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House Calypso

“The monks claim there are only two classes: gods and mortals. But there is a class between the two, and that is House Calypso.”

– Excerpt from “The Splendid History of House Calypso”

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The Monastery

“From the Goddess Uxna comes life, from the God Libras Ire comes death, and so we pray: May your essence sustain.”

– Excerpt from the Book of Blood

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The Syndicate

“We pledge ourselves, backboned and bloodsound, to the art of creation.”

– Syndicate pledge

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The Sprawls

“Pray to the gods that they have mercy on you. Because you won’t get any from me.”

– Falon, Crimelord of the Underworld

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Edokan Prison Camps

“Patrol alone, die alone.”

– Edokan Training Manual

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Marrow Glades

“Dig ‘til your hands bleed red and Marrow stains them blue.”

– Lyric from a Marrow harvesting song

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The greenhouses of House Calypso hold natural treasures that are worth more than most Azurians will ever see in their lifetime. This includes House Calypso’s world-renowned Orchid Collection and even a few endangered plants, including the ultra-rare Coratan tree, which grows a delicious fruit that only House Calypso has ever tasted.

The oldest building on the House Calypso estate. It’s where the House Calypso Aristocrats hold their quarterly meetings. In-fighting between Azurbala’s wealthiest family can get so intense, it’s common to see verbal arguments turn into fist fights over $MARROW allocation. But the buck always stops with Lady Vo.

The river canals are the only way to enter/exit House Calypso. Private boaters ferry House Calypso family members or their guests along the waterfront, and the river leading up to House Calypso is guarded by former Edokan members who left their city jobs for a cushy salary guarding the Aristocrats.

The Temple of Bice (the third Holy Temple). Bice Monks are distinguished by their green robes and study “The Book of Thorns.” From the deep caverns of the mountain, they mine diopcide, a green, gem-like mineral that cures myrrosis. They are the only ones who have access to diopcide (and the only ones sanctioned to sell it) – and yet, somehow, unsanctioned diopcide can be found in the Sprawls at a discount.

The Temple of Jaspar (the second Holy Temple). Jaspar Monks are distinguished by their red robes and study “The Book of Blood.” This is where Azurians go with their Azur Root offerings so that the gods will bless their child to have backbone. The more backbone an Azurian has, the stronger they are.

The Temple of Azur (the most Holy of all Temples). Azur Monks are distinguished by their blue robes and study “The Book of Heavens.” This temple is run by Sister Rea. Only Azur Monks are allowed in this temple, which is also the highest point in all of Azurbala. The Azur Monks are extremely secretive about what it is they do, and rumors abound. (Live Azurian sacrifices? Immortality elixirs? Alchemy? No one knows!)

The markets of the Syndicate City Center are renowned for their artistry and ingenuity. Here Azurians can buy all manner of goods, from clothing and accessories to tools to improve Marrow harvesting yields. Many of the market stands have been run by generations of the same family, which is a point of pride (or rebellion) for many Azurians.

The Syndicate building is the center of all things Syndicate: official offices, meeting rooms, administrative offices, and where patents for new goods can be filed. General Secretary Soca works out of these offices, as does his staff of dozens.

The calm, merry City Center today is a far cry from the hallowed ground it once was. Centuries ago, this market was the site of an epic battle waged between feudal lords (whose descendants eventually become House Calypso) and their indentured servants.

The Sprawls are mainly controlled by different crime lords, but there is no crime lord more powerful than Falon. Falon has gained control over the Underworld thanks to a combination of vicious intelligence and ruthless violence. He also knows that the best way to keep control of a large population is to restrict what they know or can learn — thus, he bans reading in the Sprawls. Any book found in the Sprawls is burned.

The Sprawls is home to a massive black market where contraband, stolen Syndicate items, and even unsanctioned diopcide can be purchased. Recently, the Edokan have been cracking down on crime in the Sprawls by going undercover and arresting Azurians who try to buy something on the black market.

The Sprawls, like the name suggests, is a massive faction within Azurbala, complete with its own subcultures and hidden gems. It is also where a few of the Azurian legends grew up, including Jet, General Secretary Soca (the head of the Syndicate), and, of course, the crime lord Falon.

The Edokan control the Prison Camps, where citizens are sent if they are caught breaking the law — i.e., having any business dealings with the Underworld. Azurians who get locked up in the Prison Camps spend their sentence harvesting Marrow for the Edokan.

In theory, the Edokan are officers who keep the peace. But for years, under the rule of General Vrath, a corrupt leader, the Edokan turned a blind eye to all cruelties, especially cruelties exacted on the working poor, especially if it made him rich. General Vrath was fired and disgraced, and the idealistic General Traeger was promoted to take his place and rebuild the reputation of the Edokan.

There have been a few successful prison breaks. Most recently, an Azurian named Jet broke out of the prison camps, and is a wanted criminal at-large by the Edokan.

Marrow comes from the Azur Root, a hybrid fungus/plant that is critical for breaking down dead or toxic matter in the rainforest, thus keeping the rainforest healthy. It also causes bioluminescence in plants at night. The Azur Root grows deep underground, and can only be found through an environmentally degrading mining/harvesting process. Years ago, the Azurians realized Marrow could be processed/refined and used to power their city in the form of bioluminescent electricity.

Harvesting raw marrow comes with risks – it is highly toxic and causes myrrosis, a form of poisoning with effects that can only be reversed with a gem-like mineral known as diopcide, which can only be extracted from the caverns of the Temple of Bice in the Monastery.

Azurians work to harvest Marrow all hours of the day. To keep pace, it’s common to hear Azurians singing Marrow Harvesting Songs. Some of the best singing talent in Azurbala can be found in the Glades.