Ruler: Irene Gabriela DuGrace
Contact: Pasion Pasiva
Versilla, the City of Eternal Spring or the Heart of Orisia, is the island nation’s capital and universally regarded as the island’s most beautiful city. However, the city’s splendor and its importance as the seat of power for the Summer Isles has led to a particularly high cost of living, making Versilla one of Orisia’s smaller major cities in terms of population, although it nearly doubles all others in terms of square footage. In the aftermath of the brief civil war that saw the capital arrested from the Black Queen’s control by her traitorous cousin, Desmond DuGrace, several of the city’s districts that suffered substantial damage during the famed Battle for Versilla have been in a steady state of renovation.
Versilla currently has a population of 450,000.
Versilla was built on the lip of the Pasion River, one of the three largest rivers in all the island, near the foot of Orisia proper, posed between the dense Elfwood Forrest and the high, snow-capped Cathedral Mountains, at the edge of Atitlan Lake. A number of both natural and man-made tributaries from the river course throughout the city and nearby farmlands and vineyards, sustaining the city’s primary crops of oranges, tobacco, and grapes. Beyond its immediate services to the city, one of the Pasion River’s most important functions is the role it plays in transporting goods to and from Morgana.
Like the Gated City, Versilla also draws a considerable amount of fresh water from Atitlan Lake to its immediate west. Coupled with its steady intake from the Pasion, Versilla has been known to all but ignore the particularly hellish dry seasons that come sweeping down from the Valanian Desert during the late spring and summer season. This makes for a city that is notably lush and green nearly year round, spare for in the depths of harshest winters.
To the west, north-west, and north are the cities of Veelos, Coban and Izabal, and Morgana and Drakiss, respectively.
Directly south of Versilla are the Ruins of La Cierra and the Ild Pass, with the Cathedral Mountain chain running the entirety of the city’s eastern outskirts, separating it from the Dorado Plains and the Platiado Plains directly above it. The Ellwood forest dominants much of what exists to the west of the city, the only real divider between Versilla and Veelos, with a great deal of the vegetation spilling over the city’s boundaries. Only several miles due north and one reaches the scorching sands of the Valanian Desert, which holds The Red Sands and Banha Village.
Unlike Morgana and Veelos, which were built to better facilitate their commerce-driven identities, or the militaristic aesthetics of Drakiss, the ancient architects that brought Versilla into existence sought to capture and immortalize the twin islands’ beauty in their work. It was to that end that, rather than clear away the vegetation and forestry (the ancient Ellwood reached much further than it does today) or level the natural plateaus and outcroppings, they would build into, around, and with the landscape. It would be as much a part of Versilla as the marble, mortar, and paint they used in the construction of the great palace or the market square In doing so, they were able to provide an establishment that is wholly unique and undeniably enchanting.
Versilla is known for being a rather spacious city, made all the more apparent by its rather meek population. The artistic network of streets that web through its being, all of which lead directly to the palace at the crown of the city, are long and notably wide, devoid of cluttered merchant stands or crammed, shuffling crowds. Almost every corner or stretch of walkway is adorned with some manner of a grassy knoll or a well-kept garden, the latter of which can range from traditional clusters of exotic flowers to plots of the Ellwood that have been preserved over the ages. Small, man-made tributaries run along the streets and around the buildings, ensuring these areas are properly nourished.
The buildings themselves are typically large and imposing, monoliths of shimmering white concrete and tall marble pillars that support the weight of high arches and vaulted roofs. They are stylistically embellished with drapings of lush foliage, vines, wreaths, flowers, and blankets of leaves that hang about the walls and pillars like proud banners. There is a clear Greco-Roman inspiration about the city, despite the royal family’s strong ties to their French and Spanish ancestry. Those of the common realm have often noted that there is a distinctly Elven feel to the city, in the way that it weaves its buildings in and out of nature with an almost unnatural fluidity.
In recent times, the capital has been in something of a renovative state. The Battle for Versilla exacted something of a heavy toll on a handful of districts within Versilla, including noteworthy damage to the palace, itself. Alongside with the renovation of the city’s damages, the nobility has invested in the establishment of a large military base in the nearby Cathedral Mountains, and also an elaborate memorial graveyard at the south end of the city, to honor all those that lost their lives fighting in the name of the Black Queen.
Despite the official marriage of the Black Queen and Emperor of the Carmine Dominance, Versilla has seen little change in its appearance. While some local and business owners have determined it proper to don the imperial colors alongside those of traditional Orisian, the lack of imperial presence (at least in a militant aspect) has left many somewhat indifferent to the change. Of course, there are those that suspect this limited imperial involvement will not remain so for too much longer, and expect changes to reflect the coming of a new regime.
The citizens of Versilla are fortunate in the fact they experience all four seasons to their fullest extent due to its position between the tropical Ellwood Forest to the west, the Cathedral Mountains to the east, the Valanian Desert to the north, and the Orisian shore to the south. As such, the intensity of each season can vary from mild to extreme, with a sweltering summer being most common due to the inherently subtropical climate overall.
Much like Veelos, Versilla is known to suffer a particularly harsh hurricane season toward the end of the year, as Summer transitions to Fall. Strategically placed aqueducts and the city’s uneven, almost cliff-like landscape provides an effective drainage system into Lake Atitlan, eliminating the risk of flooding even during the heaviest of rains. All the same, hurricane season sees a considerable deal of traffic to and from the city halted as non-essentially charters are postponed, which include private merchant and tourist's vessels.
Beyond these seasonal outliers (namely hurricane season), Versilla is an exotic destination that proves welcoming to all manner of tourists throughout the majority of the year, especially during the summer. Unlike Veelos and Morgana which have little in the way of protecting themselves from the unnaturally high temperatures that come roaring out from the Valanian Desert in those months, the chilled breezes that come sweeping down the slopes of the Cathedral Mountain does well to counterbalance it, providing what many local residents call “the second spring.”
Flora and Fauna
Orisian Moondrop: A small, pearl-sized orb of La’Ruta manifest. While these are typically found in places where there are large natural concentrations of La’Ruta, the Black Queen’s continued presence in Versilla has been known to yield their appearance. They can usually be found in the pistil of a blooming flower, or clinging to a petal much like dew. On occasion, clusters have been found at the bottom of tributaries. They are said to taste extraordinarily sweet, though the effects if ingesting them are unknown.
Heart of the Mother and Father: Rarer even than the moondrop, the heart of the mother and father has only been found thrice in Versilla. These orbs, usually the size of a large fist, are only found where concentrations of both La’Ruta and Dark La’Ruta come together. It is believed that the return of the Warlord, Malice, and Gabriela’s prolonged stay in the capital were the catalyst behind the three that have been found within the city. The largest heart, roughly the size of a cannonball, was anchored to the memorial statue and no one has been able to remove it.
Dulce Sol: Literally meaning, ‘sweet sun’ this particular species of citrus fruit is only found in Versilla. A mixture of highly nutritious soil, the perfect allotted time to frost over, and long sunny summers produce an orange so juicy and sweet that it is demanded the world over. It's hard to believe that such a humble, little fruit is nearly solely responsible for the vast wealth of the capital city.
Orisian Fruit Bat: Blight of the local farmers, these flighty creatures often travel in large flocks from the Ellwood forest throughout the night. Because of the sound of their wings beating in unison, they have earned themselves the nickname, “nightly rain.” While smaller than a common pigeon, they can be quite troublesome in large numbers. Their preferred meal is the dulce sol orange, though they have been known to feast on other citrus fruits the local farmers also grow.
Umbral Pegasi: Creatures of myth and lore not unlike the Orisian unicorn, the umbral pegasi are mighty winged horses of substantial size. With a wingspan of nearly thirty feet, these creatures can soar to incredible heights at blazing speeds. There are currently just two in Versilla, one a black stallion, the other a white mare, and serve as the private mounts of the Emperor and Empress. They cannot be contained and are left to come and go as they please from the Ellwood Forest. It is suspected that the pair has mated and that the mare is awaiting her first foal.
Although regarded as a city inhabited by the island’s nobility and wealthiest commoners, the people of Versilla are decidedly welcoming and easy going. Just as they embody the wealth, beauty, and prosperity of the island, so too do they embody the finest qualities one could hope to find in a person. While not every citizen seeks to follow in the footsteps of their selfless queen, a large majority of the people believe that one should lead by example and conduct themselves in a manner befitting such a philosophy. These well-mannered individuals have done wonders to bolster the reputation of the city’s peerless hospitality around the world, which has made Versilla regarded as one of the most polite places in the world.
On the other hand, there are those that have not forgotten the Battle for Versilla-- or the many others --that have ravaged the city, its neighboring territories, and the nation as a whole. Understandably bitter for their losses and the tolls paid in blood, theirs has shifted to a more proactive, militarized mentality. No longer content to be walked over and be taken for granted, these particular groups of locals have taken a keen interest in the support of the nuptials between Gabriela and her cousin, Rafael, knowing of his outspoken aggressive mentality and intolerance of mutiny. They have also praised the return of monstrous Warlord, Malice, seeing both the Emperor and Warlord as the Summer Isles truest defenders.
As the city closest to the royal family by proximity and the first to experience any changes in policies, the people of Versilla are by far the most vocal about their political stances, whether it be in support of a piece of legislature or against it. Something of a double-edged sword, this has often times led to the fiercest support of policies among the Orisian people, but also the toughest resistance. The latter has become less of an issue since the total annexation of the Summer Isles into the Carmine Dominance, though the Emperor, at the behest of his Empress, remains vigilant of the Versillian people’s wishes.
The largest cultural shift in recent times has come with the slow integration of imperial customs, beliefs, and festivities into the city. However, as the people of Versilla share a considerable amount of the core values underscored in the Red City and the empire at large, it has been quite a seamless transition.
While far from the strongest individualized economy in Orisia, Versilla does quite well on its own. As many of the city’s people are either of noble birth (domestic or foreign), extremely successful merchants, or world-renowned artists, designers, and architects, wealth exists in great abundance here. Living in Versilla is not inexpensive, and the goods peddled her cost several times the amount they would in any other city (though their quality is incomparable to anything else). What’s more, the domestic and international exportation of tobacco to be made into Orisian cigars and the grapes into wine-- the standard Orisian Merlot, and more recently, the popular Noir --provides a healthy stream of revenue for the city to not only survive, but thrive. And of course the ever-present and booming agricultural trade, that deals in the specific growth of Versilla’s own species of citrus fruit.
Major Companies and Institutions
The DuGrace Institute of Higher Learning: An esteemed university for the island’s native highborn (with the rare exception by royal decree), the DuGrace Institute is a comprehensive place of study where those accepted into its elite echelon can further hone their mind and skills, or pursue a previously unexplored path. Although the institute offers study in a number of disciplines, it is most well known for producing highly skilled healers.
The Orisian Agricultural Guild: A large union that represents the interests of crop farmers and vineyard owners all throughout the Summer Isles. They are often tasked with acquiring detailed reports from farmlands all across the islands, and also with representing the “men and women of the land” at formal meetings with the royal family.
The Broken Chant Tavern: One of the larger taverns and inns within the city, Broken Chant has earned its reputation as a “must visit” location for any warrior, adventurer, or passerby looking for work. Its pension for providing high-quality contract work is only complemented by its vast selection of delicious cuisines.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Landmarks and Monuments
The Palace of Versilla: The largest structure in all of Versilla, the Palace of Versilla serves as the throne of the Emperor and Empress, the ultimate authority in Orisia. It is a mass of Ellwood trees, rambling gardens, and towering spires of white stone, marble pillars, and tall, narrow windows. Alongside the damaged districts of the city, the castle itself has gone under several renovations since the Black Queen claimed the throne and her subsequent return throughout the years.
Solárium de las Ciencias Flora: A glorious structure made from metal and glass, often called the Crystal Palace. It is open to the public and houses the Black Queen's ever-growing collection of rare blooms. Composed of multiple levels, the higher ones are off limits to the public -- it is said strange experiments are constantly taking place there as scientist attempt splicing and creating hybrid species of plants.
The Fallen Memorial: A vast graveyard situated at the southern end of the city, this memorial dominates a considerable portion of the rolling hills between Versilla and the Ruins of La Cierra. Those seeking travel there must pass through the memorial. At the center stands a thirty-foot statue of the Black Queen, dressed in ceremonial robes, a Heart of the Mother and Father in her right hand, sword tipped into the ground in her right. The memorial has quickly become a Valhalla of sorts to the island, which the bravest of the queen’s subjects hoping to be buried there for their courageous deeds.
An inscription upon the base of the dais reads: “For the honored fallen. As she watched over you in life, so too shall she watch over you in death.”
The Cathedral Pass: Located on the west side of the city, the Cathedral Pass serves as both a quicker mode of transportation to the Dorado and Platiado plains, but also the Triglav Bunker in the Cathedral Mountains. This important trade route is heavily patrolled by soldiers and fortified by multiple well-manned outposts, which offer a reprieve to weary travelers.
Royal Government of Orisia: Like all lands within the Summer Isles, Versilla is subject to the edicts of the royal rule, which is currently under the stewardship of Roen, the Crimson King of Patia and self-styled Duke of Perdition. 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 royal family, seeing their will done and that no transgressions be made against their edict.
DuGrace Regime: Under the sole jurisdiction of the Black Queen and DuGrace bloodline, Gabriela is once more seated upon the Orisian throne. Roen, the Crimson King of Patia and the self-styled Duke of Perdition, has assumed stewardship over the state and has made the capital city his seat of power within the small island nation.
The Royal Army: Orisian born men and women that have relentlessly trained over the years to protect their homes and queen. Their skill on the battlefield more than makes up for their limited numbers.
The Order of the Black Heart [Queensguard]: The most elite warriors Orisia has ever birthed, hand-selected by the Black Queen, herself. These men and women are directly charged with protecting the queen, day in, day out; no matter the cost.
The City Vanguard: These men and women are generally natives of the city, with many officers having strong life-long familial ties in the region.
— 1 High Inquisitor
— 10,000 City Vanguard
— 30,000 Royal Army Personnel
A sturdy, reliable, and universally available education system has always been at the forefront of the Black Queen’s political platform.
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.
Irene Gabriela DuGrace de Bartolome (Profile): The Black Queen of Orisia and Empress of the Carmine Dominance, Gabriela is the latest in a long line of vampyric rulers that have governed the island. She stands as the ultimate authority of the imperial and local government, alongside her husband.
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.
Ethan Phillipe DuGrace: The son born to Gabriela and her longtime on again, off again lover, Roen.
The Battle for Versilla: The final conflict of a grueling campaign to see the Black Queen once again seated upon her throne. The battle is determined by the timely arrival of the legendary Summer Knight, who brings usurper, Desmond DuGrace, to heel.
A Mother’s Mourning: With her memories stripped from her, Gabriela finds herself in a state of limbo. The queen decides to visit the tomb of her recently deceased daughter, only to find herself in familiar company.
Summer’s Rest: In the weeks following the reclaiming of Versilla from rebel forces, the legendary Summer Knight continues to stalk the island, routing out any that might pose a threat to the Black Queen and unborn child. But the Summer Knight has a secret, and a midnight stroll in the palace gardens nearly reveals it to Gabriela. After a terse conversation where the Black Queen demands the knight’s loyalty and the return of the sword--the dreadful Hamburglar--he uses in his bloody, to which he refuses, the two part ways, seemingly destined to collide once more.
Stillness in Woe: Coming to pay his respects to the supposedly deceased Black Queen, Rafael happens by one of the queen’s doppelgangers, Dollya. In a poor attempt and a power move, the young mimic does her best to seduce the elder vampyre. After informing him that Gabriela is, indeed alive, and a brief romp on the sepulcher, the two form a loose alliance that the elder is all too happy to betray shortly after.
Twice a Queen, Always a Pawn:
Walking in a Winter Wonderland:
All is Bright:
The Tea Party:
The Masquerade Gala:
Royalty Never Walks Alone: