There are only three cities in the land of Kimatarthi: Markaz, Mudun, and Bryss. This emptiness is one of the first features I decided upon when creating the land. I liked the idea of civilization concentrated in only a few remote places, the land in between being hostile if not unlivable. Of course, then I had to decide why civilization hadn’t expanded beyond these spaces…
For me part of the creation process is this reverse engineering of history. I find an interesting concept and then figure out how that could have come about. This is when I settled on the idea that Kimatarthi wasn’t always like this – it is a post-apocalyptic world. In fact, these three cities represent the aftermath of the Goblin Wars that wiped out cities and towns by the dozens. Each of these remaining cities represents a different aspect of that old civilization. (Though I was never really aware of that literary quality until just this minute.)
Markaz was the site of a final battle between humans and goblins. Refugees from all across the land sought refuge behind its walls, and in one final effort mankind was able to resist the goblin tide. Broken, the goblin armies slowly began to scatter and retreat. But these refuges had nowhere to return, so Markaz became a melting pot of the remnants of the earlier era. Here society, economy, culture, and politics are being born anew. This renewal is far from hopeful, however. The city remains a broken mess. It is a wretched hive wherein life is poor, nasty, brutish, and short (it is far too overcrowded to be solitary, though).
One could say that Mudun is the city for the hopeful—or the foolish. Some time after the goblin war, bands of people were willing (perhaps eager) to leave the dregs of Markaz behind. They set out across the valley and rebuilt a city on the ruins of a former trade hub. The location was chosen because the north-eastern plateau is fertile ground, compared to the rocky pass where Markaz sits. Nestled along a river at the foot of the mountains, Mudun is definitely a frontier town. The nearby region allows for agricultural development, but the city itself must be continuously fortified against regular goblin attacks.
Finally, the remote city of Bryss in some ways represents what Kimatarthi once was. Bryss has always been isolated from the rest of the world. It is the only city that has ever existed west of the Great Rift, a massive and impassible escarpment that runs nearly the entire length of the world. Although it is far to the south, the only passage to the west is far in the north at Markaz. Travelers then have to make their way through the desert that dominates the western part of the world before finding a gap that leads back up into the valley of Bryss. This isolation has resulted in cultural differences, but also spared the population from the horrors of the goblin invasion. No doubt, these factors combined generate a bit of resentment between the populations of the east and the west. However, the world needs the good Bryss produces, just as they need the markets.