Nazivonema, or "Nazh" as it is sometimes shortened, is an independent city in Idrellan. It is located just north of a northern spur of the East-West Road, north of Ruisti Forest. The city is also on the southern bank of the Vorilon River, directly across from the Swamp of Undeath, and thus is served by two major trade routes.
Nazivonema was founded three hundred years ago as a waystation along the newly-completed road between Semmarch and Vesqui. At first, it was little more than a trading post, but when the Wars of Arin began to spread throughout central Lanad i'Sarois, Nazh became a safe harbor for refugees from across both the SouthLands and the southern MidLands. The city grew very quickly, but in a very unorganized way. Since the business community was the most established culture, they became de facto rulers of the city, forming the Council of Merchants.
Given its proximity to the participants in the Wars of Arin and its status independent of them, Nazh soon became a place where mercenaries gathered to be hired by the various kingdoms. Many of these came north from Faxanadu, and the city still has a high population of Karis. This led the city to become notorious as a city of outlaws, the proverbial wretched hive of scum and villainy. This reputation still haunts the city to some degree -- although the level of crime and violence has decreased, there are always a few who come here for the purpose of causing trouble.
The Council knew that something was needed to keep control over the city. They eventually, after pressure from a group of local religious organizations that had banded together as the Allied Temples, oversaw the formation of a police force, but also allowed the formation of the Investigators' Guild of Nazivonema, an independent organization that was meant for use by local citizens to recover stolen goods, track down missing persons, and the like.
The northern edge of the city is dominated by shipping-related concerns, including a number of warehouses and houses of commerce. South of that is the business district, mostly concentrated in the northeast part of town. In the northwestern part of town are the homes of the city's well-to-do, a most of the city's houses of worship, and a scattering of shops and craft guilds.
In the center of the city, north of the road, is the city's large marketplace, which is typically filled with both temporary and semi-permanent booths, kiosks, tents, and the like. A number of inns and taverns surround the marketplace, on both sides of the road. To the east lies a vast open field that is used for festivals and occasionally for large land-going caravans. On the very outskirts of the city sits Tarkus Academy, a well-known spellcasting school.
On the south side of the road lie the less savory areas of town. Along the road this mostly means a number of rather rowdy public houses and gambling establishments, while further back are large rooming houses and small hovels. The city's cemetery and the House of the Dead -- a temple of Nevis -- can also be found here, as can a small mission dedicated to helping the poor which also serves as a temple to the LifeSpirit.
To the west of town are a number of farms and small settlements which provide a fair amount of the food for the city, although most of this is imported from further west or north. This continues until the Vorilon turns south at Vinginnore. To the east is a similar tableau until the road reaches Ezrick and the fork that leads into Faxanadu.
Nazivonema prides itself on being a neutral city, and has resisted many overtures both to join the White Alliance and to enter an agreement with Duke Mirdael of Hanaellan. Nazivonema still has no official leadership. While the city technically has a mayor, a man named Messoch, most things in the city are still run by the Council of Merchants, or by the Allied Temples.
There is, however, a very active enforcement organization as noted above, which keeps the peace among the varied races that inhabit and visit the city. While some say they tend not to care much about minor squabbles that might result in a death or two, large-scale battles will draw their attention.
Philosophy and religion
All people are welcome here, and all are treated equally, at least insofar as is possible. Since it is neutral to all, the devotees of Sedric chose this city to be the location of his preeminent temple, known as The Great Waystation. Its current high priest, Larren, sits at the head of the Allied Temples, which also includes the temples of Helandra, Laurent, Perasin (known as The Battle Place) and Vodyus. There are temples to many other deities here as well, including some from distant lands.