Before the shattering of the crystal, Kitaminato was the small city of North Neck, a transshipment point for goods from the northern archipelago. Ships would come down from Nordheim and parts unknown, preferring the security of the wide-open western waters to the pirate-infested narrows on the eastern side of the Great Berm. Once they made North Neck, they could unload their goods, fill up on Xianese grain, and sail back home without having to dodge unnumbered pirate vessels. The goods at North Neck would be shipped eight miles east to Low Port on the eastern shore of the Berm, where convoys of well-guarded merchantmen could bring them south to Xian, and Xianese rice back north for export. With comparatively little goblin activity on the Great Berm, the city had the opportunity to wax comfortable compared to those towns placed in wilder lands. More than a few argued that Xian's taxes and exactions were ridiculously excessive, and that North Neck ought to stand independent of the Mandarin and his ministries. The inarguable numbers of the Xianese armed forces and the general disinclination to make trouble tamped down these hot words for the most part.

That changed when the crystal outside Low Port was shattered. In the ensuing chaos, the Accursed were created, with one-tenth of the entire population twisting and changing into devil-tainted creatures. By the time the orgy of violence and debauchery was over, a tenth of the city was changed and a tenth of the city was dead. Peasants fleeing from outlying villages flooded into the city, and Kitaminato is now populated by roughly 1,000 Accursed and 18,000 of other races. Many of the Accursed originally present in Kitaminato moved out into the berm, seeking villages to "protect" and places less full of rivals to their newfound power. By the same token, many Accursed of the villages moved to Kitaminato rather than be faced by the horror and distrust of their former neighbors and family.

Kitaminato is strongly influenced by Kueh culture and architecture. The fluted roofs, minimalist grace, and preference for natural seemings strikes a contrast to the vivid and ornate styles preferred in Xian. Yet beneath that serene austerity is a smouldering sort of darkness brought by its new lords. Many of the Accursed loudly pronounce their piety and uprightness, but not all of them mean it- and more than a few petty thieves or commoners have decided to make something of their newfound power. Terrible things quietly come to pass behind the closed doors of the city, and none dare speak against them. The temptations of power move many of the Accursed to acts of awful cruelty, lust, and avarice, and few have any ability to stay their hands. It is true that the city has never been more peaceful, but it is the peace of fear and the dread of their devil-lords that touches the locals. The dark prophets of the Accursed are acquiring a growing following in the city as men and women beseech the Hell Kings for luck and favor in this life and the Hell to come.

The center of the city is now dominated by the construction of a great palace for the shogun. All commend its beauty and traditional grace, yet none ask too pointedly about the purpose of certain excavations beneath it, nor the design of certain rooms. And if the labor should be exacted without payment, and the materials taken without concern for cost… well, is that so much to ask of a loyal subject of the shogun?

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