|The Streets of Simashki|
Simashki the "glittering" is one of the more successful city-states to emerge in the post-Imperial Hamazi region. Located on the southern shore of the Indash Salt Sea at the mouth of the Palar River, Indash is a mercantile and naval powerhouse on the sea, as well as a major land power that has pacified much of the Palar river region, opened important ties with it's neighbor Ishkur in the Kindattu Mountains. As well as it's mercantile and military power, Simashki is well known as a region of learning and scholarship, and the sages of the Indashtu University, loosely modeled on the Academy at Razina in the south, are among the most honored and respected academics in the world.
Simashki is also among the most cosmopolitan of the successor states to Baal Hamazi, and the reigning philosophy of its rulers has been that of eschewing the ruinous privilege of the hamazin in favor of a semi-meritocratic state of affairs. Citizens of Simashki include, of course, many drylanders and hamazin, but also include a number of people from farther away--Terrasans, Tarushans, and even Qizmiri and Kurushati scholars, merchants, soldiers and mercenaries. Simashki values its diversity and cosmopolitan take on life, and sees it as its strength.
But the hints of coming problems loom large over the city-state as well. The libertine attitude of its citizens and its rulers means that very little is illegal. Simashki has become a major hotbed of intrigue, smuggling, drug harvesting (and use), revolutionary ideals, and those who don't mind making naked power grabs find that Simashki has much to offer them. Whether its semi bohemian utopian society can survive the inevitable consequence of the laxness of its laws remains to be seen.
In addition, the city is currently home--at least temporarily--to a number of refugees from the north, who bring garbled tales of the rise of Hutran Kutir, reborn in the desert, and angry as all get-out that his empire has come to ruins. In addition to this vague threat, the Untash tribesmen continue to be a thorn in the side of the rulers of Simashki, and as they have grown in numbers and power in recent years, that threat evolves from being somewhat vague into being much more real and urgent. Already caravans attempting to reach Simashki are more and more failing to do so unless they have Untash guides. While many Simash citizens simply say that trade can continue on the river and the sea, that is a short-sighted approach, for the Untash block many of the routes to both as well, and that would enable Simashki only to trade with its nearest neighbors on the coast.
In addition to the land around Simashki itself, the city-state claims the Luhhan Isles, a group of small islands in the Salt Sea. While settlement of the isles is sparse, there is some farming that can occur there without fear of Untash raiders, and the coastal villages also provide a great deal of fish to the city.
Taan Orakhun, the shazada of Simashki, rules. He is an elderly yet sharp-minded drylander, who is most concerned with keeping potential problems at bay until the end of his life. The fact that he is in his seventies and there is no clear successor when he eventually dies is another worry-bead for the elite of Simashki--that is, those that have the sense to be worried instead of seeing it as an opportunity for their own advancement.