[Not a plot as such but setting ripe with many possible plots...]
Thoughts on Pheruccia, Jewel of Peronia
The city of Pheruccia is an ancient and elegant city. Once ruled by the Dragon Kings of Ancient Queg, it has been a free and independent city-state for some thousand years. Rulers have come and rulers have gone, conquerors have invaded and stayed as loved kings, elders and princes. The spires and domes, crenellations and battlements are carved from black and yellow sand, foreign marbles and local granite sit side by side. In the streets peoples and races from all of the Worlde mingle in the Bazaar and the Grand Plaza.
Beneath the ground of Pheruccia lie the ruins of hundreds of years of habitation, the ruins and foundations of buildings demolished by war, fire and religious turmoil. Deep within these catacombs lie burial vaults, underground temples and complexes abandoned and their very existence forgotten.
The current ruler of Pheruccia is the Benevolent Elder of the Guilds of Ancient Feruc, Salvatore di Luccia, aged, feared and respected ruler. As the elected ruler of the Guilds High Council, di Luccia is the hereditary Guildmaster of the Guild of Glovemakers, traditional organizers of labour in the city docks. Of the seven Guilds of Feruc, the Glovemakers and the family of di Luccia have held power in the city for 157 years now, and their Guild Hall overlooking the Grand Plaza is filled with the sumptuous glory of centuries of trade and war.
The artist Renaldo di Capelletto is currently painting an epic mural upon the ceiling of the Glovemakers Chapel of Balanced Repose, a task he has been employed upon for some 7 years to date. The vast domed ceiling of the new rose marble temple, erected upon the ruins of the previous Matchmakers Armoury, (a noted brothel and trading house), was completed 23 years ago. It is expected that another 2 years work will be required before the full glory can be consecrated and revealed. People have many long standing wagers as to whether the Chapel will be finished before Magdelena do Lattia's epic Tower of the Balancing Resonance is. The Tower, a Matchmaker Guild project, is pointedly placed on a hill overlooking the Plaza. Giuseppe di Catalan has never forgiven di Luccia for engineering the demolition of the Armoury in 1648.
The Seven Armies of Feruc, the forces of the Guilds, are an impressive and grand site in their dress uniforms, feathered helmets and full pikes. The musketeers of the Candlemakers' Guild are particularly fine, in tune with the dominance of Signorini di Malfoso's in the world of society couture. In their battle dress the colourful Armies of Feruc inspire awe and strike fear into the hearts of disorganised rabbles as they advance with their bright jerkins, proud banners and expertly made pikes, flintlock muskets and rocket batteries. Few other states in Peronia can withstand a pitched battle with the brave condotterrie of Feruccia. Sad indeed that they often face each other down in the streets of the city itself.
Feruccian merchants are the widest traveled and canny of all the known Worlde, venturing forth in galleys, caravan trains and the wonderfully artificed flying machines of Leonardo the Great. Exporting the wonderful glass, artifices, meats and wines of Feruccia and the other states of Peronia, Feruccian merchants import spices from Queg, silk from the Southern Shore and hemp, furs and wood from the far north. Their great skill and wisdom has allowed them to balance trade in matters material to trade in money itself and the banques of Feruc are famed for their fair and even handed treatment of all. Many a princeling or potentate has kept the forces of law and order well equipped with Feruc muskets after the beneficent loan of funds from a Pheruccian banque.
Peoples of other races are welcome in Pheruccia, and many of the diligent and hardworking miners, sailors and tanners of the city are from far away. Philbians delve deep beneath the Hills of Gold, mining the coal that keeps city folk warm in winter and drives the steam engines that run many an artifice. In the docks many a boat is loaded, unloaded and manned by Uth'ka'len often with the help of their loyal six-legged Ukken beasts. It is true that many people in Pheruccia are of indentured service, but all can strive to complete their term of service and take their place as free citizens, subject of course to the guiding laws of Guilds, Churches and Inquisition.
Fashions always change in upbeat Feruccia and yet some things stay the same. Ferrucian women of decency wear their heads shaven with a simple pony tail elegantly grown from the crown.. Men wear their hair in a crest across the skull, often shaving back the front and back of the head. Silks, cottons, and lace are the favoured colours of all well born citizens. Purple is a colour worn only by nobility, in the Quegan fashion, but reds, yellows and greens are common and loved at the moment. Perfumes, tobacco and coffee mingle with other scents in the meeting places and bistros across the decent parts of town. Even the meanest street will have the fulsome scent of good Peronian wine competing with the midden.
Food in Pheruccia is the widest and most cosmopolitan you will find anywhere. Staples such as cornbread and rice are served by street sellers, often with a sausage of porc or boeuf innards. At the great feasts of the Guilds whole Sand Dragons are roasted and served with curried Purple Moulds and deep fried Poison Mushrooms. Many a Pheruccian table is graced with oranges, lemons and kumquats from the Southern Shore, and the marvelous grapes of Peronia are eaten and drunk as raisins and wine.
I have dwelled in this great city, this paragon of the city politic, for some fifteen years now. It is a great honour that the Benevolent Elder has suffered me as Ambassador of the City of Lattia and it is my great pleasure to share with him this my fond memories of the city upon my departure home.
Giacomo di Funghi, Ambassador to the Guilds of Ancient Feruc, Moonday of Rat in the Month of Turtle in the 1673rd Year of Feruc
In the year of 1636 of Feruc, a young clerk in the Guild of Glovemakers returned from his day at the docks where he recorded the rice imports for tithe calculation. A young lad of 19 he had another 24 years left to work from his father's indenture, inherited when his father had died young at the age of 43.
As he sat in his mother's kitchen waiting for his nightly gruel, he watched as the lid on the gruel pot clattered and lifted, forced upward by the steam from the boiling fluid. Intrigued he began to doodle on his slate with his marker. Everyone knows the story from then on, Leonardo had begun his career as the great artificer of Feruc by designing the steam propellant artifice.
Grateful as any master would be, the Benevolent Elder manumitted Leonardo's indenture by 12 years once the Glovemakers' Artificery had begun the make the sophisticated steam propellant devices which power fans, drive water screws and perform other needful tasks in the city. Elevated now to working in the Artificery Leonardo's skills grew greater and greater. Combining the ancient Feruccian skill of gunpowder with the steam propellant artifice and with the Floating Bulbs of the Burluvian Bush, Leonardo made and flew the first Feruccian flying artifice across the Bay of Snakes.
Now a treasured servant Leonardo invented the Cyclopedic Travelling Engine, an interesting circus novelty, and began plans for an Undersea Galley and a Cyclopedic Flying Ship. Sadly these and many other devices were not completed when, in 1641, Leonardo met with an untimely end when a Witchfinder of the Chapel of the Inquisition of Fire mistook Leonardo for a known Chaotician. His ashes are now kept lovignly in a corner of the yet to be completed Chapel of Balanced Repose.
Michael Gondorosso, Guild of Buttonmakers
Of lesser note but of great satisfaction to Leonardo himself are his paintings, his poetry and his rumoured love of redheads.