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Mzali

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Mzali
The city of Mzali
(City)
Nation Mwangi Expanse
Size Metropolis
Population 36,900
Demographics 36,700 humans (31,000 Zenj, 2,000 Bonuwat, 2,000 Bekyar, 1,000 Mauxi, 700 other), 200 non-human
Government Magical
Alignment Lawful neutral
Ruler Walkena, mummified child-god
Images of Mzali

Source: Heart of the Jungle, pg(s). 37

Mzali is the largest city south of Katapesh in Garund, and is ruled by a strange being named Walkena.[1]

Geography

The massive temple-city of Mzali stands on the fertile flood plain of the Pasuango River, one of the tributaries of the Korir River in the Mwangi Expanse. It is south of the Screaming Jungle, and east of the Sargavan city of Kalabuto. It is also the most southern city in what is considered the Inner Sea region.[2]

History

Mzali has stood for thousands of years, and was once the centre of an ancient empire ruled by semi-divine sun kings similar to the pharaohs of Ancient Osirion. They were eventually overthrown by priests calling themselves the Council of Mwanyisa. Under their rule the empire was lost and the city was greatly reduced in size and importance.[1]

A hundred years ago, the Council prophesied the rise of a new Mzali empire. Later, they uncovered the mummified remains of Walkena, a child of the sun kings. Legend has it that in life, Walkena was a mighty magician, able to call down fire from the heavens. This discovery was viewed as an omen, and thousands of Mwangi flocked to the city to view the mummy. This influx of visitors brought much needed wealth to the crumbling city.[1]

The new-found prosperity of Mzali attracted the attention of the Chelaxian overlords of Sargava in nearby Kalabuto. They raised an army and attacked the city, but were miraculously defeated when the mummified remains of Walkena sprang to life and defended the city, raining fiery death upon the invading army. Walkena then claimed Mzali as his own and became its absolute ruler.[1] Although the Mwangi forces then pushed the invading Sargavan force westward toward Kalabuto, they were eventually rebuffed and thrown back to the eastern banks of the River of Lost Tears in 4675 AR under the command of General Taurinus.[3]

Walkena's dreams of military conquest continued after the botched invasion, and his forces conducted guerilla strikes against the defenders of Kalabuto between 4678 AR and 4684 AR. These attacks culminated in the first sacking of Kalabuto in 4684 AR.[3]

Government

Walkena rules the city with an iron hand. He handsomely rewards his supporters, but those who offend him suffer the Punishment of Seven Angry Suns.[1]

War with Kalabuto

Forces from Mzali have sacked Kalabuto three times in recent years.[4] Because of this, General Alban, the commander of Kalabuto's military, now sends regular spying missions to Mzali to keep track of military preparations.[5] So far, except for his initial defence of the city Walkena has not taken to the field personally.[1]

Society

Today, Mzali is the centre of Mwangi nationalism. Walkena seeks to unite the entire Mwangi Expanse under his rule, and aims to drive out all non-Mwangi from the region. Those who trade with outsiders are considered to be traitors, who plunder the Expanse's precious and irreplaceable resources for personal gain. Despite Walkena's authoritarian government, Mwangi pilgrims still flock to the city. Non-Mwangi wisely avoid Mzali, or generally suffer horribly for their temerity.[1]

Description

Mzali has been built upon the wetlands between the Pasuango River and the encroaching desert. It stands on soft, rich earth and during the rainy seasons, the river rises and the roads flood. The large stone structures like the Temple of the Deathless Child, the High Temple, the Mwanyisa Hall, the Sun Man statue, and others rest on deep foundations, surrounded by slabs of flagstone that poke above the soil. Knotted trees clasp the stonework like monstrous, withered tentacles.[1]

References