The Lether River passed through the city's centre and the city was crisscrossed by canals, bridges, and multi-leveled tiers. The city was a crowded, sordid maze. Many of its narrow, twisted, garbage strewn alleys never knew the light of day as they were crowded overhead with balconies, ledges, and projections that served as makeshift roofs. The city's wealthy kept their fortunes hidden within walled estates while the streets swelled with lost and indigent Indebted and tribal refugees.
During the heat of the summer months, shops stayed open late into the night and the streets were crowded with shoppers.
The Merchant Tolls, a kind of stock market, listed Letheras' gross value at between twelve and fifteen Peaks with possibly another five buried. In recent years, the eccentric Tehol Beddict had nearly caused the economy to crash through an unprecedented series of canny investments. In the end, Tehol's fortune crashed bringing down the fortunes of countless investors and causing the Tolls to write off an entire Peak as a loss. Ten thousand coins cursed against Tehol's name lay at the bottom of the city's canals.
Powerful guilds controlled the various industries within the city. They designated which companies could accept certain contracts, what wages and benefits could be paid, and kept blacklists of employees not eligible for guild jobs. Workers known as the Unwelcomes were often de-certified and removed from the guilds' working rolls for political reasons. The guilds were powerless to stop the Unwelcoms from being hired for jobs paying below the guilds' rates. Some enploers, such as the Royal Engineers, were required to hire only guild members. The Chamber of Contracts and Royal Charters was responsible for assigning government work to the various guilds and assessing their progress.
Crime and PunishmentEdit
Order was maintained by the city garrison which had stations throughout the city. In case of emergency, the stations used bells to summon other city guard units to their aid.
See also: The Drownings
Criminals who could not pay the fines to expunge their records were sentenced to swim the Quillas Canal while weighted down with coin. Few survived, and large crowds observed and placed wagers on the outcome.
One of the holiday festivals celebrated by the people of Letheras was dedicated to the Errant. The festival was accompanied by frenzied wagering at the Special Drownings, which were reserved for the most notorious criminals. According to Tehol Beddict, the city's wealthy class used the festival to make public displays of their indolence.
- Counters' Quarter
- Creeper District
- Down Markets
- Drownings District
- Far Reaches District
- North Tiers District
- Peaks District
- Prostitutes' District
- Pursers' District (or Purser's District)
- South Tiers District
- Up Markets
Roads, Squares etc. Edit
- Adventure Alley
- Avenue of the Seventh Closure
- Buried Round
- Burl Square
- Cul Street
- Errant's Heel - refuse pit
- Fishers' Gate
- Front Street
- Low Walk
- Main Avenue
- Quarry Road
- Red Lane
- Sherp's Last Lane
- Soulan Bridge
- Turol Avenue
- West Gate
Places of interest Edit
- Academy of Imperial Learning
- Azath Tower
- Biri's residence
- The Eddies
- Eternal Domicile
- Merchant Tolls (or Merchants' Tolls)
- Old Palace complex
- Scale House
- Second Tier
- Settle Lake
- Shand's office
- Stinking House
- Stink Flats
- Tehol's residence
- Temple Brothel
- Temple of the Fulcra
- Temple School (possibly the same institution as Temple Thurlas)
- Temple Thurlas, the Shrouded Sisters of the Empty Throne
- Third Height
- Third Tier
- Tolls Repository
- The Trampled Peacock
- Urum's Lenders
- Windlow's Meatgrinders
Known Canals Edit
- Creeper Canal
- The Great Drain
- Main Canal
- Narrow Canal
- Quillas Canal
- Sludge Canal
- Small Canal
- Trench Canal
The land where Letheras was founded was once a marshland basin fed by eleven rivers. Beneath the basin's brittle and porous crust was a vast underground chasm. Erosion eventually caused the basin to collapse resulting in a catastrophic draining of the area's rivers and swamps. All that remained of this cataclysm was Settle Lake, which despite its modest size was deceptively deep.
The city was settled by colonists of the First Empire many thousands of years before the current day before the Empire's downfall. The old palace was built around a complex of Jaghut towers and Azath Tower so old as to predate the founding of the First Empire. A six-hundred-year-old proclamation forbid any attempt to demolish or resttle the area.
Ancient tombs of origin unknown to the Letherii could still be found beneath the city, though most had collapsed or sunk into the mud. Their doors were covered with hieroglyphics which scholars had only partially deciphered to reveal as curse-laden and aspected to the Errant in some mysterious way. Few Letherii ever broke into the tombs as they were always empty and trespassers were reputed to die in horrific ways. Bugg claimed the tombs had been built and warded by the Forkrul Assail for the Jaghut in an attempt to provide haven from their enemies, the T'lan Imass.
According to Janath Anar, the Engineer Keden Qan discovered that the site of the city of Letheras had actually been used as a site for a city before, one that pre-dated even the Jaghut structures and the Azath House present there.
- "Now, what were the details of this unknown complex? Well, for one, it was self-contained, walled, entirely covered by multilevel roofing – even the plazas, alleys and streets. As a fortress, it was virtually impregnable. Beneath the intricately paved floors and streets, there was a second even more defensible city, the corridors and tunnels of which can now be found as an integral part of our sewer outflow.
In short, Letheras, the colony of the First Empire, was founded upon the ruins of an earlier city, one whose layout seemed to disregard the presence of the Jaghut towers and the Azath, suggesting that it pre-dates both."
- ―Janath Anar, on Keden Qan's discoveries
Icarium visited the city in ancient times and constructed a mysterious device beneath it.
The kingdom was at the height of its power and preparing for the Seventh Closure, the prophesied renaissance when the First Empire would be reborn and King Ezgara would Ascend and assume the title of First Emperor. After seventeen years, the Eternal Domicile was nearing completion to serve as the site of Ezgara's coronation.
It was revealed that Tehol Beddict's spectacular failure in the Tolls was in fact an ingenious ruse. With no one in the city the wiser, he had accumulated and disappeared a fortune from notice which he used to resettle the city's tribal refugees on newly purchased islands. The tribal mixed-bloods, Shand, Rissarh, and Hejun were the only ones to unravel his con. They convinced him to secretly repeat his plan but at a much higher level with the goal of crashing the Letherii economy to trigger a cultural reformation.
A disastrous war provoked by Queen Janall Diskanar, Prince Quillas Diskanar, and Chancellor Triban Gnol brought the Tiste Edur army of Emperor Rhulad Sengar to the city's doorstep. On the day of the Seventh Closure, Emperor Rhulad seized the city from the king and named himself emperor of the new Letherii Empire on the day of the Seventh Closure.
By the time it became clear that the Edur might win the war, Tehol had called a halt to his scheme. Although he was able to evacuate the city's refugee population before the city's occupation, he was not ready to trade the Letherii's corrupt civilisation for the Edur's stagnant one.
Letheras may have been build on the site of the ancient Jaghut capital of Omtose Phellack. The Seregahl who were released from the dying Azath House in Letheras in Midnight Tides, were imprisoned there when Hood challenged them to prove their worth as the vanguard of the army which was assembling to march on Death itself. In exchange, the Azath House released Gethol, brother of Gothos.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.124
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 10, US SFBC p.321
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 20, US SFBC p.598
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 10, US SFBC p.321/326
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 4, US SFBC p.144
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.89
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.89-90
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.387
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.133-134
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.187
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.366
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.368
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.604
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.125-126
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.197
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.604
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.299
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.130
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 Midnight Tides, Glossary
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 22
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.208
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.654
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 24
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 2, US SFBC p.75
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.597
- ↑ Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 4, US SFBC p.127/136
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 4, US SFBC p.126
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 2, US SFBC p.68
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 14, US SFBC p.425
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 2, US SFBC p.69
- ↑ Midnight Tides Chapter 4, US SFBC p.128
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.374
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, UK MMPB p.226
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.200
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 23, Epigraph
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.86
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.152
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.370-372
- ↑ Reaper's Gale, Chapter 5
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.86
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Glossary
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.69
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.89-92
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.438
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 25
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.440
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.599
- ↑ Fall of Light, Chapter 13, UK HB p.391-393, 398/399