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ID: 1689


November 19, 2005, 3:24 pm

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Gardens of Ardales


The wealthy landowners of Ardales began to grow personal gardens on their flat rooftops.  The shade helped cool the buildings. The competition renewed among the aristocracy for the lushest garden.  Over time, the increased population caused an increase in building density, especially in the city’s heart.

Centuries past, in the Bizzannite city of Ardales (Ar’-do”-lez) nestled in the Jabal desert valley, a massive tower was built.  It was hailed at the time as being both a magnificent piece of art, and a triumph of Human engineering.  As the wealth level of the inhabitants increased, the Emir declared that nothing within two miles of Ardales Tower could exceed two stories tall.  Or course, since that measurement was ill-defined, the wealthier citizens began building homes and businesses with as tall a roof as possible.  This lead to a further refinement of the maximum height law, punishable by having the building in question demolished, as well as additional fines paid.  While the aristocrats could no longer compete in height with one another, they did not want to be seen as having the smaller building.  As a result, nearly every large structure was built to nearly the exact same height. 

Alas, time affects all things.  Though the air in the Jabal valley was quite dry, the wooden beams of the Ardales Tower eventually decayed nearly to the point of collapse.  Scaling the Tower was now forbidden due to safety concerns, and visitors were not even allowed at its base.  Time finally took the Tower in the form of a fire 120 years ago.  As the original artist/architect’s plans were lost in the intervening years, and most realised that a new tower would be merely a copy, the Tower was never rebuilt.  However, the old edict limiting the height of buildings within that two-mile area was never repealed. 

Improved irrigation was brought into Jubal Valley, in large part because of increased fears over more fires.  This new water allowed the wealthy landowners of Ardales to grow personal gardens on their flat rooftops.  The shade helped cool the buildings, and competition renewed among the aristocracy for the lushest garden.  Over time, the increased population caused an increase in building density, especially in the city’s heart, where the Ardales Tower once stood.  New aqueducts were constructed, leading straight from the nearby mountains, across tall pillars, and into the gardens of these wealthy citizens. 

Today, a traveller approaching Ardales can stand at a mountain pass and gaze down onto a solid sea of green in the heart of the city.  The gardens seem to mix and flow into one another.  As it is relatively simple to step from one building to another—and across wide and short bridges spanning the streets—to the traveller’s vantage, it seems as though it is a large park, rather than the roofs of many buildings.  It is only when one looks further, to edge of the garden area, does the illusion vanish.  Walking through the downtown streets of Ardales, one is cast perpetually in shadow.  The harsh sun is filtered through leaves, vines, trellises, and arching bridges.  The gardens (althought it may now be more accurate to not use the plural) are far above—40 feet of open space separates the streets from the plantlife.  The buildings themselves are striking, made from the native white stone, and built with tall pointed arches and collumns.  2nd storey balconies stare down from some homes, even these are 20 feet above.  The air is cool, dark, and damp; a welcome respite from the sun bearing down on the surrounding city.

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Comments ( 3 )
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Voted KendraHeart
November 20, 2005, 0:38
Very cool. I like the level of description for the buildings and such. I like the flow of history. Nothing was plopped down here (Why are there gardens? People just shrug and say it has always been so). There is story here. I like that.
Voted Scrasamax
November 26, 2005, 17:22
A superior post! I enjoyed it, and could only wish it was longer.
Voted valadaar
June 5, 2014, 8:56
I second Scras. Would love to have seen more.

Those laws could also push folks to build _down_ into the ground, potentially creating opportunities for dungeons.

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Order of the Moonbeard

       By: valadaar

Among the assortment of organized criminals who live in the great city, few command greater fear the Moonbeard Order.

They of course do not call themselves that, but have earned the moniker from their fashion of dying their large beards with lye to produce a distinctive crescent shape running from earlobe to earlobe. This is meant as a taunt for their enemies, for it clearly outlines their throats.

They also wear garb similar to the northern tribesman, carefully tooled leather and showing multiple, colourful glyphs.

They are feared due to the intense discipline that their group maintains, due to their origins as a warrior-sect.

They serve as paid thugs, enforcers and assassins within the city, with the client simply ordering a service from the organization, not hiring an individual. Apart from making the request and providing payment in full in advance, the order completes the assignment themselves.

Their order has many moles through the organizations of the city, and more than a couple of nobles. As such, no organized move has been made against them since their chief activity is directed against other members of the crime world. It is said that their services have been useful for those in power as well, further protecting them from persecution.

Their religion holds that their time in this world is vanishingly brief, and largely unimportant except as training for the Great Battle.

The order is very utilitarian with weapons choice - they simply use the tool needed for the occasion, though not without having trained extensively with it beforehand. Daggers, garrottes, swords, bows, battle axes, polearms, wagons, even siege engines have been used to carry out their contracts.

Encounter  ( City/ Ruin ) | January 24, 2014 | View | UpVote 5xp

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