the Jewel of the Desert, the City of Music
Kerani is the largest city in the southern third of the continent of Bhaskara, lying on the north bank of the Music River about halfway between the mountains and the sea. Bhanu founded the city over two centuries ago with survivors from the doomed city of Aadi.
The city, built as much with magic as with stone, is raised a few feet above the desert. This prevents the city from being inundated during the river’s yearly flood. Shaped like a wheel, walls form the spokes that divide Kerani into five districts: the Districts of Sand, Sun, Water, Music, and Sky. In the center, Bhanu’s palace towers over the rest of the city, giving the Lord of Jarayu a magnificent view of the seat of his power.
The day-to-day running of the city is left to Bhanu’s chosen Pasha, Ahsan. This makes Ahsan a very powerful man politically. Personally, Ahsan is a cleric of considerable talent and rank within Bhanu’s own temple, the Temple of the Sun.
Below the Pasha, each district is ruled by an Emir, a Syndic, and a Synod. Each Syndic is comprised of the wealthiest and most powerful merchants of the district, and each Synod is composed of the Masters of the district’s resident Guild(s). The Syndic and the Synod together advise the Emir, and enforce the Emir’s decrees with the help of the Guard.
In this way, the needs of each District, the people, and the city, are met.
The District of Sand is northernmost, and is a military district. Emir Haidar, the Lion, is a firm but fair leader, and General of Bhanu’s troops. He is ultimately responsible for the recruitment, training, and assignment of Kerani’s Guardsmen. The city’s barracks are located on either side of the Sand Gate which bisects the Sand District outer wall. A few small units of elite soldiers frequently train in the deep desert beyond the gates.
While the elite remain in the district training to be military leaders, the rest of the guardsmen rotate through the emirates. No squad is assigned to a single emirate for very long, and usually will serve within each district over the course of the year. Once a year the squads are broken down and reformed. This arrangement is meant to help the guards form strong attachments with many of their brothers, but retain ultimate loyalty to Bhanu rather than forming a loyalty to a single Emir. Of course, all plans have flaws, and some guards are quite corrupt.
The city’s armorers and weapon smiths reside here, and the Masters of these guilds are the most powerful members of the district’s Synod. Most of the city’s other smiths also reside here.
East around the city’s wheel is the District of the Sun, Kerani’s spiritual center. Though there are temples and small places of worship in the other districts, two of the city’s four major temples are here: the Temple of the Sun, and the Temple of the Moon. Kerani’s best healers belong to the Sun and Moon. Minor temples include the Temple of Stars, the Brothers of the Burning Wind, and the Sisters of the Open Sand. Both the brotherhood and the sisterhood are monastic orders venerating the great desert. The syndic of this district is small and nearly powerless, in favor of the synod which is ruled by the High Priests and Priestesses of the temples. Emir Bhanatha rules with a light but steady hand.
Emir Gulshahn rules the south-eastern District of Water. The district houses the Temple of Life, which is responsible for supplying Kerani with fresh water, and cleansing water before it returns to the river. The temple is also responsible for irrigation of the fields and orchards on the south side of the river.
All of Kerani’s water flows into the city through the Well House on the river bank at western edge of the district. This is actually a small temple dedicated to the god of water and life. The water is purified, then distributed throughout the city. Any waste water the city produces, including urine, flows through the Purifier, another small temple on the river bank, this time at the eastern edge of the district. Here, priests remove any impurities from the water before it returns to the river. They also collect anything useful from the water, such as ammonia and ureic acid, for use elsewhere.
The priests and priestesses are all elementalists working exclusively with water. The water priests are very good curing illness and disease, but have limited ability healing injuries.
The District of Music occupies the south-western wedge of the city, and is ruled by Emir Nishad. It houses the Great Library, the Fools’ Hall, and the Temple of Celestial Song.
Lord Bhanu believes the lesser races should try to enlighten themselves, and so encourages art, music, philosophy, and every branch of learning. He has decreed that any Kerani citizen may attend one of the Schools for up to four years without charge. A student who exhibits great talent usually finds a patron, and may apprentice with a school for up to fourteen years. Most people, however, find a year or two sufficient. Bhanu holds out hope that this will change, and that his people will, in time, seek more knowledge.
All of Kerani’s great artisans work and live here, and all of her entertainers train here.
There are several theaters near the Palace, and the performances are free to any who wish to attend, supported by Bhanu’s personal largesse. In addition, troupes range the city, putting on juggling and puppet shows, plays, and concerts wherever there is room and the mood strikes them. Apprentices from the Great Library will make copies of books, particularly children’s books, and distribute them around the city.
The District of the Sky is the center of commerce and government for Kerani. All of the city’s administrative buildings are clustered near the Palace at the inner edge of this district. Warehouses line the outer wall. All traffic into and out of the city passes through the Sky Gate, which bisects the district’s outer wall. Emir Firoz, a shrewd businessman, governs all trade into and out of the city. His Syndic, the most powerful Syndic in the city, governs the distribution of all goods throughout the city. The wealthiest men tend to live here. The most corrupt also tend to live here. They are not necessarily the same.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.