A Tourist’s Guide to Anhki
Circa AK 2038
I greet you fair traveler, through the pages of my book, even though I am likely far away or dead. In my life, I found no greater pleasure than wandering Azir. In my explorations, I found many places and peoples worthy of being recorded on paper, but few cities as lively and vibrant as Anhki in northern Neferia. Anhki sets amid the confluence of the rivers Jax and Green, and in the morning the white mist rises from these waterways to catch the first rays of the sun, painting the sky blue and violet. To explore all the ancient nooks and crannies of the city may be an endeavor that requires a lifetime, but most of Anhki’s interesting features can be seen in a few days.
The city is divided into three major sectors: Copper, Silver, and Platinum. Many residents joke that the inside of the palace could be considered the Electrum district. Obviously, the Anhkian people think of their city in terms of material wealth, but by no means is that categorization useful for finding interesting people and places. The Platinum district boasts many of the city’s oldest and most elaborate buildings. The causeway of the Goddess cuts through the center of the city toward the palace, and is lined with buildings of social significance. Below is a brief list of these places.
The Temple of Shana
Easily the most impressive structure in Anhki, its white spires rise above an artificial lake whose pristine blue waters spread outward through the city. The murals inside depict the history of the city, and there are almost always a handful of temple prostitutes dancing before the entrance to beckon pedestrians inside for pleasures of the mind and flesh.
The House of Memory
The House of Memory holds the city’s relics and important historical documents, and is open to the public most days. It’s a great place to start your journey through Anhki if you have a taste for history. The curator and staff are friendly folks, and always seem happy when someone (even a foreigner) takes interest in the history of their people
The Study-House of the People
Anhki’s only library hosts a litany of tomes in various languages. Though Anhki is certainly not known for scholarship, there is an impressive variety of knowledge stored within these walls, and most of it is open for public use.
The Golden Coin
Anhki’s “Finest” Tavern and alehouse boasts a wide selection of beverages at outrageous prices. This is where the well-to-do citizens of Anhki come to rub shoulders and exchange ideas. It is famously known for being the place where the Great Revolt started during the Time of Madness.
The Grand Marketplace
The Grand Market covers most of the platinum district, and fills every day at the ninth hour with hundreds of merchants peddling their wares. Though prices are often steep, the greatest selection of goods in Anhki is found here.
The Guild-House of the People
The Guild-House hosts both the Burning Mind and the Gift of the Muse. The Burning Mind is a mage’s guild like any other, except that many Dwarven scientists and engineers are also present, and frequently give lectures to the public. The Gift of the Muse is a non-traditional artisans’ guild that works on a steady stream of commissions for the Empress and other public works.
The Treasury of Assai
The treasury holds the material wealth of Anhki and is guarded fiercely by large, well-armed warriors at all times. It is also contains the offices of the Golden Breath, the city’s merchant guild, that oversees all trade and exchange in the city.
The Silver District runs along the Jax river and is a center of public interest and entertainment. It is the largest district in terms of population and foot traffic.
Set in the very center of the Silver District, this large, circular structure hosts public games and combat three times per month. The people of Anhki, warlike as they are, never turn down an opportunity to see a good fight. The Empress herself is often in attendance.
The Gelding claims to be Anhki’s original ale-house, and maintains that reputation regardless of whether or not that claim is true. My experiences in The Gelding were almost always pleasant, and their baths are artificially warmed in a reservoir beneath the building. This is the venue for Anhki’s up-and-coming, and has an ironic reputation for being a spot for those with bizarre sexual taste.
The Gardens of Light
Following the Second Great War, Assai Alma X filled in the empty lots of the city with soil and the ashes of victims of the war. Eru Santi Sistrian enchanted the spaces with light spells that sustain the flora there. This is a quiet, cool space in the city, and you can often find young couples strolling there at night, as well as the occasional exchange of Danhki and Abbai resin.
The Music-House of the People
Anhkians seem to love music as much as they love senseless violence, and performances both private and public are held at the Music-House almost daily. The House also holds the quarters for the Broken String, Anhki’s musician’s guild.
The Forgotten Warrior/Crier’s Square
Crier’s square is always bustling with activity, whether it be from food vendors, harbingers expounding on news from the palace and the world outside, or troupes of actors performing skits. In the center rises a huge stone monument to the soldiers of Assai that died in the Great War.
The Copper District is where the poor and outcast live in Anhki; but it is advanced by the standards of living most other places in Neferia. A series of Euclidian pathways cut through what used to be the alluvial plain of the Green River, built up recently from mud-brick, wood, and cobblestone. The center pathway of the Copper District is King’s Street and it is lined with various shops and services, as well as food vendors crying out on the street. A few relatively fine homes stand there. In an alleyway behind the baker’s shop, there is a crevice cut into a gap between buildings with a minor enchantment, leading to Shadow Street, which hosts a variety of curious shops and scandalous services.
The Shadow’s Embrace
Anhki’s venue of choice for cheap ale, mediocre lodging and interesting company. Many workers from other districts of the city make their way to the Shadow’s Embrace at the end of long workdays to grab a pint of Shadow Ale, magically cooled in wall-mounted barrels. The rooms are modest and clean, and a host of food-vendors are ready to serve the drunken patrons stumbling back out onto Shadow Street. Having a conversation with a local is easily one of the best ways to find out what’s actually happening in Anhki.
Usha, an elderly Skaald woman, has been tending the forge at this smithy from time immemorial. At least, that’s how the locals seem to see it. Usha is just as capable as smiths you may see at the Grand Market, and is known to make special weapons with interesting enchantments by singing to them. For the fiscally responsible adventurer, Val’kyr is a must.
Shadow’s Loop Chemist
The resident chemist in the Copper District is known for custom-mixing special potions and remedies in an old-fashioned manner. As a consequence, Denten Wilds is hugely popular in Anhki, despite being an Elf. If you’ve had too much to drink, seek out the chemist for an anti-intoxication potion combined with Abbai leaf and Jantz root for the only “hangover cure” that has ever worked for me in my 102 years of life.
While making the loop, you may notice a single building made of the same pristine white stone that makes up the more affluent parts of Anhki. This is the Bathhouse, and is a great place to stop and sweat the ale out of your body. Two large pools that used to be separated have now been dug out into a single bath, heated magically. The urban legend says that after an epic night of hedonism at the Starfire festival, the women broke down the wall between the pools, initiating a legendary orgy. Such events are infrequent these days, but not necessarily unheard of.
A frequent stop for drunken mages around “the loop” and one of the more intriguing shops in all of Anhki. Rumor has it that the owner filters black-market antiquities and magical items to the common folk of the city, but such claims are ultimately unsubstantiated. Others say it’s nothing more than a run-of-the mill junk shop, and not even a particularly good one. Still, the myth persists.
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