Lalika (pronounced “lah LEE kah”) means “beautiful woman.” It is a small but very prosperous nation with a strong, well-trained standing army. Lalika trades extensively with Mohanshu, Mhadhavi, and Mahday, and across the Urvil Sea with Chirayu. Lalikan envoys are not welcome in Devidhyaan or the Vasu plains, and trade with Jarayu is limited, primarily to black market items.
The capital city is Adia (ah DEE ah), located on the tip of the Lalikan peninsula. The entire city is built of marsh-land wood, and is on stilts to survive the yearly flooding from storms. These floods scour the waterways of silt and debris, keeping the lanes open. Though the city includes numerous beautiful arched bridges, much of its traffic is in boats.
There are two other major cities: Jafari (jah FA ree), and Sadiki (sah DEE kee).
Jafari, which means “stream”, sits at the headwaters of the Varun River and includes a large garrison. The city is also sometimes called Mountain Gate because it guards the largest pass between Lalika and Jarayu. The pass directly connects Jafari with the city of Nishad. Most of the trade with Jarayu comes through this pass.
Sadiki is a coastal city, located at the mouth of the Zuberi River at the southern edge of the Lalika. Sadiki is a rowdier city than either Adia or Jafari. Its military presence is naval, and they have no real threats in the area. The priesthood has less political power here, having lost some of their influence to the merchant seamen and the slavers. Sadiki has the most robust slave market on the continent.
Government in Lalika
In most towns and villages, an elder or council of elders will govern the community, including the surrounding lands which service that community. The ranking priest in the community also has a strong voice, and serves as an advisor to the elder or elders. Because priests of Janesh are quick to punish any perceived heresy, elders who go against the advice of their priest are soon receiving funeral rites. In most places, however, the priest rarely steps in over mundane matters.
Adia is ruled by Janesh’s favored High Priest. As such, this person is the single most powerful being, other than Janesh himself, in Lalika.
Jafari is usually governed by the military commander who is overseeing the garrison, in conjunction with a high-level priest of the Order of the Talon, a military order of the Priesthood.
Sadiki’s leadership changes with the tides. Often she is governed by a retired sea captain. Although the priesthood doesn’t have the same power here as elsewhere, only a fool would ignore their advice, and a captain who lives long enough to retire is no fool.
Religion and Magic
Janesh Lalika’s Priesthood is the only one permitted in Lalika, though there are many orders. Any other form of worship is ruthlessly eliminated. Though people will obey the strictures of any priest from any of the orders, two of the orders have been given real power by Janesh himself. The Order of Janesh is predominantly administrative. The High Priest in Adia, who is the highest authority in Lalika other than Janesh, is of this order. The Order of the Talon is a military order, training battle priests.
Magic, in Lalika, is strictly forbidden, being the province of the gods. Anyone caught with magic of any kind is sentenced to death. Anyone caught with magical paraphernalia is sentenced to death. Even walking sticks (which could be turned into magical staves) and non-magical tattoos fall under this ban. No one outside the priesthood may have books or scrolls except those distributed by the priesthood, and having paper, parchment, vellum, or ink in a private residence is also usually grounds for execution. Business-people keep their records, and record-keeping supplies, in their stores and in plain sight. Even the jewelers of Lalika are an order of priesthood, turning out jewelry certified blessed and free from magic. No one wears jewelry without this stamp. One can find black market charms bearing the Jewelers’ stamp, if one knows where to look.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.