An ancient dwarven city at the crux of the Ar-Karaz mountains and the Zonyar Desert, Kelderar is a metropolitan center of trade, home to almost 30,000 creatures from a bewildering variety of races and cultures. The population changes frequently as groups enter and leave the city, coming and going through the mountains or the desert. The one constant providing stability and the rule of law had always been the dwarves, with the High Rik elected from among the Great Clans to rule. But that was before the blue dragon Voarex’veiar showed up and took control, killing the last High Rik and bending the city to her will. She has ruled now for over two centuries, but life in the city hasn’t changed much for the average merchant. Taxes are higher, but only a handful dwarves and gnomes can remember what they were like before. There are more “monstrous” denizens than there once were, as the Azure Lady sees all humanoids as beneath her and equally worthy of domination and capable of paying taxes.
Voarex’veiar, the Azure Lady, is manipulative and has always coveted agents and servants, perhaps her most treasured possessions. Before coming to Kelderar she constructed a string of agents throughout the Zonyar, who served her interests and brought her information. Once she set her sights upon the great city, assuming it to have a built in treasure horde, she used these agents to infiltrate the city and remove the most prominent defenders and threats to her potential rule. She dealt with the High Rik herself, throwing him from the top of the Citadel.
The Azure Guard are Voarex’s most prized and loyal servants, and perform most of the day to day tasks required to rule a city like Kelderar. They are sycophantic to the extreme, realizing that flattery can keep them safe, while they do everything in their power to advance their own interests. It’s not the safest position in the city, as failing Voarex usually results in death, though she’s been known to exile people to the Vonyar to further her desires there.
As Kelderar grew outward and became home to a larger variety of people, it became apparent that the city needed some kind of police force, and so were born the Sunshields. Today, they enforce the the Azure Lady’s laws, which often renders them as glorified tax collectors, but they do still investigate crimes and maintain the justice system. They are also, grudgingly, used as a cudgel by some members of the Azure Guard.
The Merchant’s Guild is perhaps the most powerful “independent” organization in the city. Never technically part of the government, the Guild has always had the leader’s ear, whether High Rik or dragon. As Kelderar is a mercantile city, many of the most important citizens are members of the Guild, including at least a few members of the Azure Guard at any given time. Membership has grown increasingly exclusive over the centuries, and most memberships are given to the heirs of existing members.
Artwork: “La citadelle Hérat” by unknown artist, from Nouveau dictionaire encyclopédique universel illustré, by Jules Trousset, 1885-1891.