As the World Burns
Urik is a powerful city-state with teeming armies, enormous walls, bustling commerce, and wise sages, governed in an orderly framework established by the self-styled King of the World, Hamanu. Urik’s legions have never met defeat, and Hamanu has never run from battle. Any decision of importance made in the Tyr Region must consider the wishes of Urik’s sorcerer-king.
Urik is highly organized and militarized. A variety of laws contained in the lengthy document known as Hamanu’s Code govern commerce and taxes, specify holidays, set standards for construction and artistry, and dictate family arrangements such as weddings, care for elders, and funerals. Templars test Urikite children and assign them to the vocations for which they are most suited. The city aspires to be a meritocracy, but hidden webs of patronage and influence secure important posts and stations for people with the right connections.
Although Urik seems stable and well-ordered, it is every bit as oppressive as any other city-state, perhaps more so, thanks to the number and efficiency of Hamanu’s templars. Hamanu believes that he has nothing to fear from his subjects, but he knows that Urik’s fortunes depend on trade with other cities. Thus, Hamanu’s templars keep an eye on developments in the rest of the Tyr region and pay for information from spies in other cities.
In a hilly region where the Ringing Mountains meet the Tablelands, Urik sits in a fertile belt maintained by careful irrigation from deep wells. Grain fields and fruit-bearing orchards surround the city-state in neat rows. Urik gleams, its stone walls steeped in yellow pigment made from the sulfurous waters of the nearby Lake of Golden Dreams. Statues of bold, bipedal lions march to war across its walls. Lions’ heads carved from stone serve as merlons atop the dizzying walls, where sentries stand guard, bows never far from their hands.
Four gates offer access to the city. The Slave Gate sees heavy traffic, including caravans bound to and from the obsidian mines in the Smoking Crown. Nobles and templars enter and exit through High Gate, and most other visitors pass in and out through the Obsidian Gate and the Kings Gate. Half-giant guards, archers, and war templars staff the towers at each gate and rigorously question all who enter.
Most of Urik is a place of straight roads and clean lines. Bricks pave the streets. In most districts, houses and buildings are uniform, nearly identical except for writing that designates the function or owner. A visitor unaccustomed to Uriks style can easily become lost. In addition, one finds Hamanu’s likeness everywhere. The yellow-and-white-glazed walls feature brilliant murals that capture the Mighty King’s many exploits. The sorcerer-king has spared no expense in ensuring that the people do not forget who rules.