“The Muse of Cities granted us the greatest gift of all: a pinnacle of mortal achievement, divinely inspired.”

-Inscription on the base of the Adamantine Goddess

“The Grey City,” “The City at the Crossroads,” “The City on the Rivers” – going by many names, Erathir is the center of industry and farming in the Valuan Empire. Located at the crux of the River Adramel, the Lelek, and the Imperial Highway, Erathir feeds and clothes the empire. Though the city was always large, the construction of the Imperial Highway caused the city to explode in size, nearly doubling in population and square footage in barely a century. Every major avenue of transportation in the empire—the Highway, the River Avandra, and the Lelek—all lead to Erathir; there is literally nowhere in Valua from which one cannot easily reach the city. While Avandras is the empire’s cultural and magical hub, the seat of politics and the largest population center on the continent, Erathir is the nation’s nerve center: The majority of Valuan industry takes place in or around Erathir, as does the overwhelming majority of agriculture and farming. When resources are harvested anywhere in the empire, they are sent to the Grey City, where the materials are either converted into finished goods or further sold to other provinces.

Erathir is built of dark stone and lumber, earning it the name the Grey City; in contrast, towers and buildings in Avandras are often constructed of bright, white marble and other smooth stones. The Grey City is designed to be functional and utilitarian, and is laid out in fairly easy-to-navigate streets and pathways, and while it has impressive, soaring structures, even its tallest buildings would be overwhelmed by the largest and tallest constructs of Avandras. However, the city is best known for its dazzling architecture. Amongst its constructs are spectacular, massive bridges, elevated roads that double as aqueducts, and towers and buildings with fronts made entirely of glass. Erathir is built to be compact, efficient, and streamlined, and the arch is a motif that permeates much of the city’s design. An architect is considered most successful when he or she can combine both function and decoration, and magnificently carved or painted load-bearing columns are the most popular standard when it comes to planning the layout of a soon-to-be built construct, be it a church, museum, or personal home.

Erathir and its home province of Forgvard contain the largest population of halflings in
Valua. Halflings stand as second-most populous race in Forgvard.

In Avandras, the government and citizenry ever included both high elves and humans; it always existed to accommodate both races and keep them in equal standing. The governance of Forgvard (and more importantly Erathir), however, is run nearly exclusively by humans. While there are no explicit legal prohibitions on halflings or other races serving in positions of power, Erathir is and always has been an achievement of and by humans. In contrast to Avandras’s multi-cultural patchwork, Erathir is thought of as the unofficial ‘capital of humans’.

See also: Forgvard


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