It is said, before man or creature walked the New World, that the Great Creator, for reasons unknown, came to war with the World. In this ensuing struggle for dominance, the Great Creator smote the land at the center of what would become the Nine Rivers, causing a wound that still bleeds the clear blood of life from the world and draws all water to it.
What is now Riversheart began as Kaidence, the capital city of Kaidence people, those who had followed Kaiden the Conqueror into the New World. That first city, as archaeological evidence will support, was a city of stone and water, with little in the way of defenses, spread evenly out of the Nine Quarters. However, as Kaidence began to rapidly grow from the trade garnered from being in the center of the Nine Rivers and of the decision of the Church to place their main temple there, a need for defense arose. Walls of wood fifteen feet high were added along the edge of every quarter, and sea gates added at a later time to accommodate the land defenses of the city.
Around 15 AOE, Kaidence began to slowly evolve from the capital of Kaidence to what would become known as the Temple City, as the power of the Church became more and more prolific. As time passed, with the population swelling, eventually what became known as Kaidence was the Outer City, a land of poorly wrought, decrepit homes fit for only the poor while the Inner City was the true Heart of the city. This eventual decline of Kaidence would continue for two hundred years when Kaiden finally ascended to the Light in 215 AOE.
During the next three hundred and thirty seven years, the Temple City steadily grew. The wood was replaced with stone and marble shipped in from the Mal'khar Mountains just West of the city.. The walls were connected and for the first time the city was surrounded in a concentric stone wall by the mid 5th century AOE. The many pontoon bridges that had interconnected the city were replaced with bridges of stone that could be retracted with a great system of pulleys and levers at the base of each bridge. As trade increased, the further inside the city the retractable bridges were higher elevated as one came closer to the Holy Temple that made the center of the city. The elevation to the center of the city became so much more high than the other parts of the city that ships could pass beneath the bridges without any retraction being necessary.
It would not be until the First Empire in 552 AOE under Johan the Great that the level of architecture would go up a notch. In the days of the first Empire, the very center of the city became a pyramidal mass of stone and marble, with the Temple Palace dominating the center of the city. The Nine Towers were built on every piece of Quarter, each one connected to the Temple Palace Tower by mighty sky bridges. Massive stone plinths allowed for a ship to pass directly underneath the center of the city, to a land of stone columns several yards wide, embedded into the very rock of the earth.
And so, the Temple City remained the greatest feat of wonder for four hundred and sixty eight years until the Vengeance War of 1020 AOE that saw much of the Northern Quarters damaged or outright destroyed and the First Empire crumbling into dust with the loss of leadership.
After the fall of the First Empire, the Patriarchy that had ruled the Temple City before the rise of the First Empire regained control of the city and named it an independent theocratic Republic. This state of being would last for more than two thousand years, the Knights of the Church fending off attacks from all sides while the Patriarchy came to dominate the lands of Imperia with their religious scripture.
However, as all things do, the reign of the Patriarchy would end by 3048 AOE when the Havocian Empire swept in from the South and laid waste to the city, killing all the members of the Patriarchy and destroying much of the city in the process. The Temple Palace was partly destroyed and the city was promptly abandoned after the destruction of the city as the Havocian Empire continued their rampage further North to war against the Kingdom of Kalidon.
The grand Temple City would remain abandoned for nearly fifty years, as the Great Winter swept in with death and destruction after the carnage unleashed by the Havocian Empire.
It was not until a concerted effort on the parts of her neighbors (Eladrin, Drow, Dwarves, and Humans) that the Temple City was rebuilt in 3097 AOE as the city of Riversheart. The Temple Palace was repaired and became the Fortress of Riversheart and once more people began to return to the city. The Rivers were harnessed and tamed to become the canals, with low walls surrounding them to funnel any would be attacker and inner sea gates added.
With the rise of the Holy Empire, Riversheart became the capital of the Holy Empire and seat of the Son of the Light. The Fortress of Riversheart is refurbished and becomes the Emperor's Palace.
And so the city has remained. The oldest and yet one of the youngest cities in the world with a rich, albeit bloody, history stretching millennia.
If one was to look at Riversheart now, near three hundred years after it's reconstruction, they would see a man-made mountain of stone, glass, and steel. A mighty wall surrounds this amazing achievement. The city though can be deduced to be divided into nine parts, each connected with the wall broken only by the Nine Sea Gates with most of the city built above the Outer Wall.
Underneath this man-made mountain is the Ports where the only light is the Bluestone Posts situated on almost every corner and shafts of light breaking open as massive warehouse lifts bring goods and people to the Upper Quarters. Despite the prevalence of the Bluestone in the Ports, the Ports are a dark, crowded warren of warehouses, pubs, tenement homes, and businesses mostly associated with ship building and other related types. Situated on each of the innermost corners of all the Quarters are the foundations of the ancient Nine Towers. The tops of the Towers now make up the Upper Keeps that further divide the Upper Quarters as well as the bottom.
The Upper Quarters, despite their name, sport a menagerie of people from craftsmen to nobility. The Upper Quarters can be divided into three parts. The Low Tier is mostly comprised of craftsmen, tradesmen, and businesses such as inns and pubs of a finer taste than those that can be found in the Ports. The Middle Tier, also called the Estates, is where the nobility of Riversheart call their home. The High Tier contains the Emperor's Palace where resides the Emperor and his family as well as it's own citadel and barracks.
Defense of the city is managed by the City Watch. At an order from the High Commander, the city's many gates can be locked down and the archaic bridges lowered to make the city more defensible. The Emperor's Guard is responsible for the defense of the Emperor's Palace and are armed with great swords and garbed in adamantian plates. They are made up exclusively of Castians. The Port Watch is nominally under the command of the City Watch but are undisciplined and unruly compared to the dedicated and highly trained City Watch but outnumber the City Watch three times over. At any one time, the High Commander has near six thousand guardsmen under his command.