Twinkle Sprinkle, faithful griffon scholar and friend of King Kloseu de Kissau of Brodfeld (Not to be confused with Twilight Sparkle, faithful pony scholar and associate of Princess Celestia of Equestria.), took it upon herself to chronicle what was known about noteworthy locations around Equus and Griffonia. This guide has been titled Twinkle Sprinkle's Abridged Guide to the Cities of the World. When a state is selected, a button will appear if any lore has been categorized. Clicking it will bring up the location's entry. At the moment, there are 75 locations catalogued.
When you click on a state, look for this icon and click on it to receive lore about the area!
- 1 Equus
- 1.1 Equestria
- 1.1.1 Canterlot
- 1.1.2 Manehattan
- 1.1.3 Fillydelphia
- 1.1.4 Whinnyapolis
- 1.1.5 Bales
- 1.1.6 Ponyville
- 1.1.7 Cloudsdale
- 1.1.8 Baltimare
- 1.1.9 Rockville
- 1.1.10 Las Pegasus
- 1.1.11 Vanhoover
- 1.1.12 Tall Tale
- 1.1.13 Appleloosa
- 1.1.14 Tenochtitlan
- 1.1.15 Ayacachtli
- 1.1.16 Everfree Forest
- 1.1.17 Castle Of The Two Sisters
- 1.2 Stalliongrad
- 1.3 Our Town
- 1.4 Nova Griffonia
- 1.5 Olenia
- 1.6 Changeling Lands
- 1.7 Yakyakistan
- 1.8 The Crystal Empire
- 1.1 Equestria
- 2 Griffonia
- 2.1 Vedina
- 2.2 Skynavia
- 2.3 Griffonian Republic
- 2.4 Griffonian Empire
- 2.5 Feathisia
- 2.6 Strawberry
- 2.7 Bronzehill
- 2.8 Katerin
- 2.9 Angriver
- 2.10 Yale
- 2.11 Romau
- 2.12 Skyfall
- 2.13 Flowena
- 2.14 Fezera
- 2.15 Aquileia
- 2.16 Griffonstone
- 2.17 Francistria
- 2.18 New Mareland
- 2.19 Wingbardy
- 2.20 Sicameon
- 2.21 Cyanolisia
- 2.22 Asterion
- 2.23 Hellquill
- 2.24 Prywhen
- 2.25 Zaphzia
- 2.26 Gryphus
- 2.27 Lake City
- 2.28 Diamond Mountain
- 2.29 River Republic
- 2.30 Wittenland
- 2.31 Nimbusia
- 2.32 Greneclyf
The Heart of Equestria:
Canterlot, the capital of the shining realm of Equestria and the definitive nexus of the country. Walking down the storied streets and avenues that make up the pristine city, you can spot the small tell-tale signs of the 1002 Canterlot Invasion. And yet, looking at the vibrant life in the city; the cafés, the restaurants, the theaters, the parties, the soirees, you wouldn't be able to tell. Canterlot, as with the rest of Equestria, has moved on, content in their idea that the changelings were a bad event but one that will never repeat itself. Least of all anyone expects is for Queen Chrysalis to come back. But whatever the history, Canterlot is, and has been in step with the rest of the country. As Equestria grew under those first years under Luna and Celestia, so did Canterlot. When Equestria industrialized and grew past the years of medieval castles and nobles, Canterlot did too, when Luna was welcomed into the fold, it happened in Canterlot. Be it during the battle against Nightmare Moon, the battle against the Changelings, or indeed, as it has been for most of its history, the vibrant capital of Equestria, the home of ponies and Harmony, watched over by Princess Celestia's gaze, Canterlot has always been a snapshot of Equestria and its condition.
But indeed, if you took up the railroad to Canterlot, arriving at the palace, you will find the curriculum at the School for Gifted Unicorns the same as it has always been, and at galas at the Canterlot Palace they stick to routines from decades ago. While it may serve Equestria well now, they are outdated for the era, and are overdue for an overhaul. However, if a storm should hit, it would be a woeful one indeed.
Time will tell what will happen to Canterlot as a new era dawns on the world. An era of opportunity, and an era of risk.
The City that Never Sleeps:
Throughout its illustrious history, Manehattan has been given many titles: the City of Dreams; the Big Apple; Caput Mundi — the Capital of the World. Situated where the Hayston River meets the Celestial Sea, the Three Boroughs — Manehattan and its satellites, Hayston and Bronclyn — make up this sprawling megalopolis on the East Coast of Equestria.
Being Equestria's largest and most populous city, Manehattan is also the most diverse. As the premier seaport of the continent, centuries of continuous foreign immigration has meant that, alongside the ponies of the Three Tribes, there exist substantial communities of thestrals, hippogriffs, zebras, kirin, and griffons within the metropolis. Canterlot may be the seat of the Diarchy, but it is the melting-pot of Manehattanite society that truly embodies the Equestrian spirit — that of harmonious coexistence, strength in diversity, and friendship free of prejudice.
The glamour of Manehattan's nightlife and entertainment industry, and its unassailable status as an international locus of arts and culture, all belie the true roots of the city's wealth — its massive industrial base, located on the outskirts of the suburbs. If one should gaze to the west from the crown of the Mare Statue, over and beyond the elegant arches of the Bronclyn Bridge, they would glimpse the smokestacks and cranes that juxtapose a parallel skyline — one that is gritty and grimy, yet no less grand — against the opalescence of the skyscrapers downtown.
The Celestial Sea Fleet — the backbone of the Equestrian Royal Navy — has its moorings in the deep waters and sheltered bays of Manehattan Harbour. Where prodigious amounts of capital flow through the wharfs and dockyards of Bronclyn, from Griffonia, Zebrica, and beyond, the iron hoof of maritime law ensures that the waters around the metropolis are kept safe, from threats both monstrous and mundane.
Like all big cities, Manehattan has its fair share of problems. Only a few blocks away from the glitzy shopping avenues of Bridleway are run-down waterfront neighbourhoods teeming with the city's immigrant proletariat, and in the shadow of Manehattan's skyscrapers lie the inner-city slums and ghettoes — the proverbial undergrowth of the concrete jungle. Should the centuries-long peace in Equestria collapse, there is no doubt that strife and scarcity will come to Manehattan; in the face of rationing, curfews, and blackouts, it is all too easy to forget about solidarity and friendship.
Now, in the new millennium, the city is threatened from without and within. Across the sea, Griffonia is poised for a decade of brutal conflict, whilst Manehattan's own Lunarists grow more belligerent by the day, as the horrors of mechanized warfare encroach on ponies' nightmares. In the years to come, what fate will befall this great city?
(The following addendum added should the Manehattan Protectorate be formed.)
Following the defeat of the Principality of Equestria in the Great War, the East Coast fell under the control of the victorious Changeling Hegemony. In the year (Year of creation of the Manehattan Protectorate), Queen Chrysalis would subsequently devolve the governance of the East Coast to a military Protectorate centered around Manehattan.
Upon the arrival of the Protectress Lilac in the city, the Changeling Administration commandeered the Crystaller Building — the tallest skyscraper in all of Equestria — as the headquarters for the new regime, whilst the Garrison's Schutzbataillons occupied the barracks and military bases vacated by the disbanded Equestrian army.
The City of Sisterly Love:
One of the largest cities on the Equestrian east coast only rivaled by Manehattan, Fillydelphia has long been regarded as a center of industry and learning, and one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution in Equestria. It was once known as the workshop of the world, producing goods for export across the planet, and is famed for its medical school located beneath the pegasus district of Bells Air (commonly known as "Little Cloudsdale"). Other notable features of the city are its all-unicorn police force and Dragon Town, a district inhabited exclusively by dragons, as well as the yearly Grapefruit Festival. In recent times the city was struggling with a severe parasprite infestation, which took years to clear out.
The city has a long and rich history, being founded before Luna's Banishment over a thousand years ago, when the Princesses were still young. Indeed, the nickname of the city refers to the mutual love the sisters had for each other, which unfortunately meant that after the Banishment Celestia did everything she could to avoid the city. Despite Canterlot's neglect, Fillydelphia thrived nevertheless. After Luna's return and reformation a grand celebration was held in the city in honour of the Princesses' reconciliation, and the ponies of the city happily welcomed Celestia who could once more visit them without issue.
The Twin Cities:
Located near the border with the Crystal Empire lie two settlements, on the opposite sides of the river: the suburban town of Riverpool and the thriving city of Whinnyapolis. Both of them have benefited greatly from the recent return of Crystal Empire from limbo, growing even more as centers of commerce and industry. Many crystal ponies inhabit the city and imports from the north are always on sale.
Whinnyapolis surpassed its smaller twin Riverpool during the Industrial Revolution. Flour mills and sawmills powered by the rapids between the towns formed the core of their economy. Nowadays the city is more reliant on commercial services such as banking and transportation, being known as "The Gate to Crystal Empire".
The Hidden City:
Bales is an ancient city, one of the oldest ones in Equestria. Containing countless libraries and book stores, it was known as the City of Wisdom. However, several decades ago the bustling city vanished into thin air, and no one knew why. It remained a mystery until relatively recently.
Princess Twilight Sparkle managed to find the hidden city and break the curse that had made it vanish. She learned that a wizard named
Comet Tail the Starry-Eyed had cast a spell to protect the many books of the city from harm, but because he did the ritual at the wrong time, it ended up hiding the city entirely from outsiders. She cast the spell at the right time, breaking the curse and revealing the city. The ponies living in it, who had become reclusive over the years, were overjoyed when visitors flooded Bales.
At the present Bales is a center of learning, trade and book printing, producing ever more tomes not only for its own libraries, but for all the libraries of Equestria. The yearly Book Festival held in autumn draws ponies from across the nation.
The Town of Friendship:
Ponyville, located next to the Everfree Forest southwest of Canterlot, was for most of its history an unremarkable rural settlement. The first pony inhabitants of the area were part of the Apple Family, who were granted the land as a gift by Princess Celestia herself almost a century ago. The first apple orchards were planted, but while the trees grew, the ponies discovered magical Zap Apples inside the Everfree Forest. The jam prepared from these apples became famous, attracting many migrants. Stinkin' Rich, the grandfather of the entrepreneur Filthy Rich, opened a market selling the jam, which soon grew into a burgeoining business. The Apple and Rich families still live in the town to this day and are honoured as its founders.
In the years since, many ponies have moved to Ponyville, making it a very diverse town. All three races are present and live together in harmony. It is for this reason why Princess Celestia sent her young pupil, Twilight Sparkle, to live in the town and make some friends. She and the ponies she met soon became close friends and the wielders of the Elements of Harmony, who have saved Equestria from countless threats. After her ascension to Alicornhood and her defeat of Lord Tirek, Twilight Sparkle now lives in the Castle of Friendship north of the town. Next to it, she has opened the School of Friendship which has students from all across the world. Despite its small size, Ponyville is known across Equestria as the haven of friendship and harmony.
The Town in the Sky:
There are several towns in Equestria which can only be inhabited by pegasi. Such towns are made out of clouds, which only pegasi can walk on, and float in the sky. Cloudsdale is the oldest such town, and is regarded as the home of the Pegasus race.
It is famed for its architecture, its tall pillars and high halls made entirely from vapor and held together by magic. It also has the largest Weather Factory in Equestria, for pegasi are responsible for weather management. The clouds, rainbows and snowflakes made in the town are distributed all across the nation. Another notable feature is the Cloudeseum, where the annual Best Young Flyer competition is held. The town is also known to be the birthplace of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, wielders of the Elements of Loyalty and Kindness respectively.
The Charm City:
Baltimare is the largest settlement in the Equestrian South-East, located in the Horseshoe Bay. Originally a small fishing settlement, it industrialized and grew rapidly, mostly thanks to its natural harbour. It became a center of shipping and manufacturing with thriving docks.
However, the workers have been treated worse than in many other Equestrian cities, especially during the reign of the last Mayor. Because of this Baltimare became the center of the Equestrian labour movement, housing the headquarters of the CAN-TER anarcho-syndicalist federation of trade unions and anarchists. A large protest had been held in the city during the Winter Revolution in Stalliongrad, and the Mayor of the city had been sacked by Celestia herself.
Due to being located in the South-East, the city also houses a considerable minority of thestrals, whose conditions are even worse than that of the workers, but who are not allowed to join unions. Many Coltjuns from Hayseed Swamps inhabit the city as well, speaking their strange creole of Equestrian and Aquileian.
The Mining City:
Surrounded by countless rock farms and nestled among hills, Rockville is a center of mining industry and mineral processing. Its name derives from tonnes of rock regularly brought into the city from the rock farms for refinement. It was an insignificant village before the gemstone rush of 931 ALB which attracted countless migrants.
Rockville is a city of foundries, steel mills and mines. The landscape around the city is barren and the air in the settlement itself is difficult to breathe. Yet it is also a prospering town, producing a large amount of gold, coal, sulfur, tin, copper, platinum, gemstones and more.
Its inhabitants are grim-faced, their faces often covered in soot, but hard-working and relentless. Some call it the least friendly place in Equestria, but those outsides who have earned the trust of a Rockville pony know that they are the most trusty and reliable companies one may have.
Among the sparser areas of Southwest Equestria, Las Pegasus stands out as the largest city in the Southwest and is known as the gambling capital and entertainment capital of the continent. It's filled with luxurious hotels, casinos, arcades, and restaurants that brought the city much fame. Despite it being a floating cloud-city, even earth ponies and unicorns can walk on it thanks to more modern magical engineering, with long platforms of metal and concrete functioning as walkable streets. The service-orientated economy is thriving, and though there is a lack of farmland to sustain the city, food has always been imported from elsewhere in Equestria. There's something for everyone here, from newborns and young partiers to elders looking for something new and exciting. It's currently undergoing more changes with the arrival of Horseco and Rockville Oil entering the city. These modern industries pouring in the city have made the city into a growing research and industrial hub where new technologies can be tested out for the public.
The Western Port:
Located in Luna Bay, Vanhoover contains an excellent natural harbour, and has thus long been a vital port-city. Founded on the ruins of an earlier settlement which had been destroyed by Olenian Vikings, it grew into an important trade port even before industrialisation, being located near the mouth of a river as well.
After the Industrial Revolution, the city grew even more, becoming a vital base of the Equestrian Navy and a center of shipbuilding. A large portion of the populace consists of Olenian deer, who work on the docks or sell their wares at the markets. There are even some changelings living in the city, though they are viewed with suspicion by the rest of the inhabitants.
In recent years the dock workers and sailors of the city have unionized and now agitate for better rights. There are rumours that they receive support from the Supreme Soviet of Stalliongrad, but it is not known if this is true.
The Green City:
On the southern bank of the Tall river lies the city of Tall Tale. Despite its size, one might easily think it's a small rural town, thanks to its rustic buildings, many parks and numerous trees. Yet it is in the end an industrial city, as evidenced by the high grain silos and the car traffic on the streets.
Tall Tale grew from a humble farming village to a proper city after the Industrial Revolution. Yet it never forgot its roots, being surrounded by farmland and having food processing and transportation as its economic foundations. An important railway leading to Vanhoover passes through the city, and is used to transport countless bags of grain and other farm produce for export. The city is especially famous for its bread, said to be the best in Equestria.
Notable sights include the centuries-old Tall Bridge, the Farmers' Market in the central square of the city, and the Museum of Agriculture. The yearly Harvest Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year thanks to its generous offering of delicious baked goods.
The Frontier Town:
Appleloosa is a young town, having been built within a year in 999 ALB. Established by Equestrian settlers, it is surrounded by apple orchards which are used to produce the town's primary export, famed apple pies. Unsurprisingly, many inhabitants of the town are part of the vast Apple family. It is governed by Sheriff Silverstar who maintains law and order. The town has a saloon known as the Salt Block, a clock tower and a stage for musical performances. It is known for its horse-drawn horse-drawn carriages and local mild west dances.
In 1001 ALB, Appleloosa was at the epicenter of the short but violent conflict known as the Apple War. It erupted after nearby buffalo tribes demanded the ponies to tear down their orchards, for they had been planted on their traditional stampeding grounds. The ponies refused to destroy their livelihoods and the buffalo attacked. Compromise was only reached when Chief Thunderhooves was downed by an apple pie, which he found to be delicious. Soon a historic agreement was signed: The ponies get to keep their orchards, as long as they gift apple pies to the buffalo. Ever since, peace has prevailed between the two races, but time will tell if it lasts.
The City of the Sun:
Deep in the steamy jungles of the Tenochtitlan basin lies the largely ruined city which gives the region its name. In fact, when explorers from northern Equestria first discovered it, they called it a "Lost City" even though it has been continuously inhabited for over a millenium. To this day, the ponies of the Neighua tribe live in the city like their ancestors did.
Surrounding Tenochtitlan is a vast network of canals, gaining their water from the river which flows past the city. On these canals, as well as the river itself, one may find the famed Floating Gardens -- or what remains of them, at least. The natives still use them to grow plants such as maize, beans and flowers, though many of them are overgrown.
In the center of the city itself stands the imposing Pyramid of the Sun, the primary religious site of the Neighua. Although it has seen far less use under Celestia's rule (and no sacrifices whatsoever), locals still use it to affirm their loyalty to the Princess. In return, she provides modern medicine, fertilizer, machine tools and more, albeit the natives are left alone to live their peaceful lives in the traditional manner, in huts of stone, mud and wood.
The City of the Moon:
There is a charm in the city of Ayacachtli that begets wonderous thoughts in anypony; here is a city, that was ancient before Equestria had even been formed. Located in the southern jungles, in the mountains on the border of Badlands, Ayacachtli has the dubious honour of being the oldest thestral city in the world. Legends hold it, that it was constructed by a thestral Moonspeaker with the aid of an Ursa Major. Historians, however, place its origins to many millenia ago, to the times when thestral tribes and the Neighua came into conflict and a need for a safe haven was born. Whatever it may have been, thestrals have been living in the city for so long, that only bare estimates can be given with current historical records.
Quite an unusual aspect about Ayacachtli is the fact it is located inside the mountain range, inside a cast cavern dug over time by its denizens. Even as times have advanced, majority of the city is still located safely there, with just part of the more modern city located outside. Where, along with them, plenty of terraces for farming are located to feed the mountain city. But it is not food that Ayacachtli is known for; for the mountains contain many riches such as copper, silver and gold. Historians have traced many ancient trade routes leading to Ayacachtli from the north, carrying goods such as iron weapons and armour in exchange for the mined minerals. Evidence shows that Ayacachtli served as a vital link for trade between the jungles and north, through which luxury goods such as sugar and cocoa from jungle tribes passed by. Once the princesses proceeded with their formation of Equestria, Ayacachtli found itself in a favourable position - at least until the incident with Nightmare Moon occured. Now shunned, the thesrals returned to living amongs themselves, in fear of respitals and revenge for siding with the horrid monster that had once been their beloved princess. This especially hurt Ayacachtli and the city endured for centuries as but a hollow shell of a once mighty realm.
Today, Ayacachtli stands as a testament for vigority of thestralkind as a near total majority of its denizens are made up of thestrals. Even the ponies there are usually tribals from the jungles, who have interacted with the thestrals far longer than any northener has and even tend to share a common tongue with. Modernization is present in the city but mixed in to tradition and the peculiar aspects of thestrals; Ayacachtli has no real streets, as near-every denizen can fly. This has led to the city developing not horitzontally as a traditional city but primarily vertically. Tall towers, reaching from the cavern's ceiling to the floor, dot the vast cave, with the odd bridge crossing the gaps between them. Even with modern electricity, most of Ayacachtli is cast in but dim light, to better suit the sensitive eyes of thestrals. Further caverns extend out from the main one, which lead to the many mining tunnels; Ayacachtli even to this day is mostly dependant upon its ore exports to many Equestrian industries north; one could perhaps find some irony in how some things never change.
Central part of the city and an aspect that cannot be missed is the Temple of Moon, located at the city's center and remains a staunchly visited complex by the thestrals. It is the place where every Moonspeaker comes to learn the traditional ways and read the ancient texts stored within there. Some said to more than millenia old but no outsiders are permitted to see them, not even a certain Princess of Books. But what a visitor can see is already extraordinary, and a sight to rival even that of Canterlot. For right past its entrance, visitors are met with a giant dome covering the main hall. On this dome there is a vividly well-detailed star map, one born from countless generations of work from the Moonspeakers. Every possible inch of the carved stone accurately details the wonders of the night sky to the point that astronomers from Princess Luna's Academy of Stars have praised the meticulous work the priests have done, even rivalling achievements historical astronomers such as Galloping Galley and Leap Ordinance. There have been calls to preserve the temple complex for sake of history but for thestrals, however, the temple still serves its original purpose, as it did since its inception; to venerate the Moon, as their forebears did before them. A work that continues on, and will do so for more millenia to come.
The Untamed Wilderness:
Located south of Canterlot, the Everfree Forest has long been completely avoided by ponies. In fact, the only sapient inhabitant in the entire forest is Zecora, a Zebra shaman who lives in isolation. The other denizens of the forest are far less friendly than her.
Unlike in rest of Equestria, weather and nature in the Everfree Forest are outside the influence and caretaking of ponykind. Clouds move on their own, gnarly and thorny plants grow without limits, and fearsome beasts stalk the shadows. Groves of Poison Joke and nests of adorable but ravenous Parasprites lure the unwary traveller to their doom.
Getting lost in the Everfree Forest is the nightmare of any pony living near it. Those who dare to travel through it do it as quickly as they can and are prepared to fight for their lives. It is a magical, cursed place, and so far the advances of technology have provided no means to tame it.
Castle Of The Two Sisters
The Ruins of Royalty:
Hidden inside the dreaded Everfree Forest are the forgotten ruins of the former home of the Princesses. It is a huge structure of stone and has almost completely broken down over the centuries. Once, Celestia and Luna lived there together, having established it as their capital. But those days of splendour ended when Luna was consumed by jealousy and became Nightmare Moon who tried to slay her beloved sister. Much of the castle was destroyed and Luna was banished to the Moon, but Celestia was overcome with sorrow. She and the entire court abandoned the castle, leaving behind nothing but painful memories.
The location is avoided almost entirely by ponies, for it is rumoured to be haunted by the dreaded Pony of Shadow. Those few who have dared to enter the ruins have quickly become lost in the labyrinthine hallways of stone, watched by statues of stone dragons eroded by centuries of rain. They will also quickly discover the numerous hidden passages and traps that Princess Luna had commissioned for her amusement, and possibly stumble upon the personal library of Princess Celestia, or what remains of it.
The Elements of Harmony were hidden in the castle before Nightmare Moon's return, after which they were retrieved by the Wielders of the Elements. In a ravine near the castle is a cave with the Tree of Harmony, planted by the ancient Pillars of Old Equestria a thousand years ago. It is a magical tree which controls and contains the Everfree Forest, and held the Elements before they were used by the Princesses to defeat Discord. After Princess Luna's return, there were some talks of renovating the castle, but the site has remained abandoned.
The Home of the Revolution:
Originally Stalliongrad was known as Princessyn, the capital of the northeastern Severyana region. It had been a relatively small town before the Industrial Revolution, when the abundant natural resources of the region allowed it to grow massively. Within centuries, it was one of the largest cities in Equestria, a thriving center of industry always covered in thick smog, especially during cold winters.
Yet the growth of the city had a dark side. Its workers were mistreated and discontent grew. Due to its distance from the capital, Princess Celestia remained unaware of the tension before it was too late. The workers revolted, inspired by the writings of Caramel Marks and led by Steel Stallion, and seceded from Equestria in the Winter Revolution.
After Steel Stallion died from illness, the Supreme Soviet renamed Princessyn in his memory to Stalliongrad, which remains the city's name to this day. Nowadays Stalliongrad is a proletarian city, with any remains of capitalism erased. Gone are the houses of the merchants, the markets and the shops, the colourful adverts and the luxurious cars. It is now exclusively the city of smokestacks, factories, apartment blocks, machines, cogs, smoke and steel. In the center stands the imposing Palace of the Soviets, a grand project that has been years in the making, a testament to the industriousness and ambition of the Stalliongradian proletariat.
The Window to the East:
Throughout its history, the port of Petershoof has been Severyana's gateway to the world, and occasionally functioned as its capital. Named after the mythical ruler of pre-Equestrian Severyana, Tsar Peter, it is a major shipping port and shipyard, and a center of commerce. From this strategically important warm-water port, the resources and goods produced inland are shipped abroad.
Despite two revolutions, the Industrial revolution and the Winter revolution, the city retains its classical look especially in its historic city center, with most buildings made out of brick and stone. Countless monuments dot the city, the most notable one being the Bronze Horse, a statue depicting Tsar Peter himself. On the outskirts of the city are more modern apartment blocks and industrial factories.
Alongside Princessyn, now known as Stalliongrad, Petershoof was another major center of resistance which sparked the Winter Revolution. The sailors in the city's naval base mutinied and revolted against the Princess' rule and seized control of the city with the help of factory workers, joining the newly formed Soviet Republic afterwards. There have been talks of demolishing the "monarchist" monuments of the city, but their cultural and historical value have so far been deemed too significant.
The Birthplace of Equalism:
Formerly known as Our Town, and sometimes known as "The Town With No Name", Starlight's Town has since struggled to find a fitting name for itself. Its founder, Starlight Glimmer, built the first houses of the town with her followers. She had gathered a small but loyal following with her fiery speeches and desired to make her dreams a reality. One day she gathered her followers and travelled past Stalliongrad. There, she had received a small amount of land in a dry valley from the Supreme Soviet, who tolerated her radical ideology, Equalism, and were sympathetic to her cause.
Using her magical powers, Starlight Glimmer forcibly removed the cutie marks of her followers, erasing their talents and making them perfectly equal. No one was superior in Our Town, and everyone behaved almost identically. Yet in secret, Starlight kept her cutie mark and acted as the town's firm leader who ruled with an iron hoof.
The equalist experiment came to an end when the Wielders of the Elements discovered the town and unveiled Starlight's secrets. They revealed the hidden vault where the magically-extracted cutie marks were hoarded by Starlight. When the inhabitants had realized their leader was a fraud and saw how much happier ponies with cutie marks are, they lost faith in equalism and drove Starlight out of town.
Nowadays the town is a peaceful and pleasant place, with everypony being proud of their talents. The Sunset Festival is held every year, and a tree grows where Starlight's house once stood.
The Griffenheim of the West:
Originally built on the site of an ancient, migration-era pony site, Weter was the first settlement the Griffonian Empire founded on Equus, and its city charter came directly from Emperor Grover I. While initially little more than a military outpost meant to control the strait to the north, it rapidly grew from the various explorers and ambitious settlers who saw Nova Griffonia as the place to build a new life beyond the confines of the empire. Weter became one of the main ports of entry in the region, leading to a population explosion during the late 800s and early 900s that took Weter from a small frontier town to an actual city. It became considered "The Gateway to the West" and hundreds of thousands have entered Equus through the Weter Harbor, hoping for a new life in Nova Griffonia.
While Nova Griffonia is an immense region, most of it remains frontier regions. Weter, near uniquely, is more like Griffonia than the rest of the nation, with tighly packed old-style buildings near the city centre and an opulent gubernatorial palace overlooking a city plaza in which a statue of Grover I stands. Further out, however, the Griffonian veneer fades quickly, and already at the outskirts of the city one can see the more uniquely Nova Griffonian identity spring forth. This has always been Weter's role in these lands though; to stand as the link between Nova Griffonia and the old homeland, enforce imperial order and ensure that this rugged and harsh land far from Griffenheim remains a testament to the Griffonian Empire's drive and ambition."
The Home of the Brave:
Before Nova Griffonia and before Weter, Nouveau Aquila was established at the mouth of the Dulli River. In the beginning, it was little more than a camp for Rilan fishergriffs and whalers on their journeys, allowing for a safe place of rest after weeks at sea. However, over time trade with the local ponies and yaks meant that more and more Aquileian griffs stayed there permanently, creating a small, sprawling town outside of official Aquileian control.
When Aquileia fell to the Griffonian Empire, it was both a great boon and a great trial for Nouveau Aquila. Thousands of Aquileian refugees, many of them wealthy merchants and nobles, made their way to the town and carried their wealth with them, more than doubling the population and increasing the town's wealth many times over. Yet, at the same time Nouveau Aquila had had time to develop its own political system of elected mayors and a town council, a system that clashed with the royalist leanings of many of the newcomers. In the end, it was the arrival of Griffonian Empire's fleet and the demand for subjugation under the new colony of Nova Griffonia that stopped things from exploding into outright fighting.
As Griffonian settlers began to arrive in the town as well, the Aquileian refugees chose to keep to themselves, creating what would become known as The Aquileian Quarter, a district of the city that even to this day has a clear Aquileian feel to it in everything from the cuisine to the architecture and even the language. In some ways, this region has kept hold of old cultural artefacts from the old kingdom more than Aquileia ever has.
Also, ever since its inclusion into Nova Griffonia, the city has considered itself the actual heart of Nova Griffonia, viewing Weter as a colonialist overlord not truly part of the colony. Nouveau Aquilan Griffons have always been eager to settle the deeper regions of the colony, explore new opportunities, serve in the Nova Griffonian militias and however they can leave a mark on their homeland. Weter may the Griffonian Charter, but these descendants of those Aquileian refugees and fishers have worked tirelessly to create their own niches. Weter remains true to the old homeland, Nouveau Aquila embraces the Nova Griffonian way of life. Weter is a hub of agriculture and industry, Nouveau Aquila makes a niche for itself in steelworks and logging. Weter builds a university, Nouveau Aquila will erect a grand theatre. One can call Nouveau Aquila proud, stubborn or spiteful maybe, but nogriff can ever call it lazy, cowardly or sedate.
The Old Sailor:
Situated at the mouth of a river and overlooking the Rich Sea, Cervus has been one of the major naval hubs for the Olenian deer. The Jarls of Cervus, at times preferred trading and at others raiding. Each year the fleet of longships would sail from the harbour towards far off shores, and bring back the wealth of distant shores. Cervus grew rich and the fine woodcarving of her buildings would soon be supplemented with gold, silver and gemstones. Many of the old wooden homes and halls still form the centre of the city, with the Jarls' Great Hall forming the absolute crown jewel of the city, a massive wooden hall, whose ornaments, are trophies from ancient times.
However, the age of raiding is long gone and Cervus is now a modern city. After a population boom, the city has grown into the industrial heart of Olenia, with apartment blocks and factories surrounding the historic centre. Most of the initial factories belong to the Cervus Industrial Corporation, a conglomerate holding much sway over local politics and a big supplier to the Olenian government. Despite the encroachment of modernity, the harbour is still a pleasant site to visit, with modern transport ships sailing to and fro and many of the historic longboats still being kept in shipshape tradition by the locals.
The Seat of House Jelzek:
Hjortland is the proud capital of Olenia. The place where the gods of the land are honoured and where the bravest warriors and explorers charted the oceans from. Many sages begin or end here and many a tall tale too! It is the cultural heart of the Olenians and even an object of imagination and fantasy for those deer whose ancestors departed from her shores long ago.
Occupying the easternmost stretch of a large peninsula, Hjortland’s location is highly defensible while occupying a central location among the ever important Olenian south coast. As the seat of the House of Jelzek, Hjortland is the natural capital of the country. The Kings of Olenia occupy the Palace in Hjortland, built with a mix of Equestrian and Olenian styles, giving the building an appearance of modernity while not totally abandoning the Olenian woodworking traditions. The palace is only one of the traditional centres of Olenian politics, however, but the fate of the other hangs in the balance still. The Riksdag, also known as the Eduskunta, used to be the Olenian parliament. However, with the rise of King Johan, the Riksdag has been suspended for the time being, leaving the building a slowly rotting carcass, which some would whisper is representative of the country after the King's unorthodox ascension.
The Shores of Luna Bay:
Vaverfront is the largest city east of Hjortland and has a peculiar success story. Located on the sheltered Bay named after the Equestrian princess Luna, the city sits almost directly across from Vanhoover on calm waters. As a port, Vaverfront used to be mostly known for the lumber export to Equestria, along with the export of wooden carvings and toys for the ponies. The almost endless supply of northern trees has ensured that the industry remains lucrative. One of the most well-known lumber exporters is a company known as Lokia, based in Vaverfront. Recently, the lumber giant has sets its eyes on new technology, however. With its many contacts in the technologically advanced Equestria, Lokia has managed to hire experts in electronic technology and is adamant on researching the potential of electronic machinery and ‘computers’. Whether the gamble will pay off remains to be seen.
Whatever the case, Vaverfront enjoys a relatively mild climate and prosperity from the wood trade and emerging business of electronics. Most recently, many communication companies have moved to the city, which now hosts a lot of the country’s radio stations.
Enter the gargantuan hive-city from the north and see a city under riveting change, look up to the Royal Spire and the older city core, there, you will see the new eating into the old. Enter the Royal Spire as a visitor and be prepared to be searched in every nook and cranny for the suspicion that you’re a spy or something worse.
Once you’re finished with being violated in rights and principle by the guards, look closely at the new architecture inside. The columns and the rooms are, despite the aged look from the outside, brand new, and the conversations are not about who to oppress, but rather how to best prepare for the final war. The outskirts of the city reflects this too. While there were once fields, now massive industrial complexes and tenements tower there, all less than a decade old. They are the symbol of what the Changelings can do together, provided they have a common enemy. And yet, problems are teeming in the city. After the unification of the changeling race, the city has perhaps grown too quickly for its own good, becoming one of the largest cities in the world. Many apartment spires and homes are overcrowded and in serious need of new suburbs and satellite towns to offload their excess population to. To make matters worse for Chrysalis, the new course has not been popular with all and hushed voices speak of a resistance to her. But the hypothetical opposition had better be wary. The Queen’s Guard patrol the streets, hunting down any sign of dissent.
But for a time, take to the skies and look down upon the city. You can clearly distinguish the old from the new, with the old core being slowly ‘eaten’ by the urban renewal taking place. And yet, you can see the march of progress. New machines in the streets and in the fields, new fashions and societal ideas in the halls of power, and new ideas of warfare and destruction in the armed forces. Truly, Vesalipolis is a microcosm of the Changelings.
The White Port:
The Hive of Dytrisium was one of the first to ally with Vesalipolis when the hives were being unified, which paid of immensely for the port city. It is located at the far end of a protective fjord, allowing ships natural shelter from the elements. As one of the major commercial hubs for the changelings, Dytrisium is the link of the Changeling Lands to the outside world. It is also where the changelings are preparing their advancements in naval warfare. Drones buzz endlessly around the dry-docks to manufacture warships for the hives. In heavy concrete bunkers, meanwhile, the U-boot fleet hides in the deepest secrecy. The exact size and scale of the submarine operations are a state-secret of the highest order.
Surprisingly for a changeling hive, Dytrisium does have some more colourful elements, perhaps the foreign ships coming into port do help spread some cheerful influences. The city is relatively wealthy, courtesy of Queen Helvia and her predecessor lobbying successfully for commercial investments into the hive. Nowadays, most of the changelings in the city work to maintain the Grand Changeling Armada based in Dytrisium’s naval base, a fleet which the changeling admiralty hopes will one day best the Equestrians on the high seas. Thus, although Dytrisium might be the changeling hive benefiting the most from outside contacts, it too is being repurposed towards the all-encompassing war effort of Queen Chrysalis.
The Old Warrior:
For the longest time Vraks and Vesalipolis have been rivals on the battlefield. For centuries, the changelings of Vraks have fought against their bigger northern neighbour with all their might. Sensing weakness in Queen Chrysalis, the hive led a full on assault on her home, which was only barely beaten back by the Queen. Years later, Vraks would be humiliated and finally put down and Vesalipolis would become the changeling metropole. The Vrakkians have now accepted the hegemony of Chrysalis, accepting her strength and excited to battle new enemies.
Under the rule of Queen Argynnis, Vraks has used its martial prowess to become the backbone of the changeling military and the centre of her war production. Black clouds of smoke continuously envelop the city, the result of a massive military industrial complex which covers a good third of the city. In Vraks, the barracks for the soldiers are almost indistinguishable from the houses of the factory workers, a matter of great pride for the city’s inhabitants. All work for the soldiers, who in turn serve the hive. The only truly remarkable structures in the city are monuments to past battles, most of which are concentrated on a massive square called “The Field of Glory”.
A perceptive observer might note that the Field is not yet completely filled.
The Silent Hive:
The Hive of Lyctida lies in the middle of thick forests, and with the smoke from factories and lumber mills, the city is always a bit dark and at night, the moon and stars have difficulty illuminating the Black Hive. Lyctida is a sombre place, but for many changelings, it is still home. The hivelings are bugs of few words, preferring the company of machinery or the solitude of the forests. With the streets silent, the scenery drab and the company stoic, Lyctida receives few visitors.
Only once has a sizeable group of foreigners visited, but this was with unfriendly intentions. Olenian zealots once tried to assault the city, in the name of their violent gods. Only with the timely intervention of Queen Chrysalis were the deer driven from the forest hive. This incident earned Chrysalis the loyalty of the Silent Hive and its Queen. Now the humming of the factories creates a new melody, the march to war.
The Lady of the Lake:
Far to the northeast, on the shores of the Key Lake, Soryth stretches out. The sprawling hive is built in what the changelings would consider a non-crowded way, but for other creatures, even Soryth might feel cramped still. Key Lake is the reason why so many changelings endure the cold winters of the north of Equus and it is the city’s most valuable resource. For some unknown reason, the lake exhibits magical properties, making it a valued object for study and a source of clear drinking water.
The city itself straddles the coast of the lake and is way longer than it is wide, with most changelings preferring to live as close to the waterfront as possible. Luckily, waterborne transportation makes it easy to move from one side of the city to the other and the lake is always filled with boats of all shapes and sizes. Because of the northern climate and the relative lack of industry, the air is clear and the city itself feels clean and tidy, a reprieve from some of the more industrialised hives. The main point of interest is the Soryth University of Magic, an institution devoted to the study of the changelings’ innate magical abilities, as well as the understanding of the properties of Key Lake. With the promise of increased funding and plenty of field testing for her magical research, Queen Yaria of Soryth joined Chrysalis without a fight.
The Home of the Yaks: Yakistown has been the traditional capital of Yakyakistan for countless centuries. It has been the home of the King, the court and the Council of Elders. Nestled in the Yakis valley, it is a town of wooden huts with thatched roofs, surrounded by a wooden palisade. Yet ever since Yakyakistan ended its long isolation from the world, one may see an occasional imported industrial product from Equestria which is out of place, and those who use them are disdained by others. This signals a deeper division in Yak society which recently caused the Jak secession.
The most notable landmarks of the town are the two giant statues at its entrance, depicting a yak and a jak holding shields and torches, symbolising the unity of the two tribes. After the devastating avalanche of 1005, they were the only structures left standing, as the rest of the city had to be rebuilt from nothing with Equestrian aid. When walking on the snowy streets, one may hear the loud music of the yovidaphone, or the sound of yaks smashing objects for their personal enjoyment. While yaks may seem to distrust foreigners, in truth they will respect visitors as long as they respect their unique culture.
The Crystal Empire
The Beating Heart:
One of the largest cities of the world, it is often said that without Crystal City, there would be no Crystal Empire. It is a massive urban area inhabited by millions of crystal ponies, and is a center of culture and industry. However, before 1002 ALB, it did not even exist.
Over a thousand years ago, Crystal City was founded as the capital of the Empire, ruled by Princess Amore, the first ruler. Back then, the annual tradition of the Crystal Faire was established, and the magical Crystal Heart discovered. Together, these two kept the ponies' spirits high, and protected the city from Umbrum and the cold north. But then King Sombra slew the Princess and seized power, forcefully moving much of the populace into the City to work as slaves. Equestria intervened, and before his defeat Sombra cast a curse on the Empire, making it disappear for a thousand years.
After the end of the curse and the return of the city, the locals have had difficulty adapting to modernity. But thanks to Equestria's aid and the rulership of Princess Cadance, the city is industrialising quickly, with cars driving on the shining crystal streets.
Notable sights of the city include the Crystal Castle, home of the royalty which houses the Crystal Heart, the Amethyst University with its grand library, the famed Spa, and lastly, the huge Crystal Stadium, built for the Equestria Games which were held in the city in 1003 ALB.
The City of Chivalry:
If one wants to experience the idealistic vision of old Griffonia, with its knights and tourneys and great heroes, there is no more emblematic place of that age than Turhamn, the great City of Chivalry.
Nestled away in Sky Bay, Turhamn has served as the capital of the isolated Kingdom of Vedina for centuries, hosting kings and legends both great and evil. The home of the Knights of Vedina, some of the most chivalrous and adept warriors in all of Griffonia, the city of Turhamn is a beacon of tradition and brilliance. Statues of the great heroes and kings of Vedina adorn every park and palace, and worshippers of the Vedinian patron saint, the Wise Lady, can be seen flocking to Vedina in the thousands to pay homage to her wisdom and generosity.
However, Turhamn, like the rest of Vedina, is emblematic of a larger problem - industrial centers now rise over the palaces and knightly barracks of Vedina's nobility and protectors, and the once-proud citizens of Turhamn have grown complacent and materialistic. Shops, taverns, and centers of debauchery have sprung up in the lowest places of Turhamn, and its once-grand nobility has forced to scheme and plot in the shadows. The people, who once worshipped their rulers as God-Kings themselves, blessed by Boreas and the Wise Lady, now have begun to riot for the rights and freedoms expected of Vedina's harmonic system.
Looks can be deceiving, and Turhamn's noble air and idealistic vision, to many, is only a facade.
The Northern Star:
Even whilst the last Republican remnants were still being wiped out in the Herzland, and as Kemerskai's warlords struggled to consolidate their exiled regime in Cloudbury, the ideals of the First Griffonian Revolution had already been long dead; its rotten principles of militarism, statism, and bourgeois liberalism had provided no providence against the resurgent Imperial counterattack.
Sickleclaw's Internationalists would have none of Kemerskai's degenerate revisionism, nor could they bring themselves to adopt the disunited isolationism of their Communalist counterparts. Upon the foundations of some unnamed tribal settlement, they would set about the realisation of their egalitarian vision, made manifest in the brick and mortar of their home - the city of New Skynavia, a bastion of progress and idealism reclaimed from the primitive wastes of the far north.
The houses are plain but sturdy, short yet spacious, and the asceticism of their furnishings are rendered inconsequential, within a society premised upon the tenets of usufruct. New Skynavia may not have palaces or skyscrapers, but neither are there slums or ghettoes.
Up north, there is little beauty to be found - not in the frigid wastes of the vast tundra, nor within the drab neighbourhoods of New Skynavia. Here, nothing is beautiful - nothing but the faces.
We have nothing but that, nothing, but each other.
The Refuge of the Exiles:
According to legend, the first ruling lord of Cloudbury, Erik the Wise, founded the grand city due to the godly clouds swarming around the town, which he believed to be a sign from Boreas. Perhaps it was, for Cloudbury prospered for centuries as the namesake and capital of the Duchy of Cloudbury. Prosperity came to its cloudy hills and plains, but when the Griffonian Empire arrived, the Duchy slowly fell into decline. Cloudbury became decrepit and reliant on Imperial aid, and when the Empire fell, economic and social depression took its toll on the city.
However, when Alexander Kemerskai, exiled President-Marshal of the Griffonian Republic arrived, he revitalized Cloudbury as a center of his new Republic in the North. Cloudbury was urbanized and reformed, and Republican exiles poured into the city, leading to it becoming one of the first Republican cities to reach over 50% Herzlander literacy. Although smog now blots out much of the pleasant cloudy skies of Cloudbury and those speaking Cloudburian are seldom seen, it has become a bustling center of industry, and its close proximity to many rivers has allowed it to ferry trade west to the greater Republican ports.
In recent years, Cloudbury has become influenced by the Left Wing of the National Republican Party, as intellectuals and workers alike flock to Rikard Astler's democratic socialist camp, which promises a truly free and equal Republic free from Kemerskai's meddling influence. Despite the Republic's political differences, however, the Tricolour still flies over the presidential palace of Cloudbury as it has for 30 years - and under our great Republican dream, it shall never fall.
The Imperial City:
Despite the decline of the Griffonian Empire, Griffenheim itself retains much of its size and prosperity, being the largest city in Herzland. Indeed, the city's elaborate architecture and its grand buildings are an echo of the glory days of the Empire. However, when one takes a closer look and walks on the streets, there are no massive crowds of griffons from all over the continent like before, the markets sell local products with very few if any exotic luxuries, and the military parades of the Reichsarmee are not what they used to be.
The city was founded by Emperor Grover I himself as a capital for his newborn Empire. He chose the marshland in the confluence of the grand Grifking river and put thousands of prisoners of war to work draining it. Within a decade Griffenheim had become a rapidly growing center of trade, administration, religion and industry. Even the Archonate of Boreas was moved from Griffonstone to Griffenheim, a decision which remains controversial to this day. As the city grew, it expanded to the other sides of the rivers, requiring gigantic bridges to be built across them. They remain remarkable achievements of construction and are among the longest ones in the world. There are dozens of them, with the latest one being a railway bridge commissioned by Emperor Grover V.
The capital of the Empire retains the massive state apparatus and the infrastructure required to support it, despite the greatly diminished size of the nation. The Imperial Palace is the beating heart of the city, a huge collection of ornate buildings dedicated to housing the Emperor and his vast court. Near it are countless ministries and bureaucratic offices, green gardens and parks, army barracks and famed military academies. The largest single building in the city is the Grand Temple of Boreas, home of the Archon and one of the most important religious sites of all griffonkind, attracting thousands of pilgrims every year. Surrounding the center of the city are manors of the Imperial nobility, educational facilities, market squares and an ocean of apartments and workshops.
The Gateway of Griffonia:
Nestled in the Griffking estuary, Rottendedam has always been Feathisia’s natural harbour city, locked in a fierce rivalry with Skyfall over being Griffonia’s most important port. The further one sails up the Griffking towards the city-centre, the less modern the piers and cranes become, telling a story of the expanding maritime trade pushing the harbour ever-further out towards the sea. For centuries, the wealth of distant parts of the world has flown into this port, the fruits of the labour of Feathisian explorers, traders and at times, conquerors.
However, not every Rottendedammer has profited equally from the city’s success, and especially with the fading fortunes of the Griffonian Empire, the city’s poor have become radicalised. Meanwhile, a significant foreign quarter of ponies live in relative luxury, causing jealousy exploited by the country’s nationalist politicians. Home of the Fetisisch Nationalistisch Verbond, a party which would rather see the gate of Feathisia being shut, the city is two-faced indeed.
More notable sites of the city include the Vlootacademie, where many imperial admirals were trained, the Colonial Quarters, where administrators and military personnel are trained for duty in the Zebrides and the gigantic Vismarkt, the fish market-hall near the harbour, where thrifty Feathisians brave the penetrating smell to haggle with the merchants.
The City of Canals:
Mirabelle is a region named for her plums, is an area in northern Feathisia on both banks of the Griffking and bordering both the historical duchies of Cloudbury and Strawberry. Most beings associate the name more with the city, but those outside the city, especially in Grieslein claim that the city of Mirabelle is named after the region and not the other way around.
Mirabelle city is the industrial titan of Feathisia, a city whose population exploded due to the industrial revolution. The historical centre is based on rings of canals, lined by the houses of rich merchants, build in the Feathisian style with stair-step gables. The canals house fairs and markets in winter, when the water freezes over. In older times, the top floor was used for storing merchandise, but nowadays those are stored near the factories. In the city centre one finds a marvellous late-imperial style train station and the Grand-Ducal museum, housing artefacts from the Zebrides and works by Feathisian painters.
The neatly kept squares, monuments and canals, which are home to the higher and middle class, are encased by the square and planned industrial neighbourhoods that emerged with the advent of the steam-age. A sea of small brick houses for workers build against each other houses most of the Mirabelleans and in these neighbourhoods of the working class the Partij van de Arbeid finds her supporters. It is not uncommon for workers here to get a union card as a gift from their parents when they become an adult and many prominent PvdA politicians have their roots in Mirabelle, including the radical Rozenkamp brothers.
Outisde of the city, Feathisian farmers farm the famous Mirabel plums and the other food for the city, not much concerned with the goings-on of the city. Further downstream on the Griffking is the provincial city of Grieslein, which never grew to such proportions as Mirabelle, but has been the historical capital of the region. For those who cannot stand the air in Mirabelle, Grieslein offers a welcome reprieve. Proper and unremarkable in every way, it is a typical small Feathisian city, where most of the griffons support either the Fetisisch Hertogelijke Partij or the Liberaal Democratische Partij.
De Vleugels is the ancient seat of the Weijermars family, once no more than a castle defending one of the crossing over the Griffking river. Over time, through prudent expansion, the Weijermars family became the ruling family of Feathisia, making De Vleugels the capital. The town would grow into the largest city of Feathisia, rising with her lords and profiting from being the seat of government and from increased trade over the Griffking in the imperial days. To the west of the city are the ducal woods, property of the Weijermars family and used for hunting and recreation by the nobility.
The ancient castle is now gone, replaced by a more modern manor as the residence for the Grand Duke. Around it, straddled on the west bank of the Griffking, through small and winding streets, the city stretches out. In the centre, close to the manor, are the many offices and buildings required to run a modern state. Ministries, administration, the tax service, the High Court.
Most importantly, however, is the Volkshof, the Feathisian parliament. The series of buildings are built around a small court and house the representatives of the Feathisian people. Originally, the Volkshof was there to house the General Estates, representatives from merchants, nobles and the prelates. As Feathisia reformed into a democracy, however, the old buildings were renovated to become the symbol of the new power of the people. However, even this hof, or court, is not the reason why De Vleugels is called the Hofstad. At the time when the city grew in power and size, the Southern-Griffonian styles were in fashion, as the Empire had recently subdued that part of Griffonia. Thus, many houses or groups of houses were built around smaller or larger courts or inner gardens, while still retaining the Feathisian brick houses, making the city a unique blend of southern ideas with northern materials.
Land of Strawberries and Wine:
Strawberry Duchy is a land known across the Empire for it's exotic strawberry wines, but within it's own borders, there is no wine more prestigious than Readewetter Royal Red. Travelers come from far and wide to sample the finest vintages, and indeed it is a sign of wealth among the commoners for the family to have their own unopened bottle on display in the common room. But while travelers may be drawn to Readewetter for drink, they often find much more waiting for them within its walls.
For while much of the Empire was left scarred by the fires of the Griffonian Revolution, Readewetter emerged largely unscathed. The fighting was done in distant provinces, and the veterans of the old conflict returned home to cheers of adoration. As the curious visitor enters the city through the Knight's Arch, statues of valiant Strawberry griffons adorned in gleaming armor look down on them, the alternating flags of the Empire and the Duchy fluttering in the wind above.
From there the inquisitive traveler is free to explore one of the cultural peaks of the Empire. What the city lacks in modern industry, it more than makes up for it with merry charm. Musicians line the streets, singing out the latest gossip or news while hobbyist vintners exchange their latest vintages in open-air cafes. In the Strawberry Quarter, vibrantly dressed merchants argue with equally colorful salesgriffs as to the exact value of each barrel of wine, their tasting spoons gleaming in the sun like dueling daggers. Extravagant homes compete for attention in the Noble's Quarter, where each noble family proudly displays their colors and crest on intricate tapestries. And most magnificent of all, the Duchess's Estate watches from the banks of the Brantbeak River, it's hedge maze open to all comers who might seek the delectable strawberry bushes hidden inside.
Yes, Strawberry is a land of wine, but in Readewetter the traveler learns that it is so much more.
The City of the Bronze Cross:
Bronzekreuz was a small mountain town in the north of the Empire when the land was granted by Emperor Grover II to a large band of escaped Diamond Dog slaves. The town was chosen by Eisen Freehound, the first Count of Bronzehill, to be his capital due to the large bronze-coloured mountain that rose over the town to the north. The mountain was renamed Mount Grover and the dogs quickly set to work carving a grand city under its southern face.
Unique in its blend of North Griffonian and Diamond Dog architecture, the city is a centre of art and crafts, the goldwork and gems created by the hounds of the city are renowned throughout the Empire. The landmarks of the city include the grand Wiesetreffen theatre, Emperor Grover II Park, and Kar-Friz, the Royal Palace and underground city founded by Count Eisen Freehound. Inside the grand façade of Kar-Friz is a vast marbled hallway lined with bronze and gold, at its far end a 60-meter-tall statue of Emperor Gorver II sits in a throne looking down on all who enter.
In recent times, many new industries have been popping up on the outskirts of the city, often owned by Griffenheim-based entrepreneurs and industrialists. These new industries have brought many hounds and griffons to the city in search of new jobs. However, there are concerned growing about the quality of life these new workers receive and the desire to reduce costs and increase production is damaging the reputation of quality that Bronzehill has long been famous for.
The Worst Place in Griffonia:
Many places have known better days, yet it is arguable if Katerinburg has ever known worse days. Once the city was the site of the old Katernii Kingdom, whose power was famed throughout Herzland and beyond. Under the Grimclaw dynasty of kings, the Katernii's power reached even into the Riverlands for some time, and great wealth flowed to the capitol from its rhinestone industries and its position to tax all trade flowing down the Griffking. In addition, its distinct warrior traditions and its law codes made it a notable power in the region, one that could well have been a threat to the rising Griffonian Empire.
Alas, the Katernii fell not on the battlefield, but due to treason. A local noble family swore allegiance to the new, rising power of the Herzland in secrecy. With their help, the Katernii army was subverted and outmanouvered, ensuring that the old kingdom died not with a bang, but a whimper. For their service, this family was given the lands of Katerin, taking the name von Katerinburg after the city. As a part of the Griffonian Empire, however, the entire region became looked upon as a backwater. Its warrior culture slowly withered, its industries were outclassed by Griffenheim's and in the end, all that was left was an impoverished region and a city struggling to get by.
It was only when he Revolution of 978 struck, however, that Katerin's fate truly was sealed. A combination of high taxes, harsh landlords and mismanagement by the von Katerinburgs led to a brutal peasant uprising that saw large parts of the city devastated and most of the von Katerinburg family lynched. In the wake, with the ascension of Diellza von Katerinburg to the throne, things turned yet again for the worse. After a few years and in a fit of paranoia, Diellza ordered the entire city relocated from its historical site deeper into the swamps. This move has all but bankrupted the already struggling nation, and Katerinburg has ever since been slowly put back together again in lands that seem like it want to swallow it whole. Many of the charms of the old city has been long gone, and Katerinburg struggles merely to survive in its current situation and location.
The Forest of Mud and Darkness:
Few places in all of Griffonia has been as stubborn in its resistance to being tamed as the dark, foreboding forest known as The Scheißwald. Though situated right in the backyard of the Griffonian Empire, it has never quite let go of the region despite centuries of efforts from the Griffons. Instead it has lingered, offering sanctuary for outlaws, madgriffs and countless monsters, many of who are still not fully documented by Griffonian zoologists.
Its name speaks volumes of its place in the Griffonian consciousness. Whereas the Everfree Forest in Equus has earned fear and a modicum of respect from the ponies living close to it, the Scheißwald is cursed as a place of death and danger, with mud so thick and fetid that it has been described as wading through excrement up to your hips. The stench blowing from it during spring and autumn from this mud can travel for dozens of miles on the winds. In fact, an apocrypical tale claims that Griffenheim was founded where Grover I could "no longer neither smell the fetid mud nor hear the vicious roars emanating from those accursed woods."
Despite its vicious reputation, the Scheißwald is viewed by some as not a cursed hellscape, but a wonder without equal. It holds many species of monsters not seen anywhere else in the world, and though the inaccessibility and hostility of the deeper parts of the woods has made exploring an excruciating process, botanists have found examples of nearly every medicinal herb documented in Griffonian history as well.
This has done little to help the local griffons, who despite centuries of struggle continue to try to tame the region with varying degrees of success. In the Principality of Katerin and the Barony of Angriver, the local griffons have not only established themselves around it, but indeed within it as well in certain cases, and though the Scheißwald stubbornly refuses to yield to anygriff, the griffons who have settled in the region are not wont to give up so easily either.
The Cradle of Knowledge: Greenback, Yale's capital city and the host of the Greenback Academy of Medicine, is the largest city in the rectorate and home to a large portion of its industry. The Greenback Academy of Medicine has done wonders for every griffon in Yale and Griffonia as a whole, with new ways of saving the lives of thousands of griffons pioneered every day. Magical potential has also been studied in Greenback more than any other Griffonian city, with biology departments studying day and night on what truly makes a griffon magical.
Closest to the Greenback University stands the Greenback Hospital, where the university's unique doctrine of Pharmacology encourages students to seek the effects of their own drugs and medicine on the local population, to truly ensure innocent griffons are not being harmed. Thousands of staffers keep the healthcare system in Yale one of the greatest in all Griffonia, and through trial and error, medical science has prospered.
However, not all is well in Greenback. A centre of industry and pollution, the city is experiencing the full impact of industrialism. Behind the old half-timbered houses on the Kaiserplatz rise plumes of smoke from her factories and the Angriver which flows through the city has been too polluted to drink from. However, many marvels have also been created from this new age, most beloved of which is the gigantic Station One, the starting point of the Imperial Railway. A massive building, who’s waiting halls carry frescos depicting all corners of the Griffonian Empire at its height.
To the east of the capital lies Greengate, the great university of engineering, a smaller city where the divides of class are a loss less easily felt. To the east of Greenback stands the red-brick university of Cyrusval, a city whose griffons often go to Greenback to incite the local workers to protest for better working conditions.
The City of Arantigos:
Ah Romau... the Eternal City. It has seen the rise and fall of more empires and rulers than perhaps any other in the world. All while playing part in almost all of it. While most cities grew up naturally Romau was planted onto the earth by one of the greatest leaders history has ever known. The divine King Arantigos. As his realm spread far across the continent Arantigos founded city after city to serve as the fortresses and centers of his new empire. Romau, while not the first of these, was perhaps the greatest. Founded on the intersection of great rivers it quickly prospered after the fall of the Arantigan Empire under the rule of an alternating series of Dictators and rule by its enshrined Senate.
While there was a point under the rule of Kaeso Tatian that Romau seemed on the cusp of having an empire of its own, it was not to be. Soon Romau fell subject to the great Emperor Grover I who took the city for his own Empire, using it as a base while he carved out what would become the Herzland of 1007. Following this in 728, the great Romau University was founded and was the center of education in the Empire for many years.
The city suffered ups and downs, even being decimated and having any land outside the city itself taken by Grover II for a rebellion in 785, but in the end, the Imperial claw served Romau well. Romau soon industrialized becoming the "Second City" of the Herzland after Griffenheim itself.
But all is not well in the city. The Republicans still lurk in the shadows with their Syndicalist allies, ready to snatch the city from the decaying Empire at the slightest provocation.
Be warned any who wish to be heirs to Arantigos. The past has many ghosts to live up to, and they have all crossed paths with Romau.
The Biggest Little City:
Who in Griffonia - and even beyond - hasn’t heard of Skyfall? While it may not be a political center as powerful as say Griffenheim, Canterlot or Rijekograd, it is one of most prosperous and industrious city on the continent. Many exquisite or modern goods come out of the city, be them diamonds, cars or fashionable Griffonian clothes and while Equestria still maintains the lead on modern manufacturing, Skyfall is home of the most technically advanced factories and craftgriffs in all of Griffonia. The currently most famous one is the Kessler automobile plant which produces some of the most widely used cars in Griffonia.
Skyfall is known as a city but it is actually a metropolitan community of nineteen smaller towns, each ruled by a mayor and their own local councils. This is merely a near-folkloric archaism as these “towns” have no recognizable borders and some streets can belong to several towns. Even distinguishing them between on the basis of wealth, activities or style is impossible as Skyfall is so chaotically organized that one may leave a street of insalubrious houses only to find mansions just around the corner. Lack of uniformity and charming chaos are indeed the defining features of the city, making it a divisive place to visit. To some, it is an endless wonder to stroll in while an ignominious mess to the more orderly-minded.
Skyfall is home to many landmarks, both old and new. At its historical center sits the Grote Markt, the historical market of the city which was home to the most prestigious guild halls of the city decorated with golden gables, balustrades and statues. Not far of the Grote Markt stands the Skyfall Stock Exchange built in the style of a trinitarian temple and which is the busiest stock exchange in the continent. North of the city, you can find the great Groverian Park, Skyfall’s largest park area where the three great temples dedicated to Eyr, Arcturius and Boreas have been built. The great harbour is also known for some of its old market places and warehouses as well as hosting the former Imperial Navy which has been seized and nationalized during Guichard’s secession. A hill on the southern part of the city is home to a gigantic palace of justice designed by Joseph Poulaert, a Fezeran-born architect who had sought to create a monument showcasing the might of the law and the Griffonian judiciary. Originally planned under Grover IV’s reign, it was finished by Ghislain Guichard’s government as a tribute to the Trade Federation dedication to the rule of law though not without the help of some corner-cutting.
Skyfall’s population is one of the most diverse on the continent if not the world. Virtually every sentient species is represented in some way despite Griffons forming a plurality of the population. Skyfallians are known to be educated, festive and gregarious if perhaps a bit unsophisticated and plagued with a bizarre accent. They are also known to both rageously enjoy criticizing their city and fiercely call out any foreigners who would dare try to do it themselves. The typical Skyfallian is fatter than the average and usually enjoys more than a little beer or strong liquors as well fried food. It is also known that Skyfallian are very prone to organize themselves in groups and the city is teeming with corporations, old guilds, more recent labour movements, cooperatives and organized crime. Like Fezera and Rottendedam, the city is indeed home to some of the “penose”, these coastal mobs who smuggle and run various businesses.
The City of Gardens:
Nestled near the confluence of the rivers Erne and Pom is the prosperous city of Flowena. After Grover I's conquest, the settlement grew around an imposing fortress built by Aquileian Kings, becoming a center of commerce and industry. Before the advent of railroads, the main trade route between Herzland and Aquileia was along the river Erne. Flowena profited from this greatly, its Patricians founding banks which were among the largest ones in Griffonia.
The city is famed for its numerous botanical gardens which are used to produce dyes for the thriving textile industry as well as perfumes and other products. The gardens contain many exotic plants from all across the world and are a sight to behold. The city's old bridges are also regarded as beautiful works of masonry. The heart of the city is the Cherryblossom Square, surrounded by numerous manors of the rich Patricians.
The city's population is diverse, for many refugees arrived during the tumultuous years of the revolutions. Alongside native Pomovarrans, there are Aquileians, Herzlanders and others. Aquileian functions as the lingua franca, but almost every inhabitant is bi- or trilingual.
Signs of Flowena's ever-deepening class divide could clearly be seen by simply walking down the streets. The western borough of the city has a notorious slum, a small sea of wooden shacks infested with rats, while the city proper has gorgeous architecture, masterfully mixing Aquileian and Herzlander styles. It is like two separate worlds in one city, but those two worlds do not always live in harmony.
In Skyfall's Shadow:
Originally a Free City of the Griffonian Empire, Fezera has long been a moderately thriving port city, though always in the shadow of Skyfall and Rottendedam. It is also home of the fez, the well-known symbol of Griffonian police forces. After the collapse of the Empire, the local elites seized the surrounding region and declared independence.
As a free state, they fared poorly, being unable to compete with Feathisia and Skyfall. However, local organized crime found a way to rebound and transformed the city into one of Griffonia’s largest black market and smuggling hub, one which takes it wealth from trading the spoils of Haukland’s raids, smuggling and piracy.
Few travelers make their way to Fezera for leisure and most foreigners are either republican exiles from Aquileia, fugitives or smugglers. The city, while modern, is rundown, build without much care for aesthetics or quality of life and cursed with very recurring rains. The local culture is a chaotic mix between Aquileian, Skyfallian and Herzland cultures with multilingualism being needed for any sort of successful enterprise.
The city is also a dangerous one. The local mobs - the penose - vie for controls against one another and the government seems to either not care or appears to be in some corrupt business, with only the local police trying to maintain order.
Fezera may not have much going for them but at least, there is good beer!
The Revolutionary City:
Rila is built according to the grand dreams of Michel Discret, the narcissistic and flamboyant Duke who has guided Rila's path since the Aquileian Revolution. Michel, who saw the Republican expirement as one worth trying, is said to have rebuilt Rila from the ashes of the revolution. Burning towns, decaying streets, and wrecked palaces were transformed under the eye of Michel Discret, who watched as the city transformed from a backwards slum into a grandiose hub of merchants, intellectuals, and Aquileian spirit. Of course, with economic development and restructuring has come an increase in Michel's power - statues can be seen across Rila to the great Duke and his soldiers, who drove off the Republicans from Rila when all ahead seemed dark as night.
However, despite Michel's grand dreams and accomplishments for his shining city on the river, little good has come to Rila in recent years. Revolutionary spirit has come to Rila again, with the Cocardiers, the revolutionary socialist and anti-monarchist club, only growing in popularity. Rila is stuck between radicalism and reaction - if Michel was not a Discret, he would surely be hanged by his family, but with his royal name also comes scorn. Republicans certainly do not trust Rila's reformist Duke, that much is for certain.
With all the bloodshed that he has forseen for his city, Michel has kept it his life's duty to safeguard Rila as he would his own child. Traders continue to barter, buy, and sell in the Merchant's Streets, and whalers and fishmongers do the same in the Grand Harbour of Michel Discret. The De Becignier Estate, the estate of Count Ricard, close to the palace of Michel himself, is rumoured to be the seat of the Committee of Public Safety, a secretive Republican coalition. Michel's palace, however, is less accommodating the lower classes. A towering castle of might and brilliance, Michel's castle is one of the greatest buildings in Aquileia, and perhaps in all of Griffonia.
Of course, one can not forget the Grand Temple of Arcturius - truly a beacon of faith in Rila's trying times. Its Archon has resided in Griffenheim since the revolution, but many griffons hope that the ever-popular Knight-Archon Proteus will one day return home.
The Jewel of the West:
While Griffonia is home to many prosperous cities, few can compare to the vivacity and splendour of Aquila. Indeed, the capital of Aquileia is one of the shining beacon of the arts and science in Griffonia and while many cities rest upon the past, Aquila remains forward looking. The beginning of the eleventh century saw the city undergo one of the greatest urbanistic experiments in the history of the continent. As this text is being written, workers are tearing down the old squalid neighborhoods and preparing to build a city design with modernity and reason in mind.
Should one decide to take a walk in the city, they will find many great landmarks and preview of the city to come: grand avenues decorated to please the eye of the strollers, an innovative subway, modern and delightful rows of apartment buildings, private palaces and hotels and luxurious shops. They will be able to find the great Trinity Hill - finally free of squalor - on top of which lies the three great white temples dedicated to Eyr, Boreas and Arcturius. It is there that the kings of Aquileia have traditionally been crowned as shown by the royal banners and tapestries of the ruling king. The Promenade des Ducs is also a major attraction on the banks the great Belle river. This fancy avenue is home to many museums, libraries, theaters and private salons where the literate, wealthy or artistic elites meet and mingle. on the western edge of the cities lies the Vieux Fort, an old citadel whose black walls barely survived the sacking of the city by Grover II, and is now home to the university of the city. In the eastern part of the cities, they will find the Domaine Royal with its great parks and palaces home of the Discret dynasty and the royal government. For those with a taste for the stranger things, many parts of the city hosts a peculiar undercity called the Catacombs which acted for centuries as the city’s boneyard. It is said that in the ancient times, it was a holy site dedicated to the banished god Maar.
The story of Aquila is a unique one for it is one of the few great Griffonian cities that did not owe anything to the old Arantigan empire. Instead, it was the bastion of freedom for many confederated tribes that would form the realm of Aquileia a century before our era. After becoming the capital of the kingdom, the city became a thriving trading and crafting center, one of the economic hearts of the kingdom. This long era of prosperity saw its decline in the the eighth century when Aquileia was subjugated by the Griffonian Empire and finally ended in 785 when the kingdom and much of its capital was burned down by Grover II’s armies. To add insult to injury, the princess Giselda Discret was forced to marry the angry emperor in the ruined temple of Arcturius on Trinity Hill. This saddest of weddings is still commemorated today and princess Giselda hailed as a martyr of the city. After this, the city slowly recovered but it is only after independence in 972 that the city finally saw a return to greatness. Much investment was made into the city by the Republicans between 980 and 985 and finally during the Discret restoration which saw the beginning of the great transformation of the city.
Before the revolution, Pridea used to be one of the important trade ports for Aquileia. It used its status as a trade city to enrich itself. Back in those days, its port was pride and honour of the city. It was a place where merchants would come to sell and buy the goods. Chatter and attempts to barter could often be heard nearby. Many merchants were boasting wealth that could easily compete with nobility, and they made sure to show it. Their houses and villas were often opulent and decorated by famous artists.
However, for all the splendour many were not lucky to live this lifestyle. To them constant show of wealth and prosperity was nothing short of an insult. When the Revolution took hold of Aquileia, many joined the revolutionaries. They have managed to wrest control of the City and proclaimed the Commune of Pridea This state of affairs has lasted until now infamous pirate lord Dennis Discret arrived to pacify the city. For days he has bombarded the city with his navy, much of the city was left in ruins before he landed and brutally dealt with revolutionaries.
These days Pridea is ruled by, now Baron Dennis Discret, who gained Pridea for his own as a reward for his actions during the Revolution. Over the years, the city managed to recover from the scars of revolution. The port that once was dominant of the city was rebuilt to its former glory. Although these days you might see there fewer merchants and more of former 'associates' of the baron. Many houses were rebuilt as well although, they never reached the level of opulence from before the Revolution. Undoubtedly the new dominant of the city is the new central square, hosting the new theatre built by the Baron, townhall and cafés and many other establishments, as well as a small park with a fountain for relaxation.
Naturally, when talking about Pridea we cannot forget to mention their Police force established after the Revolution. Pridea was always a home to large pony minority. During the Revolution, they were quintessential to securing the city. Over the years, Baron came to rely on them often and they became a regular part of the police force. Indeed, in Pridea, it wouldn't be uncommon to see a small policemare arresting griffon criminals.
The Broken Home of the Gods:
No city in all of Griffonia has a greater gap between its current state and its great history than the city of Griffonstone. In the earliest days of griffonkind it was a holy place, considered the home of the Trinity of Gods - Boreas, Eyr, and Arcturius. Though in time the gods were revealed to not actually live there, Griffonstone rose to become a cultural and religious centre and one of the great early griffon cities sprung up on the mountain peak long before most modern cities were even settled, and during the Arantigan Era it was one of the more important cities of the Kingdom.
Centuries later, when a young griffon named Grover was raised to the throne of Griffonstone, he stood at the helm of a legacy over a thousand years old. Even as he conquered large parts of the continent and relocated his capitol to Griffenheim, the city of Griffonstone was still close to his heart, and it was where the Idol of Boreas was safeguarded by the Guto lineage.
Alas, when idol vanished in 972 the fate of Griffonstone seemed sealed, and the coming decades left one disaster after another striking the city. Republican uprisings, the eastern half of the Kingdom of Griffonstone breaking away and finally the last of the Gutos dying in battle all did their part in breaking the back of the city.
Now, Griffonstone is a pale shadow, a mockery, of its former self. The temples and libraries lie abandoned and pillaged, the once beautiful streets have turned into muddy paths surrounded by hovels and the Royal Palace stands as a hollowed out ruin. Even today though, the statue of Grover I can be seen standing defiantly in the plaza surrounded by mud and poverty, as if screaming in rage at the state of his old home.
The Birthplace of Griffonkind:
Southeast of the Kingdom of Griffonstone, a single peak in its mountain range pierces the sky. The mountain is known as the Solarspike and it is one of the most sacred places of griffonkind. Here, it is said, the gods created the griffons. The first griffons were given shape by Eyr, giving them their body; wings to reach towards the heavens and beaks to praise the divine. Arcturius gave the griffons their strength; the strength to overcome all evils they might encounter, the strength to build mighty structures and tools and to overcome personal hardships. Boreas gave them intelligence, an understanding of themselves and of truth and rationality. An understanding of law and government, so that the structure of below might reflect the structure of the heavens. Lastly, Maar gave the griffons souls. With a soul they could make their own decisions and feel and decide on what was right and wrong.
Having been granted these boons, the first griffons flew out from the Solarspike to found Griffonstone, before spreading all over the continent. Much of the early history of Griffonia is shrouded in myth, but records of places of worship around the Solarspike go back to the very earliest days of known history.
To this day, there exists a small place of worship at the foot of the mountain, where pilgrims can bring offerings. From there, to show your humility towards the gods, you can walk up the stairway leading up the mountain, foregoing the use of wings. Those wishing to climb to the summit will be met with disappointment, however, as the trail ends halfway to the top of the holy mountain. There, a small shrine marks the edge of the mundane world. It contains small stone figures of the Trinity, with a broken statuette laying down in shame outside the shrine. At the zenith of where a mortal is allowed to wander, in the quiet solace of the thin mountain air, the pilgrim can rest and contemplate on the journey. To go any higher would be to tread into the realm of the divine and blasphemy. All must eventually turn back and accept that for all their hard work, divinity is outside their reach.
The Home of the Martlewings:
The small trading town of Pulcino in northern Wingbardy was for centuries insignificant. However, this changed when a bold adventurer from Tarrin seized it and made it his capital. His name was Francis Martlewing, and he named the town after himself, becoming the first Count of Francistria. He built the Martlewing Castle on a small hill west of the town, which to this day remains the city's most notable landmark.
After being established as the capital of a nation, Francistria began to grow. When the Martlewings and the Talonuels of Wingbardy made an alliance, trade increased between the two. Tonnes of grain, wine and minerals were shipped down the river from Goldenfeather and sold to Wingbardian merchants in the city. Indeed, the old building of the Merchants' Guild can still be found in the Riverside Market, next to the Trinity Temple, which also houses the chapterhouse of the Knights of the Temple. Further from the historic city center are the headquarters of the modern successors of the Wingbardian merchants, various commercial companies.
The city's architecture is undeniably Wingbardian in style and charm, yet a attentive eye may see various details that are unique to the local Francistrian culture. Cultural differences become even more noticeable during bi-annual celebrations that are based entirely on local traditions, such as the Festival of Cheese and Wine, and the Parade of Masks.
The Bush Capital:
Many centuries ago, the site of the city that would come to be known as Sunset was little more than a windswept, barren bay, embedded in the southwestern tip of Griffonia. Subsequent decades of continuous Equestrian immigration would see that changed; the pegasi would eventually tame the local climate, as earth pony and unicorn settlers colonized along the coastline.
Named after the eponymous founder of the city - Sunset Horizon - Sunset in the current day is a bustling metropolis, recognisable by landmarks such as the Sunset Harbour Bridge and the nearby Opera House. Where the city is blessed with an expansive deepwater bay, Pukwudgie Island, situated in the middle of the city's harbour, serves as the staging base for the Equestrian navy's Griffonian station. A robust maritime infrastructure facilitates the passage of seaborne trade between the two continents, and the harbour is usually filled with all sorts of seafaring craft.
The Equestrian architecture of the city is coloured with a distinct Griffonian influence, where slender towers, reminiscent of the Canterlot skyline, sport the overhangs and archways characteristic of avian building design. In the suburbs of the metropolis, this blending of architectural traditions becomes much less refined; the poverty and scarcity of the city's periphery, populated predominantly by New Mareland's griffon minority, lends the city's poorer neighborhoods the haphazard, mishmash appearance of slums all over the world.
The Sapphire City:
Home of millions and the largest city in New Mareland, New Manehattan has the same status as her larger overseas namesake. Founded as the second colony after Sunset, she has kept her desire for new migrants, opening her doors for all those who seek to leave their own lives in Equestria behind. Ponies from all over Equestria mix in the crowded city, surrounded by skyscrapers piercing the sky. You can hear the heavy Severyana dialect of refugees from Stalliongrad, the southern accents of those Appleloosans searching for fortune, and with luck even the many Griffonian and Zebrican languages mixed in. New Manehattan is a melting pot of all willing to work for their future, and one can find blends of music mixing differing local styles and restaurants serving food from all over.
The city is well known for its harbour, which is bursting at the seams, bringing in migrants and exporting vital resources back to Equestria or further into Griffonia. Massive steel mills provide employment for many in the working class, while those with a penchant for trading might try their luck in the crystal trade. Most recently, East-Side Borough has seen the most development. The city authorities are in an ongoing bureaucratic battle to have this part of the city, which fall outside its bureaucratic bounds, added to its administration.
However, with the great depression settling in, even New Manehattan cannot provide for all anymore, and soup kitchens now fill the place of closed down shops. Socialist, fascist and capitalists all recruit from the poor and newly-arrived, and sometimes vicious brawls ensue between supporters of different politicians.
The Eternal City:
Once nothing more than a fishing village in the distant past surrounded by seven hills, Karthin has since evolved into a busy metropolis that many griffons call home. The ancient capital of a fledgeling city-state that became the Karthin Empire, it was, of course, a wealthy city for most of its history. After the collapse of the Karthin Empire and the northern invasion of Wingbardians, the region suffered through a brief period known as the 'dark era' before being integrated into the Kingdom of Wingbardy. Like Wingbardy herself, Karthin once belonged to the Griffonian Empire and has only recently gained freedom from the Imperial Throne.
Even under the rule of distant Griffenheim, Karthin was a prosperous port city that served as the capital of Wingbardy and as the seat of power of the Talonuel line. With the wealth gained from the maritime trade hub and the industrious 'officine', the lords of Karthin sponsored a plethora of public works. Many of the temples, statues, galleries, museums, and urban districts of the city are the very same edifices and structures from the previous construction efforts. As such, much of Karthin is composed of the 'old districts': they're all at least a hundred years old! That is why it is often referred to as 'The Eternal City.'
The age of the buildings sometimes poses a challenge, however, with many requiring maintenances that aren't possible with the lack of necessary funding. Many Karthinians have taken the matter into their own talons to recover the historical monuments and structures as a result. While technically illegal, most law enforcement officers look the other ways as they too wish to see the splendour of yore. Despite this, Karthin is still a beautiful and popular tourist destination. Be sure to visit the ancient amphitheatre and imperial forums!
The Lost Capital:
While not as prosperous as Karthin and not as politically important as Griffenheim, Falcor is still considered by Falcorian griffons as their jewel. For when the ancient Falcorians finally settled in the remnants of the Karthin Empire, most of the prosperious lands in the south had been claimed by the Wingbards.
That was when they came across what would become the city of Falcor, a patch of flat, fertile land next a river, nestled beside rolling hills, and bordering verdant forests. The site proved ideal for the weary Falcorians to make a town and the nearby resources and warm weather allowed the town to grow into a centre of industry and commerce, enabling it to become the capital, and shining jewel of the Falcor Kingdom.
However, Falcor was lost to the Wingbardians after the brutal four-year Falcorian War. Although the peace Queen Maximilliana brokered prevented the city from being shelled in the fighting, the plague that had swept through it, and the many Falcorians that fled before the Wingbardians annexed the city has left it depopulated. To make matters worse, the Wingbardians see Falcor as a mere trophy, which meant the city is now but a shadow of its former glory, a capital no longer, waiting to be reclaimed by Falcorians, or forever to remain lost.
The Southern Jewel:
Here in Midoria, it’s the architects who built the iconic buildings who are the objects of admiration – not a bunch of half-witted monarchs.
The capital and center of one of the first republics in the history of Griffonia, the values of republicanism can be seen in every corner of the coastal city of Midoria. Built on a defensive position far from the prying eyes of the Griffonian and Wingbardian monarchies, Midoria is renowned for both its beauty and its defensive capabilities. The greatest of the Five Founding Cities of Sicameon, there are no grand monarchial palaces in Midoria, nor any of the awe-inspiring manors of the nobility. Instead, the buildings there are built for and by the people, with an air of freedom and equality that is unique to the Federated Parishes. Businesses can be seen along every street and at every corner, bolstered by laissez-faire and trade-friendly policies.
Midoria, while not only a beautiful city, is also a prosperous trade and naval port, as it lies close to the geographical center of the southern coast of Griffonia. Minotaurs, Macawians, and Zebras can be seen in Midoria daily, peddling wares at the sprawling waterfront and launching grand voyages across the Eler Sea to the Zebrican continent. Civilian fisheries provide food for thousands of Sicameonese citizens, while the naval academy in Midoria hosts thousands of brave would-be cadets.
However, not all is well in Midoria. Trade unionists have won substantial victories in parish elections, with the current Tribune of Midoria the leader of the syndicalist faction in the government, Remige Plumar. In addition, the Freeholder Corsairs, a powerful coalition of brigands, ne'er do wells, and pirates, have taken up root in the city's ports, taking control of trade and bribing out local businesses. Midoria has become a melting pot of disenfranchised workers, criminal activity, and it seems only fanatically radical or completely bought-out politicians sit in its legislature.
The Meridional Exclave:
Once the Minotaur city of Néachóra, a center of philosophy and faith, Thymíaushafen now stands as a sign of once-great Imperial authority and it's dominance over most of the Griffonian continent. The beating heart of the County of Cyanolisia, it is from Thymíaustadt that the Sumpkfiel dynasty has ruled over the wild and untamed lands of their domain for over two centuries.
Once the port city of the Imperial Southern Fleet, this exclave of Griffenheim's power was garrisoned by the great armies of the Grover emperors. However, the city today, whilst remaining a bustling metropolis, is but a mere shadow of what it once was. The Southern Fleet is long gone, its ships either captured or sunk during the Asterionese rebellion, and rotting hulks of archaic warships still linger in the half abandoned and decrepit dockyards of the city. The great garrisons of the once Imperial military capital of the region, too, are gone, with a clawful of regular military units still garrisoning the city - which had once sheltered Imperial troops numbering in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands.
This is a city in decay, as griffons whom had once inhabited the outback, or even Asterion, were forced to flee their homes during the minotaur revolt, settling in shantytowns in and around the capital. The outskirts are filled with civilian refugees, discharged sailors, and soldiers far from home.
In spite of all this, the city's industrial sectors are still active, churning out weaponry and civilian products alike. Furthermore, the apparatus of the Cyanolisian state, located in a collection of buildings and manors in the very center of the city, remains functional under the leadership of Countess Taillow Sumpkfiel, leading the County forwards through these dangerous and turbulent times.
The City of Libraries:
For the minotaurs, the mountain-city of Prospero holds a special place in their hearts. While it is not their capital, the city holds great importance as it is known as the home of Asterionese culture and history. For the many libraries in the city contain numerous tombs and books about Asterion culture and history. Detailing their history all the way from their mysterious origins to their current struggle to reclaim the mainland.
Even during its time under the Griffonian Empire, the city was a key point of resistance against their Imperial occupiers. While the Griffonian Empire tried their best to suppress Asterionese culture, their ancient texts were kept safety hidden in the many underground vaults. In addition the region became a hotbed of resistance activity. Numerous bands of minotaur guerrillas operated from the relative safety of the mountains to strike at the Imperial Garrison and it would be one of the first cities liberated during the Restoration War.
Today, Prospero stands as a shining beacon of hope and pride for minotaurs everywhere. Anyone with a interest in Asterion can enter one of the many newly opened libraries to read about Asterion culture and history. Many monuments can be seen in the city, including a statute of Aster which now stands in the central plaza where minotaurs can be seen throughout the day paying their respects to. The citizens are wealthy and live in prosperity. The many mines are rich in resources and the workers work with enthusiasm to supply resources for the army.
The Home of the Minotaurs
According to legend, the founding father of Asterion, Aster, came ashore with the first colonists upon the land that would later become Aster’s Landing. However, modern research contradicts this story, with many scholars believing it to be a heavily embellished creation myth, in order to give the people a sense of national identity. Archeological evidence suggests that Aster’s expedition actually landed north of the current city, closer to sea, and eventually migrated into the gulf, due it being in a more strategically defendable position against pirates raiding the area at the time.
Regardless, Aster’s Landing remains the cultural, economic, and political heartland of Asterion, with the city seeing a massive classical restoration following the Restoration War of 979. Many monuments, buildings, and streets have been renovated to replicate the Pre-Griffonian style of architecture found on the island prior to the Grffonian Empire's occupation in 747, which saw a massive assimilation push in order to rid the Minotaurs of their national identity.
Currently the city is home to many fantastical attractions, such as the Parliament building, which served as the Royal Palace for the Kings of Asterion as well as the nobles governing the land as a part of the Griffonian Empire. Other notable attractions include: Aster Falls, Asterion's first amusement park; Matriarch Agatha Theater, Asterion’s largest performing arts theater; the Cynthia National Memorial, a memorial dedicated to all of the fallen soldiers of the nation; and the National History Museum, where visitors can learn more about Asterion’s rich history.
Sitting on the northern bank of the Griffking river, Hellquill is a city between two worlds and one which is described in vastly different terms depending on which one you belong to. To the Griffonian Empire in the West, Hellquill is the valiant bulwark of the griffons, home to those knights who have sworn themselves to protect their brethren against the pony threats. To those in the Riverlands, be them Diamond Dogs or Ponies, Hellquill is a city of butchers and raiders sitting on stolen grounds and build with stolen wealth.
Its story began with the great eastwards expansion of Grover II. The great emperor conquered what came to be known as the Griffonian Frontier and tasked the Order of Brothers of the Griffon House of Prelate Aloysious in Cloudbury with guarding it. When the emperor died against a simple Nimbusian soldier and his successor cared little for his father’s crusade, the knights of Hellquill settled down and began to build a series of military cities, towns and villages surrounding impressive castles and fortresses, Hellquill being the mightiest of them all.
The greatest landmark of the city is the Order’s castle which stands on a hill overlooking the city and dominates the banks of the Griffking River. East of the castle stands the river port to which trade flows and where the Order surveils any trader attempting the journey between the Empire and the Riverlands. West of the castle is the pony ghetto. The walled neighbourhood is known for its poverty and squalor, caused by decades of discrimination and lack of investment from the Order. The city of Hellquill in itself stands north of the riverside districts. Its streets are one of the finest display of early groverian architecture and has seemed to maintain an atmosphere of tradition despite the march of industry. The only concession to modernity is the asphalt on the major streets, allowing for easy movement of troops and military vehicles and allowing easy access to the three great temples dedicated to Boreas, Eyr and Arcturius as well as Hellquill’s Imperial Railway station which remains to this day an unfinished mess, unconnected to the Empire. The city is governed in a strange fashion with the knights delegating municipal powers to the guilds of crafters and merchants and the local prelates.
The Heart of Evi:
What would later become the city of Kivessin was originally little more than a fort on the banks of the Evi river. In 511 ALB, Prince Garle of Sydia sent his general, Drogus, to secure the northern frontier against Zaphzan raiders by fortifying the riverbank. However, in 539 an ambitious warrior named Gobdan overthrew Drogus and declared himself Prince of Kivessin. Thus, the third principality of Prywhen was born.
Thanks to its location in the middle of the Evi Valley, in the confluence of rivers, Kivessin quickly grew into a city. It was sacked several times by Zaphzan griffons, but after Emperor Grover I's conquests in 705 peace and order were maintained on the frontier. When Prince Kloseu of Brodfeld declared himself king, he made Kivessin his capital due to its location, prestige and history.
The most notable sight in the city is the King's Palace, which formerly was the home of the Kivessinian princes. It is built on the foundation of the fortress which Drogus founded centuries ago, and is the largest brick building in Griffonia. Other places of interest are the Grand Temple of Eviliana, the primary center of worship for the eastern river-goddess, the old Market Square with its medieval architecture, and the Chapterhouses of the local knightly orders.
In recent years the outskirts of the city have been demolished and rebuilt anew, with modern apartment buildings and factories rising high above the low buildings of the historic center. This clash between old and new is one of the most striking features of the city.
The Port of Grain:
Regarded as the oldest city in the Evi valley, Sydia is located on a small peninsula near the wide, marshy mouth of the Evi river. It has always been the largest and wealthiest city in Prywhen, and the seat of the Princes of Sydia. When Prince Kloseu of Brodfeld united Prywhen, he considered making Sydia his capital before ultimately choosing Kivessin. To this day, Sydia functions as the second capital of the realm.
Its location near the mouth of the river and its natural harbour have always been the keys to its success as a city. Tonnes of grain, rice, timber, honey and other products from all of Evi Valley are brought here and exported to distant lands. Numerous fishergriffs depart the docks every day and bring countless fish for sale at the city's famed Seaside Market. The headquarters of the Prywhenian Merchants' Association is located nearby, as is the old Princely Palace which functions as the summer residence of the King.
Sydia is a maritime city, as shown by the countless sailing ships and steam boats in its harbour and the constant squarking of seagulls. Indeed, legend says the last Princess of Sydia was a sailor herself, and sailed off into the sunset to discover distant lands, only to never return. The Prince of Brodfeld then inherited the vacant throne.
While the population of Prywhen is largely homogenous, Sydia is an exception. Here one may find Wingbardians, Cyanolisians, Sicameonese and even members of other races such as Asterionese minotaurs, Macawian harpies, and Colthaginian zebras. When walking in the alleys in the warm evening, one may hear a dozen languages spoken as customers haggle for better prices.
An ancient city on the banks of the Zaphz river, the griffon city of Kaiv stands today as the capital of the Gryphian Host. Once the main settlement of one of the region's ancient tribes, the city rose to prominence during the Zaphzian Rebellion, when the tribes of the region united to rebel against the pony conquerers of Lake City, forming the Kingdom of Zaphzia, with Kaiv as its capital. Formerly a notable settlement, Kaiv grew into the most prosperous city in the nation after assuming the role of its capital.
Kaiv's prosperity under the kingdom continued for a while, but the cossacks of the plains caused instability, resisting any centralization attempts by the monarchy. In 579, the Kingdom finally fell apart and the cossacks seized control of the nation. After swearing oaths of fealty to Emperor Grover I, the nation became known as the Gryphian Host.
These cossacks are perhaps the thing Kaiv is most known for- despite the fact that they largely operate outside of the city. Nevertheless, the impact of the cossacks on the city itself is clear, drawing many young griffons from the city off to fight against the ponies on the grand frontier, and many of the artisans of the city to focus their craft on supplying the steppe warriors. Kaiv is also the city in which the Rada is held, an assembly in which the next Hetman is chosen.
When looking past the rich history of the city, however, you will find nothing but a city out of time. Held back by their bellicose society and largely agricultural economy, Kaiv struggles to find its footing as the cities of the western griffons and of the eastern ponies stride into the industrial era. The griffons who inhabit the city are slow to let go of their traditions, least of all the oft-romanticised cossacks, and the streets of Kaiv are filled not with workers of industry and foreign business, but with farmer's markets and local craftgriffs, blacksmiths and tailors. Much like the nation it is at the heart of, Kaiv is a city lost in history, which must choose whether to hold on to its legacy, or to follow the great modern cities of Griffonia.
Above everything else, Riaportu is a city of contrasts. In the harbor areas and the city center you will feel as though you are walking through Midoria or Queruscos, with the Sicaemonese influences being obvious even to most laygriffs. The offices of the Gryps-Süd GmbH is an especially egregious example, being a near perfect copy of the Sicaemonese parliament. Meanwhile, the eastern districts have been much more influenced by the Order of Opinicus and its religious teachings, meaning that the area seems almost ascetic in comparison to the harbor areas. Lastly, the northern districts and especially the outskirts remains Gryphussian, with the distinct rounded buildings and spired temples.
This is no coincidence, as Riaportu in effect is three settlements that grew into one over time. The Gryphussians settled the area centuries ago, and Riaportu was an important hub of commerce even before the Griffonian Empire rose to power. Over time though, Sicaemonese interests established themselves more and more in the region, buying out local merchants and consolidating more and more under the state-run Gryps-Süd GmbH. The tensions that arose as the company more and more dominated the region eventually exploded into conflict, and has been cited as one of the reasons for why the Order of Opinicus established itself in the region after the crusades. Over time, the chapter house, the local Gryphussian towns and the trade outpost coalesced into one.
Today, the city is a kaleidoscope of influences and travellers from all over, be it griffons, ponies, minotaurs or zebras. Ethnic tensions may remain under the surface, as they have for a long time, but the dominant powers in the region are still committed to making sure that whoever wishes to come to Riaportu, be it for travel, tourism or trade, is as welcome as can be.
The Gateway of the East:
Situated on the banks of Svetovo Jezero, Jezeragrad is one of the most important cities of East Griffonia. Its history reaches over a thousand years back to one of the most seminal figures of the Riverlands - prince Blessed Sword. After his triumph at against the Nimbusians, Blessed Sword built up the small town in the region to serve as the beating heart of a great empire that formed the city to what it is today.
Mementos of this era can be seen everywhere in the city as Jezeragrad, even after centuries, has made sure to preserve the old city with its wide boulevards, old temples and plazas and not the least the grandiose Palace of the Grand Prince - one of the greatest buildings in the Riverlands. All of these things stand preserved and maintained even a thousand years later - evidence of not only the skill of the ancient architects, but also the Lake City ponies' commitment to preserving and honoring their history.
Yet, the most amazing thing about the city is how it in many areas has outright grown out into the lake, with large piers slowly growing together into first streets, then neighborhoods, then entire city blocks that now stand on the lake. Eighteen bridges, big and small, cross between the lakeside districts as they are called, and they are typically used as public gathering spaces as much as methods of crossing.
Though the star of Lake City has faded compared to the old days, Jezeragrad stand as proud and as beautiful as always, and the ponies that live there eagerly makes sure it remains so.
The Halls of the Mountain King: Dogaz-dûm, also known as Psidom or more commonly Diamond Mountain is the great capital of the Diamond Dog race. It is said that Kiri, the first pup of Geri and first King of the Longtails, was led into the valley below the mountain by a falling star that came to settle in lake Khezeld-Zarim. As he looked into the lake, he saw the stars high above and so tempted by their glimmer he dove into the water and emerged with a crown of seven diamonds that shone with the light of seven stars. A large stone carved with golden runes stands at the alleged location of this event below the grand doors of Diamond Mountain.
The doors of Diamond Mountain stand tall in a grand fortified façade carved from the mountain, guarded by many statues of ancient hounds. Behind them many-pillared halls of stone, with high golden roofs and silver floors stretch for countless miles deep under the ground, lit by lamps of crystal that shine like stars and the sun. The vastness of this space is dwarfed only by the almighty mines that stretch out in unfathomable crevasse deep under the ground lined with bridges, ramps and mining tools. From these mines, gold and gemstones are gathered in vast quantities and carved and chiselled by ancient paws into treasures unlike any have seen. And these treasures sit in a vast hall under onyx and gold platforms in which a mighty carven throne stands, etched with crystals and runes of power, from which the King of the Diamond Dogs rules. Forges of fire, hot enough to melt the stone itself, roar deep under the mountains in which weapons, armour and trinkets of all kinds are created by master-smiths working tirelessly day and night.
Despite the grandeur, all this was built on the backbreaking work of slaves. And the treasure hall lies mostly empty after the city was sacked by forces of Hellquill. All around broken slaves, shackled and collared, work almost unseen by the free hounds to keep the city in its unimaginably grand condition.
The City of Three Rivers:
Take a stroll down the Domovinska Avenija and cross the Slobode Bridge over the Grifking River where it meets the Gold River and enter Rijekograd proper. Down on the river, you can see barges and ships, all shipping goods around the Riverlands. Wine from Deponya and Lake City heading upriver to Wittenland. Enchanted goods and such in return heading downriver towards the western frontier of the Coalition. Look closely and you can even see Griffon traders hailing from the Empire at the docks to buy select goods to ship back home to Griffenheim, even when the alliance they are standing in was founded to resist them. And the ever-present customs houses dot the riverbanks on the Grifking, but also on the Gold River where cloud marble and vases are transferred to smaller boats that shoot across the rivers. The griffon traders on the docks have just handed over an unknown crate when you exit the bridge and enter the city itself on the Unija Cesta. Taking in the awe of the only real functioning representative democracy in the Riverlands, possibly the world and especially its capital with its wide avenues and boulevards, with lavish gardens showing the wealth that the city takes in. Look to the sky and you will see buildings that are almost themselves works of art. Take a turn left at the Central Railway Terminal and stare up the Avenija Republik towards the Palaca Rijeke. Formerly the royal residence, when Rijekograd was ruled by the Water Dynasty and its princesses it is today the beating heart of Rijekan democracy as the meeting place of the Sabor.
Now, when you enter the Palaca Rijeke as a visitor, you will see paintings and frescos of the old dynasty, of how they led the city to independence, how they expanded their realm, and how they eventually fell in Wittenland. Follow the paintings and frescos up and down the palace, through the public corridors and see the story of Rijekograd from its inception to the present day. Enter the Sabor itself, and you would, under most circumstances see representative democracy in action. Under most circumstances that is. As of 1007, it is the site of some of the most hilarious political debates in known memory, with the incumbent Chancellor, River Swirl and her political nemesis, Nova Whirl, frequently trading insults in the chamber. But anyways. Exit the Palaca Rijeke and follow the promenade along the Green River to the Soft Water Theatre. The site of some of the funniest comedies in the Riverlands, it is also, coincidentally the site of a local legend of an old actor haunting the place after dying in an accident involving a sandbag, three rat tails and a roasted turkey. He haunts the place hunting for the person who killed him, moving around random seats and chandeliers in the audience. Of course, one of the theatre companies that inhabits the theatre is known to be notorious tricksters, much to the irritation of the resident orchestra and scenographers in the theatre. Can't win them all and all that. See their production, 'The Battle of Coltstream' and laugh your way through the satires of the Water Dynasty and their portrayal of them while munching on the provided snacks.
When you're done there, if there's still time in the day and you arrived at the right time, you should have time to grab a hoofball game after grabbing the streetcar to the stadium. While the River Games are unfortunately as of time of writing still a concept on paper, the local leagues are still good enough for most purposes. Be sure to avoid the hooligans though. They do not look kindly on ponies from outside their little city. But on the contrary, the stadium sells some great hayfries and hayburgers, and you should under all circumstances if you are there.
With the tense political atmosphere descending on Rijekograd, the next few years in this city will be very interesting indeed.
The City of Unicorns:
Near the humble source of the grand Grifking River stands the ancient capital of Wittenland and arguably the oldest pony city in the Riverlands: Wittenburgh. The city's early history is shrouded in myth, but it is said that the first High King of Wittenland built his palace there, and the settlement grew around it. Nothing remains of this legendary building, but at least the Great Library founded by his successors still stands.
After the decline and stagnation of Wittenland, the city has fallen behind as well. The northern cities of Jezeragrad, Bakara, Rijekograd and others now surpass it in size and prosperity. In the beginning of the millennium, the city still lacked proper lighting and sewage, while in the north the first telegraph wires already connected the cities. However, the reforms of Queen White Star have done much to drag the city to modernity, albeit at the cost of many old buildings that were simply too dilapidated to be renovated. Such is the price of progress, and most inhabitants of the city have accepted it, except for some of the more conservative mage-nobles.
Aside from the Great Library, which has one of the largest collections of books in the entire world, there is the Royal Palace, an elaborate stone castle decorated with shining crystals, the Hippodrome, a large stadium where the annual Derby is held, the Old Bridge across the Grifking river that leads to the small Pònaidh town of Ceann Tòrr, the Merchants' District on the banks of the river near the bridge where one may find many fine wares from all across the Riverlands, and lastly the luxurious manors of the mage-nobles. On the outskirts of the city are the slums inhabited by non-unicorns, who have traditionally been the lowest of the low in Wittenland society. Slowly but surely however, the huts are torn down and replaced with proper modern housing, affordable for all.
Where the river Agon meets the sea and the slopes of the mountainous lands of East Griffonia roll into gentle valleys, lays the city of Nimbusi, capital of Nimbusia. When the ponies first came to the Riverlands, legend had it that only the pegasi were able to tame the mountainous lands of its far east. Many proud cities were founded in the valleys between the mountains, inland and along the coast, but none would reach the fame of Nimbusi. The city, like many in Nimbusia, is built around the highest point, the Akropolis. Serving as a refuge during siege and troubled times, it has gotten somewhat of a sacred status amongst the residents, who erected temples to their pantheon on this hill. However, the temple complex is starting to wear from age, and major renovations will be necessary to preserve the Akropolis.
Many of Nimbusi’s highest class residences, the citizens, do not live in splendour, but in minimalist houses, with furniture built for practical purposes, not aesthetics. Thus, Nimbusi’s most impressive structures are all public works and wealthy citizens often donate to construction of these buildings to show their opulence. Libraries, statues, theatres and temples, but also sewers, offices and industry are all designed by perioikoi, non-citizens, and the helot underclass. In Nimbusia, architecture is not a citizen’s job, after all.
These divides in Nimbusian society, between pegasus and non-pegasus, determine the very soul of the city, with the upper class spending their time honing their martial skills or working on philosophy or art, while domestic servants take care of the household and periokoi do the jobs citizens don’t find joy in pursuing. Go to the Agora in Nimbusi, and you will find no pegasi on a market day, just periokoi selling their wares to helots. But go on a non-market day and you may find citizens resting between the pillars, debating politics and philosophy or making music together. Don’t be fooled, all of them are trained killers!
The Gate of Greneclyf:
Blosmport is an ancient hive city by most accounts, though it is not the oldest settlement on Greneclyf. Second only to Bugsmere in age, Blosmport, also known locally as Caladhbláth, is a sprawling port city that easily dwarves all other hive settlements on the island. Being the largest and most populated, Blosmport is Greneclyf's cultural, administrative, and technological capital.
It is also the traditional home of the Leamhan Clan and the fabled meeting spot between the ponies of Farbrook and the Grenclyfian changelings. Perhaps because of this history, there are many communities of foreigners, with the largest being an old community of ponies. This goes against the commonly-held belief that changelings only seek other creatures to exploit them. Greneclyf is more than ready to receive continentals. This is a poorly-kept secret on the island but barely talked about on the continent.
Much of Blosmport still has a hoof in the past, with much of the denser districts being underground or aboveground hive structures more in line with the traditional changeling settlements. This means that much of the area aboveground is relatively unoccupied and open for expansion: a good prospect for anycreature seeking a new home!