The Heroes of Heaven's Height
Chiaroscuro is the Jewel of the South, the City of the Blue Waves, the City of Spires. With a population of over two million, it is the largest city in the South, and next in Creation only to the Imperial City and Nexus.
Defined most notably by the number of Third Age structures that tower above the city, Chiaroscuro is a collage of architecture from the Third Age, the Shogunate, and the dozen different inhabitants that the city has seen in the Fifth Age.
The city has nine districts.
-Flotsam, the district encompassing the docks, whorehouses and sailor bars along the Bay of al-Hirzhara
-The Scarlet Quarter, where the Realm holds its garrison of one half legion, under the command of Sesus Felix. The Satrap‘s offices are also to be found here.
-The Spires, the most elite neighborhood, with a high number of functioning Third Age Sky-Towers. The Amber Palace is located here, along with the villas of the Delzhan nobility, and a handful of exceptionally well-liked Dynasts. This district is separated from the rest of the city by the Tri-Khan’s Wall, an ocher structure about twenty-five feet high.
-The Vineyards is a clean and well-to-do district with upper class Delzhan and wealthy non-Delzhan.
-Ba’a’pshu is the largest district in the city, and belongs to the lower class Delzhan, who resent the presence of non-Delzhan in their district. There are many cleared areas here where the Delzhan who are still nomadic can visit and set up temporary tent-cities. Grandmother Bright’s Square is in this district.
-Duston is where non-Delzhan with a bit of money but without a powerful Delzhan backer live. Water is relatively clean here and it offers relatively easy access to the Bazaar, although it lies outside of the Old Wall and is certainly less than fully safe.
-The Bazaar is always bursting with scents of honey and spices, and alive with singing and the hawking of various wares. Shops line the nearly ordered streets, and craftsman from all over the South wait years for a booth to be available. The Bazaar is Chiaroscuro’s largest attraction. As such, although it lies outside the Old Wall, the remnants of the Golden Wall has been supplemented along this district by rebuilt fortifications and heavy guard patrols that enforce curfew.
-Pyr’al-aih is the industrial district to the south of Duston. Its fumes tend to be blown back from the Old Wall and end up in the ninth “district”.
-The Asshole is a sprawling, filthy shanty-town where beggars, criminals, ex-slaves and refugees congregate. Lodging is given to whoever can take it by force or by guile, and the law has no interest or eyes here. Large numbers of Djala roam the streets here, as non-slave Djala are not allowed residence anywhere else.
Chiaroscuro has several attractions besides the Bazaar. The city contains the famed Library of Hal-Chi, the largest library outside the Imperial City, and possibly rivaling the Imperial Library itself. Near the Library is a semi-circle of Sky-Towers called the Broken Jaw, holding the city’s six universities. Grandmother Bright’s Square is a beautiful village-within-a-city, that allows visitors during the Calibration. The Tracks are an infamous site of debauchery and carousing, where young Delzhan prove themselves in drunken races and fights. Besides the Sky-Towers, perhaps the most iconic part of Chiaroscuro are its blue-glass breakwaters, carved into elaborate murals, depicting the various Incarnae and a host of god-like beings accomplishing great feats or fighting enormous behemoths.
Another attraction of Chiaroscuro doesn’t exist on paper; the Last Chance Bazaar, Creation’s oldest black market, where anything can be gotten, for a price.