Zhaltev [location] [in wiki]

Old world development posts that have been reviewed and incorporated or put aside.
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Gia Rilan
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Zhaltev [location] [in wiki]

Post by Gia Rilan » Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:30 am

This location was added to the wiki.

Location: The area of St. Petersburg. The city rests on the shores of the Balshoi Morey, a great inland sea.

Government: The government in Zhaltev, which at first can appear complex, is a very straightforward and simple system. As it is a city of predominantly shifters the position of leader (referred to as ‘Syordan,’ the honorific for leader) is settled by fighting. The strongest holds the position, but can be challenged by anyone of the city. Most syordani have been from the three founding families, Iordan, Jorvyk, and Dveshiniy. Currently the leadership is held by Valko Iordan, and this family has held the position for the past three years. Valko Iordan has been syordan for two years, and holds the city firmly.

All of the government positions are won by fighting. A challenge may be called by any member of the city and the winner of the challenge is the new official. Open challenges are regarded as quick and easy ways to settle disputes and are very commonplace. Fights held in secret are viewed as less honorable, and more disputable because of the lack of impartial citizens as witnesses.

Most government positions are not held for long, due to the method of open challenges. It makes the city rather rocky in regards to long-term policies and dealing with other cities, not that Zhaltev has any kind of world name.

Military: The Ohrana (guard) oversee the well-being of the city. They supervise the entrants to Zhaltev, which include a few traders and immigrants, a diplomat once in a blue moon, and the rare person who is ‘just passing through.’ They provide a rough guide in the form of warnings to the visitors about the unwritten rules as they enter the city, and are they to give a gentle reminder the first time a visitor messes up. The second time a visitor breaks the unwritten rules, the Ohrana haul them off to prison, regardless of social status. This is done to keep the general peace of the city.

Populace: Most of the people in Zhaltev are shifters of varying types, werewolves being the most common. There is a goodly assortment of shifters beyond just the wolves, though, which include bears, a few tigers, some aquatic creatures, and a very small number of prey creatures. Humans are a minority in the city, and most don’t stay long. The dynamics of the politics and street-life is often too much for humans to stand for extended periods.

Newcomers, referred to as ‘postoroniy’ (outsiders), are treated warily, if politely. The Zhaltevites are coolly polite when they receive visitors and very reserved. They keep the conversation light and seem to make a point of keeping still.

Local customs:
Language: The language spoken in Zhaltev is much like Russian. For female names, first and last, an ‘a’ ends the name. Iordan turns into Iordana, ect. Anyone freshly entering the city will note that most inhabitants can speak the common languages and pick up phrases in various dialects very easily. Newcomers will also notice that half the time people don’t talk, as opposed to muted growling and subtle body language.

Trade: The barter system accounts for most of the transactions in Zhaltev, though Bishan are not uncommon. Trade in and out of the city is rare, but the few exports are of salt, which is gathered in great amounts from the Balshoi Morey.

In regards to leadership: Most people in the city will follow the Syordan without question. Because of the open challenges, there has never been a revolution in the city. The open challenge ensures that one can get their voice heard irregardless of social status, which in turn keeps the general public relatively complacent when it comes to their leaders. The great number of werewolves in the city also make it seem like more of a pack structure than a proper government, though other types of shifters don’t always agree with that idea, and syordani who are werewolves are usually challenged more than the other species.

‘Unwritten Rules’: Some of the unwritten rules of Zhaltev include wearing fur that is not your own, selling or wearing silver, insulting various god(desse)s or families, a refusal to respect others wishes, and voicing species hatred. The punishment varies depending on the offense, but the strongest punishment that the Ohrana legally gives is total expulsion from the city. Illegally is another matter entirely. Open challenges do not apply to visitors, and the Ohrana breaks up these clashes, but the quieter fights will go ‘unnoticed’ by the peacekeepers if the visitor has violated the unwritten rules.

Terrain/weather: Zhaltev is surrounded by plains for about two miles outside of the city, which sits on a gently rising hill. Bordering the plains to the north and most of the eastward lands is a dense forest, while a rough road bears away to the south across the plains. The Balshoi is to the west of the city and provides fish and salt. A large river (Blyesk Reka, the Shining River) empties into the Balshoi and winds its way upstream over the northern edge of the plains and then into the forest.

In the winter the land is covered in ice and snow. An eerie silence blankets the land as well, which can be unnerving for outsiders. The river freezes solid, which includes frozen waterfalls inside the forest. Great chunks of ice float in the Balshoi, making boat traffic hazardous.

Spring and summer are short affairs around the city, spring usually coming in very late and summer leaving early. Fall is very quick, and winter dominates the land. The lands south are a mild version of tundra and then get marshy in the spring and summer, sinking the road in parts.

History: Zhaltev was established by three families of shifters, the werewolf packs of Iordan and Dveshiniy, and the mixed assortment of shifters know as the Jorvyk clan. They settled in the region because it was compatible with their animal sides. Infighting didn’t occur during the first few years of the small settlement on the hill by the Balshoi, but as other shifters were drawn to it by the promise of relative security it expanded, becoming a more permanent town, with buildings built to withstand intense cold in the winter, and feelings that the town needed a true leader emerged. Brazen young people of the original families began to argue over who should lead the town, and because animals settle things with force usually, it turned to fighting for the position of leader.

The first syordan (honorific for ‘sir’), was Evgeny Jorvyk, a bear shifter. He led the town, which had taken its name a few years before the fighting began, for three years until he was taken down by a Dveshiniy, then the leadership was taken back by another Jorvky. The syordani has shifted back and forth among the families and a few outsiders, but the original founders have much sway over the city.

As the city grew larger with the influx of immigrants and children the syordani began to strengthen it with walls and gates. Syordana (the female honorific) Svetlana Dveshiniya lived in some fear of the outside world and built great walls surrounding the city, and built up and fortified the port. She commanded a large earthwork to be dug around the city but was challenged and defeated while it was still being built. Work on the fortification ceased and it remains halfway dug, a shallow ditch backed by a rise of packed dirt surrounding the walls about an 1/8 of a mile away from the remains of the walls.

The city expanded steadily as more and more shifters flocked to it. With more people came more fights, and the populace often didn’t get along. The various syordani kept the city from destroying itself from within, but only barely. Neighbor fought neighbor, and families banded together stronger than ever. Fighting in the street was very common, and the Ohrana fought amongst themselves as well, causing even more chaos.

Syordan Aleksandr Iordan was the strongest leader that Zhaltev has known, or at least the more forceful. He reasoned that the tension was coming from having so many shifters in a closed-in environment and he ordered the walls knocked down. He channeled the stress and strain of his people into the destruction of Syordana Svetlana Dveshiniya’s fortifications. The populace destroyed the walls quickly, and almost instantly things began to calm down. A ring of rubble still surrounds the city, almost a wall in itself. The shifters tend to have little trouble navigating over it, but a human would struggle, unless they were specially trained to climb rough rocks.

Syordan Aleksandr Iordan was also the person to hold the title of syordan the longest. He called himself syordan for ten years, and the city dragged itself out of its tense state under his guidance. The city evened out of its near-destructive state, and no more walls have been built.

The citizens, being so reclusive around strangers, have never drawn attention to their city when they venture out into the world. They mention it as a place to live, good as any, better than others and worse than some. As a result of this tactic, the city has never been attacked by any large armies. With no walls it would seem vulnerable, but Syordan Aleksandr had the rubble arranged along the circle of the old wall, and it would be difficult to scale.

Since Syordan Aleksandr no one has attempted to build the walls. Various leaders brought different changes to the city—Syordana Nataliya Kalvova (who was a descendant of an immigrant) started a library which remains small and filled with books that would likely not be allowed in the majority of puradynistic libraries of Eyropa.

The city maintains its seclusion from the world, and word of mouth is the only way one hears about it. The people of Zhaltev hold secret as to the location, and usually vaguely reply ‘up north’ when asked about where it is. A true Zhaltevite will not give up the exact location of the city unless under major pressure to reveal its place.
Last edited by Gia Rilan on Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Zhaltev

Post by KarneeKarnay » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:42 pm

I love this city. Looks brilliant.

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Gia Rilan
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Re: Zhaltev

Post by Gia Rilan » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:11 am

Glad you like it. As I said, it's still a work in progress, but it's coming along.
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