The Grand City of Mieveht – World Building Wednesday

I’ve written about Mieveht previously, way back in August. I think it was one of the first things I did after making the website. Back then, I was going to do “lore” blog posts every once in a while, but I never followed through. With this new thing that I have actually be doing weekly, and with the current campaign taking place there, I want to revisit Mieveht. If you ready to early lore post, don’t worry, there is new information here. In fact, I am kind of glad I have already written about Mieveht once, because this gives another opportunity to show how things have changed over time. Originally, this post was going to include a city overview, followed by a break down of all of the districts. However, I got a little carried away when writing some of it’s history and that shifted this post focus.

City Overview

  • Location – Southern Syvahl
  • Population – ~175,000
  • Size – ~64mi2

Mieveht is the largest city on Syvahl, and possibly in all of Erylia. The ciuty is so large that if one could walk from one end of the city to the other, it would take an entire day. Within its walls, Mieveht is further divided into multiple districts.

The Royal Family lives within the small district of Hyrciin with their trusted servants and The Order of Vehti. To the north of Hyrciin is the Thelnea District. Thelnea is home to Mieveht’s nobles and upper-class citizens. Bordering on Thelnea’s easternmost wall lies the district of Kaizen, the craftsmen’s district. Kaizen is responsible for almost all of Mieveht’s exports. Nestled into the center of the city is the Cyrin District. Aside from Hyrciin, Cyrin borders all other districts, and with proper paperwork, is the access point from one district to another. There is also a road that leads directly from Cyrcin out on to the rest of the plateau for people traveling to and from the city.

The north west of Mieveht is made up of The Commons, and ever-growing district that houses the city’s middle and lower classes. The Commons is, by far, the largest and most densely populated district. It’s northern border is left without a wall for centuries at a time to allow for the city to grow. Mieveht’s final district is Lahtrhin, on the north east edge of the city. Lahthrin is the laborers district. It is a district of slave owners and their slaves. The district itself is walled off, mostly for housing, but the area to the north of Mieveht is riddled with quarries for stones, mines for ore, and revolving forests for lumber.

The Kingdom of Mieveht

Mieveht’s ruling families tend to span many hundreds of years. Depending on how you trace their line, the ruling family today can be traced all of the way back to the first family to establish the Hyrciin district. The reason for confusion comes from the occasional times where an heiress to the throne married outside of the royal family, choosing to take her husband’s name. Typically, the royal family marries within itself, usually a cousin that the heir has bonded to exceptionally well. However, very rarely, the heir will grow to love one of the family’s servants or someone from The Order of Vehti. This is highly discouraged, but unpreventable.

Millenia ago, Mieveht was not the vast, sprawling city that it is today. What is now the city of Mieveht used to be a small kingdom. The Keep sat atop the cliffs of a great plateau in southern Syvahl, overlooking the ocean, in what is now the Hyrciin district. The area to the north, what is now known as Thelnea, is where some of the noble families lived when they weren’t overseeing their holdings in the kingdom. Sprinkled through the rest of the plateau were small towns and villages, making up the Kingdom of Mieveht. Due to its location on the plateau, Mieveht has seldom had troubles from outside invaders. This has allowed it to grow to the massive city that it is today.

The Forming of the City

The change in landscape began around 1500 years ago. The towns and villages of the Mieveht Kingdom weren’t happy with the status of the upper class. They didn’t think it was right that they did all of the labor to feed and clothe the kingdom and make it grow, all the while the nobles and the crown collected taxes and had little to do to defend the lands. They began to band together and marched on The Keep to enact a coup. The villages, though they didn’t have many well-crafted weapons, were able to overwhelm the leading class and take power for themselves. An elf by the name Vehsyl Hryciin struck the final blow on the king and took the crown for himself.

As the new king, one of Vehsyl’s first orders was to begin construction of a wall outside of The Keep so that it could be defended better than it was when he took the crown. Vehsyl had one man from each of the towns and villages that had participated in the coup elected as the new noble class and gave them the area to the north. Villagers were invited to live down near The Keep in exchange for working on building up the new city, forming the first area of The Commons.

Districts Take Shape

The building of King Hyrciin’s wall required massive amounts of stone to be quarried, cut into bricks, and fixed in place. Naturally, the people working the stone needed to be close to building site, so craftsmen began settling the area north of the nobles’ land. As the workers dug down into the ground for stone, they came across ore deposits. With this, some craftsmen began focusing on new trades, working this ore into usable metal, while others worked the metal into tools. Over time, this area where craftsmen settled to build Hyrciin’s wall became solidified as the district of Kaizen.

Once Hyrciin’s wall was complete, the noble families that had been chosen wanted a wall for themselves. These families had been involved in the previous coup of Mieveht and were worried that as the new noble class, the commoners may some day turn against them too. With Kaizen already working on building a wall, the families were easily able to pay for another one to protect their lands, having it built as far north as they could without encroaching on Kaizen or The Commons.

As people in this new found city needed somewhere to buy and sell goods, a natural marketplace formed. With the craftsmen on the east, the nobles to the south, and the common-folk to the west, the area in the center became an area for trade. Over time, these areas grew larger and larger until everything started to converge. Forges and wood shops were being built in the market, new stores built where people want to build houses. Tensions in the city began to rise and the nobles and the royal family stepped in.

The Walls Went Up

In order to slow down the tensions and keep each district from over-taking the one next to it, boundaries were plotted out. Kaizen once again shifted its focus to creating bricks and mortar to wall in each district. Kaizen would keep the area to the east with some room left to expand north. The Commons would be given a large area to the west, left open for more housing to the north. In the center, Cyrin was formally established as a market district and city hub.  However, now the city had grown much larger and these walls could not take generations to build like they had in the past. For the first time in Mieveht’s history, the city turned to slavery.

Families who were refused to help with gathering stone and helping build the walls were taken from their homes and forced to work. When it came to some of the stronger races, there was even less of a choice. Dwarves, Orcs, and Dragonborn found themselves in chains carving stone more frequently than the rest. The people drawn to Mieveht’s grandness began to find themselves in trouble, being captured as they arrived to the city in search of greatness.

The walls were finished, but the craftsmen had gotten used to the free labor to provide them with materials. Truth be told, the commoners weren’t particularly fond of working in the mines or the forests either. So the slaves weren’t set free, and in fact, were encouraged to breed further. However, it was no longer acceptable for new slaves to be taken from arriving travelers. A wall went up in the north of the Kaizen district to keep them safe from the slaves and Mieveht as it is today was mostly laid out.

Some Meta Worldbuilding

So as I started to work on laying out some of the details for Mieveht, I ran into a handful of issues. Some with the lore, and some were things I discovered that were hard to reconcile with myself once I realized it. My first bit of crisis came from the size and scale I wanted for Mieveht. In my mind, Mieveht has always been this huge city that would take a day to walk across. It also had a population of about 150,000 people. In D&D a slow pace is given as 18 miles in a day. For Mieveht to be 18 miles across, it would have needed a population of like 2-3 million. That just wouldn’t work in my own head cannon. I cut the city size down quite a bit, to roughly 10 miles across with the thought process that due to the amount of people and walls and city streets, it would still take a day to travel across.

Also in my original plans, was for Mieveht to be a bit more desert for its climate. As I was working on things like it’s history, and thinking of it as a self sustaining kingdom and city, it became quite clear to me that there was no way it could work as a desert. So I began to canonize in my head that the northern area of the plateau is more forested, with the southern area being more mild temperate. Aside from the ocean, there isn’t a major water source near by, but it has quite a rainy season that fills underground caverns and wells with water to sustain the population.

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