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Population: 25,143

The final redoubt of the White Surathi, Astarra is a fortress city unequaled in the world. Its location is unknown to the outside world - the few non-natives who have been permitted to visit it (White Surathi or not) were put into psionic hibernation during the journey into the fortress, and only awakened once their guides brought them here.

Once the visitor arrives, he finds that the valley is unusually hot and humid for this region. It never rains or snows here, and though sometimes fierce storms pass over the valley, the winds always seem to carry the precipitation away from it.

The many fields of the valley - some bearing exotic fruits and crops the Surathi brought with them during their exodus - are watered streams coming from the myriad waterfalls pouring down the local cliffs. Millions of birds make their home here, although observers schooled in zoology will note that none of them are migratory. In truth, the valley of Astarra actually isn't open to the sky, despite what a visitors observes - instead a large glacier deep in the mountains has been hollowed out with the use of psionic powers, and the snow and ice at the top has been made invisible so that the warming rays of the sun can reach the valley below. The same psionic enchantment includes an illusion that makes it appear as if no snow falls here - in truth, the snow simply falls on top of the glacier.

The city itself is built on ground too steep for agriculture, and traversing it means either a lot of climbing (which the natives are very apt at) or using a complex system of ropes and pulleys which is also used to transport large goods.

The natives are generally friendly and welcoming to visitors - for all who come here are invited, and visits are so rare that most natives know all about the visitors once they arrive - but they are unwilling to converse about any but the most mundane matters (such as farming, animal husbandry, traditional crafts and so forth) and are unlikely to let anything slip about the deeper secrets and politics of the valley.

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Urbis - A World of Cities © Jürgen Hubert. All material on this site excepting forum posts is owned by him.