The roots of Chimlevtal go back hundreds of years, to the time before the last Chaos Wars. To Karritsa, a city and province of the Van Empire, Karritsa which is now lost beneath the waters of the Storm Sea and the silt of the Vaierr Delta--
In its day, Karritsa was the greatest city in this part of Alastari, a center of administrative and military power, of culture, and of trade. It was at the command of Karritsa that the lighthouses of Barikala and Niatoli were built, to increase the safety of the lake trade with Ferencia. Monuntial and Chimlevtal had been but outlying towns of the province, then, centers of nothing more than rival political and economic factions. That, at least, had not changed over the intervening years, for they were still bitter rivals. If the two cities could work together, they might be able to clean out the pirates of Zukal and Niatoli and drive back the raiders of the Karnhorns. But a rivalry so deeply rooted was not easily overcome.
It seems likely that the Lords of Karritsa had dabbled in magic, thus in some fashion attracting their fate, for it was by magic, and a convulsion of the earth, that Karritsa had fallen, just before the Chaos War had begun--the War had not destroyed Karritsa, but only prevented its rebuilding. At the end of that time of terror, there was no strength left to rebuild with, and the remaining people of Karritsa had all they could do to stay alive. Those who were of elven, or part elven, blood--lords of Karritsa, they had been--had withdrawn to Monuntial at the mouth of the Duskblood River, and had demanded that the people of Chimlevtal serve under them to reclaim the farmlands, rebuild the villages. Those who were purely human, who had been the artisans, the farmers, the common people, had made their base at Chimlevtal, where the smaller Levarn River entered the Storm Sea, and they had demanded that the lords of Monuntial succor them. So had the rivalry grown more bitter.
Each in their own fashion, the rivals had prospered, but they had remained rivals, for trade still came out of the east to the shores of Alastari. Some was landed at Zuwayza and traveled across northern Alastari, through the Karnhorn Empire and into Convincia. Some, and not necessarily at the intent of the traders, was brought to Zukal, passing through the center of Alastari, crossing the Daggerspines at Khalhums and moving into the Ardivent Barony. But Chimlevtal--and Monuntial--also received some of this trade, vying with each other for control of the southern branch of the Great East Route. There had been, still were, raids, banditry--neither side was innocent of it.
Chimlevtal has old roots, but it does not live in the past. Besides the trade from the east which is such a bone of contention--and such a potential source of wealth--the city-state has its own industries. Fishing, of course, for the waters of the Storm Sea have always been fertile. Chimlevtal is noted for its pickled vorrings, a little fish of strong flavor.
The farms that lie behind the city are prosperous, providing food for the people and some over. Many acres are currently given over to growing goldroot, whose fat, deep-orange tubers yield a sweet syrup which is boiled down to pale golden sugar. That is a cash crop of considerable value, traded all over Alastari and across the Storm Sea to the east. Sheep are also a valuable resource, and fine woolen fabrics from Chimlevtal bring a good price in any market.
Some of the best wools come from the hill farms to the north of the Levarn River. For some reason, farms in the area have been abandoned in the last two or three years, and the village of Levtas is nearly a ghost town. Reports indicate that those farms nearest the Errynthorn Hills were vacated first, but it was unclear whether the shepherds have been killed by something in the Hills, or left of their own accord to pursue the chimera of gold.
The city of Chimlevtal itself is built of stone for the most part, a patchwork of reddish sandstones quarried from the nearer Errynthorns and paler marble blocks retrieved from the ruins of Karritsan villas. It sits in a cup of low hills, the city walls following the hilltops, and the Levarn River passes through the center of it and forms the harbor. Buildings of two and three stories are common, with the upper stories often overhanging the lower; many of the steep streets are lined with the arcades so formed.
The outlying villages and small towns of the city-state are also walled, or at least palisaded, as a defense against attacks from Khalani, Riztab, Zukal, pirates from Niatoli and Arvat, and roving and less "official" raiders. Even the country estates of the wealthy, the villas and manor houses, are sited and designed with an eye to defense...or quick retreat to the city.
Chimlevtal is ruled by Prince Kinnishan, a descendant of one of the oldest families in Chimlevtal. He is advised by two groups, the Council of Nobles and the Council of Burgesses.
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