The city is the mirror of the world. If we cannot master the city, how can we master the world?

Gidea di Sarvos, Reflections

The League is small in terms of landmass compared to some other nations, but it still manages to have a sizable population. The land around the Bay of Catazar is lush and fertile, with low flood-plains; olive farms and prime grazing lands fed by the waters of four rivers the lazy Couros that flows through Highguard,the flighty Gancio, whose capricious nature has drowned many an unwary river captain on its course through the Brass Coast, the broad-banked Scorrero, solid and well-defended, carrying goods from Temeshwar and Holberg and the furious Vassa flowing down through Tassato. Together they flow down to the Bay of Catazar, whose deep waters are patrolled by League warships always alert for unlicensed smugglers and impertinent privateers.

Each territory in the League represents the land that extends around a single great city. Surrounding lands are tightly parcelled into estates, each of which is traditionally worked hard but may also be sculpted for maximum beauty. Commonly country estates are kept for show, but a Merchant Prince will only really relax when at their townhouse in the city, surrounded by the fruits of civilization. Catazarria represents the oldest part of the League and is composed of Tassato, Sarvos and Verrario. Temeshwar and Holberg are full members of the League, and their people are referred to as "Temeshwari" and "Burghers" respectively.


Tassato Mestra and Tassato Regario

Peering at each other across the fast-flowing Vassa, Tassato is called the Twin City or the Split City. Providing the only easy way to cross the wide and dangerous river, Tassato is a city divided against itself. Founded on either side of the Vassa, this was originally two cities, Mestra and Regario, named for the feuding siblings who historically founded them. Over time, the cities spread along the coast and the river formed a natural boundary between them, albeit one crossed with numerous bridges. The citizens of Mestra and Regario were among the first to support the nascent Empire. When the League became part of the Empire they were treated as a single territory, to the outrage of citizens on both sides of the river.

The north-western part of the city is called Tassato Mestra, and the south-eastern is Tassato Regario. The people on either side of the river are historically rivals, and occasionally feuds boil over and the bridges are closed until the dispute can be resolved. This is especially common when it is time to recognise the Senator for the territory of Tassato, as the citizens of Regario and those of Mestra have a vested interest in making sure their representative to the Senate does not come from the "wrong side" of the river.

Tassato Mestra is famous both for its shipyards and for the boldness of its brothels. The north bank of the river is almost entirely given over to a gaudy display of brazenness, the so-called Street of Pleasures where anyone with the purse for it can buy company, narcotics and other goods of dubious virtue.

The southern part of the city, Tassato Regario, is best known for its workshops and wizards. According to legend, the first crossbows were designed in Tassato Regario and the first presses were employed here printing religious tracts, scholarly treatises and bills of fare for dining establishments. Nowadays, they're just as likely to report on the comings and goings in society; who is on the way up, who is on the way down and who wore what where.

Citizens of Tassato generally refer to Regario and Mestra as seperate places, while everyone else refers to them as wards or parts of the same city.

The Jewelled City of Sarvos

Sarvos is constructed on an island just off the coast, like a beacon of light in the water. It is the cultural centre of the League, and would like to believe it is the cultural centre of the Empire. It takes its name from the many mirrors found upon the roofs of the city, said to "sparkle like gems" during the day. Folk legend suggests that if the mirrors are shattered the city will surely fall, and for this reason many citizens of Sarvos carry a mirror about their person, an affectation that encourages unfair accustations of vanity.

Sarvos is famous for its architecture, for its many rival theatres, and for arguably being the largest concentration of magicians in the League. Cramped streets flow between soaring towers, choked with merchants, tradesmen and students. It is the site of Diora University, established by the guild of papermakers and a prominent seat of learning that specialises in researching obscure topics for money. Here can also be found Capodomus Cathedral, one of the largest religious structures in the Empire, a towering monument encrusted with precious materials and objets d’art.

In recent years many refugees from Holberg have made new homes here, leading to increasing overcrowding, and both jobs and housing are at a premium.

On the south side of Sarvos are the drowned streets of Caricomare – a shattered ruin, waist-deep in water at its highest points and submerged entirely in others. Thirty years ago, it was a prosperous suburb of Sarvos, a waypoint for the trade routes around the bay. One night, however, a great storm came out of nowhere and the river burst its banks. The route of the river changed overnight and a mighty wave washed away the foundations of many buildings. In a single night, Carciomare was ruined – buildings were toppled and the streets filled with saltwater. The repairs were far too costly and the floods created a mass exodus to Sarvos, compounding the overcrowding of the city. Caricomare today is an abandoned, dangerous place now – of flooded streets and waterlogged buildings, but it is said that great treasures can be found in the depths, for those brave enough to investigate.

The Merrow Boatmen of Sarvos regularly take their flat-bottomed boats out here, to draw up treasure from the ruins and it is said that pirates hide out in the flooded ruins of the Caricomare Opera House.

Verrario (Lost)

Around twenty-five years ago Verrario was lost to barbarians after an uprising led by a man claiming to be the last descendant of the King of the Scorrero, a pre-Imperial political entity absorbed into the League early in the Empire's history. With civil war underway, marauding barbarians attacked without warning, sacking the lodges and laying siege to the city. To the surprise of many, Verrario fell to the invaders over the course of only six months, displacing much of the population to the other cities of the League. Some refugees from the territory claim bitterly that they were "betrayed" - that the man who wished to rule them divided them and led them to their ruin. That enough Carta supported his claim to make a civil war of it is worrying to the League and the Empire.

Verrario lounged on the river Scorrero, surrounded by wolf-haunted plains. It sat on the border with Dawn, separated by a dense forest through which few roads stretch, and some say that its sense of style was influenced by its neighbour - albeit in dark-grey stone that casts it as Dawn's dark twin. It was known for its fishing and hunting and famous for the lodges (many of which left-over from the days of the Kingdom of Scorrero) where wealthy citizens went to get away from the pressures of city life and become “one with nature”; a common euphemism for riotous parties.

The city was a byword for excellent food. Lunches were longer, dinners more extravagant, and feasts legendary. Every bar had its own speciality snack: perhaps a particular way of spicing ham, or salting and smoking beef, or an excellent dipping sauce for vegetables. Street-vendors with portable grills marked fish and roots with fire. Chefs from Verrario are now found wherever a fine table is a social requirement, and are starting to bring public restaurants to the wider Empire.

Verrario was also the site of the famous Benedetto Armoury, once known for its excellent swords. The people of Verrario were known for their interest in martial affairs, and the refugees are still. It is a matter of pride that every Verrario citizen wears a blade at all times, even if it is just a workmanlike dagger.

Temeshwar

Temeshwar is built in wild Varushka, near the source of the Scorrero and the river is too shallow to navigate beyond the artificially deepened harbour. It is the northernmost city of the League, and prospers significantly through trade with Varushka.

Temeshwar's current shape is a feat of engineering, although you wouldn't necessarily notice at first. Sitting at the very source of the Scorrero River, at first the city had only a small dock, making barges and other shallow-draft boats necessary to move goods. However, it also had the nearby Alsbet Lake, which wasn't doing anything in particular to help the League move goods, and that was unacceptable. An overambitious land-reclamation project filled in about half the lake (now occupied by low-rent housing) and flooded part of the old city, widening and deepening the docks there. The city's trading capacity increased drastically, but the work was flawed. In a wet spring, the cheap housing in the Alsbet district invariably floods, and every few years the water level in the docks seems to fall another inch. Some say it is only a matter of time before the lake reclaims its land.

That history of trading from barges has not gone away, though. Temeshwari Bargers might be looked down upon by the Catazarri as "not really sailors", but it's a slight that they'd never dare say to their faces. It can often be quicker and safer to control a barge on the Scorrero by punt than to rely on the river's shifting currents, and as a result, any Barger worth her pay has a pretty good idea how to handle a ten-foot bargepole. It's a short step from that to a halberd, although the weapons tend to be shorter. Where other nations might look at the halberd and see a unit weapon, to be employed by a hundred men in a block, Temeshwari Bargers can defend their goods and their barges with half a dozen of them against a much larger force on the banks. It is a dying way of life with the Scorrero blockaded downstream, sadly - but the Bargers are determined to win their way of life back, and may one day be useful warriors in the cause.

Citizens of Temeshwar commonly make an effort to be as flamboyant as their southern fellows, but their dress is inevitably more practical, to accommodate the harsh northern weather. They are tradtiionally a little more brusque and direct than those who live on the bay. It is a foothold of trade to Varushka, Wintermark and nearby Dawn. Trading in raw materials and crafted goods, especially weapons and armour, it is seen by many as the merchant capital of the northern lands.

While there is no love lost between the League and Dawn over the "theft" of Holberg, it is not so with Varushka and Temeshwar. Temeshwar saw the benefits of having such strong links with the greatest economic power in the Empire long ago. Varushka has had a good deal more time to grow used to the idea, even if there remain some (mostly) good-natured disagreements about policy in the Senate chamber.

The Carta in Temeshwar place a great deal of importance on contracts - it is said that even getting wed in Temeshwar is a deeply contractual affair, involving lengthy marriage contracts drawn up between the families, with many economic stipulations. On Sarvos, economic ruin can be served to you with a smile. In Temeshwar, it is sealed with a spouse.

Holberg (Lost)

Build strong city walls and the world must come to you - and it will come to you, if only to marvel at your walls.

Holberg once possessed a rich agricultural heritage, well known for its fine vineyards. Seven years ago, however, barbarians attacked the territory, sacked the vineyards, and laid siege to the walled city. The Senate remained paralyzed throughout this time, unable to secure funding and forces to raise the siege and in the end the territory was lost to the orcs and remains under Orc rule to this day.

Holberg itself, however, has not yet fallen. Famous for its engineers, builders and architects, the city is immensely fortified and defenders still hold out to this day. The only approach to the city is through a narrow pass, and the defenders of Holberg will not permit that pass to fall. Every year their situation becomes worse. Refugees from Holberg clamour for the territory to be reclaimed, and seek refuge in the other League cities. Many left family members and valuables behind when they fled their homes. Unfortunately, while the city itself is still intact, the territory of Holberg no longer exists and the refugees have lost their Senate seat until it can be reclaimed.

The League lays part of the problem in regaining Holberg at the feet of the Dawnish. They claim that Dawnish Senators use every excuse to focus attention elsewhere, and Dawnish Generals actively resist plans that would allow the recapture of the city. Even the Empress seemed unable to break the deadlock.

Before Holberg was seized by the orcs, trade flowed freely from Temeshwar to Verrario and the system of lock-gates and watchtowers in Holberg granted near-total control of the movement of trade along the Scorrero river. Since it was taken, the League has been forced to ship goods through the borders of Dawn, petitioning their rivals each season for trade passes, a luxury for which they are charged handsomely.