Neuxs Setting Information

The City of Trade

Neuxs Setting Information

Postby Archangel » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:58 pm

Nexus Setting Information

The Dogma

No taxes shall be raised, save by the Council.
None shall obstruct trade.
None shall bring an army into Nexus.
No one shall commit wanton violence.
None may falsely claim the Council’s name or sanction.
None shall harbor a fugitive from the Council’s wrath.

On a peninsula jutting out between the Gray and Yellow Rivers where they join to become the Yanaze stands the renowned city of Nexus, called various epithets as positive as the Threshold Jewel and as negative as the River Harlot’s Legs. It is the largest city in the East and one of the most populous cities anywhere. Almost a million people shelter behind its walls, despite its dubious reputation. For, in addition to being a wealthy and cosmopolitan trading port, Nexus is also a poisonous stew of diseases and home to the most brutal and unforgiving oligarchy in Creation.


Fully 30 miles out from the eastern gates of the city lies a subtle arc, invisible to
the naked eye and yet marked by a line of crudely carved statues of the Emissary. Within that line is the city-state of Nexus. Beyond that line, anything goes.

The countryside of Nexus is neither beautiful nor graceful. No pretty villages or market towns dot the landscape. Instead, teahouses and ill-kept hostels mark the three main roads into Nexus every five miles, and heavily taxed to keep them from competing with the hostelries within the city, these businesses are designed to encourage people to hurry on to the city.

Much of the countryside around Nexus is flat plain or rolling hills, and nearly all of its territory is terraced or otherwise modified to support crops, whether swamp rice in the valleys or apples, peaches and nuts on higher slopes.

Ten miles out from the city walls on each of the roads stands a plain black column topped by a bust of the Emissary. These Stones of Exile represent the outer border of the city’s judicial policy. Anyone exiled by the Council must be beyond these markers by sundown, or he will die. Usually, exiles are granted an additional 24 hours to pass by the outer boundary statues. The ground around the Stones of Exile is sometimes littered with corpses.

Entering Nexus:

The city of Nexus itself is defi ned by its walls and rivers. On the north side of the city lies the Yellow River, while on the southwest is the Gray River. To the east is the city wall, only 15 feet high and punctured by 11 gates. It is less a defensive barrier than a tool for collecting entry fees for the Council—a fee of one silver dinar is assessed on each person or animal entering Nexus, and a fee of one dinar
per 10 dirhams of value is assessed on all cargo. Similar fees are also charged at the two main dock areas of Nexus.

The Emmisary

The Emissary is the public face of the Council. While other members are known to the public at large and are frequently seen coming and going from the Council Tower on Sentinel’s Hill, the Emissary seems to be the only one constantly available. Usually, the Emissary is at the Council Tower from dawn until mid-morning, when it travels downhill to the Council Offices near the Big Market. There, it announces any new decrees issued since dawn by the Council before retiring to its “courtroom” to harshly mediate any disputes between merchants. In the early afternoon, it moves to the center of the Big Market and in a booming voice announces any new decrees. Afterward, it returns to the Council Offices, where scribes post the final version of the day’s decrees on a notice board outside the Offices. The Emissary then returns to the Council Tower, where it hears non-mercantile disputes for a while, departing from public view some hours after sunset. From time to time, the Emissary will vanish for several days, before appearing suddenly (and occasionally violently) in the midst of conspirators or criminals. Before it kills anyone in public, the Emissary always cites the Dogma or Civility under which it is empowering itself to act. The Emissary has never been bribed, or visibly wounded, or anything other than perfectly loyal to the Dogma and the present version of the Civilities.

The Council:

The present Council has nine members including the Emissary. Their titles have not changed in centuries. The Emissary usually appears to be first among equals—though at times he appears as a mere servant of the other Councilors.

Three Councilors control Nexus’s trade and foreign policy. The August Councilor of the Eclipse runs the city’s docks and waterways, and the collection of taxes on
Ephiselle, as Midnight Queen, oversees the throngs of informants and spies who watch Nexus for the Council. It is unlawful to write, sing or speak about her office within the city walls.
The Dawn Sergeant, hires and commands the mercenary companies residing in
Nexus and sees to city’s overall defense.

Three manage the city’s public business and serve as guardians of domestic policy. The Evening Master, holds sway over the city’s secret and public business.

The Midday Husband, has charge over artistic expression and public entertainment in the city, as well as the city’s overall good health. .
Master Gen, Minister of Ways, examines the District Assayers who collect the city’s taxes, tariffs and duties.

Kratz, the Astrologer has successfully predicted everything from famine and riot to sudden price shifts and bountiful harvests through her knowledge of the

Last of all is Udelph, the Doctor, who allegedly speaks for the city’s ordinary folk. His Civilities end feuds and promote harmony in the city.

Areas of Note

Western City Area

The higher one lives and works above the ground in Nexus, the greater one’s wealth and the longer one is likely to live. Not only are the streets and canals not safe because of crime, they are often filled with a fetid black fog from the city’s smelters and iron forges. For this reason, Nexus is sometimes called the City of Black Snow, since a constant rain of ash falls on the western half of the city. The fog called the “poor man’s breath,” also chokes many inhabitants before they reach middle age. It becomes particularly bad during Ascending and Resplendent Air, when the winds tend to carry the fog right into the heart of the city.

The Undercity:

A series of underground levels, passages and markets lit by torches provide additional housing for the city’s poor and lower middle classes. Three major routes pass all the way through the Undercity. The fi rst, running east to west, is the Night Canal, which is lined with brothels catering to the mercenary trade. Mushroom Way, lying beneath the Parko Llana, the largest green space within the city walls, is home to the city’s drug trade. Running north to south between the Night Canal and the surfacelevel Switchback Street is the Wind’s Way, which is large enough to ventilate the system and prevent the caverns from becoming too stifling.


Provided one plans to stay within the western half of the city, hiring a gondola is a faster and more efficient method of travel, as more than 20 miles of canals connect the Nexus and Nighthammer Districts. Most merchants prefer using boats to transport their cargoes to porters in the streets, and most houses have both a canal address and a street address.

Traveling in the canal system can be both hazardous and exhilarating. The waters are shallow, the ways are narrow, and nearly everyone is in a hurry. Agents working for various merchant houses often overturn the boats of their competitors. In addition, the rivers push water through the canals at quite a speed. Therefore, boats left unattended or unguided may be smashed to pieces, before they are gradually flushed out of Nexus and into the Yanaze through the Canal Sluice. More than one life has been saved by the pack of boys who cluster by the Canal Sluice, who rescue (and then ransom) anything of value before it can be swept downriver.


The Big Market:

Obviously the largest market in Nexxus, where 1,000 tents and pavilions play host to auctions with dozens, if not hundreds, of buyers. The Nexus market is highly efficient. Coffeehouses and chocolate parlors around the Big Market have large chalkboards listing recent prices for goods. Loduba’s specializes in raw materials, while Tokunoti’s lists only shipments of cloth. Garaga’s Coffee Emporium is the most general establishment, listing 1,100 spices and related commodities from abalone to yeast. Brokers interested in particular goods tend to eat and drink in these establishments between auctions, and the auctions usually take place just outside the front door. Trade in what you know is, as always, the rule of the game.

The Little Market:

Offers smaller lots for sale for those not interested in filling several cargo holds or a dozen wagons. Small caravans rarely need to buy 100 sets of dishes, and even eastbound river barges cannot sell 500 barrels of beads. Hundreds of merchants in Nexus specialize in buying large cargoes in the Big Market and then selling those cargoes in smaller lots. The Little Market provides the outlet for these small lots, dealing in bolts and yards of cloth, instead of bales. Hundreds of tents fill the market square, with knife sharpeners cheek-by-jowl with spice merchants and rag dealers. Stores catering to more demanding clients fill the surrounding streets, canals and neighborhoods.

In the neighborhoods between the Little and Big Markets are the showrooms of bespoke artisans, who create lavish goods, clothes and decoration for the wealthy of Nexus and Creation as a whole. Often, the clothes are made elsewhere in the city, but the upscale showrooms are located in warrens of pedestrian streets too narrow for most carts.

Labor Market:
All Creation runs on animal muscle power, human muscle power or Essence—and Essence relies upon the hiring of mortal thaumaturges or the Exalted, rare commodities indeed.
As a result, the markets for muscle power—whether the Brood Market for livestock, the Coffleblock Market for slaves, Livery Square for mercenaries or the Great Forks Bazaar for hired labor—are crowded to bursting every day.

Old Covered Bazaar:

Situated near the Great Forks Gate, is probably the most unusual trading area in Nexus. Here, people offer their -skills—for sale. Trained military engineers from the Realm, sorcerers and alleged sorcerers, musicians, architects, master builders, military officers and bodyguards can all offer their abilities to a buying public.


Yuruga’s Hall, a brick structure overlooking Livery Square. Representatives of all of the mercenary companies lodged in Cinnabar District have their booths here, with elaborate displays showing their soldiers in action, trophies and medals received from previous engagements and usually some of the toughest troops in the unit manning the booths.


While not major players in the politics of the city, the 15 mercenary companies based in barracks at the northern end of the Cinnabar District are significant contributors to the city’s economy. The Council regularly hires mercenary units to patrol the fashionable parts of town, the city’s parks and major streets and, occasionally, to fight its wars. In addition, much of the money the companies raise in fighting abroad winds up getting spent in Nexus once they return home.

Every company has a different procedure for admitting new members. Some units have probationary periods up to a year in length. Others, such as the Bronze Pioneers, require prospective employees to fight a randomly chosen company member to the death. Each company maintains a barracks area in Nexus to which outsiders are rarely admitted. These walled compounds usually contain multistory halls suitable for several hundred soldiers each, private and semi-private quarters for senior and junior officers, a mess hall, a training salle, a small parade ground and an infirmary for soldiers likely to recover from injuries. A small neighborhood of brothels, taverns, teahouses, armorers and other businesses catering to soldiers usually cluster around each compound.

Mercenaries tend to stick close to these neighborhoods, as entering the neighborhood of another company is a friendly invitation to brawl. The companies maintain a level of courteous, professional rivalry within Nexus, but friendships between ordinary soldiers are discouraged. The soldiers might find themselves on opposite sides of a battlefield someday, and it is best not to get too attached. Fraternization between officers is encouraged to some degree, however, and the Nexus Military College operates year-round as neutral ground for officers to build their knowledge and reputation.

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