The Summer Heroes
Ystria, In Brief
Ystria is a wealthy trading city, directly across the Penwith Channel from Brightwater, located at the convergence of the Nicephori River and the Channel. The city is located in the delta of the river itself and is a largely artificial construction, as it is located on a variety of islands that were built into the delta. Ystria is a disorganized jumble of buildings, a riot of color and extravagance, settled onto hundreds of little islands and connected by scores and scores of bridges.
Since the official founding of the city in -419 BR, Ystria has been ruled by House Lido, a rule that has been uninterrupted aside from the Imperial occupation (312 to 837 BR). Ystria was able to leverage its stiff resistance to the Imperial assault and acquire an extremely favorable treaty, the terms of which allowed the Lido Palace considerable autonomy. The city profited immensely during the Empire’s rule, as it became a kind of trading “gateway” from the Empire in the west to the Penwith Islands (more so than it already was), and since the Imperial withdrawal the merchants have lobbied powerfully for an avoidance of conflict. It is rumored that the Lido Palace actively (but covertly) meddles in the affairs of nearby polities in order to maintain order, and some have accused House Lido of maintaining an unofficial motto of “Peace is Profitable”.
Ystria is heavily tied to Brightwater economically, as each city serves as the other’s largest market, but culturally both remain very distinct. Ystrian culture is held up by three main pillars: diversion, love, and trade (to critics, “fun, fucking, and fashion”), and the city has a reputation (not entirely undeserved) as hedonistic, though this renown tends to overlook the fact that Ystrian merchants are generally very skilled, Ystrian exports (like silk, lace, and tapestries) of very high quality, and Ystrian education (in certain fields, like math and music) top-notch. The worship of the god/dess of love, Cambrai, is paramount in the city and eclipses all others (even that of Eidothea, the sea-goddess). Cambrai’s holy day, the Festival of Love, is a day of widespread licentiousness, though its revelry is suprassed, in some ways, by the largest holiday of the year, the Grotesquerie, a vast, somewhat-dark celebration in honor of King Dandolo the Fat (though it has since essentially become a celebration of the city itself).
Ystria is bound by ancient treaty (the Centaur Concordat, signed in 47 BR by the aforementioned King Dandolo the Fat) to friendship and alliance with the Maimon Centaurs who inhabit the forests to the north of the city, and they have maintained excellent relations for hundreds of years. The city is also famed for its elite archers (armed with bows crafted by the Maimon Centaurs, widely considered the best in the world), though its once-significant shipyards have gradually declined, partially because of Brightwater’s dominance in the industry, and they now import most of their warships and other larger merchant vessels from Brightwater itself.