The Lap gets its name from its unique location: The mountain was long ago carved into the shape of a meditating hermit sitting in a cross-legged posture. Much of the city nestles into the “lap” of the mountain, though some outlying houses spill out across the broad legs. Many of the structures consist of interlocked adobe buildings. Along with Gem, The Lap is one of the twin powers of the Southwest and often trades its excess grains, maize and squash in return for the riches of Gem. The two cities are connected by a well-traveled trade route known as the Diamond Road, and The Lap provides troops to patrol the road.
The identity of the meditating hermit is questionable, but it is known as the Old Man or the Last Supplicant. This wonder of the First Age was quite literally defaced during the Great Contagion. Those who ascend to its shoulders can see for hundreds of miles around, from the distant islands of the Western Ocean to the dark clouds of smoke that pour from the smithies of Nexus.
The small valley of fertile land between the Last Supplicant’s legs is known as the Verdant Triangle. There are three tunnels that lead from the base of the mountain into The Lap, that can be sealed off – at which time, The Lap is almost completely inaccessible. The Lap has enough stored and preserved food to last two or three years, even with a full export of crops. This stockpile is one of the largest in Creation, and “starving The Lap” is synonymous with a futile gesture. Bandits that occasionally raid farms face retaliation by the Imperial forces garrisoned there.
The Lap is governed by a council of landholders who prop up a figurehead on the throne of the kingdom, while a Golden Triumvirate, rather than a single satrap, represents the interests of the Dynasty. While the three members of the Golden Triumvirate, Cathak Sijip, Ragara Aloru and Peleps Tuchet represent his or her family individually and squabble amongst themselves, they always vote unanimously on all public decisions. For the council’s part, they rarely argue with the Dynasts, generally acceding to the Realm’s wishes. The council’s pliant character has helped keep their city free and the children of the junta at home and not in the Scarlet Court as hostages.
The Lap itself is closely allied with The Realm, a fact that The Realm uses as a lever against many city-states in the Southwest. When The Realm desires stability in the region, city-states wishing to purchase part of The Lap’s regular surplus must pay two, three or even four times as much per unit to prevent stockpiling for rations or extended sieges. The threat of withholding agricultural exports to warring city-states weighs heavily on The Lap’s neighbors, leading many to attempt more diplomatic measures prior to outright war.
Militarily, The Lap is one of the mightiest forces that The Realm supports. There is an imperial legion deployed there, and each of the three triunes commands several thousand house troops, bringing the total number of imperial troops deployed there to just over 10,000. In addition, there are an equal number of local soldiers. The actual government of The Lap fields one legion organized along imperial lines and 6,000 gendarmes suited for little more than supporting tax collection and chasing bandits. In addition, the various magnates have several thousand individuals tasked with plantation security loyal to them as well.
Paragon is a city located at the confluence of two small rivers amid verdant almond and olive groves. The city is built near the ruins of a First Age state known as The Domain of Stately Order, the principal city of which is known as Dari of the Mists, or Dari for short.
Gem is an independent city-state in the South of Creation. The city is a center for mining trade and is ruled by Rankar VII, the hereditary Despot, who maintains a monopoly on the trade of gemstones. It is engaged in a bitter trade-war with Paragon. The city is built into the side of an extinct volcano. It is also the largest mercenary-hiring market in the South.
City-state that house and supplies main 17th legion, located off trade route between Gem and Chiaroscuro about 1 week by foot from the Steel Tower. General Saloy Hin and the 17th legion defected from the realm and are stockpiling arms in the southwest for a coup.
- The Steel Tower is a level 2 manse controlled by General Saloy and used as his base.
- In 5 years Saloy has increased his army’s size with local recruits and mercenaries.
The Varang City States
Capital City of the Varang
Trade city of the Varang