Khabrel

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The city of Khabrel, once known as Asamya, in the Madresha Caliphate of the Pāll-tanír is also known as the desert crossroads due to its unique and privileged position. Although quite remote, five days away from the city of Madras and three days away from the next biggest town in the northwestern region, Dorost, it nevertheless thrives as a center of land-based commerce as it straddles the main commercial artery of northwestern Madras. Although the seaside village of Bailad has a functioning port and a thriving fishing-based economy, the small port can't support the volume of its production of other materials such as iron and coal mined from Raskent, one of the mountains along the Skywall range, and as such relies on the land-based trade routes to sustain it. Similarly, the town of Kalica at the foot of the Tehfrat Crags relies on land-based trade routes for its primary product: Hursa meat and leather, as well as its rarer luxury good, Craglion hide. The cities of Rasaak and Isarnis are similarly situated, the former sustained by a booming precious stones industry, and the latter being one of the primary agricultural producers of the region due to the River Dailla, which flows from Arawi and down through Isarnis before sinking into the desert at the Desert's Throat some twenty five miles due southeast of the town.

History

Immediately following the fall of Centhiri civilization soon after the formation of the Krosha, the Sons of the Desert, society found itself needing to rebuild in the Pāll-tanír and with the loss of the weather-controlling magicks of the highborn Centhiri, old bastions of civilization fell to the desert sands, lost for all of time. In the years immediately following, as the A'Drekh were working to relearn or improve upon the magic that the Centhiri had wielded, towns and cities in the Pāll-tanír that were not completely devastated by the war grew more and more isolated from one another. Caravans between them often had to plot routes months in advance, taking note of oases along the way, which were necessary rest stops for the weary travelers. Old Khabrel was one such rest-stop, little more than a temporary settlement whenever a caravan passed through on the way to one of the bigger settlements in the region.

A fortunate side-effect of the banishing of the highborn Centhiri was that the powerful Arventir that swept through the region regularly were reduced not only in number and frequency, but also in severity, making life in largely unprotected settlements far more viable. Without the Centhiri to rouse them, the storm spirits of the desert returned to their slumber. After a few decades, the A'Drekh cracked the magic and were all too eager to share the knowledge with the other members of the Krosha. However, they were less interested in sharing the means as to them, the extant means were precious cultural artifacts.

Up until this point, Khabrel was not regularly inhabited. But following the first handful of successful expeditions into the Font of Life and the rise of the Mage-Kings under the tutelage of the A'Drekh, places like Khabrel became more viable to settle. Having already been established as a rest stop, Khabrel quickly grew into a small trading town, though the infrastructure was largely basic and mostly intended to facilitate barter between the different merchant groups that came through. It was not until a group of entrepreneurs, most prominent among whom was the man that gave the town its name, Khabrel Ar'Afor saw its potential and began to invest in the town, later moving in as it grew under their careful guidance.

Khabrel saw then what others failed to see when the village of Dorost was established a few days' ride away from Khabrel. Dorost was never going to work out as a center of trade due to its location, whereas Khabrel lay almost perfectly on a line connecting two established villages, Bailad and Isarnis, as well as two other locations that were beginning to see great interest from both governments and entrepreneurs along the base of the Skywall which would grow into the towns of Rasaak and Kalica. It wasn't until centuries after Khabrel's death that his prediction panned out, although he had died a happy and wealthy man just from the amount of traffic, and the revenue that that traffic brought, passing through his town.

Although, by the time that Khabrel died, the original oasis that had allowed Khabrel's existence had dried up, leaving behind nothing but a dusty bowl. A man of Khabrel's influence and money, however, was not about to let his town fall to ruin at the whim of nature and he commissioned the procurement of a large rainstone at the same time as he was having the old oasis excavated and turned into a large deep pool that would hold water enough for the burgeoning city.

Layout

Khabrel was a city built in two stages. Old Khabrel, which was a relatively large village, was built primarily around the old oasis. Many old buildings are concentrated in the ring around the dried-up bowl of the old oasis that has since been repurposed into an open reservoir for water from the rainstone. In modern Khabrel, therefore, the eastern side of the city, which contains those old buildings, is the densest section of the city's sprawl. Although the modern city centre is relatively dense as well, the city looks decidedly lopsided in most maps of the area. The majority of the residential infrastructure lies in the east, where the neighbourhoods have easy access to the market square.

The central column of the city is home to most of the administrative services. Law enforcement, judicial courthouses, the garrison, the legislature, the mayor's home, the town hall, the treasury, and other such vital services are all located along a relatively broad strip running from the north of the city, down through the center to the south. The square in front of the town hall, the crossroads square, is the official meeting place of the two roads that cross in Khabrel, the Accord Highroad and the Mountain Road. Most travelling merchants set up their stalls in the crossroads square, but those travelling with caravans actually meant for sale at marketplaces go elsewhere in Khabrel for that. The crossroads square is primarily for merchants who do not travel regularly to Khabrel, where they can set up a stand for a minimal fee and then move on as soon as they have had their fill of the city. Regular merchants seek out their most trusted/most loyal patrons in the market square to the east of Khabrel, where they offload their goods and either take payment or take more goods in return before moving on.

The western side of the city primarily sees a lot of agriculture. Many of the small family farms in Khabrel are located in the western sector. There are also a few gardens, both publicly and privately owned, most of which are underground except for the succulents that can survive many of the ferocious sandstorms that rip through the area. Many of the city's services are also located in the western sector. The smith, the woodworker, the carpenter, the seamstress, the cobbler, and others are in this sector.