Okay, I wrote up a bunch of shit for each place, and it'd be nice if you read it but I don't really expect you to. So I'll give you a TLDR version (written by my non-nerd roomate) then have the long version in the collapsible.
Oh and make sure to read all the 'Current Status' sections, because that's where I'm throwing the plot hooks :D
Government: King, who totally just went all Saruman and decided to start making xombi warriors
Culture: Oscar-Wilde-esque world of noble decadence and languidity. They are trying to be all edgy by using black magic.
Also: Would totally all become edgy sparkling vampires if they could.
Only eighty years ago, it was an unimportant vassal city led by minor lords, the Ermacks. When Ahar-Ashak fell, those who managed to escape fled to Ahar-Ashak's vassal cities. The majority have remained small and unimportant towns, constantly fighting detch to survive. Eshuna-Nud however, managed to grow and prosper incredibly quickly. Lord Ermack declared himself King, and began to style Eshuna-Nud as the new heart of the Ahar-Ashak royal blood - though in truth, there many nobles living in the former lands of Ahar-Ashak that have better claim to such a title.
Eshuna-Nud is a small but stunningly beautiful city on a large island in the middle of the great lake Eshuna, whose clear and cold waters seem to repell all detch. Because they have limited room, the city has mostly grown up, being full of tall spires and towers. The Towers of the Moon, home to the royal family and much of the nobility, are known throughout for their beauty and magnificence, and can be seen from many miles away.
Eshuna-Nud is a bored city. The lake Eshuna's vast magical powers protect them from the detch, and so in the past century has grown rich while the rest fo the region struggles. All but the lowliest of commonbloods spend vast amounts of time feasting, attending concerts and performances. The nobles' only concern seems to be able to throw better and more decadent parties than their peers. In this environment it is intelligence, charm, creativity, and personal excellence which are valued.
Anything seen as 'passe' is mocked, and correspondingly the bored nobility are always on the lookout for anything new which may become the new trend. Currently, it seems Black Magic is the newest fad.
Eshuna-Nud has for the past half-century fancied itself the center of culture in all Raun. The nobles spend a lot of money to fund musicians, playwrights, chefs, sculptors, and other artists. Current thinking favors artists that use little or no magic, so many commonblood artists are becoming quite popular and wealthy, to the chagrin of their wizard fellows.
Magical education is taken as seriously as anything is taken within Eshuna-Nud, and is an extremely formal process in which younger wizards are taken as a mentor by an older wizard.
The status of slavery has changed throughout the history of Eshuna-Nud. While Ahar-Ashak held many commonblood slaves, Eshuna-Nud never had many, and the few slaves that did live here had relative freedom to run their own businesses and lives, so long as they gave a portion of all their earnings to their masters. Until recently this was the preffered system, but a few months ago King Llewin completely outlawed slavery. This has actually worsened the situation for Commonbloods somewhat, though they adore him for it. They're free to lead their lives in the lower city with relative freedom, and a great many work as servants for nobility, earning modest wages.
— Current Status
It was under the guidance of Rhys Tarmack, first King of Eshuna-Nud, that the city prospered and grew. His heir, Ephraim Tarmack, was even more beloved and celebrated. His eldest son and Heir, Prince Tristen, died tragically during a detch hunt three months ago. Not long after, before Prince Tristen was even buried, the King suddenly took ill and perished. His second and third son and daughter both seem to have disappeared; it was his 4th son, Prince Llewen, who took the throne. Though Prince Llewen himself is bookish, quiet, and not particularly well-liked (except by the commonbloods, but who cares about them), his advisor, Councillor Reon Gray, is extremely well-liked by the nobility for his charm, generosity, and influence.
As King Llewen took the throne, he outlawed slavery, repealled the ban on black sorcery, and began to talk of conquest in the name of Eshuna-Nud. No one knows how the new King and his followers made his hammerwight and deadlight allies, but its clear that these detch at least are serving him - or at least Chancellor Gray. The Chancellor and his closests followers have begun employing black sorcery and using their detch allies to create xombi, all in order to create an army for Eshuna-Nud. This is making most of the city states in the region antsy, specially Urdahane and Holy Marheam.
Government: Needlessly complicated theocracy with Jingoist tendencies
Culture: Perform human sacrifice for their sacred rites, and seek to destroy all black magic. Uuuh yeah okay cool.
Also: Liked a really fucked up hogwarts where they occasionally sacrifice some of the students
The City-State of Marheam is the oldest city state of the isles. When Ahar-Ashak and Urdahane rose to prominence, The Temple of Wax was already old, and Marheam was powerful and rich and had defeated many enemies. All cities and villages in the Isles of Raun once payed tithe to Holy Marheam. It was ill-prepared for the rebellions of Urdahane and later Ahar-Ashak, and the centuries of war that followed saw its gradual decline. It was already fighting a losing battle when the Detch hordes appeared. If it weren't for the city's extremely defensible position, and highly capable magical resources, it might not still survive.
The city is carved directly from the stone of the Mount of Mar. The path leading up to the city is narrow and treacherous, and furthermore the city has magically reinforced and nearly impenetrable granite walls. From this fortress the Priesthood has managed to fight of the hordes of detch that roam its once vast and fertile lands.
Holy Marheam values order, obedience, self-control, and the ability to work for a greater good. Black Magic and its practioners are universally revilved in Marheam. 'Evil' to those of Marheam specifically means Selfishness. Any deeds can be justified as long as they serve the greater, long-term good. They believe magic to be a sacred gift given by the forces that control the universe for an express purpose: to eliminate all evil and remaking the cleansed world anew. However, they disagree about how to do such a thing. The Great Prophet Mar, on which the teachings of the Temple of Wax are based, left no writings. After he was willingly martyred in the very first Rite of Umvau Kitiak by his three closests disciples, all three Hieromancers reported that they saw different paths for the salvation of all souls. This led to the creation of three distinct philosophies and political parties.
Harmonists believe that they must conquer the world and create a living heaven. They are generally avid expansionists, and believe they must govern all lands. They believe commonbloods belong in slavery under the guidance of the priesthood. They believe they must conquer and rule justly, to guide all souls away from evil.
The Repentants believe that they must conquer the world in order to so that all life may die in meditation. They too are avid expansionists, fierce traditional conservatists, and believe commonbloods cannot be saved; so whether they live or die, or are in slavery is irrelevant. Because they think that all life must first die in able to saved, they see no need to be diplomatic with their enemies, and whatever course of action will most quickly advance their goals is justified.
The Creationists believe they must literally use magic to remake the world. They think everything that they may or may not do is irrelevant for the purposes of saving the world from evil, except acquring methods to further their magical power. Creationists tend to be apathetic in matters of war, but demanding of their own people.
Marheam's culture revolves almost entirely around the Temple of Wax, and the teachings of the great Prophet Mar. Its citizens are fiercely devoted to the Temple's teachings - or they are taken to the Tower of Silence where the Priesthood of Masks help them 'rediscover' their spirituality. Families within Marheam tend to have many, many children, as one of the best ways to gain influence and respect is to publically pledge one of your own children to the priesthood. Some wealthy families pledge all their children but their oldest heir to the Priesthood.
Within Marheam, only the Temple of Wax is permitted to own slaves. Individuals, even wealthy ones, are expressly forbidden from doing so, at great cost. Furthermore, slaves must be purchased as children, and only from their natural parents - and as long as they remain children, their natural parents may also purchase them back for the same amount. All parents have this right to sell their children - both commonbloods and magic-bloods, though a wizard selling his magic-blooded children has just commited social suicide. Upon reaching adulthood, all slaves receive very obvious facial markings, showing them to be slaves of the Priesthood.
— The Temple of Wax
The Temple is led by three Prime Hierophants and three Hieromancers; each group has one member from each of the Temple's three Priesthoods. The Hierophants are the true political and civic leaders, while the Hieromancers are more concerned with ceremonial duties.The Hieromancers perform the Rite of Umvau Kitiak, in which two human sacrifices - one willing, one unwilling - are killed, and their entrails are read for prophecy. The Rite is performed four times a year, at the beginning of each season.
The Priesthood of Candles wear white robes with white veils, and are responsible for the Underground Library, which records vast amounts of magical knowledge in various fields, as well as all prophecies and predictions made by the Hieromancers for the past several centuries. In the Umvau Kitiak, they are tasked to record the findings of the Hieromancers. They act as the Temple's clerks and record-keepers, and are responsible for collecting the tithe owed to the temple by the populace, and spreading word of the Hieromancer's decrees. They are also responsible for the academic education of the acolytes, and teaching magic craft and rite.
The Priesthood of Masks wear black robes and black masks, and are responsible for the Tower of Silence, in which heretics are imprisoned and interrogated. It is their job to investigate cases of heresy or suspected black magic. The Festival of the Righteous is conducted by the Priesthood of Masks, a week-long event in which they ask each of the city's major Enchanting families, then the city at large, for a magic-blooded child of ten years who might join the ranks of the acolytes. They then give each of these prospective acolytes a brown robe, which indicates they are to be trained as acolytes for the priesthood, or they provide a gray robe, which indicates they are to be raised and trained as a sacrifice for the Umvau Kitiak. It is they who chose the sacrifices for the Umvau Kitiak from among the Gray Acolytes, to which only they have access. The Priesthood of Masks, furthermore, manage the living quarters of both classes of acolyte, acting as their initial mentors, and dispense care and discipline as necessary.
The Priesthood of Mirrors wear red hooded robes, and are responsible for tending the Red Garden, which grows the famed Alizarin Willows, and many other plants, herbs and spices required for the Rite of Umvau Kitiak and for the holy diets of the Gray Acolytes. Many are craftsmen and ritualists, able to create powerful enchanted items, as they are responsible for creating and preparing the elaborate equipment required for the Umvau Kitiak. It is traditionally the Red Hieromancer who draws first blood during the rite. The Priesthood of Mirrors is also responsible for managing the drudge slaves within the Temple. Priests of the Mirrors may marry and have children, and reside outside the temple, unlike Priests of the Masks or Candles - but they are expected to offer ALL their offspring during the Festival of the Righteous.
Brown Acolytes have relative freedom; they are allowed to visit and be visited by their families. They spend seven years as Brown Acolytes, at the end of which they may elect to leave the Temple, with no ill effect. If they do not, they undergo The Chosing, a formalized process in which Acolytes ask to enter one of the three Priesthoods.
Each year, about of the children pledged to the Temple are given gray robes. The Gray Acolytes may never leave the temple, and are confined to the lower levels of the Tower of Silence. They undergo rigorous magical and mental training, have specialized diets, and must mediate for many hours each day. About half of them do not survive, or are killed for discipline violations; the majority of the other half are selected for the Umvau Kitiak. Those who manage to remain Gray Acolytes for seven years are allowed to undergo the Chosing. Only the Priesthood of Candles accepts these few rare Gray Acolytes that survive a full seven years.
— Current Status
Marheam had been content to hide away from the detch hordes in their fortress until Eshuna-Nud was taken over by self-admitted black magicians. With Eshuna-Nud amassing power, the debate is fierce as to what should be done. The Creationists are fierce in their belief that such evil is a product of the time, and believe they should team up with their ancient enemies of Urdahane to destroy the detch. The Harmonists believe they need to destroy the evil that has taken in root in Eshuna-Nud by force, and must commence gathering allies and resources in order to fight these black sorcerers. The Repentants have remained deeply divided between those who want to go to war, and those who think they do not currently have the resources, and should focus on regaining order within their own society.
Furthermore, there is word of a secret society within the Priesthood calling themselves the Brothers of the Sun, who think that the current system has become loaded and inefficient, and believe the bickering political parties more guided by personal ambition than genuine philosophy.
Culture: If Spartans were also wizards, and developed a taste for bad romantic poetry, they would be this.
Also: their entire society basically seems like a giant school.
Urdahane, the Proud City. For many centuries, before the emergence of the Detch, Urdahane, Ahar-Ashak, and Holy Marheam were locked in a perpetual struggle for domination of the region. Now Ahar-Ashak lies in ruination, Marheam's once-mighty forces have been withered by the constant onslaught of the Detch, and the beautiful lands they sought to conquer and rule are now grim places, whose people live in fear of slavers and Detch hordes that roam the night. But Urdahane still stands, strong and proud, having outlasted every one of its rivals.
For for the Urdahane, there is no pleasure in this course of events. It was the Detch that won their war, not their own might. The era of epic battles, climactic duels, bitter alliances, esteemed enemies - it's over, just like that. They now live in an age where they fight not for glory or honor, but for survival, and perhaps to make things a little bit less grim.
All in all, since the arrival of the Detch, The Proud City has begun to lose its pride. They have turned their considerable might into efforts to erradicate the Detch from all of Raun, but no matter how many Detch they hunt and slaughter, more always seem to come. Their romanticized sense of battle gives no pride in fighting such a foe, so they take to it with a vengeance and a bitterness.
Urdahane is ruled by the Council of the Archmagi, a variably sized council of the most powerful wizards within Urdahane. The various members of this council are typically also heads of other matters of state - Civil Leaders, Military Leaders, or high-level instructors within the Academy.
The traditional values of Urdahane are honor, passion, loyalty, excellence, obedience, and dedication. The morality of old Urduhane, in short, is geared towards guiding its citizens to try hard and excell as students in the Worling Academy, and then serve the State for honor and glory.
Urdahane has a deeply romantic view of warfare. A hard-fought, tragic and honorable defeat is better than a deceitful and easy victory. They see the city of Urdahane, and they, it citizens, as meant for a collective triumph and glory which they must work hard to achieve and embrace only with honorable intentions.
In this spirit was founded the Worling Academy. Attendance to the academy is compulsory for all magic-blooded children of Urdahane citizens, starting the first spring since they've displayed magical talent.
Students within the Worling Academy are trained in enchantment and combat. Education begins early at sun-up, and the enterity of the morning is dedicated to honing the body. Younger students are made to play games and sports; these gradually turn into more rigorous physical training and drills. After their third year, students are taught to march, perform useful field crafts, and they begin training with sword, spear, and bow. By the fourth year, students are expected to learn combat crafts, and participate in frequent Detch hunts. Not all students survive these hunts; this loss appeals to the Urdahane sense for tragedy, and it is seen as the price for greatness and glory.
From noon to sundown, students are expected to hone their minds. Students learn basic mathematic and natural philosophy, and receive extensive lessons in history all throughout their school career. The meat of this education though, is of course in wizardry and enchantment.
All students who remain in training for a full decade receive, first, the cloak by which they be recognized as a full citizen of Urdahane. The cloaks are enchanted, so that they look drab and brown when anyone but their proper owner wears them - but when worn by the wizard from whom it was crafted, the cloaks appear to be a flowing gold color. Second, these students receive an enchanted longsword, shield, bow, or spear. These weapons are magical touchstones containing the Nain, Schaxu, and Ipra Words.
Because of Urdahane's obsession with greatness, it is in many ways a somber place - outsiders would call it drab and joyless. Even the rich and mighty dress in practical (though often elegant) white clothing chosen more for function than form. Meals are bland and healthy, and the drink is only as strong as it needs to be to remain drinkable. The architecture is spacious, but plain and serviceable.
Art and entertainment are somber affairs in Urdahane. Because one is expected to spend most of their time doing something of worth, there is little time for most artistic pursuits. Music and the visual arts are largely ignored; they can be created adequately with magic, and usually that is the end of that. Poetry is much more appreciated, and the epic poetry of Urdahane is known throughout all of Raun, and well studied in the Academy. The ancient Urdahane poets largely wrote embellished accounts of battles and campaigns from the Age of the Three Kingdoms, depicted as a time in which the valiant and honorable lived and fought; even account of their enemies treat the Ahar-Ashak and Marheam soldiers as brave and true.
Urdahane is, and always has been, deeply entrenched in the idea that Magic-Blooded folk are superior to Commonbloods. Not only in terms of power - that much is obvious - but that they are morally superior, and serve a greater purpose. For the most part, the wizards of Urdahane live a life separate from their Seeyan slaves - which they treat with patience and a dry, detached kindness. Treating adult commonbloods as anything more than servants is inconceivable to a wizard. Should a common-born child exhibit signs of Enchantment though, they are quickly removed from their parents and sent to the Worling Academy to begin their education. Common-born wizards are surprisingly well received here, perhaps due to Urdahane's romantic sensibilities - the child was not meant to have Enchantment, and yet it does. Common-bloods in Urdahane tend to have relatively quiet and easy lives for slaves, usually performing domestic tasks or book-keeping.
— Current Status
The majority of those in charge within Urdahane still remember the old days. They served in battles against Ahar-Ashak and Holy Marheam, and saw the might they once had with their own eyes. The loss of these enemies; their purpose, is something they still have not adjusted to. The leadership of Urdahane live in a dream of the past, fixated on the victory they were never allowed to have.
Many younger wizards feel that the Council of the Archmages remain too fixated with an era that is forever gone. They feel the Archmagi are not taking the erradication fo the Detch seriously enough, and belittle their new purpose. Furthermore, it has been nearly a decade since any new Archmagi have been admitted into the council. The wizards of Urdahane typically consider an action like rebellion far to base and tasteless for them to even consider, but with things going the way they are, perhaps that is liable to change. And more and more wizards of Urdahane are forsaking their citizenship in order to leave the city, and pursue their goals elsewhere.
Government: Republican Republic
Culture: Kill all wizards. Or at least, keep them from killing us. Fuckers.
Also: holy shit giant bugs
Of the seven major city states, Yan's Haven is the only one governed entirely by drudges - though you better not use that word there. They are governed by an elected mayor who may serve one term and one term only of 5 years.
There are no enchanters born from the blood of Yan, and in fact many of its people seem to actively resist magic. Throughout its long history, Yan has been conquered, enslaved, burned, and pillaged many times - but the city is never held by outsiders for long, and has always managed to rebuild.
Yan's Haven was supposedly founded by a runaway slave sailor named Yan from Ahar-Ashak, who led a mutinity against his wizard master. He led the other slaves to Yan's Haven, and created the hideaway village. Yan had many sons and daughters, and it's said the resistance of magic which so many of Yan's citizens seem to have originated with him. To this day, the citizens of Yan's Haven detest slavery, and its practice is strictly outlawed. There are no slaves within the walls of Yan, and the city will vehemently protect the freedom of any runaway slaves that manage to reach its gates.
The people of Yan's Heaven are known for their use of various insects as sources of food and craft. Yan Honey is valued throughout the isles, and their dark honey mead is known for its quality, but the practice of eating honeyed ants and locusts tends to be viewed with extreme derision. The People of Yan, over the past century, have learned to breed and tame the native Elytrisk - beetles the size of small horses, which can be ridden and trained for war.
Like its bitter rival, Zabris, Yan's Haven maintains a strong naval tradition and fishing community. The People of Yan are pious, and the White Wizards of Marheam are tolerated if not respected.
As unfortunate as Yan's Haven has been in many respects, they are blessed in one aspect: the Detch seem to leave them mostly alone. Attacks by Sea Detch are rare, and they are far enough from Ahar-Ashak that they are rarely attacked. The citizens of Yan's Haven are much more concerned of attack by other city states than they are of a Detch threat.
The People of Yan tend to be proud and fiercely patriotic. They value loyalty, patience, determination, and moral steadfastness. Because they do not generally have magic available, the People of Yan value resourcefulness, efficiency, and craft much more than most. They do not tolerate defeatist attitudes or laziness, and revile those who compromise their values for personal gain, or those who take 'the easy way'. As a people, they tend to be stoic and blunt, and think hard before they speak. Displays of emotion - especially anything that could be considered whining - are looked as tasteless and base. Public displays of emotion are best saved for when a cause merits true righteous indignation, in which case ardor and an unwillingness to back down are the lauded values.
The Citizens of Yan's Haven have a proud martial tradition. All citizens - male and female alike - are expected to serve a year in the city militia, and at least a year in the city guard. During this time they are regularly drilled in swordplay and archery, and are taught how to ride Elytrisk and shoot a bow from flight, and how to best avoid and combat enchantment in a fight.
Physically, the people of Yan tend to be varied and diverse, due to the constant influx of runaway slaves from other City-States throughout the city's history.
Because they do not have magic, the People of Yan truly have to work hard for everything they have. Agriculture is difficult in the often-salted lands around Yan's Haven, though the city still has a few of its once-famous apple orchards. The People of Yan are pragmatic to a fault, and activities done solely for entertainment are viewed with suspicion. Their festivals are few, and are not so much 'celebrated' as 'appreciated'. However, there is a rich and deep storytelling tradition here in Yan, and on rainy days people gather to quietly sip dark mead and hear the most talented speakers tell tales of perseverance and sacrifice.
There are few wizards in Yan - in partly because few of its citizens are born with any enchanter's talent - but mostly because wizards are viewed with hatred and suspicion by the majority of the populace. Magic-blooded folk are not strictly outlawed in Yan's Haven - this would go against their preached values that all men are made equal, and acting on such hypocrisy would be a disgrace. Unless a wizard gives lawful cause for aggression, he can expect to be mostly left alone; thou, but it's bound to be a lonely life filled with unvoiced suspicion and resentment for any enchanters who chose to make Yan's Haven their home.
— Current Status
With the Detch occupying the other City States, and leaving them relatively alone, Yan's Haven has lived in relative peace for almost fifty years - before the emergence of the Detch hordes, the city was besieged at least twice a decade. Agriculture and trade are finally starting to pick up for Yan's Haven, and overall it's probably the only city state better off since the Detch hordes appeared.
However, a scab plague is spreading among the populace. Only the elderly and children have suffered fatalities, but the plague has begun to infect the Elytrisk as well. With only limited non-magical healing at their disposal, they are losing more and more hatchlings to the scab plague.
Culture: Get money fuck bitches
Also: When you're a professional Pirate!~
Zabris was once a Unified Kingdom ruled by Mage-Kings whose strength rivalved the Archmages of Urdahane and the Spell-Princes of Ahar-Ashak. No longer - they lost the war, their royal lineage was purged, and Zabris was left in ruin.
But there are few in Zabris who pine for an idealised past; many more would say the sacking of Zabris was the best thing that ever happened to the city. Zabris survived, and has prospered. Urdahane might have the mightiest archmages, Eshura-Nud might be the most beautiful of all cities, and Yan's Haven the most unified - but Zabris is the biggest and richest by far. Zabris is the undisputed master of the seas, and they use their influence to fill their coffers.
Zabris is ruled by a council of twelve; a strange conglomeration of the city's guilds, noble houses, merchants, and sea captains. General elections are held every year for two of these seats, so the council continually replaces itself over six years. Every property-owning male citizen is allowed the vote. The elections are, however, largely populists shams full of bribery, vote-buying, intimidation, and backstabbing.
Because no single person is allowed to hold the seat for more than once, often many of the members of the Council of Twelve are merely proxies for more influential family members or guild members. It's a rare term where, at the very least, the Bank of Zabris, The Trader's Guild, The Nainhand, The Slaver's Consortium, and the nobles houses Hayebris, Ormris, and Zatobo don't have at least one direct representative or loyal proxy. Disloyal proxies in the Council tend to have unfortunate accidents.
Overall, Zabrisians laud those with ambition, skill, and charisma. In Zabris, it's better to try and fail gloriously, than to keep your head down and never try at all. And almost any deed, no matter how hideous, can can be forgiven if the person has STYLE.
However, there is a sharp divide between the 'Old Blood' of Zabris and the 'New Blood'. The 'Old Blood' consists of the Noble Houses Hayebris, Ormris, and Zatobo that remain from the time of Kings, as well as the Nainhand, and the Bank of Zabris. These groups tend to value intellect, subtlety, and geniality. One is expected to be genial and polite to your most hated rivals; and strike at them mercilessly through a series of proxies and catspaws, the more complex the better. Being found out to be directly responsible for a plot against a rival is terribly passe - everyone should know you were responsible of course, but it must be something unspoken and unproveable.
The 'New Blood', consisting of the The Slaver's Consortium, and the various wealthy and powerful Ship Captains (which must never be called Pirates in polite company; as long as they plunder and steal from non-Zabrisian ships, it's not piracy). The New Blood tends to value well-timed displays of brute force, personal "toughness", and a commanding and ruthless presence.
The Trading Guilds tend to toe the line; to the Old Bloods, they are of course 'New Bloods' - upstarts without class or culture. Ship Captains working for the Merchant Guilds tend to associate more with their 'New Blood' compatriots, but the higher-ups in the Trading Guilds tend to have pretentions of nobility, and reflect the values of the 'Old Blood'.
While there is little economic difference between the 'New Bloods' and the 'Old Bloods', the cultural difference between the two groups is steep.
'Old Blood' culture strives to maintain the traditions of the past; or at least, that's the public perception they wish to perpetuate. Old Blood culture demands at least a token acknowledgement of the Temple of the Three. Dress is elaborate and conservative, with long braided hair for men and women alike. Soirees and feasts are held frequently; the rich and powerful use these occasions to subtly forge and break alliances, listen to the latest gossip, and gague potential allies and rivals.
'New Blood' culture on the other hand, tends to revolve around The Arena. The Zabris Gladiatorial Arena is famous throughout the isles. The Arena accomodates fights both between commonblood slaves, and magic-blooded duelists. It's a mark of great status to own a famous commonblood gladiator; these drudge fighters are often pampered by their masters as long as they continue to win and live. Poor magic-blooded duelists can likewise earn a lot of money and prestige by doing well for themselves at the arena - the story of the poor but talented duelist who won enough money to buy himself a ship and crew is not a terribly uncommon one.
Performance arts are the preferred medium of entertainment; more passive forms of art such as sculpture and painting are viewed as 'classical' and boring. Theatre Houses are extremely popular with both groups, though particular theatre houses tend to cater towards one group or the other. The most popular theatre houses are often tremendously wealthy, and go out of their way to provide rich exotic food an drink for their patrons, and various sideshows during intermissions - commonblood slaves trained to perform are particularly popular for this, such as acrobats, dancers, or castrati singers.
Much like the Urdahane, Zabrisian culture is deeply steeped in the practice of slavery. Free Commonbloods exist, but are very rare - and there are no laws stopping the Slaver's Consortium from collaring and marking even the wealthiest Free Commonblood. Like their Urdahane cousins, Zabrisian wizards consider commonbloods to resources to be used and exploited. But while the Urdahane tend to show some civility and compassion towards their commonblood slaves, the Zabrisians see drudges as barely better than animals. Neither law or social stigma keeps a Zabrisian wizard from abusing or killing their drudge slaves.
Ironically enough, slaves that work on the ships of the Slaver's Consortium or for independent Ship Captains tend to be better off than slaves within the city. Because they must be trusted to perform their duties aboard the ship, many Captains form good bonds with their drudge crews.
Children of drudge slaves are assumed to be drudges themselves - but should a child exhibit magic powers, it is expected that their owner attempt to find them a caretaker, or legally adopt them themselves, and see to their magical education. Of course, if the child is simply disposed of - well, they were assumed under the law to be a drudge, and no one cares about common-bloods. Common-Born wizards thus have a rough start here in Raun, but if they prove to be charming, clever, and determined enough, it's possibly they may rise to the top.
— Current Status
The Fishmen have been a terrible nuisance to Zabris, but if anything this has given the pirates and slavers a common purpose - to hunt down and exterminate any known colonies. This was at first a costly endeavor for Zabris, in terms of gold and life - but they have increasingly learned how their enemies behave and how to protect themselves. Overall though, Zabris hasn't been terribly affected by the Detch hordes which seem to plague the larger isles.
Ruel Martek, the Partriarch of Hourse Hayebris, has recently passed away at long last, at the age of 92. Ruel Martek had been the de-facto leader of the city for almost 30 years; fully half of the Council of Twelve were either his direct puppets, or well in his pocket. His heir however, seems to have none of Ruel's cunning or charm, and it is doubtful he can maintain the allegiances built by his father. Now the puppets put into power by him are working to advance their own agendas, and Ruel's rivals are begining to do their best to bring House Hayebris down with Ruel. It promises to be an interesting year as the various factions of Zabrisv vie to fill the sudden power vaccuum.
A hundred years ago, Ahar-Ashak was among the most powerful of the city states in the isles, kept in check only by the combined might of Marheam and Urdahane. They controlled thousands of dredge slaves, and the might of their Spell-Princes was only rivaled by that of the Archmages of Urdahane and the Priest-Kings of Marheam.
If it had not been the nobility that was first infected with the Crying Plague, the city might have survived. But by the time everyone recognized that the plague was actually an infestation, it was too late. Ahar-Ashak fell in less than a week, as it was devoured by Detch-fishfolk from within and Detch hordes from without. Those who survived fled, and with the help of several hired mercenary companies fled to and defended Eshuna-Nud.
— Values & Culture
He's dead, Jim
— Current State
The Ruins of Ahar-Ashak are filled with Detch. They seem to have taken claim to the ruins as a nest of sorts. Detch hordes fill the nearby forests and mountains, and spill out onto the nearby plains.
— Available background features
- Blood of Old Yan: same as Warrel Family Resistance (5 points, Nain Companies, page 22)