Last Week's Poll:
What's the predominant religion of the city?
- Monotheism: 1 vote
- Polytheism: 1 vote
- Philosophical: 1 vote
- Irreligious: 0 votes
A big tie this week. Hm. I think, for worldbuilding reasons, I'll choose "Philosophical." Thanks to everyone for voting this week and thanks to deadasdisco for casting the winning vote!
Without further ado...
Nahmer, City of the Panther!
Welcome to scheming, furtive Nahmer, City of the Panther! To many of the merchants that visit her, Nahmer is no more than a bustling island trading hub, somewhere to trade in silks and spices and grain. To any who venture deeper than her outward market, down her twisting, unfriendly streets, they'll find a furtive and suspicious city, its inhabitants a worry-worn people prone to stalking and scheming like their namesake beast.
Nahmer is an ancient city, one of the oldest in this part of the world. Much of her history is tragic, a deep scar on the psyche of its citizens. Hundreds of years ago, Nahmer was ruled by an iron-fisted tyrant known only as the Autocrat. Very little practical knowledge of the Autocrat's reign remains today. Some say he was a sorcerer of great and wicked power, others claim a bloody-fisted barbarian conqueror. All that is agreed upon is the Autocrat's legendary cruelty. His military detained, beat and harassed the Nahmeri people. His taxes sapped the city's wealth. His greatest endeavor, to construct a massive wall, one hundred feet high, all around his city, spelled the deaths of thousands of laborers every year. From his unassailable island fortress, the Autocrat ruled Nahmer absolutely, without rival.
Much as the Autocrat's rise to power is shrouded in mystery, so too is his fall. One day, the citizenry of Nahmer could no longer withstand the yoke of the Autocrat's tyranny. They arose, their hundreds of thousands, in righteous anger against their overlord and, miraculously, threw him down. His fortress was leveled, his power smashed, all traces of his name or deeds eradicated by a vengeful populace. Ever since, evoking the Autocrat is the foulest curse a Nahmeri can utter and, ever since, the people of the city have conducted their own affairs.
Since the Autocrat's fall, the Nahmeri people have strived to distance themselves as strenuously as they can from his policies. The people now cleave religiously, fanatically, to the truest expression of democracy. Every week, every Nahmeri citizen visit a poll and casts their vote on any number of issues – taxes, wars, municipal affairs – every conceivable legislative issue within the city. Nahmer elects no representatives, posts no individuals higher than any others; they're too distrustful of authority. Their courts, likewise, are extremely egalitarian and considered some of the greatest in the world in which to conduct one's affairs.
To enforce these policies and, even more vitally to the people of Nahmer, to enforce the voting laws, the city employs a faction of secret police called the Panthers. From the ages of 17-20, every Nahmeri citizen serves as a member of this masked police force. For the three years of their service, the Panther exchanges their whole identity for complete authority to enforce Nahmer's laws. Garbed entirely in black, save their ivory masks, the Panthers are anonymous, ruthless and incorruptible.
Nahmer is a trade state, making the majority of its income on taxes, docking fees and business licenses from the merchants who come to ply their trades within the city's diverse markets. It has few internal industries and relies heavily on trade for food and other raw materials. Economically, they're devout socialists, doling out food, medicine and services to their people with equal and religious fervor. Nahmer has few citizens either extremely wealthy or extremely impoverished, valuing the individual as they do, forcing their middle class to dominate the vast majority of the population.
The Nahmeri view gods as little more than dictators. To them, bending the kneel in reverence and obedience to any higher power smacks too much of their time serving the Autocrat. Rather than a traditional religion, however, the Nahmeri uphold The Obligation, the name they give the cultural importance placed upon voting. To the Nahmeri, voting is not a privilege nor a right; it is a responsibility. A Nahmeri that would squander that responsibility, from neglect or apathy, is tantamount to a blasphemer in a more religiously minded culture. Indeed, such a crime is punishable by jail time and, with enough offenses, death. The Nahmeri take their free will extremely seriously.
As a people, the Nahmeri are private and distrustful. Centuries of living beneath the Autocrat's heel have bred a profound and unquenchable sense of paranoia into them, causing them to mistrust the actions of others. There is no enforced curfew, but the streets of Nahmer are unusually, eerily quiet after dark. Doors are locked, windows are barred and conversations are few. A dislike of foreigners is common among the Nahmeri as well. In their eyes, the other kingdoms, cities and empires of the world have all been cowed by their rulers and are therefore untrustworthy. A visitor to Nahmer would find few friends, no matter their intentions.
The following legend corresponds to the above map:
- A. Freemarket: The island of Freemarket is an ocean of market stalls, vendors and merchants. Here, ships from all corners of the world congregate to trade their goods within sight of Nahmer's looming walls. Covered shore to shore in free enterprise, the markets are constructed on the uneven ruins of the Autocrat's compound, mostly unrecognizable now from the ravages of time and foot traffic.
- B. Freewall: During the Autocrat's reign, he sought to construct among the highest, most impregnable wall this corner of the world had ever seen. Its original name forgotten, the Freewall still stands, more or less unchanged – one hundred feet high and twenty-five feet thick, though it was never completed. It was once covered with one hundred thousand carvings of the Autocrat's face, now replaced with an ever-shifting representation of every single face in Nahmer's population.
- C. Seagate: The weakest point in all the Freewall, the Seagate is where ships sailing up and down the river, the Nahmoi, can exit onto the open sea.
- D. Bay of Screams: It's said that, when the Autocrat was finally seized, he was chained to a statue of himself and dropped into the center of the Bay of Screams. Known to be several hundred feet deep at its deepest point, people still say the bubbles that continue to rise to the bay's surface are the tyrant's endless screams of agony.
- E. The Vault of Grain: Here are all the city's food stores kept, to be distributed evenly amongst its citizens. The Vault is guarded greedily, with higher security than any bank, less someone attempt to redistribute the wealth themselves.
- F. Bridge of Common Sense: For some reason, this particular bridge that spans across the Nahmoi, has become a hotspot of political and philosophical discussion. Every afternoon, hundreds of people gather here to make arguments, advance theories and debate the mysteries of the universe, ranging in education from professors to paupers.
- G. Kahmud's Menagerie of Wonders: One of Nahmer's few true tourist attractions, the Menagerie of Wonders is a public park that houses many of the world's beasts – lions, elephants, peacocks, manticores, tigers, hippocampus. Kahmud's pride and joy are a mated pair of albino panthers, whom he believe brings the city good luck.
That's all for Nahmer, folks! Hope you enjoyed it!
Next Wednesday on Worldblogger:
Next Wednesday on Worldblogger:
What should I worldbuild next?
- City, Town or Community
- Major Geographical Feature
- Ruin or Stronghold