The City of Venezia, also known as the City of Light, or the City of Canals, is home to a unique arrangement within the Basilean Empire. Never conquered, never humbled, Venezia enjoys a history as rich and rewarding as the Empire itself and is second to none in wealth and splendor.
Here, at the confluence of Lake Triar and the Great Southern Ocean, you can find anyone or anything. All are welcome on these streets of water if they come in peace.
Venezia is also well noted for its colourful costumes, and at no time is that more obvious than Carnival, when the whoel city embarks on a week long festival of dancing, singing, fornication and over indulgence. It is a time when any, even it is a rumoured several Royal Princes, have joined in the mayhem protected by an elborate costume and mask. It is said that more than a few Royal bastards can be found amongst the families of Venezia if one could prove their lineage.
The City of LightEdit
Venezia considers itself a beacon of knowledge and enlightenment in an otherwise dark and dreary world. As a result several of the Empires finest Universities and Libraries can be found amongst its shimmering canals and marble landmarks.
Peoples and creatures of all races, religions, creeds, and colours are welcome in Venezia for her reach is vast and her arrogance strong enough to even flaunt the odd Elven guest regardless of Imperial decree. Various sections of the city have even become named after some of their guests and the Immigrant Quarter acts as a stop over point for many of those who arrive in the Empire to seek their fortunes.
Some would suggest the name derives from the glitter of lanterns and the sunlight upon the waters of the cities numerous canals. Even at night the twinkel of lights dancing over the canals is nearly constant as gondolas and other craft ply the darkest hours of the night.
For these reasons Venezia is known far and wide by its most popular moniker, the City of Light.
The City of CanalsEditFor those who would look for a road, or a horse to carry them, they will find neither in the City of Canals. The roads of Venezia are paved with water and though many small cobblestone walking paths navigate the city you will find no horses nor carts here.
Quick travel in Venezia is done by small gondolas that are poled through the tranquil waters by burly men who will take you anywhere in the city for a few Venetian silver coins, the only type of currency accepted in Venezia. Visitors are expected to exchange their local currency, or buy Venetian silver with their trade goods.
The most important of the byways in Venezia is the Grand Canal. This massive water way runs through the very heart of the city and is large enough to accomodate the largest of the slow moving barge galleys that move goods from the southern Deep Harbour Docks to the northern Grand Docks, the hub from which all beasts, peoples and goods depart for Triar.
Venezia exists as a Free City within the Empire, maintaining its own standing military forces, taxation system, currency and leadership. Because of this, its leaders are chosen from within the nobility of Venezia by a electoral vote of the cities entire population. To some, certainly those in the Basilean Royal family, this is absurd but it has served the Venetians well and succesfully led them from one skilled leader to the next.
An Arcdhuke is elected for life though he can be disposed of by popular vote if enough of the populace feel that he has failed them horribly in some way. Should he die, a new one is elected from the ranks of the nobility.
The currnet ruling family has been at the helm of Venezia for almost six generations now. House Navarro , born from a line of succesful Venetian Captains, is responsible for expanding the influence of Venezia well beyond the main Imperial territories. It has been under their guidance that Venetian ships can be found in the colonies of the Empire, the client states, and beyond.
Archduke Juliano Navarro is the current elected ruler of Venezia. His family consists of three daughters in their late teens, their mother long dead. It is thought that the rule of House Navarro will end with his death.
The Council of SevenEdit
The Council of Seven is a governing body appointed by the Archduke that serves for life. Unlike the Archdukes position however they can be appointed from any rank of Venetian society. This often leads to a scattering of merchants, military minds and even artists from time to time.
This secretive body is known only to themselves and the Archduke. They operate behind a viel of secrecy that has proven nearly impossible to pierce given the broad range of people from which they can be drawn. They could be anyone you meet in the city, down to the lowliest gondolier, or even the Bishop of Venezia himself.
The Councils main function is to advise the Archduke on foreign policy and to maintain the integrity of the Venetian trade empire. In order to do they have at their disposal a secretive police force, known as the Mano d'Oro, whose arm reaches into every corner of their far flung interests. Their responsibility is to ensure that corruption is punished swiftly, that trade contracts are honoured and that, at all times, Venezia is above reproach.
Some outside of Venezia have whispered that the Council actually employs magical creatures in their efforts to protect their interests.Perhaps most curious is that the Archduke had never denied these claims.
The Trade EmpireEdit
The exact size and influence of the Venetian trade empire is a cloesly gaurded secret. All that can be certain is that a continual flow of gold reaches Imperial coffers so no one asks to many questions.
The secrets of the trade routes are known only to the Archduke and a select group of adminstrators known only as the Council of Seven. These men and women have been granted a secretive police force that is at all times in action throughout Venetian assests, it is their job to prevent corruption and misuse of Venetian resources.
Military PowerEditVenezia is a military force known only to itself. So far flung are its trade routes and properties that no one save the Archduke himeself knows just for certain how many ships the city controls.
What is ceratin however is that one cannot avoid, even if they wish to, the long arm of Venezia. Her trade ships travel every route and her warships (Seen right) can be found pushing the boundaries of the Empire further than ever before under the employment of other noble houses. Even the Emperor himself hires the formidable Venetian fleet to carry his banner for no captains are more sure of their skill and no gunners more deadly. Hiring a Venetian ship has the added benefit of ensuring that Venezia itself does not seek to block or prevent a persons journey for they will stop at nothing to halt the spread of any interests contrary to their own.
Coastal regions enjoy the protection of Venetian warships as well, the shallower regions of the world that prevent heavier ships from passing to and fro often have fast Venetain war galleys avaliable. These smaller warships, driven by oars and smaller sails, mount considerable fire power and ve transportted in larger ships to be reassembled at their destination.
The War Galleys are a welcome sight at many smaller communities who only recieve one or two ships a year for they carry much needed cargo and can crawl up many rivers to dleiver their supplies intact.
Venezia boasts no military land power. Her reach is limited to the range of the guns carried aboard her ships and the power of her Marine arm. These soldiers are ideal for storming coastal cities and fortresses, protecting Venezian investments with deadly skill. Marines are found on all Venezian warships and marchant ships if a Captain requires them.
For wars on land, or to make a point, Venezia can turn to the Imperial army or hire mercenary forces. This second practice is often frowned upon by the Imperial Family since mercenaries tend to come from lands outside of the Empire.