Luid is the capital city of Tyrea, the home of the king, the cultural and economic centre of the country. It’s home to the greatest stores of human knowledge, to the land’s scholars and researchers and its most promising students. It sits with its face to the country, back facing the ocean, sloping upward from the harbour to the high cliffs where the nobles keep their…
Blah, blah, blah.
That’s what a guidebook would tell you about the city. The pretty things. The not-to-be-missed attractions. It might walk you through the gate quarter, which houses merchants and traders and craftsmen. It might outline various festivals occurring throughout the year, or might advise a visit to the temple of the Goddess, located in the inner city not far from the palace…which no up-to-date guidebook would advise you to visit without notice. Not these days. Not if you want a warm welcome.
The truth is, a city is a being in its own right, and old ones have a habit of keeping secrets. Were you to visit the city on a quick business trip or a relaxing vacation, you wouldn’t see the north end of the city, where the Despair presses against the wall, held back by magic that’s effective enough to keep it from grinding the people’s spirits to dust…most days. You certainly wouldn’t walk down the North End’s filthy streets and see the criminals sent through the gate in that portion of the wall as punishment when a quick execution is too merciful.
No, that’s a secret that the city keeps well, hidden behind twisting streets that seem to direct one’s feet back to more pleasant diversions.
And pleasant diversions abound. The people of Luid, especially the wealthy, want for little. Some say it’s made them lazy, that even those who have magical potential don’t use it as they might. To master any skill requires study and hard work, and most remain content with whatever undeveloped skills they’re born with. Those who do develop it can be dangerous, of course. Perhaps that’s why the king keeps them close by, and keeps them happy.
Every household, every shop, every citizen’s heart holds secrets. Secret fears, secret aspirations, secret desires and shames.
On the surface, everything shines. Clean cobblestone streets, bright shop-fronts, smiling faces.
Just tread carefully, visitor, and you’ll be fine.