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Ravok

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Ravok
RegionSylira
NotabilityHome city of The Black Sun
LeaderThe Voice
Population15,000
Races
Human90%
Other10%
LanguagesCommon Mizaharian
CurrencyMiza
ImportsFruits and Vegetables, Miscellaneous Trade Goods
ExportsArt, Religion


Ravok is the most northern settlement in the Sylira region. The most unique aspect of the city is that it is built in the center and on the surface of a vast lake which also gets its name from the city; Lake Ravok. The buildings of Ravok are constructed on wood piles, spaced very close to one another. Due to the nature of their placement and construction, the wood does not decay over time and is said to be as strong as stone. Building foundations rest on the wood piles while brick, stone and wood buildings rest upon the footings. Canals offer the main form of transportation throughout the city while small bridges connect upper levels and docks on the lower ones to allow foot traffic. Protected by its location, Ravok offers a home for those wishing to escape the chaos of the post-Valterrian world. It is also the home of The Black Sun, the main religious organization serving, Rhysol, the God of Evil.

Contents

The City

The sun sets on Ravok

Ravok is a city of immense beauty and romance shadowed with darkness and corruption. Built to effectively float upon the water, a spiderweb of canals both large and small, weave their way between buildings like roads. One may access nearly all buildings via a canal; many of which actually run through the lower levels of various structures. Most people move around the city via bridges connecting various buildings to one another, over one of the many docks or of course by traveling down a canal aboard a Ravosala; a long, slender, elaborately carved boat steered by a pilot wielding a long pole.

Established around 150 years following the Valterrian, Ravok began as little more than a jagged black shard in the center of Lake Ravok; a strange object that grew up from the depths shortly after the Valterrian. The city itself came when, around the shard, a floating temple was built. The temple was dedicated to Rhysol and the god's priests set out to spread the word of his mercy and protection from the chaos that reigned across the land. Little by little, people began coming to the temple for safety. At first there was not much beyond a handful of boats tethered together around the temple. However as the temple grew and expanded, so did the newborn "boat-town". Eventually, boats gave way to more permanent structures over the next 350 years leading up to the current city of Ravok.

It was through the leadership of a woman known only as "The Voice" that the people coming to the temple were educated and trained in the ways of survival. She guided them to grow and flourish and under the protection of The Black Sun. The people came to love Rhysol. To inhabitants of Ravok, Rhysol is their protector and The Voice is their mother and teacher. Of course many know the true nature of Rhysol and The Black Sun, they accept his protection both out of respect and of course fear; fear of the god's wrath and fear of what it would be like without his protection.

From the mainland, Ravok is only accessible by boat as there are no bridges or other connections linking the city to anywhere else. There are a series of forts and trading posts located at various points around the lake which offer authorized transport to and from the city. Traveling from the shore takes a long time, averaging at 10 knots it can take anywhere from three to four bells to reach the city, even longer for slower ships.

The main form of travel for citizens to and from the city is by Water Glider, a special boat built by the Ravokians known for its speed. These boats consist of two or three hulls joined together, and often have a netted "deck" for passengers to lounge on during transit. The boats are built for speed, easily reaching 10 knots in average wind conditions, though they have been known to reach max speeds of up to 30 knots with enough wind. It is approximately 40 miles from the nearest point on the shore to the docks.

A trip on a canal.

The waters of Ravok are cool due to its northern location. They do not freeze however due to the protections placed upon the city by Rhysol. Thus the climate remains moderate to cool with periodic storms that also have their fury lightened due to the close presence of Rhysol within the city.

Locations of interest

The Temple of the Black Sun

The Temple of the Black Sun

The Temple of the Black Sun is the heart and soul of Ravok. From here, The Voice presides over all aspects of faith as well as commanding The Black Sun who among other things, run the city. The temple's origins revolve around the ominous black shard which grows up from the depths of Lake Ravok and dominates the central temple's central worship chamber. It is the shard which grants the city some amount of protection from the natural elements and also grants a direct link to Rhysol, himself. The temple itself is massive and adorned with exquisite, painstakingly crafted carvings. It's glistening marble facade hides the true nature of the temple and its purpose.

Canals offer entry by water into the base level of the temple. It is from here that the central worship chamber may be accessed via a set of black, iron doors adorned with huge, white pearls. At all times, members of the Ebonstryfe, the militant arm of The Black Sun, guard these doors and keep an eye on those who would enter. The rest of the temple's base level houses numerous galleries and museums containing a wealth of art and artifacts from all across the history of worship to Rhysol.

The upper levels of the temple contain offices and personal quarters of high ranking members of the faith including, The Voice. It is rumored that there are even levels located beneath the city that extend down into the depths of the lake. If such a place exists, it's entrance and purpose are known only to those who need to know.

The Southern Trading Post

Southern Trading Post

The Southern Trading Post is located along the southern edge of Lake Ravok. A large, fortified tower on a small hill overlooks an impressive system of docks where a number of small ships are tethered. Down the opposite side of the hill from the docks, exists a small village of sorts. Made up of semi-permanent storage structures and tents, this 'village' is the first step in trade with the city. Nearly all trade goods, as well as would-be visitors, must pass through the trading post before being allowed to the docks. The tower, docks, trade village and surrounding land are heavily patrolled by city guards trained and employed by The Black Sun.

The Ebonstryfe

Regarded as being the militant arm of The Black Sun, the Ebonstryfe is in fact much more. While indeed being a small yet elite force of trained combatants, the Ebonstryfe also serves the role of secret police. Often working in secret, members of the Ebonstryfe infiltrate their own settlements, temples, shrines and properties on the look out for traitors and potential threats to The Black Sun and their interests. When found, voices of dissent are quickly silenced and enemies to The Black Sun vanish without a trace. Members of the Ebonstryfe are also found in command of various military units and city defense forces located in Ravok as well as throughout the rest of Mizahar. Their main headquarters is said to be located beneath the Temple of the Black Sun.

History

When the war of the gods reigned down upon and ravaged the land, countless numbers of people lost their lives. Those that survived were forever changed. In the wake of the destruction, chaos and evil set in and took root. Of course this was all as Rhysol had planned. He reveled in the new world that he helped to create until one of his own followers, his greatest and most loved, The Voice, helped give birth to a new idea. As grand as chaos was, it would inevitably end as soon as the other gods renewed their own influences upon the world. The best way to counter this was to act in a way that none, not even the gods would expect.

Thus Rhysol revealed to The Voice, the location of a special landmark; a black shard found in the center of Lake Ravok. This shard had grown from the bottom of the lake at a point where a single drop of Rhysol's blood had fallen during his short but deadly conflict with Sylir. The shard was a direct link to Rhysol and thus could focus a bit of his divinity into the area surrounding it. The Voice traveled to Lake Ravok and constructed a temple around it. From that temple and with the help of her Druvin, she spread the word that Ravok was a place of safety, a place of protection from the chaos and uncertainty of the outside world. In the wake of the Valterrian, people looked for some sort of salvation and The Voice along with the yet young but growing religious organization offered just that. People began coming to the temple by boat or anything else they could find that floated. Over time, the hodgepodge of floating debris grew. The Voice and her disciples worked to educate and train the people how to survive. She helped provide them shelter and food and gave them new hope. This was of course all due to the mercy of Rhysol and by accepting help from The Voice, the people were accepting Rhysol into their lives.

Over the next few centuries, Ravok grew and flourished. Five hundred years after the Valterrian, Ravok is a city of art and culture; of religion and prosperity. While not everyone is wealthy and powerful, everyone who lives in the city and accepts Rhysol as their savior and protector finds that they are safe from war, safe from chaos and safe from the uncertainty that awaits them outside of their glorious city.

Society

The Canals

The society of Ravok is an oddity in itself. While maintaining a surface appearance much like that of any other city, complete with varying social classes, trade, crime, etc., the majority of the city population is devoted to Rhysol. Small shrines to the god can be found in many homes and at the very least, dedications and prayers are given to him on a daily basis by thousands of city dwellers. To outsiders, Rhysol is seen as a monster, a liar and betrayer, bringer of chaos and father of all that is evil. To the people of Ravok, such talk is considered blasphemy. For them, Rhysol is a father figure much like The Voice is their mother.

Though Rhysol is their primary deity, the people of Ravok look highly upon The Voice with many even going so far as to worship her alongside Rhysol. She has lived long enough to see generations of people born and grow into old age followed by death. During her time as the undisputed leader of the city, the people have seen not war. Even famine and plague have taken but a small toll over the centuries. The weather while cool, is never severe. Art and culture flows freely throughout the city and trade is prosperous. Even the poor of the city believe their lives could be even worse if it weren't for The Voice.

The majority of the city inhabitants are human although there is a scattering of other races as well. Nearly all races, regardless of their faith, find themselves at least somewhat interested in the romance and beauty of the city despite the close presence of Rhysol and The Black Sun.

All citizens, young and old, must register with the Black Sun in order to be declared full citizens. Citizens are given papers that identify them as such and copies of these papers are kept on record at the Temple of the Black Sun. Full citizens enjoy immunity to slavery and benefit from the protection of the Ebonstryfe and the city guard.

The Black Sun runs all aspects of government within the city and even if they do not have direct control, their influence remains strong. The Ebonstryfe is responsible for the actual implementation of the will of the Black Sun.

While any race may be granted entrance into the city, it is important to emphasize that the city population is 90% human with only 10% non-human. Of those 10%, 90% are slaves. Non-humans or those that can't pass for human are not highly regarded by many of the full citizens of Ravok. Truly unique, non-human visitors to the city run the high risk of being harassed at the least all the way up to being captured and auctioned off at the slave market.

The wealthy of the city are made up of a variety of individuals. High ranking members of the Black Sun are among the richest and most influential with merchants close behind. As Ravok is a city in the center of a vast inland lake, they import quite a bit. Powerful merchant families, some controlled directly by the Black Sun, oversee much of the goods imported into the city. These families come as close to nobility in Ravok as anyone can. They flaunt their wealth in many ways, not the least is by holding grand parties of epic proportions. These parties take many forms including carnivals, dances, feasts and even debaucherous orgies. Exotic costumes and masks are essential to these parties and are usually tailored to specific themes set by those hosting them.

Organized crime, while not officially legal in Ravok, is not heavily hindered. In fact, the Ebonstryfe supports a good amount of illicit activities throughout the city. Assassinations are not uncommon and brothels are allowed though heavily taxed by the Ebonstryfe. Slavery is allowed in Ravok although slaves almost always come from outside of the city. Official citizens of Ravok are immune to enslavement no matter how low they are in society. The only exception are those who have their records altered or destroyed by the Ebonystryfe. Slaves are branded with a special symbol indicating their status. Half of a black sun is burned into flesh of the top of the slave's hand. A slave's misbehavior reflects upon their owner and the owner may suffer the consequences for such an occurrence.

Citizens are allowed to possess weapons within the city as are visitors. Weapons of many kinds are made and sold within the city however if one were to raise a weapon in any fashion; even in self-defense, against a member of the Black Sun, Ebonstryfe or City Guard, it is considered a crime and is punishable by public torture and possibly death.

Ravok Families

There are five major families that hold power in Ravok, as well as several other lesser families. Each of the five major families has a particular area of influence. The Lazarins are known for their close ties to the Ebonstryfe, the Nitrozians for their wealth and business connections, and the Valdinox for their ties with the Isur and Black Sun. The Larks are best known for their lavish lifestyles and extensive slave trade, while the Galatos family, who have perhaps the darkest reputation of all, are generally rumored to involve themselves in assassinations and other less-than-honest ways of making money

Anti-Rhysol Factions

Throughout Ravok's history there have always been those few, for whatever reason, that have been against Rhysol and the city in general. Usually these people operate alone, or simply live with their problems and keep them hidden. There is one group of individual's that have actually come together to form an actual resistance against Rhysol. They operate in secret, quietly infiltrating the city and disrupting it's activities, and they are known as The Rising Dawn. Most Ravokian's do not know the name of this organization, and what they do know they usually view as the acts of terrorist. Being a member of the Rising Dawn means constantly bearing the hatred (even if it's an unknown hatred) of the citizens of Ravok, as well as being in constant risk of capture, torture, interrogation, and eventual execution.

Songs and Stories

Ol' Rhysol's Ravok

Crows of Ravok

Ravok Flora and Fauna

Ravok Flora

Ravok Fauna

Ravok NPCs

Ravok NPC List

Informative Threads

Information threads
Verilian's SoapboxMore information on Ravok