Chemer, the City of Ashes, the Well of Bones
The sand-scrubbed, white walls of Chemer are home to the famous Cactus Gardens and the Argent Moon Collegia and Museum. Built within the ancient ring of an eroded crater, the city has been depopulated and repopulated countless times over several millennia. It is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in modern times. Approximately fifteen feet tall and built along the rim of the crater, the walls of Chemer have served to protect the city for five centuries. Every three hundred feet, a fortified turret houses bowmen and sentries, providing excellent defenses for the settlement below. Within the valley of the crater, sun- bleached stone buildings of all shapes and sizes circle outward from a tall, rounded dome in the middle of the town.
"Constructed on the upper rim of an immense crater, the bleached walls of Chemer rise high above the rooftops, emphasizing the stark buildings housed in the shadows of the basin- the Well of Bones." - Krahtes, A Scholar's History
Due to the sun and the desert's heavy scouring influence on the city, new colors are quickly bleached off any buildings, wooden or stone, leaving ash-gray or bone-white structures. This corrosive effect gives the town an extremely uniformed appearance from the distance. Many current scholars believe that the city's pale buildings gleaming within the crater created the inspiration for the settlement's nicknames of the City of Ashes or the Well of Bones. Ancient historians, however, claim that Chemer was the site of a terrible and bloody genocide that occurred several millennia ago during a war which lasted for 101 years.
"Hark! The light! Which city gleams so brightly Within the well of shadows? Tis none other than the City of Ashes, My beloved Chemer." - Minna, "City of Ashes"
A radical group of historians claims that over four thousand years ago, Chemer was a green city built in a grove of thick forests in a valley that was once home to a race of beings known as terik-moi, or in common, elves. For two thousand years before the great earthquakes that re-shaped the entire continent, the terik-moi built gorgeous wooden and stone buildings deep within an ancient forest and celebrated a culture that dwelt on knowledge and art. They lived in the southwestern tip of an immense continent called the Sahblen Plate by geographical scholars. Approximately one thousand years into their civilization, the terik-moi closed their beautiful, thriving city to the rest of the world. The cause of the subsequent war is unclear. Some records say that the isolation warped the minds of the terik-moi, turning them into murderous, intolerant people who released their worst citizens into the world to ravage, maim, and conquer other civilizations in the name of their ancestors. In desperation, other established cities gathered their forces and marched on the depraved, isolated settlement and destroyed it in the name of self-preservation. Other historians have uncovered a completely different story, one in which the terik-moi sadly closed themselves off from a world that was ever more ruthless, deadly, and uncaring. In an effort to preserve their culture, the elves isolated themselves completely. Rumors, however, circulated in the outside world that the terik-moi closed their gates in order to hoard a "wondrous and mystical treasure" within their walls. Jealousy and resentment grew in various other cultures and civilizations throughout the world, and the elves were brutally attacked for their rumored wealth.
Regardless of the cause of the conflict, the result was the complete annihilation of an entire race in a war that lasted over 100 years. The city was in complete ruins for centuries, populated only by wild creatures and desperate adventurers. When the Sundering occurred and the gods split the land, the ocean separated the ancient ruins from the rest of the known world, and the sands crept through the forest, leaving dunes and burying cities in its path. The people who had fled south to escape the mass destruction were trapped on an island, albeit a large one, that was slowly turning into a desert under the heat of an unforgiving sun.
Those who managed to live through the Sundering either died off or banded together in an effort to survive the massive climate change. They housed themselves the ancient ruins, sheltered in the crater, and rebuilt the old structures, reinforcing them with stone found in nearby quarries. Though they painted the buildings with bold colors, this practice soon stopped since the sun was bleaching away the pigment in less than a year. What did not disappear in the heat was scoured off by the swirling sands. Most people believe Chemer derives its nicknames from the drab nature of its architecture, but others claim that its tragic and deadly history gave it the dour appellation of City of Ashes or the Well of Bones. Chemer remained a small haven in a hostile environment for centuries until the appearance of a canis named Terzt Grrt.
Terzt Grrt was born to a mange-infested litter of pups in one of the inner buildings of Chemer. Left to roam on his own at a young age as the alpha male of his litter mates, Terzt Grrt learned every inch of the chaotic city in the struggle for his life as well as the survival of his brothers and sisters. As he watched his siblings die off to the dangers of the wild settlement, his analytical mind began to dissect the remaining structures in the ancient ruins, and his dynamic personality brought people to his cause. Terzt Grrt became the driving force in rebuilding Chemer to surpass all of its former glory. Though he was never named Chancellor of Chemer, he was the first person to serve in that capacity.
The Chancellor of Chemer is chosen every twelve years by the sworn citizens of the city, and he, in turn, chooses seven other loyal citizens to serve with him for the duration of his term. Responsible for arranging for the defense as well as the civic services of the town, the Chancellor and crew often enact public policies as well as promote civic duties within the borders.