Daruna - Shalish City


Shalish is the largest city of the Shalish Alliance, and is the capital of the province that bears it's name. It is smaller in terms of population than Daruna or Loshma, but significantly larger than any other known city. The city and surrounding lands are ruled by King Lahkim Dashen II. Dashen's nephew, King Anda Kamase rules Goba as a vassal state loyal to Shalish, the result of a successful invasion by Dashen seven years ago.

Shalish is sited on a large canal which enters and exits the Tana River two miles southwest and northwest from the city's walls. There is a general rise in the city terrain from south to north; the palace and surrounding gardens are sited atop a low hill that overlooks the rest of the city.

The city walls are over 30 feet wide at the base, and rise between 15 and 30 feet above the surrounding plain. They are brick faced and filled with packed earth. Towers are spaced along the outer walls 80 to 120 yards apart. There are two general tower styles. The older square towers are 50 or 60 feet across, rise 10 feet or so above the nearby walls, have thick brick exteriors, and open roofs protected by merlons along the edges, and have a few arrow ports scattered along the outer face. The newer round towers are 60 feet in diameter at the base and constructed of stone. They are a minimum of 45 feet high, and have open roofs protected by merlons. They are fitted with many exterior facing arrow slots and those along the canal have small catapults or scorpions on the roof as well.

The four gates leading into the main part of the city have all been rebuilt in recent years. Each is flanked by a pair of round towers connected by a thick stone wall. Each gate has one large and two smaller tunnels through it, each protected by separate bronze-faced wooden gates and heavy portcullises on both ends. A liberal set of murder holes over each tunnel provides additional defense.

Two canals lead beneath the city walls into the central and northern sections of the city, providing access to small merchant craft. These canals are only 20 feet wide where they pass under the walls, and heavy metal grates can be fixed over these tunnels in times of war. In more peaceful times the tunnel is open during the day, and at night a thick chain is raised to block vessels and lighter metal grates lowered in place to keep out casual intruders.

The Royals

Priests of Note

Military Commanders

Very Important Families

Important Families

The Map

Map Key

1) Pasau Field

This area is kept clear for military operations. It is used variously as a training ground for militia in the spring, a temporary encampment for expeditionary forces, and a parade ground for military ceremonies and honors. The large wall tower just south of the field is known as King's Roost, and features a large review stand built upon its roof.

During the militia training cycle, an obstacle course / arena is created in the field just below King's Roost. Squads of trainees face off against each other in this area as a test of their prowess.

In the late fall a great harvest festival is held, and this area is used for a variety of martial focused events, including a grand melee with blunted weapons which anyone can enter. Victory in the melee is a great honor, and many nobles send their champions to fight for their house.

2) Canal Barracks

This area has a number of permanent barracks, generally used for lower ranked military officers and messengers. The barracks are built on brick pylons to provide some protection from flooding during the wet season. The west and north barracks have a number of reinforced platforms built on their roofs to provide support and cover for archers defending the shoreline and canal.

There is a watch post at the Old Gate, just north of this position. It is considered the worst of the gates to draw duty for since most of the traffic consists of officers heading to or from the barracks or the Old Keep (see 5). The watch post also has responsibility for monitoring the stone bridge over the canal and keeping it clear of obstructions.

East of the barracks there is an open area that is used by military personnel as a park. Though somewhat swampy there are a number of benches and trees scattered around the area making it a peaceful escape from barracks life.

A barge is moored along the bank of the canal just west of the barracks. During the day it's used by government officials to control traffic into and out of the canal. At night it is moved north and moored across the canal entrance.

3) Royal Stores

This area is packed with the granaries and storehouses used for product collected as taxes as well as purchased military reserves and supplies for the palace itself. Most goods are brought in by barge along the North Canal.

4) Palace and Gardens

The royal palace is relatively new construction, replacing the Old Keep (see 5). The palace itself is an extravagance of brick, stone and timber decorated with bronze panels and granite sculpture. Surrounding the palace is a large garden featuring numerous streams and fountains shaded by fruit trees and date palms. A thick hedge of prickly shrubs guards the grounds from prying eyes and casual intrusion.

The east side of the palace grounds is given over to more practical needs: stables, smithies, barns, servant's quarters, and the like are all located here.

5) Old Keep

This structure isn't really old at all, but it was built atop the crumbling ruins of the former palace and used as such while the new palace was being built. It is a large multi-wing stone structure that towers 60 feet above the nearby canal. It serves as military headquarters, city prison, barracks for high ranking military officers, armory, and defensive stronghold.

Narrow, heavily fortified and guarded gates lead from the three main wings of the keep to the north, east, and southeast. Each of the these wings is essentially a separate fortress within the main structure, protected against incursion from any direction. The canal-side of this structure has a broad balcony 20 feet above the water which serves as a sort of officer's club in times of peace and a archery platform in times of war.

The prison space in the basement of the Old Keep is a horrid place. Since imprisonment is not used as punishment in Darunite society, the cells are used only to hold prisoners until judgment is rendered. There are three large cells used to hold common prisoners, thieves, drunks, brawlers and the like. There are also a half-dozen smaller cells used for those awaiting trial for greater crimes. All the cells are below the levels of the canal, and generally awash with a few inches to a foot or more of filthy water.

6) North Ward

This area houses both the primary militia offices and a number of lesser structures, including barracks, military storehouses, workshops, and stables. The main offices are housed in a low tower which also serves as the main entrance to the area. A low stone wall surrounds the ward, though it is pierced by a dozen or more gates which are only scantily guarded by day. By night most of the gates are closed and barred, leaving only the main entrance to the tower open.

The militia officers here are responsible for most watch activity within the city walls, providing command structure for patrols south to the South Canal or South Street. The remaining area falls to the Water Gate Ward (see 15).

The wall and tower east of this location are being torn down to make way for an expansion of this ward. The area is a mess of brick, rubble, and broken wall sections.

7) Arena Market

The markets surrounding and northeast of the Arena (see 8) are given over to trade supporting the arena itself. Drinking parlors, gambling houses and food vendors lie closest to the arena, while further north and east, the business focuses on the slaves that fight within the arena's walls, and the gear they require. The city's largest slave market is tucked beneath the northeast corner of the city walls, while further south arms and armaments are the wares traded. The southeastern portions of this area include several stables and blacksmiths. There is no clear dividing line between the southern end of the Arena Market and the Old East Market (see 13).

8) The Arena

Though the outer walls of this structure are beginning to show their age, it is still a popular destination for any who can spare the hours. Gladiatorial games, public executions, wild animal 'hunts', and battle reenactments are all featured in the arena. The king offers spectacles open to all twice a month, and wealthy citizens often arrange private entertainments for hand picked guests or offer public spectacles of their own to promote their position.

The seating in the Arena rises 20 feet above the surrounding streets, with the south half of the structure being taller than the north. The floor of the arena is sunk below ground level and the area beneath the seats is a maze of slave quarters, animal pens, and access tunnels.

The royal box is on the south side of the arena and flanked by a dozen private boxes held by important families or groups. Further out the seating becomes benches, then simple brick steps. The south side of the structure is partially shaded by canvas coverings, but the north half bears the full brunt of the afternoon sun.

9) The Estates

The home of the wealthiest citizens, this area is guarded night and day by both militia and private sentries. Houses are well-built brick structures, two stories high, generally a hollow square with a central courtyard featuring a small garden or fountain. Some of the streets are paved with brick, and public fountains or small parks fill the squares.

10) City Offices

The King rules the realm, but the day to day business of the city falls on the bureaucrats who work here. They are responsible for managing city construction, coordinating business with the city militia, issuing business permits, maintaining the city water supply, and enforcing civil code, chiefly building and fire codes.

Public execution and other criminal punishments, when not held in the Arena (see 8), take place in the square northeast of these offices, in front of the gates leading to the Palace (see 4). There are small holding cells in the basement of the city offices where those who have been judged are sent prior to the application of their punisment.

Most of the officials of the city offices live in the neighborhoods south of the temple district (see 21), though the wealthiest and most powerful might live in The Estates (see 9).

11) Temple Row

This neighborhood is chiefly occupied by various temple Sha and their families. It is a quiet neighborhood and relatively free of crime, as few dare cross the priests that live here. The area's most notable feature is a newly constructed amphitheater, a project funded primarily by Kings' Vizier.

The small market west of this area is chiefly dedicated to scholarly crafts, book-binders, scribes, paper-makers (a relatively recent craft) and various accountants do business here.

12) Temple Square

This area houses the main temples of the city as well as the various residences, dormitories, offices, and warehouses required to keep the temples functioning. The primary temples found here are:

The Temple Square is open to all visitors at all hours, though individual temples may or may not receive visitors at certain times as belief demands. Guards from both the city and the temples themselves patrol the area, though few choose to anger the gods.

13 Old East Market

This area was the original market space that served the entire city's needs in the distant past. It is now the largest and most varied commercial area within the walls, though the northern section has been given over to larger scale operations.

A row of warehouses forms the spine of the market, with business to the north focused on large scale purchases and grain contracts. To the south trade centers on larger guild run businesses catering to individual purchases with a liberal sprinkling of inns and taverns, chiefly along the main concourse through the city. Food, drink, clothing and other consumables are the primary products on sale here.

Most of the buildings in this area are dedicated to business, though a few are combined business and residential structures.

14) Water Market

This market caters to the wealthiest residents of the city, providing the freshest fish, the best bread, and the newest goods off the docks. Skilled artisans and craftsmen offer their wares at shops arranged in the traditional style of workshop and store beneath an upper floor home.

As one moves east through this market the influence of the Temple Square (see 12) can be felt. Vendors sell fine wine or sacrificial beasts, while scribes and soothsayers take over stalls from craftsmen and artisans.

15) Water Gate Ward

This area houses militia offices, tax offices for the commercial docks, barracks, and a small armory. As with the North Ward (see 6), the main offices here are housed within a low tower, which serves as the main entrance to the area. This area is protected by a sturdy brick wall 10 feet or more in height, and the three gates leading into it are guarded or sealed at all times.

The militia officers here are responsible for the watches in the commercial docks (see 20), and the southern end of the city (see areas 23, 24, 25).

16) Market of Pillars (aka The Pillars)

A long plaza lined with brick pillars adorned with various military honors, portraits of famous citizens, and mythological beasts stretches along the western half of this market, an area originally devoted to temple business. The market has become much more general purpose as time as passed and the city has grown. It now serves as the main shopping area for most of the residents of the Canal Districts (see 21).

While a long stretch of the market is still devoted to temple needs, a variety of other goods is also available, covering the daily needs of the typical city household.

17) New East Market

Though it shares a name with the Old East Market (see 13) it has little in common with its northern neighbor. This district houses many inns and taverns along the main road, while to the south business turns to matters of the horse and ox. In addition to stables and blacksmiths there are several small feedlots for goats, sheep and cattle here, much to the chagrin of nearby neighbors.

18) Military Stables

The army maintains a stables here along with a staff of riders to deliver messages or serve as guides for visiting dignitaries.

19) Watch Houses

These locations are permanent structures built to house gate garrisons and provide offices for tax officials dealing with traffic in and out of the city gates. There is one outside each of the public gates to the city. Generally they are manned by 15 to 20 militia and a smaller contingent of army personnel.

20) Commercial Docks

This area is given over to commercial vessels, fishing boats, and grain barges. The warehouses along the short are owned by various commercial guilds or houses within the city, each a brick structure raised on pylons to protect it from canal flooding.

A collection of huts and hovels lines the muddy east side of this area, occupied by the poorest of fishermen and day laborers who work the docks. A few residents scrape out a living running crude beer parlors or gambling houses, though such businesses are often short-lived due to their unlicensed nature.

There are watches maintained at each gate leading to or from this area and a military barge is anchored near the entrance to the South Canal to control entry and exit. At night the gates are sealed and the barge is moved to block the canal. Watchmen, both militia and private, guard the docks and commercial warehouses. Anyone caught around the warehouses at night needs a good excuse or they face a guardsman's cudgel and a swim in the canal.

21) The Canal Districts

These residential districts house most of the Leshan of the city. The houses are typically single story homes arranged in groups around a shared courtyard or two or three story apartment buildings, also with a shared central courtyard. The streets here are packed earth, and often flooded during the wet season.

In general the quality of home and resident falls north to south, though there is a cluster of nicer homes around the newly built military offices on the south bank of the canal (see 22). Militia patrols are infrequent but attentive, and most crime in the area of of a petty sort or concentrated in the southwest section of the district.

22) Canal Watch

This small militia office is a recent addition, designed to provide additional security and patrol presence in this section of the city. The officers on duty here report to the North Ward (see 6), and are responsible for patrolling the nearby streets, though in truth they only patrol north of the South Road.

23) South Gate Market

Surrounded by warehouses and granaries, this market is more commercial than retail. Bulk grain purchases, bushels of fruit or loads of fish are the wares here, though some smaller importers do more personal business out of warehouses. The most desirable warehouses are those along the canal, with those to the south having a somewhat shady reputation.

24) South End

The worst of the housing within the city, the South End is a maze of one room houses and sub-par apartment structures, built willy-nilly along and over twisting streets and alleys. The southwest side of this district is also the lowest point in the city, swampy and subject to frequent flooding. Needless to say the lowest of the low are forced into this section.

One of the most famed features of the South End is The Pit, a crude arena half-buried beneath the maze-like huts and apartments of the southwest corner of this area. Dog and cock fights, wrestling matches and bloody combats to the death are held on a regular basis. Gambling, drink and whores are the order of business in The Pit, and the wise man does not go without friends to watch his back.

25) South Market (aka Beggars Market)

Providing for the basic needs of the least wealthy residents of the city is South Market, nicknamed Beggars Market for the overwhelming presence of beggars on every corner. Despite its low status, the market often sees a good selection of fish available, as the poor fishermen trade their wares for bread and other basics.

26) Naval Ward

This area contains the military docks of the city as well as the rather inadequate shipyard. There is a cluster of barracks and offices here, chiefly for the use of ship's crews.

This section is sealed at night and a heavy watch is posted at all gates and aboard any ships at dock.

27) Fishing Villages

Unable to secure lodgings within the city walls, fishermen build crude huts along the canal's banks and eek out a living fishing from shore with hand nets or build crude coracles and try for larger prey in the main channel. Unfortunately ship captains have little patience with lowly fishermen and accidents are common.

28) Wall Town

A collection of hovels and huts built by those who, for one reason or another, cannot enter the city. Some are lepers, others are criminals on the run or non-citizens seeking a way within the walls. Wall Town is a nasty place to live, with little to offer its residents other than access to a public well. Residents scrape out a living as day labor on local farms or by begging along the main road. Most don't last long.