Symbol of Ruler
Imports & Exports
Anything & Everything
B'hărăbû is a hodgepodge citadel engulfing an entire island next to both Püertagœ and Vit'saarèn, and cupped by Trótskarr. However, you wouldn't go to B'hărăbû unless you had some not-so above board dealings, or if you're a pirate, you might call it home. B'hărăbû is the heart of the black market and illegal trade, most especially when it concerns slavery. There are always ships in port and willing souls to cart you away if you need an escape, but their prices might be high, or you might be worth more dead, so traveling and trading here is not for the faint of heart.
Housing wise, B'hărăbû is actually crazily efficient at using up every inch of space, as if designated. However, also has a slapdash appearance. Houses tend to be nooks of built up stone, that may have once been polished but now look a bit tattered and lackluster. Fabrics awnings line houses, merchant stalls, and some docks. Despite being surrounded by the sea, space is tight, and makes certain alleyways feel suffocating.
B'hărăbû is not ruled as a stable country or kingdom. Instead, the 'ownership' and responsibility of upkeep is put to whoever makes the most profit and calls B'hărăbû home (spending a minimum of one Tam'nyer-a'n month on the whole within the last year). Essentially, B'hărăbû is a cutthroat capitalist establishment. You want to make the most money, but do you really want to be the best if upkeep and repairs of the entire island fall on your shoulders? It makes being second truly the best position to be in. And even if you do happen to be in the number one position but aren't in B'hărăbû and try to escape your responsibilities, there will be a horde of mercenaries after you, not to mention, the wrath of the Stock Keepers Guild. Everyone must pay their dues in the end, one way or another.
B'hărăbû is a small island, but being the only place in all of Tam'nýer—a' where the buying and selling of slaves is legal, it's needless to say that it is busy all the time. B'hărăbû is also home to those who may have bounties and are hiding to avoid punishment, and a friendly dock to pirates. If anything it is a haven for all splendours and mostly those that are highly regulated everywhere else. With such itty bitty living space though as the island is a mere 75km² (29m²), the architecture of B'hărăbû consequently is another reason as to why it is so, well, visible and known.
As population began to boom and it evolved into what it is today, B'hărăbû built up. With different leaders and varying depths of pockets, B'hărăbû went from being wooden to now being a solid establishment primarily built of stone. The city towers as its main 'roadway' spirals ever upward and onward using the entire circumference of the island itself, with alleyways and plenty of nooks in between.
There are bridges and platforms to connect some parts of the city that were developed between rulers as well as blue prints don't need to be followed if they are mere leftovers from those who used to be in power. In turn it makes some parts of the city-state look like connecting towers or pieces of Jenga. All in all though it follows the main spiral, and makes the most of its limited space.
As B'hărăbû doesn't host any one particular race, their clothing is a bit everywhere, especially because they also aren't a strict city. That being said, because you never know who might dare try to shank you, it's understood that you probably don't want to go anywhere with too much skin showing or without shoes, unless you're a slave and you have no choice or you're trying to make money by 'promoting your services'.
Mercenaries, thieves, black market dealers and assassin's all gather here openly. The individuals here dress according to their own wants. For some, it reflects their homeland, for most it tells of their occupation, or want for secrecy. Tight, loose, skirts, trousers, dresses, layers; anything goes. Just be careful because you never know what is being concealed.
Tam'nýer—a' being a world of nature, brimming with life, there is a societal obsession with the world around them, most especially in places such as Püertagœ where the social hierarchy is very strong; although it should be said, there is the choice to opt out freely without question.
Which colours, you ask? Pinks & reds. This is mainly to mimic spring with connotations the innocence of new life, but also meld the two; species & nature by bringing an allusion to blood.
However, the placement of where make up is acceptable can be viewed oddly by us on Earth, as it is somewhat restricting. For instance, one should never paint their whole face as makeup is supposed to highlight and be reminiscent of nature, therefore only some colours should be introduced but the majority of the face must remain natural, or 'as is'. The blood reds and pretty pinks are used to highlight the eyes and cheekbones, bringing attention to 'our colour', the eyes.
Practicing this distinct placement of make-up is a must in places such as Püertagœ, but as per usual, B'hărăbû tends to ignore this and it is more commonly left up to preference and money available there.
Further still, to accent the eyes, some women, (though rarely men will do so too), use soot and clarified butter to create a traditional idea of what we now today call eyeliner. Or some go farther, if they can afford it, to grind down minerals for their pigment using a similar method to create eyeshadows. The eyeshadow thing however is more prominent in B'hărăbû.
Apart from this and dependent upon how one is dressing for the day and what is revealed, or if anticipating a visit to the bedroom, it is customary to emphasize one's bone structure; e.g., the collarbones at the base of the throat, and the rounding of the shoulders. Some, though mostly found in brothels, will even outline the inside curve of their buttocks, and is the only non bone-structure accentuation.
Boris Vaughnyèl was a young successful entrepreneur, who instead of wanting to make money within the rules of prestigious society, decided to forgo the rules and gain wealth other ways. With a business savvy mind, and knowing how to have a silver tongue, he made good use of it. But, some are beginning to whisper that perhaps Boris was too smart and efficient for his own good. Slowly but surely, the weight of responsibility is wearing on Boris' mental stability. Lately, it hasn't been past him to walk through the streets naked, or wear animal skulls, believing it to be an aesthetic. Boris is eccentric, but he still is making the most bank, so no one has tried to kill him or steal from him. No one wants to become the next Boris, so the enemy of my enemy is my friend!
B'hărăbû is a place that boasts itself as one of the only places in all of Tam'nýer—a' where there is no law or official form of government. It is both a blessing and a curse to those who occupy the island. However, newcomers to this sprawling city would do well to remember that B'hărăbû is far from an anarchy. One cannot just do anything they please and get away with it.
The question then becomes not if someone can do anything they want, but a matter of what they can't do. Typically, it is the richest in B'hărăbû that sets the precedent for rules that are to be followed. However, how enforceable these rules are depends on the population's desire for such a rule. Since these rules would be enforced based on the richest's own ability and wealth to enforce it, rules that he hasn't the money or manpower to enforce means the rule itself is useless. Currently, the rules that the richest in B'hărăbû, Boris, can enforce typically pertain to business.
Being a die-hard capitalist, there are many rules that Boris himself will see to enforcing (e.g. sending 'guards' after offenders):
Destroying any business establishment with ill intent.
Sabotage of a business
Boris will also enforce against:
Crimes of inciting violence and murder
Crimes of rape
Crimes of kidnapping
Along with Boris; the second, third, and fourth richest in B'hărăbû will often enforce their own personal rules into their jurisdiction. These can vary just as greatly as the richest, and are less enforceable, but it is still mindful to watch which section of town one is in. However, the most common is the enforcement of the Stock Keeper's Guild rules.
Since the Stock Keeper's Guild are what ensure fair play (and the ones that ensure the richest stays with responsibilities) it is very common for the trio to ensure that the Stock Keeper's Guild is protected. As such, the second, third, and fourth will very often enforce the following:
Any ill harm to Stock Keeper Guild members.
Not paying the Guild their donation (within reason).
Etiquette Even when something is not enforced, there are still certain things that are expected of B'hărăbû. These rules fall under the 'rule of the mob'. This means that these rules are enforced by the citizens of B'hărăbû. The consequences thereof can vary greatly. These can include:
Publicly drawing or threatening with a weapon.
On top of all this, the key difference to distinguish between Boris and the other richest who oversee their own jurisdictions is this:
Boris enforces rules because he has to; the trio enforces rules because they want to.
To elaborate on this, the other top 3 richest (unless one dies or is killed off and it drops to 2), rule over their own jurisdictions of B'hărăbû, but always must enforce the basic etiquette regulations. This is how रशेएब - Raśē'ēba, one of the richest with a jurisdiction, enforces a no enslavement rule in her jurisdiction. It is because she wants to. Boris, being the richest, must pay for the upkeep of the docks and things deemed as 'public property', e.g., the Slave Market.
The Stock Keepers Guild
With the rules in place for how someone comes under 'ownership' of B'hărăbû, one would be very tempted to ask how all the wealth is kept track of. What’s to prevent anyone from simply lying about how much they make? That is where the Stock Keepers Guild comes in.
The Stock Keepers Guild is a guild within the city that’s sole purpose is to keep track of all the wealth that everyone makes. At the beginning of every week, the Guild members are sent out to collect the numbers of all members, no matter their occupation, as well as a small ‘donation’ to the Guild itself. The fee itself is small and only serves to pay the Guild and keep it running. Like all things in B'hărăbû, however, one is not required to pay the Guild or give them the numbers they desire. Doing so, however, will result in the Guild publicly announcing so. The same goes for any B'hărăbû citizen attempting to bribe the Guild with a more generous donation than they asked for. To perform any of these misdeeds will typically result in the same punishment as the wealthiest man in B'hărăbû attempting to shirk his duties.
At the end of the month, the Guild masters will post the numbers of the wealthiest in B'hărăbû within the city center. From here, it is up to the citizens to decide who ‘rules’ B'hărăbû; it is not the responsibility of the Guild to enforce this. As such, the Guild is neither a citizen’s friend nor its enemy. If one follows the Guild’s simple requests, there will not be any trouble from their end.
Internally, the Guild operates under very strict personal rules. All Guild members must report their findings to the three Guild masters, who calculate their findings together, as well as compare them to personal notes a long with the reports from their ‘spies’. While their are many rules of etiquette in the Guild, one thing is certain, false numbers will betray you. Intentionally falsifying data one collects or accepting bribe will result in formal punishment by the Guild masters, carried out by their ‘assassins’.
‘Spies’ are regular citizens paid by the Guild masters to inform them of on goings about the city. The ‘assassins’ are members of the city under the employ of the Guild masters. Though they can be members of both spies and guild members, they’re usually only selected when they have enough trust with the Guild masters. Assassins carry out the task of both guarding the guild as well dealing out punishment to members who break the Guild’s codes.
There are some that say the Stock Keepers Guild were the ones that originally founded the city. However, there is nothing certain about that other than empty conspiracies. One thing is certain is that the Guild has existed for as long as anyone can remember. One could argue the irony of the Guild is it breaks the very foundation of B'hărăbû itself, but everyone knows that, without them, the island would be pure chaos.
Entering the Guild
Joining the Stock Keeper’s Guild is as simple as applying. However, doing so requires one to give up all occupations they may currently have in all Tam'nýer—a' as well as all personal wealth, and be ready to accept a fixed income. While there is nothing against buying luxuries and personal items while being a member of the Guild, it must be done with the income the Guild itself has provided. Joining the Guild is effectively starting a new life.
The only person who is barred by joining the Guild when there are free slots is the richest in B'hărăbû.
While B'hărăbû is known as a place of pure unadulterated greed and ambition, there is a benefit to being a member. While nobody in the Guild is particularly well off, the pay is enough to be a stable meal ticket as well as being able to have some luxury spending money every once awhile. Not only that, but the Guild itself is security. In a place renown for its lawlessness; killing, enslaving, stealing, or even harming a member holds a steep price in B'hărăbû. Not only will the assassins be on the offender’s trail, but the Guild itself will place an open bounty on the offender’s name. It is seen as an attempt to harm to Guild, and harming the Guild harms B'hărăbû.
Life of the Guild
It is because of the reason’s above that the Guild is a haven for the less well off. Even slaves who manage to escape their masters are welcome to join the Guild and are offered the same haven. However, because the Guild membership is capped by the number of ‘donations’ the Guild receives, memberships fill up quickly. Though the lesser off are more common, it is not unheard of for rich to join the Guild at some point or other.
The Guild’s primary location is comprised is a single large building in the very center of B'hărăbû. The building has existed for as long as the Guild has existed, and provides the central foundation for how the Guild collects information so quickly. In the central hall is the finance hall. It is here where the Guild masters collect the numbers as well as the ‘donations’ and pay out the donations as daily stipends to all members. Every single member, including the Guild masters, make the same stipend.
To the the right of the finance hall is the grouped barracks. This is where all members, save for the Guild masters, live. It is an open area with a fixed number of mattress beds, pillows, and blankets, exactly enough to meet the Guild’s current capacity. To even enter the barracks, one must first go through the Stock Eyes. There, members must relinquish all items on their person, including their clothes, for a search. The Stock Eyes can even call for a cavity search under suspicions, but this often doesn’t happen. This is not only to ensure that everything that comes in and out of the living quarters is accounted, but also that any items above a member’s predicted stipend are accounted for. Once the search is completed, the Stock Eyes will return all items to the owners and they are allowed into the living quarters.
The single living quarters are shared by everyone regardless of race, previous social class, even sex. While people are free to bring in what they like to the group barracks, there is no privacy in the barracks itself. There are no private rooms, closets, bathing areas, or even lavatories in the living area itself. Everything is out in the open, so members are expected to get comfortable very quickly. Despite this open nature, the rules for the Guild remain the same within as they do on the outside; slighting a member is a grievous offense.
Behind the finance hall are the Guild masters' quarters. Only the three Guild masters are afforded personal quarters. However, this is done to create a barrier of mistrust between the three. Doing so creates a rule of no collaboration or conspiracy between the guild masters, and invokes a perpetual balance of power between the masters. While Guild masters’ quarters can be customized to their liking, the base outline is that they’re single square rooms of equal size. Not only that, but even with private quarters, Guild masters are subjected to searches by the Stock Eyes.
To the left of the finance hall is the data room. Once more guarded by Stock Eyes, only Guild masters are allowed in the room that holds the compendium of all the numbers as far back as the beginning of the Guild’s formation itself. Each day, the numbers are compiled into a memory codex. Unfortunately, it is only the knowledge the Guild masters as to what the memory codex is. Some speculate it could be as large as a massive book, while other speculate it is merely as small as a talisman that the masters record the numbers on. Nobody but the masters knows for certain.
Life itself within the guild requires few rules outside of doing one’s job. It is a requirement, however, to return to check in with the Guild at the end of the Tam'nýer—a''n day to ensure to the Guild one is still alive and in B'hărăbû to perform the jobs. Only ‘assassins’ are exempt from this duty, and only when they’re expected to be abroad.
Leaving the Guild
Contrary to what one might assume, staying with the Guild is not required. Anybody other than a master can opt to leave the Guild at any time and return to their normal life. However, all protections and benefits are immediately rescinded. Not only that, but it also does not make any slights against the Guild go away. If one has left the Guild, they cannot rejoin for no less than one Tam'nýer—a''n month.
Stoneblood Charms and Curses
Owned and operated by Khajha Madharavū
Stoneblood is, to put it simply, a magic shop. Here Khajha sells her services as an enchanter and a blood mage. Though she does sell talismans, she also offers to imbue jewelry her customers bring to her with charms such as protection or good luck. This is ultimately cheaper for most customers than purchasing a pre-made talisman. On the blood magic side of her business, she is very particular about what she will do for someone, given the great personal risk involved. She also requires that potential blood magic customers give her a piece of themselves in addition to the usual payment of P'ee K'äh, both to remind them of the dire nature of what they are requesting her to do and so that, if someone should request that a former customer of hers be hexed, she already has the necessary materials to do so. Thanks to the dangers of blood magic and the long recovery time after each ritual, this service is very expensive.
Much like clothing, B'hărăbû is an amalgamation of global weapon stylizations, more dependent upon the individual who has brought their weapons with them from a foreign land. However, blacksmiths, of course, can be hired to replicate. In turn, it should be regarded as a feather in one's cap as it is the blacksmiths of B'hărăbû who are more accustomed to making the largest variety of styles of weapons found across all of Tam'nýer-a'.