The city of Heldenheim
Heldenheim is the capital city of the Kingdom of Kreis, currently inhabited by Waral’s main human nation. Located in the North of the Mazdâra Maw, the city holds a strategic position with firsthand access to the inland sea. The imposing rivers flowing through former dwarf territories merge downstream to embrace the Southern quarters of the Citadel. The rugged, rocky cliffs on which the metropolis was built complete its natural defenses.
The city’s history dates back to the first great human kingdom, before magic’s first crackle on Waral. The capital was destroyed numerous times, but its inhabitants have always rebuilt over the last ruins. Thus arose a complete architectural nonsense, with age-old houses neighboring rickety wooden structures, bound to last only a few months, sometimes even less.
A semblance of logic remains nonetheless, prescribed by the city’s social hierarchy and by the current magical segregation. The separation between the three urban circles is so clear, that when going from one to the next, travelers will often have the feeling that they’ve moved on to another city altogether.
The term outer city refers to the anarchical architecture which has sprouted around the city walls. In its early days, this area was no more than a slum, inhabited by those who had been denied access to the better districts. Lately however, various organizations have been keeping a semblance of order there. The ruling power understands their necessity and hence tolerates them, delicate balancing act, despite their criminal origins for the most part.
When people think of Heldenheim, they are most likely to represent themselves the inner city. Most stone buildings, safely hidden behind tall ramparts, have been huddled together over time. The resulting dark, narrow back alleys form an intricate labyrinth where the light rarely ever glimmers on the cobblestones and water stagnates in the shallows. The difference in dwellings in these buildings highlight the pervading inequalities. The richer and more successful a person is, the higher their home will be in these towers. These stacks of buildings sometimes reach unthinkable heights, making the task even harder for the guard. Consequently, a network of suspended bridges has become the main means of transport, overlooking the squalor of the city’s foundations.
The Citadel is the capital’s very jewel. Its towering heights can be seen from the periphery. The roofs reflect the light and seem to shine like a beacon above the lower districts. Large alleys paved with marble are lined by columns. Architectural feats give way to breathtaking gardens in a profligacy of riches, clashing with the rest of the polis. But the royal court’s buzzing activity has been replaced by a troubling void, as mistrust prevails in the wake of the Arcanic Assembly‘s coup.
The city’s situation is mirrored in Heldenheim’s inhabitants. The partition resulting from the different urban districts has divided the population and heightened the strife between social classes. The magical discrimination, more powerful than ever before since the mages’ power takeover, contributes to this extremely volatile climate.
An atmosphere of constant suspicion has hence arisen and saps any conciliation attempt. Tensions escalate between communities and altercations break out routinely. Citizens can no longer move about without fear of being assaulted, no matter the time of day. The Kingdom’s situation had worsened over the course of the monarchy’s dying years. But recent events have exacerbated the existing turmoil. The laws enforcing magical segregation were promulgated shortly after the ruling power was overthrown. The population has thus been definitely secluded in either one of two categories: the almighty and the rest.