Imen-Shedet means “The Gem in the Desert” in a local dialect. It is a medium-sized city in the middle of a harsh desert. The city is next to the shore of the Great Imen Sea, where The Imen river used to touch the sea. The Imen river was an important trade way that connected many settlements beyond the desert with Imen-Shedet but it dried up about ten years ago. Since the river disappeared, the dock district had to relocate next to the seashore due to the importance of maritime trade.
A complex arrangement of 80-feet-tall stone walls and stone door gates surrounds the city and encloses some of the inner districts. The inside of the city is compartmentalized into different areas with strict passage procedures. The city’s different districts divide the population into different class systems. As a general rule, the closer the location to the Shedet Pyramid or the temples, the higher the social class living in the area. The most exclusive location in the city is The Way of Kings. It is a large pathway from the outside of the city and into the great Shedet Pyramid is a spectacle of ominous wealth and opulence.
The city is ruled by a dynasty of kings. The current ruler is King Navireth II. He faces his greatest test so far with the current army outside the walls. A neighboring kingdom sent General Epih Nadeth with a force of twelve thousand foot soldiers and siege weaponry to take the city. Imen-Shedet is no stranger to attacks. No army has ever breached the outer walls. The city is believed to be impregnable.
General Nadeth tried to storm the main gate two weeks ago and failed. There is no way to ram the large stone gates. Since then, the army waits outside. The exposed dock district has turned to their side after King Navireth abandoned them to their fate. The general now waits for two more weeks until his siege towers are ready to storm the walls.
1. The Way of Kings
Three grandiose and consecutive stone gates lead the way to Shedet Pyramid. The districts in between the first two gates and walls grow in wealth and opulence as one approaches the pyramid. Travelers and foreign individuals are seldom allowed into the pyramid. Only those with a written invitation to an audience with the king can step inside it. General Nadeth tried to storm and burn the outer south gate two weeks ago with no success. The outside of the gate features bleak marks where they tried to burn it and ram it. In the end, the soldiers retreated when the archers on the walls broke their formation.
2. Shedet Pyramid
The Shedet Pyramid is, by far, the largest construction in Imen-Shedet. King Navireth and his family live here. The pyramid’s semi-hollow interior is larger than most castles. The main entrance leads to a grand gallery where the Sand Throne is. King Navireth receives important visitors for audiences here. The chamber is 60-feet-tall. Two rows of thick pillars with silver-inlaid depictions of past kings flank the walls. All other areas within the pyramid’s hollow interior are accessible from the grand gallery.
The pyramid’s apex is made of gold-plated adamantine. The apex is considered by many the greatest treasure in Imen-Shedet. Its historical and sellable value is incalculable. Those who have tried to take the city by force claimed that only the dream of taking the adamantine apex as a trophy was enough to risk attacking the impregnable walls.
3. Temple District
The temple district houses two small pyramid temples. The rest of the district is a middle-class residential area. Imen-Shedet has a ditheistic religion called the Endless Rosary. In their belief system, the world is nothing but a series of interconnected beads in the Endless Rosary. Each end of the rosary is represented by a godly entity. They are Adiennes, the goddess of truth. And Tiroshi, the goddess of mist and deceit. Each of them plays an important part in the belief system and the many festivals and special days they celebrate throughout the year. Each of the pyramids represents one of the goddesses. Believers come to one or the other depending on their particular inclination, the church calendar, and their goals.
Other religions are not punished in Imen-Shedet but they are not incentivized. Foreign individuals who settle down in Imen-Shedet are invited to join the Endless Rosary once a week. Most people end up joining the local belief system.
4. Market District
There are two market districts in Imen-Shedet. They are to the east and west of the Way of Kings and together form the largest compartments within the city. The market districts are bustling centers of commerce, trade, and even criminal activities. In normal times, travelers come to the many markets and sell their wares or trade their stuff for some of the exports Imen-Shedet has to offer. Some markets span five or even ten consecutive streets of sellers and buyers trying to get the best price for their things. Since the siege began weeks ago, the market districts have become dull places. Most of the refugees from the burnt neighborhoods outside the gates now loiter the streets and beg for a piece of bread or a place to stay. Hundreds of people roam the streets aimlessly now that they have lost everything they had. King Navireth has done little to appease the growing numbers of vagrants who demand a quick response.
The market districts are the main hunting grounds for a criminal guild known as the Scarlet Nail. These common criminals have found ways to profit from the siege and all the problems it has caused within the city. They have welcomed many of the homeless into their ranks. It will not be long before the civil unrest and the power of the Scarlet Nail are large enough to cause upheaval within the walls.
5. Palace of Law
While the king is the most important and powerful figure within the city, steps have been taken to move a little of the political power from the regal figure into the hands of the people. A document known as the Bill of Law dictates all laws and the punishments for not carrying them out in it. The king can propose changes or addendums to the bill but only the Council of Ten can vote to approve them. Six votes are needed for a change to happen in the important document. Still, the king can veto any law from the bill within the territory of the Shedet Pyramid and the Way of Kings. King Navireth has used this legal power sparingly during his reign because it is regarded as authoritary. As a note of importance, only the king and his advisors can handle war decisions. During a siege, the Council of Ten stops working until the city comes back to normal.
6. The Crypt Pyramid
The crypt pyramid is an entrance to a complex array of circling tunnels that descends hundreds of feet into the earth. The architecture of the tunnels is similar to that of a mine. The tunnels have countless alcoves on their walls to place the ash remains of citizens in Imen-Shedet. Some of the tunnels have caved in during the history of the city. These tunnels are often abandoned and new branching paths are started where the cave-in occurred. The tunnels go deep. They serpent and meander into the depths of the earth. They sometimes stumble into one another before continuing downward. Some people have gotten lost and died in the tunnels but it is a rare occurrence. In case of emergency, people know they have to walk upward to reach the surface. There are many ways to get disoriented down there but the slanted terrain is an easy way to know where to go.
7. Imen-Shedet Warehouses
As a precaution for an attack or siege. Imen-Shedet keeps four reinforced warehouses with edibles, tradable commodities, weaponry, construction material, and other important things. The four warehouses stand one after the other and are half as tall as the wall. During times of war, a detachment of the city watch is stationed permanently at the warehouses to prevent the angry mobs from sacking the warehouses. At least half of the storage space is used for storing food.
8. Main Residential District
A large portion of Imen-Shedet townsfolk live here. The residential district had direct access to the old docks before The Imen River dried up. Now the dock district is nothing but an abandoned carcass of its former glory. Its location outside the walls but next to the dry riverbed means it is currently abandoned because of the siege.
The residential district outer gate connects to the New Dock District but no one dares go there during the siege. The city watch will not dare open the gate with the siege weaponry and enemy troops so close.
Three tall round buildings are the main storage for grains in Imen-Shedet. Imen-Shedet cannot plant and/or harvest any plants in the area. Most of the grain stored here is the result of trade with merchants and commercial barges. The city exchanges silk, embroidered carpets, fine clothing, and stone sculptures for wheat and corn. During times of war, a detachment of the city watch is stationed permanently at the granaries to prevent the angry mobs from sacking them.
10. The Burnt Districts
Before the enemy forces arrived at the city’s doorstep, the city watch went out and torched the neighborhoods outside the walls. The current tenants were welcomed within the city but no one offered them decent accommodations during the siege. They are all poor homeless now. Nothing remains of the burnt districts but ash.
11. New Dock District
Maritime trade and travel are so important in Imen-Shedet that the whole dock district had to relocate closer to the coast when The Imen river dried up. The new dock district is outside the walls and exposed to attacks. King Navideth had the plan to extend the wall on the north side of the city to enclose the docks but they never even started the construction of said wall.
Strangely enough, the current siege has not become a threat to the dock district. When the enemy forces first arrived, a group of them approached the dock tenants to talk. It turns out that King Navireth decided to abandon them to their fate because he knew there was not enough space nor food inside the walls. Because of this, the people in the new dock district decided to side with the invading force in exchange for safety. Now the enemy army resupplies some of their food from the fisheries in the docks while the main city is cut off from such valuable resources.
12. Siege Weaponry
Rows of wooden ballistae and trebuchets stand menacingly around Imen-Shedet. The siege equipment is divided into four different groups around the city. There are a few rams too but they are abandoned since none of them will work on Imen-Shedet’s walls. In the back of the siege lines, teams of workers labor day and night to build siege towers. The siege towers are tall enough to permit foot soldiers to storm the walls with ease.
13. Make-Shift Wall
General Epih Nadeth had his men build these crude walls to guide any sortie force into the siege equipment and his troops. The mounds are 10-feet-tall and made from sand, dirt, and rocks.
14. Siege Camps
General Epih Nadeth and his troops have set up semi-permanent camps outside the walls and behind the siege equipment. General Nadeth brought with him twelve thousand soldiers. Most of them are foot infantry. He lost almost a thousand of his men during the first attack two weeks ago. Now the general bids his time behind the lines while he waits for the siege towers to be completed.
Imen-Shedet is a medium-sized city next to the ocean and a dry riverbed.
Terrain. Dry desert dunes surround the city until the horizon. The only fixture that breaks the dull landscape is the Great Imen Sea. Crossing the desert is a difficult task; the extreme temperatures and the difficulty to navigate the desert without a guide are many explorers’ demise.
Walls and Gates. The massive walls are 80-feet-tall. No army has ever succeeded in storming the city, though many have tried. There are three gates to the outside and four in the river bridges. The gate doors are made of stone that slides sideways on special rails when they open.
The Bridges. The dry riverbed of The Imen divides the city in two. Two bridges connect north and south districts. The bridges are 30-feet-above the riverbed and difficult to access.
The Siege. General Epih Nadeth’s army surrounds Imen-Shedet. The tried to storm the walls two weeks ago and failed miserably. The general has ordered the construction of siege towers to try again. If all else fails, they have to wait the siege out.