The city of Anhau is the last haven of the wicks. Nestled within the fertile, once-flooded Anhai Valley, it is a well-fortified and completely self-sustaining city.
The Anhai valley is probably capable of sustaining hundreds of thousands of people, but Anhau is only home to about 6,000 wicks and witches. Three main tribes make up the city: the Roek, the Kohore and the Ethia. The Roek are led by Durg Solexa; the Ethia are led by Durg Roon; the Kohore are led by Durg Joa Tan.
Climate and Topography
The valley is lush and full of life, providing everything the city needs for nutrients, craftsmanship and water. The foliage ranges from dense shrubbery to tall jungle, full of giant mahogany and ceiba trees, vines and creepers, and other deciduous plants.
The valley is home to a wide variety of animal life, due in part to its unusual climate (usually warm and rainy, sheltered from high winds by the valley walls). There are many varieties of howler and spider-monkey, and several species of great cat, in addition to the typical animals found in Anaxas (kensers, wolves, whice, garmons etc). The variety of frogs and insects in the valley was once a subject of great interest to botanists.
The city was erected - or, rather, compiled - shortly after the War of the Book. At first, wicks were a small society; they assembled in the Valley of Anhai, west of Brunnhold, where they found shelter in the valley's lush and isolated ecosystem. Following a tumultuous hurricane, they found the spokes on their cartwheels were broken; the carts had collapsed onto the ground, and the wicks took this to be a sign that they had reached their new home. A city grew up around the first carts (which eventually succumbed to the elements).
After many years, the city grew. For a long while, the only buildings were mobile carts that had either broken down or had been removed of their wheels by their owners, but after a couple centuries the wicks began building more permanent homes out of the sandstone that the valley is rich with. However, it became worrisome for the galdori to have so many wicks in one area; Brunnhold sieged the city again and again, burning carts and buildings and killing many wicks.
Anhau became more fortified in the 4th century AT, when a wall was erected around the rim of the valley. The countryside around Anhau had become covered in an almost permanent mist, so the city was better hidden from attacks. Additionally, hatchers had begun living in the land around the valley, making travel to and from Anhai almost impossible. This was a mixed blessing; as it became more difficult to enter the valley it became almost impossible to leave. Eventually, the valley was lost among the mist, which never fully engulfed the city, and Anhau became the stuff of wick legend.
Currently, Anhau is the only permanent settlement of wicks in Anaxas. The tribes are no longer nomadic, and, although they live together in the city, they retain their individuality. Different parts of the city are designated for each tribe, and are autonomous from one another. There is very little feuding, as they are symbiotic and need each other for trade.
The carts that once made up the city have been replaced by impressive stone buildings, temples, walkways and bridges, a testament to wick craftsmanship. Because the city is on an incline, the buildings are layered, with winding pathways and stairs leading up the side of the valley. The top layer of buildings are the homes of the Durgs of the many tribes in Anhau. Waterways snake throughout the city, supplying it with water and irrigating the crops that are grown on stone terraces. The valley wall is a type of sandstone, and when cut reveals many beautiful colors; this colorful rock is used in all of the buildings in Anhau.
Brunnhold has taken to pretending the city does not exist, or was destroyed, but it is very much active. In the past, trade with Anhau was only possible coming down from the north, crossing the often-flooded Talarma, and making one's way down a steep series of cliffs. For the past few centuries, no one from Anaxas was able to enter the valley because of a dense concentration of hatchers.
Recently, the hatchers have moved away from the valley, leaving the path open for nomadic wicks to rediscover Anhau. Currently only a few nomadic wicks have entered the city.
- Phosphor Lanterns - While in most areas, phosphor lanterns were developed using a blue-glowing phosphor, experimentation in Anhau with local fungi, phosphorescent insects, the white lichen of the Lorecave,and traditional phosphor found that by combining a green strain with certain compounds could produce other colors- primarily shades of orange and yellow.
- Aqueducts and Viaducts - With centuries worth of tradition the people of Anhau have developed a simple yet sophisticated aqueduct system that takes advantage of the natural springs and wells within the valley, which forming small rivers.
- Tittle- a traditional instrumental invention, this contraption consists of several glass bells suspended at an angle over a long dish of water. The player dips into the water and runs his fingers over the rims of the many glasses, each of which plays a different tone based on size.
Several centuries of isolation have changed the culture of Anhau considerably. The city is like a time machine for modern-day wicks, who are used to technological convenience, flamboyant dress and constant moving. The Anhai people are far simpler than modern-day wicks, preferring ancient methods of irrigation, travel, building and food preparation.
History and genealogy are of major importance to the citizens of Anhau. Every family line is painstakingly recorded. Storytelling, dancing and singing are a major method of keeping history alive. Because their race has been isolated and preserved for so long, they have a strong magical tradition that eschews the nomadic wick focus on trickery and flash. Magic is used for convenience, but is considered a gift from the gods, and the Anhai wicks give daily thanks for their abilities.
While each tribe is independent of the other, one common understanding has arisen: a single candle is left burning in every home. This hails back to their mythology and superstition that the light pushes back the mists, and keeps back the hatchers. It is also a legend that they were given a blessing by an early wick settler that as long as a candle stood burning in Anhau the galdori would never take them.
The dress of the wicks of Anhau has developed apart from modern-day wicks, and most would find it very old-fashioned and modest compared to the flamboyance and flashiness of the nomads. Simple designs and rustic colors reflect their environment; fabrics are all hand-made and intricately woven.
The Anhai wicks worship the Circle Pantheon, but over the years their faith has grown into a worship of all gods, including Vita and the spirits of nature. They hold no god above another and pray to all of them. They are a deeply spiritual people, but do not have the tendency to be superstitious like the galdori of Anaxas. Deeply pragmatic and practical, Anhai believe that the world makes perfect sense and that the gods only want the best thing for their people.
Anhai wicks place special importance on honesty, loyalty and family togetherness. Trustworthiness is paramount; if a member of the tribe cannot be trusted, they are not a true member of the tribe. When a tribe and a member have irreconcilable differences, drifting is not an option; the odd wick out must go live in the Mud Huts, away from society.
The tribes have separate legal systems and operate separately. The Durgs are the rulers of their people, and are personally involved with their citizens, though the tribes are much larger than typical wick tribes. Though there are no set laws, the moral code is ingrained in every child born in Anhau. Murder and rape are unthinkable, and stealing is incredibly rare. Punishment of wrongdoing is decided by the tribe as a whole; rather than corporal punishment or fines, public shaming and being sent to live in the Beggar Flats is usually bad enough to discourage breaking the unspoken laws of Anhau.
Though there is a bartering system in place, in the last hundred years or so coin money has been phased out. The deep sense of community obligation instilled in the Anhai people teaches them that working hard is the surest way to live a moral life. The three tribes trade with each other the various resources that their regions are best at providing, and an open market in the center of the city encourages the three tribes to interact. The Ethia provide the majority of the city's farmed goods; the Kohore are the center for religious icons, textiles and artisan crafts, and the Roek are skilled carpenters, hunters and weapon-makers.
The children of Anhau are raised collectively by the tribe, decreasing the strain on new mothers. Children have close relationships to their entire family as well as everyone else in their tribe, and often have friends among the other tribes as well. Spirituality is a community adhesive, bringing all the tribes together and encouraging everyone to cooperate.
The Anhai wicks are not exactly matriarchal and not exactly patriarchal (with the exception being the Kohore tribe, which is matriarchal). There is no head of the household, as children are brought up by the tribe, but there are duties that certain sexes perform more than the other. For example, women are seen as religious leaders and farmers, while the males typically work in crafts or hunting. Lorekeeping is a shared commitment.
The Durgs typically take several wives or husbands in honor of their position. Though Durg Solexa has not married, Durg Joa Tan has seven husbands and Durg Roon has had eighteen wives over the years. These marriages are usually for the purpose of procreation, and as a sign of their social stature. Wicks are usually married with several children by the time they reach middle age.
The magic of Anhau is a relic of the more ancient forms of magic once employed by the galdori. See Anhai Magic for more information.
Places to Visit
- Roekshir - Durg Solexa's palace
- Bright Sky Lodge - A popular lodge and meeting place
- The Crowyard - A burned and blackened yard
- The Summit - A high and lonely spot, the highest place reachable without scaling the walls of the valley
- Ku Kar, the Battalon - A fighting circle used for ritual games and competitions
- Bending Stones - A circle of stones used for magical practice, and the home of the Monks
- Catten Water - A housing district known for its ghost hauntings
- The Che-kop - A local tea house.
- Kitava Tab - A popular pub at odds with its neighboring establishment
- Wiju Tab - A popular pub at odds with its neighboring establishment
- Kohoreshir - Durg Joa Tan's palace
- Otheo, the Bright-tree - A huge and ancient tree which is hung with lights; a sacred place of worship
- The Pylons - A meeting place for all the wicks in Anhau, bordered by huge carved obelisks
- Dereko House - A public house with lodging
- Halcyon Falls - A peaceful and serene spot by a magnificent waterfall
- Sesemin Tab - Popular local pub with entertainment
- Alett's Textiles - The place where the guild of weavers sell their wares; functions as a local gossip spot
- Banke Bazaar - A marketplace, shared by the three tribes
- Ethiashir - Durg Roon's palace
- Anhau Rice Paddies - Where many Anhai citizens work
- The Beggar Flats - A place of punishment where evildoers are sent to live
- Anestin, the Nest - A tavern, popular for the storytellers that gather there
- Long-go Graveyard - A place of rest for the ghosts of Anhau
- The Mud Huts - Abandoned living quarters, now overrun by wildlife
- Lorecave - A secluded cave where the living history of the wicks is written on the walls
Anhau is closed for play.