A note for readers: The most basic elements of this world are taken from a long-standing Exalted game. Thus, if anything sounds like it’s straight out of that game system/world, that’s because it is.
Rising out of the desert, built on the side of an active volcano, Gem always existed for one reason and one reason alone - Money. The mountains surrounding Gem contain an unparalleled wealth of gems, some of which can be found nowhere else in creation. Deep in the south, where the heat kills quickly, Gem is a night city. During the day its inhabitants sleep in neighborhoods carved deep into the mountains, exploiting whatever coolness the earth has to offer. Traditionally, only clandestine business is done under the mid-day sun, though the recent arrival powerful beings capable of creating magically cooled buildings has created a wealth of new day-time activities.
Rule of the city is traditionally hereditary and absolute. This ruler, The Despot, holds a monopoly on the trade of gems and water in the city. Other monopolies are bestowed upon dynasties of other noble houses. They are as follows:
Arbani (Firedust and firearms);Sahlak (Brothels, dream parlors, and the licensing of courtesans);Iblan (Gold and silver trade)Circla (Gladatorial games and training schools)Trasti (Gambling houses)
Most people are employed by one of the noble houses or in supporting services (like the traders who bring almost all the good consumed by the Gemenese), or a mercenaries for The Despot or one of the noble houses. Gem is an affluent city. People tend to live fairly well, and slavery of all kinds is common.
Recently, a dramatic change has taken place in Gem. Arbani Siavash Chloe, the abyssal exalted known as Night Blooming Chloe, returned from exile and demanded that, as a member of House Arbani, she be allowed to make and sell firearms in the city. She began to make guns of various design which far surpassed anything the established branches of House Arbani had to offer. Until Night Blooming Chloe returned, the Arbani family had primarily created firedust weapons. When Night Blooming Chloe introduced House Arbani, and Creation, to guns that shot bullets rather than flames, a very bloody renaissance began.
The one to profit most obviously from this renaissance has been Circla Belusco Elji, son of an Ifrit and scion of House Circla. Within months of the first guns going on sale, he created the Mirage Pavilion. A massively powerful manse, the Pavilion hosts several arenas capable of generating an infinite variety of false settings for gun fights. The massive main arena is capable of generating illusions so complex that they can replicate any real or imagined setting. In this marvel of an arena, gladiatorial combat in Gem is taken to its inevitable violent end. Now gunfighters duel constantly, in pairs or as teams, and there has yet to be a day on which no one has died in the Mirage Pavilion.
The Black Circus:
During the day Gem is a city of brightly colored banners and gauzy curtains. The Black Circus stands in foreboding contrast to this fluttering rainbow. Between sunrise and sunset the Black Circus is, well, black. Black satin, silk, velvet, brocade, and jacquard cover every inch of the sheet walls, tents, and attractions. Even the horses and camels wear black blankets and hoods. The performers and staff go about dressed in equally staid black. Though merely looking at them in their impractical costumes can make a person sweat, they seem impervious to the heat.
When the sun sets and the rest of Gem fades to shades of gray, the Circus erupts into a rainbow. The blacks of the daytime are transformed into a riot of colors and patterns, signaling that the Circus is open for business. Between sunset and sunrise, the only the Circus’s manager, the mysterious Madame X, remains swathed in black.
The Circus is a fairly new arrival in Gem, and not much is known about its origins. Its attractions are unique, its performers and merchants uniquely talented. There is something for everyone at the Circus, and you never know what you might find.
Hosted and narrated by:
Scenes played: 11
License: Community License