D&D 3.5 PBEM (Discord) campaign, seeking 1st level characters (Contact: Dun.Master52@gmail.com)
`Sovereign' her name was carried to the distant corners of the shattered empire. Giving hope to the tens of thousands of souls who fled south, their lives wrapped in guarded bundles, marked with tears and ash, chased from their homes by the hounding echo of cannon fire.
Sovereign was far from the war, far from the cannon smoke and the bloodied earth. A vast swamp guarded the borders of her city, its labyrinth of canals too muddy, overgrown and diseased for any occupier to consider invading. Narrow stone roads rose up from the swamp muck like bridges, the heavy traffic of cart-wheel tracks cut deeply into the works; making the surface of the road uneven and even hazardous, like pairs of long wicked mouths hungrily awaiting an ankle to chew on. The cart grooves pooled and filled with water as a persistent shower streamed down from the swirling charcoal gray sky above.
Out in the bog slanted ruins passed by, stone buildings, old roads and rotted towns, taken by whatever furious spirits dwelled among them now. At night the city roads became an enchanting spectacle, once nearing Sovereign's border the bark of the trees were illuminated by thousands of colorful glowing runes, which could only be rightly described as a festival of light. It was a right of passage for many aspiring wizards on pilgrimage to Sovereign's Scholarium to leave their mark inscribed here as they passed, a custom that had grown with time.
Through the haze of gloomy rain and obscuring fog Sovereign could be seen; the lights of the city edged up over its high walls like a halo crown. Outside the city tents and huts sheltered weary refugees from the storm, their huddled forms gathering tightly around orange low burning fires for warmth. They were not forbidden from entry to the city, but rather poverty precluded them from most services. Primitive markets peddled bush-meats and crab-like creatures dredged up from the swamps, reptiles, even insects were bartered and traded. Sudden shrill screams cried out from the darkness before fading back into silence. It was muddy, a feature that seemed to be smeared over every surface, worked into every fabric, climbing up from the legs in sticky clumps as if with a mind of its own. Priests milled about the squalor offering salvation and bowls of soup for weary and wicked alike.
The poverty outside the wall was contrasted by the wealth of the city itself. It's high arching stone gates were tall enough for giants to pass under. Large silvery creatures stood guard over the entrance, with stern fixed faces and bodies like men, but with metal skin and metal souls; they moved with eerie blank expressions, while from within mechanations clicked and whirred as they waited with unblinking disinterest. Passersby leered away from the large clockwork soldiers as they passed into Sovereign, some in awe, others in fear.
Sovereign's walls imposed over the swamp in defiance of its disorder, massive stone blocks were molded together and set with sweeping flourishes of detail that seemed to stretch on adorning its surface with seemingly infinite intricacy. The stones of the streets were an orderly mosaic of polished blue marbles, which neatly diverted the oppressive water fall from on high gracefully down channels and sewer drains.
Mere shadows haunted Sovereign's streets, as true darkness had been abolished by ever glowing orbs which hovered above the roadways with a fixed weightless ease. A jigsaw of brick and plaster shops, homes and factories were mashed together in the various districts of the city; where lines of men wandered and waited day and night seeking employment, food, dignity. All of this shrouded around Sovereign's central eye and the source of her strength, which was the 'Scholarium'; founded by the 'Imperial Arts Council' generations ago as an athenaeum of knowledge, where the many disciplines of the mind, whether arcane, engineering, social or arts could be developed and honed amid her vast libraries, courtyards, museums, gardens and lecture halls.
At the center of it all was 'The Great Tower of Sovereign', the mysterious home of the Arch-Mages, sealed away from the prying eyes of the public they conducted their affairs privately; guiding both Sovereign and the Scholarium, their council is the final word in these lands.
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