Crevus

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Overview

The Free City of Crevus is a semi-autonomous city-state in the Democratic People's Republic of Adhomai. It was founded in 50 CE in Dras’nr as a fishing village that became a powerful and rich merchant town. The city is a direct democracy. In modern times 2 million Tajara call Crevus home, and identify as Crevan. It is ruled by a Mayor and a council

The city is known as a place of incredible vice and wealth. Casinos, bars, smoke shops, and other unsavory businesses line every street corner. Unready Tajara can lose their entire life savings within hours of landing. There is a deeply ingrained philosophy of ‘live and let live’, which informs policy and the general attitude of the city. This philosophy maintains order and stability within the city as well as gaining them disreputable stereotypes from their neighbors who disparage the city and its inhabitants, often calling them Cravens in spiteful pun.

A Free Haven

Crevus is a sprawling metropolis on an otherwise lifeless and barren tundra.

Crevus accepts many Tajara fleeing persecution or the effects of the war - though these Tajara may be accepted with warm and welcome arms, they are still vulnerable to the unsavory elements of the city who will happily fleece them of their savings and belongings. Many residents that set up shop within the city use Cervus as a stepping-stone to enter human space for better opportunities outside Adhomai.

While robust social programs keep anyone from genuinely starving or going without, for large portions of its residents life is a daily grind of work and gambling. The basic subsistence many find lead them into seeking a more fulfilling life in one of the city’s club-wielding gangs or finding an escape from their life through the vices of the town’s underbelly. There are still entertainment venues like theatre, plays, cinema, opera, symphonies, or other high-class activities in more affluent areas of the city. These are still shared spaces with the rich bumping shoulders with the destitute. More often than not one becomes the other after a few hours of bad luck in a casino.

NanoTrasen representatives have several offices in Crevus, offering enticing work contracts for residents in Tau Ceti. The city is the only place in the Democratic People's Republic of Adhomai that any megacorporation is allowed to conduct business. NanoTrasen owns the city’s sole shuttleport that gives it access to space. The presence of the port turned the city into a hotspot for smuggling, a large and active black market is found in the streets and dark warehouses.

There is a Little Biesel enclave within Crevus by the river, where a small number of humans live. The first arrival of humans came shortly after actual human contact, and their numbers have waxed and waned in tune with how unstable Adhomai has become. The enclave surrounds a small plaza with a statue dedicated to Pam Hu, the science officer that lead human First Contact with the Tajara when she landed in Crevus.

Geography and The Gondola Wars

The land straddling the river is considered the most affluent area of the city and is where tourists tend to stick to. There are many hotels offering romantic gondola rides up and down the river during the summer seasons and turning that into ice-skating in the winter seasons. The sheer number of gondola businesses has spawned wars between hotels in the past with businesses hiring gangs to trash the other’s hotels. At one point in the 2450’s the turf wars got so bad that rival hotels were trying to sink each others gondolas in intentional ramming actions or sabotage. After several tourists nearly drowned or caught hypothermia the republican government had to step in to keep the peace.

Climate

The climate and weather remain mostly stable, with the temperature being slightly warm and humid summers (with a temperature average of 15C) with winters falling below freezing (with the temperature average of -12C. The land that Crevus is settled on remains a barren tundra. During the winters the river freezes over and a cold gust keeps the streets mostly empty.

Agriculture is possible around the city, but it requires a consistent and heavy investment. Everyone who can is expected to pitch in to help community gardens or farms; even Crevan scientists and engineers will usually not hesitate to happily repair a broken tractor for almost nothing.

In the summer the frozen ice around the city melts, exposing the barren, ugly soil.
In the winter there is nothing but snow and ice, leaving the world outside the city lifeless and merciless.

The Gangs

There are several hundred gangs that operate within Crevus City. They are treated as a resource by the ruling families within the city, with minor gangs being hired as bouncers in casinos, or other businesses. They can also be paid to sabotage rivals’ business establishments. Minor gangs (often made up of only a few blocks at a time) also dabble in all sorts of unsavory businesses like smuggling, or trying to run their own ad hoc casinos with worn cards and broken poker tables reclaimed from the dump.

Gangs form within Crevus as a natural result of wealth disparity, social pressure, and active recruitment by gang members. Young Tajara are often faced with limited prospects within the city itself, and are bombarded with romantic stories about how their life would be so much better with their new family of a gang. Older Tajara are often in similar prospects.

The city police and government tend to hold the same tenuous understanding with the gangs that holds true for the rest of the city. The city is more than happy to street brawls or turf wars as long as they do not explode into wider violence or murder. The territories of the city’s gangs rapidly change monthly, with new ones coming to life and dissolving within a matter of years or months.

Most of the city is dangerous to travel at night from gangs roaming the streets and demanding protection money from anyone caught outside. Hordes of pickpockets clean out anyone that is not a savvy local resident. Violence between gangs is common in the poorest areas of the city, with the tourist locations being kept safe of any major conflict by the enforcement of the ruling families. Large battles between gangs are usually reserved for settling feuds between the governing class of the city.

Politics and Military

As a direct democracy assemblies of citizens come together to vote on any policy forwarded by the Mayor or Council that will affect them. Things that would affect the entire city are put to a referendum.

Alongside the Mayor there is a City Council of which each member is popularly elected. They serve advisory roles and manage the arranging of assemblies.

Voting is usually done over several days to give as many people as possible the chance to vote - though turnout varies. For example, a potential new highway that would cut through 8 Wards would need majority approval from each Ward. A new tax policy for the whole city would need a majority vote from the entire population.

Despite the existence of those mechanisms, politics are dominated by the powerful families that control the city’s establishments and organized crimes. Only with the blessing of those dynasties anyone is able to progress in the democracy of Crevus. Vote pairing is a common practice in Crevus during any kind of election.

The Mayor appoints people they want to run for various offices and these candidates must be popularly elected, and nearly all policy initiatives or major projects must similarly pass public scrutiny. Sometimes this means an unpopular mayor can have an unhappy city effectively shut down the government by consistently rejecting the Mayor’s reforms or candidate. The only qualification to run for Mayor is that a Tajara must be at least 24 years old. All Mayors in the past were part of the ruling families.

The city has no standing army, with there instead only being a city police and a small militia made up of part-time volunteers in a single division numbering about 8,900 that also form the city’s fire department. This militia/firefighting unit is called the Free Brigade and is overseen by a Commander popularly elected by the militia/firemen for 6 year terms. The city has one small, ancient destroyer that patrols the ports, the locally famous Mr. Snuffles. The steam powered steel-hulled destroyer was built and earned its name in a popular poll in the 2080’s' and dock inspectors often warn smugglers that “Mr. Snuffles is going to get you if you don’t watch it.”

Religion

The city government has always made a conscious effort to remain secular to avoid religious strife. The city is open to all tajaran religious institutions as long as they pay tax and do not cause trouble within the city. The tenuous peace that the city tries to maintain holds true between the worshippers of Ma’ta’ke and the Parivara, though due to its location and demographics followers of Ma’ta’ke make up the majority. Many Mayors at several times in Crevus’ history had to awkwardly mediate between the two faiths as tensions flared up.

The huge colossus of the minor Ma'ta'ke god Rredouane that greets incoming ships continues to upset the city's S'rendarr adherents.

Rredouane

Rredouane is often revered as the patron god of casinos and bars within the city. He is the brother of Ma’ta'ke and the god of valor, triumph, and victory and is unofficially the patron God of the Free City in its entirety. He is a powerful warrior and a revered captain of men who is also known for his love of games and gambling. At the northernmost shore on an artificial island, in a former star fort, there is a large colossus of Rredouane that stands 275ft tall from its feet to its raised goblet. Construction was passed in a contentious referendum in 1983 CE, with Suns worshipers deeply uncomfortable with such a huge religious icon for a, to them, false god towering over the city. It shows Rredouane holding up a goblet with an arm outstretched towards the sea, beckoning sailors with promises of games and fun. He holds a sword that displays his warrior status. No casino or bar is considered legitimate until they have a painting or statue of Rredouane.

Crevus is a popular gathering point for Raskara cultists. Cultists are known to come to the city to party their brains out. Repeatedly being uprooted and kicked out of the city for their more deadly or horrific rituals the cult has slowly learned to not wear out their welcome by being public with the things they do; their main gatherings is a particularly seedy nightclub called The Lock where sometimes less people come out than went in. The Lock always relocates and gains its followers no matter how many times its burnt down, broken up by police, or smashed by fearful gangs. There is no shortage of abandoned buildings that can fit speakers, flashing lights, smoke machines, and music. Hopeful entrants into the club only need to speak the 2-word password to get in.

History

The original settlement was founded as a small fishing village in the Kingdom of Das’nrra. Crevus grew in size and importance due to a brief period of peace between the warrings kings of its time, serving as an important trade port. The city attracted several unlanded nobles, that founded trade companies and served as captains for the countless ships bound to exploration or trade with other parts of Adhomai. Some merchants families amassed large treasures, becoming powerful patricians that held great influence upon the king.

Mayors of Crevus were elected for life by the city’s aristocrats. Those trading dynasties were known for their incessant plotting against each in an attempt to gather enough favor to have their members selected for the office. Murder, sabotage and warfare between private armies were common sights in the months prior to the election.

Due to the riches brought by the trade and exploration, Crevus was able to buy its status as a free city from the Empire of Das’nrra. The Mayor would pay an annual tribute to its neighbor in trade of military protection, but the inhabitants were allowed to handle their own internals affairs in any way they saw fit. Despite this treaty, the patricians controlled a large fleet composed of merchant and military ships.

After the age of exploration was over and other kingdoms opened their own trade routes, Crevus’ importance and wealth started to decline. The patricians attempted to revitalize the city by promoting it as a tourist attraction for the nobility. Several cassinos, theaters, restaurants and clubs were opened. Historical buildings and canals were also regarded as popular tourist sites.

This status quo would end dramatically in 2418. In mid-summer a strange transmission was repeating on ham radios and wireless receivers across Adhomai, repeating a single message in the halls of the Noblemen and military generals who exclusively had use of radio technology. It was Alliance Representative Pam Hu announcing the arrival of humanity and their intended landing in the Free City of Crevus.

The Free City of Crevus became host to hundreds of nobles from all across Adhomai. All of the important leading families came to Crevus. Mayor Juhrakur spent obscene amounts of the city’s funds entertaining the visiting noblemen and the alien dignitaries. Crevans were the first to become translators for the humans. With this and their ability to act as brokers, Crevus became the link between humanity and Tajara. Once Pam Hu and her team integrated into the Tajara language and customs, within a year of forming their permanent enclave members of her science team were in the casinos and clubs doing ‘field research’.

During the uprisings following humanity’s cataclysmic impact upon Adhomai, Crevus attempted to stay neutral in the conflict. Turmoil in the Empire of Das’nrra allowed the Mayor to ignore the payment of tribute. The Free City was able to defend himself from several rebels incursions, making good use of its defensible geographic position and fleet. When the Hadii faction reached Crevus, the patricians decided that joining the revolution was a better opportunity. The families traded their independence for safety and a place in the new world order, their ships were used by the newborn Republic to conquer the rest of Adhomai, while the dynasties were allowed to exist without their titles, serving now as business owners and trusted members of the Party.

Relations between the People’s Republic and Crevus turned sour in the last days of Al’mari’s rule, as he ordered the closing of all casinos and NanoTrasen enterprises on the city. Malik Hadii's policies were also unpopular among the governing class of the Free City, as he sought to reduce their autonomy and attempted to bring the control of profitable establishments to the government. Mayor Mul Shu’yya and the families threw nominal support behind the Adhomai Liberation Army when the revolution exploded, offering support to rebels if they allowed the reopening of the establishment shut down by the Hadii.

Modern Day

But by 2460, despite paying lip service and extraordinarily large sums of tribute to the Democratic People’s Republic of Adhomai, the city-state allows its ports and businesses to be open to Tajara from any slice of life or nation. It remains a hugely popular tourist trap for Tajara and even a small population of humans. It is one of the only places on the planet where soldiers from the PRA, ALA, and even NKA can encounter each other in bars or casinos. While there is a tenuous peace kept between these factions by the local militia and police, sometimes open brawling in the streets cause portions of the city to kick out all enlisted men from one or all of the factions for weeks at a time.

Crevus is now controlled by powerful families that are deeply involved with the entertainment industry and organized crime. With each dynasty making use of gangs as private armies, sabotage and subterfuge to undermine their rivals’ positions and power. Majority of public offices are occupied by members of those families or by individuals trusted by them, corruption runs ramparts due to this.

The current Mayor of Crevus City is Mazula Azaula, a 58 year old njarir’akhran woman known affectionately as ‘Granny’ by the residents. She is formerly the commander of the city militia and despite running the city continues to operate a dive bar in the basement of a local arts and crafts store. She’s 3 years into her term.