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Thyatis the Cityby James Ruhland
District II: Palatium
Megatheon; Hightop; Streets of Gold; Silverlight; The Curia; Praetorion;
Ambassadors' Way; Forum Judiciale.
The Palatium district is perched on the slopes of the second, and largest, hill of Thyatis the City, which is known as Emperor's Hill. If the commercial districts form "the heart" of The City, then this district, even more so than the Zendrolium, is its head. For while the Zendrolium contains the largest imperial residence and facilities for the Empire's central armies and fleets, the Palatium contains the "working structures" of Imperial government, the ministry buildings, and estates of the most prominent and influential families in Thyatis.
Each of the Palatium's sections are ringed by walls. These walls, though strong, serve mainly as dividers rather than fortifications. Those thinking that means they are easy to bypass have not attempted to sneak past the various guards and guardians, alarm magics, and the like which are all directed towards maintaining the security of those who live and work here. For though the walls seem more decorative and ornamental than the ones surrounding the entire city, or even those separating the Zendrolium from the rest of The City, when it comes to their personal security the ruling classes are very serious and efficient indeed.
Located at the summit of Emperor's Hill is the Megatheon, where the Imperial Palace once stood. This, the greatest temple in all of Thyatis, is in fact built on the very foundations of the former Imperial Palace. The Megatheon is distinguished by indescribable beauty, excelling other temples in both size and in the harmony of its measures. It is entered through an atrium that is surrounded by a portico, and consists of one enormous square hall, some 240' long on each side. The central portion covers an area 120' by 120', at each corner of which rises a huge pillar, 100' tall. These support four arches that vault a further 60' into the air. This structure is surmounted by a hemispherical dome 120' in diameter that rises even higher, which is supported by two half domes and several lesser domes, forming a pendentive dome.
The inside of the Temple is partitioned into arcades mounted on rows of marble columns, including a balcony where the Emperor and his entourage sit during services. A sanctuary apse and four small wings soften the lines of the building. The main effect from the outside is that of the dome, which forms a harmonious crown atop the mass of the Megatheon. From the lightness of the building, it does not appear to rest upon a solid foundation, but to cover the place beneath as though it were suspended from heaven a golden chain. The interior ceilings vault high above, and the sanctuary is filled with light and sunshine because of the forty windows that pierce the base of the dome's copula, and the thousand lamps which hang from chains and shine light upon the walls. The building itself overtops the whole city and can be seen clearly as far away as Port Hatti. The interior walls glitter in wondrous frescoes on gilded backgrounds, mosaic designs, and coloured marble. There are ivory - inlaid murals, precious metals and gemstones of all types decorating almost every surface.
This is the most sacred site in Thyatis City. As such, it is also the principle headquarters of the City's pre-eminent Priests. The grounds under their authority cover the entire region of the palace complex, and includes residencies for the Patriarch and his staff.
This is Thyatis the City's most exclusive residential district, filled with the abodes of The City's most prominent Senatorial families. There are only twelve parcels in this district, six per hemisphere. These palatial houses are small, but magnificently built. Most of the families with homes here have larger estates outside The City itself, but maintain these for sake of status and convenience.
Families having estates here are the Angelikoi, Bryennioi, Dukai, Fravittai, Gabrai, Lascarids, Lecapenus, Melissenoi, Sorvinoi, Thalassoloni, Torions (Anaxibius & Stefania), and Vatatzai.
Streets of Gold
This district is only slightly less prestigious than Hightop. It is divided into a score of plots, ten per hemisphere. Here various aristocratic families, including those of the noble rulers of various dominions in the Thyatian metropolitan region (not usually the overseas dominions), have their estates. The houses here are generally no less luxurious than those in Hightop, but because they are less exclusive and prominent they generally cost half as much.
Families having domiciles here include the Actavioi, Andreanas, Biazzanoi, Blyskarats, Canolcaroi, Derentarioi, Greenheight, Kerendi, Metonenzes, ben Nadiri, Oesterhaus, Patrizioi, Promethianai, Retebioi, Ruggieroi, and Tien-Tang.
This region, not quite a full oval, is divided into twenty-four estates, a dozen per half. A further rung down the ladder of prestige, lesser aristocracy and prominent mercantile families own them. This area is a bit more prominent than the Estates district to the north, and with its wall it is certainly more exclusive.
This great building is focused around a central chamber or rotunda where the Senators of Thyatis, some three hundred in all, carry on their debates. The building can seat twelve hundred spectators in balconies, during open debates. Contrary to popular belief, only the principal Senators have their offices within the walls of the Curia. Most have their offices in satellite buildings elsewhere in the governmental region of the Palatium district.
The Praetorion is a massive edifice which functions as the main governmental building of Thyatis City, which houses its various ministries. These are divided into a bewildering variety of bureaus and departments, some with overlapping authority. It is not without reason that this region, and specifically this building, is occasionally referred to as "the Machine" - the functionaries here work with almost impersonal efficiency on the Empire's business, and getting caught in their cogs and gears can be worse than getting stuck in a spider's web.
The interior of the Praetorion is a warren of hallways and chambers housing the various scribes, clerks, and secretaries that toil here. The highest-ranking officials are lucky enough to have offices with windows facing outside, while the others have offices facing a small interior courtyard. Archives housing various old Imperial records are stored in vaults underground, some of which haven't been visited in decades. Retrieving a document from these Labyrinthine halls can be as adventurous as delving into a long forgotten ruin.
One must have an appointment to meet with any of these officials, which must be arranged in advance. Of course, those with the most influence, or who are willing to make a contribution to the Civil Service Retirement Fund, get appointments faster than others do. Most of these officials are efficient and they try to be helpful, but they are typically overworked.
This region contains the official embassies of foreign envoys to the court of Thyatis. They are typically small, but well maintained. Many ambassadors decide to rent other accommodations elsewhere in The City, but it should be noted that only the official embassy is granted the traditional diplomatic immunities and protections. This causes many to think twice, or at least to store their most sensitive documents in the embassy they are officially granted.
The following nations (and possibly others) maintain permanent ambassadorial offices here: Darokin, Glantri, Hule, Ierendi, Karameikos, Kastelios, Minrothad, Norwold (Alpha), the New Alphatian Empire (NACE), Oceansend, Ostland, Vestland, Wendar, and even Ylaruam. Various other nations frequently have deputations in The City on one sort of diplomatic mission or another. Some also use the facilities of friendly powers as an unofficial diplomatic consulate. Nations hostile to Thyatis maintain offices if for no other reason than to try and engage in espionage and to be a pestilence at Court.
Forum Judiciale aka Government Market
In former times this public square was used for open debates and orations, as well as public assemblies. These days it is more known as an emporium, though it is still (rarely) used for its original purposes. This is a long, narrow open plaza surrounded by a colonnaded portico. At its entrance is an ancient archway, atop of which is a statue of Valentia holding a set of scales in one hand and a scroll in the other. During most days the Forum Judiciale serves as a market where all sorts of food and the like are sold, within convenient reach of the bureaucrats of the Government Region. Prices here are generally higher than in other marketplaces.