As the World Burns
Ancient beyond measure, Nibenay is a wealthy, powerful city-state immersed in decadence and intrigue. Most Nibenese regard themselves as the only civilized people remaining in a world of barbarism and desolation; the events that take place outside the city walls are little more than the squabbles of savages. Even the architecture of Nibenay reflects these prejudices. Splendid statues and carvings cover the walls, public buildings, and private homes throughout the city, depicting great heroes and honored ancestors from ages long forgotten by the rest ofAthas. Some are works of surpassing beauty, some glorify ancient triumphs, and others depict shocking hedonism.
Nibenay is ruled by the sorcerer-king who gave the city-state his name. He is an enigmatic, retiring figure, rarely seen by anyone but his templars. Deep within the royal compound at the citys heart – the forbidden dominion called the Naggaramakam – Nibenay immerses himself in arcane studies and mysterious pursuits, leaving governance to the bureaucracy ofhis templars. He is so reclusive that rumors of his death circulate every few years, giving rise to unrest and feuding among the nobles until he appears and puts to rest any stories ofhis demise.
Nibenay lies at the foot of a striking cliff, surrounded by a wide field of large, steaming pools and palm groves – the Plain of Smoking Waters. The most commonly used entrance is the Mekillot Gate. Past the gate, a wide thoroughfare leads directly to Sages Square, the chief marketplace in the middle of the Sages District. At the heart of the city-state, dominating its profile, stands the Naggaramakam, the Shadow King’s palace compound. This enormous, fortified city-within-a-city is open only to the sorcerer-king and his templars.
Walking the streets of Nibenay is a claustrophobic experience. Most streets are narrow alleyways framed by buildings with vaulted stone roofs. The city’s many stone spires produce a dizzying verticality in its street layout; sometimes the roof over an alley supports another walkway above it. With the excep tion of the High Road and the caravan road from the Mekillot Gate, none of the streets is wide enough to accommodate mounts larger than a crodlu.