Founded during the Empire's first attempt to expand farther north, conquering lands from the people of Northrim, Illikon was one of the first settlements of the Northwest. It began merely as a castle, called Castle Illikon, and the knights there protected the settlements along the nearby coast. More and more buildings were constructed around this mighty keep and its docks, and soon an entire sprawling port city was built, with its own royal family, knights, outlying farmlands, and docks that rivaled even truly ancient Achaean cities. It was quickly named capital of the Northwestern Kingdom, the newest region of the Achaean Empire.
Many old Achaean families from deeper within the Empire call Illikon - along with the entire Northwest - wild, untamed, and even rebellious. This assumption is not wholly incorrect. Illikon's rulers have always shown loyalty toward the Empire, but they frequently bend or even break various Imperial laws if they feel it is required, and this has held true for as long as the city has stood. The Queens of Illikon have become infamous over the generations for having hand-picked favorite knights who do their personal biddings... some of which, rumors say, involve breaking Imperial laws. Investigations into such matters by Imperial officials have yielded nothing, but even this does not satisfy some, who claim the truth was concealed by great conspiracies involving all of Illikon's officials. It is both true and known, however, that the rulers of Illikon employ privateers to do their bidding: pirates who raid other ships that would be a threat to Imperial vessels, returning the booty to Illikon in return for official protection and a large cut of the profits. Many Achaeans complain that these privateers may also be raiding other Imperial ships, but there has never been any proof of this being true.
Illikon is divided up into four primary districts, with an enormous castle resting atop high cliffs overlooking the ocean at the far western side of the city. Castle Illikon has its own wall, moat, and vast castle grounds, and it is here that the royal family dwells, as they have since the city was founded. Like most large Achaean cities, Illikon has a vast sewer system to control the city's waste.
The Monument DistrictEdit
The northernmost district of the city is called the Monument District, named for its many sculptures, engravings, and other monuments to historical figures of Achaea, including various commanders and knights who were vital to the conquering of the Northwest. This district also contains most of the city's beauitful temples to various deities. It is here that the city's richest inhabitants dwell, and most knights of the Northwest have a manor in this district, even if they have their own castles somewhere outside the city. In the case of Illikon, however, there are several knights who live exclusively within its walls, which was a tradition began when the land was still being conquered.
The Central DistrictEdit
The Central District is precisely what it seems: it is the centermost district of the city, and includes Castle Illikon. Primarily, the Central District is the great cobblestone road that runs down the city's center, from its main gate (on the far eastern side of the city, facing the Plains of Illikon) to its docks on the city's western side. This road leads directly from the eastern gates all the way across the city to Castle Illikon, bringing travelers to the glorious structure. Contained in the Central District are many shops, inns, and taverns: most of these are upper-class, such as the Silver Stein, one of the largest inns in the city known for having both decent rooms and reasonable prices.
The Needy District; "The Slums"Edit
As with any city, a large portion of Illikon is devoted to housing and catering to the lowly masses of peasants who work the city's docks and other simple jobs. This area is known as the Needy District, but most simply call it the Slums, for that is exactly what it is. The southernmost area of the city, the Slums are run-down and filthy compared to the Central and Monument districts. Crime in the Slums is common, but the local city guards are very adept at their work, and this crime rarely - if ever - leaves its native district. The taverns in the Slums are seedy, full of thugs and strumpets. The Flogged Donkey is a prime example of this, as it has earned the title of the seediest tavern in Illikon.
The Seaside District; "The Docks"EditThe Seaside District, or simply the Docks, is Illikon's heart and soul. Vast and intricate, the city's docks are extremely well maintained, and countless ships come and go at an alarming rate. Perhaps one reason why the Slums are so full of crime is because the city guards keep their full concentration on maintaining order in the Docks, as it is the most important area of the city.
Illikon's mighty economy is based heavily on its exportation of raw materials desperately needed deeper within the Achaean Empire. While the southern Achaean ports export exotic trinkets from the various Southern regions, such as jewelry, strange weapons, cloths, and dyes, Illikon exports raw materials such as wood chopped from its many forests and the forests of Northrim, iron and various other metals from the mines of Eloh, and grains and meats from its vast farmlands and hunting grounds that are still full of life.
Although Illikon does not restrict religion and even hesitantly tolerates the worship of some Northern gods (although guards cannot always stop fights from breaking out between the worshippers, nor do they always want to), the most revered deity of the city is Poseidon, Lord of the Horses and the Sea, for Illikon is a city of ships and knights. Some sailors there instead worship Njord, the Northern god of the sea, but most of these do so quietly lest they face the contempt of the city's Olympian-worshipping inhabitants. A large number of Knights Templar dwell in Illikon's Monument District, keeping peace between the many temples there, the most prominent of which are Poseidon, Athena, Zeus, and Aphrodite; there are other temples, such as those to Apollo and Hades, but these four deities boast the largest and most beautiful temples in the city.
While not a very old Achaean city, Illikon has had great influence over the Empire since its creation, and many important figures currently dwell there... some of which, though they do not realize it, have dark destinies awaiting them.
King Aetius Illikoni & Queen Carlisa IllikoniEdit
Illikon has always been ruled by the same family, which still bears the city's name. Its current rulers, King Aetius Illikoni and Queen Carlisa Illikoni rule side by side of surprisingly equal power, although it is whispered that Queen Carlisa is more loved by her subjects, for she is more generous and kind. King Aetius does not seem to mind his reputation as somewhat ruthless and intolerant of disobedience. The two work in harmony, as they have since the beginning of their reign, and Illikon prospers under their rule. In short, King Aetius is feared while Queen Carlisa is loved.
The Draconius FamilyEdit
The Draconius family, usually called by their simplified name of Drake, is one of the many respected noble families in Illikon. Like certain other families that have been there for generations, several Drakes were crucial to the founding of the city and the conquering of the Northwest. However, Sir Warren Drake, the current patron of the family, has only one heir: the infamous Sir Tom Drake, his adopted son and youngest child. Although he is said to be Queen Carlisa's favorite knight and has even performed personal favors for her, putting his own life at risk while doing so, Tom Drake's bravery and fierce loyalty to Illikon is not respected by most of his peers, for a variety of reasons... namely that he is arrogant, rebellious, disrespectful, and almost incessantly sarcastic and wise-cracking. Perhaps worse than all this, however, is the fact that he was a low-born orphan scraping a living in the streets before Warren adopted him into his family. His father does his best to maintain the Drake family's good reputation, however, and his three daughters - Anne, Cristina "Cristy," and Cassandra - along with his wife, Corianna, are known among their fellow nobles as respectable, and true to the oldest traditions of their family name. Their family heraldry is a rampant red dragon, their colors are red, white, and gold.
The Marks FamilyEdit
Another noble family of Illikon, the Marks family is similar to the Drake family in many ways in regard to their history: they have dwelt in Illikon since its establishment, alongside the Kallistos family, and some of their ancestors were important to Illikon's history. The Marks family's current patron has two sons, Sir Cassian and Sir Gaius, the latter of which is pompous and snide. Cassian, however, is a respected knight and is married to Anne Drake, the eldest daughter of the Draconius family. This has caused some friction between Cassian and Tom Drake, but the families themselves to not suffer from any sense of rivalry; rumors claim, however, that Cassian feels Tom Drake is unworthy of bearing such great respect from Queen Carlisa. The Marks family are some of the most respected knights in all the city, and their status as such only seems to be growing stronger. Their family heraldry is a blue fish, and their colors are yellow, blue, and silver.
The Kallistos FamilyEdit
The Kallistos family, like the Drake and Marks families, have lived in Illikon since its founding. It is said that Sir Caelius Kallistos, one of the ancestors of the family, led an army that drove back a group of invading Northmen when Illikon was young. Some say that the Kallistos family mixed with Northerners around the time of Illikon's foundation and that this can be seen in the heights of its current family members, though they all claim to be pure Achaean. One of the few female knights in all the city, Lady Severina Kallistos, is a member of this family. Their heraldry is a blue castle upon a green field, with golden borders.
Other Important FiguresEdit
Captain Titus MagnusEdit
Titus Magnus, Captain of the Illikon longbowmen, is a steadfast Achaean soldier. He has led a simple enough life, at least until he was about twenty-four years old, at which point he became best friends with the knight Sir Tom Drake. Since then the two have shared a deep friendship... which frequently involves Magnus either trying to keep Drake out of trouble or helping him pull through it.
Lieutenant Corben McShaneEdit
Corben McShane is a lieutenant of the Illikon city guards, specifically the night watch. Often finding controversy and even fights due to being of half Northerner blood, Corben is hardened, with a sarcastic and often grim sense of humor and few real friends. His two closest companions are Tom Drake and Titus Magnus, although he is merely a city guard and they are a knight and a military captain. Corben is perhaps best known for his foul mouth and his tendency to drink heavily, even when he is short of coin.
Marshal Lucius FletcherEdit
Marshal of Illikon's army, Lucius Fletcher commands all of Illikon's military forces, save the noble knights. Of common birth but indominable spirit, Fletcher is an excellent commander, a veteran soldier, and a close friend of most anyone with authority in Illikon, save certain nobles who dislike a commoner having such a high station in the city. He is friendly and laid-back, and he knows most all of his fellow commanders and even his soldiers personally, but he knows where to draw the line between his personal life and his job - or at least he tries to.