Mists of the Past
The old city of Bronslaw ended its borders at the edge of an imposing cliff face, its residents seeing little value in seaside land incapable of supporting crops or a fishing industry. The massive stone outcropping proved very alluring to the elven conquerers, however, who established their seats of power atop the effective monument to nature’s majesty. They built some of their most impressive structures at the peak of the cliffside, overlooking the ocean and the lowlands as if to establish their dominance over the very land and sea, as well as all those who made their livelihoods from them.
To this day, many of these daunting structures remain, although some have been weathered by the seaside weather and many have been repurposed over the course of the city’s lifespan. The elves referred to this collection of buildings as the “Silex,” one of the Elven words for “cliff.” As the Silex joined with old Bronslaw and the other expanding districts of Nova Dominium, however, its name also joined with the simpler native term for the cliffside area – “the Heights.” Today both names are utilized, with elves and upper class citizens using the Elven term, lower class natives using the traditional name, and newcomers or foreigners using a marriage of the two printed on most city maps: the Silex Heights.
Although the Heights technically stands adjacent to the Bronslaw Flats, it is difficult to see how they are part of the same city. The Heights (as the name suggests) stands at a completely different topographic level from the Flats, plus the old Bronslaw wall was renovated and reconstructed by the elves as a divider between the two districts, further distinguishing the two. The residents of each district are similarly divided, with the elven and economic elite residing in the impressive estates of the Heights, securely overlooking the common folk of the Flats from behind their literal and social walls.
Agora & Avenue of Commerce – This broad avenue runs through the heart of the district, centralizing all the Heights’ major business sites. Like the Bazaar in the Flats, many of the shops also serve as the shopkeeper’s home and workplace, but given the disparity of economics these shops are much finer in quality, both in facilities and wares. The agora houses several reputable dealers of precious stones, artwork, curiosities, and even animals, not to mention several proprietors of magic items (e.g. Niall “Swordarm” Drachmaa and Thevane Crispwillow). The Avenue of Commerce is also the city’s economic headquarters, supporting several major guildhouses that service numerous influential businessmen and Senators, sometimes even the Archregent himself.
Bestiary – One of several pleasantries enjoyed by the upper echelon of Nova Dominium, this remarkable zoo puts numerous exotic creatures and plants on display for paying customers to observe. The creatures are managed by a staff of expert handlers and magicians to ensure the public’s safety. The Bestiary also works in conjunction with the Collegium to provide unique opportunities for students of ecology and magizoology.
Library of Lanaxidera – Named after one of the greatest elven scholars of all time, this magnificent library holds thousands upon thousands of books on all manner of subjects, making it one of the prizes of elf high society. Like the Bestiary, the library is staffed by numerous experts and academics, and works cooperatively with the Collegium to provide its prestigious students with a bounty of resources. Use of the Library for one day costs 10 sp, while civilian membership for a month costs 1 gp.
Oceanwatch Park – Although the cliffside topsoil is rocky and inhospitable to most plant life, the elves made it a point to bring natural beauty to their new home, so they excavated many of the embedded stones and used them to line pathways and borders through a space groomed by skilled botanists and irrigators. Once the elves mastered druidic magic, the already impressive park become a wonder unto itself, featuring incredible products of elven architecture and artistry comprised entirely of plant life and repurposed stone. The sizable park now stretches along most of the cliff’s edge, making it a very popular spot for the elven elite to spend their free time. Oceanwatch is diligently tended by expert gardeners and botany students from the Collegium, making it a stark contrast to the unkempt Court Park in the Flats.
Silex Aedis – After the return of the True Light and the elves’ mass conversion, the people of Nova Dominium wasted no time establishing a glorious house of worship in their cultural epicenter. The elves built a new headquarters for the Triumvirate Arcanum further inland, closer to the center of the expanded city, and redesigned the original capital building into a massive church that even rivaled the illustrious Collegium in size, beauty, membership, and resources. All of Nova Dominium’s upper class commute to this reputable temple for religious services. The underground level of the church serves as a mausoleum for the passed city elite.
Silex Bank – This impressive structure, located between Silex and the city’s epicenter, is the nexus for national and international commerce in Nova Dominium. All substantial loans, deposits, and transactions are conducted here, including the minting of new currency at the connected Dominium Mint. The bank deals predominantly in coin and merchandise for barter rather than equipment and treasure. Given the security of the establishment, it is commonly believed that the bank is closely tied to the Thieves’ Guild.
Silex Museum – This impressive structure houses many relics prized by the elves, including artifacts from their lost homeland, devices from the Mystic Age and older, and heirlooms of Aetheron’s native cultures. These valuable objects are carefully monitored via magic and manpower during all hours of the day. Like the Bestiary, the museum employs several experts and scholars, and helps to support the Collegium’s anthropology, history, and magitechnology students.
Silex Opera House – Arguably the most prestigious performance venue in southern Aetheron, this magnificent hall is a pinnacle of elven architecture, maximizing the space’s acoustic potential while still inspiring awe with its decorative design and furnishings. Only the most famous and successful artists (e.g. Tenorus) are invited to perform here, although the house staff bends over backwards to accommodate whatever aesthetic needs the performers may require.