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OLD Encyclopedia Athartannica

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Athart

A City Divided
The Dark Cloud Within the Silver Lining



The Temple of the Many
The Shrine of Syroa
The Temple of Glory



The Avriel Sector
The Pit of Reflection
The Human Sector
The "Low" School
The Commercial Sector
The Presentation Stage
The Harbor Sector
Windshear Bastion



Human vs. Human
The Grand Arena Challenge
Avriel vs. Avriel
Forms of Avriel Punishment

The Bulk of Races of Idalos
The Naerikk and the city of Augiery
The Mer
Nashaki and Korlasir
Ivorian
The Aukari and Sirothelle
The Yludih



Humans and Magic
Avriel and Magic



Standard Costs
Athart Slave Specials
Slave Schooling
Slave Instructors
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Encyclopedia Athartannica

Overview
Rising from the northern shore of the Crescent Peninsula, at the base of a commanding jungle plateau, divided by the crystal-clear Windfall River that flows over a magnificent waterfall, is the exotic semi-walled city of Athart. It is built within a small bay, the protection of which has been increased by a massive break-water jetty to guard against storms. Only a storm heading due southeast from the Island of Yithiral would be unhindered.

To the south are orchards, which produce not only foodstuffs for consumption or export, but feature the unique "snakefruit", an appropriately named item, which coils around the branch of its host tree as it ripens. It not only serves as a staple of the city's diet, but its skin also provides a source of both dye and silken fiber, both of which are highly prized by the artisans of Athart, who specialize in the elegant tailoring of silken wear and light armor. This fruit was brought to Athart by ships from the southern continent some time in the fairly recent past, and took quickly to the jungle soil.

To the north are tilled farmlands, which bring in the more mundane grains and vegetables, to balance the diet which is made complete by the game teeming in the bay, rivers and jungle forests of the peninsula. Beyond the farmlands, the jungle once again opens upon the ocean, which circles around to the east of the previously-mentioned island nation of Yithiral, and defines the concave shape of the western coast of the great eastern continent.

To the west, one can follow the Crescent peninsula to its tip, which aligns with a chain of islands formed by a submerged mountain range. Many of the exotic materials used to produce the diverse products found in the bustling markets of Athart are found within this thick jungle forest. But danger is very real there as well, and those venturing into these wilds are well-advised to bring companions gifted with martial expertise.

To the east stretches the massive high plateau, which was partially broken into a virtual forest of towering rock pillars, by the upheavals of the world during the time after the Great Shattering. The resulting crumbled stone is what was used to fashion the great jetty on the western side of the bay, as well as the bulk of the wall which serves as protection against both the creatures of the forests, and the ever-present danger of enemies envious of the city's wealth. Those trees which have grown in the low alleys of this "Forest of Stone" are dwarfed by these stone monoliths.

A City Divided
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Upon arrival, a newcomer will soon discover that humans share this city primarily with the winged Avriel. At first, one may wonder at the largely grounded nature of the shops, buildings and domiciles of the city. Other than the Shrine of Syroa, a structure whose most ornate entry is found at the top, and several towers that do not feature ground-level entryways, the better part of the city looks to accommodate flightless humans.

Now, the Avriel are fully capable of simply walking, but it is understandable that they would choose to indulge in the breath-taking marvel of flight at every opportunity. The reason they leave this beach-side city to be dominated by human accommodations, is that they have their own separate portion of Athart within, beyond and beside the "Forest of Stone" to the east.
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From their high perch atop many of these rock formations, the Avriel look down and across the scenic pillars, and low forest growth between, to overlook the lower city at sea level. When the mood strikes them, or actual need, they do not hesitate to fly down into the city, engaging in obstacle-course aerodynamics amongst the stone towers, which serve as pilon-towers in a downhill aerial slalom.

Many take a brief diversion to pass through the waterfall, for the closest thing to a bath that these winged humanoids can endure. Full immersion in water is a frantic, claustrophobic experience for those that need the feel of unhindered wings, capable of spreading into the freedom of flight at a moment's notice. So, outside of nude wind-scrubbing, perfumes and scented washings of their garments, this is the primary method of reducing or masking the unavoidable smell of life.
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Many of the Avriel have fashioned homes right into the rock towers themselves, making this area a secondary part of the city. The spread-out nature of these lofty homes make this cover considerably more area than the human portion. And these tower homes are as diverse in square footage, ornamentation and floor plan as those of the multiple classes of the humans below. Some are close to small castles, while others are not much more than sturdy huts, built into tunnels cut through the rock.

The Avriel do have some shops and community buildings in this upper portion of the city, and have walkways to allow for the occasional human to make his way about. But for the most part, it is their own private stronghold, and the only "community" intended to be served is the Avriel community.

The Dark Cloud Within the Silver Lining
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But for all its myriad trade goods, its exotic architecture, colorfully uninhibited dress styles and the undeniable appeal of a city on the beach, there is a tension here that even newcomers will be quick to perceive. This is in evidence in the fact that it is almost entirely humans doing the work, whether the drudgery of unskilled toil, or the manufacturing of fine and delicate goods, pressured by demanding deadlines. The only work one ever seems to see the Avriel engaging in is the delivering of punishments to those that fail to meet schedules.

It is also in evidence when a ship docks with no cargo but a chained line of cowed and bedraggled humans, who are quickly led to corrals behind a large flat stage, which is then quickly recognized as an auction block. Manning the crop fields to the north is exclusively a human obligation, as is the tending of the orchards to the south. it becomes increasingly apparent, as one looks around, that the towers that lack ground level entry, are intended for the "Overguard" of the Avriel to keep watch on the lower city. Where most Avriel are easily distracted and impulsive, the Overguard are chosen from those that defy this stereotype. They know their job, and they do it with brutal efficiency.

Yes, slavery is the stain upon this city. Well known as the hub of slavery, Athart gets numerous vessels both buying and selling the unfortunates of the world. But this is not to say that all humans in Athart are slaves. Far from it. And therein lies the most hateful detail of all. The Avriel were far too quick to anger, and too extreme in their reactions to be truly effective slave masters. Their swift rage and brutality made for such high losses of "property" that they were undoing their own efforts to create an obedient workforce. It took other humans, with the insight and understanding of what types of coercion and exploitations would be most daunting and effective, to smooth out the flaws and create a virtual "factory" of slave production.
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Men and women, citizens and slaves alike, are manipulated and threatened into having children, who are then taken and raised to know no other lifestyle, and trained in skills and arts to make them more valuable. The adult slaves meekly obey, the adult citizens quietly grieve, the slavers and the Avriel promising ease of burdens to those who cooperate, while splitting the profits. Only the slave children are truly innocent. And in fairness, they are nurtured and raised to be healthy and intelligent, and many go on to win their freedom in other lands and cities. Those that rebel are cast into the ranks of the adult slaves, who toil thanklessly for both the slavers, and the Avriel. They serve as an example to the rest.

Not all slaves are brought in by boat, or birthed into the caste. Many are captured by the Athartian Slave Raiders, an organized army of humans, that often work with Avriel cohorts to hunt down and drag lone parties or individuals back to Athart to live out the rest of their lives in toil and misery. They do not discriminate by race or sex, taking anyone not fast, clever or determined enough to resist capture.

This group has grown in power and influence in Athart, rivaling the Avriel themselves for dominance. In many ways they have taken command of the city, since it is through their efforts and tactics that the slave trade has become so lucrative. Therein lies the source of the growing tension between the humans and the Avriel. Both sides mistrust the other, but maintain diplomatic phraseology in their councils and dealings. But both wait for the other to demonstrate some key weakness that would make them vulnerable to an attack from which they could not recover.

It is by rendering covert aid to the Athartian Slave Raiders that many suffering humans, citizens and slaves alike, improve their lot; gaining perks that the Avriel would not allow if they knew, but at the same time strengthening the Slavers' position. There are other factions that cling to hope for peaceful negotiations, and resolution to the plotting and veiled threats going on when the High Council meets. They do not wish to give service to either of the two prominent factions, seeing the one to be no better than the other.

The Avriel have come to realize that having the high ground, and the ability to fly, is no guarantee of victory against the overall greater physical strength of humans, coupled by their convenient focus on archery. The winged mortals may fly like birds, but they do not possess their keen eyesight. And humans are well aware that the Avriel do not need to stay low enough to be in archery range to rain a hail of stones upon the city.

More about the Overguard, the High Council, the Athartian Slave Raiders, and other factions can be found here.
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The Temples
The Temple of the Many


There are three temples in Athart, and while they all give the initial impression of being oriented toward worship, they are rarely used for this. The northernmost of the three lies in the midst of the human housing section, and is the "least" of the three. It is called the Temple of the Many. This name has been assumed to refer to the fact that it is open to be used to worship any or all Immortals that any human might choose at a given time. The Avriel, of course, would not lower themselves to consider such a use. Not only is it in the human sector, a place they prefer to avoid, except when it is necessary to drag some wretch out and discipline him publicly. But also because they feel themselves above any obligation to give worship unto any Immortal.

Their ingrained racial history tells them that they, alone, were not created by an Immortal, and in fact, fought free of the Immortals' attempt at subjugating them them long ago, to establish their sovereignty over this part of the world. This distorted version of how they came to be contributes largely to their belief that enslaving 'lower' life forms is moral and proper. Clearly, the Immortals felt that slavery was morally correct. In fairness, there are many examples of this fact to be found all over Idalos. And since the Avriel believe themselves to surpass those Immortals in glory, there can be no doubt of their right to conquest and enforced servitude.

But there is also the newer thought that the name is better suited to refer to "the many" humans that inhabit the city. This interpretation has been secretly growing, as the rebellious awareness that humans greatly outnumber the Avriel has begun to take seed in the minds of the oppressed work force. There are simple ceremonies held in this temple with some regularity. But it is only feigned devotion occurring there, for the most part. It is mostly to establish a" cover" schedule for the real purpose of this temple.

Built by humans for humans, and with the directing authority of the Athartian Slave Raiders, this temple has many secrets within its walls, and is basically the raiders' headquarters for their plots and storehouse for equipment. They have planning meetings under the guise of worship, where the steps in advancing their various agendas are equipped, scrutinized, adjusted and occasionally tested. The worship services are also conducted by those sworn to secrecy, as it is well known that many humans hate the raiders as much as, or more than, the Avriel themselves. They feel the Avriel to be a more open, and honest enemy than their greedy fellow humans, betraying them into slavery. Whereas, other humans overlook this, seeing it as a necessary evil to lull the Avriel into complacency. The raiders couldn't care less about either sentiment, but they are not about to take a chance that some idealistic human will betray their secret stronghold to the Avriel.



The Shrine of Syroa


Needlessly large, The Shrine of Syroa sits in the upper part of the commerce section, which is to say it is north of the harbor wall and the slave stage, but south of the river. It is an indulgence in spaciousness, never drawing any great number of visitors, either human or avriel, but capable of holding hundreds. Humans inclined to give homage to Syroa, for whatever reason, are required, by law, to do so at this shrine, rather than at their Temple of the Many. And the Avriel would never give any particular honor to any but Syroa.

They view the Immortal of Transformation to be their 'Benefactor', but do not acknowledge any rumor of this deity as having contributed any effort towards their creation. To them, Syroa was simply one of many Immortals that needed to be taught to respect Avriel sovereignty and supremacy, and was just the first of few to see reason and befriend them. They built the shrine in recognition of this mutually beneficial relationship, and made it spacious, in the midst of this somewhat crowded area, specifically to set it apart from the fairly close-quartered requirements of the human constructions below.

Since they arrive from above, the grand entrance is on the roof, which also negates the need for them to deal with human crowding below. There are entrances at ground level, but while they are clean and attractive, they are nowhere near as ornate. Nor do they give access to the Avriel level above. Any humans who enter are expected to pay devotions to Syroa, for though the Avriel consider themselves equal or better than the Immortals, they will not abide the insult of humans behaving this way, and will feel compelled to punish such insult on Syroa's behalf.

But, as a shrine, rather than a temple, even the Avriel do not actually worship here. It is simply an honorarium. There are no rituals held here, but an occasional "themed" celebration may be held, to give tribute and honor, in hopes of initiating contact with the being. Then there may be quests asked and tasks offered in hopes of granted boons. But at the least, there is no shortage of pleasure and revelry.



The Temple of Glory


This grand structure is found atop a wide pillar in the Forest of Stone, the upper Avriel sector of Athart, outside and to the east of the city walls. It is made entirely of carved, polished marble, and adorned with a wealth of precious fittings and mosaic inlays, inside and out. The walls are draped with elaborate tapestries, offset by festooned cascades of pleated satin, finely embroidered silken cushioning, and carpeted with sensuous, downy layers of fur rugs. All wooden furniture is either Cambria, Scentwood, or the currently fashionable Weavewood wicker, treated with Cambrian oil.

The one exception to this opulence is the plain stone dais upon which any visiting human is expected to kneel, while presenting his purpose in attendance. This purpose can either be a response to a summons given him by the Avriel, or an audience granted him by his own request. The purpose of this audience could be anything from the begging of a boon, to a case of judgement against some transgressor.

If it is the latter, it has to involve a complaint against an Avriel, and it better be good, because The Aerie, the royal faction that makes the Temple its home, does not normally trouble itself with human-to-human issues. Such matters are either to be settled by the Overguard at the time of the incident in question, or by the formal House of Law in the lower city.

This does not mean that any human entering the temple is made to spend his entire visit groveling and scraping. But this initial show of contrition is expected, if the visitor harbors any real hope of being heard out. It also serves as a compulsory show of thanks for being lifted to the heights of the Temple doors by Avriel attendants, as there are no stairs to enable humans to make it alone.

Avriel do not need to kneel on the stone, but must give a deep, respectful bow, which is held until the sitting authority gives them leave to stand. Naturally, no weapons are allowed, save for those wielded by the Crown Guard, who are stationed around the chamber, and have their own barracks and training facility in the Forest of Stone.

The Temple has all the features of a palace, though it is smaller, due to the lack of any need to make room for fancy stairwells. Humans that are staying for whatever reason are given isolated chambers that are not as well furnished as those given Avriel visitors, but are still well above average for human dwellings. As a result, many of the rooms available to Avriel, are inaccessible to humans. This is no doubt by design.

Again, the deference humans are expected to pay to the Avriel does not truly constitute 'worship', so the term 'temple' is not entirely accurate. But the Avriel have learned much of the outside world from adolescent explorers who have returned from purging themselves of their more feral impulses. They have brought back this concept of a structure intended for lower beings to pay honor to their betters, having seen it in numerous other cultures and cities. They said such structures were called "temples", and the term stuck.

They have also brought back accounts of various foreign arts, crafts and wealth as well. The Avriel have taken advantage of some of these tales; the procuring of Cambrian furnishings, for example. Some other such matters they have yet to exploit. It should be noted that any future plans for aggressive campaigns against foreign cities would also be proposed and considered here.
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Encyclopedia Athartannica

The Sectors
The Avriel Sector


The city of Athart has four different sectors, though only three are actually within the walled township. The fourth sector is the 'Avriel' sector. It lies east of the walled city, among the towering rock formations of the 'Forest of Stone'. It is mostly made up of dwellings for the winged Avriel, their homes carved into the tops of these rock formations. Some are grand affairs, claimed by the wealthy and influential. Some are little more than smoothed-out caves (like what you will be starting with as an Avriel PC), with only a few amenities.

There are some structures of a more community purpose as well. These sit at the tops of true "table" formations, accommodating structures the size of castles. These include the Temple of Glory, which serves not only as the royal living quarters, but also the center for all political meetings, diplomatic or otherwise. There is an art museum, an extensive crafting complex, and many martial training halls, though much of this involves training 'in-flight' as well.

There is also an academy of sorts, where the official doctrine of Avriel history is taught, along with numerous skills. The sciences are not a large focus of the Avriel mind, but mathematics is a sufficiently fundamental need for all races. The Avriel have recently discovered the existence of magic, as a result of being victims of it when they tried to capture a small group of humans in the jungle a few years ago. As a result, they are eager to capture anyone possessing this ability, so they might "persuade" the individual to share his knowledge. And they have a prison facility in their sector to hold such a target.

The Pit of Reflection
If you check the Map Page, you will see a dark spot in the upper right hand corner. This location is not technically a part of what is within the boundary of the Avriel sector, but as it only serves Avriel purposes, most humans think of it as part of their sector. This is 'The Pit of Reflection'. The name comes not only from the forced opportunity for a rebellious human to "reflect" back on where his attitude has gotten him, but from a more sinister source as well.

And while, by nature, water is not sinister, it has the capacity to be used in a sinister way. And the reflection of horrified, begging faces on the surface of that water is the darker meaning of the name. The walls of this pit are lined with cells. And while some might feel that the closer to the ground the cell is, the more lenient the prisoner's status must be, this is not so. It is true that a person breaking the lock on his cell will have less of a climb (or fall) to reach the ground. But counter to this is the fact that he will then have more of a climb. And this assumes he has the means to get through the screen and guards at the top.
But even this is not the source of the darker translation. It is not the realization of how high a climb one will have to make that brings horror to the faces of prisoners in the Pit of Reflection. It is the sound of rushing water that brings it. A single prisoner escaping will simply be dispatched by the guards stationed there. But a large enough break-out, or the stubborn resistance of one with valuable information will bring the water rushing in. Those on the ground floor are the first to drown. But it is slow, as they use the tiny windows as hand holds to prolong the inevitable, their pitiful voices crying out for mercy from the guards, or cooperation from the stubborn target. It takes a truly hard man to listen to a dozen brothers drown for his cause. All the while, suffering no pain himself. And then there is still the second level...

The Pit is not that far from the Windfall River, which plunges off the edge of the plateau to bring scenic refreshment to the city of Athart. Little do most citizens know that it is also the means of slow death to those brothers that have gone missing as a result of their outspoken words of rebellion. It is a small matter to unblock the side channel that allows the water to fill the Pit. And once this cooperation has been obtained, the bailing-out of the huge pit is cruel, back-breaking work to fill the weeks for those "fortunate" enough to escape drowning.

The longer the prisoner resists, the more die, and the longer those who live suffer.
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The Human Sector


With little to create landmarks among the repetitively humble buildings, this section is where all the humans have their dwellings. This is the area occupying the northernmost portion of the walled city. It's southern boundary is defined by the walled channel allowing for the passage of the Windfall River. Walls likewise define its eastern boundary, leaving a narrow expanse beyond, which extends to the forested base of the plateau; and it's northern boundary, leaving a somewhat wider, unforested area that allows a view of the farmlands to the north.

There are only a few buildings that rise from the rows of cookie-cutter homes in this area. There is the aforementioned Temple of the Many, with its three diamond-shaped spires. There are the large homes of two human families that have managed to gain favor with the Avriel. Both of these structures are against the north oblique wall, and have an Overguard tower adjoining them beyond that wall. This is more for these families' protection than it is for surveillance. Between them is one of two storehouses, one for material items and one for foodstuffs, the second being directly in front of the first.

To the east of this second storehouse is a Distribution Center, where these goods can be collected by those with authorized tickets. It is not difficult to obtain a ticket for anything on hand, in good supply, but it noteworthy how consistently difficult it is for those out of favor to obtain more than the barest amount of goods of any kind.

There are two small pairs of taverns and gambling houses, near the storehouses, as well as a Coordination Center, where all logistical concerns are handled. Citizens go to this small, three-domed building to receive job offers (or "directives", in the case of obliged (slave) service), to register for any documentation the Avriel demand, and to arrange housing, medical aid, or any other such services. The actual medical center abuts the southern boundary, where the river snakes an "S"- turn through town. A bathhouse is incorporated into this fairly large structure as well, since fresh water is a regular need for both. The water is provided by means of a waterwheel like the one serving the grinding mill across the way in the Commercial Sector.

The "Low" School

Lastly, there is a small school tucked under and beside the western bridge into the same Commercial Sector. The Avriel contemptuously refer to this as "the Low School". Nothing is taught there beyond the basic "3-Rs", a few sciences that the Avriel see no threat in, including medical sciences, and a bevy of slave-oriented skills, of a mostly physical, geological or agricultural nature. There are also many crafting skills taught here. But if one seeks weapon training, he will have to go elsewhere. First, he will have to learn from whom such training is available, and then still have to convince this potential teacher that he is trustworthy. And all of this has to be done with the constant threat of betrayal from some third party, seeking the favor of the Avriel.

The only weaponry skill allowed to be trained at the school is the effective operation of catapults. There are a number of batteries encircling the bay, giving ample reach to any target fool enough to sail into Windshear Harbor with hostile intent. And since these are not weapons that can be hidden and carried around town, the Avriel have no objection to citizens receiving this training. It has apparently gone unnoticed, by the Avriel, that if the bases of these weapons allowed a sufficient turning radius, their "Forest of Stone" could be targeted by many of them.

The only humans allowed formal weapon training are the slavers, and any they choose to recruit. This is watched very closely by the Avriel, with particular focus on archery, which is, understandably, the one weapon style they see as the biggest threat to them. However, they can not deny its need in the case of an invasion. So, while it is allowed to be taught, if only by selected instructors, they keep a very tight hold on the weapons themselves. In the case of an invasion, bows and arrows are handed out to those with registered skills, but they must be returned afterwards. Naturally, a number of these weapons have been accounted as "lost" and "ruined" in past conflicts. The Avriel have always trusted the slavers - their allies - to verify the accounting of such details. This may someday come back to haunt them...
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The Commercial Sector


This is by far the most vibrant part of the city of Athart. This is where most of the manufacturing and sales of goods occurs. This is where nearly all the cafes, contests, shops and dens of drugs and sin are located. This is where spontaneous entertainment spills into the streets from the better clubs and public theaters. This often takes the form of fistfights, which quickly become the focus of wagering. Music, color, dance, aromas and erotica burst upon the senses from all directions at once. Many are presented as free samples to entice the appetite for more.

Even the Avriel spend time relaxing in this quarter. There is a degree of tension when they show up. But they are usually left alone, as no one wants to escalate a good time into an incident. There has lately been an increase in the number of humans that even appear to go out of their way to make them feel welcome. Some of the target Avriel respond to this amity with arrogance, as though this deference is simply their right, and implies no obligation to be courteous in return. There always seems to be at least one human nearby who quickly takes aside any of his fellows that look to become angry as a result, and quells the escalation before it begins.

These men all have the look of well-dressed merchants, and many of them are. But if one was to check closely, he would find that these peacemakers all share an emblem inside their jackets. It is designed to appear as a stitch to repair a tear in the shirt or vest over their heart. It actually IS such a stitch, but serves as an identifying mark as well. Often, they simply want to prevent an incident from occurring, just for peace' sake. But many other agendas are served, by allowing the Avriel to get an ever-increasing sense of immunity from retribution, as well.

These men know that "the day will come". This phrase has been repeated in their ears by representatives of other factions, and they pass it along to the simple citizens with no affiliations, to assuage the outrage that builds slowly, daily, irrevocably toward rebellion. These men know that foreign trade goes beyond the slave block, and they want to maintain the peace in these other regards. And it is not as if everyone walking the streets of Athart is a slave or slave-owner. Most of those involved in the trade are either members of the Slave Traders themselves, or foreigners visiting for the express purpose of procuring slaves to be taken with them when they leave. Many of the more rebellious slaves are sold cheaply, to serve short life sentences as galley slaves on their ships.

The Presentation Stage

At the very southern end of the Commercial Sector is the Slave Presentation Stage - a kind name for what is nothing more than an auction block. There a variety of ways in which slaves are sold here. Sometimes, merchants are already waiting for a shipload of doomed men and women to arrive, who may already have been paid for. Other times, a number of slaves will have been amassed in town and brought there to present to prospective buyers upon their arrival. Sometimes a merchant only wants one or two, with specific skills, and has a number to choose from. Or the Slave Master may set some aside just for him. Other times, the buyer does not need high levels of skills and will purchase the entire block.

But all slaves are cleaned up, healed of any damage suffered in their capture and/or transport, and made as presentable as possible. There are a number of chambers and cells, behind the stage structure, where the slaves go through treatments of all sorts to emphasize their assets. These double as living quarters for those awaiting an impending presentation, as well as the guards who keep the presentations running smoothly. There are training facilities as well. These focus entirely on the skills that prospective buyers have expressed interest in acquiring. Weapon training is one of these focuses as well. The weapons are kept strict track of, and stored in an "armory" deep inside the Bastion, a castle-like structure at the far south end of the harbor.

The stage is the first structure north of the harbor, so that slaves will not be seen in town before they are made as attractive and presentable as possible. There is a tunnel through the ground level of the Bastion, and slaves are taken directly from the ships through this tunnel to the cells and chambers behind the stage. This keeps them largely out of the public eye, until all the detriments of extended sea voyages in filthy holds can be eliminated as much as possible.
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The Harbor Sector


At the very southern end of the town, behind a wall that separates it from the rest of the town, for additional security from invasion, sits Windshear Harbor. There are three divisions of vessels accommodated by the harbor; slave ships, Merchantmen, and single-masters or longboat size. The harbor is always busy loading, unloading or both. It has a number of storage facilities, many in combination with replenishable cold sources or drying chambers. Much of the harvest of both the orchards to the south and the farmlands to the north are shipped out, either as fare for the crew or as purchased goods.

There are a number of training classrooms, where maritime skills are taught both to free citizens and slaves. There are also numerous rooms for short-term rental. These vary in size and quality, and are often provided free to influential visitors; as are courtesans, for whom this duty is often part of their training. The classrooms provide training in cartography, astronomy, shipwright design and construction, oil, tar and resin blending, the intricacies of packing and loading, ledgering and logistics, coopering, and everything else from learning to weave sail cloth to learning all the different kinds of knots and hitches needed for the various tie-downs on board.

And after class, there are a bevy of taverns for evening entertainment - or daily entertainment, for some - which have need of a different variety of entertainment skills. There are also a number of holding cells for those who get carried away with their revelries. These cells are used for those who get into trouble in the other parts of the city as well.

There is an additional section of wall dividing the harbor from the rest of the city in the event that hostile vessels should somehow gain berth and grab control of the harbor. The wall will then serve as a firewall for the city's defenders against those disembarking from the ships. It also gives a fire break so that the docks can be set ablaze, as a last measure of defense, without causing too much risk to the city. Many of the buildings in front of Windshear Bastion are also made of stone, to serve as a firebreak before the Bastion.

Windshear Bastion

This is a three-story, castle-like, stone structure running the length of the harbor. It's northern end serves as the eastern end of the secondary wall dividing the harbor from the city. The roof of the Bastion is crenelated to give a tactical advantage to occupying archers. It is primarily intended to be a storage and training facility, and many of the small structures out front go unused, or are shifted to additional housing. But, in the event of hostilities, it serves truly as a castle, complete with small catapults on the top.

Whether the city is the initial focus of an attack, or the harbor is, Windshear Bastion is a fortress of defense and a base from which to mount sorties. It also contains the main armory for weapon distribution. It has a secret hatch that allows booby trap rafts to be sent down hidden ramps under the docks to ignite enemy ships or any other liability needing to be eliminated in the harbor.

The top floor can only be accessed by the Avriel, as it has no stairs or hatches. However, there are a few wooden ladders stored on the top, as well as rolled-up rope ladders, so humans do not always have to be flown up. There are a number of the same type of "Overguard" towers atop the Bastion, as well as just having the crenelated wall. So, the Avriel have a commanding edge against land bound invaders. For all the common tension between humans and avriel, they come together in defense against common enemies without hesitation.

The Bastion itself was built on the advice of the Ban'Drahl family, who have a strong connection to the Athartian Slave traders. It was mostly built with the family's own slave labor force. There are a number of tunnels in the bowels of the place. They connect to the ramp tunnels that reach the water line, and can't be seen unless one dives below water level. The Avriel know about the hidden ramps, but they have always been loathe to investigate confining, under-water areas. As a result, they are unaware of the extent of the tunnel system. While they are not that extensive, they do connect with tunnels to various locations in and out of town, enabling the smuggling of goods, weapons, or people in or out of the city. Of course, such a favor usually incurs a debt with either the Ban'Drahl family, or the Slavers, which is rarely a good thing.
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Crime and Punishment
Human vs. Human


The Avriel do not concern themselves much about what humans do to each other, beyond any ways in which it might negatively affect them. This would mostly only involve property damage that could reduce profits and the smooth operation of businesses that bring in slave buyers. If someone was to burn down a wood carver's shop, it would be less of a concern to them than someone wrecking a tavern, because taverns serve to keep more visitors happy. Rape, however, has potentially severe repercussions. This is not out of any outrage over the violation of the victim. But, rather, the disruption of possible breeding plans, for slave babies. If a "grade A" woman is raped by a "low-grade" man, it is not believed that a "quality" child can result.

So, while the motivation for preventing this crime is reprehensible, there are almost no incidents of rape in Athart. Even "quality" men are hesitant to test their rating in this regard. Judgments of many crimes are only severe because of concerns over slave health. But this is left to the Slavers to rule on. For the most part, the Avriels' level of concern only matters when they have reason to add their support to a punishment decreed by the humans' House of Law. And usually, this is only when the Pit of Reflection is the sentence.

Slavery is, of course, the most common measure of law enforcement. This can be a term of defined length, which runs its course and is not extended unless the transgressor continues to transgress during the term. It can be one of indefinite length, where the victim of the crime is allowed to show mercy or malice as time goes on. The possible severity of this sentence can vary wildly, depending on who the victim was. It can also be a permanent term. This is most often a sentence to a galley crew, but can be to any other community endeavor where manpower is needed.

Now, any of these sentences can be overruled by the command of a high-level Avriel, though this is a rare occurrence. Only the Slave Raiders and the two high families have an exemption from this kind of intervention. Other sentences include "Corporal Punishment", which basically means the transgressor is beaten or whipped; "Civil Retribution", which is being restrained in public and suffering the abuse of passersby; "Compensation", which is simply a payment of a fine; "Exile", which is considered a death sentence by most, but is often an arranged method of escape for someone with the right connections; and "Execution", which is self-explanatory. The nature of the execution can vary though, being anything from a quick beheading, to some truly vicious slow deaths. Like "Indefinite Slavery", this depends entirely on the malice of the victim.

Almost anything can be twisted to fall under the definition of a crime. And this tactic is frequently employed only for the purpose of encouraging a bribe to have it dismissed. The best way to stay out of trouble is to go about your business quietly, without stirring up resentment against any of the city's powerful factions. Doing an unsolicited service for one of these factions can earn you a "Notice of Absolution", which can be used to offset a judgment against you, or anyone you wish, unless the plaintiff is an avriel.

Most common families are allowed one "surrogate" action, whereby a family member can step in to take the punishment decreed against a different member. This is actually a new measure added by the Avriel to keep the Slavers and the two high families in line. A capable member of a family aggrieved by one of these factions can use this measure to commit a drastic crime of retribution against members of this high faction. They then use the "surrogate" action to designate some sickly member of their family, who dies mercifully and conveniently, by his own hand, before judgment can be rendered. Case dismissed.

For the most part, however, this simply becomes another service to be bribed and bartered, since it does little to prevent counter-retribution by the angry members of the high faction. What it ultimately comes down to is that the House of Law is a power, a commodity, subject to bribes and liberal interpretations, whose main purpose is to ensure the smooth continuity of the economy, and not to strive for justice. This is not to say that no one can ever hope for justice. But it is far more likely to occur when the two adversaries are of equal status and wealth.

The Grand Arena Challenge

In the course of an escalation of a conflict that a human may feel will result in either a death or a sentence, be it his own or his adversary, a human may call for an "Arena Challenge". If there are no witnesses, or if they are all on the side of the adversary, this will probably be fruitless. But this is an honor point among the humans of Athart, and even the most furious antagonist will hesitate to risk being exposed as having refused. Even if all his friends are about, there only needs to be a single contrary witnessing party to throw his honor into doubt.

This then becomes a scheduled gladiatorial event, which is held in the Grand Arena, often as a precursor to some regular community event. It is rarely a death match, nor a means of deciding a legal ruling, though it can be either or both. Often, the two parties, having had time to calm and realize the likely stupidity of their conflict, will recruit friends to form teams for some sort of sporting match, with bragging rights being the only reward or penalty. Wagering on the outcomes of such contests is common, as are congratulatory drinks afterwards.

In the case of more hostile meetings, champions may be employed to conduct either side's part in the battle. Slaves with a "Permanent" term are often employed in this fashion, as are trained gladiators. Most participants will bring several possible representatives, if they can, and decide who to send in depending on who their enemy sends in. Opportunities to replace initial selections must be purchased from the city, and increase in cost with each change.



Avriel vs. Avriel


The Avriel consider themselves above the measures of behavior that humans hold for themselves. And since they have these same humans to vent their abuse upon, there are not that many incidents of criminal judgment in their part of this society. However, they still are held to the concern for a smooth running economy and the attraction of foreign slave purchasers. So it is mostly a matter of punishing disruptive influences. And since they send their burgeoning adolescents out into the wild, to vent their ravages, before returning to settle down, or not to return at all, there is not that much that is considered "crime" among them. There are, however, issues of pride that require satisfaction, which frequently erupt between one or more of these quarrelsome peers. But when it is not such an explosive issue as to escalate to violence immediately, 'The Race' may be challenged. The very fact that this is a means of resolution unavailable to earth-bound humans makes it all the more appealing to these arrogant avians. "Only a truly grand, flying being can resolve their issues this way!" is how they look at it.

All this involves is the charting out of an agreed-on course though the Forest of Stone - naturally, a narrow, obstacle-laden course, with many hairpin turns, and quick pull-ups and dives required - and the contestants simply race for victory in whatever issue they were at odds about. Watchers are set at strategic points to ensure honestly by the contestants.

Now, though it is never admitted, or even discussed, these watchers can be persuaded to "get something in their eye" at a crucial point and miss some treacherous cheap shot perpetrated by one of the contestants to hedge his efforts. And at the speeds they are flying at, through columns of unforgiving stone...well they don't call it "break-neck" for nothing.

The Avriel feel that the strong and the clever survive, and are therefore meant to rule. So violence is generally considered to sort itself out as it should, the end results usually being viewed as justice, not crime. However, an ambush of superior numbers over a vulnerable foe is looked down upon as cowardice. And while this will not usually result in an actual judgment of punishment, it will greatly curtail the growth of the perpetrator's esteem, in the eyes of his fellows.

The only real crimes are "Property Damage" and "Betrayal", which can be upgraded to "Treason" in severe cases. The basis of property damage is the same as it is among humans, the disruption of the smooth operation of the city, and the resulting affect on the status of the city among foreigners. Betrayal can be civil or social in nature. Like the inexplicable harboring of a human against the plans intended for that human by the Avriel. This can, however, be justified if those plans are perceived to be so overly harsh or unproductive, that they may cause a disruptive level of resentment within the human population at large.

Or the equally disdained romance that occasionally occurs between a human and an avriel. This is a violation of a "taboo" nature, often inciting an intuitively subconscious reflection on their origins among the avriel. So it becomes a transgression of an almost religious degree to them. Anything that brings thoughts of shared origins or equality is intolerable to them.
Then there is the crime of actually undermining Avriel rule or designs upon the entire human community. This can be helping humans to escape, be they citizens or slaves, or the destruction of facilities designed to keep human subjugated. Naturally, there is the mitigating circumstance of simple incompetence and not outright rebellious intent. But an avriel judged to be actually trying to elevate humans to equal status, either by oration or action, is on a par with an actual murder attempt against the members of The Aerie themselves.

It is worthy of note that such an attempt, if successful will be viewed as justice rather than treason, since clearly the strongest and cleverest prevailed. But the loyalty of the Crown Guard makes this a very dicey prospect, as the winners will find themselves greatly weakened, and therefore also vulnerable. Any Crown Guard that survive a coup are executed as cowards and traitors, so they are motivated to fight with absolute ferocity. While their regime rules, they enjoy tremendous perks and status, just short of the royals themselves. But only the greatest of warriors are allowed to join this elite force. The problem is that this means the Guard will be replaced by warriors that were not acceptable the first time they applied.
What it comes down to is that all Avriel can see that coups ultimately weaken the Avriel as a whole. So it is only a regime that displays constant ineptitude that might be so targeted. The first clue of an impending coup will be the sudden retirement of members of the Crown Guard. Since this is a tip-off to a possible coup attempt, makes plain the former member's position regarding the current rulers, and is a willing rejection of the perks of membership, it is not considered cowardice. The former member may even be considered to be part of the ensuing Guard after a successful coup, as he will be viewed to have been quite insightful and clever, as well as strong enough to have been a member in the first place. In the case of a failed attempt, the former member will not be persecuted, but he will never have status of any kind again.

Forms of Avriel Punishment

There are, of course, the Avriel versions of the disciplinary sentences of "Lashings" and "Shaming" that humans also employ against civil offenders. But recalcitrant avriel will soon earn more severe penalties. Initially, an avriel viewed as deserving of penalty will incur a term of "Restraint". The Avriel are loathe to even consider slavery as a penalty, seeing it as a uniquely human condition, and falling under the aforementioned "taboo" category. So an offender will be locked in a cell, possibly with the additional indignity of having their arms chained, or an actual cage preventing them from fully extending their wings. These cells are cut into the pillars of the "Forest of Stone", so humans do not see them in this state.

A worse crime, or continuing to commit lighter crimes will result in "Trimming", which is having the wings set ablaze, the feathers burned away so they cannot fly until the feathers grow back. This takes many cycles, so the transgressor has a lot of time to think about the consequences of their behavior. After this, come additional Trimmings or Restraints, eventually culminating in a Death penalty if the perpetrator does not change their ways. It should be noted that "Death" is not the worst thing an Avriel can consider, and the two following punishments frequently result in the suicides of the victims.
"Grounding" is the permanent stripping of wings from the former avriel. They are no longer considered a member of that race and are shunted to the human sector. What the humans may do to them after that is of no concern to them. Not only is this a horribly painful ordeal, the breaking and ripping of the joint, coupled with the cauterization of the wounds, but is emotionally devastating as well.

After that there is only "Slavery", the additional penalty of being made a slave of one or more humans. Most avriel are so near-catatonic in shock from Grounding, that they make poor slaves anyway. But the owner may be pressured to take steps to keep the offender alive, so they can suffer a long life of shame and wretchedness. This is one of only a very few ways in which a sentence from any crime in Athart will ever be ruled against an avriel in a human's favor. The other ways will have to involve either the Slavers or one of the two influential families. And even then, it will surely necessitate absolute proof and a hefty bribe.
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City and Race Relations
The Bulk of Races on Idalos


Fame Breakdowns:
Avriel: will be +10 if pro-avriel authority, -10 if not.
Biqaj: +10, both sides consider biqaj to be helpful and good-natured.
Eidisi: -10, both sides consider eidisi to be arrogant and self-important.
Ellune: +10 with humans, who empathize with them; -10 with avriel, who consider them whiny and ugly.
Humans: +/-10, obviously, depending on which side you are on, slavers or slaves.
Mixed Race: +/-10, depending on which race you more closely resemble.
Sev'ryn: +/-10, Humans love them, avriel don't believe in familiars and assume it's an espionage ploy.
Tunawa: +10, both sides would like them to spy for them.


The Avriel have gained an unexpected benefit, resulting from their adolescent journeys to purge themselves of the greater part of the feral wildness inherent in their young psyche. In the course of these travels, those avriel who return to Athart amass many tales of mortals and mountains, cities, seas and sights found in all corners of the world. As a result, the Avriel are very well informed of the demographics and geography of Idalos; more than most races, in fact.

However, the equally inherent - and callous - attitude of superiority has not made them very well-received in most of those cities. So their opinions of most cities are largely the same. They see grudging, envious, "inferior" beings, ill-fit to recognize true worth when it lands before them. And when they make this detail known, the responses of these foreigners strike them as rudely defensive. They find this to be a consistent response from most every race they encounter. So, most of these returnees have little of a positive nature to say of these far-flung races and cities. Many even feel that these cities would be better served by being under their rule, like Athart.

Fortunately, the current reigning Grand Aeolian, Gleneah, diplays no particular interest in empire-building, though she does not dismiss the possibility either. She is inclined to keep her own council on such matters. The subject is occasionally broached in meetings with the leaders of the other main factions of Athart, but it is generally given no priority. Perhaps it is because some of these council members are humans that she does not openly advocate such aggression. It is certainly not from any lack of this same feeling of superiority over the earth-bound mortals of Idalos. Time will tell.

In the meantime, the need to maintain reasonably good terms with those races and cities that seek to obtain slaves, keeps the Avriel from letting their passions be an obstacle to diplomacy. Most races are welcome, as long as they have money to spend, and as long as they display a deferential attitude toward their winged hosts. And dropping a few well-timed remarks about how much nicer Athart is than other cities will always go a long way toward warming up your welcome. Most mortals are considered good potential customers, unless they do something to show that they'd be much more useful as a slave.

But there are a few exceptions to this rule...


The Naerikk and the city of Augiery


(Fame -10)

The fact that the Immortals, Audrae and Syroa, are on fairly good terms has no bearing on the hostilities between Athart and Augiery. This is not only because the Avriel do not acknowledge Syroa to have been largely involved in their creation, and thus, any alliance between the two would be irrelevant from a devotion basis. It stems much more from the fact that they are in direct competition for the acquisition of slaves.

Even the humans of Athart see the approach of any Naerikk ship as a sign of trouble. There are more than a few former citizens of Athart now wearing slave chains in the hidden city of Augiery. The reverse is also true, but no captive naer has yet been driven to reveal the location of their city. Both cities accuse the denizens of the other of having ambushed slaver teams, stolen slave crews and sunk ships.

And while both cities' accusations are entirely true, it stands as a sore point with the Avriel that the Naerikk know the location of Athart, but none of their questing young have ever returned with a confirmed lead on the location of the Naerikk city. And so many leave in so many directions that charting the paths of those that do not ever return offers no clues either. Any that did come across the Naerikk city were most likely either shot down or taken prisoner.

So, while both the Avriel and the humans of Athart would love to welcome a few naer to their city, it would not be a warm welcome. It would only be to carve the location of Augiery out of their flesh. After which, they would be happy to include the warrior women in their slave baby breeding program. Because in spite of the existing hostilities, the Avriel recognize the women of Augiery to be a cut above the rest.


The Mer


(Fame -10)

The citizens of Athart would be hard pressed to find any practical slave use for a member of any of the savage Mer tribes below the waves of the Orm'del or Crescent Seas. As a result, they would prefer that the marine warriors make themselves scarce, and take whatever steps they can to bring this about. This is not to say that they go out in fishing fleets hoping to net a few captives. It is more that they keep harpoons and crossbows on hand, to drive home the point that the Mer are not welcome anywhere near Athart, or the sea lanes that Athartian vessels are likely to ply.

Only a very situational capture would enable the Athartians to make use of an intelligent marine creature. Perhaps if they could catch an entire family at once, they could use the child to coerce the adults into policing the harbor against other intruders. But other than this, there is little to be gained from a slave that cannot work on land. Any work at Windshear Harbor would come with concerns of sabotage, which happens occasionally anyway. And it would not be cost effective to modify a vessel to keep a Mer on hand for any commercial or diplomatic purpose. There was once a thought of keeping one in a tank as a curiosity for tourists, but it never happened.

But attacks against Athartian vessels, by Mer warriors, happen regularly. They are marked early by sudden leaks developing in the hull, or inexplicable losses of speed. If the crew of the vessel is inexperienced or undermanned, the Mer can quickly gain an edge and possibly sink it. But a skilled and determined defense will usually prevail. Even the galley slaves will help in the defense, since their only option is drowning. But there has been more than one instance of these same slaves then capitalizing on key personnel losses among their masters, to take the ship themselves. The Athartians tend to hold the Mer to blame for these events.



Nashaki and Korlasir


(Fame +10 for Qi'ora, -10 for Raskithecal)

There are two primary reasons why the Avriel are uncharacteristically willing to give "undue" respect to the people of Nashaki, particularly the Qi'ora. The first is that the winged humanoids have always had a legitimate appreciation for fine artistic craftwork. Though there is a stubborn refusal to fully admit it, they silently acknowledge that the Qi'ora "have the capacity" to equal their own fine crafting quality - on an exceptionally good day. Most of the rest of Idalosian cultures would say that the Qi'ora easily surpass them. This is undoubtedly one of the many "rude injustices" - as they see it - that the Avriel so frequently come to blows over with other cultures. They see it as entirely fair and necessary to put such insult in its place.

The Qi'ora are one of the few races that are not in likely jeopardy of being enslaved if they visit Athart. The Avriel consider themselves to be going out of their way to extend this courtesy to this race of craftsmen. Although they have "secreted a few away" at times, it is done with great care, as they do not want to give the desert people any cause to break diplomatic relations with them.

Besides the appreciation of fine craftsmanship, the Avriel also see the Qi'ora, their great city, Nashaki, and the massive stretch of the imposing Hotlands, as a buffer against the growing dominion of Korlasir, and its "Eternal Empire". If the Qi'ora were ever to develop a serious animosity towards Athart, the threat of the Raskithecal nation would double in significance, in both strategic intelligence and proximity.

Nashaki is one of the few cultures where the Avriel do not show disdain for the general equality extended to humans. They keep their mouths shut about it, and assume that the Qi'ora are unaware of their general contempt for most other races. When any party of Qi'ora come to visit Athart, slavery-related restrictions are temporarily reduced, to give a good impression to the Hotlands diplomats. Naturally, any slaves that overly exploit this brief latitude are taken note of, and are usually given cause to regret it later.

As for the Raskithecal, the Avriel recognize them as a dangerous tribe of savage half-reptilians, seemingly bent on conquest. And though the Avriel have no doubt about the military advantage that flight gives them, the snake-people are viewed as the primary obstacle to secure expansion. The Avriel are already content in the assurance that they dominate the Crescent Peninsula, but any military intentions towards coastal cities like Yaralon or Volanta have to take the Eternal Empire's proximity into account. They know that seizing either of those towns would weaken both themselves and the indigenous defenders, leaving the city ripe for a usurping conquest by the Raskithecal. They would prefer to see it work the other way.



Ivorian & Ithecal


(Fame -10)

Unlike most cities, The Avriel of Athart are highly suspicious of the Ithecal of Ivorian. Having heard of the martial focus of the Raskithecal of the Eternal Empire, the similarity of the two races make them think the allegedly pacifist culture of Ivorian is phony. They are continuously sending spies in the guise of simple travelers to watch for evidence of some hidden build-up of an invasion force.

It does not help that the Avriel's inherent arrogance causes tension while they dwell in the island capital. When they inevitably cause too much of an uproar, they consider it to support their suspicions. Since they see themselves as having done nothing to deserve the steadily chilling responses of the citizens and guard, they assume they are "on to something" and being made to leave before they discover what it is.

They return to Athart, reporting that "...nothing has changed; the Ithecal continue to feign peaceful overtures, but once again, they jump on any excuse to kick us out..." There is usually some mention of one or two avriel that seem to be among the citizens. Apparently, they are past youngsters, who came to the island while purging their youthful rancor, then decided to remain on the island. They hope to persuade these emigrants to recall their racial tie to Athart, and serve as spies.

In the meantime, the Avriel do not want to reveal their suspicions. So, they behave themselves as well as they are inclined to do in any foreign city, making no mention of suspected plots against Athart. Still, they are Avriel, and are prone to getting into trouble.



The Aukari and Sirothelle


(Fame -10)

Little detailed knowledge of the city of Sirothelle has reached all the way back to Athart. Not much beyond it being a city of stone, a city near a volcano, a city where devotion to Faldrun is the be-all, end-all of life's purpose, and the city where the cursed Aukari madmen originate. In such a city, where Avriel arrogance is cut shorter than in any other city on Idalos, the winged travelers bring back nothing but accounts of swift anger and flaming retribution. The Avriel realize there is no point in swearing to destroy such a distant city, but they would certainly celebrate such an event.

Plenty of details about the Aukari themselves have come back to Athart though. There is some contradiction in those reports and sightings, though. In some cases, the redheads seem to oppose Faldrun's interests, and attempt to live in peace with other indigenous peoples. The humans and avriel of Athart will confront any approaching Aukari, that seem peaceful, at the first opportunity and escort them to the Windshear Bastion, as it is constructed entirely of stone.

There they will make plain to the visitors that the reputation of their race prevents them from being granted the freedom they would extend to others. They have no objection to doing business with them, as they would any other, but they will be restricted to areas of town where stone construction is predominant. Usually this means the Athartian will appoint a representative who will conduct the business affairs of the Aukari for them. In the meantime, the actual Aukari will be accommodated as well as can be arranged, while remaining under a sort of "house-arrest".

Naturally, the Aukari are unhappy with this treatment, but it is the best they will get until such turns of events establish a greater degree of trust on each individual's level. There are a few Aukari citizens in Athart. And though they are not restricted in their comings and goings, they are a little more closely monitored than members of other races. It is not so much the fear of setting the town aflame, as much of the town features stone construction, and the river gives quick means for the winged avriel to quench any flames that should arise.

It is basically "only" the human sector that is at risk from spreading flames, being mostly wooden construction; and the Avriel are not greatly concerned over that. It is more the harbor, the farmlands and the orchards that are vulnerable. Some increased security is common everywhere during an Aukari visit, but greatly so in these areas.



The Yludih


(Fame +/-10, once discovered, and whether or not you willingly use your shape-shifting to spy)

Though many citizens of various cities are not even sure this race truly exists, or block out and deny the possibility out of fear, the population of Athart does not doubt it. Tales of shapeshifters do not scare the avriel. They are not so foolish as to fail to recognize the danger such an ability represents, but they figure that every shape-shifter must ultimately aspire to copy an avriel. And while the threat of such infiltration is acknowledged, it is largely dismissed, since "only a true avriel can be a true avriel." They have no doubts they will be able to discern a copy by its very clumsiness and inability to "see" air the way they can, and that such subtleties will give away the pretender.

Also, they assume the race to be completely the product of Syroa's influence. And since they, as a race, are on better terms with the Immortal of Transformation than any other, it is perhaps not such a surprise after all that the Yludih are not as feared here as in most other locations. The fact is, the avriel would welcome the bearers of such abilities into their fold. But do not kid yourself, it is not from some benevolent sense of like mind and fellowship; or general feelings of shared superiority over the rest of the mortal races. It is that they would like to have a few such agents to infiltrate the ranks of the humans of their city.

As for these same humans, they too are not so terribly afraid of the concept of shape-shifters as citizens of many other towns might be. They have been dealing with Syroa's gifts of transforming artifacts to the avriel for decades now. A race that can do it naturally is not so terribly much worse, and like their avriel oppressors, the humans of Athart would welcome such a gifted individual into their rebellious ranks. But refusal to help their cause would have the reverse effect.
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Magic in Athart
Humans and Magic


Magic is outlawed for humans to practice in Athart. There are no exceptions to this rule. The penalties depend largely on what type of magic is being practiced, of course. But even something as relatively harmless as 'Attunement' is punished, if for no other reason than showing a disregard for the rules. The only exemption to punishment requires the practitioner to apply all use of his magic to Avriel interests. And even then, he will probably still be kept under "house arrest" when not serving them.

Now, of course, the practice of some forms of magic, 'Attunement' for instance, is not obvious to the casual eye. But care must be taken nonetheless. Humans that choose to risk dabbling in magic must remember the Avriel ability to literally "see" air currents, and realize intuitively when something contradicts the flow of winds. For instance, if a practitioner was to use Telekinesis to make something move in a way that contradicted the air currents, any Avriel watching would detect it immediately.

Many humans choose to take their chances anyway. But if caught, their entire families, or circles of friends, will be snatched up as hostages to ensure the cooperation of the practitioner. The Avriel are not fools. They know that magic is a powerful force, and that they may be unable to directly coerce the wizard into submitting to furthering Athartian interests alone, and not his own. Restrictions may be relaxed somewhat if those interest are one and the same.

The Slave Raiders alone are extended an exemption to this law. Even the two high families are not allowed a mage among their personnel. But the Raiders are not given this extension to the point that their mage(s) can freely wander the city, performing feats of marvel on a whim. He is only allowed to use his skills while on missions with the Raiders, whether they be search-and-capture missions or something more directly military.

What it primarily comes down to is that the Avriel do not want any human performing magic around them that is not by their order. If they are on a joint military mission with the Raiders, they fear the misfire of some rogue spell causing injury among them. When they are along, they do not feel magic should be necessary. They prefer the military clarity of always viewing magic as hostile when they are around. What they do not realize is that their slaver "allies" prefer it this way as well.



Avriel and Magic


But for all their awareness of the threat of hostile magic, the Avriel know little of it's practice and parameters. They have only a very limited grasp on the whole scope of its development. They of course, will not admit that it's because their flighty, impulsive personalities make something requiring such patient discipline and focus nearly impossible for them. Instead, they stand back with a huff and declare magic to be something only "lesser" beings resort to. Their creative take on their racial history suggest that they conquered the Immortals without the use of magic; that these mighty foes' use of magic did not bring them victory, so why should they even bother with it?

This is further distorted by the claim that the magic that humans know is only because they copied that knowledge from the Avriel of old. In a complete fog of arrogance, the Avriel consider magic to be something they once "toyed" with, but then discarded, only to see it used by Immortals in a failed attempt to subjugate them. They have cultivated an attitude that resorting to the use of magic is a sign of weakness, and an insult to Avriel superiority.

Now, of course, not all Avriel see it this way. This includes the Grand Aeolian, who supports a cadre of selected avriel to try to master at least some forms of magic. She herself does not dabble in it. But she has recognized the members of this group to be more able to focus on long-term goals. They have not achieved much beyond what they can force their human captives to show them. But even this is of little use, since they do not trust that what they are shown is not a mystic trap of some sort. Consequently, very few of the avriel mages have achieved even a low level of competency in even a single form of magic. And some forms are still completely alien to them.

They often demand the mage(s) in the Slave Raiders' ranks to attend the lessons, to ensure that the captives are cooperating. But these meetings often end up in heated arguments and challenges, since the mage's insistence that the captives are speaking the truth only serves to make them look stubborn and ignorant. And their anger keeps them from noticing the subtle signs exchanged between the captive human magic users and the attending Raider mage, which could be taken to mean that there actually may be some trap in what the Avriel mages are taught. Something currently inert, waiting some final element to become active and detrimental to the winged overlords' strategies.

As has been said before, only time will tell...
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Encyclopedia Athartannica

The Slave Trade
Standard Slave Costs


Slavery is a part of several cultures on Idalos, some based more on economy or criminal reparations than on outright oppression and intimidation. But in Athart, it is both. The avriel area fully capable of creating goods for their own use, as well as for exports. But much of what they have learned to craft has been learned from captured humans, forced to give up their trade secrets, as well as lessons in their manufacture, in exchange for relatively decent treatment.

But economically, now that the avriel have learned many types of manufacturing, the craft trade has become secondary to the trade of the slaves themselves. Much of this is due to the actions of despicably unscrupulous humans, who made far better handlers of slaves than the short-tempered and impulsive avriel. Most of these did not even have the excuse of buying themselves out of slavery either. They have built the slave trade in Athart to be the standard the world over.

"Athart Standard" is as follows per single slave purchase:

Unskilled Male: (Novice skills) 200gn
Unskilled Female: (Novice skills) 250gn
Skilled Male: (2 or more Competent skills) 300gn
Skilled Female: (2 or more Competent skills) 350gn
Accomplished Male:(1 Competent, 1 Expert) 500gn
Accomplished Female: (1 Competent, 1 Expert) 600gn
Outstanding Male: (1 Expert, 1 Mastery (+85xp)) 800gn
Outstanding Female: (1 Expert, 1 Mastery (+85xp)) 900gn

After that, there is the ongoing expense of keeping the slaves. The type of training these slaves have been given affects this expense. No matter what, certain slaves cost certain amounts, depending on the type of slave. This is a per-slave percentage of your own earnings per cycle:

Labour: (farm/quarry/mine etc) 5%
Personal: (house slaves) 10%
Pleasure: (any sexual use) 15%

More about the basics of slavery on Idalos can be found here.



Athart Slave Specials


As the hub of the global slave trade, Athart has some special deals for those that make the effort to come in person to make their purchases. Sometimes, the special deal is simply the guarantee that whatever blend of race, gender and skills the customer wants is going to be available. There is as much incoming traffic in flesh-for-sale, as there is outgoing. So there is never a shortage of every blend of assets. Some cities may be limited in this regard. But Athart always has whatever you want.

Often the prospective item never even reaches the display stage or auction block, before the sale is made. Trains of men and women, earmarked for servitude, are often stopped by wealthy buyers in need of bodies, even as they first disembark from the slaver that brought them in. And any number of them may be pulled from the line by an alert customer before anyone else has the chance. If the money is good, so is the sale.

Outside of the fact that some semi-exotic races do not cost any more than commonplace humans in Athart, the indoctrination methods they begin at birth provide for slaves that have a mindset of absolute obedience. These specially bred slaves are nurtured from birth with a goal of believing their ability to be the perfect servant is the highest end they can achieve. Provided the owner does not abuse them (a relative and subjective term) they are guaranteed not to make any attempt at escape, disagreement, or even hesitance to comply with any request short of suicide. Only an empath can bring a state of confusion to the mind of one of these slaves. And in fact, more than one disruptive empath has been captured due to the residual effects of their attempt being recognized and investigated.

These special slaves are clearly not going to be available in the racial variety that average, unindoctrinated slaves are. But the same uniformity of cost for most races still stands. These indoctrinated slaves will be double the normal cost, and many owners find that they display training that exceeds what was anticipated. This is because indoctrinated slaves truly want to please their master, so they are not holding back their efforts out of laziness or resentment.

Departures from standard costs per race are as follows:

1). Mer slaves are half the cost, despite the rarity of one even being for sale. This is because of the difficulty of land-based owners being able to find a use for a marine race. There is also the fact that, even if an underwater use can be found for one, it will be exceedingly difficult to prevent other Mer from slipping in and freeing or killing it. Generally, it is only when a full family unit can be sold together that they can be forced to cooperate to a cost-effective level. Indoctrination has been tried, in an effort to access their telepathic abilities, but with no record of success.

2). Avriel are generally only available as punishment for treason. As such, they are half priced, to encourage humans to buy them. Generally, humans only want them as effigies for the culture that oppresses them. These avriel are always "grounded" and will most likely be far too traumatized and disbelieving, regarding their current status, to be a very efficient slave. Therein lies their punishment as they suffer the humiliation and pain of regular beatings and degradation at the hands of "filthy humans".

3). Naerikk Pleasure Slaves are standard-plus-half, with indoctrination bringing the cost to triple standard. This is a wild and risky purchase, as naer are known to be capable of savage violence. But one truly brought to heel is a lustful pleasure unmatched by a female of any other race. And they take to bodyguard training better than most as well.

4). Qi'ora house/craft slaves are not saddled with an additional cost to buy, but they are required to be taken out of Athart within a trial. Athart maintains good diplomatic relations with these natives of the Hotlands and their city of Nashaki, and the discovery of a slave trade involving members of their community would not sit well with them. Though slavery is an accepted institution in Nashaki, the Qi'ora do not like seeing members of their own kind enslaved by the more unsophisticated races of Idalos.

5). Yludih are rarely found and captured in numbers sufficient to become available to the public. Athart values these shape-shifters far too much to make them available as mundane slaves. But they are definitely being introduced to the slave process in hopes of attaining indoctrinated shape-shifters within a generation or two. But now and then a windfall brings a few Yludih to the slave block. When this occurs, they are sold for no less than four-times-standard.


Slave Schooling


For those that want more highly trained slaves, but can not afford the cost of an indoctrinated slave, Athart is proud to recommend their "Slave School", a feature that is largely unique in all of Idalos. Training of any kind can be had here, and it is done with the disciplinary attitude necessary to maintain the deferential attitude an owner expects from his slave, though more lenient approaches can be taken if requested.

A player will need to leave his slave for one full cycle to gain advancement in any skill, and he must do "schooling" threads for the points he seeks. Obviously, the more he threads in that time, the more points his slave stands to gain. This service costs 100gn for the first cycle, and 50gn for each cycle beyond that IF purchased at the same time. Debt will be accepted, but must be paid in full within one cycle of the end of schooling, AND the owning PC must reside in Athart for the duration. Some concessions may be made with pre-approval, but any departure from such an agreement, IC or OOC, risks loss of slave ownership with no refund, or even a verdict of servitude applied to the owner himself. Athart is always looking for slaves...

Maritime schooling is available at Windshear Bastion and IS available to slaves. But the cost is higher, due to the steps which must be taken to offset the increased opportunities to attempt escape, without diminishing the teaching environment or the slave's ability to learn. The initial cost is greater, but the price break for additional cycles works much the same as at the "Slaves' School. There is a cost of 125gn for the first cycle, with follow-up cycles running 75gn apiece. Again, the full term of the slave's attendance must be purchased beforehand to receive this price break.

Lastly, there is the Gladitorial School just inside the wall that marks the north end of the Harbor District. It has its own small arena which is as much a venue for sport is it is for routine training. Often the stands are filled with the slaves undergoing training as the spectators are rotated down to become the next participants. This is to give every aspiring gladiator a taste of performing before a crowd of bloodthirsty observers, completely lacking in sympathy.

There is no difference in tuition costs between citizens and slaves enrolling here, as nearly every "student" already IS a slave. Nor are there refunds for slaves killed or irredeemably maimed during "class". But there IS an unwritten understanding that if a student is a FREE man, and he should die at the hands of a student/slave during schooling, that slave will be executed. What this ultimately means is that those slaves that survive this school receive a better degree of training than free students, since they were truly tested to life-and-death degrees.

This is not to say that the trainers seek to get any slave/students killed. After all, Athart does prefer happy, satisfied customers, not arguments over non-refunded slave prices. But deaths in the arena DO happen. And those that survive have obviously learned their lessons better.


Slave Instructors


On both a personal and commercial level, Instructors are invited to Athart to add variety to the wealth of skills in which slaves can be trained. A number of cities have "arrangements" with the city of Athart to provide instructors in those skills that do not come easy to the rough-and-tumble inhabitants of Athart. This is not to say that there are no academicians in Athart. But most of those either have private pursuits with these skills, that take up their time, or are already teaching at the "Low" school.

It is an odd thing that the "free" humans of Athart have less opportunity to learn exotic skills than the slaves do. Those instructors that come from distant cities, per these arrangements, are not allowed to freely teach restricted areas of knowledge to free citizens. Some form of prior sanction is required to even teach a single student. It is almost exclusively to teach slaves that these arrangements have been made. The learned instructors come to help Athart craft better slave product. In return, the cities that provide this benefit gain from reduced prices.

There have been a few incidents of teachers "freelancing" to teach free citizens on their own time. These incidents do not turn out well for either the teacher or student. Slavery is the ironic result in most cases. There have been a couple of executions, as well as some cases of the offenders disappearing with the aid of the "Door Wardens". These events often escalate, as the both the avriel and the human population seek victims to punish as retribution.

For the most part, however, jobs are available for nearly every skill imaginable, as slaves of every kind of training are going to be desired by someone somewhere. So if you have a decent level of "Teaching", are looking for a place to provide gainful employment, like the thought of defying a tyrannical authority and aren't cowed by the possibility of occasional violence outside your door; come to Athart and become an instructor.
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