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Dalmasca's well-known for its winding, often narrow streets, back alleys that feel more like traps than streets. The main roads are larger, to allow room for horses, carriages, and other such vehicles to pass through, but most Dalmascans walk where they're going. In varying social hot-spots, the roads become even wider.
Dalmasca is bordered to the south and the east by the sea, the Aont Strait to the southeast, across which lies Jihon, and Cierien Bay to the south. Nydema, due to eastward expansion, borders the Aont Strait, and many of its city districts are very close to the sea. As a result, there are many places along the outskirts of Nydema where there is beach, and while some areas are more dangerous and rocky than others, plenty are sandy and inviting.
Many streets in Dalmasca's cities are home to residential properties belonging to the commoner class. Typically spanning several dozen blocks, these areas are somewhat sequestered to the side of town centers, meant to be close by, but out of the way. Some areas of such districts are visibly poorer than the rest.
The estate of the Asherons is a large one, sprawling grounds contained in a high stone wall, the gate seemingly perpetually open. Several buildings scatter across the land, lawn meticulously cared for, with a small area of dirt and sand to one side of the far back building, a three storey, non-symmetrical design (this is the Asheron blood stable). The main building, toward the front, rises four storeys tall, primarily made of marble and grey stone, with several different marble columns acting as support for varying balconies. The centre opens to the sky, with a fountain slash pool as the centrepiece, surrounded in flowers and shrubs.
House Cassimer own two estates; the first, close to the centre of Nydema, spans several blocks of space, with a beige stone wall, wrought iron gate, perfectly manicured lawn, the estate itself three storeys, symmetrical in design, and matching the stone wall. It looks rather stately, and the grounds only have one building on it. There's a fountain in the foyer, but it isn't large enough to swim in; there's a pool in the back, for that. The second estate is a few miles outside Nydema, a quaint little homey cottage in comparison, built of brown stone, two storeys tall, lawn well cared for and brush swept to the side, a covered front porch, and a pond in the back. The second estate has a horse stable.
The smallest of the major noble estates, and smaller than even some minor house estates, House Essair sits to the side of the Dalmascan coast. The sea is close enough, one need only walk about a quarter mile to get to the beach, around the side of the house. Primarily built of brick and stucco, it has a small covered porch in a circular shape, the base of marble with steps that go all the way around, gold inlay designs in the risers, with a stone wall around its parameter. The gate is wrought iron, small fires burning on the marble wall posts at even intervals, the house itself four storeys tall. The lawn is cared for, but vines crawl freely across the outer walls, and a large overhead trellis pokes out from behind the house, covered in vines and dangling wisteria, with a fountain to the side. One back corner is entirely glass with marble supports, where the indoor garden is, and the interior leads into a foyer, with a staircase on either side, and an archway that goes into the centre of the house. It is built in a circular shape around a fountain, which shoots water jets up the entire height of the estate, the balconies around the fountain built of marble.
With a thriving economy, Dalmasca commands rather a large market district, where local farmers, distant traders, and merchants, come to sell their wares. There's often a large slave market attached, off to one side, and a particular street devoted solely to the shops of artisan crafters, called the craftsman's district.
A few blocks from the market district usually lies a pleasure district, where one can find plenty of taverns, bars, and brothels, to whet any appetite for the seedy. The street gangs also often host their operations here, and there are plenty of gambling dens to meet Dalmasca's demand for them. Some are less reputable than others.
Religious buildings in Dalmasca tend to come in clusters; they are almost clustered enough to warrant the official declaration of another city district, in the larger metropolises, but they don't always like one another. Even in small villages, at least the more major Dalmascan deities, Oanke and Ytias, have a temple somewhere.
A city's mingling and day-to-day affairs tends to take place in the town center, around which the rest of the city is often built. From there, one can get anywhere in any given city with ease, and it's a common meeting place for businessmen and friends alike. Citizens also often hold weddings and other public functions here. The high court, where the Justicars tend to legal affairs, is often also to the side of the town center.
While communication is not instant, varying different methods have been used to make long-distance communication faster. The Macenians send horsemen to carry messages across Azaleon, and the Free Cities have tamed and trained varying types of birds.
The home nation of the ilim, Galace is a large nation located to the north of Azaleon, and one of the few unified nations on the continent. It is bordered by Macenia to the southeast, however they are naturally separated from their Macenian neighbours by way of large, treacherous mountains with few easily traversable passes. To the southwest lies the neutral territory the Free Cities are scattered across. Galace is a monarchy, ruled by the Galacese Emperor, but does not have any strong gender lean. In international conflict, Galace almost always allies with Macenia, and sometimes Highwind or Haradi.
Just outside Dalmasca, at the foot of the Ivory Mountains, is Haradi. Due to their close proximity to a slave-holding country, Haradi is both home to several hundred former slaves, either intentionally or not, and one of the more defended Free Cities in the line-up. In general, Haradi does not have much issue from Macenians, and actually rather get along with Macenians, often trading with them, but relations with Dalmasca and its nobility and gentry are, perhaps, long since strained.
The other monarchy amongst the Free Cities, albeit some argue that Saqqara is not a monarchy, but more of a true democracy, Saqqara lies in the cool desert valley of Nashret, between the Ajet Mountains to the northeast and the Al Hajar Mountains to the southwest. The city is distinctive in its architectural styles, retained from their earliest years, featuring pyramid shapes, bricks created of clay mud, intricate detailing designs, and domes. Saqqara seems to like the colors red, black, and gold, as well, as these are often used in their designs and architectural detailing.
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