A Contest of Nisse and Release
The foremost military power and repository of First Age technology outside of the Realm, Lookshy provides a counterbalance to the Scarlet Empire and is the primary enforcer of the overall stability that the Scavenger Lands enjoy. As one of the greatest concentrations of Dragon-Blooded and powerful Artifacts in Creation, Lookshy has successfully defied the Realm’s attempts to expand into the Riverlands for 700 years. Rebuilt on the ruins of Deheleshen by Seventh Legion survivors of the Great Contagion, the Lookshyans adhere to many of the societal and military concepts of the Shogunate more closely than anyone else.
While its influence is spread throughout the Scavenger Lands, the nation-state of Lookshy proper occupies a relatively small space on a promontory at the mouth of the Yanaze River, overlooking the waves of the Inland Sea. The city is about 15 miles square, though the great Lookshy Wall stretches across the promontory along the eastern end and in between lie numerous hinterlands.
Lookshy is a military state and information on its government can be found in the Seventh Legion article.
The city of Lookshy sits directly on the promontory at the mouth of the Yanaze River. It’s a sprawling ordeal built mostly out of jade-infused blue stone. Huge statues of Nefvarin Gilshalos and Tien Yu stand at the eastern gate. The people live in standard housing, mostly with flat roofs. While there are still some first age public buildings that have survived from Deheleshen, others are built in the same style as an homage. The city is surrounded by a massive wall ten meters tall fortified with guard towers every five miles. There are three gates in the wall; the Blue-Gray Sea Gate which overlooks the ocean, the Blue-Green River gate which overlooks the Yanaze, and the Forest-Green Center Gate which is midway between the other two. There are secret gates in the wall, but their location is up to the Storyteller.
The city itself is split into four rings; the foreign quarter, the savant quarter, the war quarter, and the old city. The port of Lookshy sits right on the promontory and is five hundred feet below the old city. All around the promontory are caves and tunnels, some of which extend below sea level.
The Fourth Ring – “The Foreign Quarter”
The Fourth Ring is where most of the Metics live, as they’re not permitted to pass beyond this quarter. There are regular patrols of soldiers that make this quarter safe to travel through, so long as one stays on the main thoroughfares. The Fourth Ring contains such areas as:
- The District of Agriculture
The Agriculture District is the largest section of The Fourth Ring. The food grown in this district is used to supplement the food grown in the hinterlands and can be used as an emergency food source.
- The District of Trade
The streets in this district are lined by shops of many kinds, complete with hawkers. Over the shops are any number of brothels, taverns and apartments. There are also four open market squares that anyone can set up with wares for a small fee. The Guild maintains a small office here with a trade hall and auction house.
- The District of Blades
Weapons of all types can be found here as well as informal trainers and sifus. Security is particularly tight in this area.
- The Hexagon
The Hexagon houses Pel Kan’s Ordinaries, a mercenary company allied with Lookshy. There’s a huge gated military compound that covers most of the district which houses most of the company. They do peacekeeping patrols for the District of Blades and the Hexagon.
- The District of Craftsmen
This area houses workshops and warehouses involved in producing non-martial items and supplies. If one looks hard enough, they can find freelance sorcerer-engineers who know first age technology.
The Third Ring – “The Savant Quarter”
This Quarter envelops most of the schools of Lookshy, and there’s a pervasive feeling of creativity and intelligence in the area.
- The Green Hunt
The Green Hunt is a walled wild space, sparsely populated, with trees and other growth that make a safe place for younger Lookshyans to explore. It’s watched over by Yushoto Cudgel-Arm, an elder Dragon Blood who lives in the restored hunting lodge of the O-Daimyo. This area is also used to honor the dead with grave markers, tombs and monuments in sometimes unexpected places.
- The District of Schools
The District of Schools not only houses the finest schools in Lookshy but also hospitals, dojos, salons and training grounds. The hospitals in this district are thought to be the best hospitals in the Scavenger Lands and possibly in all Creation outside the Blessed Isle.
- The District of Artisans
This is where the best of the District of Craftsmen go. The best and most beautiful of anything that can be produced can be found here. The streets themselves are also highly ornamented and beautiful. Finally, the district is consistently watched by the air from skyships because it holds some of the city’s most valuable items.
- The District of Savants
The Savants District holds the foundries and mill-works for the city. While these buildings produce quite a bit of pollution in the Second Age, it is offset by a sorcerous engine. Because the foundries are so dangerous (and loud) there are considerably more fire brigades than other districts.
- The Academy of Sorcery
The academy was recently relocated to the Third Ring. A sense of danger permeates the air as hazardous experiments are consistently being tested. Recently discovered First Age technology is studied here. Three warehouses here house a collection of discovered and confiscated artifacts.
The Second Ring – “The War Quarter”
- The Port District
The Port District is the headquarters of Lookshy’s naval operation. First Age lift tubes allow for transportation between the docks and the main city 800 feet above. Towering over the district is the Deheleshen Lighthouse, the symbol of Lookshy’s naval forces and the oldest building in Lookshy. Barracks for the naval forces as well as the Naval Academy are also located here. Merchant princes also live in this district with their opulent palaces, galas and gossip.
- The Warehouse District
The Warehouse District is used for the storage of exports and utilities for the military. The workers for the warehouses live in the same area, and the district is kept very clean.
- The District of Barracks
The Barracks District houses all the soldiers stationed in Lookshy. On-Duty soldiers are not allowed to leave the district without their supervisor’s permission.
- The District of the Legion
The Operations Directorate, the bureaucracy of Lookshy’s military, are based in this district. The area was Deheleshen’s Business District before the Great Contagion.
- The District of Justice
The Justice District houses the Nightwatch Citadel, Lookshy’s prison. Prisoners are kept in cells below ground, and it’s watched constantly by skyships. It also holds the headquarters of the Justice Directorate, a building constructed by growing it out of the ground.
- Residential Areas
The residential areas have accommodations of all types from mansions to apartments. Ambassadors from various places are housed in the west and the whole district is patrolled constantly.
The Old City
- Lookshy Manse
This Manse is a huge armored fortress. It’s supposed to be both a launching point for long range weapons as well as a last-stand stronghold. It comes equipped with Essence cannons and the walls are jade-fortified steel. It’s a level five Earth Manse.
- The Aviary
The Aviary is an intact First Age structure that docks the Sky Guard’s skyships. This is also a level five Air-aspected manse.
- The Teocalla of Tu Yu
This is the ceremonial center of Lookshy and home of Tu Yu.
The layers of society in Lookshy are rigidly defined and have changed little over the centuries. As a strong military state, troops and officers form the upper strata, non-serving Lookshyans are accorded respect and any others are viewed with suspicion.
Soldiers are drawn from the whole population of Lookshy. During their tours of duty, those in the military are given preference over anyone else. Citizens, rich or poor, are simply Lookshyans who are not currently serving in the military; citizens who have served and left the military honorably are free to leave Lookshy, though few choose to do so. Citizens may attend and speak at council as they wish.
Helots are serfs, making up the majority of Lookshy’s inhabitants. While treated well compared to other serf classes, they are still considered less worthy than full citizens. Helots produce virtually all the material goods in Lookshy, build the buildings and serve as the bulk of the military’s infantry besides. Helots may attend council but may not speak or bring issues up, though they may form organizations led by a representative who may do so.
As long as they serve honorably and are dutiful, helots in their old age are taken care of by the state. Unlike citizens, the movement of helots is strictly regulated and they may not leave the promontory without dispensation from the General Staff. Helots may be elevated to the status of citizen for exceptional service, and a few dozen are always selected for this honor every year.
Metics are those from outside Lookshy: traders, travelers and diplomats. They are carefully kept track of and are treated with general suspicion by the natives of Lookshy, granted less legal protection than the common helot. They may rent but not own land, and though they may form contracts and partnerships, arbitration almost always goes in favor of the Lookshyan side. Metics may even marry into Lookshy’s native classes, but children of the union will be considered metics.
Indentured servants are the lowest of the low in Lookshy, having mired themselves in economic or legal troubles. These people are put in service to a citizen, provided only room, board and a small amount of money in exchange for the voiding of their debts and crimes. Notarized by the Adjutant General, an indentured service contract does not exceed five years, and at the end of this service they regain whatever status they once had. It is illegal to abuse an indentured service, but they have virtually no rights otherwise.
Natives of Lookshy tend to be fit and healthy, and even the elderly exercise regularly, often outdoors where they perform gentle, stretching Katas which look graceful but are merely slowed-down versions of full martial arts moves. By performing the same moves at full speed, an elderly Lookshyan can defend himself quite well from an attacker.
Hair is normally worn short or in tight braids which can easily be clipped up under a helmet. Wearing one’s hair down indicates trust or a sense of security. Normal clothing is usually practical and often looks like it has a military cut, but with civilian colors. For more formal situations beautiful Kimonos, Cheongsam’s and elaborate tunics over trousers are worn, along with boots or flat soled shoes. All of these outfits are designed so they can be fought in at need.
Music is a big part of Lookshy life, and the wandering “troubadour from Lookshy” is a common enough sight in the river province that Rangers in intelligence gathering roles sometimes use it as cover. Most Lookshyans sing – maybe not well, but they are normally in rhythm and enthusiastically loud.
Lookshy cuisine is notable for being hot and spicy. Originally this came from the need to disguise the fact that what the soldier was given to eat was actually something he’d probably rather not consume, like fish guts or pond algae. Even though Lookshy now has as much choice in food as any other prosperous city, some odd dishes remain a staple of the local diet and the custom of adding chillies to just about everything remains. Many local homes have a number of pots outside or on the roof where the residents grow varieties of brightly colored chillies which find their way into almost any dish. Traditional recipes from all over Creation have been adopted by the locals, but even these are normally “improved” by the addition of chillies. Often they are also added to replace a traditional component of the meal that is unavailable, which can result in some meals which outsiders find almost impossible to finish.
Lookshy uses the original Shogunate calendar rather than the revised one used by the Realm. Epochs are divided into five eras each 25 years in length, which are further divided into cycles of five years. The cycles are elementally associated and named after creatures associated with the element, in a sequence which ranges from “risen” to “fallen”. A person’s birth year is considered to be important, though even someone born in an “inauspicious” year will tend to consider this merely a burden to be overcome.
Epochs are numbered and eras are named after metals, so the Realm Year 768 is “the Year of the Mouse, Bronze Era of the 11th Epoch of the Dragon Blooded Shogunate”. In casual conversation this would normally be shortened to “the Year of the Mouse”.
The hinterlands stretch east from Lookshy proper to the promontory wall, making up the agricultural backbone of the Seventh Legion. Each hinterland features a standardized town hall where the council elders and the examiner inferior work. These towns are laid out with military defense and support in mind, the most well-protected hinterlands being the mining communities of the farthest east.
Lookshyans of some wealth are expected to patronize one of the hinterlands outlying the city. Depending on their resources and proclivities, they may provide a hinterland with a public building, improve irrigation of the fields or even expand the size and scope of the whole province.