Age of Ascension
Districts and Wards
- Castle Carre Dova is the seat of the Empire’s power. Standing hundreds of feet tall, the ancient fortress was built into the mountain ages ago. The footprint of the main structure is as the deck of a ship halfway into the rock face, with other buildings radiating outward in a semicircle on the lower levels. The walls are thick, leading many Valcoran citizens to assume that the castle is more a palace, with hundreds of lavish rooms filling the space. In truth, Carre Dova is built for defense, with little space reserved for luxury in the exposed portion. Exactly what lies behind the rock face, and how deep the rooms go, no one knows. The entire castle sits on a massive ledge overlooking the necropolis, the only access points being fortified bridges from a high cliff on the other side.
- Valcora’s vital functions take place in the Civic District, which is built on another expansive ledge of the mountain adjacent to the castle. It overlooks the remainder of the city with a commanding view, and can only be reached by lifts or ramps from the Temple or Trade districts. The oldest and grandest buildings are here, and many of them are dug straight out of the mountain. Aelbridge park, home of the famed Fountain of Verlonne, is directly in front of Valcora’s Hall of Justice. The district is made up of courthouses, counting houses, embassies, and libraries.
- Stretching outward from the cliffs below the Civic District and castle, the Necropolis is walled off from the rest of the city. The shadows of the wide stone bridges overhead are cast over thousands of graves and tombs. Delicately paved pathways and weather, natural landscaping prevent this place from becoming a wasteland of discarded lives. Instead, it more resembles a park.
- The Lord’s Garden is a walled park, as large as several city blocks. While little business is conducted there, it is home to an Arboretum, and the Garden Square serves as a meeting place for thousands each day, from young lovers to old soldiers.
- The Temple District surrounds the Necropolis wall, and is the closest housing district to Carre Dova. Despite its name, this district is mostly devoted to the homes and estates of the wealthy Valcoran elite. At one time, there were many temples to the gods of the Old Faith, but most of these lie in disrepair or have been converted into homes as Valcora’s wealthy converted to Aeon. Dominating even the grandest estates in the district, the colossal Cathedral of Aeon is located here, secluded from the thoroughfares by small canals and gardens. At the other end of the district, the wide and circular Colonnade, devoted to gods of the Old Faith, is their last vestige of strength.
- The Artisan’s District is devoted to craft, and in modern times, industry. Positioned just inside the city from the Sea Ward and a short distance from the Trade and Stock Wards, materials are moving constantly through its gates. The majority of the city’s guild halls line the main thoroughfare, and behind these stretch numerous workshops, foundries, and manufactories.
- The Trade District is a bustling and chaotic place, and newcomers to Valcora often find themselves numb with overstimulation by the end of a day of shopping. The sheer variety of goods offered for sale on a typical day is staggering, and the scented smoke of cooking, incense, and pungent exotic fruits leaves the air heavy and warm even in the dead of winter. Wide streets suitable for outdoor display and a great many shops make up the majority of the Trade District, as well as a number of guild halls. The semicircular arrangement of the district centers around Dragon’s Fall Plaza, the site of many important events such as city-wide announcements. Criers from every corner of the city call out the news of the day here in every civilized language across the continent. The true heartbeat of the Trade District is the Clocktower; an expression of Avencian industrial power and ingenuity, it dwarfs any other clocktower in the known world. From the start of the business day to the end, a myriad of colossal bells signals the hours as they pass.
- The Sea Ward is the second largest division of Valcora. Considerable frontage with the Sea of Sorrows is enhanced by stone extensions that stretch well into the open sea. Aside from the main roads, wide enough to channel many carts side by side, the space is a morass of twisting alleys and boardwalks, on varying levels of height as one approaches the peers. Smaller warehouses, shops, homes, and drinking establishments take up much of the district. The Beacon of Osiriun, an ancient structure of black stone and charged with arcane energy, serves to herald the direction of the city to ships at sea over great distances. Built with the help of the Elves in the Age of Mortals, it was built to shine for all time; it works so well that even when the city has outlawed arcane magic, they haven’t yet discovered how to turn it off.
- A grand and festooned bridge connects the Poet’s Ward, a large offshore island, with the Sea Ward. Once little more than an obstacle for incoming ships, this large island is now the center of Avencian entertainment, boasting an opera house, restaurants, stages and monuments surrounding the main paved promenade. Valcora’s largest arena, the Fields of Valor, takes up most of the Southwestern quarter. It is a certainty that, depending on your tastes, there is no better place to get lost in the moment and rub elbows with the nobility.
- As the poorest section of the city, the Cliff Ward is also the furthest from the security of the Wards. Natural defenses in the form of high cliffs make expensive walls unnecessary around most of the district. Sprawling tenements and wooden houses populate the district. The Twilight Plaza, though sparingly maintained, serves as a farmer’s market, though other business is restricted. The ruins of Silk Street, destroyed in a magical catastrophe decades ago, is under constant guard and off limits. At the terminus of the cliffs, overlooking the sea, is the Candle of Hope sanitarium.
- The Gate Ward isn’t the only means of entering the city, but the vast majority of ground traffic passes through it, including all large vehicles. A motley mixture of inns, shops, and homes, the ward is prepared to serve the needs of travellers of all kinds. The Old Market, which was once a distant meeting place for peddlers before the expanding metropolis overtook it, serves to supply the short term needs of caravans and visitors. It’s also the site of a vast variety of recruiting. There is a tavern or inn on every corner.
- The Stock Ward is a compact and secured by both the city watch and private guards. It encompasses the city’s own stockpiles as well as numerous large warehouses belonging to the wealthy.
- By far the largest division, the Lower Ward houses over one hundred thousand citizens. It’s streets curve and wind around several main streets intended to ease troop movements in times of defense. Towering above the homes, Valcora’s Great Aqueduct stretches from somewhere high above in the mountains, and supplies most of the running water to the wards, including the lavish public bath house at its end. The aging Bloodworks here served as the city’s main venue for sporting events before the Fields of Valor were constructed. In the midst of endless housing blocks, the Park of the Ward is home to the famed Four Dancers fountain.