City State of Iluriel
“Iluriel? Never heard of it.” - Typical Porphyran.

Capital: Iluriel
Settlements: Iluriel (10,000)
Ruler: Lady Aullia
Government: Parliamentary
Races: Elf, Half-Orc, Orc
Faiths: Neria, Paletius
Resources: Godmetals (dreamstone), metals (gold, silver), seafood, woodcraft
Languages: Elven, Orc
Border Conditions: Restricted (A full porphyrite border surrounds and isolates Iluriel)

History
Not even the Silver Elders remember a time when Iluriel was not a gleaming gem peeking out from the rocks above a foaming sea. The story is told that, when the gods brought parts of their ancient homelands along, a tiny enclave of elves devoted to Neria found a hold-fast on the treacherous, windswept face of a seaside cliff. There, seed-like, that enclave grew, digging roots into the cold stone, channeling hidden rivers for both beauty and industry, until it became the hidden city of stone, water, mortar and gold.

Iluriel’s nature has always held it apart from the world. Becoming self-sufficient through hardship, the elves managed to create a thriving civilization that provided for both material and cultural needs. Glimpses of other peoples from afar, however, eventually roused their curiosity, and Iluriel sought to connect with the world at large. It was repaid with mistrust and outright invasion, Iluriel fought off the So’cha Fourlander invaders, and left their camp an infertile, smoking ruin, and once more retreated into isolation. Since then, the So’cha know the place as the “Land of Ghosts” and are as afraid of it as they are tempted by it.

Centuries have passed since. Iluriel remains a secret to most of Porphyra, unapproachable behind its godswall, and revealing itself only to a handful of trusted outsiders, such as a dignitaries from Sil’Arden and Meynon, and a small number of merchants who supply the citizens with trade goods from the outside world. In their time-consuming way, the elves of Porphyra, and the mixed-bloods
of Azag-Ithiel (who have their own spies in the surface camp) wish to include Iluriel in the world community, for good or ill, and perhaps whether the Ilurians want it or not.

Current Events
Iluriel is in a period of transition that is slowly taking its toll on the population. Exposure to trade goods from far-away lands, and a small group of orcs and half-orcs living in the periphery of the city, has been enough to awaken desires long thought put to rest. A growing number of citizens favor ending the self-imposed exile and making a new attempt at joining the world at large.

Though still a small movement, the faction is well-organized and has representatives in all spheres of influence, including some members of the Silver Elders. Though not entirely opposed to the idea, Lady Aullia continues to avoid the debate by retreating into her arcane studies and day-to-day activities.

Sheriff Janar the Swift is dealing with the practical fallout from this new movement in Iluriel. His law-keepers are stretched paper-thin as they patrol the city borders, as well as the Wilder looking for wayward explorers instead of keeping an eye out for potential enemies. Janar has no opinion on hether the city should open its borders or not, though he wishes Lady Aullia and the Elders would come to a conclusion. In the meantime, he will take all the help he can get to keep Iluriel safe, even secretly sending out spies into nearby settlements to seek out intelligence and, perhaps, outside help.

The number of Ilurians struck by wanderlust is growing. Intrepid wanderers go further than the porphyrite borders, by land, sea, or deep into the underground tunnels. As Ilurians tend to get absorbed by their projects for long periods of time, the disappearance of some of these explorers has yet to be discovered. Should the tunnels someday be connected to the Underdeep, that world under the world, Iluriel would change even more quickly.

The clergy of Neria, traditionally upholding her role as patron of the Sky, Land and Sea, have begun to see a shift in their communion with the goddess. Dreams abound with images of travel and exploration. Portents and prophecies speak of a time of exodus. Sermons whispered behind closed doors by radical clerics of Linium tell the people to embrace the unknown beyond the city. Recently, even magical blessings from the goddess have begun to take new forms, aligning to this new divine message.

The once-secret affair between an Ilurian lass and a trusted merchant orc has become public knowledge, asshe prepares to deliver a baby any day now, making it the first half-orc born in Iluriel. Seen as a major portent and quite likely the spark that could ignite a fire, the couple have been moved to Lady Aullia’s residence and provided with a personal guard to protect them from both those that would harm them, and those that would use them.

Settlements
The major settlement of Iluriel is:

Iluriel is a place of breathtaking beauty by any reckoning. The city has grown organically out of the cliff upon which it found itself by the use of architectural ingenuity and not a bit of magic. The result is a series of caverns housing various sections of the city, from the vast cave for the central plaza and marketplace, upon which all crossing the Golden Bridge arrive, to smaller grottoes where families make their homes. Marble columns are used extensively to support the hole-ridden rock face, with those out on verandas and balconies decorated by expert sculptors and goldsmiths into fanciful designs that lend the cliff walls an air of the otherworldly.

There are strict rules for dwelling on the outer peninsula, called the Wilder; no permanent structures, avoid all lasting marks, and replace that which you take. Unsanctioned sentients are not tolerated, and can expect removal or extermination, their remains thrown into the sea. For hundreds of years, prides of griffons have been encouraged to lair on the Wilder, so much so that some sailors call the peninsula Griffon Point.

Intrigues

  • Sheriff Janar is hiring adventurers to boost the city guard’s reach. Though necessary, not all Ilurian guards are happy with mercenaries in their ranks. Native Ilurians are sent to patrol the outer boundaries of the small peninsula, and in the tunnels below. Foreign guards are part of Janar’s spy network, tasked with obtaining intelligence on what is known of Iluriel in nearby settlements and lands.
  • Fenian merchants need adventurers to guard caravans to Iluriel, after the last three were attacked. The bandits have been identified as clansmen of the So’cha settlement, destroyed centuries ago. Some, however, whisper that the elves themselves are trying to keep outsiders away, once and for all.
  • A traveling orc (perhaps a PC) seeks to reach Iluriel in time to witness the birth of the half-breed baby, though he keeps his reasons a secret. Is he family, friend or foe? A herald of hope, or a harbinger of doom?
  • While traveling the countryside, the characters encounter an Ilurian patrol engaged in an altercation with a small group of Fourlanders who bypassed the city-state’s border. Can the characters help defuse the situation and avoid bloodshed from happening? If swords are drawn, on which side will they fight: the accidental law-breakers or the ‘legitimate’ authority?

See Also