Ruler: Irene Gabriela DuGrace.
Regent: Duke Rafael M. Bartolome V
Veelos, the Gated City, is a prosperous port city located in southern reaches of Orisia. While it is the third largest city of the island, behind Versilla and Morgana, Veelos is considered by many to be vastly more important than both as it handles the lion’s share of all Orisian imports and exports (nearly 95%). In the wake of the Fete Ghede Massacre (1, 2, 3), and the unacceptably procrastinated renovations that followed (which saw an all-time high in poverty and criminal activity), the port has become a decidedly militarized establishment in an effort not to return things to the way they once were, but exceed themselves.
Veelos currently has a population of 1,025,000.
The city of Veelos sits on golden shores at the foot of Orisia, atop the only accessible waterway to the great Atitlan lake. A great number of tributaries-- both natural and manmade --course through the city’s broad domain, giving all ships docked in its port a wide selection of destinations, from Ild Pass all the way to the Convergence of Morgana. These waterways are surrounded on all sides by lush greenery, from vast rolling foothills to dense tropical forests.
Veelos draws a great deal of its freshwater from Atitlan lake and, to a lesser extent, the tributaries of the major rivers passing through its region. However, to cope with particularly hellish dry seasons-- as the lake shares a great deal of border space with the Valanian Desert which has been known to cause significantly lower water-levels --the city has developed several mass-purification centers throughout the city for the abundance of salt water from the Ild Pass.
To the east, north, and north-east are the cities of Versilla, Coban, Izabal, Morgana, and Drakiss, respectively.
Directly opposite to Veelos, across the Ild Pass, is the marvel known as Brightstorm Keep. The Pass, also known as the Ild Channel, has become something of a proving ground for small-time sailors looking to make a name for themselves. The waters are riddled with small barrier islands, which form challenging straits between clusters. Sailing tournaments are a common attraction in Veelos and draw participants from all across both Orisia and Ceyana, with the prize being able to name one of the small islands, and of course, bragging rights.
While a great deal of the city is built on the mainland of Orisia proper, what remains sits atop an archipelago of eighty islands formed hundreds of canals in a shallow lagoon, connected by over four hundred bridges. Closer toward the center, the canals function as roads, and almost every form of transport is on water as opposed to foot. A complex drainage system runs congruently with almost every channel, safely dispensing excess water (typically from heavy rains) to the outer edges of the city and into the ocean, nearby rivers, or the flood lands.
Since the time of the Fete Ghede Massacre, the city has undergone something of an architectural renaissance with the development of what has become known as “Veelosian Gothic”. Veelosian Gothic is an architectural style that combines the use of ancient Atitlan gothic styles with Umbral and Orisian influences. It is typically defined by a combination of tall spires, high arches, and vaulted domes. Cantorra Citadel, the seat of the noble house, serves as a chief example of the popular style.
Still, not all citizens look at the style with favor. Older residents, preferring their standard Orisian architecture, can be found all throughout the city. This has led to something of a harmless schism throughout the city, with the largest section of renovated neighborhoods – restored entirely to their former grandeur with no new additions – becoming known as “Old Veelos”. To date, it contributes to about nearly one-fifth of the total city.
Old Veelos aside, the city is divided into seven other districts. These are the Citadel District, Commercial District, Industrial District, Lodging District, Pleasure District, Naval Yard, and Old Garrison. These districts are separated by high, sturdy gates that can be lowered or closed during times of attack. While many of these were damaged in the Fete Ghede Massacre, they have since all been restored and reinforced with various alloys and spells.
As a single, unified entity, the City of Veelos paints a picture of three parts: its grim, dark past; its hardened present; and it’s bright, beautiful future.
As it is with many of the cities of Orisia, Veelos has a humid subtropical climate, with mild, cool winters and very warm summers. Precipitation is spread relatively evenly throughout the year, with only a slight increase during the Spring months. And while particularly humid year round, the presence of a strong ocean breeze does well to combat this.
Veelos is known to suffer a notably vicious hurricane season toward the backend of the year, as Summer transitions into Fall. During these several months, traffic to and from the port slows significantly, as heavy rains, tempest winds, and flooding present perilous risks for even the most seasoned of sailors. It is during this time that many non-essential charters are postponed, which includes tourist's vessels.
Every so often, summers in Veelos can reach unnaturally high temperatures. These heat waves are caused by the immense Valanian Desert to the north, separated from Veelos’ borders by Lake Atitlan. While not dangerous by any real means, the spells can last from several weeks to a pair of months, causing a great deal of discomfort for an already humid area. However, unlike during the hurricane season, tourism is not deterred by this.
Flora and Fauna
Orisian Violet (Plant): Produces a single rosette of velvety smooth or hairy, dark green leaves on short leafstalks. It bears clusters of single, semi-double, or double flowers in white, pink, red, violet, purple, blue, lime green, pale yellow, or bicolor. Petals of this tropical flower for the home are ruffled, rounded, or fringed.
Veelosian Flytrap (Plant): A carnivorous plant native to the islands of Veelos, it catches prey—chiefly insects and arachnids, though has been known to prey on toads and other amphibious creatures— with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant's leaves, which is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. These plants are known to grow quite large, with one reported flytrap becoming large enough for its mouths to easily fit a small dog or child inside of it (note: the plant has been removed for public safety and placed within the gallery of Cantorra Citadel).
Flower of the Rivers (Plant): Striking and unusual, the flower of the rivers blooms only once, then slowly -- sometimes over several years -- reproduces by forming offshoots and dies. Pups emerge that can be repotted as their own plants.
Blood Orchid (Plant): The blood orchid is better known for its striking flowers than for its foliage. With thin, almost leafless shutes, the blood orchid has deep red petals that shimmer in any light. These plants grow very closely together, forming vast beds of crimson and scarlet that stretch out for great deals of distance.
Toad King (Animal): Despite its name, toad kings are not exclusively male. They have instead earned their name for their massive size, which is said to be the largest in all Orisia. Fully matured toad kings can grow to weigh up to fifteen pounds, and about the size of a large dinner plate. These creatures are decidedly nocturnal, as that is when their prey—insects and arachnids—are most easily found.
Small Island Crab (Animal): The small island crab earns its name for its large, bulky shell which looks like a small island when they are stationary in the water or burrowed. While not a notably aggressive creature, because of its size (roughly the size of a medium-sized dog), the small island crab can prove dangerous if provoked. It has large, powerful pincers, which its uses to crush and rend its prey. Throughout Veelos and Orisia, the crab is viewed as a delicacy among the people.
While once a kind, outgoing city known for its overwhelming hospitality, the City of Veelos has matured into a less trusting, more realistic establishment in recent times. Vagabonds and strangers were greeted with less warmth and optimism, and while not rampant with paranoia and cruelty, the authorities are not afraid to be more critical of individuals that give reason to it. Unfortunately, this behavior has bled into the local’s treatment of tourists in some of the less frequented districts. And while there haven’t been any incidents to note, some areas have since been described as “tense” and “uncomfortable.”
On the contrary, those that call the Gated City their home have experienced a considerable escalation to their quality of life. The city-wide restoration (and later overhaul), led by newly minted regent Rafael Bartolome, restored a great deal of the community’s faith – and loyalty – in the crown. The regent’s agenda has generated a swath of well-paying jobs for the able-bodied, restored certain privileges once unique to the city, returned pride to the citizens, and at last put the grisly history of a year prior behind them.
The latter is due in part to the highly militaristic mindset the city’s guard has taken on, under the direct supervision of the imperial host, now present. Supported by Gated City citizens to an astonishing degree, the police and military operate within and outside the city little to no hindrance. Roads are better patrolled, entrances more heavily guarded, and the people are all-too-pleased to have them, as many credit the horrors of the previous year to a lack of a proper military in place. And as many of the guard’s personnel are citizens themselves, it’s rare to see those in uniform taking advantage of what remains of the city’s kindness.
With this peace of mind, Veelos has since entered something of a second renaissance, as the people once again dedicate themselves to the arts, literature, sciences, architecture, and nautical development.
Even in the aftermath of the Ghede Massacre that left over half the city in ruins, and many of the major waterways blocked or destroyed, Veelos’ economy remained strong. As the “gateway to the island” and the largest import/export city in all of Orisia, Veelos has maintained a steady flow of revenue – both to and from the island – since its inception. While not a large trading depot like its sister city, Morgana, Veelos deals in a number of currencies (as ships from all the continents of Valucre tend to find their way to its shores). The two largest, however, are the Orisian standard, and more recently, following the rise of the current regent, Rafael M. Bartolome V, the imperial alhm. To a lesser extent, a rudimentary barter system can be found in some circles throughout the city, though this is typically in a personal capacity.
Major Companies and Institutions
Ca’ d’Oro: One of the more famed post-graduate universities of art and literature, Ca’ d’Oro stands alongside other ivy-leagues found within the Carmine Dominion, such as Bovania, Imir, and Bronte.
Trident Naval Academy: A premiere military school of the Empire, Trident focuses on the core principles of sailing, charting, and naval combat. Graduates are guaranteed entry into the imperial naval forces, with many going on to obtain high-ranking positions.
Oceania University: Opposite Trident, Oceania University instead focuses on the wonders and mystery of the unexplored ocean. Whether it's discovering a new species of fish or charting a world-spanning current, Oceania encourages its students to search, find, and define.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Landmarks and Monuments
Cantorra Citadel: Home of the regent, Cantorra Citadel stands as a silent effigy to Mariana Cantor, Rafael’s mother. The citadel sits that the heart of the vast district centered around it, easily the largest and gaudiest establishment in all the city. Often serving as the living quarters for many visiting nobles and dignitaries from across Orisia, and lands beyond its shores, Cantorra is certainly one of the most heavily guarded places one might find in Veelos, and all of the Summer Isles.
Coliseum of the Fallen: Found in Old Veelos, the large coliseum serves as a memorial to all those that perished in the Fete Ghede Massacre. Thousands of names are scratched into the stone of inner walls, while the scorched armors and broken weapons of loved ones litter the ground. It is a haunting place, but one visited frequently by those still plagued by those painful memories.
The Crucible: The Crucible is an arena of a modest size found in the Garrison District, where men and women can test their mettle against each other. Powerful spells vanguard the area, allowing fighters to unleash their full might without worry of damaging the city. In the Crucible, it is said that even death is not permanent.
Imperial Government of Orisia: Like all lands within the Summer Isles, the city of Veelos is subject to the imperial edicts of the royal rule. While the city rulers are allowed to police their domains with leniency-- more in line with their own beliefs and views --they are all bound to the will of the imperial royal family, seeing their will done and that no transgressions be made against their edict.
House Bartolome Regime: One of the eldest families born of Atitlan, the Bartolome House trace their ancestry back to a time before the "union of royal blood". Under their rule, the City of Veelos has become notably more militarized in recent months as part of the regent's vigorous campaign promises to never again subject the people to the pain and neglect of the Fete Ghede Massacre. And though for their strict views and heavy-handedness, the house rules Veelos with an uncompromisingly just agenda.
Imperial Carmine Host: While the entirety of the Summer Isles falls within the Carmine Empire's jurisdiction, the Gated City serves as the lone imperial stronghold. The entirety of the city's official military is imperially sent, comprised of men and women with strong ties to the Great North and Arcane East. These legions are equipped to deal with any threat, both foreign and domestic.
The City Vanguard: Opposite the military stands the city's police force, the Vanguard. These men and women are generally natives of the city, with many officers having strong life-long familial ties in the region (a great deal are survivors of the Fete Ghede Massacre). This has led to something of a strong, trusted bond between the officers and the community they police.
— 1 High Inquisitor
— 25,000 City Vanguard
— 80,000 Imperial Soldiers
— 60,000 Imperial Navy Personnel
A sturdy, reliable, and universally available education system has always been at the forefront of the Black Queen’s political platform. The current Bartolome rule has only sought to underscore this agenda, renovating down-trodden estates and further providing all the Summer Isles’ institutes with vast amounts of resources and personnel. Veelos has received specific attention in regards to the arts, literature, marine biology, and nautical exploration.
Roads, Walkways, and Bridges: Given the size of the city, the primary method of travel consists of an intricate system built on cobblestone roads, stone walkways, and both narrow and wide bridges connecting broad rooftops. This web of travel connects the various walls, sectors, and districts of the city.
Cabbies: Whether they are horse-drawn or magic-fueled, cabs -- or carriages -- are the leading method of transportation throughout the city.
- Riverways: A preferred alternative to cabbies and carriages, the riverways coursing through the city provide a labyrinth of transportation throughout Veelos.
Rafael M. Bartolome V (Profile): Emperor of the Carmine Dominion, Duke of Orisia, Regent of the Gated City, Rafael is the ultimate authority of Veelos' local government.
Gabriel E. Cantor (Profile): Nephew of the regent, Gabriel serves as both his lord's most trusted confidant and lethal weapon.
Lucia "Raspberry" Ellena Bartolome: Princess of Orisia, a doppelganger of the Black Queen, the child was taken by Rafael during her mother's apparent "death." After her official adoption, the child - then Raspberry - was given a proper name, Lucia Ellena, and the surname of her new House.
Godspeed, Ever Linde: Hoping to intervene the Fete Ghede Massacre and provide assistance to the overwhelmed City of Veelos, the Outsider and his crew pilot an airship, the Everlinde, to Orisia. However, the ship meets with unexpected interference and catastrophic failure. This is the first account of La'Ruta's violent and debilitating effect on advanced technology.
We The People: In an effort to restore faith in the crown and accept responsibility for a relatively ineffective city defense, the Black Queen travels to Veelos. The city, however, is deaf to her apology. During her address, the queen is struck by a poisoned assassin's arrow and nearly killed.
When The Storm Breaks: Following the near-fatal events of the Kadian Wedding, Rafael and a heavily pregnant Gabriela return to Veelos so that she might recover. Over the course of a heated discussion that lasts well into the night, the two cousins come to somber terms regarding their pending nuptials and an uneasy alliance.