In Western Genesaris, north of Sunset Way, lies Strulest Loch, the largest lake in the entire continent. It is there that Sossego was built, a sprawling city erected upon an awe inspiring feat of human defiance that manifests in the form of a series of sturdy boardwalks built over an enormous body of water. These large and thick wooden pathways sustain Sossego's homes, its people, and its businesses.
The Strulest Loch has a surface area of 23,411 square miles and a maximum depth of 4,562 feet while Sossego itself has a "land area" of 663 miles.
When in the city, you will always be standing atop a thick wooden foundation composed of enormous rectangular wooden planks. In the richest portions of the city, these wooden paths boast brighter finishes used to both protect the wood and to bring out its beauty. In lesser areas, function is foremost and this is where the wood might appear darker, but it always is kept smooth.
Beyond the foundation, Sossego is a relatively flat landscape because it is manmade, but that doesn't stop it from boasting artificial gardens floating in a suspended area above the lake surface and, unlike in any other city in the world, numerous water constructions like artificial ponds and fountains because of ease of access ( a plentiful source of water is immediately available ). Most of these are built inside boardwalk clearings throughout the city and are popular among tourists and those who are simply in love.
All throughout, there are water pathways that are used for transport via water vessels, sparkling with the sun's shine. Through these, there isn't a single location in the entire city you can't reach, except government areas where access must be granted. Beyond that, these pathways are sometimes used to host aquavela races, where people gather all around to watch their favorite racers zoom past en route to the finish line.
The topography within the Strulest Loch isn't so dissimilar to any typical lake. It has sandy floors with earthen plateaus rising and dropping throughout. The only anomaly is that over the years, Sossego's local military has found that there are enormous tunnels winding deeper into the lake floor, some of which are hollow until discovered. There have been a few deadly incidents when the entrance to a tunnel is found and penetrated, resulting in a vicious vacuum effect that causes the water to flood into the hollow opening, dragging men and women to their demise.
It is unknown what causes these phenomena.
Currently, the city is extremely stable despite its rough outer appearance, thanks to the influence of the mighty Blood God Sauriel. His appearance has gifted Sossego with safety, allegiance with Umbra, and, most importantly, a new airship dock to increase Sossego's self-reliance in both water and air. In return, Sauriel has asked nothing but their own allegiance and perhaps a temple for those interested int eh Sanguine religion. Sossego has only been too eager to grant Sauriel's wishes.
Wood. Everywhere you look, most everything is crafted of it. The ground, the homes, and usually the only thing that varies is the color. Some homes sport brighter finishes and others darker. Some have customized swirl patterns spiraling within the planks used and others are pristine, lacking any form of pattern at all. Water is another thing. The lake has become so much a part of the residents' lives that they're not afraid to take a dip any time of the day, whether it's the early morning or in the late night. Getting in and out of the water is a way of life.
The wood and the water create a very aquatic and natural synergy together, both in appearance and smell. In the morning, the air is crisp and thick with fog until the warmth of the sun chases it away. At sunrise, the sun paints the water reddish orange the same way it would the clouds. The same happens at sunset before, at night, the moon's pale shine takes over and illuminates the water and creates a more spectral, but beautiful, image. The water of the Strulest Loch is so clear that marine life can be seen fifteen feet deep.
Sossego is closest to the eastern side of the lake.
In the day, it can get especially warm, with previous maximums having reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, it can get formidably cold, but it has never gone below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Flora and Fauna
Considering that the city is built upon a man made series of wooden walkways, all the fauna and flora that is considered "native" resides below it, within the depths of the Strulest Loch. There was a time when the residents acquired most of their supplies by stepping upon land again, but when it became necessary for construction experts to delve into the deepest depths of the lake to establish support columns and continue expanding across the water, a wealth of knowledge was acquired through deep exploration. The people learned that their home didn't only promise to provide space for them to live in harmony, it would also provide food in the way of aquatic life. With its people steadily transitioning into an aquafaring culture, however, Strulest Loch's corresponding rivers were also eventually discovered and explored, which further contributed to the pool of plant life and fauna available to its new inhabitants with examples now including aquatic mint and a more plentiful source of fish, some tame and some quite . . . beastly.
The tempesteye is the city's most renowned aquatic creature even though it isn't commonly found in the lake. It is found in the lake's rivers, and is known for its vicious nature, devouring smaller fish and kayakers alike. It can measure up to ten feet in length and weigh up to three hundred and fifty pounds, and is responsible for more deaths during Aquavela Prime than the jagged rocks found throughout the Roaring Channel. Catching one is said to be bad luck, as folklore would have one believe that tempesteyes are vengeful creatures. If the person who caught one never suffers the vengeance of the beast's ilk, a descendant of his most certainly will.
. . . yikes.
The Winter Viburnum is one of the many beautiful examples of plant life within the river. It is only one of two species of plants in the lake to be bio luminescent, and was commonly used by divers to light the way during the earliest of Sossego's days. Years later, however, it was discovered that some of the mammals that are native to the lake would eat these plants and spend extraordinary amounts of time underwater. This led to various experiments, eventually resulting in the discovery of the plant's curative properties. Aside from helping humans hold their breaths longer as well, nine minutes being the maximum, it cured asthma.
It is called the Winter Viburnum because these plants only become bio luminescent during the winter, when the Strulest Loch's temperature drops. At this time, vast portions where plant life grows within the river are lit neon purple, and people dive in to witness the spectacle for themselves.
Atmosphere: There is something decidedly . . . festive about the people here. Their flamboyant attitudes, loud and animated form of speaking can be attributed to a phenomenon that took place many years ago during the creation of the city. When the people were forced to find a new home floating over this enormous lake, they eventually found pride and happiness in how plentiful the rewards of their decision became. No longer were they subjected to the norms of living upon dirt, where they were forced to wage war upon neighboring groups to secure lush lands for themselves. Out in Sossego, they found true freedom through self reliance, became confident, and thus they celebrated by walking with a swaggy strut and dancing the night away to the sounds of chest pounding drums, and their children have inherited their ways.
Language: The tribe that built Sossego adopted a language very similar to Portuguese, which is still widely used. However, because Sossego's economic structure is highly enhanced by tourist attraction around the year because of its festivities, beautiful sunsets, moonlit waters in the night sloshing and flowing with a constant cadence that is nothing short of relaxing, the people have learned to speak outsider languages as well in order to promote tourist activity. This leaves them with a thickly accented common tongue.
Popular Activities: By far, aquavela and Festival de Victoria are the most popular activities. Aquavela was born soon after the earliest inhabitants had fully adopted an aquafaring culture, and their highest concern was beating rivals to the richest areas of the Strulest Loch. This launched an era of invention that eventually resulted in a transition from monohull vessels to faster vessels of catamaran design, and later trimaran designs, which are now the widely adopted form of transportation across the lake.
Trimaran Kayaks are the staple mode of transportation. However, because aquavela is so passionately popular among the people, these crafts have become much more than a way to get around. There is nary a child who doesn't dream of becoming a champion of Aquavela Prime one day. Building one is a way for the youngest to prove that he or she has come of age, and it is also a way for foreigners to prove that they will carry Sossego and its culture in their hearts for the remainder of their lives. In this city, if you don't own a trimaran kayak, you're either old or a square.
The Creators, the Principal Gods, and the Gods of the Elements are what are commonly practiced, with a specific interest in Luquura the Water Goddess, Aezar the God of Earth, and Glizer the Goddess of Air because they embody their city and its passions. Glizer creates the wind that propels their sails, Luquura cultivates their food in the magnificent body of water beneath them, and Aezar provided the wood that was necessary to build their home.
As of late, the living Blood God, Sauriel, has made a strong impression on Sossego, enough to warrant a new temple erected in his honor. Due to his gifts and influence, it is quite possible that the main worship may change to that of the Sanguinar.
The economy in this city is nearly entirely held afloat by the tourist activity. People from all over Genesaris are attracted to the beauty and the seemingly unending festivities and the numerous aquavela races, which take place on a daily basis. Lakeside views rented out to visitors along with some of the most beautifully crafted wooden dwellings never fail to attract a hefty number of visitors from the outside, which often includes wealthy politicians who want nothing more than a relaxing atmosphere in which to recharge their batteries.
Major Companies and Institutions
Parks and Recreation
Aquavela Prime: An event that takes place every two years in the Strulest Loch and its northern river, the Roaring Channel. Every 1st of the 10th month for ten days, ten of the top aquavela athletes will embark on their trimaran kayaks on a trip across the Strulest Loch that will eventually lead them to the Roaring Channel, located north of the lake, and then attempt to brave its perilous length on a quest for glory. The kayaker with the fastest time earns the title of champion, and that, in Sossego, is a glory unlike any other. The point of the event is to not only be the best navigator and to be capable of deciphering the wind accurately, but also to have razor sharp reflexes, shark-like instincts, and to also prove that your vessel is of a formidable design and craftsmanship. Every year, at least a handful of stubborn kayakers are killed by creatures of the Roaring Channel or are impaled on the river's jagged rocks after refusing to save their lives with the use of magic, which is disallowed and punishable by disqualification. Each year, the competition has grown more fierce, with aquavela athletes zipping through the waters of the lake like swordfish, resulting in spectacular mishaps and death defying stunts.
The first stage of Aquavela Prime is an outright race across the open lake. In the earlier days of the competition, the kayaks used were crafted of less than formidable materials, keeping the vessels from employing the kinds of large sails that make it possible to slice mercurial paths across the water without shattering into a thousand splinters. Now with most professional vessels crafted out of valsse wood, which is much, much more sturdy than any typical type of wood, the small trimaran kayaks entered into the race can be outfitted with vastly over sized sails to allow the athletes to careen through the distance. All materials are allowed as long as they aren't enhanced with passive magical effects that aren't innate to the materials being used, and as long as those passive effects only increase durability. Athletes face many challenges in the first half of the race. The first is a rule that dictates the vessels center most hull must always be in contact with the water, so the sailors must keep their vessels from elevating lest they be disqualified. Aquatic life within the Strulest Loch is also a danger, because even the sturdiest of materials ( iron is typically terrible for use in the Roaring Channel, so much so that nobody using an iron kayak has won the competition ) may shatter upon impact at high speeds, leaving them unable to continue the race.
Aquavela's second stage becomes much more dangerous, because at the northern end of the lake, participants are drawn into the maw of the Roaring Channel, a perilous downhill rapids chalk full of jagged rocks and inhabited by large, carnivorous fish known to shatter vessels and feast on the athletes. The point here is to abandon the two wings on their vessels along with their sails in a timely manner before entering the rapids. Some participants are known to break off their extra attachments while others use detachment mechanisms, and beyond that, survival and speed is the utmost concern.
Festival de Victoria: This is a yearly event, and this one draws more tourist activity to Sossego than Aquavela Prime. This festival lasts five days and begins every night at 8pm, ending in at 6am only to begin anew the following night. It takes place across the entire city, with many of the locations offering a passionate and festive experience full of dance and fun as only the people of Sossega can create. Men and women clad in ceremonial garments, scant at that, dance along the boardwalks and make a spectacle never to be forgotten while some locations offer enclosed festivities where the people dance wearing nothing. Activities in enshrouded locations, depending on who you ask, are told to be elegantly titillating and satisfying. Others are said to be flavorlessly vulgar.
Landmarks and monuments
Central Fountain: Once upon a time, the people of the city decided to stop building further into the lake, and when they did, the city's exact central point was remodeled into an enormous fountain crafted of imported ceramic and lined with golden wooden strips. Atop the fountain stood the fabled Fights like the Land, the first tribal to begin building into the lake. He is depicted as a bald man, body ripped with definition, and the only shred of color on his statue are the emerald jewels engraved into his eye sockets, not failing to portray his alleged piercing gaze. In the years since, the city has abandoned its no more building policy and Central Fountain is no longer the exact center of the city, but the location is still revered.
Riverblood Temple: Located at the very rear of the city is a fine temple made of the finest wood the city has to offer. Although wooden, the temple is very stable and elegantly carved, with magical runes to prevent rot from the water. This temple is to bring worhsip and prayer to the Blood God Sauriel, whom they have to thank for the new stabilization of their city. Already the temple is full of people, all dressed in dark red, grateful for His aid.
Airport Dock: a new construction to the east of the city has begun to add air strength to the city. White and simple, but sufficient, the dock is already showing great promise and represents well the new strength of Sossego. The end goal of this airport is to host ten airships, possibly more.
Sossego's flag has a white background with blue waters and a shadow of a large trimaran vessel with a harpoon on its forward bow zipping by, splashes of water in its wake.
Ruler: Souza Leonor is the current mayor. Aside from being credited for the growth of Sossego's economy and for being a woman of the people, she is also a former champion of Aquavela Prime, making her one of the most popular mayors of the city in a long, long time.
There are 24,436 guards in Sossego, which is a very, very good ratio in comparison to some other cities ( There are just over 5 million people in the city ). Since Souza Leonor stepped into office, the number of guard increased after she imposed additional benefits for law enforcement, believing that the city's wooden foundation merrited this kind of surveillance. The guards are all trained to police the city and its aquafaring atmosphere, and there is no specific expertise among them. While this means that the guards boast diverse skill sets, it also means a large group of them are hard pressed to move or manipulate one object, substance, energy, or effect, together. At least without some serious creativity.
Aside from the local guard, Genesaris provided federal military to the tune of 10,000 soldiers, and most of them specialize in airborne combat, like the Dragon Riders of Shrine City, because air assaults were Sossego's clear weakness. Word has it that the mayor is working out a deal for two military airships at the very least, but construction of an airship port has not begun, so some have their doubts.
Law is, at times, considered to be quite ruthless here. Thieves will lose their hands, murderers will be executed by a member of the deceased person's family. However, due to diplomatic incidents in the past involving tourists being executed or losing hands, these laws have softened. Thieves will only lose a hand after the third offense, but will always be forced to pay back the full amount and twenty five percent of the stolen object in question, etc. One crime that is not tolerated and heavily punished, usually by banishment and currency garnishments, sometimes even death, is the destruction or vandalism of the boardwalks upon which the city rests.
Education: Education isn't as refined and as elegant as it is in other cities in Genesaris. Most of the knowledge that they have comes directly from the trials and tribulations the people here faced in its specific environment, mostly failing to expand the wealth of education required to produce objects that run on magi-tech. They know geometry because wood was scarce, and every shred had to count if they wanted to make the city larger. They know velocity because the most passionate fishers and, later, aquavela athletes wanted every advantage they could get their hands on.
Magic: Magic has a decidedly innate form in Sossego. They don't practice specific arts like abjuration and conjuration. The people who first inhabited the Strulest Loch came from the surrounding lands, and, like all other Genesari people, eventually felt the ripples of the preternatural vibrating all around them and reached out for it. They don't study ancient tomes bestowed with powerful spells, they chant and pray, and they absorb the world around them into their souls in order to unravel the secrets of their bodies, whatever they may be. Sometimes it is aquamancy, other times it is an aptitude towards the surrounding temperature, and they carry it all along wherever they go like the complexion of their skin or the color of their eyes.
- Roads and Highways: The wooden pathways sprawling across the city actually have names. These can be found on signs marking the pathways every fifty feet or so.
- Rails/Subways: None.
- Riverways: Riverways are the common transport through the city. When walking isn't fast enough, people bring out a trimaran kayak, present it to the river ways running adjacent to the boardwalks, and go.
Azulo Ferreira: Currently considered the best Aquavella athlete still active, though a latent interest in the races by less than savory individuals has caused him to become less enthusiastic. He runs a winery called Vino Saccharin, where he sells wines that, as he puts it, don't taste like shit and force you to lie about enjoying it just to look classy.
Polynesis is a revered historical figure in the city, credited to be the first ever to construct a trimaran fishing boat. Such was his genius that people say his boat didn't glide on the surface of the water, but several feet above it, and went faster than any other vessel crafted in the city. One day, Polynesis set off on a fishing trip and never came back. Some believe that the fruits of his genius were meant to be his own, so the Strulest Loch took his life in order to ensure none else would acquire them. Others believe he fell victim to one of the hollow tunnels on the lake floor.
Fewer still, however, say the monster making those tunnels took him.
- - None as of yet.
Two hundred years ago, the people of Sossego, then nothing more than a tribe living one hundred miles south of the Strulest Loch, were engaged in a war against a neighboring civilization over lush lands. The war was long and grueling, having lasted over twenty years, sometimes going through months of inactivity until an explorer or two went missing to remind them that the bloodshed hadn't ended, wouldn't end. Choosing to evade instead of fight, the people eventually ended up before the Strulest Loch, where they believed was the end of their journey . . . until their enemies attacked en force in an attempt to eradicate them entirely now that they had their backs against a wall.
Surviving the first battle, the people were left bickering among one another, pointing fingers and demanding action. While leaders discussed whether they would turn back and fight or if they would round the river, one man called Fights like the Land, viewed the Strulest Loch, absorbed its tranquil waters and felt a peace emanating from it like in no other place before. He told them that their home should be the river, but everyone laughed.
After days of indecision, Fights like the Land began to do the unthinkable. He built a boardwalk into the river, far, far, and further every day, and while his people behind him pounded drums of war and chanted for fortune, he reiterated to them tirelessly that the river had not yet forced him to shed blood to continue into its berth. It wasn't until Fights like the Land's endeavor put him nearly a mile into the Strulest Loch, an awe inspiring feat, that the people began to see the reason, began to see that the river indeed would not resist him.
Soon, everyone was invested in building a home above the water, and by year's end, after they had set a foothold well into the Strulest Loch, they easily repelled an assault from their assailants, who were hindered by the water between them and their prey. And so, Sossego was conceived.
Money corrupts everything. ( Sossego )
Azulo Ferreira, considered the best current Aquavela athlete and who boasts one championship in Aquavela Prime, wants help purifying the sport he loves so much. Individuals with fresh blood dripping from their fangs have arrived on the scene with the intent of bribing officials and athletes to profit from gambling on the races. Help him put a stop on the incursion and he will reward you with an armed trimaran kayak of his design ( given immediately upon accepting the quest ), and a bottle of his finest wine.
: 250vb, armed trimaran kayak, bottle of wine ( tangy, sweet red wine that is painfully, painfully delicious. )
Woe is me, without fireflies to light my way. ( Sossego )
Souza Leonor had a deal in place that would land the city of Sossego two airships to defend the city, but one of the components on her side was stolen, but is believed to still be within the city. The Invisible Redbud is, as the name implies, invisible and impossible to see even with the use of arcane sight ( the red in red bud is there because the man who discovered it was named Red ). The only way to find it is for deep divers to go feeling around the sandy lake floor and hope to eventually find it. Someone in Joran city believes the plant could be used to create organic magi tech that is stealth related, and is willing to send two airships on over to Sossego in exchange. Souza has promised to award money and an option to receive the believed portion of the Strulest Loch held responsible for sinking Polynesis and his ship, or one petal from the Invisible Redbud.
: 200 vb, rumored area where Polynesis' ship was sunk/Invisible Redbud petal ( grants invisibility to the naked eye and arcane sight. Using magic while it is active makes you visible to arcane sight. )