The Octopolis (Tsarstva Vohsyem Garadov) & The Commonwealth of Jutta
The Commonwealth being the entire body of nine Shadows, the Kingdom being the eight allied Shadows of its perimeter (rather like the Golden Circle)
The technology level is proto-medieval, but magic works well and is practised by many.
1. Podlievano Mesto (Damaskus)
The first city conquered in the purge of Gaius’s warlords, Demaskus has become a mirror of Jutta, with a single huge citadel overlooking a rural idyll with every trace of the former owners removed. The fortified Vallum Yetta runs through the Shadow, linking all the other cities with Damaskus and Jutta. It also links to the Duchy of Karm in Chaos, though the way can be treacherous.
The colourful winged hassars, the cavalry of the Commonwealth, are much in evidence in Damaskus, but soldiery is rarely encountered away from the Vallum.
2. Beit She’an (Scythopolis)
Beit She’an sits at the junction of the Great Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley, essentially controlling access from the interior to the coast, as well as from Damaskus to Karmways.
It has prospered and become the leading trading city of the Octopolis. The high-level urban planning and extensive construction, including the best preserved Roman theatre, as well as a hippodrome, credo, and other trademarks of the Roman influence survived the recent invasion. Mount Gilboa provided dark basalt blocks as well as water via an aqueduct.
Its huge palace, once a royal residence for King Bleys, has been moved off Shadow in its entirely and rebuilt elsewhere.
3. Sussita (Hippos )
Hippos was rebuilt along a grid pattern, centered around a long Decumanus Maximus running east-west through the city. The streets were lined with hundreds of red granite columns imported from client Shadows.
The great expense required to haul these columns to the city and up the hill was proof of the city’s wealth. Other improvements included a theatre, an odeon, a basilica and new city walls. The most important improvement is the aqueduct, which lets water into Hippos from springs in the distant hills. The water, collected in a large, vaulted cistern, allows a large population to live in the city despite the lack of rainfall.
Due to the flight of its warlord, Hippos has been relatively untouched. All signs of its former overlords have been removed, and cults suppressed as evidenced by heavily armed and armoured patrols in populous districts.
4. Selucia (Gadara)
Built as a bulwark against Nabataean demon expansion. This highly militarised Shadow changed completely following the inundation of its battle plains during the invasion. In place of marching legions, a wide shallow sea allows triremes to ferry goods from the new ports to aquatic Shadows beyond. Deep water galleons cannot approach the coast, but all manner of barges and floating platforms clutter the estuaries and deltas that
have began to form as the flood waters subside. Eerie ruins can still be seen jutting up from the marshes, but it occupants are already receding from the collective memory.
Pella was unfortunate enough to offer resistance to the liberating forces, and as a result its infrastructure and political instructions were completely destroyed. Its people, dotted around a landscape reverting to nature, carry out a simple pastoral existence and only visit the ruins of the metropolis for declaring their earnings and possessions at the annual counting.
A number of Karm demons chose to settle here, and they make an incongruous addition to the local landscape, building odd shaped Ways out of the surrounding sandstone cliffs.
Rocked by several earthquakes and natural disasters, little remains of Berenice’s kingdom. Much of the wealth was looted before the declaration of the commonwealth, and none of it has returned. In place of the mine workings and quarries worked by slaves, huge domed temples have been erected in praise of St Faeilla. Seven in all, the central Basilica is modeled on the magnificence of the Hagia Sophia. Workship
of this new religion has supplanted all other native cults, and is enforced by the monastic orders that arrived with the invaders.
It is the only city of the Octopolis that has officially retained its pre-invasion name.
7. Beit Ras (Capitolias)
Named for the great Capitolium honouring the three-headed god of local cults, Beit Ras now houses temples to Eric, Corwin and Deirdre. Always a seat of learning, the great universities are being expanded,
taking in not just scholars but theologians and sorcerers. Beit Ras is thought to be have been settled long before some of its neighbours, and has a Hellenistic heritage not found elsewhere in the Octopolis.
The Shadow has been relatively untouched by war, but the emancipation of the peasantry has seen primary industry practically disappear overnight in favour of scholastic ambition. Those who are unfitted to
the task get the next camel train to Beit She’an.
8. Qanawat (Canatha)
Known for its huge medieval castles, Canatha is also known as the Crown of Stone, though its mighty walls did nothing to protect the former warlord who fled at the first sign of trouble. It is a desert land of shifting sands, relentless heat and treacherous wadis. Most traces of the old regime were buried among the dunes, apart from the Great Library which houses what scolls survived the conflagration of the fleeing slavers. Long camel trains are now the only link between here and more civilised lands.
Karm demons known as djinn have taken up residence here, and jealously guard the oases rich with date palms and exotic flowers.