A Watchful Eye
The foremost military power and repository of First Age technology outside of the Realm, Lookshy provides a counterbalance to the Scarlet Empire and is the primary enforcer of the overall stability that the Scavenger Lands enjoy. As one of the greatest concentrations of Dragon-Blooded and powerful Artifacts in Creation, Lookshy has successfully defied the Realm’s attempts to expand into the Riverlands for 700 years. Rebuilt on the ruins of Deheleshen by Seventh Legion survivors of the Great Contagion, the Lookshyans adhere to many of the societal and military concepts of the Shogunate more closely than anyone else.
While its influence is spread throughout the Scavenger Lands, the nation-state of Lookshy proper occupies a relatively small space on a promontory at the mouth of the Yanaze River, overlooking the waves of the Inland Sea. The city is about 15 miles square, though the great Lookshy Wall stretches across the promontory along the eastern end and in between lie numerous hinterlands.
Lookshy is the most powerful state in the Scavenger Lands and the military power of the Confederation of Rivers. Lookshy’s armies are the most loyal, disciplined and capable forces in the region, and, save for a few exceptions, all citizens of Lookshy were a part of the military at one point or another.
The city of Lookshy is definitely a sight to behold; a sprawling city of jade-infused stone sits at the mouth of the Yanaze. Known for their great military, it should come as no surprise that the wondrous city also houses both defenses in its very structure as well as permanent guards along its streets.
The Seventh Legion of the Dragon-Blooded Shogunate is at once the society and ruling class of Lookshy. Stationed in the Wood (East) Direction during the Shogunate, they played an important part of the defence of that quarter of Creation against the forces of the Fair Folk during the aftermath of the Great Contagion. After the Scarlet Empress drove off the invading raksha using the Imperial Manse, the survivors of the Seventh Legion gathered at the ruins of Deheleshen. As one of the few remaining stable societies after the rampant destruction of the Contagion, refugees flocked to the city, which was rebuilt under the name Lookshy.
After the founding of Lookshy, the Realm under the Scarlet Empress tried on several occasions to bring the Seventh Legion and Lookshy under her rule via force. Each time she was rebuffed, until the Realm simply gave up, acknowledging Lookshy as an independent power in Creation. As such, when the Realm made its various attempts to subjugate the East, Lookshy stood first and foremost against them, protecting the entire Direction through their martial prowess and valor.
The Seventh Legion practices a heterodox form of the Immaculate Faith, granting to its people nominal freedom of worship under the stated principle “Each man’s worship is his own”.
As a military organization, the Seventh Legion is meritocratic and very authoritarian, and runs the nation-state of Lookshy as a large Shogunate legionnary encampment. Punishments tend to be harsh and direct, but rarely if ever excessive or draconian.
The ruling council of the Seventh Legion is called the General Staff, and includes the leaders of the five Gentes of Lookshy nobility.
The Fourth Ring
Also called the Foreign Quarter or the Lower City, the Fourth Ring of Lookshy is accessible by anyone, as passes are needed to access any of the other districts. It largely consists of metic-run businesses, guild houses, marketplaces, apartments, temples, and salons. It’s a relatively safe place to be in Lookshy, as long as one stays on the main thoroughfares, made safe by regular patrols of justicars and mercenaries.
The Fourth Ring consists of five districts, each separated by protective walls. The District of Agriculture is the largest of the five and consists of small, meticulously maintained fields that supplement other production and serves as source of food in case of an emergency. The District of Trade is the first sight of any traveling into Lookshy by land and consists of large marketplaces. Anyone can set up shop here for a small price. The District of Blades is filled with blade smiths, weapon smiths, armorers, and martial instructors and is patrolled regularly by Mercenary Scales from the next district. The Hexagon houses Pel Kan’s Ordinaries, a famed mercenary company that provides peacekeeping patrols for the Hexagon and the District of Blades. The last district, The District of Craftsmen, houses workshops and warehouses which manufacture all sorts of non-martial products.
|Transit Passes and Access|
|Green Passes||For Visitors and metics to travel beyond the Fourth Ring and the Lower City, valid for one day to one week.|
|Blue Passes||For Foreign Legion soldiers, function as visitors’ passes for up to two weeks (beginning on the date of entry).|
|Red Passes||Used to bypass checkpoints and skip to the head of queues or waiting lists, only granted for very special circumstances with sufficient justification. Does not allow access to districts the bearer is not normally permitted.|
|Silver Passes||Emergency passes to grant access to any district at any time and the ability to skip all checkpoints and queues.|
The Third Ring
The Third Ring, or the Savant Quarter, houses schools, tea houses, libraries, game-lodges, and amphitheaters. It is a place of learning, rife with students, savants, philosophers, poets, and sorcerer-engineers.
The Third Ring consists, like the Fourth Ring, of five distinct districts. The Green Hunt is a very unique space in Lookshy, filled with forests and trails, giving the people of Lookshy a place to relax. It is also a place to honor the dead, tombs and giant victory-plates erected in unusual places. The District of Schools is home to the city’s finest academies and three prominent hospitals, as well as prestigious dojo and exclusive tea houses. The District of Artisans is not unlike the District of Craftsmen, with crafters plying their trade, although many of the items are of a more fragile quality. Given this district contains some of the city’s most valuable items, is it constantly monitored from above by sky ships. The District of Savants is filled with foundries, factories, and pollution (although a sorcerous engine keeps the pollution from any other district), all for the construction of Essence-powered weaponry, building, ships, and machines. The Academy of Sorcery is the last district of the Third Ring and, along with the Academy itself, is home to three fortified warehouses containing confiscated artifacts.
The Second Ring
The War Quarter, as this ring is often called, is brighter and safer than the other districts of Lookshy. Most citizens and many helots live and work here and many of Lookshy’s administrative offices can be found here.
The Second Ring consists of five distinct districts as well as residential areas.The Port District is the first of these districts and is home to Lookshy’s naval operation as well as the Lookshy Naval Academy and the Deheleshen Lighthouse, the oldest structure in Lookshy. The eastern section of the district, however, is the fabulous homes of the merchant princes of Lookshy, which host a number of exclusive and expensive galas. The Warehouse District is primarily used for storage of exports and dry goods intended for use by the military and has very limited and narrow access. The third district, The District of Barracks houses the soldiers of Lookshy and contains barracks, parade grounds, target ranges, training halls and administrative buildings. The next district is the District of the Legion which houses the Operations Directorate headquarters in what was once the Business District of Dehelesen. The last major district of the Second Ring is the District of Justice is also the most heavily guarded with only one entrance from the District of the Legion. It is the headquarters of the Justice and Security Directorates as well as the Nightwatch Citadel, Lookshy’s high-security prison.
The Old City
The old city is the one of the most unique parts of Lookshy as, with a few minor restorations, the Old City is as it was prior to the Contagion; nothing had ever breached far enough into Deheleshen to threaten it. Most of the buildings, which were once fortresses and mansions, are now administrative offices. There are three places in the Old City which hold an even greater value than the area itself. The Lookshy Manse is a heavily armored and equipped fortress, which is intended as both a launch point for long-range weapons and a retreat point. The Aviary is the landing point for the Sky Guard’s skyships as well as another powerful manse and The Teocall of Tu Yu is a massive pyramidal structure housing Tu Yu that is the ceremonial center of Lookshy.
The Lower City
Sitting 500 feet below the Old City and protected from the sea by a high, ancient wall and a massive citadel sits the Lower City. This is a district that never sleeps, with workers constantly transferring cargo from the docks to different warehouses in both the Lower City and the Warehouse District and maintenance personnel repairing and refitting triremes at all hours the the day. Due to the docks and the lack of permanent residences in this district, the majority of businesses consist of lunch bars, taverns, tea houses and those that make their living in maritime trades.
Forty-seven lift tubes run from the Lower City to the Port District in the Second Ring. These lifts are Essence-driven elevators and roughly half of them are working to carry cargo, equipment, or passengers on a trip that lasts between one and ten minutes (assuming the lift does not break down). During the peak hours, the wait for a lift can be between two and three hours, so many decide to use the system of stairs, ramps, and ladders that run along the retaining wall with lead to the Sava Heedra Terminal in the Port District.
Locations of Note
Firkin’s Bull, Gaming Club
In the Second Ring of Lookshy is Firkin’s Bull, a gaming club owned by a grizzled, old soldier who spent more than his fair share of time fighting for Lookshy. When he finally retired, he bought a small gaming club to allow him some consistent funds during his retirement. It’s a simple hole-in-the-wall type club and, more often than not, filled with soldiers.
The Fields of Gold, Chiaroscuran Tavern
While the base of the building is designed like a majority of Lookshyan buildings although clearly accented with Chiaroscuran designs and fake gold paints. The smells of the Southern city flow out of the tavern from dawn until dusk and the friendly waitstaff help the place remain ever popular.
The layers of society in Lookshy are rigidly defined and have changed little over the centuries. As a strong military state, troops and officers form the upper strata, non-serving Lookshyans are accorded respect and any others are viewed with suspicion.
Soldiers are drawn from the whole population of Lookshy. During their tours of duty, those in the military are given preference over anyone else.
Citizens, rich or poor, are simply Lookshyans who are not currently serving in the military; citizens who have served and left the military honorably are free to leave Lookshy, though few choose to do so. Citizens may attend and speak at council as they wish.
Helots are serfs, making up the majority of Lookshy’s inhabitants. While treated well compared to other serf classes, they are still considered less worthy than full citizens. Helots produce virtually all the material goods in Lookshy, build the buildings and serve as the bulk of the military’s infantry besides. Helots may attend council but may not speak or bring issues up, though they may form organizations led by a representative who may do so.
As long as they serve honorably and are dutiful, helots in their old age are taken care of by the state. Unlike citizens, the movement of helots is strictly regulated and they may not leave the promontory without dispensation from the General Staff. Helots may be elevated to the status of citizen for exceptional service, and a few dozen are always selected for this honor every year.
Metics are those from outside Lookshy: traders, travelers and diplomats. They are carefully kept track of and are treated with general suspicion by the natives of Lookshy, granted less legal protection than the common helot. They may rent but not own land, and though they may form contracts and partnerships, arbitration almost always goes in favor of the Lookshyan side. Metics may even marry into Lookshy’s native classes, but children of the union will be considered metics.
Indentured servants are the lowest of the low in Lookshy, having mired themselves in economic or legal troubles. These people are put in service to a citizen, provided only room, board and a small amount of money in exchange for the voiding of their debts and crimes. Notarized by the Adjutant General, an indentured service contract does not exceed five years, and at the end of this service they regain whatever status they once had. It is illegal to abuse an indentured service, but they have virtually no rights otherwise.
Natives of Lookshy tend to be fit and healthy, and even the elderly exercise regularly, often outdoors where they perform gentle, stretching Katas which look graceful but are merely slowed-down versions of full martial arts moves. By performing the same moves at full speed, an elderly Lookshyan can defend himself quite well from an attacker.
Hair is normally worn short or in tight braids which can easily be clipped up under a helmet. Wearing one’s hair down indicates trust or a sense of security. Normal clothing is usually practical and often looks like it has a military cut, but with civilian colors. For more formal situations beautiful Kimonos, Cheongsam’s and elaborate tunics over trousers are worn, along with boots or flat soled shoes. All of these outfits are designed so they can be fought in at need.
Music is a big part of Lookshy life, and the wandering “troubadour from Lookshy” is a common enough sight in the river province that Rangers in intelligence gathering roles sometimes use it as cover. Most Lookshyans sing – maybe not well, but they are normally in rhythm and enthusiastically loud.
Lookshy cuisine is notable for being hot and spicy. Originally this came from the need to disguise the fact that what the soldier was given to eat was actually something he’d probably rather not consume, like fish guts or pond algae. Even though Lookshy now has as much choice in food as any other prosperous city, some odd dishes remain a staple of the local diet and the custom of adding chillies to just about everything remains. Many local homes have a number of pots outside or on the roof where the residents grow varieties of brightly colored chillies which find their way into almost any dish. Traditional recipes from all over Creation have been adopted by the locals, but even these are normally “improved” by the addition of chillies. Often they are also added to replace a traditional component of the meal that is unavailable, which can result in some meals which outsiders find almost impossible to finish.
Lookshy uses the original Shogunate calendar rather than the revised one used by the Realm. Epochs are divided into five eras each 25 years in length, which are further divided into cycles of five years. The cycles are elementally associated and named after creatures associated with the element, in a sequence which ranges from “risen” to “fallen”. A person’s birth year is considered to be important, though even someone born in an “inauspicious” year will tend to consider this merely a burden to be overcome.
Epochs are numbered and eras are named after metals, so the Realm Year 768 is “the Year of the Mouse, Bronze Era of the 11th Epoch of the Dragon Blooded Shogunate”. In casual conversation this would normally be shortened to “the Year of the Mouse”.
The hinterlands stretch east from Lookshy proper to the promontory wall, making up the agricultural backbone of the Seventh Legion. Each hinterland features a standardized town hall where the council elders and the examiner inferior work. These towns are laid out with military defense and support in mind, the most well-protected hinterlands being the mining communities of the farthest east.
Lookshyans of some wealth are expected to patronize one of the hinterlands outlying the city. Depending on their resources and proclivities, they may provide a hinterland with a public building, improve irrigation of the fields or even expand the size and scope of the whole province.