Tien Lung

Tien Lung is the largest city of the southwest, with almost thirty thousand inhabitants fed by the rich farmlands that surround it on all sides but the west. Rich ocean currents bring in an exceptionally good haul of fish, and the same currents induce an even damper heat than is common in Xian, not far north of it in latitude. The foothills of the Godbarrow Mountains to the west are covered with thick jungles and dense rainforest, abundant with both rare plants and exotic drugs.

These drugs are a major source of wealth for the city, with delicate extractions and powders prepared for the delectation of the wealthy in Xian and points north. Opium poppies are grown widely in the fields around the city, while more exotic powders and liquids are extracted from plantations on the hillsides. While overindulgence in these pleasures is considered a sign of decadence and weak character, the Mandarin has never made any effort to restrict the trade. Better profit is had from a stiff excise tax on exports, which makes the drugs far cheaper within Tien Lung than in the lands outside.

This cheapness of succor has given Tien Lung the character of a debaucherous den of indolence and vice among its neighboring towns and cities. Tars and fine powders that would be far too expensive for any but a scholar of Xian are inexpensive enough for a common worker to sample now and again, and the cheapest varieties are well within the reach of all but beggars. In the finest houses and palaces of the city, the powders lend a certain dreamy exquisiteness to the lustrous hangings and beautiful decor. In the low dives and dens of the waterfront, they make the reeking darkness and insensate cries more bearable for the inmates.

Inexpensive as the powders are, all men and women of sense know better than to go down to the west gate of the city without a good sword or a good guard. The wretched addicts there will offer anything for another taste of their favored indulgence, and those who cannot sell will oft as not be glad to buy it with violence. The wagons that come in from the western plantations are invariably guarded by clear-eyed soldiers.

Update, 4/26/08: Tien Lung is surrounded by Tide-twisted goblinoids that have poured out of the western foothills. The city is cut off from overland traffic, and attempts to break through by Xianese Army troops have been repulsed by heavy losses. Even with sea traffic open, the city must fall within a few months.

Update, 5/12/08: A blue Tide-crystal has been destroyed in the city, with as many as three thousand Accursed created by the blast. The daifu Pang Lung appears to be in control of the situation, and the Accursed are being marshaled to break the besieging ring of Tide-warped goblins that presently surround the city.

Update 2/13/09 Magistrate Pang Lung rules the city as a tyrant. He obeys the orders of the Mandarin in Xian, but Xian sends him no troublesome orders. Fifteen hundred Accursed remain after breaking the Tidespawn siege, and Xian has not enough soldiers to compel Pang Lung's obedience to more onerous demands. The corpulent ruler exacts a brutal tribute from the surrounding villages. Some flee, but others are imprisoned and forced to work on the same plantations where goblin and orcish thralls once labored. Those inside the city labor to avoid the notice of Pang Lung's enforcers.

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