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History: Affavirav was a city in the clouds, high in the mountains, during the Sundered Times. The city, the hereditary Queen, and the priesthoods of the Gods of the Sun and the Moons all were located in a beautiful, shining city high in the mountains. The common folk inhabited farms and towns in the foothills.
When the Gods-barriers came down, buildings started dropping and people going crazy or vanishing for no apparent reason, followed by earthquakes. The Queen and her whole family vanished, several of the high priests and priestesses went mad. The people of the city had been worried at their Queen’s immoral behavior—she had been refusing to take new suitors and beget an heir when her husband had sired only boys before his death—so the people believed that the Gods were punishing them for their Queen’s behavior. The people remaining alive after the earthquakes fled to the base of the mountain, re-christening the town there as Tifayomalo – guilty town, and built new temples there to each of the Gods, asking the Gods to restore their queen to them and forgive them their trespasses.
But the periodic earthquakes and additional damage to one or another of the buildings in Affavirav convinced them that the Gods remained angry at them. They planted flowering trees along the road to Affavirav, and left offerings at the bridge leading to that road, but still, their queen did not appear and the city remained dangerous.
When the Empire showed up in 1472 with its materialistic view of the world, some of the residents of Tifayomalo embraced the idea that science can explain everything. It seemed a much kinder worldview than one where they were cursed with the guilt of the Last Queen.
The first group of scientists to go explore the city included a young woman who resembled the old queen, and did a brief survey before returning safely. The scientist, Yarlasaya, went on to become a Science Leader and returned in 1500 to set up Maalomalo (University of the Town of Tifayomalo) outside Tifayomalo, cementing the locals’ loyalty to both science and the Empire. She led several more expeditions to the city, each one returning safely, but three of the four other expeditions met with earthquakes or other disasters. Yarlasaya does not believe that her expeditions succeeded because she was there, and she stopped going because she was unwilling to risk more people in the dangerous city.
Finally, it was ruled that the old city was too dangerous to travel to until a means to predict earthquakes and some understanding of the anomalous events could be devised. As a result, Affavirav has been a forbidden and dangerous architectural and anthropological curiosity for more than a decade.
Population (in 1520): Tifayomalo has a population of about 48,000 people. Affavirav is forbidden and has an official (and likely actual) population of zero.
Industries and Trade: Tifayomalo’s main industries are mining (metals and gems), agriculture, and the University. They also have a small metal refinery. There are a number of small mines, no one of them having prominence over the others at the present date.
Imports & Exports: Exports are primarily raw gems and refined metals. Imports are manufactured goods and luxury goods.
Important Landmarks & Features:
Maalomalo: The University, unlike many in more developed areas, not only has the mission of teaching advanced students, but also is in charge of teaching students from the first form on up. The reason for this is the respect showed to Science Leader Yarlasaya due to her looks and her ability to lead people safely into the holy city. Yarlasaya’s private papers show that the reasons for the respect shown to her made Yarlasaya uncomfortable, however, she accepted the responsibility for teaching students from first form on up because she felt it was the best way to serve both the Empire and the children of the ignorant, superstitious people of this region.
Iralv Bridge: This is an old, stone bridge that crosses the Blue River, the last river branch on the way to Affavirav. It is the start of the unofficial border area for the City, though there are seasonal expeditions to harvest the fruits in the orchards on the opposite side of the bridge. Still, no one but holy hermits live on the other side, and offerings to the old gods are left both on the road beyond the orchards and on both sides of the bridge.
Temple of the Sun: A stone building, built as a scale model of the Temple in Affavirav, but substantially smaller. Thus, what was a three-story tall pair of doors in the original is merely human-height here, and windows are oddly small in the replica. Only a relatively small number of worshipers can fit into the temple at one time, and the Priestesses are careful to allow only the faithful into the structure itself.
Temple of the Moons: The town’s Temple of the Moons, like the city’s, is an open, roofed structure, however, this one is made of wood rather than stone. It is much simpler than the one in the city, but of similar size, allowing as many worshipers as desire to gather here. In recent decades, the Priests of the temple have allow other types of public gatherings, such as Rejoining Day feasts, to take place here in inclement weather.
Dominant Groups: The older citizens still have factions that worship the sun and the moons. There is a certain rivalry between the Priests of the moons and their followers and the Priestesses of the sun and their followers, though there is no prohibition from worshiping both. A few younger people are still initiated into these cults, but most of the younger people see this kind of worship as mere superstition.
It remains to be seen whether the approach of the Priests or the Priestesses will work best in this new modern world where Tifayomalo is part of the Empire, or whether both religions will fade now that the Empire’s accurate histories and the study of science are being taught to all of the children.
There is also a certain amount of friction between the miners, the farmers, and the townsfolk, though they are not formally different groups, and people can move freely from one group to another.
General Climate Notes: Tifayomalo is in one of a series of sheltered river valleys at the foot of the mountain where Affavirav was situated. The climate is temperate, warmer in the valleys than on the heights.
Arts & Culture: Tifayomalo did not have a theater until one was built as part of the university. The idea of formal plays is new to the people of Tifayomalo, and is popular among young people. Music and storytelling traditionally happened in sacred settings, pubs, or homes.
They also had the kinds of competitions seen at American state fairs, competitions for animal stock, cooking, and other practical skills, from splitting wood to making dishes, furniture, and other practical items.
Practical tools were decorated, sometimes beautifully, and both practical items and sacred items were made to be left as offerings to the gods. Since becoming part of the Empire, a few tentative attempts have been made to trade decorated items with travelers, and there is a good possibility that such a trade could be made profitable when the right markets are found.
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