The Capital expanded in my view as the Cloud Whale descended from the sky. It was one of the grandest cities in the entire Continent, outshone only by the Capitals of the Ancient Empires.
In the tribal era, when society existed in discrete pockets of civilization, the major clans in a region would generally set a spot to meet in from year to year to barter commodities and supplement each other’s needs. As most of the smaller tribes were nomadic, these spots weren’t fixed. But the larger tribes, that had occupied an area rich in some sort of resource that was advantageous to them, would set their roots down and begin developing in that area. They would be very dependent on trade to meet all the needs of their people. After all, not everything that they needed could be produced in their little patch of land.
Thus, often these locations designated for clan meets between the largest tribes in a region would grow into bustling trade centres around which cities would be constructed. These trade cities would be jointly governed by the tribes in question. This was the embryonic form of the cooperative society that later gave rise to the Ancient Empires like the Mesopotamian, Indus and Greek Empires.
The hereditary nature of the Ancient Empires and the glass ceiling for those not of the Imperial line led to the decline of the Empires till Caesar’s conquest of Greece and subsequently Egypt. After the death of Caesar, his expansive Empire collapsed with the Greek and Egyptian Imperial remnants reclaiming large swathes of former territory. The tripartite war between Greece, Rome and Egypt had ravaged their people and resources until a tentative peace had been achieved.
A great deal of reforms had been implemented in all three Empires to streamline their governance and improve efficiency. For instance, the Monarchy was still hereditary, but following Regiis’ example, the powers of the Monarch had been greatly attenuated. The precipitation of years had seen all three Empires recover somewhat from their strife-ridden past.
Yet, they had been overtaken by the youthful dynamism and bias towards meritocracy shown by Regiis.
The Maharajas of Indus were the only absolute Monarchs left in the Continent. They had Counsellors, sure, but in the end, their word was law. While the other Empires had been embroiled in conflict after conflict, peace and an unbroken line of enlightened rulers had blessed Indus with prosperity.
Of all the societies, Indus was the least affected by the introduction of Marital Contracts and the rise in the importance of Tamers.
But, no matter their current state, their long histories and the centralization of wealth that came with a hereditary monarchy meant that their Capital cities were extremely magnificent. Compared to those cities, resplendent in gold and jade, the Capital of Regiis was obviously a bit lacklustre.
But it had a unique charm of its own: the balance of the six elements.
The Capital city of Regiis, to honour Emperor Adam and his six wives had been planned with the theme of elemental balance in mind.
From the air, the city looked like a massive triangle that had been divided into three triangular sectors with differing themes; each one representing one of the three elements of air, water and light. Each of the sectors was the size of a large city.
The water sector had an expansive network of canals running through it as a replacement for roads. The wind sector had towering skyscrapers with a network of rope bridges connecting them at all levels forming a three-dimensional maze.
Mirrors and glass were the dominant features of the light sector, making the entire sector dazzling to behold under the light of the noonday sun.
Its exact opposite, the shadow sector was connected to the earth sector and fire sector; all three sectors situated entirely underground with only a few scattered buildings aboveground marking the entrances to the intricate network of tunnels that extended throughout the Capital.
But it was only when I used my mana sight – no, soul sense – that I was able to truly appreciate the magnificence of the city.
The entire region practically boiled with mana of six colours. The density of mana was off the charts – on par with the rarest of natural topologies. Which wasn’t surprising considering the six interlocking artificial topologies that covered the entire Capital.
The sectors were arranged so that the elements that opposed each other were placed closest to each other. The water sector was above the fire sector. The light sector was above the shadow sector. The air sector was above the earth sector.
This kind of counterintuitive arrangement caused a great deal of friction in the mana that made it all flow towards the centre of the city – where the Imperial Palace was situated.
The Imperial Palace: a triangular estate concentric with the Capital that could easily hold ten Felidae Estates.
As the surge of mana flowed towards the Palace, it was absorbed by the topology and pumped back out into the respective sectors setting up a mana circulation that was extremely beneficial for cultivation as well as the health of the citizens. As disease was caused by mana imbalance, this kind of circulation meant that even the mortals living here would be free of any sort of disease and plague.
This topology was truly a work of art; the pinnacle of formation magic. A grand demonstration of our dominance over nature.
The Cloud Whale approached the outskirts of the wind sector where a landing ground for it had been prepared. As we drew closer and closer, standing at the prow of the ship, I could make out the forms of the pedestrians on the rope bridges bustling about. There were many Pluma using their wings to navigate the three-dimensional maze.
Many stopped in their tracks at our approach, pointing at us in an excited manner. I could understand their sentiment; the Cloud Whale was a symbol of our national pride after all.
There was a mind crystal communication tower set up within the Cloud Whale with which we could communicate directly with the communication tower at the Capital; and using that as a springboard, to anywhere in Regiis.
We had already sent notice ahead that we’d arrive today. So, it wasn’t a surprise that there was already a crowd at the landing ground to welcome us.
The crew busied themselves adjusting everything for landing. The sails were rolled up and the fire mages slowly reduced the heat of the air in the zeppelins causing us to descend smoothly towards the landing pad – a bed of sand.
With nary a jerk, the ship docked on the earthen props provided and the bottom of the ship sank into the soft sand until it steadied itself.
A large wooden ramp was rolled up to the side of the ship and the crew lashed it to iron hoops to fix it in place.
We had arrived at the Capital.