A Home of Endless Beauty and Wonder
Straddling the northern coast of Genesaris sits the Duchy of Valinde, a city-state very much like, and very much unlike others. Towering skyscrapers so common in Genesar cities are oddly absent, few grace the skyline and instead the majority of the tallest buildings are temples to a myriad of religions both Genesarian and foreign. Walls guard the land approaches to the city, fashioned to be incredibly tall and shining white, no one is quite sure what they're made of; the streets they guard are planned and carefully aligned, and overlooking the city from a hill just on its outskirts proper sits a glorious villa of the city's ruler, a Duchess.
Valinde is situated most arduously on the extremities of Genesaris's very landmass. While a broken plain dominates the outside of the city's land approach, it sits upon a crown of hills (for some reason an odd point of local pride) that dominate local geography. These hills have led to a relatively shorter skyline than elsewhere in Genesaris, owing to the fact that buildings tend to be built into the sides of the hills, as well as on top, around and at the bottom of them.
Strangely, Valinde is devoid of forestry aside from a few well maintained groves within the city itself. The sea dominates the northern approach to the city, the swells of the World Ocean lapping against the rocks and docks of the city's port. The soil of the region is surprisingly fertile, owing to the benevolence of the gods to bring rain.
Topographically, Valinde is very... Odd. It's approaches from land are roughly flat and sweeping, a grassy plain broken by the gentle swells of hills and the occasional (if not rare) grove of trees. The city itself sits on a 'crown' of eight hills, with the city-proper consuming seven of these hills, the eighth hill is where the ducal palace presides over the countryside.
Valinde is very short, compared to other Genesar cities, owing to its local culture and geography the skyscrapers that dominate the skylines of other Genesar cities are strangely absent, there are a few of the great buildings but shorter buildings are far more common. Temples for every god and goddess, from the Three High Lords to more obscure cults, can be found dominating the skyline in place of skyscraping towers. Structures also are commonly found built into the hills, and are at least partially underground. The magical-technology that permeates through Genesaris is by no means excluded from the city's features, with shining mage-lights twinkling against the blackness of the night the city's denizens don't seem too keen on the idea of sleep and there are shops, boutiques, public houses and more open at all hours, day or night. The architecture itself is decidedly odd, its partially subterranean buildings are faux-European near the interior of the city and outwards inland, while the sectors around the docks have an Asiatic feeling to them, leading to an odd, but not unpleasant, blend of hard stone with wood and rice-paper walls.
As with other settlements in the Great North, Valinde is a land of eternal sunshine and warm weather. The sublime waves of the World Ocean lapping against the docks and shores of the city. Thunderstorms are common, owing to the sea and the warm air that clashes, though humidity is strangely lacking.
Flora and Fauna
In addition to the typical flora and fauna that live across Genesaris (flowers, trees, horses, etc), there are a few endemic happenstances unique to Valinde. A strange flower called a Blue Rose grows in Valinde's surrounding area and is the Duchy's official flower, with a stylized one appearing on the Ducal Coat of Arms. Strangely attuned to magic, blue roses have numerous medicinal and supernatural uses, and they are often ground into a powder and exported marketed for everything from a miracle cure for plague to cursing powder.
The population of Valinde is some sixty thousands, a sizable town or small city by definition it is home to a myriad of races while humans are the bare majority closely followed by of all peoples, dwarves, while others are included but not limited to elves (and their subbranches), etc. The proper way to refer to someone from Valinde is Valindish (adjective) and Valindian (noun). Women tend to out number men in Valindre by a few percentiles of the population, the people also tend to be younger than elsewhere on average.
Valindish is the local dialect of Genesarian, the national language of Genesaris and is spoken by inhabitants of the city as their first (or second) language with fluency. Subtle vowel differences between the main national language and an accent are all that distinguish Valindish from Genesarian, if one speaks the national language, they can speak Valindish, they would just note that Valindians tend to speak 'fast'.
Valindish culture places high value and emphasis on individual, personal freedom in private life, and a sense of moral duty to the city in public life. Socially liberal, Valindians don't object to many things, unless they believe that thing in restricting them in some way. They are exceptionally welcoming of foreigners to their city due to their trade-port and crossroads nature and are proud to show off the accomplishments of their citizenry and their township to newcomers. Religion is dominated by the cult of Altus Arcantium, followed closely by the Trinity of the High Lords. Many other religions dot the populace of Valinde and there is no uniform approach to spirituality among the people.
Valindish are highly educated, as are most Genesarians, and they share the same affinity with magic that the rest of their countrymen possess. Magics relating to water are especially popular and well studied in the city's small university.
The economy of Valinde is dependent heavily on the sea, fishing and other maritime businesses generate much of the city's wealth (such of it as there is), propped up by services provided by the city and outlaying agricultural pursuits. Clay Mining is an up and coming industry undertaken with great care, owing to an unwillingness to accidentally undermine the city's foundations (or tunneling into someone's home) and beautiful painted pottery pieces are made from the clay. Stained Glass is also an audacious industry undertaken in Valinde, crafting the city's white-sand beaches into beautiful windows and blown glass ornaments, many of which are enchanted by magicians afterwards.
Major Companies and Institutions
Quicksilver Minerals is a mining company that operates a medium scale mining operation, it is based in Valinde and is primarily responsible for the clay pits that dot the city's outskirts near the water.
Elrose & Sons Glass Makers is a family-run operation of glassmakers who produce finely shaped blown and stained glass for any customer who can afford their services.
Parks and Recreation
Shining white-sand beaches dominate the northwestern section of Valinde, sitting just outside the walls of the city they stretch out for two and a half miles nearly continuously and are a popular destination for relaxation and watersports by both locals and tourists alike.
Mango Grove is a tree-park near the center of Valinde, off the left of the Town Hall it is a prime location for social gatherings and is much loved by the people for its brilliant display of flora from the trees that give its name to the blue roses that Valinde cultivates and everything between.
Landmarks and monuments
The Ruby Navel Inn is the premier and most fabulous public house in all of Valinde, though it has hearty competition from others, owned by one Lady Ursula, the house boasts a considerably high bed count at eighty five spread between public and private rooms, a fully staffed kitchens offering fare from Genesaris and beyond thanks to Valinde's water-trade and a posting board where the government, profiteers and random citizens can post their notices for adventurers. (This is the default tavern and inn in Valinde if you're not up to making up your own).
Ethereal Airships is both a corporation (manufacturing and maintaining Genesarian airships) and a docking yard for airships of all sizes and calibers they maintain the public transport system in Valinde. Their production facilities are quite small however and they cannot build very large airships, though they are hoping to expand operations soon.
The Ducal Palace is the seat of Valinde's government, and home of the Grand Duchess who presides over the city. It is a sprawling Asiatic affair built in the siheyuan style of Weland, Terrenus it features sprawling courtyards and numerous rooms and rock gardens. It is surprisingly spartan on the exterior, a harsh contrast from the avarice-afflicted Duchess. It causes contention among Genesarians due to its foreign design, decidedly so because of where the design originates.
The government of Valinde is a feudal monarchy, specifically it is a duchy headed by a Grand Duchess, the current of whom is Angelica Gonzalez, Sovereign of Valinde. Power is delegated to representatives called Mayors tentatively elected by the city's populace but ultimately appointed by the duchess.
Valinde's relationship with the grand council of Genesaris is two parts conflicted, three parts odd. There is no representative for the city on the council, as they have never elected one to stand for them. The city's tendencies of liberty put it at odds with even the confederate nature of the nation and murmurs come up occasionally that one day they may just declare independence, this has not realistically happened because of Valinde's crippling dependency on imports of various materials.
The University of Valinde is the foremost educational institution in the city, educating the public of all ages from small children to adulthood they offer courses in everything from basic reading and maths to advanced arcane theory and magical studies. There are numerous tutoring halls and private schools spread out through the city and its surroundings as well.
- Roads and Highways: There are roads that lead to and from the city to Celin City, Kethlerin, Kuratel and Reyer Prison City, the latter most of whom is in disrepair and seldom used. A grand highway leads to Union Capital from Valinde as well.
- Rails/Subways: Magotechnological railways vip across the city providing quick and efficient transport from any point connected by a boarding platform for the trains, use of the service requires a small stipend but is otherwise open to the public.
- Riverways: Rivers and the Sea are two constants in the city and boats, ferries, and gondolins ferry people and goods all over.
- Cab (mounted horse, etc?): Carriages are a common way of traveling throughout the city's limits and the surrounding countryside, many cabby services offer rates to different cities, as well. Airships are likewise available to the public and private use with destinations all over Genesaris and a few may even go elsewhere on Valucre.
- Private: Innumerable private measures of travel exist ranging from magical portals to teleportation.
A Most Sovereign Lady