating a small, sprawling town outside of official Aquileian control.

When Aquileia fell to the Griffonian Empire, it was both a great boon and a great trial for Nouveau Aquila. Thousands of Aquileian refugees, many of them wealthy merchants and nobles, made their way to the town and carried their wealth with them, more than doubling the population and increasing the town's wealth many times over. Yet, at the same time Nouveau Aquila had had time to develop its own political system of elected mayors and a town council, a system that clashed with the royalist leanings of many of the newcomers. In the end, it was the arrival of Griffonian Empire's fleet and the demand for subjugation under the new colony of Nova Griffonia that stopped things from exploding into outright fighting.

As Griffonian settlers began to arrive in the town as well, the Aquileian refugees chose to keep to themselves, creating what would become known as The Aquileian Quarter, a district of the city that even to this day has a clear Aquileian feel to it in everything from the cuisine to the architecture and even the language. In some ways, this region has kept hold of old cultural artefacts from the old kingdom more than Aquileia ever has.

Also, ever since its inclusion into Nova Griffonia, the city has considered itself the actual heart of Nova Griffonia, viewing Weter as a colonialist overlord not truly part of the colony. Nouveau Aquilan Griffons have always been eager to settle the deeper regions of the colony, explore new opportunities, serve in the Nova Griffonian militias and however they can leave a mark on their homeland. Weter may the Griffonian Charter, but these descendants of those Aquileian refugees and fishers have worked tirelessly to create their own niches. Weter remains true to the old homeland, Nouveau Aquila embraces the Nova Griffonian way of life. Weter is a hub of agriculture and industry, Nouveau Aquila makes a niche for itself in steelworks and logging. Weter builds a university, Nouveau Aquila will erect a grand theatre. One can call Nouveau Aquila proud, stubborn or spiteful maybe, but nogriff can ever call it lazy, cowardly or sedate.



The Old Sailor:

Situated at the mouth of a river and overlooking the Rich Sea, Cervus has been one of the major naval hubs for the Olenian deer. The Jarls of Cervus, at times preferred trading and at others raiding. Each year the fleet of longships would sail from the harbour towards far off shores, and bring back the wealth of distant shores. Cervus grew rich and the fine woodcarving of her buildings would soon be supplemented with gold, silver and gemstones. Many of the old wooden homes and halls still form the centre of the city, with the Jarls' Great Hall forming the absolute crown jewel of the city, a massive wooden hall, whose ornaments, are trophies from ancient times.

However, the age of raiding is long gone and Cervus is now a modern city. After a population boom, the city has grown into the industrial heart of Olenia, with apartment blocks and factories surrounding the historic centre. Most of the initial factories belong to the Cervus Industrial Corporation, a conglomerate holding much sway over local politics and a big supplier to the Olenian government. Despite the encroachment of modernity, the harbour is still a pleasant site to visit, with modern transport ships sailing to and fro and many of the historic longboats still being kept in shipshape tradition by the locals.


The Seat of House Jelzek:

Hjortland is the proud capital of Olenia. The place where the gods of the land are honoured and where the bravest warriors and explorers charted the oceans from. Many sages begin or end here and many a tall tale too! It is the cultural heart of the Olenians and even an object of imagination and fantasy for those deer whose ancestors departed from her shores long ago.

Occupying the easternmost stretch of a large peninsula, Hjortland’s location is highly defensible while occupying a central location among the ever important Olenian south coast. As the seat of the House of Jelzek, Hjortland is the natural capital of the country. The Kings of Olenia occupy the Palace in Hjortland, built with a mix of Equestrian and Olenian styles, giving the building an appearance of modernity while not totally abandoning the Olenian woodworking traditions. The palace is only one of the traditional centres of Olenian politics, however, but the fate of the other hangs in the balance still. The Riksdag, also known as the Eduskunta, used to be the Olenian parliament. However, with the rise of King Johan, the Riksdag has been suspended for the time being, leaving the building a slowly rotting carcass, which some would whisper is representative of the country after the King's unorthodox ascension.


The Shores of Luna Bay:

Vaverfront is the largest city east of Hjortland and has a peculiar success story. Located on the sheltered Bay named after the Equestrian princess Luna, the city sits almost directly across from Vanhoover on calm waters. As a port, Vaverfront used to be mostly known for the lumber export to Equestria, along with the export of wooden carvings and toys for the ponies. The almost endless supply of northern trees has ensured that the industry remains lucrative. One of the most well-known lumber exporters is a company known as Lokia, based in Vaverfront. Recently, the lumber giant has sets its eyes on new technology, however. With its many contacts in the technologically advanced Equestria, Lokia has managed to hire experts in electronic technology and is adamant on researching the potential of electronic machinery and ‘computers’. Whether the gamble will pay off remains to be seen.

Whatever the case, Vaverfront enjoys a relatively mild climate and prosperity from the wood trade and emerging business of electronics. Most recently, many communication companies have moved to the city, which now hosts a lot of the country’s radio stations.


The Viking Harbour:

Accoring to Olenian sagas, Sakara is one of the oldest cities in Olenia, founded when a Jarl threw his axe into the sky and saw it land on the shore. Here, he chose to build his home, and soon his followers settled next to him. Within centuries the settlement had grown into a trading port.

Sakara is best known for its historical role in the western Viking expansion. Many of the deer who settled in Austurland and Hindia, who raided the coasts of Griffonia and Zebrica, called Sakara their home. So much wood around the city was used for building longboats that entire forests were cut down. The exotic wealth of far away lands made Sakara a truly prosperous place, the greatest city in Olenia.

But all that was many centuries ago. Now, Sakara is a city known for its wooden buildings which have a tendency to burn down once a century. Modernity first arrived in eastern Olenia, and Sakara was always slow to adapt. As such, the city is a conservative stronghold in Olenia, its inhabitants still clinging to their old traditions and retelling the same old sagas about conquests of distant lands. Yet even Sakara cannot avoid industrialisation, as the city's merchants have opened many new factories in the city's outskirts in recent years. Time will tell if the city will ever learn to let go of its past.

Changeling Lands


The Hauptstadt:

Enter the gargantuan hive-city from the north and see a city under riveting change, look up to the Royal Spire and the older city core, there, you will see the new eating into the old. Enter the Royal Spire as a visitor and be prepared to be searched in every nook and cranny for the suspicion that you’re a spy or something worse.

Once you’re finished with being violated in rights and principle by the guards, look closely at the new architecture inside. The columns and the rooms are, despite the aged look from the outside, brand new, and the conversations are not about who to oppress, but rather how to best prepare for the final war. The outskirts of the city reflects this too. While there were once fields, now massive industrial complexes and tenements tower there, all less than a decade old. They are the symbol of what the Changelings can do together, provided they have a common enemy. And yet, problems are teeming in the city. After the unification of the changeling race, the city has perhaps grown too quickly for its own good, becoming one of the largest cities in the world. Many apartment spires and homes are overcrowded and in serious need of new suburbs and satellite towns to offload their excess population to. To make matters worse for Chrysalis, the new course has not been popular with all and hushed voices speak of a resistance to her. But the hypothetical opposition had better be wary. The Queen’s Guard patrol the streets, hunting down any sign of dissent.

But for a time, take to the skies and look down upon the city. You can clearly distinguish the old from the new, with the old core being slowly ‘eaten’ by the urban renewal taking place. And yet, you can see the march of progress. New machines in the streets and in the fields, new fashions and societal ideas in the halls of power, and new ideas of warfare and destruction in the armed forces. Truly, Vesalipolis is a microcosm of the Changelings.


The White Port:

The Hive of Dytrisium was one of the first to ally with Vesalipolis when the hives were being unified, which paid of immensely for the port city. It is located at the far end of a protective fjord, allowing ships natural shelter from the elements. As one of the major commercial hubs for the changelings, Dytrisium is the link of the Changeling Lands to the outside world. It is also where the changelings are preparing their advancements in naval warfare. Drones buzz endlessly around the dry-docks to manufacture warships for the hives. In heavy concrete bunkers, meanwhile, the U-boot fleet hides in the deepest secrecy. The exact size and scale of the submarine operations are a state-secret of the highest order.

Surprisingly for a changeling hive, Dytrisium does have some more colourful elements, perhaps the foreign ships coming into port do help spread some cheerful influences. The city is relatively wealthy, courtesy of Queen Helvia and her predecessor lobbying successfully for commercial investments into the hive. Nowadays, most of the changelings in the city work to maintain the Grand Changeling Armada based in Dytrisium’s naval base, a fleet which the changeling admiralty hopes will one day best the Equestrians on the high seas. Thus, although Dytrisium might be the changeling hive benefiting the most from outside contacts, it too is being repurposed towards the all-encompassing war effort of Queen Chrysalis.


The Old Warrior:

For the longest time Vraks and Vesalipolis have been rivals on the battlefield. For centuries, the changelings of Vraks have fought against their bigger northern neighbour with all their might. Sensing weakness in Queen Chrysalis, the hive led a full on assault on her home, which was only barely beaten back by the Queen. Years later, Vraks would be humiliated and finally put down and Vesalipolis would become the changeling metropole. The Vrakkians have now accepted the hegemony of Chrysalis, accepting her strength and excited to battle new enemies.

Under the rule of Queen Argynnis, Vraks has used its martial prowess to become the backbone of the changeling military and the centre of her war production. Black clouds of smoke continuously envelop the city, the result of a massive military industrial complex which covers a good third of the city. In Vraks, the barracks for the soldiers are almost indistinguishable from the houses of the factory workers, a matter of great pride for the city’s inhabitants. All work for the soldiers, who in turn serve the hive. The only truly remarkable structures in the city are monuments to past battles, most of which are concentrated on a massive square called “The Field of Glory”.

A perceptive observer might note that the Field is not yet completely filled.


The Silent Hive:

The Hive of Lyctida lies in the middle of thick forests, and with the smoke from factories and lumber mills, the city is always a bit dark and at night, the moon and stars have difficulty illuminating the Black Hive. Lyctida is a sombre place, but for many changelings, it is still home. The hivelings are bugs of few words, preferring the company of machinery or the solitude of the forests. With the streets silent, the scenery drab and the company stoic, Lyctida receives few visitors.

Only once has a sizeable group of foreigners visited, but this was with unfriendly intentions. Olenian zealots once tried to assault the city, in the name of their violent gods. Only with the timely intervention of Queen Chrysalis were the deer driven from the forest hive. This incident earned Chrysalis the loyalty of the Silent Hive and its Queen. Now the humming of the factories creates a new melody, the march to war.


The Lady of the Lake:

Far to the northeast, on the shores of the Key Lake, Soryth stretches out. The sprawling hive is built in what the changelings would consider a non-crowded way, but for other creatures, even Soryth might feel cramped still. Key Lake is the reason why so many changelings endure the cold winters of the north of Equus and it is the city’s most valuable resource. For some unknown reason, the lake exhibits magical properties, making it a valued object for study and a source of clear drinking water.

The city itself straddles the coast of the lake and is way longer than it is wide, with most changelings preferring to live as close to the waterfront as possible. Luckily, waterborne transportation makes it easy to move from one side of the city to the other and the lake is always filled with boats of all shapes and sizes. Because of the northern climate and the relative lack of industry, the air is clear and the city itself feels clean and tidy, a reprieve from some of the more industrialised hives. The main point of interest is the Soryth University of Magic, an institution devoted to the study of the changelings’ innate magical abilities, as well as the understanding of the properties of Key Lake. With the promise of increased funding and plenty of field testing for her magical research, Queen Yaria of Soryth joined Chrysalis without a fight.

Polar Bear Communities

Mathair Fearainn

The Scyfling Hold:

When one uses a term "hold", one would assume a small fortress, perhaps some castle of old. Yet the capital hold of Clan Scyfling is no such mere thing. Like a giant cobweb the great hold covers leagues upon leagues upon leagues of territory. For from the centre of the hold, which has now grown into the first true city of the bears, which rests upon a peninsula that juts into the frozen seas of the North, the great raised roads of ice plunge across the northern wastes. And after tens, if not hundreds, of kilometres they end in smaller holds of their own. A great time ago these holds were connected by an outside wall, one that lays mostly ruined these days. For what powers or numbers maintained it cannot be found in the modern clan.

And yet despite this great size, one that would dwarf even the greatest cities of griffons and ponies, much of this land between the true hold and outer walls is empty. Much of it remains wastes, only sometimes interrupted with farmer settlements for the whelps that take care of tubers and roots, and holds and holdings of clanless bears. Even rarer still are statues and shrines to All-Father, many of them enduring even as holds or settlements they were part of turned into ash and dust.

So great is this vastness is that there are lands that were not marched upon by ursine armies. While usually such lands are merely more ice and snow and taiga, there are rumours of great abominable beasts and singular creatures, older than the current bear civilization that dwell within.

Yet after Paw Wellington returned from his exile this great vastness is being transformed. For slowly more and more holds are raised and built by bears attracted to the lands by the great experiment of ursine unity. And the first city of ursines is expanding. While it's merely a dream now, some claim, that perhaps in merely a few generations, the largest of all cities will rise from the fortified skeleton of Clan Scyfling's capital hold.


The Svartpels Hold:

Higher, higher, higher! Like a titanic spear-tip does the hold of infamous bear Clan Svartpels rise into the heavens. By what powers and technologies did the bears of the clan forge such a great structure is not known, but somehow they raised a behemoth of ice and stone and steel so high that it dwarfs modern skyscrapers of Equestria, if not in height, then certainly in bulk.

While this is not the only fortress of the Clan and not even where most of the bears belonging to this group live, it is considered a physical symbol of their values and strength. It is said that the fortress has never fallen to storm of nature or storm of swords. An impressive claim, as the great hold stands in a region endlessly plagued by storms. It is rumoured that §Dlightning§! strikes the starsteel rod that rises at the very top of the hold daily in an imitation of Clan Svartpels elder and warlord initiation ritual.

Within this great fortress it is said that there are great spaces dedicated for warlords and warriors to rest and train, entire armories of ancient panserbjørn armor and the great traditional axes of bearkind. Even such things as forges and manufactories exist within its great halls, enough to equip an army in merely a year.

And finally, it is rumoured, that deep, deep, deep beneath the earth does the hold stretch, perhaps as large below as above. And it is here that the great Svartpels archives are located, where thousands of years of ursine history its warlords and despots and tyrants, its cultures and methods of war are all documented. Yet only the ursine magi-scribes and clan elders are allowed here and no foreigner has ever been allowed here under punishment of death.

Yak Mathan Criche

The Volsungr Hold:

To carve a city into a mountain would be an ambition of a madpony. For it would require countless resources for little gain and little worth, for so much would have to be done to ensure basic functions and needs of a city, much less a capital. Yet whatever madness drove the lords of Old Volsungr, they did it it. And thus for whoever knows how long, Clan Volsungr has called a great fortress beneath the mountains of Yak Mathan Criche their home.

One would believe with the perilous location - mountains filled with monsters, only kept back by Nanook wanderers, and the horrible monsters that cover the Yak Mathan Criche - would mean that the hold is merely a project of prestige, a tiny shelter carved in the mountain. Yet that would be wrong, for if one entered the main hold of Clan Volsungr, they would find kilometres upon kilometres of tunnels and halls and rooms carved into the earth and where tens of thousands of bears endure great swathes of their lives in the dark.

No foreigner knows how deep the tunnels go, how many great underground forges, mushroom and tuber farms, underground rivers and even mines for metals and crystals can be found within its great emptiness. And if one asks exiles of Clan Volsungr, nobody knows how many and what sort of creatures dwell within those endless depths. Of course, the boisterous bears ensure that such abominations can always be forced back to the dark.

Yet one weakness that this great underground fortress has, despite all the farms and rivers beneath, it cannot be sustained from its own food production and must rely on Volsungr farms in the far more temperate lands of Wesslandia. Thus for all the boasting and all the power, Clan Volsungr cannot endure for long if their mountain is besieged, yet what besieger could survive a ten thousand bear sally forth...



The Home of the Yaks:

Yakistown has been the traditional capital of Yakyakistan for countless centuries. It has been the home of the King, the court and the Council of Elders. Nestled in the Yakis valley, it is a town of wooden huts with thatched roofs, surrounded by a wooden palisade. Yet ever since Yakyakistan ended its long isolation from the world, one may see an occasional imported industrial product from Equestria which is out of place, and those who use them are disdained by others. This signals a deeper division in Yak society which recently caused the Jak secession.

The most notable landmarks of the town are the two giant statues at its entrance, depicting a yak and a jak holding shields and torches, symbolising the unity of the two tribes. After the devastating avalanche of 1005, they were the only structures left standing, as the rest of the city had to be rebuilt from nothing with Equestrian aid. When walking on the snowy streets, one may hear the loud music of the yovidaphone, or the sound of yaks smashing objects for their personal enjoyment. While yaks may seem to distrust foreigners, in truth they will respect visitors as long as they respect their unique culture.

The Crystal Empire

Crystal City

The Beating Heart:

One of the largest cities of the world, it is often said that without Crystal City, there would be no Crystal Empire. It is a massive urban area inhabited by millions of crystal ponies, and is a center of culture and industry. However, before 1002 ALB, it did not even exist.

Over a thousand years ago, Crystal City was founded as the capital of the Empire, ruled by Princess Amore, the first ruler. Back then, the annual tradition of the Crystal Faire was established, and the magical Crystal Heart discovered. Together, these two kept the ponies' spirits high, and protected the city from Umbrum and the cold north. But then King Sombra slew the Princess and seized power, forcefully moving much of the populace into the City to work as slaves. Equestria intervened, and before his defeat Sombra cast a curse on the Empire, making it disappear for a thousand years.

After the end of the curse and the return of the city, the locals have had difficulty adapting to modernity. But thanks to Equestria's aid and the rulership of Princess Cadance, the city is industrialising quickly, with cars driving on the shining crystal streets.

Notable sights of the city include the Crystal Castle, home of the royalty which houses the Crystal Heart, the Amethyst University with its grand library, the famed Spa, and lastly, the huge Crystal Stadium, built for the Equestria Games which were held in the city in 1003 ALB.




The City of Chivalry:

If one wants to experience the idealistic vision of old Griffonia, with its knights and tourneys and great heroes, there is no more emblematic place of that age than Turhamn, the great City of Chivalry.

Nestled away in Sky Bay, Turhamn has served as the capital of the isolated Kingdom of Vedina for centuries, hosting kings and legends both great and evil. The home of the Knights of Vedina, some of the most chivalrous and adept warriors in all of Griffonia, the city of Turhamn is a beacon of tradition and brilliance. Statues of the great heroes and kings of Vedina adorn every park and palace, and worshippers of the Vedinian patron saint, the Wise Lady, can be seen flocking to Vedina in the thousands to pay homage to her wisdom and generosity.

However, Turhamn, like the rest of Vedina, is emblematic of a larger problem - industrial centers now rise over the palaces and knightly barracks of Vedina's nobility and protectors, and the once-proud citizens of Turhamn have grown complacent and materialistic. Shops, taverns, and centers of debauchery have sprung up in the lowest places of Turhamn, and its once-grand nobility has forced to scheme and plot in the shadows. The people, who once worshipped their rulers as God-Kings themselves, blessed by Boreas and the Wise Lady, now have begun to riot for the rights and freedoms expected of Vedina's harmonic system.

Looks can be deceiving, and Turhamn's noble air and idealistic vision, to many, is only a facade.


New Skynavia

The Northern Star:

Even whilst the last Republican remnants were still being wiped out in the Herzland, and as Kemerskai's warlords struggled to consolidate their exiled regime in Cloudbury, the ideals of the First Griffonian Revolution had already been long dead; its rotten principles of militarism, statism, and bourgeois liberalism had provided no providence against the resurgent Imperial counterattack.

Sickleclaw's Internationalists would have none of Kemerskai's degenerate revisionism, nor could they bring themselves to adopt the disunited isolationism of their Communalist counterparts. Upon the foundations of some unnamed tribal settlement, they would set about the realisation of their egalitarian vision, made manifest in the brick and mortar of their home - the city of New Skynavia, a bastion of progress and idealism reclaimed from the primitive wastes of the far north.

The houses are plain but sturdy, short yet spacious, and the asceticism of their furnishings are rendered inconsequential, within a society premised upon the tenets of usufruct. New Skynavia may not have palaces or skyscrapers, but neither are there slums or ghettoes.

Up north, there is little beauty to be found - not in the frigid wastes of the vast tundra, nor within the drab neighbourhoods of New Skynavia. Here, nothing is beautiful - nothing but the faces.

We have nothing but that, nothing, but each other.

Griffonian Republic


The Refuge of the Exiles:

According to legend, the first ruling lord of Cloudbury, Erik the Wise, founded the grand city due to the godly clouds swarming around the town, which he believed to be a sign from Boreas. Perhaps it was, for Cloudbury prospered for centuries as the namesake and capital of the Duchy of Cloudbury. Prosperity came to its cloudy hills and plains, but when the Griffonian Empire arrived, the Duchy slowly fell into decline. Cloudbury became decrepit and reliant on Imperial aid, and when the Empire fell, economic and social depression took its toll on the city.

However, when Alexander Kemerskai, exiled President-Marshal of the Griffonian Republic arrived, he revitalized Cloudbury as a center of his new Republic in the North. Cloudbury was urbanized and reformed, and Republican exiles poured into the city, leading to it becoming one of the first Republican cities to reach over 50% Herzlander literacy. Although smog now blots out much of the pleasant cloudy skies of Cloudbury and those speaking Cloudburian are seldom seen, it has become a bustling center of industry, and its close proximity to many rivers has allowed it to ferry trade west to the greater Republican ports.

In recent years, Cloudbury has become influenced by the Left Wing of the National Republican Party, as intellectuals and workers alike flock to Rikard Astler's democratic socialist camp, which promises a truly free and equal Republic free from Kemerskai's meddling influence. Despite the Republic's political differences, however, the Tricolour still flies over the presidential palace of Cloudbury as it has for 30 years - and under our great Republican dream, it shall never fall.

Griffonian Empire


The Imperial City:

Despite the decline of the Griffonian Empire, Griffenheim itself retains much of its size and prosperity, being the largest city in Herzland. Indeed, the city's elaborate architecture and its grand buildings are an echo of the glory days of the Empire. However, when one takes a closer look and walks on the streets, there are no massive crowds of griffons from all over the continent like before, the markets sell local products with very few if any exotic luxuries, and the military parades of the Reichsarmee are not what they used to be.

The city was founded by Emperor Grover I himself as a capital for his newborn Empire. He chose the marshland in the confluence of the grand Grifking river and put thousands of prisoners of war to work draining it. Within a decade Griffenheim had become a rapidly growing center of trade, administration, religion and industry. Even the Archonate of Boreas was moved from Griffonstone to Griffenheim, a decision which remains controversial to this day. As the city grew, it expanded to the other sides of the rivers, requiring gigantic bridges to be built across them. They remain remarkable achievements of construction and are among the longest ones in the world. There are dozens of them, with the latest one being a railway bridge commissioned by Emperor Grover V.

The capital of the Empire retains the massive state apparatus and the infrastructure required to support it, despite the greatly diminished size of the nation. The Imperial Palace is the beating heart of the city, a huge collection of ornate buildings dedicated to housing the Emperor and his vast court. Near it are countless ministries and bureaucratic offices, green gardens and parks, army barracks and famed military academies. The largest single building in the city is the Grand Temple of Boreas, home of the Archon and one of the most important religious sites of all griffonkind, attracting thousands of pilgrims every year. Surrounding the center of the city are manors of the Imperial nobility, educational facilities, market squares and an ocean of apartments and workshops.



The Gateway of Griffonia:

Nestled in the Griffking estuary, Rottendedam has always been Feathisia’s natural harbour city, locked in a fierce rivalry with Skyfall over being Griffonia’s most important port. The further one sails up the Griffking towards the city-centre, the less modern the piers and cranes become, telling a story of the expanding maritime trade pushing the harbour ever-further out towards the sea. For centuries, the wealth of distant parts of the world has flown into this port, the fruits of the labour of Feathisian explorers, traders and at times, conquerors.

However, not every Rottendedammer has profited equally from the city’s success, and especially with the fading fortunes of the Griffonian Empire, the city’s poor have become radicalised. Meanwhile, a significant foreign quarter of ponies live in relative luxury, causing jealousy exploited by the country’s nationalist politicians. Home of the Fetisisch Nationalistisch Verbond, a party which would rather see the gate of Feathisia being shut, the city is two-faced indeed.

More notable sites of the city include the Vlootacademie, where many imperial admirals were trained, the Colonial Quarters, where administrators and military personnel are trained for duty in the Zebrides and the gigantic Vismarkt, the fish market-hall near the harbour, where thrifty Feathisians brave the penetrating smell to haggle with the merchants.


The City of Canals:

Mirabelle is a region named for her plums, is an area in northern Feathisia on both banks of the Griffking and bordering both the historical duchies of Cloudbury and Strawberry. Most beings associate the name more with the city, but those outside the city, especially in Grieslein claim that the city of Mirabelle is named after the region and not the other way around.

Mirabelle city is the industrial titan of Feathisia, a city whose population exploded due to the industrial revolution. The historical centre is based on rings of canals, lined by the houses of rich merchants, build in the Feathisian style with stair-step gables. The canals house fairs and markets in winter, when the water freezes over. In older times, the top floor was used for storing merchandise, but nowadays those are stored near the factories. In the city centre one finds a marvellous late-imperial style train station and the Grand-Ducal museum, housing artefacts from the Zebrides and works by Feathisian painters.

The neatly kept squares, monuments and canals, which are home to the higher and middle class, are encased by the square and planned industrial neighbourhoods that emerged with the advent of the steam-age. A sea of small brick houses for workers build against each other houses most of the Mirabelleans and in these neighbourhoods of the working class the Partij van de Arbeid finds her supporters. It is not uncommon for workers here to get a union card as a gift from their parents when they become an adult and many prominent PvdA politicians have their roots in Mirabelle, including the radical Rozenkamp brothers.

Outisde of the city, Feathisian farmers farm the famous Mirabel plums and the other food for the city, not much concerned with the goings-on of the city. Further downstream on the Griffking is the provincial city of Grieslein, which never grew to such proportions as Mirabelle, but has been the historical capital of the region. For those who cannot stand the air in Mirabelle, Grieslein offers a welcome reprieve. Proper and unremarkable in every way, it is a typical small Feathisian city, where most of the griffons support either the Fetisisch Hertogelijke Partij or the Liberaal Democratische Partij.

De Vleugels

The Hofstad:

De Vleugels is the ancient seat of the Weijermars family, once no more than a castle defending one of the crossing over the Griffking river. Over time, through prudent expansion, the Weijermars family became the ruling family of Feathisia, making De Vleugels the capital. The town would grow into the largest city of Feathisia, rising with her lords and profiting from being the seat of government and from increased trade over the Griffking in the imperial days. To the west of the city are the ducal woods, property of the Weijermars family and used for hunting and recreation by the nobility.

The ancient castle is now gone, replaced by a more modern manor as the residence for the Grand Duke. Around it, straddled on the west bank of the Griffking, through small and winding streets, the city stretches out. In the centre, close to the manor, are the many offices and buildings required to run a modern state. Ministries, administration, the tax service, the High Court.

Most importantly, however, is the Volkshof, the Feathisian parliament. The series of buildings are built around a small court and house the representatives of the Feathisian people. Originally, the Volkshof was there to house the General Estates, representatives from merchants, nobles and the prelates. As Feathisia reformed into a democracy, however, the old buildings were renovated to become the symbol of the new power of the people. However, even this hof, or court, is not the reason why De Vleugels is called the Hofstad. At the time when the city grew in power and size, the Southern-Griffonian styles were in fashion, as the Empire had recently subdued that part of Griffonia. Thus, many houses or groups of houses were built around smaller or larger courts or inner gardens, while still retaining the Feathisian brick houses, making the city a unique blend of southern ideas with northern materials.



Land of Strawberries and Wine:

Strawberry Duchy is a land known across the Empire for it's exotic strawberry wines, but within it's own borders, there is no wine more prestigious than Readewetter Royal Red. Travelers come from far and wide to sample the finest vintages, and indeed it is a sign of wealth among the commoners for the family to have their own unopened bottle on display in the common room. But while travelers may be drawn to Readewetter for drink, they often find much more waiting for them within its walls.

For while much of the Empire was left scarred by the fires of the Griffonian Revolution, Readewetter emerged largely unscathed. The fighting was done in distant provinces, and the veterans of the old conflict returned home to cheers of adoration. As the curious visitor enters the city through the Knight's Arch, statues of valiant Strawberry griffons adorned in gleaming armor look down on them, the alternating flags of the Empire and the Duchy fluttering in the wind above.

From there the inquisitive traveler is free to explore one of the cultural peaks of the Empire. What the city lacks in modern industry, it more than makes up for it with merry charm. Musicians line the streets, singing out the latest gossip or news while hobbyist vintners exchange their latest vintages in open-air cafes. In the Strawberry Quarter, vibrantly dressed merchants argue with equally colorful salesgriffs as to the exact value of each barrel of wine, their tasting spoons gleaming in the sun like dueling daggers. Extravagant homes compete for attention in the Noble's Quarter, where each noble family proudly displays their colors and crest on intricate tapestries. And most magnificent of all, the Duchess's Estate watches from the banks of the Brantbeak River, it's hedge maze open to all comers who might seek the delectable strawberry bushes hidden inside.

Yes, Strawberry is a land of wine, but in Readewetter the traveler learns that it is so much more.



The City of the Bronze Cross:

Bronzekreuz was a small mountain town in the north of the Empire when the land was granted by Emperor Grover II to a large band of escaped Diamond Dog slaves. The town was chosen by Eisen Freehound, the first Count of Bronzehill, to be his capital due to the large bronze-coloured mountain that rose over the town to the north. The mountain was renamed Mount Grover and the dogs quickly set to work carving a grand city under its southern face.

Unique in its blend of North Griffonian and Diamond Dog architecture, the city is a centre of art and crafts, the goldwork and gems created by the hounds of the city are renowned throughout the Empire. The landmarks of the city include the grand Wiesetreffen theatre, Emperor Grover II Park, and Kar-Friz, the Royal Palace and underground city founded by Count Eisen Freehound. Inside the grand façade of Kar-Friz is a vast marbled hallway lined with bronze and gold, at its far end a 60-meter-tall statue of Emperor Gorver II sits in a throne looking down on all who enter.

In recent times, many new industries have been popping up on the outskirts of the city, often owned by Griffenheim-based entrepreneurs and industrialists. These new industries have brought many hounds and griffons to the city in search of new jobs. However, there are concerned growing about the quality of life these new workers receive and the desire to reduce costs and increase production is damaging the reputation of quality that Bronzehill has long been famous for.



The Worst Place in Griffonia:

Many places have known better days, yet it is arguable if Katerinburg has ever known worse days. Once the city was the site of the old Katernii Kingdom, whose power was famed throughout Herzland and beyond. Under the Grimclaw dynasty of kings, the Katernii's power reached even into the Riverlands for some time, and great wealth flowed to the capitol from its rhinestone industries and its position to tax all trade flowing down the Griffking. In addition, its distinct warrior traditions and its law codes made it a notable power in the region, one that could well have been a threat to the rising Griffonian Empire.

Alas, the Katernii fell not on the battlefield, but due to treason. A local noble family swore allegiance to the new, rising power of the Herzland in secrecy. With their help, the Katernii army was subverted and outmanouvered, ensuring that the old kingdom died not with a bang, but a whimper. For their service, this family was given the lands of Katerin, taking the name von Katerinburg after the city. As a part of the Griffonian Empire, however, the entire region became looked upon as a backwater. Its warrior culture slowly withered, its industries were outclassed by Griffenheim's and in the end, all that was left was an impoverished region and a city struggling to get by.

It was only when he Revolution of 978 struck, however, that Katerin's fate truly was sealed. A combination of high taxes, harsh landlords and mismanagement by the von Katerinburgs led to a brutal peasant uprising that saw large parts of the city devastated and most of the von Katerinburg family lynched. In the wake, with the ascension of Diellza von Katerinburg to the throne, things turned yet again for the worse. After a few years and in a fit of paranoia, Diellza ordered the entire city relocated from its historical site deeper into the swamps. This move has all but bankrupted the already struggling nation, and Katerinburg has ever since been slowly put back together again in lands that seem like it want to swallow it whole. Many of the charms of the old city has been long gone, and Katerinburg struggles merely to survive in its current situation and location.


The Scheißwald

The Forest of Mud and Darkness:

Few places in all of Griffonia has been as stubborn in its resistance to being tamed as the dark, foreboding forest known as The Scheißwald. Though situated right in the backyard of the Griffonian Empire, it has never quite let go of the region despite centuries of efforts from the Griffons. Instead it has lingered, offering sanctuary for outlaws, madgriffs and countless monsters, many of who are still not fully documented by Griffonian zoologists.

Its name speaks volumes of its place in the Griffonian consciousness. Whereas the Everfree Forest in Equus has earned fear and a modicum of respect from the ponies living close to it, the Scheißwald is cursed as a place of death and danger, with mud so thick and fetid that it has been described as wading through excrement up to your hips. The stench blowing from it during spring and autumn from this mud can travel for dozens of miles on the winds. In fact, an apocrypical tale claims that Griffenheim was founded where Grover I could "no longer neither smell the fetid mud nor hear the vicious roars emanating from those accursed woods."

Despite its vicious reputation, the Scheißwald is viewed by some as not a cursed hellscape, but a wonder without equal. It holds many species of monsters not seen anywhere else in the world, and though the inaccessibility and hostility of the deeper parts of the woods has made exploring an excruciating process, botanists have found examples of nearly every medicinal herb documented in Griffonian history as well.

This has done little to help the local griffons, who despite centuries of struggle continue to try to tame the region with varying degrees of success. In the Principality of Katerin and the Barony of Angriver, the local griffons have not only established themselves around it, but indeed within it as well in certain cases, and though the Scheißwald stubbornly refuses to yield to anygriff, the griffons who have settled in the region are not wont to give up so easily either.



The Cradle of Knowledge: Greenback, Yale's capital city and the host of the Greenback Academy of Medicine, is the largest city in the rectorate and home to a large portion of its industry. The Greenback Academy of Medicine has done wonders for every griffon in Yale and Griffonia as a whole, with new ways of saving the lives of thousands of griffons pioneered every day. Magical potential has also been studied in Greenback more than any other Griffonian city, with biology departments studying day and night on what truly makes a griffon magical.

Closest to the Greenback University stands the Greenback Hospital, where the university's unique doctrine of Pharmacology encourages students to seek the effects of their own drugs and medicine on the local population, to truly ensure innocent griffons are not being harmed. Thousands of staffers keep the healthcare system in Yale one of the greatest in all Griffonia, and through trial and error, medical science has prospered.

However, not all is well in Greenback. A centre of industry and pollution, the city is experiencing the full impact of industrialism. Behind the old half-timbered houses on the Kaiserplatz rise plumes of smoke from her factories and the Angriver which flows through the city has been too polluted to drink from. However, many marvels have also been created from this new age, most beloved of which is the gigantic Station One, the starting point of the Imperial Railway. A massive building, who’s waiting halls carry frescos depicting all corners of the Griffonian Empire at its height.

To the east of the capital lies Greengate, the great university of engineering, a smaller city where the divides of class are a loss less easily felt. To the east of Greenback stands the red-brick university of Cyrusval, a city whose griffons often go to Greenback to incite the local workers to protest for better working conditions.



The City of Arantigos:

Ah Romau... the Eternal City. It has seen the rise and fall of more empires and rulers than perhaps any other in the world. All while playing part in almost all of it. While most cities grew up naturally Romau was planted onto the earth by one of the greatest leaders history has ever known. The divine King Arantigos. As his realm spread far across the continent Arantigos founded city after city to serve as the fortresses and centers of his new empire. Romau, while not the first of these, was perhaps the greatest. Founded on the intersection of great rivers it quickly prospered after the fall of the Arantigan Empire under the rule of an alternating series of Dictators and rule by its enshrined Senate.

While there was a point under the rule of Kaeso Tatian that Romau seemed on the cusp of having an empire of its own, it was not to be. Soon Romau fell subject to the great Emperor Grover I who took the city for his own Empire, using it as a base while he carved out what would become the Herzland of 1007. Following this in 728, the great Romau University was founded and was the center of education in the Empire for many years.

The city suffered ups and downs, even being decimated and having any land outside the city itself taken by Grover II for a rebellion in 785, but in the end, the Imperial claw served Romau well. Romau soon industrialized becoming the "Second City" of the Herzland after Griffenheim itself.

But all is not well in the city. The Republicans still lurk in the shadows with their Syndicalist allies, ready to snatch the city from the decaying Empire at the slightest provocation.

Be warned any who wish to be heirs to Arantigos. The past has many ghosts to live up to, and they have all crossed paths with Romau.



The Biggest Little City:

Who in Griffonia - and even beyond - hasn’t heard of Skyfall? While it may not be a political center as powerful as say Griffenheim, Canterlot or Rijekograd, it is one of most prosperous and industrious city on the continent. Many exquisite or modern goods come out of the city, be them diamonds, cars or fashionable Griffonian clothes and while Equestria still maintains the lead on modern manufacturing, Skyfall is home of the most technically advanced factories and craftgriffs in all of Griffonia. The currently most famous one is the Kessler automobile plant which produces some of the most widely used cars in Griffonia.

Skyfall is known as a city but it is actually a metropolitan community of nineteen smaller towns, each ruled by a mayor and their own local councils. This is merely a near-folkloric archaism as these “towns” have no recognizable borders and some streets can belong to several towns. Even distinguishing them between on the basis of wealth, activities or style is impossible as Skyfall is so chaotically organized that one may leave a street of insalubrious houses only to find mansions just around the corner. Lack of uniformity and charming chaos are indeed the defining features of the city, making it a divisive place to visit. To some, it is an endless wonder to stroll in while an ignominious mess to the more orderly-minded.

Skyfall is home to many landmarks, both old and new. At its historical center sits the Grote Markt, the historical market of the city which was home to the most prestigious guild halls of the city decorated with golden gables, balustrades and statues. Not far of the Grote Markt stands the Skyfall Stock Exchange built in the style of a trinitarian temple and which is the busiest stock exchange in the continent. North of the city, you can find the great Groverian Park, Skyfall’s largest park area where the three great temples dedicated to Eyr, Arcturius and Boreas have been built. The great harbour is also known for some of its old market places and warehouses as well as hosting the former Imperial Navy which has been seized and nationalized during Guichard’s secession. A hill on the southern part of the city is home to a gigantic palace of justice designed by Joseph Poulaert, a Fezeran-born architect who had sought to create a monument showcasing the might of the law and the Griffonian judiciary. Originally planned under Grover IV’s reign, it was finished by Ghislain Guichard’s government as a tribute to the Trade Federation dedication to the rule of law though not without the help of some corner-cutting.

Skyfall’s population is one of the most diverse on the continent if not the world. Virtually every sentient species is represented in some way despite Griffons forming a plurality of the population. Skyfallians are known to be educated, festive and gregarious if perhaps a bit unsophisticated and plagued with a bizarre accent. They are also known to both rageously enjoy criticizing their city and fiercely call out any foreigners who would dare try to do it themselves. The typical Skyfallian is fatter than the average and usually enjoys more than a little beer or strong liquors as well fried food. It is also known that Skyfallian are very prone to organize themselves in groups and the city is teeming with corporations, old guilds, more recent labour movements, cooperatives and organized crime. Like Fezera and Rottendedam, the city is indeed home to some of the “penose”, these coastal mobs who smuggle and run various businesses.


The Lesser Skyfall:

Everyone has heard of Skyfall, and many have heard of Fezera, thanks to its reputation as a den of scum and villainy. But who has heard of Griffton? The city has always been in the shadow of its old rivals, despite its great size and prosperity.

What can be said of the city? It is a typical western Griffonian metropolis. It has grand architecture, bustling ports, busy markets, infamous criminal gangs... there isn't much which makes the city stand out from its neighbours. This curse of mediocrity has always haunted it.

Founded by Feathisian merchants many centuries before the rise of the Griffonian Empire, its inhabitants quickly took advantage of the settlement's excellent natural harbour to conduct overseas trade with Equestria, which is exactly what Skyfall's traders did as well. The competition between the two was fierce. There were short periods when Griffton secured lucrative trade deals and dominated the market, but Skyfall always found a way to recover. Eventually, the city could simply not keep up. By the time Emperor Grover I arrived on the shores of the west, Griffton was going bankrupt.

Griffton was made into a Imperial Free City, and the new privileges saved it from certain economic doom. Yet it was clear that competition with Skyfall was doomed to fail, so the city's merchants began to establish closer ties with their sister city instead. This helped bring prosperity to Griffton, but Skyfall's influence increased at an alarming rate. More and more companies and manufactories were bought out by Skyfallian merchants as the years went by. Even Radio Griffton, the first broadcasting company on all of Griffonia, was soon in foreign ownership. In the eve of the Republican Revolution, it was clear to everyone that Griffton had become Skyfall's puppet.

In the chaos that followed, it was therefore inevitable that Griffton would join the newly formed Skyfall Trade Federation. Its privileges were revoked, and under the rule of the Iron Chancellor, its autonomy was largely erased. The current mayor of the city does whatever the Skyfallian officials tell her to do, as long as they pay her enough bribes. It is therefore no surprise that modern Griffton is nothing more than an extension of Skyfall itself.



The City of Gardens:

Nestled near the confluence of the rivers Erne and Pom is the prosperous city of Flowena. After Grover I's conquest, the settlement grew around an imposing fortress built by Aquileian Kings, becoming a center of commerce and industry. Before the advent of railroads, the main trade route between Herzland and Aquileia was along the river Erne. Flowena profited from this greatly, its Patricians founding banks which were among the largest ones in Griffonia.

The city is famed for its numerous botanical gardens which are used to produce dyes for the thriving textile industry as well as perfumes and other products. The gardens contain many exotic plants from all across the world and are a sight to behold. The city's old bridges are also regarded as beautiful works of masonry. The heart of the city is the Cherryblossom Square, surrounded by numerous manors of the rich Patricians.

The city's population is diverse, for many refugees arrived during the tumultuous years of the revolutions. Alongside native Pomovarrans, there are Aquileians, Herzlanders and others. Aquileian functions as the lingua franca, but almost every inhabitant is bi- or trilingual.

Signs of Flowena's ever-deepening class divide could clearly be seen by simply walking down the streets. The western borough of the city has a notorious slum, a small sea of wooden shacks infested with rats, while the city proper has gorgeous architecture, masterfully mixing Aquileian and Herzlander styles. It is like two separate worlds in one city, but those two worlds do not always live in harmony.



In Skyfall's Shadow:

Originally a Free City of the Griffonian Empire, Fezera has long been a moderately thriving port city, though always in the shadow of Skyfall and Rottendedam. It is also home of the fez, the well-known symbol of Griffonian police forces. After the collapse of the Empire, the local elites seized the surrounding region and declared independence.

As a free state, they fared poorly, being unable to compete with Feathisia and Skyfall. However, local organized crime found a way to rebound and transformed the city into one of Griffonia’s largest black market and smuggling hub, one which takes it wealth from trading the spoils of Haukland’s raids, smuggling and piracy.

Few travelers make their way to Fezera for leisure and most foreigners are either republican exiles from Aquileia, fugitives or smugglers. The city, while modern, is rundown, build without much care for aesthetics or quality of life and cursed with very recurring rains. The local culture is a chaotic mix between Aquileian, Skyfallian and Herzland cultures with multilingualism being needed for any sort of successful enterprise.

The city is also a dangerous one. The local mobs - the penose - vie for controls against one another and the government seems to either not care or appears to be in some corrupt business, with only the local police trying to maintain order.

Fezera may not have much going for them but at least, there is good beer!



The Revolutionary City:

Rila is built according to the grand dreams of Michel Discret, the narcissistic and flamboyant Duke who has guided Rila's path since the Aquileian Revolution. Michel, who saw the Republican expirement as one worth trying, is said to have rebuilt Rila from the ashes of the revolution. Burning towns, decaying streets, and wrecked palaces were transformed under the eye of Michel Discret, who watched as the city transformed from a backwards slum into a grandiose hub of merchants, intellectuals, and Aquileian spirit. Of course, with economic development and restructuring has come an increase in Michel's power - statues can be seen across Rila to the great Duke and his soldiers, who drove off the Republicans from Rila when all ahead seemed dark as night.

However, despite Michel's grand dreams and accomplishments for his shining city on the river, little good has come to Rila in recent years. Revolutionary spirit has come to Rila again, with the Cocardiers, the revolutionary socialist and anti-monarchist club, only growing in popularity. Rila is stuck between radicalism and reaction - if Michel was not a Discret, he would surely be hanged by his family, but with his royal name also comes scorn. Republicans certainly do not trust Rila's reformist Duke, that much is for certain.

With all the bloodshed that he has forseen for his city, Michel has kept it his life's duty to safeguard Rila as he would his own child. Traders continue to barter, buy, and sell in the Merchant's Streets, and whalers and fishmongers do the same in the Grand Harbour of Michel Discret. The De Becignier Estate, the estate of Count Ricard, close to the palace of Michel himself, is rumoured to be the seat of the Committee of Public Safety, a secretive Republican coalition. Michel's palace, however, is less accommodating the lower classes. A towering castle of might and brilliance, Michel's castle is one of the greatest buildings in Aquileia, and perhaps in all of Griffonia.

Of course, one can not forget the Grand Temple of Arcturius - truly a beacon of faith in Rila's trying times. Its Archon has resided in Griffenheim since the revolution, but many griffons hope that the ever-popular Knight-Archon Proteus will one day return home.


The Jewel of the West:

While Griffonia is home to many prosperous cities, few can compare to the vivacity and splendour of Aquila. Indeed, the capital of Aquileia is one of the shining beacon of the arts and science in Griffonia and while many cities rest upon the past, Aquila remains forward looking. The beginning of the eleventh century saw the city undergo one of the greatest urbanistic experiments in the history of the continent. As this text is being written, workers are tearing down the old squalid neighborhoods and preparing to build a city design with modernity and reason in mind.

Should one decide to take a walk in the city, they will find many great landmarks and preview of the city to come: grand avenues decorated to please the eye of the strollers, an innovative subway, modern and delightful rows of apartment buildings, private palaces and hotels and luxurious shops. They will be able to find the great Trinity Hill - finally free of squalor - on top of which lies the three great white temples dedicated to Eyr, Boreas and Arcturius. It is there that the kings of Aquileia have traditionally been crowned as shown by the royal banners and tapestries of the ruling king. The Promenade des Ducs is also a major attraction on the banks the great Belle river. This fancy avenue is home to many museums, libraries, theaters and private salons where the literate, wealthy or artistic elites meet and mingle. on the western edge of the cities lies the Vieux Fort, an old citadel whose black walls barely survived the sacking of the city by Grover II, and is now home to the university of the city. In the eastern part of the cities, they will find the Domaine Royal with its great parks and palaces home of the Discret dynasty and the royal government. For those with a taste for the stranger things, many parts of the city hosts a peculiar undercity called the Catacombs which acted for centuries as the city’s boneyard. It is said that in the ancient times, it was a holy site dedicated to the banished god Maar.

The story of Aquila is a unique one for it is one of the few great Griffonian cities that did not owe anything to the old Arantigan empire. Instead, it was the bastion of freedom for many confederated tribes that would form the realm of Aquileia a century before our era. After becoming the capital of the kingdom, the city became a thriving trading and crafting center, one of the economic hearts of the kingdom. This long era of prosperity saw its decline in the the eighth century when Aquileia was subjugated by the Griffonian Empire and finally ended in 785 when the kingdom and much of its capital was burned down by Grover II’s armies. To add insult to injury, the princess Giselda Discret was forced to marry the angry emperor in the ruined temple of Arcturius on Trinity Hill. This saddest of weddings is still commemorated today and princess Giselda hailed as a martyr of the city. After this, the city slowly recovered but it is only after independence in 972 that the city finally saw a return to greatness. Much investment was made into the city by the Republicans between 980 and 985 and finally during the Discret restoration which saw the beginning of the great transformation of the city.


The Joyful:

Before the revolution, Pridea used to be one of the important trade ports for Aquileia. It used its status as a trade city to enrich itself. Back in those days, its port was pride and honour of the city. It was a place where merchants would come to sell and buy the goods. Chatter and attempts to barter could often be heard nearby. Many merchants were boasting wealth that could easily compete with nobility, and they made sure to show it. Their houses and villas were often opulent and decorated by famous artists.

However, for all the splendour many were not lucky to live this lifestyle. To them constant show of wealth and prosperity was nothing short of an insult. When the Revolution took hold of Aquileia, many joined the revolutionaries. They have managed to wrest control of the City and proclaimed the Commune of Pridea This state of affairs has lasted until now infamous pirate lord Dennis Discret arrived to pacify the city. For days he has bombarded the city with his navy, much of the city was left in ruins before he landed and brutally dealt with revolutionaries.

These days Pridea is ruled by, now Baron Dennis Discret, who gained Pridea for his own as a reward for his actions during the Revolution. Over the years, the city managed to recover from the scars of revolution. The port that once was dominant of the city was rebuilt to its former glory. Although these days you might see there fewer merchants and more of former 'associates' of the baron. Many houses were rebuilt as well although, they never reached the level of opulence from before the Revolution. Undoubtedly the new dominant of the city is the new central square, hosting the new theatre built by the Baron, townhall and cafés and many other establishments, as well as a small park with a fountain for relaxation.

Naturally, when talking about Pridea we cannot forget to mention their Police force established after the Revolution. Pridea was always a home to large pony minority. During the Revolution, they were quintessential to securing the city. Over the years, Baron came to rely on them often and they became a regular part of the police force. Indeed, in Pridea, it wouldn't be uncommon to see a small policemare arresting griffon criminals.



The Broken Home of the Gods:

No city in all of Griffonia has a greater gap between its current state and its great history than the city of Griffonstone. In the earliest days of griffonkind it was a holy place, considered the home of the Trinity of Gods - Boreas, Eyr, and Arcturius. Though in time the gods were revealed to not actually live there, Griffonstone rose to become a cultural and religious centre and one of the great early griffon cities sprung up on the mountain peak long before most modern cities were even settled, and during the Arantigan Era it was one of the more important cities of the Kingdom.

Centuries later, when a young griffon named Grover was raised to the throne of Griffonstone, he stood at the helm of a legacy over a thousand years old. Even as he conquered large parts of the continent and relocated his capitol to Griffenheim, the city of Griffonstone was still close to his heart, and it was where the Idol of Boreas was safeguarded by the Guto lineage.

Alas, when idol vanished in 972 the fate of Griffonstone seemed sealed, and the coming decades left one disaster after another striking the city. Republican uprisings, the eastern half of the Kingdom of Griffonstone breaking away and finally the last of the Gutos dying in battle all did their part in breaking the back of the city.

Now, Griffonstone is a pale shadow, a mockery, of its former self. The temples and libraries lie abandoned and pillaged, the once beautiful streets have turned into muddy paths surrounded by hovels and the Royal Palace stands as a hollowed out ruin. Even today though, the statue of Grover I can be seen standing defiantly in the plaza surrounded by mud and poverty, as if screaming in rage at the state of his old home.


The Birthplace of Griffonkind:

Southeast of the Kingdom of Griffonstone, a single peak in its mountain range pierces the sky. The mountain is known as the Solarspike and it is one of the most sacred places of griffonkind. Here, it is said, the gods created the griffons. The first griffons were given shape by Eyr, giving them their body; wings to reach towards the heavens and beaks to praise the divine. Arcturius gave the griffons their strength; the strength to overcome all evils they might encounter, the strength to build mighty structures and tools and to overcome personal hardships. Boreas gave them intelligence, an understanding of themselves and of truth and rationality. An understanding of law and government, so that the structure of below might reflect the structure of the heavens. Lastly, Maar gave the griffons souls. With a soul they could make their own decisions and feel and decide on what was right and wrong.

Having been granted these boons, the first griffons flew out from the Solarspike to found Griffonstone, before spreading all over the continent. Much of the early history of Griffonia is shrouded in myth, but records of places of worship around the Solarspike go back to the very earliest days of known history.

To this day, there exists a small place of worship at the foot of the mountain, where pilgrims can bring offerings. From there, to show your humility towards the gods, you can walk up the stairway leading up the mountain, foregoing the use of wings. Those wishing to climb to the summit will be met with disappointment, however, as the trail ends halfway to the top of the holy mountain. There, a small shrine marks the edge of the mundane world. It contains small stone figures of the Trinity, with a broken statuette laying down in shame outside the shrine. At the zenith of where a mortal is allowed to wander, in the quiet solace of the thin mountain air, the pilgrim can rest and contemplate on the journey. To go any higher would be to tread into the realm of the divine and blasphemy. All must eventually turn back and accept that for all their hard work, divinity is outside their reach.



The Home of the Martlewings:

The small trading town of Pulcino in northern Wingbardy was for centuries insignificant. However, this changed when a bold adventurer from Tarrin seized it and made it his capital. His name was Francis Martlewing, and he named the town after himself, becoming the first Count of Francistria. He built the Martlewing Castle on a small hill west of the town, which to this day remains the city's most notable landmark.

After being established as the capital of a nation, Francistria began to grow. When the Martlewings and the Talonuels of Wingbardy made an alliance, trade increased between the two. Tonnes of grain, wine and minerals were shipped down the river from Goldenfeather and sold to Wingbardian merchants in the city. Indeed, the old building of the Merchants' Guild can still be found in the Riverside Market, next to the Trinity Temple, which also houses the chapterhouse of the Knights of the Temple. Further from the historic city center are the headquarters of the modern successors of the Wingbardian merchants, various commercial companies.

The city's architecture is undeniably Wingbardian in style and charm, yet a attentive eye may see various details that are unique to the local Francistrian culture. Cultural differences become even more noticeable during bi-annual celebrations that are based entirely on local traditions, such as the Festival of Cheese and Wine, and the Parade of Masks.



The Ancient Bastion:

For a millennium and a half, Talononte has stood guard over the hills and valleys of Talouse. Founded as an outpost by Marco Talonostra at the mouth of the Arneo river, Talononte has grown greatly over the centuries. After the death of Arantigos, Marco and his successors began to expand the city, transforming it into a small, yet prominent, center of trade. However, as the Talonostras' power waned in the 2nd century BLB, so too did the city's wealth. The Death of King Marus in 34 BLB was the final straw, and the civil war that followed left the city devastated, marking the beginning of the city’s "Dark Age", which would continue until the 2nd century ALB, when the revival of trade routes between Wingbardy and Aquileia would allow the city to return to its former splendor. This newfound prosperity would continue to increase with the Unification of Talouse under Giovanni di Chiazbini in 602 ALB and its designation as the new nation's capital. Talouse's peaceful submission to Grover I and Talononte's relative isolation from the rest of the Empire meant that it remained mostly unchanged during Imperial rule, and that very little Groverian influence found its way into the city.

The city today has still managed to retain much of its ancient charm, in spite of the advances of modernity. The historical center houses much of the pre-Groverian architecture, which is an interesting blend of Wingbardian, Aquileian, Transfolinian and even Sparletan styles. This blend is most clearly displayed in the temples dedicated to the Trinity, which include pointed Aquileian arches, and even Sparletan domes. Even deeper into the city lies the Centro Storico, which houses some of the last vestiges of Arantigan-era architecture in Griffonia, including the Piazza Talonostra, which is purported to be the site of Talonostra's first camp, and the ruins of the Primo Tempio, an ancient temple dedicated to Arantigos-Boreas that has lain abandoned for centuries. However, far from the majesty of history lies the modern Talononte. In the new city center lies the Palazzo Ducale, a small, yet beautiful, Aquilo-Folinian palace that houses the royal family, and the Parliament Building, one of the few fully modern-Wingbardian buildings in the whole city. Surrounding them are some of the country’s first skyscrapers, office blocks, and modern buildings, which bear some resemblance to those found in the urban cores of Francistria and Wrobert. Beyond the downtown lie vast suburbs composed of countless apartment blocks and slums that house the city's workers. This is Talononte's dark underbelly, where the Mafia thrives, socialists rule, and crime is rampant. Meanwhile, smokestacks and industrial blocks line the Arneo, pouring smoke into the sky, and polluting the river's waters as the city's burgeoning industrial sector continues to grow and expand.

The city’s peaceful appearance makes it hard to believe that it was the stage of one of the largest strikes in Griffonian history, as thousands of workers made their way down the streets to demand improved conditions. Although the marchers are now back at work, their impact can still be felt, as an uneasy tension hangs over the city. Although it has withstood countless invasions from the outside, it remains to be seen if Talononte can survive trouble from the inside.

New Mareland


The Bush Capital:

Many centuries ago, the site of the city that would come to be known as Sunset was little more than a windswept, barren bay, embedded in the southwestern tip of Griffonia. Subsequent decades of continuous Equestrian immigration would see that changed; the pegasi would eventually tame the local climate, as earth pony and unicorn settlers colonized along the coastline.

Named after the eponymous founder of the city - Sunset Horizon - Sunset in the current day is a bustling metropolis, recognisable by landmarks such as the Sunset Harbour Bridge and the nearby Opera House. Where the city is blessed with an expansive deepwater bay, Pukwudgie Island, situated in the middle of the city's harbour, serves as the staging base for the Equestrian navy's Griffonian station. A robust maritime infrastructure facilitates the passage of seaborne trade between the two continents, and the harbour is usually filled with all sorts of seafaring craft.

The Equestrian architecture of the city is coloured with a distinct Griffonian influence, where slender towers, reminiscent of the Canterlot skyline, sport the overhangs and archways characteristic of avian building design. In the suburbs of the metropolis, this blending of architectural traditions becomes much less refined; the poverty and scarcity of the city's periphery, populated predominantly by New Mareland's griffon minority, lends the city's poorer neighborhoods the haphazard, mishmash appearance of slums all over the world.

New Manehattan

The Sapphire City:

Home of millions and the largest city in New Mareland, New Manehattan has the same status as her larger overseas namesake. Founded as the second colony after Sunset, she has kept her desire for new migrants, opening her doors for all those who seek to leave their own lives in Equestria behind. Ponies from all over Equestria mix in the crowded city, surrounded by skyscrapers piercing the sky. You can hear the heavy Severyana dialect of refugees from Stalliongrad, the southern accents of those Appleloosans searching for fortune, and with luck even the many Griffonian and Zebrican languages mixed in. New Manehattan is a melting pot of all willing to work for their future, and one can find blends of music mixing differing local styles and restaurants serving food from all over.

The city is well known for its harbour, which is bursting at the seams, bringing in migrants and exporting vital resources back to Equestria or further into Griffonia. Massive steel mills provide employment for many in the working class, while those with a penchant for trading might try their luck in the crystal trade. Most recently, East-Side Borough has seen the most development. The city authorities are in an ongoing bureaucratic battle to have this part of the city, which fall outside its bureaucratic bounds, added to its administration.

However, with the great depression settling in, even New Manehattan cannot provide for all anymore, and soup kitchens now fill the place of closed down shops. Socialist, fascist and capitalists all recruit from the poor and newly-arrived, and sometimes vicious brawls ensue between supporters of different politicians.



The Eternal City:

Once nothing more than a fishing village in the distant past surrounded by seven hills, Karthin has since evolved into a busy metropolis that many griffons call home. The ancient capital of a fledgeling city-state that became the Karthin Empire, it was, of course, a wealthy city for most of its history. After the collapse of the Karthin Empire and the northern invasion of Wingbardians, the region suffered through a brief period known as the 'dark era' before being integrated into the Kingdom of Wingbardy. Like Wingbardy herself, Karthin once belonged to the Griffonian Empire and has only recently gained freedom from the Imperial Throne.

Even under the rule of distant Griffenheim, Karthin was a prosperous port city that served as the capital of Wingbardy and as the seat of power of the Talonuel line. With the wealth gained from the maritime trade hub and the industrious 'officine', the lords of Karthin sponsored a plethora of public works. Many of the temples, statues, galleries, museums, and urban districts of the city are the very same edifices and structures from the previous construction efforts. As such, much of Karthin is composed of the 'old districts': they're all at least a hundred years old! That is why it is often referred to as 'The Eternal City.'

The age of the buildings sometimes poses a challenge, however, with many requiring maintenances that aren't possible with the lack of necessary funding. Many Karthinians have taken the matter into their own talons to recover the historical monuments and structures as a result. While technically illegal, most law enforcement officers look the other ways as they too wish to see the splendour of yore. Despite this, Karthin is still a beautiful and popular tourist destination. Be sure to visit the ancient amphitheatre and imperial forums!


The Proud One:

Ever since its foundation in the post-Arantigan era, Wrobert has been a bustling port city thanks to its location on the mouth of the great Folino river. Yet its true era of significance would not come until centuries later.

Some years after the founding of New Mareland, ponies began to migrate into the city from the west. They brought their higher literacy and prosperity with them, and thus became members of the middle and upper classes. Close trade ties were established with Equestria and the city began to grow rapidly. This accelerated exponentially when the ponies brought the Industrial Revolution to Wrobert, making it the first city in all of southern Griffonia to industrialize. The city's famed port was greatly expanded, factories were built and griffons flooded in from the countryside. Soon, Wrobert became a city that rivaled Karthin itself.

While Karthin is the traditional and political capital of Wingbardy, some would argue that Wrobert is the economic heart of the nation. Most of Wingbardy's imports and exports pass through the city, and it is home to important shipyards, business districts and industrial companies. The Old Town near the port is a small remnant of the past separated from the vast urban sprawl by ancient stone walls. Many famed historical landmarks can be found there, most notably the iconic Lighthouse of Wrobert. It also has one of the oldest bank buildings in Griffonia. After the declaration of independence in 972 ALB, the old architecture has been extensively renovated, much to the delight of Equestrian tourists.

The large proletarian population and close ties to Equestria proved to be fertile ground for communist movements, so it is no surprise that Wrobert is the home of the PCW. The city's council has the highest portion of leftists out of any Wingbardian city, and there have even been socialist mayors in the past. Yet in recent years, the Blackwings have been gathering support in the city, spreading propaganda that is aimed at the wealthy ponies. The communists have responded with their own propaganda that is based on class rather than race.

Increasing tensions led to many ponies migrating away from the city, taking their assets and expertise with them. This has contributed to the economic downturn that Wrobert is suffering from at the moment of writing. This in turn has further radicalised the city's working populace, so clashes between communists and fascists have become a daily occurrence. Those caught in the middle pray that the government in Karthin will soon find a solution and manage to restore order in their beloved city.


The Lost Capital:

While not as prosperous as Karthin and not as politically important as Griffenheim, Falcor is still considered by Falcorian griffons as their jewel. For when the ancient Falcorians finally settled in the remnants of the Karthin Empire, most of the prosperious lands in the south had been claimed by the Wingbards.

That was when they came across what would become the city of Falcor, a patch of flat, fertile land next a river, nestled beside rolling hills, and bordering verdant forests. The site proved ideal for the weary Falcorians to make a town and the nearby resources and warm weather allowed the town to grow into a centre of industry and commerce, enabling it to become the capital, and shining jewel of the Falcor Kingdom.

However, Falcor was lost to the Wingbardians after the brutal four-year Falcorian War. Although the peace Queen Maximilliana brokered prevented the city from being shelled in the fighting, the plague that had swept through it, and the many Falcorians that fled before the Wingbardians annexed the city has left it depopulated. To make matters worse, the Wingbardians see Falcor as a mere trophy, which meant the city is now but a shadow of its former glory, a capital no longer, waiting to be reclaimed by Falcorians, or forever to remain lost.



The Southern Jewel:

Here in Midoria, it’s the architects who built the iconic buildings who are the objects of admiration – not a bunch of half-witted monarchs.

The capital and center of one of the first republics in the history of Griffonia, the values of republicanism can be seen in every corner of the coastal city of Midoria. Built on a defensive position far from the prying eyes of the Griffonian and Wingbardian monarchies, Midoria is renowned for both its beauty and its defensive capabilities. The greatest of the Five Founding Cities of Sicameon, there are no grand monarchial palaces in Midoria, nor any of the awe-inspiring manors of the nobility. Instead, the buildings there are built for and by the people, with an air of freedom and equality that is unique to the Federated Parishes. Businesses can be seen along every street and at every corner, bolstered by laissez-faire and trade-friendly policies.

Midoria, while not only a beautiful city, is also a prosperous trade and naval port, as it lies close to the geographical center of the southern coast of Griffonia. Minotaurs, Macawians, and Zebras can be seen in Midoria daily, peddling wares at the sprawling waterfront and launching grand voyages across the Eler Sea to the Zebrican continent. Civilian fisheries provide food for thousands of Sicameonese citizens, while the naval academy in Midoria hosts thousands of brave would-be cadets.

However, not all is well in Midoria. Trade unionists have won substantial victories in parish elections, with the current Tribune of Midoria the leader of the syndicalist faction in the government, Remige Plumar. In addition, the Freeholder Corsairs, a powerful coalition of brigands, ne'er do wells, and pirates, have taken up root in the city's ports, taking control of trade and bribing out local businesses. Midoria has become a melting pot of disenfranchised workers, criminal activity, and it seems only fanatically radical or completely bought-out politicians sit in its legislature.



The Meridional Exclave:

Once the Minotaur city of Néachóra, a center of philosophy and faith, Thymíaushafen now stands as a sign of once-great Imperial authority and it's dominance over most of the Griffonian continent. The beating heart of the County of Cyanolisia, it is from Thymíaustadt that the Sumpkfiel dynasty has ruled over the wild and untamed lands of their domain for over two centuries.

Once the port city of the Imperial Southern Fleet, this exclave of Griffenheim's power was garrisoned by the great armies of the Grover emperors. However, the city today, whilst remaining a bustling metropolis, is but a mere shadow of what it once was. The Southern Fleet is long gone, its ships either captured or sunk during the Asterionese rebellion, and rotting hulks of archaic warships still linger in the half abandoned and decrepit dockyards of the city. The great garrisons of the once Imperial military capital of the region, too, are gone, with a clawful of regular military units still garrisoning the city - which had once sheltered Imperial troops numbering in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands.

This is a city in decay, as griffons whom had once inhabited the outback, or even Asterion, were forced to flee their homes during the minotaur revolt, settling in shantytowns in and around the capital. The outskirts are filled with civilian refugees, discharged sailors, and soldiers far from home.

In spite of all this, the city's industrial sectors are still active, churning out weaponry and civilian products alike. Furthermore, the apparatus of the Cyanolisian state, located in a collection of buildings and manors in the very center of the city, remains functional under the leadership of Countess Taillow Sumpkfiel, leading the County forwards through these dangerous and turbulent times.



The City of Libraries:

For the minotaurs, the mountain-city of Prospero holds a special place in their hearts. While it is not their capital, the city holds great importance as it is known as the home of Asterionese culture and history. For the many libraries in the city contain numerous tombs and books about Asterion culture and history. Detailing their history all the way from their mysterious origins to their current struggle to reclaim the mainland.

Even during its time under the Griffonian Empire, the city was a key point of resistance against their Imperial occupiers. While the Griffonian Empire tried their best to suppress Asterionese culture, their ancient texts were kept safety hidden in the many underground vaults. In addition the region became a hotbed of resistance activity. Numerous bands of minotaur guerrillas operated from the relative safety of the mountains to strike at the Imperial Garrison and it would be one of the first cities liberated during the Restoration War.

Today, Prospero stands as a shining beacon of hope and pride for minotaurs everywhere. Anyone with a interest in Asterion can enter one of the many newly opened libraries to read about Asterion culture and history. Many monuments can be seen in the city, including a statute of Aster which now stands in the central plaza where minotaurs can be seen throughout the day paying their respects to. The citizens are wealthy and live in prosperity. The many mines are rich in resources and the workers work with enthusiasm to supply resources for the army.

Aster's Landing

The Home of the Minotaurs

According to legend, the founding father of Asterion, Aster, came ashore with the first colonists upon the land that would later become Aster’s Landing. However, modern research contradicts this story, with many scholars believing it to be a heavily embellished creation myth, in order to give the people a sense of national identity. Archeological evidence suggests that Aster’s expedition actually landed north of the current city, closer to sea, and eventually migrated into the gulf, due it being in a more strategically defendable position against pirates raiding the area at the time.

Regardless, Aster’s Landing remains the cultural, economic, and political heartland of Asterion, with the city seeing a massive classical restoration following the Restoration War of 979. Many monuments, buildings, and streets have been renovated to replicate the Pre-Griffonian style of architecture found on the island prior to the Grffonian Empire's occupation in 747, which saw a massive assimilation push in order to rid the Minotaurs of their national identity.

Currently the city is home to many fantastical attractions, such as the Parliament building, which served as the Royal Palace for the Kings of Asterion as well as the nobles governing the land as a part of the Griffonian Empire. Other notable attractions include: Aster Falls, Asterion's first amusement park; Matriarch Agatha Theater, Asterion’s largest performing arts theater; the Cynthia National Memorial, a memorial dedicated to all of the fallen soldiers of the nation; and the National History Museum, where visitors can learn more about Asterion’s rich history.



The Stalwart:

Sitting on the northern bank of the Griffking river, Hellquill is a city between two worlds and one which is described in vastly different terms depending on which one you belong to. To the Griffonian Empire in the West, Hellquill is the valiant bulwark of the griffons, home to those knights who have sworn themselves to protect their brethren against the pony threats. To those in the Riverlands, be them Diamond Dogs or Ponies, Hellquill is a city of butchers and raiders sitting on stolen grounds and build with stolen wealth.

Its story began with the great eastwards expansion of Grover II. The great emperor conquered what came to be known as the Griffonian Frontier and tasked the Order of Brothers of the Griffon House of Prelate Aloysious in Cloudbury with guarding it. When the emperor died against a simple Nimbusian soldier and his successor cared little for his father’s crusade, the knights of Hellquill settled down and began to build a series of military cities, towns and villages surrounding impressive castles and fortresses, Hellquill being the mightiest of them all.

The greatest landmark of the city is the Order’s castle which stands on a hill overlooking the city and dominates the banks of the Griffking River. East of the castle stands the river port to which trade flows and where the Order surveils any trader attempting the journey between the Empire and the Riverlands. West of the castle is the pony ghetto. The walled neighbourhood is known for its poverty and squalor, caused by decades of discrimination and lack of investment from the Order. The city of Hellquill in itself stands north of the riverside districts. Its streets are one of the finest display of early groverian architecture and has seemed to maintain an atmosphere of tradition despite the march of industry. The only concession to modernity is the asphalt on the major streets, allowing for easy movement of troops and military vehicles and allowing easy access to the three great temples dedicated to Boreas, Eyr and Arcturius as well as Hellquill’s Imperial Railway station which remains to this day an unfinished mess, unconnected to the Empire. The city is governed in a strange fashion with the knights delegating municipal powers to the guilds of crafters and merchants and the local prelates.



The Heart of Evi:

What would later become the city of Kivessin was originally little more than a fort on the banks of the Evi river. In 511 ALB, Prince Garle of Sydia sent his general, Drogus, to secure the northern frontier against Zaphzan raiders by fortifying the riverbank. However, in 539 an ambitious warrior named Gobdan overthrew Drogus and declared himself Prince of Kivessin. Thus, the third principality of Prywhen was born.

Thanks to its location in the middle of the Evi Valley, in the confluence of rivers, Kivessin quickly grew into a city. It was sacked several times by Zaphzan griffons, but after Emperor Grover I's conquests in 705 peace and order were maintained on the frontier. When Prince Kloseu of Brodfeld declared himself king, he made Kivessin his capital due to its location, prestige and history.

The most notable sight in the city is the King's Palace, which formerly was the home of the Kivessinian princes. It is built on the foundation of the fortress which Drogus founded centuries ago, and is the largest brick building in Griffonia. Other places of interest are the Grand Temple of Eviliana, the primary center of worship for the eastern river-goddess, the old Market Square with its medieval architecture, and the Chapterhouses of the local knightly orders.

In recent years the outskirts of the city have been demolished and rebuilt anew, with modern apartment buildings and factories rising high above the low buildings of the historic center. This clash between old and new is one of the most striking features of the city.


The Port of Grain:

Regarded as the oldest city in the Evi valley, Sydia is located on a small peninsula near the wide, marshy mouth of the Evi river. It has always been the largest and wealthiest city in Prywhen, and the seat of the Princes of Sydia. When Prince Kloseu of Brodfeld united Prywhen, he considered making Sydia his capital before ultimately choosing Kivessin. To this day, Sydia functions as the second capital of the realm.

Its location near the mouth of the river and its natural harbour have always been the keys to its success as a city. Tonnes of grain, rice, timber, honey and other products from all of Evi Valley are brought here and exported to distant lands. Numerous fishergriffs depart the docks every day and bring countless fish for sale at the city's famed Seaside Market. The headquarters of the Prywhenian Merchants' Association is located nearby, as is the old Princely Palace which functions as the summer residence of the King.

Sydia is a maritime city, as shown by the countless sailing ships and steam boats in its harbour and the constant squarking of seagulls. Indeed, legend says the last Princess of Sydia was a sailor herself, and sailed off into the sunset to discover distant lands, only to never return. The Prince of Brodfeld then inherited the vacant throne.

While the population of Prywhen is largely homogenous, Sydia is an exception. Here one may find Wingbardians, Cyanolisians, Sicameonese and even members of other races such as Asterionese minotaurs, Macawian harpies, and Colthaginian zebras. When walking in the alleys in the warm evening, one may hear a dozen languages spoken as customers haggle for better prices.



The Freehold:

An ancient city on the banks of the Zaphz river, the griffon city of Kaiv stands today as the capital of the Gryphian Host. Once the main settlement of one of the region's ancient tribes, the city rose to prominence during the Zaphzian Rebellion, when the tribes of the region united to rebel against the pony conquerers of Lake City, forming the Kingdom of Zaphzia, with Kaiv as its capital. Formerly a notable settlement, Kaiv grew into the most prosperous city in the nation after assuming the role of its capital.

Kaiv's prosperity under the kingdom continued for a while, but the cossacks of the plains caused instability, resisting any centralization attempts by the monarchy. In 579, the Kingdom finally fell apart and the cossacks seized control of the nation. After swearing oaths of fealty to Emperor Grover I, the nation became known as the Gryphian Host.

These cossacks are perhaps the thing Kaiv is most known for- despite the fact that they largely operate outside of the city. Nevertheless, the impact of the cossacks on the city itself is clear, drawing many young griffons from the city off to fight against the ponies on the grand frontier, and many of the artisans of the city to focus their craft on supplying the steppe warriors. Kaiv is also the city in which the Rada is held, an assembly in which the next Hetman is chosen.

When looking past the rich history of the city, however, you will find nothing but a city out of time. Held back by their bellicose society and largely agricultural economy, Kaiv struggles to find its footing as the cities of the western griffons and of the eastern ponies stride into the industrial era. The griffons who inhabit the city are slow to let go of their traditions, least of all the oft-romanticised cossacks, and the streets of Kaiv are filled not with workers of industry and foreign business, but with farmer's markets and local craftgriffs, blacksmiths and tailors. Much like the nation it is at the heart of, Kaiv is a city lost in history, which must choose whether to hold on to its legacy, or to follow the great modern cities of Griffonia.



The Crossroads:

Above everything else, Riaportu is a city of contrasts. In the harbor areas and the city center you will feel as though you are walking through Midoria or Queruscos, with the Sicaemonese influences being obvious even to most laygriffs. The offices of the Gryps-Süd GmbH is an especially egregious example, being a near perfect copy of the Sicaemonese parliament. Meanwhile, the eastern districts have been much more influenced by the Order of Opinicus and its religious teachings, meaning that the area seems almost ascetic in comparison to the harbor areas. Lastly, the northern districts and especially the outskirts remains Gryphussian, with the distinct rounded buildings and spired temples.

This is no coincidence, as Riaportu in effect is three settlements that grew into one over time. The Gryphussians settled the area centuries ago, and Riaportu was an important hub of commerce even before the Griffonian Empire rose to power. Over time though, Sicaemonese interests established themselves more and more in the region, buying out local merchants and consolidating more and more under the state-run Gryps-Süd GmbH. The tensions that arose as the company more and more dominated the region eventually exploded into conflict, and has been cited as one of the reasons for why the Order of Opinicus established itself in the region after the crusades. Over time, the chapter house, the local Gryphussian towns and the trade outpost coalesced into one.

Today, the city is a kaleidoscope of influences and travellers from all over, be it griffons, ponies, minotaurs or zebras. Ethnic tensions may remain under the surface, as they have for a long time, but the dominant powers in the region are still committed to making sure that whoever wishes to come to Riaportu, be it for travel, tourism or trade, is as welcome as can be.

Lake City


The Gateway of the East:

Situated on the banks of Svetovo Jezero, Jezeragrad is one of the most important cities of East Griffonia. Its history reaches over a thousand years back to one of the most seminal figures of the Riverlands - prince Blessed Sword. After his triumph at against the Nimbusians, Blessed Sword built up the small town in the region to serve as the beating heart of a great empire that formed the city to what it is today.

Mementos of this era can be seen everywhere in the city as Jezeragrad, even after centuries, has made sure to preserve the old city with its wide boulevards, old temples and plazas and not the least the grandiose Palace of the Grand Prince - one of the greatest buildings in the Riverlands. All of these things stand preserved and maintained even a thousand years later - evidence of not only the skill of the ancient architects, but also the Lake City ponies' commitment to preserving and honoring their history.

Yet, the most amazing thing about the city is how it in many areas has outright grown out into the lake, with large piers slowly growing together into first streets, then neighborhoods, then entire city blocks that now stand on the lake. Eighteen bridges, big and small, cross between the lakeside districts as they are called, and they are typically used as public gathering spaces as much as methods of crossing.

Though the star of Lake City has faded compared to the old days, Jezeragrad stand as proud and as beautiful as always, and the ponies that live there eagerly makes sure it remains so.



The Riverlands' Staple Port:

All the creatures of the Riverlands have something to say about Bakara. Ask a trader from Rijekograd, and they'll talk about the goods that enter its famous port. Ask a noble from Wittenland, and they'll grumble about its democratic process and ornately decorated Presidential "Palace" that has stood for over a century and how it would be so much better fit for a monarch. Ask a particularly nationalistic Jezeragradian, and they'll lament about how Bakara defied Lake City's monarchs and still have a massive statue in the city center commemorating it. Everyone has something to say.

But to the Bakarans themselves, their city is more than just their capital, it is more than just the economic hub of the nation, and it holds more than just their President, their professional military and their prosperity. It represents everything Bakara stands for. Bakara never got its wealth from conquest, but from trade and it's republican government. So this is what the city of Bakara represents.

Far from the largest city in the Riverlands, Bakara is in many ways underwhelming. But it has its own charm to all who live their and visit. The Docks, both commercial and military, are twice the size of those in Nimbusi and dominate the coastal Skyline. The Črna beach lies a 20 minute walk north of the city, with its jet black sand and cold temperatures year-round many question how Bakarans can swim there at all. Head further north and you may catch a glimpse of the headquarters of Bakara's Morski marine troops, it's standing army and the face of Bakara's military to the world, besides the navy that is. But the main attractions of the city are far from the land, if you take a boat ride out into the Icewaters, Bakarans will say you can feel the waves wash through your soul, bringing you closer to the sea.

This feeling is called The Way of the Waves, how all Bakarans, and especially those in Bakara City, live their lives. And if you ever want to get to know Bakara, you need to accept this feeling into your heart.

As Admiral Cobalt Wind once said, "The waves have shaped our shores, and so too must they shape our souls."

Diamond Mountain

Diamond Mountain

The Halls of the Mountain King: Dogaz-dûm, also known as Psidom or more commonly Diamond Mountain is the great capital of the Diamond Dog race. It is said that Kiri, the first pup of Geri and first King of the Longtails, was led into the valley below the mountain by a falling star that came to settle in lake Khezeld-Zarim. As he looked into the lake, he saw the stars high above and so tempted by their glimmer he dove into the water and emerged with a crown of seven diamonds that shone with the light of seven stars. A large stone carved with golden runes stands at the alleged location of this event below the grand doors of Diamond Mountain.

The doors of Diamond Mountain stand tall in a grand fortified façade carved from the mountain, guarded by many statues of ancient hounds. Behind them many-pillared halls of stone, with high golden roofs and silver floors stretch for countless miles deep under the ground, lit by lamps of crystal that shine like stars and the sun. The vastness of this space is dwarfed only by the almighty mines that stretch out in unfathomable crevasse deep under the ground lined with bridges, ramps and mining tools. From these mines, gold and gemstones are gathered in vast quantities and carved and chiselled by ancient paws into treasures unlike any have seen. And these treasures sit in a vast hall under onyx and gold platforms in which a mighty carven throne stands, etched with crystals and runes of power, from which the King of the Diamond Dogs rules. Forges of fire, hot enough to melt the stone itself, roar deep under the mountains in which weapons, armour and trinkets of all kinds are created by master-smiths working tirelessly day and night.

Despite the grandeur, all this was built on the backbreaking work of slaves. And the treasure hall lies mostly empty after the city was sacked by forces of Hellquill. All around broken slaves, shackled and collared, work almost unseen by the free hounds to keep the city in its unimaginably grand condition.

River Republic


The City of Three Rivers:

Take a stroll down the Domovinska Avenija and cross the Slobode Bridge over the Grifking River where it meets the Gold River and enter Rijekograd proper. Down on the river, you can see barges and ships, all shipping goods around the Riverlands. Wine from Deponya and Lake City heading upriver to Wittenland. Enchanted goods and such in return heading downriver towards the western frontier of the Coalition. Look closely and you can even see Griffon traders hailing from the Empire at the docks to buy select goods to ship back home to Griffenheim, even when the alliance they are standing in was founded to resist them. And the ever-present customs houses dot the riverbanks on the Grifking, but also on the Gold River where cloud marble and vases are transferred to smaller boats that shoot across the rivers. The griffon traders on the docks have just handed over an unknown crate when you exit the bridge and enter the city itself on the Unija Cesta. Taking in the awe of the only real functioning representative democracy in the Riverlands, possibly the world and especially its capital with its wide avenues and boulevards, with lavish gardens showing the wealth that the city takes in. Look to the sky and you will see buildings that are almost themselves works of art. Take a turn left at the Central Railway Terminal and stare up the Avenija Republik towards the Palaca Rijeke. Formerly the royal residence, when Rijekograd was ruled by the Water Dynasty and its princesses it is today the beating heart of Rijekan democracy as the meeting place of the Sabor.

Now, when you enter the Palaca Rijeke as a visitor, you will see paintings and frescos of the old dynasty, of how they led the city to independence, how they expanded their realm, and how they eventually fell in Wittenland. Follow the paintings and frescos up and down the palace, through the public corridors and see the story of Rijekograd from its inception to the present day. Enter the Sabor itself, and you would, under most circumstances see representative democracy in action. Under most circumstances that is. As of 1007, it is the site of some of the most hilarious political debates in known memory, with the incumbent Chancellor, River Swirl and her political nemesis, Nova Whirl, frequently trading insults in the chamber. But anyways. Exit the Palaca Rijeke and follow the promenade along the Green River to the Soft Water Theatre. The site of some of the funniest comedies in the Riverlands, it is also, coincidentally the site of a local legend of an old actor haunting the place after dying in an accident involving a sandbag, three rat tails and a roasted turkey. He haunts the place hunting for the person who killed him, moving around random seats and chandeliers in the audience. Of course, one of the theatre companies that inhabits the theatre is known to be notorious tricksters, much to the irritation of the resident orchestra and scenographers in the theatre. Can't win them all and all that. See their production, 'The Battle of Coltstream' and laugh your way through the satires of the Water Dynasty and their portrayal of them while munching on the provided snacks.

When you're done there, if there's still time in the day and you arrived at the right time, you should have time to grab a hoofball game after grabbing the streetcar to the stadium. While the River Games are unfortunately as of time of writing still a concept on paper, the local leagues are still good enough for most purposes. Be sure to avoid the hooligans though. They do not look kindly on ponies from outside their little city. But on the contrary, the stadium sells some great hayfries and hayburgers, and you should under all circumstances if you are there.

With the tense political atmosphere descending on Rijekograd, the next few years in this city will be very interesting indeed.



The City of Unicorns:

Near the humble source of the grand Grifking River stands the ancient capital of Wittenland and arguably the oldest pony city in the Riverlands: Wittenburgh. The city's early history is shrouded in myth, but it is said that the first High King of Wittenland built his palace there, and the settlement grew around it. Nothing remains of this legendary building, but at least the Great Library founded by his successors still stands.

After the decline and stagnation of Wittenland, the city has fallen behind as well. The northern cities of Jezeragrad, Bakara, Rijekograd and others now surpass it in size and prosperity. In the beginning of the millennium, the city still lacked proper lighting and sewage, while in the north the first telegraph wires already connected the cities. However, the reforms of Queen White Star have done much to drag the city to modernity, albeit at the cost of many old buildings that were simply too dilapidated to be renovated. Such is the price of progress, and most inhabitants of the city have accepted it, except for some of the more conservative mage-nobles.

Aside from the Great Library, which has one of the largest collections of books in the entire world, there is the Royal Palace, an elaborate stone castle decorated with shining crystals, the Hippodrome, a large stadium where the annual Derby is held, the Old Bridge across the Grifking river that leads to the small Pònaidh town of Ceann Tòrr, the Merchants' District on the banks of the river near the bridge where one may find many fine wares from all across the Riverlands, and lastly the luxurious manors of the mage-nobles. On the outskirts of the city are the slums inhabited by non-unicorns, who have traditionally been the lowest of the low in Wittenland society. Slowly but surely however, the huts are torn down and replaced with proper modern housing, affordable for all.



The Battleborn:

Where the river Agon meets the sea and the slopes of the mountainous lands of East Griffonia roll into gentle valleys, lays the city of Nimbusi, capital of Nimbusia. When the ponies first came to the Riverlands, legend had it that only the pegasi were able to tame the mountainous lands of its far east. Many proud cities were founded in the valleys between the mountains, inland and along the coast, but none would reach the fame of Nimbusi. The city, like many in Nimbusia, is built around the highest point, the Akropolis. Serving as a refuge during siege and troubled times, it has gotten somewhat of a sacred status amongst the residents, who erected temples to their pantheon on this hill. However, the temple complex is starting to wear from age, and major renovations will be necessary to preserve the Akropolis.

Many of Nimbusi’s highest class residences, the citizens, do not live in splendour, but in minimalist houses, with furniture built for practical purposes, not aesthetics. Thus, Nimbusi’s most impressive structures are all public works and wealthy citizens often donate to construction of these buildings to show their opulence. Libraries, statues, theatres and temples, but also sewers, offices and industry are all designed by perioikoi, non-citizens, and the helot underclass. In Nimbusia, architecture is not a citizen’s job, after all.

These divides in Nimbusian society, between pegasus and non-pegasus, determine the very soul of the city, with the upper class spending their time honing their martial skills or working on philosophy or art, while domestic servants take care of the household and periokoi do the jobs citizens don’t find joy in pursuing. Go to the Agora in Nimbusi, and you will find no pegasi on a market day, just periokoi selling their wares to helots. But go on a non-market day and you may find citizens resting between the pillars, debating politics and philosophy or making music together. Don’t be fooled, all of them are trained killers!



The Gate of Greneclyf:

Blosmport is an ancient hive city by most accounts, though it is not the oldest settlement on Greneclyf. Second only to Bugsmere in age, Blosmport, also known locally as Caladhbláth, is a sprawling port city that easily dwarves all other hive settlements on the island. Being the largest and most populated, Blosmport is Greneclyf's cultural, administrative, and technological capital.

It is also the traditional home of the Leamhan Clan and the fabled meeting spot between the ponies of Farbrook and the Grenclyfian changelings. Perhaps because of this history, there are many communities of foreigners, with the largest being an old community of ponies. This goes against the commonly-held belief that changelings only seek other creatures to exploit them. Greneclyf is more than ready to receive continentals. This is a poorly-kept secret on the island but barely talked about on the continent.

Much of Blosmport still has a hoof in the past, with much of the denser districts being underground or aboveground hive structures more in line with the traditional changeling settlements. This means that much of the area aboveground is relatively unoccupied and open for expansion: a good prospect for anycreature seeking a new home!



The Last Refuge of the Vikingar:

Hornavík is a city at odds with itself, and is in many ways a microcosm of Austurlandic society as a whole. It is a place of surprising modernity and immense poverty. It is a place where the nobility live in halls of great opulence, while thousands of their thrall servants live in abject poverty.

Records of a settlement at Hornavík's location range as far back as 180 ALB, but the city would only truly start to grow when the so-called golden age of Austurland began. Shortly after the countries establishment, Viking raids brought a great deal of wealth back to the city and solidified its status as the economic heart of Austurland. With the end of the golden age development slowed down somewhat, but despite this, the city kept expanding.

The city itself is divided into three districts, which roughly correspond with the steps of the Austurlandic social ladder. The outskirts house the commondeer, who still choke under the yoke of feudalism and perform much of the menial labor within the city. Traveling further one would reach the harbor district, which serves as the economic heart of Hornavík. Traditional Austurlandic architecture gives way to styles inspired by Griffenheim and Rijekograd, and merchant ships docking to unload their wares are a common occurrence. This is the home of the freedeer, who lack any obligations to feudal lords except the Jarl, and make up Austurland's small but growing middle class.

The harbor itself is said to be the site where deer first landed on Griffonia, and an occasional Viking longship still returns full of plunder and thralls, though these are mostly the last vestiges of a dying profession. The days of the Vikings are over, and only the nobility's desire for more thralls keeps the profession alive.

The harbor district also contains the few signs of industrialization within Austurland. Manufactories have slowly but surely started to replace artisanal craftsmanship, though the noble owners of the land in the city are notoriously reluctant to allow any new development. A notable landmark within the district is Sturla's temple, the largest temple in the country, which serves as the main center of worship for the cities inhabitants and is the tallest structure in the country. The temple itself is opulently decorated and was personally funded by Herjólfur Sturla, a noble who briefly came to dominate Austurland's political sphere around 700 ALB, before his death would usher in a brief but intense conflict between rival noble families.

The third and final section of the city is the noble district, which is, as the name implies, mostly composed of noble estates, along with the great hall of the Jarl. Imposing walls that date back to the founding of the city separate the noble district from the rest of the city and Huskarls stand ready to eject any unwanted visitors. The nobility of Austurland rule with little care for anything besides maintaining their bases of power and a significant amount of the city is underdeveloped due to their indifference on developing it.



The Haven of Freedom:

A long history paves the road to the modern city of Seguro. Originally a stronghold of the Old Kingdom of Wittenland in the south, it was overrun by pirates, when Wittenland's influence in the coastal region faded, and became a center for criminals who launched raids against any ships passing by. This ended in 875, when Sinóra Pon drove out the pirates and from thereon, the city found itself as the capital of the newly found Kása Free State. However, in 905, an invasion by Austurland razed and looted the city, leaving it as a broken husk with its ancient buildings left as nothing but rubble.

Modern day Seguro is an odd combination of old and modern ways born from its past; while the ancient walls still ceremonially mark the inner and outer city, in reality the city has far extended outwards from its original confinements. As the administrative and judicial capital, it houses the Council Hall, where the Advisory Council, the highest governing body in Kása, gathers for meetings. This building also acts as the official residence of the First Commander. The old central plaza, where once the pirates had sold their loot and slaves, is now dominated by a large statue dedicated to Sinóra Pon and her band, who'd not only united Kása but defended Seguro to their death against the Austurland invasion. Nearby to this park rises many estates held by the rich, build in the 910s during the reconstruction of the capital with aid of a Macawian architect; these buildings combine elements of the old Wittenlandic buildings with the more luxurious style from Macawia. Amongst these luxurious boulevards also lay many financial institutions and trade corporations specialized in shipping products between Zebrica and Griffonia.

Past them lay the great harbour, where each day many ships dock to or depart from to brave the seas. Recent modernization efforts have led to the old harbour adopting steam cranes and railways to move the cargo. Nearby rise many apartment complexes, where many labourers dwell who work within the city in various menial tasks. New manufacturing complexes can also be found by the coast, mainly owned by Macawian corporations or few enterprising Kásans. However, with each passing day these factories are expanding, as the state continues to pour money into industrialisation schemes.

However, there is a grim side to the otherwise shining city. In its further outskirts, over the old war-border, a sprawling maze of shobby buildings and slums spreads out into the inland. Those living there had arrived to the capital seeking for work and better life but have ended up trapped in the dangerous, filthy living space. For many years there has been lobbying and consistent efforts to alleviate the situation but so far these actions have not amounted to much, leading to some civil strife in the local politics.



Mount Aris

The Light on the Mountain:

Mount Aris is not just the Captial of Hippogriffia, it is the heart of hippogriff civilization. The city's origins date back to misty prehistory, when it was supposedly founded by the first hippogriffs after the gods created the island of Aris. Because of its central location and religious significance, Mount Aris has stood throughout the ages as the foremost city of the island. When the hippogriffs and seaponies were united into one kingdom, the first monarchs naturally chose the city as their capital, although they maintained a coequal seat of government beneath the waves in Seaquestria.

As a visitor explores the city center, admiring the Royal Palace and the famous Royal Guard regiments that protect it, they will find it hard to believe that not long ago the entire city was abandoned. In 1005 Queen Novo, fearing the might of the Storm King, evacuated the population of Aris to Seaquestria. The years spent in exile were hard for the city's inhabitants, as they dealt with fear and privation in an unfamiliar environment while their city became a ghost town. Yet the Arisians managed to preserve the essential elements of their economy and industry while in underwater exile, so the city bounced back quickly when the hippogriffs returned after their victory over the Storm King's forces.

Just outside the city you will find the Harmonizing Heights, one of the most sacred locations in all of Hippogriffia. The heights are famous for their natural beauty, diverse flora and fauna, and the unique acoustics from which they get their name. Visitors will find that even the sound of a simple gust of wind becomes a whimsical chime on the heights. The neighborhoods near the heights are filled with dazzling examples of traditional hippogriff architecture, a far cry from the dull apartment buildings that dominate the industrial districts on the far side of the mountain.

Although it is located at the center of Aris, Mount Aris has a seapony population comparable to any of the island's coastal cities. Seaponies can transform into hippogriffs at any time using shards of the Pearl of Transformation, but many like to stay in their preferred form whenever possible. To accommodate them, the city has numerous pools and fountains in public areas, as well as locations specifically designed for long-term seapony living.

Amid the sea of instability that has consumed North Zebrica in recent years, Mount Aris stands as a shining beacon of harmony, prosperity, and hope.

Ain Trotgourait

The Phoenix City:

The 11th century has not been kind to Ain Trotgourait.

Founded on a natural harbor in an inland sea, the settlement quickly became a thriving port town. While Colthage and the other Zonician cities to the east dominated trade with Griffonia, Ain Trotgourait turned west, trading with nearby kingdoms like Hippogriffia and Warzena. The city didn't truly take shape until the Zumidian nobles chose to make it the capital of the newly united Kingdom of Zumidia, at which point it became one of the most prosperous cities in the region.

This golden age came to an abrupt end in 1005 when the Storm King attacked, planning to use the city as a staging ground for an eventual invasion of Equestria. When the Zumidian king refused to surrender, the yetis executed him and sacked his capital. Almost half of the city was ravaged by fire, leveling many buildings that had stood for centuries. It suffered further damage when the hippogriffs attacked and decisively defeated the Storm King in the Battle of Ain Trotgourait.

One can still see the scars of this destruction today. Many zebras who lack the means to rebuild their homes live in temporary shelters outside the city, and historic landmarks such as the King's Square statue and the Palace Gardens have disappeared. Factories are only just now being rebuilt.

But a visitor will also notice signs of hope. Today Zerma Palace, the home of Zumidia's child-king and his Regency Council, sits across from the offices of the Provisional Hippogriff Authority. Since the signing of the Zerma Accords, most of Ain Trotgourait's residents have embraced Zumidia's status as a mandate state, confident that Hippogriffian aid and investment will allow them to rebuild their city.

Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, Ain Trotgourait may one day rise and reclaim its former glory.



The Promised Land:

Long ago, the first Warzenans, exhausted from their grueling journey, came upon a lush riverine land. There, at the confluence of the Zadin and Menuch rivers, the voices of the gods spoke to them and they knew they had found salvation. They quickly settled there, naming their new home Zamivgazal - literally meaning "confluence of the gods" - and thus Warzena was born. Situated between the great Zonician cities and Maregypt, Zamivgazal was perfectly positioned to take advantage of the rich trade routes connecting them. By the 9th century BLB, it had grown into a proper market town in tandem with the construction of the First Temple; a truly awe-inspiring monument to the gods and a wonder in its own right. However, these good times eventually came to an end as the great powers of Colthage and Maregypt fell, casting the city into a long torpor. After centuries of dormancy, the city's slumber was broken by the invasion of the Quaggatai; who destroyed the First Temple and left the city in ruins. Under their rule, a new peace was established, which allowed the city to recover and even thrive as it had so long ago. Even so, the Warzenans resented their masters and were quick to join Zinuzel Zidalid's rebellion, which saw their independence restored. In celebration, a Second Temple was built, even more opulent and grandiose than the First.

However, times were different now. The ancient trade routes that had given the city its wealth had either shifted away or withered up which, combined with the enormous costs of building the new temple, caused the city to begin a slow and painful decline, made worse by a successive line of inept and ineffective kings. By the turn of the 11th century, however, there was a new king on the throne - Zamaliahon XVI - who in a few short years managed to breath new life into the city. It seemed that Zamivgazal was poised for a grand rebirth that would allow it to more than surpass its former glories.

But that all changed when the Storm King attacked.

His armada quickly tore through the city, looting anything of value and razing the rest. The Second Temple was reduced to ash and rubble, while the reformer king was slain in his palace, leaving the nation's hopes seemingly dead with him. Although the conqueror was defeated a few months later, the damage had already been done.

Today, Zamivgazal is very much defined by the events of 1005, as large parts of the city remain in shambles. Many ancient neighborhoods, including the central square and the Courtiers' Quarter, have been damaged beyond repair while the sites of the Temples remain barren rubble heaps. Even so, the city has held on and all hope is not yet lost. The Zadin river - now fully encompassed by the nascent metropolis - was able to survive mostly unharmed, with its centuries-old manors and riverside gardens still intact. The city's northeastern areas were spared most of the destruction and now house its newest developments, as entrepreneurs slowly return to build new factories while tenements are raised to house the country's burgeoning proletariat class. Indeed, there is light in the darkness, and - gods willing - Zamivgazal may yet rise to its former heights once again.


New Ayacachtli

The Peak of the Nightmare:

Important note - This author has managed to obtain the following information through interviews, second and third-claw testimony. It is as reasonably accurate as could be gleaned given the ultra-secretive nature of the nation in question.

New Ayacachtli is - if the rumours are true - a rich and distinguished melting pot of cultures and myriad languages that stands as an almost direct mirror of its Equestrian counterpart in Canterlot. Architecturally speaking, it is supposedly a grand city that seems to be built into the very surface of The Imperial Mountains as if the Nightmare herself reached down and simply carved the great mountains asunder. Corroborated statements do indicate that the city itself favours function over form, and is heavily utilitarian and practical rather than designed for opulence, physical enjoyment, or general aesthetics of any discernible nature. It is alleged that the most elaborate iconography to Her Imperial Majesty Nightmare Moon takes pride of place in the Moonspeaker temple in the capital. Whilst as plain in decoration and ornamentation as every other building around it, the capital temple is alleged to be a focal point of the worship of the Nightmare, and the blessings that She offers.

From this great mountaintop position, allegations are made that the government forces most adherent to Nightmare Moon plan for Her return and send out their Legions to raid, pillage and abduct locals and bordering civilians. The veracity of these claims cannot be verified independently.



The City of Broken Dreams:

Tobuck is a city - if only just by modern standards - that lies at a shallow, convenient point within North Zebrica’s largest bay. It has changed hooves over the centuries with different nations lording over the city and surrounding lands for different reasons, making it one of the most diverse places on the continent.

Originally the city was constructed by the Maregyptians who intended to use the shallow waters and well-protected bay area as another trading post to add to the traditional ‘coast hopping’ system of trade between ports in the region. This is currently the best historical explanation as to why the area has a majority pony population in spite of the city’s melting pot of cultures, languages and races.

In a moment of weakness for Maregypt, the city and surrounding lands were conquered by the Warzenans and the lands were run as a pseudo-protectorate. Ironically, the title of ‘Custodian’ was more likely used as a tool to justify other wars under the guise of ‘protecting the ponies’. Unlike those that came before, Tobuck was a metaphorical crowbar used to pry into conflicts as opposed to a pearl in a string.

As the power of Warzena faltered, another group of zebras marched in. The rule of Zarantia and the relatively liberal confederacy of tribes which the city was supposed to be the crown jewel of is still remembered fondly, at time of writing. Their intention was to use the city as a springboard to reform and modernise the realm in its image, but history would not be kind to the tribes.

The reign of the Storm King would soon dash any hopes that the Zarantians once had as they surrendered the city to his unstoppable force. They had hoped that his realm would collapse in on itself, which eventually came to pass with his sudden demise; but Tobuck did not return to their hooves. The city held an enormous stockpile of weapons before the death of the mad yeti who had intended to prepare an invasion of Equestria from its ports, a stockpile which remains to this day. Unfortunately for the tribes, opportunists managed to get a hold of the city and the weapons; making the place almost entirely unassailable.

Tobuck exists between worlds and the broken dreams of many would-be empires, states and civilisations. Perhaps the city may yet leave a legacy of its own, rather than being a waystation for the ambitions of others.



The Home of a Thousand Ships:

The Ancient city of Kolt-Hadast, Colthage, gleams white as one approaches it from the Bay of Zam. Over time, a million sailors must have seen the sight of Zebrica's most famous harbour appearing from over the horizon, the promise of a voyage safely brought to an end. As your ship enters the massive artificial harbour complex, the modern extension of the Colthaginian Cothon Harbour, you are greeted by the sight of sheer endless merchant vessels from all corners of the known world. Protected piers and docks shelter vessels from the harsh weather and enemy attack, but it is behind this harbour that the ancient genius of Colthage reveals itself. The famous Round Harbour of Colthage, a truly massive naval base, expanded and reinforced over the centuries. After the Storm King's forces left the city, the harbour was turned into a daunting fortress with concrete dry-docks and anti-aircraft turrets. Some of the elegance of ancient times is lost, but the improvements ensure that the one who holds The Home of a Thousand Ships will be able to dominate the seas between Zebrica and Griffonia.

Once disembarked, you will inevitably get lost in the ancient Zebra city. The plastered homes and shops of the lower ancient town are like a maze, now and again opening up to crowded market squares. When you find your way to the Byrza citadel, you will notice that the Colthaginians have kept its ancient walls, which tower over the buildings of the lower city, a solemn promise that the city will never again fall to invaders. The citadel houses the most important buildings of the state, as well as quarters for the Sacred Band of Colthage, its most elite military formation. Notable is the Temple of Za'al Zarakin, King of the Colthaginian pantheon, which was restored after a Storm King artillery shell almost collapsed the roof. The One Hundred Twenty Seven, the Judges of Colthage, also hold their tribunal here, although the might of the institution has waxed and waned with the city's rulers.

Once you reach the highest point of the city, its actual size finally reveals itself. A park surrounding a canal suggests where the city's ancient walls must have been, but beyond there, modern factories and houses stretch out in every direction. Beyond them, Colthage's rich farmlands. Staring at the little dot on the horizon, the ship you landed on, it is fair to wonder how such a city was ever brought low. And the next time you will cross paths with a Colthaginian merchant or sailor, you will nod in agreement when they boast proudly of their home, The Home of a Thousand Ships.


The Artists' Anchorage:

According to historical records, Hippone as a city is older than Colthage itself. Founded millenia ago by Zonician colonists, it quickly became one of the most preeminent cities in northern Zebrica thanks to its geographical location and excellent deepwater harbour. Nestled between hills, it has always been easy to defend and history has treated it far better than Colthage. Many ancient buildings stand to this day, mostly unharmed and well maintained by the citizenry.

These marvelous buildings hint to the rich culture of the city. Throughout history, Hippone has been the cultural heart of Zonician civilization. It is a shining example of urban planning, with the streets closely following the contours of the hills surrounding the city's center. There are numerous parks and orchards full of tropical plants. These green areas are favoured by the city's numerous artists and musicians who enjoy the calm refuges from urbanity.

The beauty of the city is funded by the wealthy local merchants, who are also patrons of the arts. The patricians draw their prosperity from the vital east-west naval trade, acting as an entrepot and stopping point for travelling ships. However, the recent modernization of the Colthaginian Republic and other nearby nations has replaced wooden vessels with long-ranged ships of steel which can travel directly to their destination.

As such, Hippone's importance has diminished over the years. It is almost like the city itself refuses to adapt to modernity, as its patricians wish to preserve the beauty of the city. The first factories and urban apartments of Hippone were purposefully built far from the city proper. Time will tell if the local resistance to modernity will last much longer. The city will either adapt or fade into irrelevance, becoming little more than a beautiful tourist attraction.


The Border Fort:

In the seventh century Before Lunar Banishment, when Colthaginian traders looked north towards Griffonia, another city founded a fort at the bay which later grew into Kizil-Zeb. Zur was Colthage’s ancient and legendary rival, and Kizil-Zeb was a gambit to whisk eastern trade away from their more dominant neighbour. The fort, named Metzudah, and her natural harbour provided a safe haven for Macawian and Hindian ships, after which their wealth was directed towards the mother city. As the Zonic wars raged between Colthage and Karthin, Zur profited and eventually became the hegemonic power in Northern Zebrica, which caused the colonists from Kizil-Zeb to project power over the area now known as Coltva.

Zur’s prominence did not last, however, and exactly six hundred years after Metzudah was founded, Kizil-Zeb declared independence from the mother city, only for Colthage to eventually come to exert influence over Coltva yet again. Influences from Hindia and Macawia, along with the old legacy of Zur, meant that Colthage never fully managed to culturally absorb Coltva, and especially during the rule of the Quagga Khans over Zonicia, the two cultures diverted. The advent of modernity and the atrocities committed during the fight against the Storm King fuelled Coltvan unrest and cemented the Coltvan identity in opposition to Colthaginian culture.

Kizil-Zeb itself is exemplary of the history of Coltva. As many of the larger Coltvan towns, a colonial fort stood in the centre, although modern government buildings and houses now dot the old Metzudah quarter. Eventually, Coltvan culture seeped into the city, until only buildings remained of Zur’s legacy. Around the city centre, winding narrow streets are flanked by high, sometimes overhanging buildings with dizzying colours, inspired by Macawian, Hindian and Zur architecture over the centuries. Look closely, and you might find old houses doubling as warehouses which belonged to macaw or deer merchants. Small plazas with fountains and shady trees keep the city liveable in the hot summer, if you know where to find them. To a Colthaginian, Kizil-Zeb is a little too different from home than it should be, an overwhelming mix of styles, accents and impressions, but for Coltvans, it is their little capital.

Les Meridiennes


The Heart of Charity:

From its earliest days as the seat of a moderately prosperous native confederation, the island of what is now known as Belle-Île has been described as a beacon of charity and a haven for wayward travellers. Having few reasons to go to war with one another, the nations that formed upon her shores would instead prefer to turn their attention towards the outside, opening their ports to travellers and letting a myriad of goods flow between themselves and the hundreds of isles dotting the archipelago. So great was their splendour and so high their acclaim that, during the early days of intercontinental exploration, they became a popular stopping-off point for both established and emerging naval powers of the age. From Sicameonese traders to Equestrian explorers, their generosity and unwavering cultural tolerance had transformed them into a beacon of multiculturalism in the Meridian.

This tolerance, combined with their deeply interpersonal political system, would ultimately lead to their absorption into Saddle Arabia through a series of diplomatic maneuvers, with the rest of the isles following not long after. Under Arabian control, the island, now known as Alluwlua would stand to gain much from its new liege. In the capitol city of Mina' Alsalahif, for example, Saddle Arabian architecture would flourish, intertwining with the local style to create some of the most remarkable landmarks in the city. In the countryside, many established farming settlements would find themselves increasingly centered around families deemed worthy of Arabian investments, granted at the caretaker's discretion. As time passed and trade routes drifted out of favor, the island would continue to do its best to keep up with the times, always finding a way to continue turning a profit despite the changing times.

This stagnation would continue for some time until the year 785 ALB, when Alluwlua, along with all of the minor islands surrounding it, was given as a wedding gift to Queen Giselda of the Discret family. The transfer proved to be a great boon to the island's local economy and for many years, the newly renamed capitol of Port Giselda would see unprecedented growth and expansion as prospective members of Aquileian society would set up shop. It was not until 200 years later, during the crisis of the First Revolution, that the nation would finally find itself on the tail end of its latest golden age. With Aquileian imports being unavailable as long as the king remained in exile, the Colony was forced to dip into its savings in order to keep many businesses afloat. Even then, 5 years of Republican rule on the mainland took its toll on the young nation and even now, years after Maréchal Berthelot launched his fateful counter-revolution to restore the Discrets to the throne, some parts of the island are only just beginning to recover. If the island is to regain its former glory, changes are going to have to be made.



The Vikingr's Landing:

It is told that the landing in Ostkranbi was when the Olenian Gods truly decided to bestow their favour upon brothers Cnoof and Ivor. At the height of their conquest of the Hindian subcontinent, however, Cnoof was killed in a battle, after Ivor took the prophetic warnings of a native mystic to heart, and ordered that the corpses of all Seers from the voyage be hung in Ostkranbi's town square - after they were burned, of course. Legend told in hushed tones says Ukko himself killed Cnoof for his brother's heresy.

And although a Seer was never seen again in Ostkranbi since, and the Gods' influence inevitably faded from Hindia entirely, the city continues to harken back to the days of the old Olenian conquerors, with its sheer amount of temples to the Godly pantheon of Olenia numbering above any other city in the Hindian subcontinent. Another key fixture of Ostkranbian life is the relative urbanization that has occured in recent years due to the reforms of Benjen V Kudlinen and his father, Benjen IV, in which Chital truly began the process of industrialization. A mixture between the mystery of the old and the comfort of the new, Ostkranbi stands as a bastion of House Kudlinen's rule, the Olenian pantheon, and a period of modernization that will soon come to all of Chital.

Home to House Kudlinen, originally minor nobility brought over from the initial voyage of Cnoof and Ivor, Ostkranbi is the center of Chitali politics, with its grand Inner City holding the Council of Seven, established in 1003 to mediate noble disputes and govern Chital in abscence of a true absolute monarchy. Before the rise of House Kudlinen and the Council, the city was a personal domain of the heirs of Cnoof and Ivor, ruling from the great isle of Uusi Hirvimaa, but when their line soon died out and their control over the mainland became more and more fragile, the land became a center for a new dynasty - led by Benjen V Kudlinen, steward of the city.

Although the influence of Hirvimaaian life has faded from Ostkranbi, one must remember that the Kudlinens are not the only line holding claim to Chital's capital city...

Realm of Kiria


The Mysterious Capital:

The First Tenet of the Way of Fire:
Make Peace with the Self.
Fuel carelessly burnt will create a raging inferno;
a fire left unattended will wither and die out.
The fire that burns within One's breast must be carefully nurtured,
so that it may safely provide the light and warmth that will sustain them.

Long the seat of the Vermilion Dynasty, the city of Vermilion has served as the Imperial Capital of the Realm of Kiria since its foundation. It was in the mountains surrounding the hidden city that the religion known as The Way of Fire is said to have had its genesis, where the monks and mystics came down from the mountains to share everything they learned from communing with the divine fire being, Concord, with the local population. In time, as The Way of Fire spread throughout the Realm of Kiria, the city only grew in importance and size. Due to its spiritual and political importance as the birthplace of the Way of Fire and the seat of the Vermilion Dynasty, Vermilion became the largest city in the realm, complete with a sprawling palace complex, a bureaucratic and diplomatic quarter, and magnificent gardens, though this was not to last.

As Kiria entered a period of tumultuous change brought about by the advent of industrialization and capitalism, the teachings of The Way of Fire could no longer calm the excesses of a populace drunk on the heady prospects of modernisation. In 902, a merchants' protest against a decree by Matriarch Superior Noctilucent Charm restricting the establishment of monoculture tea plantations in the Vermilion Basin was confronted by a mob of commoners, enraged that the merchants would question the wisdom and authority of their Matriarch. Nokirin is sure who changed first, but in the midst of the brawling, somekirin turned into a nirik, and the chaos spread like wildfire. By the end of the day, four-fifths of Vermilion had been burnt to the ground, with the last flames finally extinguished only a week later. The inferno claimed hundreds of lives, injuring tens of thousands, and most of Vermilion's population was left homeless. It was the scars left upon Noctilucent Charm's psyche by this tragedy that would directly lead to her series of radical decrees and proclamations that established The Silence.

Vermilion was slowly rebuilt over the following century, and still serves as the seat of the Vermilion Dynasty, though The Silence has robbed it of all its authority. Yet here, more than anywhere else in the realm, The Way of Fire is still strong, and the Matriarch's authority still holds absolute sway over the kirin that live here. Following the determined efforts of an Equestrian diplomatic mission to make contact with Matriarch Superior Rain Shine in 1006 ALB, The Silence was lifted locally around the city. Now, Vermilion is growing at a rate it hasn't seen in a century, and one day, it may reclaim its status as the crown jewel of the kirin realm.


The Pearl of Kiria:

The Second Tenet of the Way of Fire:
Make Peace with Your Neighbor.
The flames of One's fire can, if left unchecked, ignite an entire forest.
Just as One nurtures their own flame,
they must be sure that their flame does not ignite their Neighbor's tinder.

Once the entryway into the Realm of Kiria, the port city of Fragrance has long been an important trading city with a strong maritime tradition and independent cultural identity. Fragrance once handled the bulk of the realm's trade between the deer of the north and the parrots of Macawia, with some traders reaching as far as Southern Griffonia during the city's most prosperous years. As such, it was always the first to receive new ideas and put them into action, helping to further culturally separate the city from the rest of the kirin heartlands, as species from all across the globe settled into the city to open businesses and ply their trade. It was also in the city of Fragrance that the modernization of Kiria began, with the advent of capitalism and the establishment of an ever-growing kirin bourgeoisie only further radicalizing the changes happening within the city. There was some pushback from local leaders who feared that modernization of the country would come between the common kirin and the divine authority of their Matriarch, but these voices were unable to stop the changes happening to the city. Within years, Fragrance had grown into the richest city in Kiria, and it seemed like it would only grow richer with time.

The Silence put a swift and brutal end to that. When the decrees from the capital outlawed money, property, and hierarchical organization, the economy of Fragrance collapsed overnight. The trade routes the city needed to thrive simply disappeared, and the workers that toiled in the factories returned to the countryside to farm. Though bourgeoisie and merchants from throughout the realm fled to Fragrance in a hope to salvage their businesses and way of life, the damage had already been done. Fragrance, a city built around trade and business, suddenly lost its purpose.

In time, Fragrance would turn to less morally responsible activities to sustain itself and its populace. Pirates, smugglers, and mercenaries sought to keep the city alive and its citizens fed by finding some way of bringing money into the city. The kirin navy, mothballed in the city's massive harbor, mutineed, with many sailors turning to piracy to provide for themselves and their families. In the century since The Silence was decreed, what remained of the city of Fragrance had only grown more radicalized and resentful of the Imperial Dynasty that had crippled it so. Now, with The Silence beginning to lift across the realm, Fragrance sees a chance to reclaim its former glory... and maybe exact its vengeance.


The City of Music:

The Third Tenet of the Way of Fire:
Make Peace with Concord.
Concord is wise and benevolent,
She who shaped the world from the primordial fires,
and entrusted within the kirin species the last spark of that great inferno.
Strive to understand Her wisdom and teachings,
and to anchor oneself in peace and harmony with the world around them.

Isolated from both the Great Mellifluve that runs through most of the realm and the smaller, but no less majestic, Carmine River, the prosperous hill city of Rhapsody straddles the headwaters that form the Jubilee River. Rhapsody, unlike the rest of the kirin cities in the Realm of Kiria, is an artificial construct; the Vermilion Priestess Iridescent Dawn, who became the realm's first Matriarch Superior and founder of the Vermilion Dynasty, chanced upon the uninhabited and pristine spot while traveling to the mountain peaks to meditate in the presence of the great fire goddess Concord. When she rested at the site for the night, she fell in love with its beauty and splendor, and felt that this land had, more than almost anywhere else in Kiria, been blessed by Concord herself. Before she departed to continue her ascent to the mountaintops, the Priestess decreed the spot where she rested a suitably auspicious site to build a city dedicated to the reverence of Concord, and began to directly organize the settlement of the region when she returned to Vermilion. A small cadre of Vermilion Priests led ten thousand followers over the mountains and hills between the capital and the decreed spot, choosing the name of Rhapsody upon breaking ground for the first building, in celebration of the many hymns praising Concord the expedition sang on their journey. In time, Rhapsody would grow to become an impressive metropolis devoted to the study and worship of Concord's teachings, growing to rival both Vermilion and Fragrance in spite of — or perhaps, owing to — its relative isolation from either.

It was this isolation that has allowed Rhapsody to flourish despite the imposition of The Silence. In 779 ALB, a rebellious sectlet of Vermilion Priests relocated to the city after expressing their dissatisfaction with the reigning Matriarch's policies and supposedly hedonistic lifestyle. Over the following decades, this branch of the theocracy worked to distance Rhapsody from what they saw as the crumbling divine authority of the Vermilion Dynasty in Vermilion, though they never went so far as to outright say so. The kirin of Rhapsody soon came to believe that they knew the Way of Fire better than the scholars and mystics in the capital, and as such, they had a truer interpretation of Concord's teachings than even the Matriarch. Though this caused friction between Vermilion and Rhapsody, nothing came of it until The Silence was decreed in 902 ALB. While the rest of the nation slowly began to crumble, decay, and decentralize as a result of Matriarch Superior Noctilucent Charm's decrees, Rhapsody resisted them, believing that the Matriarch had wrongly interpreted Concord's divine solution to the nirik problem. While cities across the realm slowly depopulated as The Silence strengthened, many fled to Rhapsody, which continued to grow in size and influence. The city carefully wielded its religious fervor to halt the changes and modernization that had caused so much chaos in the rest of the realm without resorting to implementing the Matriarch's policies, and so survived the intervening century relatively unscathed.

Nowadays, Rhapsody boasts the largest population in all of the realm, and the city is larger and more prosperous than any other kirin city in the world. The kirin of Rhapsody are fiercely independent and envision themselves as a cut above the rest of their kind, empowered and enlightened by their interpretations of Concord's teachings. But with the Silence ending throughout the realm, only time will tell if Rhapsody can hang onto its status as the leading center of enlightenment in the nation, or if it will fall behind the imperial capital once more.


The Scorched City:

The Fourth Tenet of the Way of Fire:
Resist the Impulses of the Inferno.
A raging fire, tamed, becomes an invaluable tool of progress.
So, too, must One master the fire that rages within them.
Reject destruction, save for as an absolute last resort of self-preservation.

Nestled in a fertile branch of the Great Mellifluve river, Sorghum is dominated by farmlands and rolling plains that once made it the breadbasket of the Realm of Kiria. So great was its importance in keeping the people of Kiria fed that Matriarch Superior Moonlight Glow once remarked that, "So long as there is peace and plenty in Sorghum, then there shall be peace and plenty throughout the Realm." Humbled by the favor the divine Matriarch gave them, the people of Sorghum and the surrounding farmlands began to refer to their small corner of the realm as Peace-And-Plenty, a name that soon found its way into official records in the capital.

Yet Sorghum was not always peaceful, nor did it have plenty to offer for the kirin that lived there. While much of the modern Realm of Kiria had been united under The Way of Fire by 552 ALB, Sorghum and its surrounding lands remained an independent, brutal state under the hoof of the cruel warlord known as Cinder Scales. Under his rule, thousands of peasants were slain in failed uprisings put down by his fiercely loyal and disciplined soldiers, and mystics in the city of Verdant once claimed that the only thing the fisherkirin could catch for a season were the bodies of slaughtered peasants from up north, their spilt blood tingeing the river crimson.

Attempting to put a stop to the horrible atrocities happening in Sorghum and finally unify the nation, the Vermilion Priestess Iridescent Dawn ventured into Sorghum with a procession of her fellow priests and priestesses to convince Cinder Scales and his followers to repent of their sinful ways, and embrace the wisdom of the fire goddess Concord. Cinder Scales imprisoned the procession instead, yet when he attempted to execute the monks upon a massive funeral pyre to show how powerless their deity was, Iridescent Dawn instead emerged from the fire as a majestic kirin twice the size of every other kirin, seemingly gifted with Concord's divine blessing. The warlord repented upon seeing this display of divinity, and with a promise to build the city's first temple to The Way of Fire and Concord, Sorghum was finally integrated into the realm as the city in which the First Matriarch Superior of the Vermilion Dynasty had consummated her ascension.

Like the rest of the realm, the imposition of The Silence on the nation has seen Sorghum's fortunes slowly decline. The city itself has largely been depopulated, with most of the inhabitants moving back out into Sorghum's ample farmlands to resume their way of life before the introduction of modernization. Now, with The Silence beginning to recede across the nation, Sorghum stands ready to return to the glory it once held, and perhaps peace and plenty will return to the city of Iridescent Dawn's ascension once more.


The City of Stilts:

The Fifth Tenet of the Way of Fire:
Reject the Corruption of One's Gifts.
Everything that One is, One owes to the blessings and wisdom of Concord.
Her gifts are generous and beatific, a fire's warmth on a cold winter's night.
Reject the temptation to use Her gifts to suffocate the fires of Another's.

The city of Verdant dominates the last branch of the magnificent Great Mellifluve river, where the waters bring in trade and goods from all throughout the Realm of Kiria. Where the Great Mellifluve's three branches meet, a massive stretch of floodplains and small islands have arisen, creating fertile and plentiful ground for an expanding and powerful city. Verdant is that city, once strong and grand on a level to rival even the city of Rhapsody far to the east, and even wrestling with the city of Fragrance as the realm's most important trading city. Verdant controls all the trade flowing out of the realm's heartlands and into the South Kirin Sea, and once enjoyed close trade ties with the city of Blossom in the nearby breakaway state of Sen Kinh.

Where other cities such as Rhapsody, Fragrance, and even the imperial capital of Vermilion grew up and out into dense cities, Verdant capitalizes on its unique geography by spreading out across the Great Mellifluve, with raised communities perched on the many islands and the flat riverbanks, causing the city to completely dominate the mouth of the river. Spread out as it is, roads within and around the city are small and scarce; rather, the kirin of Verdant travel from place to place using hundreds of canals and thousands of small boats. This serves them well during the spring flood season, where the banks of the Great Mellifluve swell and the river can rise as high as ten meters, submerging any surface roads for weeks at a time. To combat this, the buildings of Verdant are raised on wooden and bamboo stilts that keep them elevated above the Great Mellifluve in all but the worst floods. When the river is at its highest during the flooding season, the islands in its waters disappear, and the raised buildings appear to float on the water, thus giving rise to its second moniker: The City that Floats.

The collapse of river trade during the institution of The Silence took a great toll on the city's economy. Without a reliable stream of goods and trade flowing down the river toward the city, Verdant's economy sharply contracted, forcing the growing capitalist and industrialist classes to flee north to Fragrance, the city that still desperately tried to maintain trade relations with the rest of Zebrica, and so the best remaining hope for the businesskirin to hold onto what assets they had left. As for the rest of the kirin in Verdant, many migrated out of the city into the surrounding farmlands to take up subsistence farming, or slowly isolated themselves into one of the city's many island communities, taking up fishing to survive. With the city fragmenting into dozens, if not hundreds of communities isolated by water and canals, it was perhaps a surprise to find that the city did not suffer or decline too greatly in power and influence in the region. Seeing the resilience of their city, many priests and mystics of The Way of Fire took this as a sign that The Silence could yet be compatible with the teachings of Concord, and pointed toward the communalism of the city's communities for proof. Over the decades, this way of thinking has created a new sect of The Way of Fire known as The Rising Fire, which argues that improved and reorganized communal societies can keep the realm strong while also paying homage to Concord and abiding by the decrees of The Silence. For now, the priests and mystics of The Rising Fire only hold sway over Verdant and the cities connected to the western branches of the Great Mellifluve, but were The Silence to end, surely they would begin to take their ideas further inland and spread their teachings far and wide.


The Western Sentinel:

Fed by the waters flowing down from the Cinereous Strath mountains, the city of Chrysanthemum is the most westward urban province of the Realm of Kiria. As such, it has long held its own sense of self-identity, and, given the sparse population of western Kiria when compared to the densely-populated east, the region has historically been somewhat of a backwater, insulated from the hustle and bustle of the eastern dynastic heartland. Even in the tumultuous centuries before The Way of Fire had unified Kiria, Chrysanthemum had avoided the worst of the bloodshed and violence commonplace throughout the realm, for few built-up towns and settlements inhabited the rural western countryside, and thus organised conflict between different kirin communities rarely erupted.

In those times, the settlement of Chrysanthemum served as an informal hub for riverine trade along the western tributaries of the Great Mellifluve. Chrysanthemum, then merely a sparsely-populated fishing village, would eventually swell in size as farmers and craftskirin would travel there en masse during the summer to sell their goods to river traders. Obviously, so many kirin traveling to one city would more often than not result in tempers flaring, but the impermanence of the gathering spot and its temporary structures lent itself well to weathering nirik transformations, and so the annual convergence continued without too much trouble.

Chrysanthemum only underwent true urban development once The Way of Fire had been introduced to the area, allowing the kirin communities to establish a larger, more permanent settlement along the river, with the teachings and tenets of the fire goddess Concord serving as a means to suppress the nirik state and facilitate the integration of the nearby rural communities into the city. Chrysanthemum has, ever since then, served as the unifying hub that connects the rural western communities to the authority and decrees of the Vermilion Dynasty, and its influence reaches even the most isolated communities in the western realm.

However, The Silence effectively separated the city from the capital of Vermilion and the rest of the Realm. Chrysanthemum, now left as a lonely hub of religious authority in the west, found itself desperately trying to maintain connections with the cities further down the Great Mellifluve, asking for instruction and support from both its neighboring urban centers and the fire goddess, as its population declined and kirin began to return to their neighboring communities. The city might have dissolved entirely had it not been for a revitalization of religious preaching and fervor spread by the city of Verdant, which had begun professing its own sect of The Way of Fire known as The Rising Fire. In the new teachings, which promised a way to marry the decrees of The Silence to egalitarian communalist ideals, the leaders of Chrysanthemum found hope that they could keep their city from fading away again as it once had done centuries ago. With its authority and control over the west, Chrysanthemum has begun spreading the teachings of The Rising Fire to the rural communities surrounding it, and thanks to their efforts, the sect is firmly rooted in the western realm.

With the Silence ending, however, there must soon come a reckoning between The Way of Fire in the east and The Rising Fire in the west. Only time will tell if Chrysanthemum can peacefully reconcile with long-distant Vermilion, and once again serve as its hub of imperial authority in the west, or if it will instead try to spread this new religious sect all the way down the Great Mellifluve, potentially altering kirin society forever.


The Vermilion Gateway:

The closest port to the Kirin capital of Vermilion, the city of Radiance has long been named the Vermilion Gateway by travelers and traders. With the gleaming waters of the Kirin Sea to the east, the craggy peaks of the Maritime Range to the south, and the Redwood Forest on the opposite bank of the Willow River to the north, the city of Radiance occupies a favourable location on Kiria's mountainous eastern seaboard. Up until The Silence, the city of Radiance received hundreds of ships a year, each carrying traders, petitioners, and foreign dignitaries on their way to the capital of Vermilion, where the Matriarch Superior of the Vermilion Dynasty rules over the Realm. Though not as important of a trading city as Fragrance or Verdant, Radiance was able to maintain a robust economy and a healthy population due to its importance and proximity to Vermilion, and had begun to rival Fragrance in the years leading up to The Silence. The roads connecting it to Vermilion were some of the largest and most modern in the Realm before The Silence wrapped the nation in its stifling grip, and many nobles and members of the Vermilion Dynasty maintained homes and estates in and around the city to enjoy the warm weather of summer by the shore.

Unfortunately, its greatest strength became its most crippling weakness when The Silence was declared more than a century ago. With the advent of The Silence, petitioners and foreign dignitaries seeking an audience with the Matriarch Superior dwindled to nothing, and trade between Vermilion and Radiance all-but ceased. The roads connecting the cities fell into disrepair and Radiance's economy entirely collapsed. A mass exodus from the city began, though many still remained, hoping that one day, The Silence would be lifted, and they could return to their former glory as the Vermilion Gateway. So diminished was their status that the Equestrian Delegation of 1006 that sought to establish contact with the reclusive kirin bypassed the city entirely, instead docking in the city of Verdant and making their way up the Great Mellifluve to arrive in Vermilion by the long route.

But with The Silence now ending in Kiria and The Way of Fire returning in full force to the city, Radiance's future is beginning to look brighter. Kirin are moving back into the city, and with foreign dignitaries and petitioners once more attempting to make their way to Vermilion to meet with Matriarch Superior Rain Shine, Radiance has found its purpose again. Should things continue to improve then, Concord willing, Radiance may one day return to its former glory, and maybe even begin to rival Fragrance in terms of its importance to Kiria's trade.


The Halfway City:

Known as the Halfway City, Massicot has long served as an important stop in any journey up the Great Mellifluve to visit the heart of the Vermilion Dynasty. It is positioned halfway along the Yellowood River between Sorghum and the imperial capital of Vermilion. Previously a shallow and narrow tributary of the Great Mellifluve, the Yellowood River was widened and deepened in a series of canal-building public works projects during the reign of Matriarch Superior Moonlight Glow. The result was a straightened and channelized waterway, robust with weirs and locks that made it navigable to most kirin watercraft save for the largest junks, that became officially known as the Moonlight Navigation.

In the centuries since The Way of Fire united the kirin communities into a theocracy, Massicot has played host to countless dignitaries and pilgrims, both kirin and outsider, who have traveled to meet the Matriarch Superior of the Vermilion Dynasty. The city is renowned for its beautiful sights and splendid temples, and many priests and mystics of The Way of Fire have traveled to the city to commune better with nature and to understand the fire goddess Concord's teachings. The Vermilion Dynasty also retains a winter palace in the city, though it has not seen use in well over a hundred years, even prior to The Silence.

Massicot suffered a particularly harsh decline during the Silence. Nocreature had sailed up the Great Mellifluve to see the Matriarch Superior in over a century, and so the city found itself struggling for a new purpose as its population faded away, its priests and mystics deserting the city for eremitic exile. In 1006, however, it received a rejuvenation of purpose, as it played host to an Equestrian diplomatic delegation seeking to establish ties with the isolated Kirin Realm. The diplomats, Fluttershy and Applejack, were warmly welcomed by the city, especially when they made it clear that they planned on visiting Matriarch Superior Rain Shine and ending The Silence in Kiria. Seeing a chance to undo the stifling decrees that had slowly been draining the life out of their city, the residents of Massicot made sure that the Equestrian delegation was well-supplied for the remaining leg of their journey, and several mystics from The Way of Fire accompanied them to the capital. Their mission was a success, and now, with The Silence beginning to end in Kiria, the residents of Massicot are hopeful that one day their city will be able to regain its status as the Halfway City, once more welcoming and preparing visitors for their meeting with the Matriarch Superior.

Auburn Isle

The Pirate Haven:

When The Silence began, the theocracy of the Realm of Kiria was forced to mothball the dozens of warships that made up the backbone of Kiria's once-impressive navy. With the Imperial Navy all but disbanded, many captains and their crew decided to mutiny rather than watch their ships rot in Fragrance's harbor, and themselves consigned to uncertain fates in the Silenced Realm. Fleeing from the city and the last vestiges of imperial authority that the Vermilion Dynasty commanded, as the decrees that made up The Silence took effect throughout the nation, the crews of these ships turned to piracy to survive. These pirates, trained and disciplined from their service in the Imperial Navy, quickly proved to be fearsome predators in the Kirin Seas and the Gulf of Samar, with some even striking as far north as the Yarldom of Chital or as far south as the islands that made up the Zebrides Archipelago. When these neighboring nations mustered up a response to drive the pirates back, the pirates quickly established a home base and safe haven on the Auburn Isle, which they seized without a fight from a token imperial garrison unable to communicate with any centralized authority on the mainland.

In the century since, these pirates have continued to operate out of the port of Nacre, undisturbed by the Vermilion Dynasty on the mainland and unable to be crushed by the navies of the neighboring states. But now, with The Silence beginning to end in Kiria, and their autonomy likely to be challenged in the near future, the golden age of piracy in Eastern Zebrica is coming to its end. For the maritime brigands living on the island, it is time to adapt or die. There is no other option.

Sen Kinh


Citadel of the Lotus Crown:

At the center of this great Zaikirian city stands the Citadel of the Lotus, an ancient structure maintained for centuries as a fortress-monastery for the priests of the Southern Way. At its center lies the Shrine of the Flaming Lotus, a small altar with a jade box said to contain a perpetually burning lotus blossom — proof of Concord's Divine Will. From this sacred place, the monastery expanded outwards, with other temples built around the central shrine, followed by walls to protect it all. To protect the monastery and the spark housed within, the wood-and-earth architecture of the fortress and its walls were supplemented by fortified stone baileys and citadels surrounded by open fields, meticulously cultivated to be pleasure gardens in peacetime that could be razed and prepared to become deadly killing fields during a siege. Moats were also carved to provide water to the inner sanctum, and to provide another line of defense. Soon, the complex outgrew its first ring of defence, and another layer had to be built. This would repeat a total of three times, with each ring of fortifications representing another age of the city's history. In accordance with the Divine Will of Concord, these sacred rings were built to resemble the petals of a lotus flower, showing that the burning blossom would always be the city's sacred heart.

While the kirin in the north were eventually able to unify under the teachings of The Way of Fire, the various city-states of Zaikiria remained fractured and hostile towards each other for a far longer time, even as the religion of Concord began to permeate into the south. Of these city-states, the cities of Lotus and Blossom were two of the strongest, and often utilized the smaller city-states between them to engage in regional proxy wars to prevent the other from growing too sharply in power and influence. This age of warring states was soon put on hold around 800 ALB when the influence of the Vermilion Dynasty managed to effectively assert itself over the kirin city-states and warlords in the region of southern Kiria, bringing these kirin into the fold as semi-autonomous protectorates under the jurisdiction of the divine Matriarch Superior in Vermilion. Given enough time, Zaikiria would have been absorbed into the kirin realm proper, with Lotus being the last hold out of the region, but the abrupt arrival of The Silence brought about by rapid modernization of the Vermilion Realm severed the Matriarch's influence in the region. Without the unifying force of the Vermilion Realm's influence to hold them together, the city-states of Zaikiria once again split apart into violent rivalries and fighting.

Lotus found itself in a peculiar situation following the establishment of The Silence in the northern realm. A large portion of kirin intellectuals and capitalists fled to the city from the Matriarch's realm, trying to find a new home among kirin lands that was free of the oppressive policies of The Silence. This core group of educated kirin became just the tool that Lotus' warlord, Cinder Tempest, would need to expand and solidify his power over Lotus and Zaikiria as a whole. Occupying the Citadel of the Lotus Crown as his headquarters and assimilating these educated kirin into his court, Cinder Tempest embarked on a long campaign of conquest that marched northwards, subjugating each of the Zaikirian city-states in turn, until he finally sacked and subdued Lotus' long-time rival of Blossom.

Cinder Tempest returned to Lotus with the spoils of his conquest of Blossom and declared himself King of Sen Kinh and Bearer of the Lotus Crown. Lotus became the capital of his new kingdom, and to celebrate his achievements, Cinder subverted the beliefs of the Southern Way of Fire and declared himself a divine ruler akin to the Matriarch Superior in the north. With his divine authority firmly established, Cinder used the Southern Way as a tool to maintain social control over his new realm, preventing it from falling apart after his death.

Nowadays, Lotus remains the seat of the Kingdom of Sen Kinh, though its influence and authority over the rest of the region is beginning to wane as the city-states once again agitate for independence. And with The Silence ending in northern Kiria and the Realm of Kiria waking from its slumber, the Bearer of the Lotus Crown will have to tread carefully to maintain Lotus' supremacy over the rest of Zaikiria... and its own independence from a resurgent Vermilion Realm.


The Dynastic Bulwark:

The city-state of Blossom has long stood at a dangerous yet influential crossroads in Kiria. Caught between the unified Realm of Kiria and the squabbling city-states of Zaikiria, Blossom has long had to play off of the strengths and weaknesses of its neighbors to survive. Before the divine gaze of the kirin Matriarch Superior turned her attention to the south, Blossom engaged in an endless series of proxy wars and regional conflicts with its biggest rival, the city-state of Lotus, to the south of the Zaikiria region. But as The Way of Fire unified the northern kirin realm and began to spread southwards, Blossom found itself as the first target of an expanding kirin hegemony over the south. As the religion of the north began to permeate the city and its society at every level, the local leaders of Blossom soon found themselves unable to withstand the growing influence of the north in their dominion, and soon were forced to swear fealty to the Matriarch Superior of Kiria, lest the city collapse into open revolt fueled by the religion of The Way of Fire. Blossom found itself established as the Vermilion Realm's power base in the south as the capital of the Commandery of Zaikiria, from where it could continue to exert its influence and authority over the region. Temples to the fire goddess Concord replaced any and all shrines to previous gods and deities, and a powerful clergy soon found itself vying for control of the city with its old leaders. As the years went on, the kirin of Blossom soon started seeing themselves as kirin of the Vermilion Realm, and had The Silence not severed all imperial influence in the region, the full annexation of the city into the realm may very well have happened.

When The Silence destroyed the authority and influence of the Matriarch Superior in Kiria, Blossom found itself in a crisis of identity. Many kirin in the city believed that, as a bastion of the Matriarch's influence in the south, they should abide by the decrees of The Silence and follow the example of their northern brethren. The kirin who had long hoped for independence from the north, however, saw this as an opportunity to once more establish the dominance of Blossom in Zaikiria. The internal divisions within the city left it weak and ill-prepared to resist the advances of the other Zaikirian city-states, and it was not long before Cinder Tempest, a warlord from the city-state of Lotus, stormed Blossom's walls and sacked the city. Instead of The Silence affording Blossom a chance to rise into renewed glory, it only brought about the ruination of the northernmost city-state, and it was forced to swear fealty to a master for a second time, this time from the south. Its populace humiliated and its valuables looted, it would be a long time before another opportunity to reclaim its former glory would come to the city-state.

Nowadays, however, the authority of the Sen Kinhese kings in Lotus is waning, and whispers of independence are once more beginning to travel along Blossom's streets. But a resurgent Realm of Kiria to the north also poses new risks to the once-proud city-state. For yet again, Blossom finds itself at a crossroads, its future uncertain, and the kirin in the streets holding their breath as they watch the situation around them develop.



Metropolis on the Marekong:

In the dark days before Kirian unification under the Way of Fire and the Matriarchs Superior, Kiria was a land of anarchy, warfare, and devastation. Regional warlords and petty tyrants ruled over a myriad of incessantly warring fiefdoms through terror and violence. It was away from this landscape of fear and tears that a steady trickle of kirin peasantry made their way south to the Zaikirian frontier — a sparsely-populated and untamed land yet-untouched by the nirik warlordism that ravaged Kiria.

It was on the northern bank of the Marekong River that the furthest kirin settlement in the south of Zaikiria — Madrepore — was founded during the beginning of the 6th century. Refugees from Kiria Proper had established settlements all throughout the Zaikirian interior and coastline, but Madrepore's favourable location at the mouth of the Marekong River, its expansive deepwater harbour, and a general consensus among the refugee diaspora that the settlement — situated, far away from the chaos of the homeland they had fled, in the southernmost reaches of Zaikiria — was as auspicious a place to put down roots as any, meant that it attracted a significant influx of kirin immigrants that would only increase as Madrepore grew in size.

While the kirin settlements in the territories of what would later become known as Khamrin determinedly rejected any form of central government to maintain the sovereignty and independence of each settlement, the informal and hidden forces of trade, commerce, and population exchange meant that Madrepore, making full use of its geographical advantages, was able to dominate the smaller inland polities in economic, cultural, and therefore, political, terms. While the member-settlements of the League of Khamrin each retain and maintain their own standing militia-armies in accordance with the Treaty of Terramare, thus ensuring a significant degree of local autonomy and self-rule, it is undeniable that Madrepore is the lynchpin and mainspring of the League.

Madrepore's location also made it the primary site for cross-cultural exchange between the kirin settlers and the zebra natives of the Far South. Even after Kirian unification, Madrepore, far away from Vermilion, escaped the all-encompassing influence of the Way of Fire that would become a permanent defining feature of society and politics in kirin civilisation. The legend of the Thunder Tiger — the powerful, incomprehensible, and all-too-real mystical deity which protects the Golden Temple — would inspire the kirin of Khamrin to come to terms with the nirik state by their own means.

The Khamrini kirin interpreted stories of zebra villagers living in the vicinity of the Golden Temple who, upon encountering would-be looters or tomb raiders, would attack them in a fit of psychotic rage attributed to possession by the Thunder Tiger, to conceive of the nirik state as something caused by spiritual or mystical forces beyond the control of ordinary kirin. Unlike the Kirian Way of Fire, which stigmatised the nirik state and mandated the ostracisation of those who had lapsed, the Khamrini Sect of Southerly Lumination tolerated those kirin who had turned nirik, holding that they were not at fault for losing control of their selves, while maintaining that a kirin who turned nirik had a moral and civic duty to compensate those among their peers who had suffered injury as a result of their lapse.

The authority of the doctrine of the Sect of Southerly Lumination among the Khamrini kirin meant that it came to serve a similar political, if not as strictly absolutist, role as the Way of Fire in Kiria — as an arbitrator, and occasional arbiter, in disputes initially relating to lapses into the nirik state, but whose remit eventually expanded to encompass matters of civics, commerce, and culture. Although the industrialisation of Khamrin and the emergence of a new social class of capitalists, businessmares, and traders would eventually, peacefully and over time, put an end to the Sect's monopoly on political power, the priests and mystics of the Southerly Lumination still constitute a formidable and well-entrenched interest group in Madreporean and Khamrini politics today.

Madrepore has miles of docklands, wharves, and shipyards, along both banks of the Marekong River as well as on the shores of the city's deepwater harbour. The headquarters of the Madrepore Merchant Marine are located in the heart of the metropolis, alongside the Bastion of the Lantern, which houses the archives and bureaucracy of the Southerly Lumination. The Diet of the Khamrini League is also situated in Madrepore, making it the de-facto capital of the League, although the stately palace in which it is housed, constructed out of wood and stone in traditional 8th-century Zaikirian architectural style, is overshadowed by neighbouring modern neo-Pegasopolian edifices housing the head offices of Madreporean corporate parastatals and conglomerates. Significant too is the Caliginous Penitentiary on the outskirts of the metropolis, a prison and work camp where those who had lapsed into the nirik state — and were unable to pay the charges levied by the Southerly Lumination for absolution from their transgression — strive to earn their redemption through hard labour.