Eversky: Eye of the Abyss
Federatis - Capital of Illan
From the outside, Federatis shines as a beacon of strength and unity to the world. Its main level is built upon a wide plateau that overlooks the rest of the Elan, and the city’s high walls give it an overwhelming sense of grandeur. The walls hold three great gates that control the flow of airships into and out of the city, while a cadre of airships orbit above the city to ensure all travelers follow the proper protocol for entering and exiting. The most striking thing about the Federatis is the grand castle that floats above the city skyline. The castle floats above the city on its own small island, which is actually a chunk of land that was once grounded on the mainland before it suddenly broke off a few years ago. No one is quite sure why the land that the castle was built upon broke off and rose up, but because the castle was built at the very center of the city, the main level of Federatis, once just a big circle, is now more like a ring around the crater of the uprooted land.
Most citizens believe the incident was a test of their resolve from the gods themselves. The castle would have actually floated away from Federatis had it not been for a concerted effort to chain the small island down. Four great chains were extended from the small island down to the Four Towers of Federatis, where they where they were attached to the base of each tower. It was a gamble, but the combined force of the towers was enough to hold the errant island down. It is said, though, that should one of the towers cast off their end of the chain, the upward force of the castle island would be enough to uproot the other four, and so this uneasy balance forces the tower factions to maintain at least tolerable relationships towards each other. The Four Towers of Federatis, each representing one of the Royal Guilds, are integral to the continued safety and prosperity of the great city.
From its inception, Federatis has been ruled by a monarch with the advice of his 8-person council. Traditionally, the council is comprised of the leader or an appointed ambassador from each of the four guilds, as well as four additional representatives elected by the people themselves. When the elder King Belorem succumbed to sickness, he left the kingdom behind in the hands of his regent, Fyodor, who would rule in the King’s name until Belorem’s son, Reza grew old enough to take the throne. Though there is some doubt about whether Reza is prepared to rise to the throne, the sudden ousting of the regent has necessitated some desperate measures. When Regent Fyodor was exposed as a traitor to the throne, the people looked to anyone who could lead them with any legitimate sense of authority, and the young, impulsive king was the only one in a position to provide it.
Only one year later, however, the king was himself kidnapped while on an ill-advised expedition to personally oversee the Illani Royal Navy on the Tymordian front. Having now lost three of their leaders in such rapid succession, lawlessness has broken out in the city of Federatis. While the Royal Guilds have attempted to instill some sense of order among the populace, with most honorable soldiers already committed to the war effort, roaming gangs and rival factions now rule the streets. And beyond the skyshores of Illan, other rulers seem to have taken notice of this momentary period of weakness in the Federatis government.
Districts of Federatis
As previously mentioned, the city is divided into four distinct districts. Each district has a tower that watches over them and represents them on the Royal Council. Each tower has two representatives, the Tower Master, and the Tower Tribune. The Tower Master is typically selected by the inner circle of the sponsor guild of the district. The Tribune, on the other hand, is elected by the members of the district in an open, democratic process. Rather than the most qualified leaders, they are often people who are considered to embody the essential spirit of the district. They are, in essence, the “voice” of the people.
The Shipyard District
Host Guild: The Royal Navy – Just adjacent to a grand arena stands the Vigil’s Tower, built of white marble and blue trim, and topped with a golden dome, which shines as a testament to the strength and resolve of Illan’s fierce naval force. Sometimes ridiculed for its brazenly phallic construction, the Tower serves as the head command center for the Royal Navy and the city guard.
Tower Master: Admiral Rhett Seward – Top commander of the Illani fleet. A wise, vetted, and frighteningly pragmatic tactician who takes his job seriously.
Tower Tribune: Andrion Covin – Second in command and the charismatic and popular leader figure charged with communicating with the regular folk. His past as a reformed mercenary and criminal who joined the Navy after his time in jail gives him a very approachable demeanor, and an inspiring story for others to look up to. He announces the Arena matches on special occasions, and rallies the troops before a big battle.
The Golden Way - There are three entrances into the city of Federatis, all through heavily guarded gate checkpoints, and all three meant to showcase a different aspect of the city. The most awe-inspiring and impressive entrance into Federatis is by the Shining Gate on its southeast wall. The walls are high at both sides of this gate, as it is meant to be entered on foot. As one crosses the great bridge leading up to the colossal white gate, the visitor feels dwarfed by its sheer magnitude, as well as the large heroic statues of Kord-blessed warriors that frame it. The main street beyond the gate is paved in white granite and marble, and gilded lampposts along side it. Small guard towers, open-air temples and high-quality weapons and armor shops line the Golden Way, and a uniformed guard can be spotted standing at attention at nearly every corner. In the distance, one can hear the excited cries of spectators at the Arena mingling in the air along with the grunts and roars of training soldiers, all to the beat of a smith’s hammer pounding on hot steel.
The Royal Arena - Whether it’s betting on grudge matches, cheering for your favorite tournament competitor, watching highly tactical sparring matches between teams of soldiers, or punishing a particularly despicable criminal, the arena ensures there’s always action to be had in the Golden Way District. Though less grandiose than its rival stadium in the capital city of Marsilia (Breckenan), it is a popular venue for locals and travelers alike.
Sylvia’s Bathhouse - Sylvia Vanora
A combination of public bathhouse, private spa, and upscale meeting place, the bathhouse can be a regular spot for some, and a rare luxury for others. Entrance fees to the bathhouse are high, but it is often the first place a fighter goes after having won a sack of coin at the arena. It offers a large open pools, as well as private saunas which might be rented out to a businessman looking do a little schmoozing in a casual environment. It is said that the most critical moments of Illan’s history have truly been decided here. Sylvia herself is a quiet but exotic masseuse who runs a tight ship as far as her staff goes. She gives the inner part of the establishment a uniquely wild decorating aesthetic with miniature trees growing in every corner, and cascades of flowers sprouting from the very walls. It is said that for the right clients, she may perform certain “special” treatments, but it’s never been easy to confirm or deny the rumors. Many a client has been thrown out after being a bit too forward with their “special requests”.
The Flagstone Tavern and Inn, Darkwater Stable, Singing Steel Imports
The Garden District
Host Guild: Keepers of the Septim – While each district tends to favor certain particular deities of the Septim, the tower is dedicated to honoring the entire pantheon. Inside, one can find a number of religious orders, from healers to divine ritualists. The Septim’s tower also serves the more functional purpose of acting as a consulate to the Illani towns outside Federatis.
Tower Master: Eliria Ranken – A loyal servant and cleric of the Raven Queen, she is the keeper of the city’s royal graveyard and temple to the goddess of death. The king has hand-picked the wise and mysterious old lady to serve as a royal adviser, in spite of her often cryptic manner of speaking.
Tower Tribune: Shalas Raerlath – It is rare to see a full-blooded elf around these parts, and while the Lady Shalas has been a part of Federatis from the early years, much about her past before her arrival in the city remains unknown. As a leader, she has always been wise, humble, and caring, like a mother to the district.
The Septim’s Path- There are three entrances into the city of Federatis, all through heavily guarded gate checkpoints, and all three meant to showcase a different aspect of the city. The gate to the Botanical Gardens on the southwest end of the city was designed to invoke both an impressive, yet welcoming atmosphere for visitors to Illan, but more so to the nation’s citizens living in the small towns outside the gate. The path into Federatis from the Botanical Gardens is bordered by lush green grass, and lined with humble altars to the gods along the cobbled lane. Several larger altars and monuments are scattered throughout the district, but overall, it is a peaceful residential area with little commerce. The leaders of the district strive to make it a wellspring for good works, and offer sponsorships to citizens from bordering towns who they feel has something to offer in their service to the Septim. The district has been criticized for offering these sponsorships far too liberally, but when it comes time to offer a warm welcome to travelers and ambassadors to the city, or pull together for a community project, it is the citizens of the Septim’s Courtyard who come out in full force to make it happen.
Little Wetherby - The Halflings or Federatis are most numerous in the Garden district, though they tend to cluster around a particular area just off the bank of the King’s River. This bright green hilly area is known as “Little Wetherby” for its resemblance to the real nation. Little Wetherby is perfect for the halfling who wants to feel at home while still enjoying the benefits of the big city.
Melora’s Grove - Just west of Septim’s tower is a public park full of rare trees, flowers, small ponds and woodland animals. It also features the altar to the nature goddess, Melora. The temple to Melora is a large stone ziggurat with an everflowing fountain of water that comes down on all sides of the temple.
Theater of the Moonlit Night – An outdoor amphitheater has been built in honor of the goddess Sehanine, east of Melora’s Grove. There, one can often find productions of amateur plays, and it serves well as a venue for addressing the common citizens of the district en masse.
Altar – The Dome of Pelor - Just to the left of the road as a visitor passes into the city through the Garden Gate, the temple to Pelor stands out thanks to its shining golden dome. Like a second sun, the dome shines its light across the district, calling the good and pure to worship. Formal services are held once a week, but the keepers of the temple are always engaged in public works and charity.
Altar – Mausoleum of the Raven Queen - A counterbalance to the bright, shining temple to Pelor on the left, the Graveyard of the Raven Queen sits on the right side of the path into Federatis. Torches of everburning blue fire line the entire perimeter of the graveyard, as well as its approach, guiding mourners to the temple’s downward-leading stairs. The mausoleum and graveyard is watched over by an old woman named Eliria the Wanderer.
Craftsman’s Walk- The industrious Halflings of Little Wetherby keep a number of small family shops along the main road of the district. One can find any number of mundane goods at fair prices.
The Theatre District
Host Guild: The Loremasters – Though not nearly as adept in the arcane arts as the eladrin, and outpaced by the technological prowess of the tieflings, the artificers of Federatis are still the leading academic organization on their side of the skies. Dabbling in a mix of magic and technology, they create some of the world’s most sophisticated airships. But as an institution of higher learning, the Loremasters revere the study of anything and everything that can be studied, from mathematics to psychology, to combat tactics, to the fine arts. The Tower issues sponsorships based on merit, recruiting talent from all across the island of Illan, and even nations abroad. As a result of their selection process, the district is home to a high concentration of aristocratic nobles who are able to contribute their wealth towards educational institutions.
Tower Master: Dr. Terenius Sande – An old, curmudgeonly scholar who seems to have been reluctantly recruited into the king’s advisory council by popular demand. He is a voice of reason on the king’s council, though he does answer to a council of his own academic peers within the guild’s hierarchy. A man whose arrogance knows no bounds, however, he has yet to find anyone he considers a “peer”.
Tower Tribune: Arthur Cedar – A young, handsome celebrity in the actor’s guild who seems to have been solely elected to the position of Tribune after having given a few pretty speeches. Being of noble birth, he represents the fading power of old money.
Academy of Ioun- The premier academy for thousands of miles around. Loosely affiliated with the Loremaster’s Tower, it is home to one of Eversky’s largest libraries, which specializes in magical scrolls, and recipes for rituals, alchemy, and item enchantments.
The Grande Stellazio Atelier- An institution of learning in its own right, the artists of the Stellazio put on engaging plays, concerts, and exhibits on a regular basis. A centerpiece of the culture of nobility in Federatis, they are heavily funded by grants and donations from the district’s elite. It is also the training ground for a class of royal agents known as Mesmers. Masters of disguise, illusory magic, and charm, these half-infiltrators, half-diplomats operate across the skies, gathering intelligence for the crown and influencing foreign policy by becoming close to influential persons in other lands.
The Plaza Royale- The nobles of the Theatre District would likely be caught dead shopping at the Market District with the rest of the riff-raff. Though the shops at the impeccably clean and always guarded Plaza Royale are more limited in their selection, they are an alternative for those who do not care to keep looking behind their shoulder while shopping.
The Steamworks District
Host Guild: The Craftsmen’s Guild – A tall, open, and multilevel structure, the tower that overlooks the Market District serves a number of different purposes. At the floor level, the Skyward Transit Office registers and keeps track of the airships, and holds the bounty-records and other job offerings. One level above, representatives of major trade houses meet to discuss economic matters, taxation rates for the district, and sponsorships.
Tower Master: Cyrus Tibon – Cyrus is the head of the Craftsmen’s Guild, and an immigrant refugee engineer from Verana who has been spearheading the effort to retrofit the airships of the Illani Royal Navy with Tiefling technology. His efforts have turned the former slum of a market district into a busy manufacturing central, providing a bounty of new job opportunities. Cyrus has also aided in the rescue efforts of fellow refugees, resulting in a growing Tiefling population, many of whom go on to join the Illani Engineer Corps, a special tasks group under they authority of the royal navy.
Tower Tribune: Lance Boreal – A recent replacement for the former Tribune, there are rumors that ruthless chief executive for the monopolizing trade company, the Boreal Consortium has bought and bribed his way to his newly appointed position. Still, his sharp wits, tactical thought process, and vast economic resources and contacts are valued by the king, and will surely prove priceless in a time of war. Lance Boreal is in his 40’s. Old enough to have been around a while, but not so old that he’s going to go away anytime soon. The question is whether he’s peaked by now, or still has greater things to accomplish. What you know of him is that he’s a ruthlessly pragmatic man who, while he professes to uphold the noble motive of aiding humanity, relies on practices that just so happen to work out in his favor, and at the expense of those in his way. He is the son of Armand Boreal, who was responsible for the rise of the tram and trolley network in Breckenan. Once thought to be destined for a life of few notable deeds beyond squandering his father’s money as a wealthy playboy, he claims that an airship accident in which he nearly lost his life shocked him into rethinking his future. Rising to prominence as a venture capitalist, there are dozens of projects that owe their start to his keen foresight, including the Foreign Technology Integration Program, which was responsible for the launching of a privately owned blockade-running rescue fleet that helped Tiefling refugee engineers escape from Tymordian airspace in exchange for a commitment to several years of indentured labor. Other programs have been far more controversial. Boreal lives by a Randian, objectivist ethical outlook, which has been gaining popular traction after the past few years of campaigning for election as the district’s tribune has seen the dissemination of his views fueled by a seemingly bottomless political war chest.
Trader’s Circle -
Walking through the market of Federatis is truly an experience for the senses. The many colors of the tents make the Trader’s Circle look like a perpetual carnival, and an orgy of sounds, haggling voices, full-throated advertisements, seductive catcalls, hammers pounding on anvils, and all manner of instruments being blown or plucked, all melds together to give the district its unique flavor.
The heart of the district, and indeed, the heart of commerce in all of Illan, is Trader’s Circle, a large paved courtyard filled with stores and tents featuring all manner of exotic merchandise. The district is home to much of the working middle class, extending sponsorship to artisans, craftsmen, apprentices, traders, and travelers, and freelancing adventurers. At the same time, it also houses a seedy underbelly of burglary, gambling, prostitution, and organized crime. Rings of trade barons and small-time crimelords come and go, and the residents would tell you that you would not want to walk with your coin purse out at night.
The Boreal Consortium -A trade house headed by the infamously ruthless businessman, Lance Boreal. The epitome of corporate monopolization, the Consortium does trade just about anywhere, but is headquartered and holds influence in Federatis. Before the Boreal Consortium, a handful of large trading organizations would compete for power and political clout, without any concern for the well-being of the common citizen. The Boreal Consortium crushed those organizations in its path, but did not put an end to the underhandedness and corruption of big business. If one thing sets the Consortium apart from the rest, however, it is their ability to keep a clean image, and using the law to maintain a vice grip on the economy. Equipped with a team of attorneys, the Consortium keeps a watchful eye on the public records and permit statuses of their potential competitors, waiting until they are weak to strike the finishing blow.
Tavern – The Roughhouse – Owned by Nevan O’Seamus
Home to the O’Seamus Roughboys, a band of mercenaries, the Roughhouse is both a tavern and a great place to look for a cheap sell-sword. You can try to rent a room for the night, and they’ll gladly take your money and give you a pile of hay to sleep on, but unless you can sleep through the carousing of a dozen drunken men all through the night, it’s probably not a good investment. The operation is always watched closely by officials, but as of yet, no formal charges have been pressed.
The Docks - No shortage of inns and taverns are built along the edge of the city’s inland lake. As travelers dock their airships in the shore near the Skyward Tower, they are welcomed by the smell of fish and ale. It’s an ideal place to hear the tales of travelers, join a game of chance, or find out about some of the more dangerous bounties not sanctioned by the Tower. Just make sure not to disrespect the name of Federatis’ favorite hero, a man of daring and derring-do, the sky pirate Robert Hatch.
Cloudwalker’s Meadhall and Inn, Nymph’s Grace Guesthouse, The Lucky Stars Tavern and Gambling Saloon, Honest Sal’s Carts and Wagons, Mills and Ledger: Attorneys at Law, Akbar’s Spices and Imports, Famous Eli’s Pawn Shop and Repository for Reliable (if lightly used) Goods, The Fair Shake Auction House