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“Raiders troubling the road to Raam? Unfortunate, I suppose, but it hardly seems like cause for concern. Does anything important come from Raam? Who would want to go to Raam, anyway? If you must, send someone to bribe some other band of savages to drive them off.”

-Sadag, Nibenese noble

"The city of Nibenay is named after its founder, the sorcerer–king Nibenay. Called the Shadow King by his subjects, Nibenay is a bizarre and enigmatic figure. His subjects see him so rarely that the city is constantly filled with rumours that he has died. Whenever these rumours result in a civil disturbance, however, Nibenay appears long enough to impress upon his subjects that he is still very much alive – usually by single–handedly crushing the rebellion.

The Shadow King lives inside a walled sub–city located in the centre of Nibenay. No free man has ever seen his palace in person, but according to rumour it sits atop an artificial mountain of stone slabs. The palace itself is supposedly a giant bust of Nibenay’s head. The front of the castle is carved into a stone relief of the Shadow King’s face. The sides and rear of the palace are covered with life–sized representations of dancing women, strung together as if they were locks of his hair.

Nibenay’s templars are all women. It is unclear whether they are all Nibenay’s wives, but it seems entirely possible. Only the templars are permitted to enter and leave the sub–city in which his palace is located. Otherwise, the rest of the city is composed entirely of slaves dedicated to making the lives of Nibenay and his templars comfortable and secure.
Some say that many of these slaves are sculptors who are kept busy carving reliefs of each templar into the locks of Nibenay’s hair covering the side and rear of the palace.

This is completely feasible, as strange tastes in architecture seem to be the norm in Nibenay. Every building is carved with stone reliefs. Although the craftsmanship is flawless, the subject matter is peculiar. Often, the relief portrays the self–satisfied smirk of a wealthy noble – usually the person who owned the building when it was first built.

Sometimes, the building is carved with the figures of the builder ’s entire family, all engaged in some sort of strange dance. In other instances, the building is decorated with fantastic reliefs of various monsters in the superstitious belief that, if the city is visited by one of the terrible beasts, it will be flattered by the depiction and leave the inhabitants in peace.

Nibenay sits just outside the northern edge of the Crescent Forest, atop several hundred acres of bubbling springs. The nobles each own one of these springs, which they use to irrigate the fields of rice that feed the city. Nibenay’s merchant trade is based on the sale of weapons made from wood obtained in the Crescent Forest. Nibenay’s craftsmen are busy day and night felling agafari trees and shaping their extremely hard wood – the next best thing to bronze – into shields, spears, and clubs. This is the basis of Nibenay’s rivalry with Gulg, for the hunters and gatherers of the forest city fear that if left unchecked, Nibenay’s devastating practices would soon leave them without a home. The core of Nibenay’s army consists of a thousand half–giants armed with agafari lances and clubs. These troops are some of the most experienced in the Tablelands, by virtue of their near-continual conflict with the neighboiring city-state of Gulg."

-The Wanderer’s Journal

Ancient beyond measure, Nibenay is a wealthy, powerful city-state immersed in decadence and intrigue. Most Nibenese regard themselves as the only civilized people remaining in a world of barbarism and desolation; the events that take place outside the city walls are little more than the squabbles of savages. Even the architecture of Nibenay reflects these prejudices. Splendid statues and carvings cover the walls, public buildings, and private homes throughout the city, depicting great heroes and honored ancestors from ages long forgotten by the rest of Athas. Some are works of surpassing beauty, some glorify ancient triumphs, and others depict shocking hedonism.

Nibenay is ruled by the sorcerer-king who gave the city-state his name. He is an enigmatic, retiring figure, rarely seen by anyone but his templars. Deep within the royal compound at the city’s heart – the forbidden dominion called the Naggaramakam – Nibenay immerses himself in arcane studies and mysterious pursuits, leaving governance to the bureaucracy of his templars. He is so reclusive that rumors of his death circulate every few years, giving rise to unrest and feuding among the nobles until he appears and puts to rest any stories of his demise.

See: Map of Nibenay


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