Malagina is a peninsula district along the north coast of Byzantae.
Central to Malagina is the valley of the river Sangarius, between the Astarpe mountains and Mount Karasay; bordered by forests on the edge of the feywild.
The fortress-city Metabole acts as gateway to this peninsula, and is also a major staging area: historically, for incursions into Nihon.
Samsat is the southernmost town in the Sangarius valley. Known for the Imperial horse ranches; exports of cloves, oranges, wheat; extravagant markets; high property prices; and red light district.
The major players here are:
- The Municipality. Whilst Administrator Violette does not technically have authority over the Lord Mayor, in this bureaucracy she is the de facto ruler of Samsat. She has an support of the guild leaders and has a small army of scribes, and is known for her incorruptibility and philanthropism. Violette is a slight, tawny-skinned woman with shoulder-length, straight, silky dark brown hair. She is a easygoing storyteller with an interest in art. She is unmarried and lives alone.
- Lord Mayor Ephesius is ostensibly the ranking officer of the municipality, but often doesn’t have the internal support to oppose Violette’s decisions. Appointed through his caste, apparently bored with his position, he is usually found pursuing business interests and has his following amongst the nobility. He is a fat, brown-skinned man with coarse, curly, medium-length grey hair. He is known for his menagerie of exotic beasts. He is married, with several children.
- Despotes Sanyi (a.k.a Queen Sanyi) owns large tracts of land around Samsat, including most of the horse ranches. She is sometimes absent to attend the court of Justinian I. She is popular with the townsfolk; she has done much for the protection and expansion of the town. She is a platinum blond-haired, brown-eyed woman with a slight build and thin, sharp-featured face. She has known to be spiteful. Her interests are magic and horses. Althaea has in her possession contracts between the Kwadwo group (of lumberjacks) and Despotes Gerloamo, Despotes Sanyi and the Temple; for “trees of a certain quality”. These were found at the troubled guard post deep in Aspartes Forest.
- Despotes Libor owns the small fort in central Samsat, has authority over the militia, and oversees law and order in conjunction with the Temple. Like Sanyi, he is considered benevolent by the townsfolk. He is auburn-haired with amber eyes, a small build and sharp-featured face. He is smug, and known for his succession of romantic affairs.
- Father Cezar operates from the Shrine of Nilus of Sinai, and is the voice of Bess Carita in Samsat. He is a typical partisan of the theocracy; with one hand arranging entertainment for the people, with the other administering cruel penalties for lawbreakers. He has been quietly accused of cold-heartedness, and usually found in a crabby mood. He has long, rough black hair, hazel eyes, and fair skin. He is muscular with a bland, oval face. His superior is High Priestess Zaharina.
- Tondrakians, a heretical sect. They were thought to have been eliminated by the Temple in their city of origin, Tondrak. However, a group bearing their name are beginning to flourish in Samsat in conjunction with escalating heretical sentiment and chaotic phenomena. It is thought that a man named Anwar is orchestrating this, and is located in or near Samsat.
- Anacleto, horse wranglers.
- Funske, merchants.
- Chikere, wheat growers, wicker workers.
This high mountain is to the immediate south of Samsat.
At the peak is the tomb-sanctuary of King Antiochus I. It was flanked by 30’ high statues of himself, lions, eagles, and Zoroastric representations of the deities. Some time during the reign of Constantine the Great, the heads of these statues were removed, scattered over the site, and defaced: Antiochus’s Zoroastic cult was deemed heretical. In the western terrace is a large slab with a lion, showing the arrangements of the stars at the time of construction. Significantly, it shows two moons.
The winding path to the site fell into ruin and the tomb is now forgotten except to a few senior scribes, which is how The Temple of Bess Carita would like to keep it.