The City Stained Red

Once long ago there was a city so wicked that it would go on to inspire the darkest stories and legends of all those who dwelt in the lands of Aralka. This city was named Balam; a city stained with blood.

Ruled by the dragon-masked order of the Witch-Lords and the inscrutably evil Ur-priests. It is said that Balam- a major city in its prime – was build in mere days, having been constructed by demons and other inimical beasts, and lain upon a foundation of slavery and blood sacrifice. It was a marvel of architecture, for it was designed within the chaotic mind of the Mad King who founded the Witch-Lords. The outer wall was over a hundred feet tall and crafted of a strange black rock that sweat and exuded a damp heat. Three massive gates allowed access to the city, one in the North called the Gate of the Magi, one to the South called the Gate of the Beast and one to the West called the Dragon’s Gate. Great towers rose at set intervals along the wall, each taller than the wall itself and housed great siege engines upon their pinnacles. The city was broken into districts, each walled separately from the rest, with guard stations and checkpoints set up before one could pass from one district to another. These were crafted of regular masonry, not the strange, black stone of the outer walls.

The Gate of the Beast led into the Slave District, where a shantytown of huts and small buildings housed the vast unowned slave population of the city. The walls surrounding the Slave District were covered in hooks and spikes and where they could display disobedient slaves for public execution.

The Gate of the Magi led into a large market district, with a central bazaar and open air market.

The Dragon’s Gate led to a central promenade that cut through a graveyard district, and the Temple District, the Noble District and finally ending at the central plaza, oasis and palace.

When the city was at the height of its power, its armies raided and threatened all the lands surrounding it. Eventually, a coalition of these nations marched to bring war to Balam and overthrow its diabolic masters. The siege lasted three years, with the armies of the coalition slowly and inexorably pressing in towards the palace of the Witch-Lords. To save themselves, the greatest of the Witch-Lords began a ritual that would sap the life from all living things on the continent and give them power to crush their enemies forever. In retaliation, the coalition assaulted the palace as the ritual began and at its crux they disrupted the great spell and the magical backlash caused the city to sink and be devoured by the earth itself.

One thousand years later, the city has risen once again. When word of the dark cities return reached the kingdoms whose borders were closest, there was great consternation and fear. Armies were marshaled and marched once more upon the city. When they arrived, the city seemed to stand abandoned. No guards manned the ramparts and the gates stood undefended. Despite this, it was swiftly determined that the city was still inhabited, in a manner of speaking. Unspeakable horrors and dark creatures lurked in the alleys and sewers of the city, discovered after the first few scouting parties disappeared.
The Lords of the armies could not agree upon the matter of whom had a right to claim the city and the riches rumored to exist within. A great conclave was called, of the greatest kings and wizards and high priests and eventually a decision was reached.
Nations and orders would call upon mercenaries and adventurer’s from across the world and sponsor their expeditions into the city. Those brave enough to venture within the city risked life, limb and sanity for the chance for fame and glory and wealth unimaginable.

Thus began a great endeavor as fortune seekers arrived, and a shantytown swiftly built around the city to cater to them. Do you have what it takes to seek fame and fortune in the City Stained Red?

The World at a Glance

The City Stained Red

DreamsofTrance karl_chvojka Isiolith