An Imperfect Circle
Lookshyans value freedom derived from honor, integrity, honesty, and valor. They instill discipline and martial spirit into their children. They are part of a tradition that stretches back to a previous age. Nearly 800 years ago, Nefvarin Gilshalos, field commander of the 7th Legion received his final orders: proceed to Deheleshen and protect the River Province. The 7th Legion has done so ever since. This is Lookshy.
The entire society of Lookshy is built around supporting the final orders of the 7th Legion. From government, to city planning, to foreign relations, all aspects of Lookshy have their roots in the Legion and give their fruits to the Legion. Active duty soldiers are honored beyond other residents; new construction is carefully approved by the tactical planners on the Administrative Staff; art and education a geared toward a military bent; the government itself is run by the General Staff. Even the fashion of Lookshy is styled after practical military garb with little ornamentation.
But the values instilled from a bygone era, valor, honor, integrity, give the citizens of Lookshy a sense of personal freedom that insists they participate in the governing of their city. Citizens can speak before the Council, and grievances are heard by the Directorate of Justice. Politics take the form of great philosophical debates about the overall direction of the cities policy before the Council. The rolls of the 7th Legion are open to all, citizen and helot alike, and promotion are driven by merit. In fact, service to the Legion offers helots a path to citizenship, and a full stake in the government.
The 7th Legion of Lookshy is the last remnant of the Shogunate, the Creation-spanning order lead by the Dragon-Blooded for centuries after the the fall of the Solars at the end of the First Age. As the Contagion burned itself out, and the Fairfolk hordes of the Balorian Crusade swept across creation, the 7th Legion arrived at the ruins of Deheleshen with orders to hold the River Province. The officers of the Legion rejected the Scarlet Empress's claims of authority over them. As they rebuilt the ruins of Deheleshen to Lookshy over the first century, they resisted the Realm's attempts to seize power in the River Lands. Since then, they've fought numerous Realm invasions, several barbarian hordes, a resurgent Raksha crusade, and fought nearly every other nation in the Scavenger Lands to a standstill.
With the emergence of the Confederation of Rivers, Lookshy became a keystone member. They have shifted their stance from imperialist expansion to that of senior military partner. Officers of the other nations of the Confederation attend 7th Legion military academies and many nations host Lookshy garrisons. When external forces threaten the River Lands, Lookshy leads the coalition of nations to defend it. Most recently, Lookshy lead the Confederation forces against the armies of Thorns and its military "observers" from the Realm during the Autocrat's War. Now Lookshy prepares for war once again, though whether the Threat comes from a newly resurgent Realm, the dead commanded by the Mask of Winters, or a threat yet to be seen, the General Staff does not know.
Lookshy has a highly structured and hierarchical society, though it is not without mobility.
- Citizens, a status conferred by birth or by deed, are aloud to seek public office in the Directorates and speak before the Council. They can expect to be cared for in their dotage and have broad access to education and opportunity. After their three tours of military service, they are even aloud too leave Lookshy, though few choose to do so.
- Helots are not looked down upon by citizens, but expected to strive for the excellence that brings promotion to higher status. While they may not speak before the Council, the can attend, and many seek citizen patrons to speak for them if they have need. Helots reside in planned housing provided by the city and are expected to work in their assigned field for the betterment of the the city and the Legion.
- Metics are the foreign residence of Lookshy. They are looked upon with some mistrust, have limited rights politically, are are restricted to the outer districts of the city without a transit pass. This group includes foreign merchants, ambassadors, and students from across the River Province and beyond.
- Soldiers are drawn from the citizens and helots alike. While on active service soldiers are afforded special honors, regardless of their background. Promotion is done almost exclusively on merit alone, and carries the status of citizenship for helots who attain greater rank. Soldiers are expected to live in their assigned barracks during their period of service.
- The Dragon-Blooded of Lookshy are always afforded the honors of being a soldier, for they are expected to be active members of the 7th Legion throughout their lives. They are inducted into the Legion as mortal soldiers would be, and must climb the ranks on the same merit system as their comrades. They can, however, expect faster promotion due to their innate talents and the extra attention the Administrative Staff give their progress. Dragon-blooded who show little martial aptitude or inclination, which is rare in a society that venerates military values and success, are steer toward careers as administrators or savants supporting the 7th Legion.
- Through debts or crimes, a resident of Lookshy, usually a helot or a metic, may be forced into a period as an indentured servant. Such contracts must be approved by the Administrative Staff. They loose their political rights for the period of service, but are protected from abuse. A contract of indenture can be superseded by a term of service as a soldier; the contract is temporarily suspended and returns in force at the end of active duty.
- While slavery is illegal, there are still slaves in Lookshy in small number. Suggesting such would likely provoke an hostile if not violent response from most Lookshayan who place a high value on freedom. Citizens and helots cannot be enslaved, and the 7th Legion has threatened war to ensure the return of people in the past. But slave brought into the city are not freed, and those who are kept there have no legal standing.
Great Families of Lookshy
The Gentes are the great families of Lookshy that trace their Dragon-Blooded lineage back to heroes of the 7th Legion. There are roughly half a dozen that are considered great gentes, and nearly a score of lesser gentes. The majority of Lookshy's Dragon-Blooded come from the getes or marry into them to ensure the strength of their bloodline.
- Gen Amilar are patrons of knowledge, learning, and art. They maintain one of the greatest private libraries in Creation and are heavily involved in the academies of Lookshy.
- Gens Karal has a proud history of military service. The scions of the family are pushed to seek command positions within the 7th Legion and they glorify their warrior ancestors.
- Gens Maheka are heavily invested in the industry of Lookshy. They fund and operate foundries, weapon manufactories, and military construction. They are extremely devoted to the Immaculate Faith and considered models of proper behavior.
- Gen Nefvarin descends from the general of the 7th Legion at the founding of Lookshy. They have fallen from among the great gentes but are still afford a special degree of honor.
- Gens Teresu is central to Lookshy's navy and merchant marine. Their focus on naval matters means they dominate their chosen sphere but have little influence in other policy areas.
- Gens Yushoto is a large and egalitarian family that shuns extravigance, and does not pressure its members to any particular career. They hold broad influence in all aspects of Lookshy's society.
Lookshyan are not particularly religious compared to many others in Creation. They reserve their prayers for the patron gods of the city and the Legion.
- Tu Yu is the City Father of Deheleshen and still considered the god of the city of Lookshy. His massive Shogunate era temple is one of the most glorious adorned buildings in the old city. While some consider him a god for a bygone era, none question the god's dedication to his city and his people.
- Tien Yu is Goddess of Lookshy and the 7th Legion. She is the daughter of Tu Yu, or perhaps his wife, sister, or mother. She appears less frequently than her father in the city of Lookshy, but manifests on the battlefield in Lookshy's greatest hour of need.
- Sunipa, eastern goddess of war and soldiers, is another popular goddess among the soldiers of the 7th Legion. She has a number of small shrines in various forms in the barracks of the Field Forces.
The Immaculate Faith, Lookshy's sect of the Immaculate Philosophy, idealizes the Righteous Warrior and teaches that all Dragon-Blooded must strive to emulate this ideal. The Faith is considered personal and only the Dragon-Blooded are held to its standards. Lookshy rejects the precepts of the Realm's Immaculate Order under the hierarchy of the Mouth of Peace. They are less concerned with the hunt for Anathema and discourage cloistered monasticism.
Ancestor worship in Lookshy focuses more on a personal reflection about past heroes than giving offerings to the dead. The Legion maintains shrines to those who die in service.
Allies and Enemies
Lookshayans believe that only they have earned to be judged by their own laws. Others have not exhibited the same strength of moral character and are not worthy of the same consideration. After all, it is the blades and blood of Lookshy that have kept the River Lands free from the Realm. They view their place in the Confederation of Rivers as extremely important to their interests as they to not wish to waste their strength fighting petty wars with the other states of the River Lands. They were instrumental in leading the Confederation to victory during the Autocrat's War.
The 7th Legion keeps garrison forces across the River Lands to respond to local threats as they emerge. The greatest of these garrisons are the redoubts, each one host eight to ten thousand soldiers with arms and supplies to operate independently for close to a year. While the host nations do not always appreciate having a large foreign force so close, few make an issue of it.
Lookshy has a special relationship with the Helot Kingdoms. These lands were once seen by Lookshy as their imperial domains. After a series of limited wars, they granted the region autonomy and it is now consider part of the Hundred Kingdoms. Part of the end to the war was the end of official tribute and levy requirements. Many cities in the region still send gifts to keep themselves in favor with the 7th Legion and send auxiliary levies to ensure Lookshy's military aid in times of need. Residence of the Helot Kingdoms have the right to relocate to Lookshy or its hinterland where they are immediately granted the status of helot. Some of the peripheral states of the Helot Kingdoms, such as Varsi, do not have this agreement, but are called such as a geographical distinction.
While not technically helot kingdoms, Marukan and Puyo have an especially close relationship with the city of the 7th Legion. Lookshayans see the Marukani as kindred spirits, both valuing freedom and exhibiting a strong martial spirit. Both land have extensive trade relationships with Lookshy, sending horses and jade to fuel the Legions war efforts.
City of Lookshy
Lookshy rises in tiers on a promontory at the mouth of the Yanazee River. Colossal statues of Nefvarin Gilshalos and Tien Yu guard the main gates. The city is planned, built for military defense should invaders breach the outer rolls. Districts are isolated by interior walls as the city rises. Access to the inner districts requires passing through checkpoints, and foreigners require transit passes to pass beyond the Foreign Quarter and the Lower City. Wide clean paved streets are lined with sturdy austere buildings with minimal decoration. Ancient construction of a bygone era is scattered among the functional modern buildings, a relic of Lookshy's past as Deheleshan.
The Foreign Quarter and the Lower City
The outermost ring of the city's defenses include the areas readily accessible to foreigners. Mercenary peacekeepers patrol the streets, giving directions to foreign visitors. Residents of Lookshy pass through the streets with purpose, not pausing to take in the sights.
Immediately within the gates, the well organized District of Trade gives foreign merchants a place to sell their wares and transact business. The quarter includes Lookshy's largest district, the well cared for District of Agriculture, which could in theory supplement the city's rations under siege. The District of Craftsmen holds the workshops, showrooms, and apartments of many of Lookshy's craftsmen. The heavily patrolled District of Blades is full of weapon-smithies, armorers, smelters, practice grounds, and dojos.
Dominating the quarter is the Hexagon, a massive six-sided fortress compound of Pel Kan's Ordinaries, a mercenary company the patrols the city and keeps the peace in Lookshy. Many of the company are veterans of the 7th Legion who want to stay closer to their homes and families. The entire company is considered an active reserve unit should the city come under attack.
Five hundred feet below the promontory lies the Lower City. While well patrolled, the district is the typical hive of activity, warehouses, inns, taverns, and brothels common in Creations ports. What makes Lookshy's harbor unique is the Port Citadel, a navel fortress with 17 defensive spires, and the massive essence powered lifts that ferry cargo into the Port District high above. Passengers can queue to use the lifts, with the waits stretching 2-3 hours at times.
A small population of refugees from Thorns have taken up residence in the Lower City.
The Scholars Quarter
The third ring, when measured from Lookshy's heart, the Savant's Quarter holds the cities centers of art, learning, and sorcery. Students from Lookshy and abroad fill the quarter, always rushing to fit in everything the university requires of them. Amphitheaters host academic lectures and public parks hold groups of students in study or debate.
The District of Schools hosts some of the finest academies and hospitals in Creation alongside prestigious dojos and training grounds. Fashionable tea houses, restaurants, and shops cater to the students who come to train from across the Scavenger lands. The District of Artisans is Lookshy's most richly decorated district and hosts artisans that have risen above the level of mere craftsmen, including some Dragon-Blooded who specialize in crafting jade artifacts for the Gentes and the 7th Legion.
Dominating the quarter is the heavily guarded District of Savants. The workshops of this district maintain the valuable artifice that supports 7th Legions operations.The district hosts Lookshy's Academy of Sorcery, one of the last in Creation. Rumors say the beneath the academy, the 7th Legion stores vast troves of dangerous Fist Age weapons.
Unusual for what is otherwise an highly ordered city, the Green Haunt is a massive wild part with trails, game fields, feast pits, tree-lodges, and a zoo. The park also host a few prestigious estates, triumphal arches for grand campaigns, and the overgrown tombs of Lookshy's heroes. Some areas are left to grow wild, giving the city's youth a safe place to explore.
The Legion's Quarter
Ringing the Old City are the residencies of the majority of Lookshy's population and the administrative nerve-centers of the 7th Legion. The residential areas are dominated by the palace-compounds of the Gentes and tightly packed, multi-story apartments, ambassadorial mansions, and small commemorative parks and monuments fill the crowd the spaces between.
The District of Barracks is the communal living and training area for active duty soldiers. The District of the Legion contains the central command of the 7th Legion. The District of Justice includes the headquarters of the Justice and Security Directorates as well as Nightwatch Citadel. Nightwatch is Lookshy's high security prison that is build to contain bound gods, rogue Dragon-Blooded, and is rumored to have held Anathema. and the heart of the 7th Legion.
The Port District, situated above the Lower City, hosts the naval headquarters and controls access to the Warehouse District that holds Lookshy's material reserves. The ancient Light House of Deheleshen towers thirty stories over the rest of the district. A remnant of the city's First Age origins, the slowly tapering shaft is topped with a crystal housing that contains a brilliant essence-powered light.
The Old City
The heart of Deheleshan has never fallen. Even the Raksha horde that devistated the outer regions of the city could not penetrate its walls. Unlike the mostly austere and planned outer rings, the Old City is full of massive, highly decorated construction from a greater age. The Teocalla is the multi-tiered pyramid temple of Tu Yu. The Aviary, a massive obelisk, is a building now unique in Creation; an airship dock that serves the few remaining airships 7th Legion's elite Sky Guard. The Lookshy Manse is a ancient fortress of minarets and domes whose essence fueled defenses are seen as a last redoubt in the unimaginable event of a siege breaking through the city's walls and the might of the 7th Legion.
The lands around Lookshy that support the great city are protected by a 30-foot wall fortified by towers every five miles. The towers are topped with warning beacons and signaling flags. Three gate-fortresses provide access through the wall, and each is heavily guarded by 7th Legion veterans. Within the hinterland, towns form the centralized administrative center for the highly planned agriculture and irrigation. The Gentes sponsor public works in some of the largest of the hinterland communities.
- Wasuvi - gens Amilar
- Javasavi - gens Karal
- Langtang - gens Maheka
- Patna – gens Teresu
- Birit Bazaz - gens Yushoto