01 November 2010

Valz

Many in the courts of the Muqad or Zafar would describe the city of Valz, perched beyond the Arms of Orum on the shores of the Great Western Ocean as remote, possibly even provincial.  Granted, it lacks the historical importance of the jewels in the Crown of Stars, or the wealth and learning of its northern neighbors in al-Andalus, yet Valz remains a place of import for a number of reasons.

Those learned men and women know Valz as the home of Ibn Taram, the great pilgrim, traveler, and scholar.  Ibn Taram left Valz 238 years ago, doing his duty as a devoted Asharite of some means to pilgrimage to the five cities of the Crown of Stars.  He journeyed for more than thirty years, visiting almost every place of import in the known world.  He traveled as far east as the cities of Sheng, north even to the seas of the Urols, through the dark forests of the Kingdom of the Seven Rivers, and all around the waters of the Inner Sea.  His tale, written and compiled in The Rhila, is known to almost everyone, even as there are maddening gaps in the published volumes and rumors of lost chapters.

Beyond Ibn Taram, unsavory types know Valz as a haven for piracy.  Briefly occupied by the Urol raider-king Magnus Knarr, the port of Valz was, for a time, used a base for northerner's raids into the Inner Sea.  Though Knarr was driven out by the combined forces of the Sultan of Almohad and the Sassarian navy, Valz remains a place where ships go to hide and where Urol raiders sell loot gained from northern raids to desert nobles.

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