SHAZRAD: City of Veils

Within the city itself there are many places to wander. There are a few places of especial renown, but minor sites are often well worth a visit, as well.

Major sites

The Temple of the Star-Eyed God

Dedicated to the god, this is a place of learning and healing. One can find two distinct groups here: scholars in the renowned library, studying the multitudes of books, as well as the ill in the infirmary who are tended by priests. Some of the priests are extraordinarily skilled healers.

The temple is open to all believers and is a place of prayer and sanctuary. Weapons are not allowed within unless they have been dedicated to the service of the god, and any sort of deliberate harm is strictly forbidden. However, one may not remain there beyond a single day and night.

The Bazaar of the Patchwork Roof

This is actually the largest open-air market in Shazrad, and the "patchwork roof" is now an expansive, expensive canopy of oilcloth and imported wood. Even well-to-do merchants often have stalls here, run by their relatives or apprentices; the days when the Bazaar was a motley collection of beggars, belly dancers and peddlers are long past. As a reminder to thieves, a chopping block is at the center of the Bazaar and is always manned by guards ready to cut off offending hands. Members of the House of the Lightfoot Cats are generally wiser than to "acquire" something from the Bazaar...or if they must, their House may attempt to negotiate with the House of the Crescent Sword, especially where foreign merchants and Shazrad's security are concerned.

The Lighthouse of Ten Eyes

Shazrad's lighthouse has been in service for years beyond counting, undergoing numerous repairs and redesigns along the way. After all, this is what ships first see when they sail toward the famed city-port. The "ten eyes" come from the ten distinct patterns of light that are produced, usually as signals to Shazrad's own merchant fleet. They are:

  • Waves: Safe sailing.
  • Feather: Festival in Shazrad. Visitors welcome, just remember to pay the docking fees.
  • Lightning: Storm or flood conditions.
  • Starburst: Night-time or fog warning, navigate with extreme caution.
  • Flashing stars: Magical hazards spotted recently in the region.
  • Triangle: Port is closed for internal reasons. Try your luck elsewhere or suffer the consequences.
  • Circle: Quarantine. Ships are advised to bypass Shazrad and find a port further down the coastline.
  • Talon: Dragon patrol is out and hunting. Beware.
  • Flame: Pirates or other living hazards have been spotted recently in the region.
  • Crescent: A signal to Shazrad's war fleet that enemies have been sighted.
The lighthouse is run by trusted members of the House of the Watching Dragon, due to their technical skill; the lighting effects are often achieved by using colored lenses and other optical paraphernalia. Most of the time a dragon is stationed here as a lookout.

Visitors are only welcome with the House's approval, due to the lighthouse's critical role.

Garden of Prisms

This is the famed rock garden maintained by the House of the Crescent Sword. It's actually one of Shazrad's newer attractions, for Jameel Jorun believes that any warrior ought to meditate upon beauty, balance and tranquility. To that end he imported rocks from all corners of the world, and with the help of like-minded soldiers (and an architect or two) created a rock garden. It has many small, twisting pathways and alcoves that make it seem larger than it is, and offers privacy to those who need a place to think. It's also an ever-changing spectacle, as visitors leave their own rocks or rearrange the ones they find. There are pillars from which prisms hang (hence the name) and benches for the weary of foot. Unlike most House retreats, it's open to the public two days a week (the actual days may vary, and it's best to check with the guards).

Minor sites

Beggars' Lane:
      See Hound's Tooth Lane.

Hound's Tooth Lane:
      (also Beggars' Lane) A street that runs from Farikh's home to the House of the Watching Dragon, said to have once been a either a track for racing dogs or adjacent to a mansion with notoriously vicious watchdogs. It is now a place where beggars congregate for shelter from the sun.

Khalim's fish:
      The Khalim, whose estate lies on the same avenue as the Temple of the Starborn Word, has replaced one section of the estate's wall with a thick sheet of glass so that all may see the huge, exotic hyena-sized freshwater fish that dwells within. Not only is it a blatant public display, much admired and reviled, it has become a watchword for blatant public displays.

      A small but fiercely independent nation, known for its buccaneers.

Seagull's Haunt:
      A dockside seafood restaurant with a sparse shell-and-net decor theme, not as shabby as its exterior would suggest.

Street of Painted Eyes:
      A rather seedy warehouse area near less reputable attractions, such as courtesans.

Terrace of Hanging Shadows:
      A cluster of apartments in an upscale residential district, noted for its hanging plants.

Unhearing Walls:
      A small foodshop near the Garden of Prisms run by a deaf man, so all ordering is by pointing.

Wagoneer's Yards:
      An area dominated by warehouses and wagons, near the Bazaar of the Patchwork Roof.

Copyright © 2000-2001 by Alioqui & Yoon Ha Lee

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