Map of Southwestern Modhiakomor, depicting the regions of Muzotara, and its capital Naviton, and the region of Amplara marsh and its capital Estford.
Naviton is a modern city with an old town centre and infrequent large mansions and estates scattered amongst the newly built houses of the fast expanding working class population.
Naviton may be centuries old, but not as old as Meonis, the capital of the former Vaismannic empire, which was a city founded when the world was young and newly thawed. Naviton was founded when the mighty empire was already into its decline. Because the region of Muzotara was considered not worthwhile it was not conquered, and once Naviton became a power the empire was in no position to subjugate it.
The city is large, larger in size than any other, including Meonis, but not in population for Meonis is very dense, with apartments and tenements, while those are rare in Naviton. The Muzotaran city instead is built outward. It retains expansive streets lined with verdant green trees. Beside the streets lay houses in rows, all alongside one another, with occasional gaps to allow alleyways. Occasionally can be found open green areas reserved by the council in Naviton. These relatively flat spaces are for the people to take time away. Nothing is grown on them nor animals reared, they are left grassed, and are the property of the city.
In the centre of Naviton there stands a great clock tower. Among the local people it is known as Antigon. The tower has faces pointing around the points of a compass. It can be seen from all locations in the city, peeking between walls or over roofs. Antigon is maintained by a council of wealthy business owners in the city. Inside the tower is a bell named Chulus.
Naviton is a city of workmen. Around the city lie fields of farmland, but inside its gates it is a city of manufacturing. Here in Naviton steel is worked unlike anywhere else. Here wood is carved on a grand scale. More tapestries and weavings are sewn than anywhere in the world. Navitonian locksmiths are the best in the world, their lamp makers and cup makers and tin shapers and potters are supreme. But their greatest achievement is the cannon.
It was in Naviton the principle of the cannon was put to its first practical use. The design emerged from Dor-Xodoyan’s palaces of thought. The two cities have surprisingly close ties, for Naviton trades freely with the Mayun-Kashvarese. Dor-Xodoyanic scholars noted that when crushed fire vetch seeds seemed to burst with an almighty pop, like thunder. They then calculated the power exerted by the pop and what caused it. They found that a carefully ground powder of fire vetch seeds when ignited by a heat source exert enough force to move a sizeable object. With enough fire powder a large lump of stone or iron can be hurled considerable distances, with greater velocity than a catapult or ballista even.
But it was in Naviton, where the ironsmiths have the technology to make a chamber for this process that a true cannon was first developed. In Navitor, an ironsmith workshop owner by the name of Cabacito set about putting together the first cannons. These early designs were extremely large with iron walls a foot thick. By his death the designs were sleeker, but still basic. Naviton continues to improve its designs, but has still a long way to go before the cannon will overtake the catapult, or even the sword and spear and shield.
Among the city streets for the workmen, who travel on regular horse carriages that take routes to and from the workshops and the residential streets, are canals. Naviton has miles upon miles of canals leading from the workshops to the riverside. This separation of roles means the streets are largely empty and people moving around are unobstructed by commercial traffic, and the canals are largely clear, unobstructed by foot traffic. The canal boats themselves are mostly barges; flat bottomed and horse drawn.
These canals in Naviton occasionally are dug right through hills, to save going around them, and are known to also be built on stilts over valleys. The architectural skill of the Navitonian is exceptional.
For the workmen of Naviton schools are also provided by benefactors in the city. For younger children there are classrooms providing lessons in writing and arithmetic. For older men and women there are open libraries and museums they can visit. These museums showcase records of old Navitonian artifacts, as well as a few Kashvarese items, and some items from the Vaismannic empire.
Little rivers and streams run through Naviton. Often roads are built over them, and their waters are used to feed the canal system. Some workshops have placed water wheels beside them to harness their energy. Though this is rare.
Naviton is often called the city a thousand trades. It makes things. It buys objects and raw material from the world and creates wonderful items to sell on to the world. But it does not exclusively sell to the wealthiest. Many of its businesses produce goods cheaply enough that they can be priced so that the workers of the city themselves can afford them. So even the poor in Naviton find they have better education and standards of living than many people in other parts of the world. Meonis is said to be the city of forever, but for those who have seen Naviton: Meonis is the city of the past, and Naviton is the city of the future.
Naviton gains its name from a great victory of its people over the Vaismannic empire. Shortly into its rapid growth as a city the navy of Muzotara was on an expeditionary mission to Nebhullant, in the far north west, seeking to open trade routes to the distant continent. Nebhullant previously had only traded with the western cities of the empire, mainly Peonmuth. The empire caught wind of the expedition and sent its navy around from Bukhrod in the great bay to meet them as they came around the Srinwan peninsula. The two fleets came upon one another at Vapakunic in the year 2105 since the founding of the city of Meonis.
Prior to being renamed Naviton the city had been known as Lugenton. The significance of the defeat of the Vaismannic navy, which had dominated the western sea from Muzotara was extraordinary. Nothing could equal the jubilation felt by the people. For the first time the empire had suffered a major blow, been proved to be weak, and relinquished its iron grip on trade to the lucrative west.
In the battle around Vapakunic the twenty seven pavarels, long sleek light ships with four triangular sails built for long journeys in good time, from Muzotara came upon thirty three raccacks of the empire. A raccack is a triple square masted short ship, not made for speed. The Muzotaran ships were arranged in a column parallel to the coast, for speed of travel, while the raccacks were arranged in a long single line perpendicular to the coast. At first the two fleets exchanged communications. Neither side was formally at war, and so the Muzotarans questioned the Vaismanns what their intention was. The Vaismanns replied that they were ordered to prevent the Muzotarans from returning home.
The naval commander of the Muzotarans, Kamchulus, from the rural eastern part of Muzotara, ordered the column to split in two. His pavarels would lead the first column straight into the middle of the enemy, while the other would circle around the flank, and hit just on the inside of the edge. Any prospect of a peaceful solution was gone.
The flagship of Kamchulus, called the Wiket, had been built in Dunthira. As the expedition had ventured up the western coast of Modhiakomor they had begun to gather more men, and so needed more ships, and Kamchulus had purchased in Deakspurva a first rate pavarel from a local shipwright at great expense. The Wiket had then sailed to Nebhullant with the rest of the Muzotara fleet.
The first column of Muzotarans came upon the line of Vaismannic raccacks, and the Muzotaran archers fired rounds of arrows in to the sails of the ships beside them, coming under heavy fire themselves. The second column soon after met the line at its end as well, and as the Wiket passed behind the line of Vaismannic ships it swung around away from the coast to meet up with the second line. The two columns now formed a ring around the seaward end of the Vaismannic ships. The hail of arrow fire from the Muzotarans made great slaughter among the Vaismanns, and many of the raccacks were taken completely intact.
By this time the shoreward side of the Vaismannic column had tried to come round itself to flank the Muzotarans from behind, but Kamchulus had a plan for that. Among his many ships one was carrying a prototype bombard from the foundries of Lugenton. This one single cannon was loaded with an iron ball packed with fire seed powder, and designed to shatter upon impact. It only took one hit directly into a Vaismannic raccack to obliterate its wooden hull. The central beam running down the length of the hull was shattered, and the hit ship – the Gheora – sank almost instantly, with many lives lost. But in the confusion a stray arrow found Kamchulus, and he was sorely wounded. Some men took him below deck where he died soon after. But the battle raged on.
Upon seeing the destruction of the Gheora and the loss of the encircled ships the remaining Vaismannic raccacks turned and fled, some headed East to try to return to Vuyokunic, some carried on Westward to head to Manesprota. But the lighter faster pavarels of Muzotara caught up with them. Some surrendered, some fought. In the fighting many more ships were captured, till at the end of the day the Muzotarans had taken twenty of the original thirty. Two Vaismannic ships had been sunk, the Gheora and the enormous Dviaroksho. The captured ships and the victorious navy sailed into Lugenton some weeks later to jubilation. Kamchulus was given full funerary honours and a statue in the city. The captured prisoners were paraded through the streets, as did the sailors of the fleet to cheers and cries. The city was renamed in honour of the unbelievable victory.
The empire was furious. It sent diplomats to Naviton to demand the return of its men and ships, as well as reparations for war crimes. Naviton replied that it was the Vaismannic fleet that had engaged them, without a formal declaration of war, and Xodoyanic diplomats supported Naviton. The empire could not oppose both, and so retreated in disgrace.