Founded as one of the Seven Sisters, Simi’il owes its expansion over the years to mining ventures, prospectors, and stonecutters.
It is built upon a tall promontory, flanked by sheer cliffs peppered with caverns. The city is almost completely inaccessible, save by its harbor. The climb from the docks is grueling, and has dissuaded many a pirate hoping to raid the city. Its sacred grove sprawls beyond the cliffsides, only stopped by more rocky inclines merging into the mountain. Simi’il is sometimes called the Rocky Sister, both for its location and industry.
1. Emerald Mines
Simi’il is famous of its gemstone mines, especially emeralds or a strikingly deep green. City officials and priests adorn their regalia with jewelry made of such gems, and grove caretakers offer them at altars in the jungle, their color evoking the purity of nature.
The mines also produce agates, aquamarines, opals, and diamonds. To discourage theft by employees and to make up for the presence of basilisks, the miners of Simi’il are the best paid workforce in the Fair Isles Sea, and by far.
The bulk of the gemstones is processed on site and prepped for trade, along with iron, tin, copper and silver from the mines. Swift ships then ferry those raw materials to trade ports like Valkyrion, Nurchan, Kabarat and the Golden Island. Speed is of the essence to prevent pirate attacks on such precious cargo, especially on longer routes like Nurchan’s. Kabarat also dedicates a part of its grand armada to protecting its trade route with Simi’il, and as such receives the lion’s share of the raw materials exported from here. Forts and lookouts dot the islands between Kabarat and Simi’il (by way of its sister Ghiil), but beyond that, protection is scarce.
The caverns and mines around Simi’il are home to an unnatural amount of basilisks. Their eyes glow with the same green hue as the emeralds the region is known for, and are doubly dangerous as such; miners have nightmares of mistaking a basilisk’s gaze for a gem’s glint in the lantern’s light.
No one really knows if they were attracted by the number of mineshafts and caves around the city or if they were always endemic to the region. Nevertheless, the beasts make trekking outside of the city dangerous for even the most skilled hunters, and venturing alone in the woods is strongly deterred. As basilisks like dwelling underground, miners employ enchanted wards that alert them to the presence of the creatures, in case one slipped in the mines during the night, or if a newly carved tunnel releases previously trapped beasts. Still, numerous encounters and accidents happen each year, making the mine work even more dangerous than it usually is.
Recorded history tells of a gruesome execution method befitting the worst criminals, or in this case severe profaners of the city’s Sacred Grove. Convicts would be chained to trees near the mines entrances, awaiting a basilisk, to either be turned to stone or be devoured. Leftover statue parts were then strewn down from the cliffs into the sea. Some intact statues were used to frame the entrance to the sacred grove, serving as a grisly reminder of the sanctity of the place.
Nowadays, only stealing emeralds left out as offerings to nature in the grove still incurs this punishment.
Writer : Guillaume Lupien