Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mennum, the City of Grey Mirrors

On the continent of Yofga there are four walled cities. These cities were constructed by the Lujggao, or at least by their giant slaves. These cities are massive urban sprawls with high walls and structures of black stone. Each of these four cities contains a furnace of creation and a purifier, and from these four cities flow the nearly limitless resources that allow humanoids to flourish on Yofga.

So we're going to  talk about the second of these four cities, Mennum, the City of Grey Mirrors.

Like the founding of the other three cities, the history Mennum begins some time before 1000 DoS. As has been frequently stated in this document, records of that time are sparse and those available are fragmented in nature and of dubious reliability. The legends of Mennum say that the city came to be inhabited by the last remnant of the human warriors that participated in the last battle between the Lujggao and the gods of Yofga. The legends of the city do not specify what side those ancient warriors fought on in the battle, and we have no way of knowing that information. The legends say that those warriors fled The Last Field, where even today the ground lies thick with ancient withered corpses and ruined armaments, and headed south till they hit the southern shore and the walled city they would eventually name Mennum.

This force of human warriors and their support staff immediately settled in the city of dark stone and quickly began exploring it. They found the descendants of the Lujggao in their vaults with the city's furnace of creation and purifier much more quickly than the residents of the other cities. Similar to Crannom, when Mennum began interacting with other cities they realized their furnace of creation was producing a more limited amount of resources but was a producing a great deal of one resource. For Mennum, this resource was iron.

Mennum did not get quite as obsessive about iron as Crannom did about bronze, but it did utilize its resource. The people of Mennum were warriors or the descendants of warriors and with the availability of iron, that warrior tradition continued after the city was settled. The smiths of Mennum were the ones that originally invented the armorsmithing processes that led to the creation of plate mail. The early smiths of the city produced a wide range of iron cutlery of varying degrees of lethality. For many centuries the Mennum was where all smiths went to go to study working iron or forging weaponry and armor and for some time smiths who were not backed by the guild of Mennum could find little work on Yofga. Though this may have been as much due to economic pressures the city exerted on the other cities and towns as it was the competence of the iron guilds.

The majority of Mennum's past is unremarkable. There were trials and tribulations of course, but their very early discovery of their city's furnace of creation and purifier staved off a lot of the problems that afflicted the first settlers of the other three cities. There were no widespread starvation epidemics, The population of the city has for the most part continued to rise over the decades and centuries, and there were no outbreaks of plague due to poor health and filthy living conditions. Despite their warrior culture, they have never been foolish enough to attempt to use force on the descendants of the Lujggao, nor have they attempted to wage outright war against another city.

One interesting development in the history of the city was the creation of modern signaling techniques. Once their population was stable, Mennum expanded from its walls in a very regimented way, settling the more fertile coastal lands and founding farming and animal husbandry towns and villages in a very slow and steady process. As they did so, they would build in these towns tall barracks towers, which is a fairly common process in modern times. But in early times, following Kalar Horum's failed assault on Wallosp, it was assumed that the descendants of the Lujggao would punish any overt attempts at militarization. Atop each of these towers, the smiths of Mennum would leave a massive reflective plate of iron that they had polished so thoroughly that it appeared almost silver-like. Mennum then used these mirrors as an effective form of signaling and communication to keep the towns they founded well supplied and under firmer control than the towns founded by the other cities. As Mennum flourished over the decades, this practice of leaving signaling towers in towns was adopted by the other three cities.

The current ruler of Mennum is High Blade Harkenmeth (63 H F). She has ruled the city for the last 17 years and is widely regarded as a competent ruler that does not overly abuse her power.

The government of Mennum is a dictatorship that has processes for the removal of a ruler integrated into its system. The ruling position, High Blade, can only be promoted from the Council of Low Blades. A potential ruler must serve as a Low Blade for at least 15 years before they are allowed to be considered as a potential candidate for High Blade and must be sponsored by at least 2 Low Blades. If they meet the criteria, the candidate is then allowed to challenge the current High Blade in mortal combat and success grants them the position of High Blade. The High Blade of Mennum has complete and utter control over the government of the city. Their word is effectively law. However, if all 50 Low Blades can achieve a unanimous vote and are willing to elect a champion to duel the High Blade to first blade, they can overturn the word of the High Blade on the issue at hand for a maximum of one year.

The process for becoming a Low Blade is similar to becoming a High Blade. Two sponsors among the existing Low Blades are needed and a vacant seat must exist, or a challenge must be issued to an existing Low Blade.

The laws of Mennum under the rule of High Blade Harkenmuth are considered fairly reasonable by scholars and lawyers. They allow citizens a fair amount of freedom and have successfully maintained civil peace and prosperity for the duration of her reign. Unlike most cities, Mennum does not require the peace bonding of weaponry within the walls, however, bearing any blade larger than a knife or wearing armor heavier than what might be classed as basic leather armor, requires a license for citizens and an entry fee for visitors to the city. Visitors are then given documentation indicating they have paid their fee for their current visit.

On the street level, law is enforced by the personal troops of the Low Blades. These troops are aptly called Enforcers. Each of the 50 Low Blades controls a region of Mennum and they and their enforcers are responsible for maintaining peace and prosperity in that area, though there are rules and regulations the govern how and when they offer assistance to neighboring areas of the city. To keep a balance of power within the city, the High Blade maintains a cadre of her own Enforcers equal to the number of Enforcers employed by the 50 Low Blades. The personal Enforcers of the High Blade typically assist the other Enforcers with maintaining law and order within the city as well as acting as bodyguards for the High Blade. They also undertake missions of diplomacy and intrigue outside of the city.

The economy of Mennum is stable and relatively strong. Iron is used in all the cities and towns on Yofga and the other furnaces of creation of the other cities cannot provide all that is needed for themselves and their towns. The iron produced by Mennum very nearly can. The iron trade is the strong point of Mennum's economy, but it still retains a strong reputation for its armorsmiths and weaponsmiths and their wares are highly sought after by warriors. Even the city's regular ironmongers are well regarded and their wares are typically sought after as high value items. The warrior culture of the city has fostered a strong defense for its towns as well, leading to well protected settlements. This has given Mennum and its towns a very reliable source food production that is not interrupted quite as often by raiders and desert beasts. This has overall decrease in demand for foodstuff keeps Mennum from being as vulnerable to the price gouging other cities must suffer when their agriculture systems are raided or their workers fall to great beasts.

Armed Forces
Just as they maintain law and order within the city, the Enforcers of the Low Blades act as the military of Mennum. Obviously, this has never truly resulted in army vs. army combat for them. Typically the Enforcers work in smaller units pulled from the retinue of a random assortment of Low Blades. These groups work at guarding caravans traveling between the city and the towns nearby that owe it fealty. Larger groups work to put a stop to the bigger and more entrenched bandit groups that crop up along the trade routes, or to hunt and kill the beasts of the desert that wander too close to the city itself. If Enforcers are sent on a particularly important mission, they will be accompanied by the Enforcers of the High Blade herself.

Current Affairs
Rumors persist of a potential challenger to High Blade Harkenmeth, despite her being widely regarded as a good ruler. Who this challenger may be is unknown, but the personal Enforcers of the High Blade have been making the rounds among the populace of the city chasing down these rumors.

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