A Guide to Mikona by Twilight
By Dashel Knight, first edition published 2094 A.O.D.
* this copy of the book has had handwritten notes jotted in the margins on several pages *
I would like to dedicate this guide to all those brave souls that have fought in defence of the nation of M'Chek from the lowly solider to the mightiest of adventures.
Welcome to the city of Mikon perhaps the most beautiful city in the land. It is likely, road-worn and weary traveller, that you have found yourself outside the City Gate Inn. This pleasant inn is most travellers' first glimpse of the city, and like that city it is warm and welcoming. While you will be lucky to find a spare room, there is a wide selection of ales on offer behind the bar and guests are free to sleep in the common room if they can find a quiet corner. If you ask around the bar you may be able to hear of all sort of rumours or offers of work. Once you have had enough of talking with the locals it is time to set off and explore the city. Though before you do, it is wise to pick up a map to the city from the barkeep to use in conjunction with this guide.
This section of the city is known as the city gate and is called such for it is where the main gate in and out of the city can be found. There are a number of different exits through the city, as you would expect, but they are often used by traders and merchants, leading to lengthy delays. It is perhaps here that you will first grasp the size and magnitude of the city; the walls stretch up into the sky strong enough to repel even giant attacks. It can be a foreboding sight for those newly arrived from the outlying farms, but a friendly smile from a passing guardsman is enough to remind most visitors that this is a kind and benevolent city that welcomes all that do not seek to do it harm, and the walls are their for your protection. Close by, you will find many young apprentices looking for those willing to aid them in collecting ingredients and other tasks. Also just behind the Inn is the guard house and the prison, though it is unlikely as a law abiding citizen that you will have much run in with the jail. The guardhouse is where you should bring any concerns you have about a criminal matter, or where you should head if you have concerns for your safety. It is likely that you will find a member of the Sword of Toran around there that can aid you. If on a rare occasion they are all out, it is best to leave a message and wait for them to get back to you. As you can see from your map there are four exits from the city gate section of the city. And as it's a'ways wise to keep on the side of the gods let us next go to the temple district.
* "Sword of Toran" is crossed out in the text. "M'Chekian Guards" is written in the margin next to it. *
The first thing you shall notice as you approach the temple district is the tower that spirals off into the clouds. This is the famous institute of learning and while I have never been up to the top to see if it really does touch the heavens it is well worth a visit. As much of the tower I have seen has taken my breath away, with the inside being even more awe-inspiring than that out. Now you have made it to the temple district and provided you have made it just as darkness descends upon the land the first thing you will notice is the lights, and how the torches reflect off the marble and obsidian buildings. For the temples are open day or night, as the light of the gods never goes out, so the district is lit by hundreds of torches. If any did not believe in the gods before they came to the city I doubt they can deny they exist after seeing such beauty as this. With the marble, obsidian, iron and stone all complementing each other to create something grander than if viewed alone. It would be wrong to come to the temple district and not pay your respects to the founder of the city of Mikona, Mikon. His temple is the largest and in the centre of the district surrounded by a large wall on 3 sides. You should have no difficulty spotting it on your map. Once inside, you shall find yourself in a large hall where prayers are held. Should you have any questions about Mikon there are many priests wondering about that would be happy to answer them. And if looking for guidance there are divine lights within that descend from the heavens that once seen, removes all fears that we are alone in this world with no one to look to. The district itself houses shrines or churches to all the major gods though some can take a little more looking for than others. Rest assured that in a city built around the concept of free choice, religious freedom is enjoyed by all. If you consult your map you will find you can head to five different districts from here. But to keep this guide somewhat circular let us head to the government district.
This is where the council member and the nobility discuss the running of the city and future policy. Mostly boring stuff and if they do decide to speak with you its likely to just run an errand for them. But there are two reasons for coming here. First the library, many wonders can be found among the tomes, such as history, philosophy and theology so it's well worth a visit if you have a spare afternoon. The second and somewhat more exciting reason to come here is The Canvas, a newly opened club. As can be expected in a place like this, it is a sophisticated and upmarket establishment, while membership is not easy to get it is well worth it. For inside is a home away from home for many of the businessmen and women that frequent the place, with sauna and steam rooms. Fine food and drink all with a welcoming atmosphere. From the government district it is a short way south to reach the market place.
* An arrow points from a margin note - "Closed due to treason" - to the word "Canvas" in the text. *
It is advisable to take a few moments to soak in the sights, sounds and smells of the place before entering into the press of humanity that is seeking a bargain. Here you will find all sorts of produce for sale from swords and armour, to food, to clothing - both the mundane and the magical. There is also the chance of finding work from an apprentice looking to lighten his load and see if he can find someone else to do what task his master has set him. But if you have some free time and seek to make some ready coin it is well worth asking about. Also within the market place you will find the Rompin' Romini Inn and Baths. This is a rowdy and good-natured place that many locals like to spend time and soak up the atmosphere. The baths are located under the inn and it is often that an adventure or off duty guard can be found down there relaxing in the baths trying to wash away the blood and grim. However, it is not somewhere for the prudish, as clothes are strictly forbidden.
Now from the market place, it is but a short hop to the docks. As the invigorating sea breeze washes over you it can be an idea to take a moment to enjoy it. Perhaps the best time to come down here is night when the water reflects the glittering twinkle of stars and moonlight. Now if you travel down to the dock, it is from here that you will find boats leaving to the city of Elysia and a small port not to far from the Elven capital city of Le'Or T'Nanshi. Though it is unadvisable to take a boat into Elven lands, unless you are an elf as they have a habit of attacking any that are not their own. This is due in part to their war with the humans of M'Chek. The captains set sail at both 6 and at 18 of the chiming of the clock. However, boats and sailors are only a small part of the docks. Tucked away one can also stumble across a casino. For those not familiar with a casino it works like a gentleman's club, but there is no requirement to enter. Once there, a healthy evening of gambling away your hard earned gold can ensue. The secret to being a successful gambler over a loser is, knowing when to stop and not let emotions get in the way. The docks are well patrolled and well worth further exploration.
Now from the docks, it is simple matter to travel to the residential area that has become known as the slums. Before arriving at the residential area, it is important to note, do not set foot here unarmed and unprepared. The guards have pulled out and what you are about to enter is humanity driven mad by the starvation inflicted upon it by the selfishness of the T'Nanshi. There are a number of gangs within the slums, some will attack you on sight and loot your still warm corpse others, some are trying to reclaim the streets and make it safe to walk them again. And then there are the few that have been driven mad through starvation and will seek to eat your flesh. The residential area as you may guess is large and consists mostly of housing, almost all of it run down. Some would consider this a blot on the beauty of the city, the crumbling walls, and splintered and broken wooden supports; but to me it is a testament to the city that no matter how bleak things may look the human spirit will always fight on. The guards could have put all these people to the sword, but this is why the city is the most beautiful in the land. It is a city that will never turn its back, or hide the uglier parts. It accepts all for who they are, not throwing up some false image. In the southern section you will come across one of the rougher taverns the Hang Brains Inn. It is well worth a visit, but keep one hand on your weapon and the other on your purse.
And finally the noble district, there's not much to do there other than look at the wonders that wealth can buy, and dream of ascending the ranks of nobility.
That about wraps up places in the city of Mikona that you are likely to wish to visit, bellow the city is an extensive sewer system, that can be used to access nearly any point above ground, but are also filled with many creatures, none of which are pleased to see people in their homes. It is not advised to travel there unarmed or alone! Is this all there is to see in the city, not by a long shot! I can only give a most humble account of the city, to truly understand its beauty you will have to visit it first hand. And why do I think it is so beautiful? Well that is simple - because it is a city of endless opportunity.
Welcome to Mikona friend - the jewel of M'Chek!