They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No-one ever asks them if they wanted to.
This book is dedicated to those fine men.
— Terry Pratchett, “Guards! Guards!”
Viridumar (the City of Spices, the Eternal City, the Viridian City) is an ancient and powerful city, capital of the mighty nation of Viridstan. It is a decadent city, ruled by harsh laws (for those who cannot bribe their way around them) and by the iron fist of Hautulin Seheitt, the self-styled “World Emperor” and God-Priest of Armadad Bog.
The Emperor has held the throne for one hundred and fifty years, but of late is seen rarely in public and his troops are dispatched less frequently to the field. It is rumored that the Emperor is growing senile, that his grasp of power has grown weak, although such rumors are still spoken only in nervous whispers, at least for now. Giving support to these rumors is the growing presence of the cult of Mycr, the Unnamed God, in Viridumar – in recent memory the mere rumor that a person was a Mycretian would be grounds for a summary execution, but now the government as often as not turns a blind eye to such insinuations. These and many other signs suggest that Viridumar may soon see turmoil and change… but will it be change for the better?
Even as nobles and priests jockey for power in the upper echelons of the City’s social circles, a similar unrest is felt among the common people. The Mycretian belief that the gods do not require or deserve human sacrifices is taking root amongst the poor and disenfranchised. The predominantly human citizens of the city must cope with recent immigrants: dwarves immigrating from the west or returning from the mines of Gheulost Island, elves from the Elsenwood to the north, and even whole families of itinerant halflings, all settling in the City to seek their fortunes and peddle their exotic wares.
Whatever else may be happening, one thing is certain: order must be maintained and peace must be kept, and outside of the palace walls this thankless duty falls to the City Watch of Viridumar, an understaffed, underpaid, overworked lot, just too stubborn to quit…
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