Kleptopolis

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is just a little something I threw together. Enjoy.

Kleptopolis

There are cities dedicated to trade, learning, faith, manufacturing, agriculture and more.Kleptopolis is a city born of greed, ambition and immorality.Every second of its existence has been seeped in evil, a fact that has not changed in four hundred years.

Kleptopolis was founded by the explorer Gideon Gust.Gideon was in the pay of the Typhoon Empire to find new markets for their trade goods.He set out with three galleons and two hundred men, spending three years sailing the oceans in search of peoples who hadn’t already heard of the Typhoon Empire’s excesses and crimes.In this Gideon failed, for the lands he discovered had no one rich enough to trade with.

During his travels, Gideon discovered an island continent lush with plant life from the heat and near constant rain.He found a massive river flowing from the interior into a natural port.Goblins living in the swampy ground around the river proved no match for Gideon’s men.He drove them away and claimed the land for his employer, then returned with news of the discovery.Gideon expected a reward, for the land looked promising enough to settle thousands of landless peasants on it.Here too Gideon was a failure, for his employers cast him out without pay for not finding the markets they needed.They then settled thousands of landless peasants at the mouth of the river.

This marked the first betrayal associated with the city.It would not be the last.Peasants brought in were promised prime farmland, and found themselves toiling endlessly to squeeze a living out of the marshy soil.Those who sought to abandon their new homes learned that the Typhoon Empire had no interest in letting them leave.When some of them resettled farther up the river, Typhoon officials replaced them with more peasants promised rich lands ready for the plow.Tax revenues came nowhere near expenses, so officials brought slave labor to improve profitability.

This was a disaster for the Typhoon Empire.It was deep in a war with rival nations and desperately needed cash.Faced with a settlement that would need decades of work and funding to bring it to fruition, the emperor made a fateful decision.He ordered his court officials to make the colony profitable by any means.Laws had offered little protection to the citizens before.Now they offered none.All deeds were legal so long as gold flowed to the capital.

Villains of the worst sort came to take advantage of the emperor’s offer.Pirates, slavers, smugglers and more swelled the settlement.They became a scourge of the seas and the newly discovered continent, reaping a harvest of riches and tears in equal measures.Their ‘success’ encouraged more criminals to come until the settlement grew into a city of squalor and crime.The official name of this new city was Galefall, but no one used that title outside of imperil tax records.Men of wealth and poverty alike called it Kleptopolis, the City of Thieves.The name stuck, so much so that even imperial records stopped using the original name.

In time Typhoon Empire knew peace, a rare experience for a nation dedicated to growth and wealth regardless of the consequences.Court ministers now found Kleptopolis to be a double edged sword.It sent riches back to the empire, and proved an excellent place to deposit troublemakers, but the city caused endless problems.Its pirates seized ships from rival nations until it risked starting wars.Smugglers bought drugs into Typhoon and its rivals, causing endless problems.

Efforts were made to bring Kleptopolis up to the empire’s low standards, rarely with success.Honest judges arrested troublemakers, only to find them quickly released.Criminals had enough wealth to buy off high ranking officials.Too much money flowed into the coffers of the rich and powerful, and they jealously protected the source of that wealth.

As the centuries went by, Kleptopolis swelled to tremendous size until it housed half a million.The desperate and foolish flocked to it to glean even a tiny fraction of the city’s riches.More people came in cages, bought to work farms and factories.All races were welcome so long as they didn’t disrupt the city’s disgusting trades, which was the only real law of Kleptopolis.Huge palaces soared high into the sky, surrounded by an ever growing slum.

There is advice for those foolish enough to visit.The first and most important is to travel armed and in groups, for no one will help you.Kleptopolis has no police or guardsmen, only private security forces hired to defend specific places and people.All sales are final, so be certain of the quality of your purchases.By law there are no churches or priests in the city.This comes from Typhoon Empire, who doesn’t want any authority to compete with the emperor.Instead citizens are encouraged to worship the imperial family.Across Typhoon Empire this is at best a bad joke.In Kleptopolis there isn’t even emperor worship.Anyone attempting to venerate a god or divinity is considered a fool at best, and more often an enemy to be destroyed.

One of Kleptopolis’ more grizzly rules concerns the disposal of the dead.The soil is too soft and wet to dig graves, so burial is impossible.This encourages ghouls to lurk in the city sewers, seeking to feed on the dead.To avoid this, bodies are collected and broken down to be used as fertilizer in nearby farmland.Compliance with this law is mandatory.Richer citizens instead cremate their dead, paying a bribe to avoid their loved ones becoming mulch.

Kleptopolis suffered its share of troubles.Swamps around the city give birth to monsters that threatened the city.Turning them back proved difficult bordering on impossible, and rarely are they killed.Worse was to come when the city began to sink into the soft earth.Faced with losing their criminal haven, the citizens saved Kleptopolis by filling in the ground with mud and sand dredged from around the bay.Every building lost their first floor as houses and streets were filled in.Elsewhere this would be the end of a city.Kleptopolis simply kept growing on the ruins.

For four hundred years Kleptopolis has been a blight on the world.It grows nearly as fast as it rots in the heat and constant humidity.Rival nations have tried to destroy it, Typhoon Empire has tried to redeem it, and the sea itself tries to wash it away with massive storms.All have failed.It is like a tree putting on fresh leaves and new branches while termites feast upon its roots.

Today Kleptopolis has reached a new low.Typhoon Empire is in a three way war with the Etherium Empire and the Necrotic League.Battles are hard fought and losses are high.Gold is needed in unimaginable quantities, and the emperor has ordered Kleptopolis to produce it.Even the semblance of law has been cast aside to increase the flow of gold and goods to keep the empire alive.Kleptopolis’ leaders find themselves balanced on a knife’s edge between annihilation and abundance.They can’t flee when war rages around them, yet their emperor has granted them the right to indulged their every deviant taste and cruelty if it means profit.

In this dark hour a new threat has arisen, and Kleptopolis faces its end.

A lone holy man entered the city early in spring.None know how he arrived, nor how gates locked and barred did not stop him.He marched relentlessly through the streets, entering every district of the city to deliver a message of doom.Kleptopolis, he declared, had been judged and condemned.The city would fall with not one brick to be left upon another.There would be no redemption, no forgiveness, no mercy.The rich and powerful of Kleptopolis sent mercenaries, gladiators, trained monsters, golems and more to kill him.They failed.The holy man left as mysteriously as he’d come.

Terrified, Kleptopolis’ wealthiest citizens sought to shore up their power.They brought in still more men to protect them.They issued a bounty on any holy man, gold to be paid for blood.They sought aid from their emperor and delivered a fortune for his support.Still others delved into dark magics to prevent this death sentence.With every passing week they sink deeper into evil, plumbing the depths to which humanity can fall.

Facing these villains is a growing legion as diverse as it is dangerous.Paladins of the Brotherhood of the Righteous have hung up their plate armor and now sneak into Kleptopolis to liberate slaves.Here too do they spread a message of faith to the downtrodden, telling the poor they are not forgotten or unloved.Faith’s flame, once a dim ember, has burst into light, a force the leaders of Kleptopolis can neither understand nor stop.

Kleptopolis has long been a city infested with gangs, petty criminals of no consequence and mourned by no one when they fall, but these have grown into a menace.Poor, weak and without influence, they took the holy man’s words as a promise of vengeance.No longer would they be small and forgotten, oppressed by criminals far worse than they could ever be.Gangsters have risen up as an enemy force within the city walls, pulling it apart from within.

More dangers come from without.Mad scientists piloting clockwork constructs, wizards wreathed in eldritch lights, archeologists bearing secret tomes and more come from across the world.Most cannot say what draws them to Kleptopolis, only that they must come.They have found refuge in the slums and sewers, coming from hiding to seize treasures and magic items.Moving with a surgeon’s skill and certainly, they pluck away riches that Kleptopolis needs so desperately, taking away that which the city’s leaders love most dear and need more than life.

Another threat comes from the bard and sorcerer Jay Eth.He first came to Kleptopolis as a guard on a merchant galleon.Jay saw the depravity of Kleptopolis and was driven to the brink of madness by the sight.He fled into the swamps, where he encountered goblins living in mud and filth.Jay declared his intention to topple the city.He denounced his very humanity, claiming only monsters could hope to destroy the horrors of men in Kleptopolis.

Exhausted, penniless, teetering on the edge of sanity, Jay found himself surrounded by allies.Goblins declared him to be the leader they’d been promised.Matching their new king in madness, they seek to reclaim land lost long ago, fighting enemies they’d never beat in four centuries.Gibbering goblins flocked to his banner, and intelligent monsters such as mimics come to his side.In a matter of weeks Jay has launched constant attacks on the outskirts of Kleptopolis, his forces growing with each victory.Jay Eth has sworn to pull down the city and rule its rubble as king with his monstrous allies.

If Kleptopolis’ leaders don’t understand the Brotherhood of the Righteous, they’re totally baffled by Jay.They have repeated tried to buy him off, sending envoys bearing jewels, silks and spices.He turns them down every time, throwing their bribes into the mud.Money means nothing to Jay.He wants vengeance.

The great monsters of the swamp rise from the slumber to answer a call that cannot be denied.Being summoned by the divine was a surprise, but a welcome one, and they have begun a slow march toward Kleptopolis.It will be months until they arrive, and when they do, they will come as an army.

Kleptopolis faces one final threat, more dangerous than the others combine.The city is again sinking into the soft mud beneath it.Waves now lap over the docks in port, flooding basements near shore and reaching out into the streets.Towers tip at crazy angles as their foundations slip deeper into the ground. Scholars and wizards have proven that Kleptopolis shifted a full inch closer to the sea in the last year, and it shows no sign of stopping.

 

Welcome to Kleptopolis.Your stay may be brief, and most certainly painful, but it will never be dull.


Submitted: August 30, 2021

© Copyright 2022 ArthurD7000. All rights reserved.

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Comments

TheresaVan18

I love the descriptions! If you get into writing it, it'll be an interesting tale!

Wed, September 1st, 2021 6:30pm

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I'd imagined it as a D&D campaign.

Wed, September 1st, 2021 5:02pm

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