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Numalia is a city in Nemedia. It is situated on the caravan road that comes up from the southern nations, through Nemedia and into Aquilonia.[1]

Smaller in size than Belverus, but in some ways larger in stature, thanks to the ruins upon which it was founded. While not as large and impressive, the ruins run deep in Numalia, and some have theorized that the Acheronians lived partially underground at some point in their development. This is unfounded, of course, but there are a number of impressive treasures and antiquities in the public record (as well as in private collections) to allow Numalia to call itself the cultural center of Nemedia.

Furthermore, the crushing influence of the Church of Mitra is lessened, being somewhat removed from the church’s headquarters. Consequently, the population is more cosmopolitan, and certainly more corruptible, but no less haughty and imperious when dealing with strangers, foreigners, or anyone considered beneath their station.

Notable Locations[]

The Palian Way Gates[]

These gates are a major landmark for travelers on the Road of Kings, as they represent Nemedian culture and security. This set of ornate pillars has no roof attached to them, but the road leading into the city runs directly through them. Few caravans pass by Numalia in their haste to reach Aquilonia, as the city is only a half-day’s journey from the Road of Kings, clearly visible from the mountain pass into Corinthia.

As in Belverus, the city watch is always on duty here, asking questions and giving directions and occasionally taking innocent bribes. Likewise, the Road of Kings is visible from the gates, giving the watch plenty of time to assess problems, call for reinforcements, or send a party out to intercept anyone trying to enter Numalia from the flank, rather than through the Palian Way Gates.

The Historical District[]

The road into Numalia widens past the gate and becomes Palian Way, a street with plants and trees in the median and a two-sided thoroughfare, the better to allow access to the chariots the wealthy ride through town. All incoming and outgoing traffic uses this road, and it is at times brought to a standstill by merchant caravans and the retinues of visiting dignitaries attempting to navigate the streets at the same time. When this happens, the city watch will resignedly intervene and slap horse’s bottoms and direct traffic until the blockage is cleared.

Flanking either side of this thoroughfare are most of the intact ruins and structures: old temples, repurposed, one and two story shops that now house a family business, and even the odd villa offset from the road by a stone wall and gates made of iron.

Kallian Publico's Temple[]

This converted temple is now full of relics and antiques collected by Kallian Publico. There is little of rarity he does not covet and have the means to possess. Relic hunters find frequent employment with Publico both above and below board. Surely such sights dazzle, but who can say what strange histories and sorcery such artifacts may bring with them?

The Public Forum[]

This impressive collection of old buildings is arranged around a common square lined with brick streets and regularly painted in the colors of the Nemedian flag. These buildings oversee the city government, where laws are debated, criminals tried, and citizens’ concerns are voiced. These discussions and arguments frequently start in the square, and also continue in the square long after the senate has adjourned. The Temple of Mitra and the Court of Justice sit opposite one another across the square, in eternal opposition.

Temple of Mitra[]

This building bears a strong resemblance to the building in Belverus, albeit half the size. Still, it is impressive enough to draw huge crowds, plan elaborate festivals that clog the streets, and take collections of offerings from the more wealthy church patrons.

This particular Temple of Mitra is more politically aggressive, and the current high priest of the church, Galarian Doulerus, is well known as both a devout priest and a social climber. He’s not above administering a more liberal interpretation of Mitra’s Blessing if it helps him stay above the huddled masses.

This temple is the second largest in Nemedia, and enjoys a close relationship with the headquarters in Belverus, even if that relationship is occasionally overlooked or ignored to achieve a goal. Several relic hunters operate here, and they are quite aggressive with their acquisitions policy. Some of the artifacts acquired by the church are donated to wealthy patrons and politicians to ensure that a vote or policy is upheld.

The Court of Justice[]

This low, wide building sits on a raised tier of stairs and faces the Temple of Mitra. This is the court of the land, where criminals are tried and sentenced. Nemedian justice was once considered the highest and wisest in the Western kingdoms, but there is now a ribbon of graft and the smell of corruption in this august body. For example, prominent citizens and the wealthy are not as encumbered by the law as commoners and foreigners, and are likely to be let off with a stern warning instead of a fine or imprisonment.

The Mercadium[]

In the center of the city is the wide, open space for the market. Not many of the original structures are standing, but the Nemedians have rebuilt around the ruins and travelers may buy and trade for most goods and services here.

The Barracks[]

The barracks is another walled courtyard, with long, low buildings flanking on three sides and an iron gate to restrict entrance. Here the city watch trains, sleeps, receives assignments, and wastes time when off duty.

The Stockades[]

In front of the iron gate, in another open area, is the city stockades, a raised platform with wood and stone framed stockades designed to hold criminals for quick punishments, like lashes, or extended punishments in the form of daily humiliations such as rocks and eggs thrown by brazen children and old people.

At night, prisoners are moved to the prison which faces east and shares a wall with the barracks. These small, cramped cells are where the prisoners sleep. Anyone on work detail in the mines or performing community service also sleeps and takes meals here. The cells are barely ten feet square and have no amenities to speak of.

The stocks are a reminder that public beatings and even executions can still take place, though it has been some time since this was needed.

The Pits[]

Considered by many a barbaric tradition pulled forward in time from Acheronians, it remains a popular pastime to allow certain slaves and criminals to fight in the arena for the pleasure of a bloodthirsty crowd. “The Pits”, as they are commonly known, are a complex of four small arenas, surrounding a larger area where men fight to the death. The smaller pits are designed for one-on-one contests, hand-to-hand combat, and the occasional grudge match for the sake of discipline. The large arena in the center is for small groups, skirmishes, and the occasional man-versus-animal match. The smaller pits see action on a weekly basis. The larger pit is only active once or twice a month unless the government orders a match or there is a festival that would culminate in a blood sport.

The Church of Mitra has tried, unsuccessfully, to abolish these games. Some of the priests are still found in the upper boxes, the guest of a politician or a wealthy patron during the monthly matches.

The Arcadium[]

For those who want to be a part of the crowd, but dislike the blood sports associated with the Pits, there is a large, open forum on the westernmost side of the Pits called the Arcadium that caters to sporting types and gamblers. Of course, visitors can bet on the outcomes of the fights in the pits, but there are a number of sports ranging from cards and dice to scarab races and feats of strength that a gambling man would find very interesting.

Not surprisingly, this is where many of the criminal class can be found in Numalia. However, a fear of the draconian laws of the land keeps their infractions small and their escape routes open.

References[]

  1. Robert E. Howard, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian ("The God in the Bowl"), Del Rey (2003).
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