Largest and richest of the cities of Thule, Quodeth is known by many names: City of Merchants, City of a Hundred Bridges, City of Beggars, City of a Thousand Sails, the Peacock City, City of Golden Morning, or simply the Gateway to Thule. All of these names are deserved in their own way, even if some require a little poetic license and others are given in irony. Quodeth is a place of lavish opulence and crushing poverty, jeweled towers and sprawling slums. No other city in Thule bustles with such commerce and industry; gold is the very life’s blood of Quodeth. But wherever gold flows freely, so too do crime and corruption, and this truth is the origin of the most famous sobriquet for Quodeth: The City of Thieves.
Quodeth’s great wealth begins with its advantageous location. The city stands on the shores of Sarvin Bay, where the mighty River Quosa meets the sea. This alone would make Quodeth an important port on the Atlantean Ocean, since wide harbors are somewhat rare along Thule’s mountainous coasts. Wide and deep, the Quosa in turn flows eighty miles to the Bay of Daggers in the eastern end of the Kalayan Sea, the great inland sea that commands the continent’s interior. From Quodeth, galleys can sail to Lomar, Droum, or even distant Ikath on the edge of Dhar Mesh—and ships from those cities can reach the open waters of the ocean by following the Quosa down to Quodeth.
LIFE IN QUODETH
The people of Quodeth are known throughout Thule as Quodethi. They are the largest and most numerous nation or tribe among the Kalay peoples. They are not tall, and have dark hair, dark eyes, and a deep bronze or honey-colored complexion. They are generally regarded as worldly, hardworking, and given to flowery speech and exaggerated politeness.
When irritated, Quodethi can veil vicious barbs in the guise of polite phrases. Among the noble class, this cloaked repartee is elevated to an art form.
As one might expect, Kalays make up the vast majority of the city’s population. However, the city’s status as a bustling market for trade from many distant realms means that quite a large number of foreigners wind up living in Quodeth.
COMMERCE AND ECONOMY
Even without control of the waterway between the Kalayan Sea and the Atlantean Ocean, Quodeth would be a rich and prosperous city. Its economy stands on four great pillars: grain, silk, metalworking, and shipbuilding. Quodeth produces more flour, textiles, metal goods, and ships than any other city in Thule.
LAW AND ORDER
Quodeth’s soldiers patrol the city’s neighborhoods to prevent riots, arson, and unchecked banditry in the streets. These patrols are somewhat infrequent and stick to the better neighborhoods, since the authorities don’t really care what goes on in the poorer quarters. When patrolling soldiers happen to encounter serious crimes in progress, they intervene, but few criminals indeed are stupid enough to commit their crimes in the plain sight of the Peacock Throne.
A far more effective police system is administered by the city’s gangs and guilds, who have a vested interest in protecting their territory from the depredations of rival gangs. They keep a careful eye on crime within their territory, and do not hesitate to administer swift (and usually lethal) justice on non-guildmembers who try to prey on “their” ground.
THE PEACOCK THRONE
The traditional symbol of rulership over Quodeth is the Peacock Throne. In ancient times, the city’s monarch wielded absolute power over the city, and therefore the edicts and judgments rendered from the throne were beyond question. Over the centuries, the kings and queens of Quodeth took less interest in administering their domain and turned over the more tedious duties to a court full of advisors and officials. These panjandrums typically performed their offices “in the name of the Peacock Throne,” and were understood to be acting on the monarch’s command, even when the monarch was personally unaware of their specific activities.