City Image: Azaughos
Azaughos is built in the Late Imperial style of arcitecture. The palaces and towers and the central cathedral are monuments of stonework. Flying buttresses, scalloped pillars and ribbed arches turn heavy stone into something almost whimsical and light. The Plaza Central is the epicenter of Azaughos, both in terms of construction and in lay-out. The Plaza alternates between market days, open days, and for use in noble and royal festivities. Because of this, the Plaza has a high gated wall around it. If there were more towers, and fewer broad windows of colored glass, it would be a castle built around a large bailey.
Radiating out from the Central Plaza is a ring of large and impressive buildings. These are the mountain chalet/palaces of the various nobles who maintain a residence in the city. Each of these ornate buildings is named, and built around some sort of artistic motif or theme. The two largest structures are the royal palace, and the Cathedral.
Notable Palaces and Structures:
The Palace of Griffins - The Palace of Griffins is the Royal Palace, only used by the King, Queen, or their heirs. It is a massive and ornate building with many pillars and balconies. The cornice work and railings are dripping with gold paint, while the walls are washed a brilliant blue color. There are statues and gargoyles fashioned after griffins adorning the building. Inside, the three story structure is a study is expansive rooms. There is only one floor, the ceiling is nearly 30 feet overhead throughout the palace. The only areas where this changes is the Solar, where it rises to some 60 feet with a domed tower that is as much glass as stone, and in the Tower of Feathers, where messenger birds are kept for royal use.
The Cathedral of Azaughos - A very traditional cathedral, this building is massively built, with thick walls, heavy doors, and few windows reachable from the ground. It is easily the most defensible structure in the city. Laid out in a cross shape, the north to south axis houses the center of worship, the inner mysteries, and the rectory and dormatory for the clergy residents. The east to west axis houses store rooms, spare rooms, the arsenal for the Arms Militant, and the galleries of art produced to pay homage to the divine.
The Red Palace - The Red Palace has red lacquered panels that cover it's outside walls, giving it a glossy red color. The interior of this middle sized palace has been decorated with a rainbow of reds in terms of tapestry, carpets, and brocaded wallpapering. The most breath taking aspect of the palace are the chadalears made of white and red crystal. The Red Palace is the traditional home of the King's Mistress when he stayed in Azaughos.
The Palace of Trees - Created by a noble of elfin blood, this palace has pillars and columns that resemble trees, and the ceilings are painted to resemble the canopy of a forest. Beyond the central rooms, the Palace of Trees is considered mundane as the arboreal theme is only carried on in color selection for wall painting, and scattered sculptures of forest creatures.
The Beggar's Palace - Large, but drafty, purposely made with leaking spots in the roof above the beds, the Beggar's Palace is a place of blue blooded penance. There are no servants, and one fireplace in the central hall. A noble or royal heir who has displeased their betters can be sent to the Beggar's Palace to be reminded that their privelage can be removed easily. Most return thankful for the amenities of servants, and thick soft beds. Some return, realizing that they do not need constant pamperings by downturned heads and liveried servants.
The Palace of Liars - This Palace scarcely deserves the name as it is a Noble Prison built close to the Cathedral. The doors are locked, and only a few have the keys to them. The servants are more jailers than attendees. A noble or royal occupying the Palace of Liars is either serving out a sort of house arrest, or awaiting their fate for breaking a severe law.
The middle ring of the city is composed of the burgoise class of craftsmen and merchants. Most of these folk are established to keep the palaces supplied with labor and consumables as required, and repairs and such as needed. This section has grown as more came to live in a royal chartered city. The streets are wide, but the buildings have grown close together are due to lack of level ground in the valley, have either grown into miniature squat towers, or rise on stilts, clinging to rock faces, or even digging down into the rock itself. The most notable commodities in Azaughos' business district are fur goods from mountain hunters and trappers, a cold fermented style of lager, and artwork sponsored by various nobles.
The Collegium of Azaughos
A collection of theologians, historians, and artists, the Collegium of Azaughos is a haute coteur finishing school for aspiring guildsmen, lower and middle ranked nobility, and artists sponsored by various interests.
The Usurers Guild
This guild has a central office that is nearly a palace. The Azaughos Usurers Guild has the lucre to loan for noble ideas, merchant guild grand plans, and other expensive outtings.
The House of 1000 Pleasures
More than one noble mistress or concubine has been abandoned in Azaughos. These cast aside women found a collective where they ply their old art, prostitution, for the middle nobility and burgoise guildsmasters.
The outer most portion of Azaughos is coloquially called Caftan Town, as the majority of its residents wear heavy caftans, or similar styled cloaks and heavy jackets. Most of the people who live on the edge of the city are the miners and woodcutters who either work in the shallow mines, or cutting the sparce mountain cedar. Neither the mines nor the forest are very productive, and these folk are as close to beggars as there are in Azaughos.
The Fall of Azaughos
Cities are in effect, living entities. Some particularly ancient cities can spawn their own patron spirits and sacred places as a form of function and geomancy. But anything that is living has the vulnerability of being killed. The death of cities usually come from catasrophic war, pandemic disease, or a loss of relevance that causes an irreversible decline in population. Azaughos, however, was murdered.
Still quite yonug by urban standards, Azaughos was very much a rising star, one that was fast outstripping its available resources. Plans were being made to charter more communities near the royal city to ensure that there would be bread on the tables and meat in the larders. It was a conservative plan that would create new wealth, and turn Azaughos from a royal retreat into the seat of a new province carved from the mountains.