The End of the V Age
The ruined city of Azerac sits atop a plateau, south of the Spine of the World. In Manöe, the name means “Place of the Azure Stone”, from a large sapphire that was seen to project from a rock outcropping. The city was founded in V287 (1,422 years before our story begins), and was continually inhabited for its first 1,287 years.
The area around Azerac is rich in natural resources. The Ran Gilde, running along the city’s eastern edge, teems with salmon, heading down to the sea from their spawning grounds in the mountains to the north of the city. The foothills and mountains around the city to the west, north and east contain enormous veins of iron, copper, gold, salt, lead and precious gems. There are also extensive woodlands around the city, through which a network of logging camps are dispersed. The city was initially founded as a mining camp, and other industries sprang up as people headed north to work the mines.
The ruins of the city cover an area of about 330 acres, running one and a quarter miles east to west and over half a mile north to south. The initial terrain on which the city was founded was an almost perfectly flat plain, but as the city grew, deliberate efforts were made to shape the city, almost as a work of art. The rock outcropping (since carved into a statue of the first king of Manöel, Artur I holding aloft the sapphire) sits in the courtyard of the Temple of Saint Katell, at the highest point in the city. The ground slopes gently down from that point in all directions. The base of the city walls are about fifty feet below the highest point in the city, allowing the statue to be seen from outside the city from all but the west and east (where the view is obscured by the temple and the keep, respectively).
The standard of living in the city was higher than any other city in Manöel. Most commoners lived in two or three story houses, similar to Roman insulae. Wealthier citizens had their city-homes close to the center, although these were not the primary residences of the city’s upper crust, who would generally have large estates outside of town.
The city maintained two markets; the Fish Market in the eastern end was the gathering point for agricultural products, and the City Market where all other goods would generally be found. Both markets were closed on the first day of the week, and would close for the afternoon during public festivals.
The Temple of St. Katell is a massive rectangular structure, oriented west to east. The building is two hundred feet wide and four hundred seventy feet long. At each corner of the structure is a tower, approximately one hundred feet tall. The altar is at the western end, underneath a massive stained glass window, that has since largely shattered. The temple is built on a raised platform above the outer courtyard.
Attached to the Temple of St. Katell was the Royal Library of Azerac, the largest library in Manoel. Monks and scribes in the library made it their mission to maintain two copies of every work they came across, and invented a card-catalog system to track the estimated four hundred thousand works.
The area between the temple and the keep is a wide courtyard, the center of which contains the statue described above. The statue stands twelve feet tall, and the sapphire is approximately three feet in diameter. The statue faces north to Emain Mhi, the world’s tallest mountain, at nearly seven miles tall. The mountain is approximately one hundred fifty miles north of the city, but due to its size and topographic prominence (to the south, no mountain above one mile in height stands between Azerac and Emain Mhi), can be seen almost in its entirety from anywhere in the city.