The dreams had gotten worse. Often enough, the process of merely falling asleep would be too challenging–tortured thoughts and visions of cyclical delirium being sufficient cause for tormentous half-sleep that kept one’s body indefinitely ragged and on-edge. After a few nights of this, though, biology would take its course. The deep sleep would come, and thus infrequent as it had been, was no better.
Dreams of inscrutable mechanisms, of cycles of the stars and of dizzying suns, the swell of peaks and troughs of a warm iron-tasting sea–consciousness fluttering through a cryptic limbo that fundamentally disagrees with the psyche of mere fragile mortals. The rest what could be had on these nights–where the body can finally restore itself–comes at the cost of the mind: caught inextricably in a cyclone of impossible, drunken haze, mind adrift amidst cacophony with no protection by the body’s will to subconsciously fight for wakefulness against the pull of the pandemonic depths of this sisyphean sleep.
A few days of the body fighting the depths of sleep, the mind flirting with this rose-viscid delirium. One single night where the body has no will left to fight, and while it rests the mind is plunged into a neverending avalanche of thought and somersaulting imagery.
So it had been for years, now, and so it was tonight. Turning down in such a manner had always been difficult, so she often preferred to stay awake when she could, weathering the erosion to her mind and body that doing so would cause, lest her brain be pried open to the delirium yet again. She had been awake for a few days, now.
The sun had set and the cold night had overtaken Ighodia, its lanterns flickering below as its denizens began settling in and warming–or drinking–before sleep. Bansse had begun his march to Gharix Pass only an hour before, the sound of the war drums, the marching boots, the rattling sondel and spears an eerie lullaby echoing throughout the city. The war band had passed by her camp only a few minutes outside Ighodia, and only by a dozen meters.
She hadn’t been able to resist the depths of her delirious sleep tonight. As her willpower gave way so that her mortal body could find rest, her mind was left unshielded to the might of her master.
Her mind was exposed, yet again, to the torture of the machine. Of spinning flighty sleep, of spears swung endlessly and of her bobbing amidst the swells of the iron red sea. Her mind battered against the surf of deceitful purpose and dizzying
When she awoke, she found had wrested her helmet from her head. The pre-dawn light illuminated the snow she had tamped down with her feverish rolling and sleepwalking, relics of her somnolescent communion. A passing nausea washes over her, and she chokes back the stinging bile rising in her chest.
She had to make haste.
She stands and forces her slush-covered helmet over her head, taking brief revel in the familiarity of the act, before turning to Ighodia.
After the harrowing journey across the sea between Anemos and its patron Aiolia, sailors find relief in the warm comforts of the harbor before continuing to the city’s other patron, the realm of Koh. Between the fields of wheat, hives of honey, and sugar plantations, patrons find a wide variety of alcohol to satisfy their needs. Some of the brands of rum and mead have become famous among sailors, often brought home by the cask by wealthier merchants. Taverns in the city are always full, rooms brimming. As the most secure port in the region, with seas to the north and south patrolled by pirates, the safeguard of the Kohese and Aiolian forces drew merchant ships like moths to a flame. Such wealth is why Anemos was among the first to succumb to the first wave of naval assaults by the Black Sails.
After the great disaster that precluded the invasion of the black sailed pirates into the southern ocean, the Aiolian navy launched to aid the beleaguered city. They found a smog of soot and ash, the port smoldering from the attack. Immediately, the Black Sails descended upon them. They were repelled by artillery and the golems of the Vassilias, who then set upon the ships himself. The threat was soon dealt with and the Aiolian ships docked where they could in the ruined piers. Supplies were delivered to the survivors and defenses posted at the entrances to the channel.
Soon, Kohese ships arrived, seeking the pirates and retribution of their own. Seeing their fellow Linireans already rebuilding the port critical to their trade and communication, they offered aid and soon began construction of their own. Their magnificent fort and deadly ballistae joined the Secundan sponsored stronghold and Alicudan produced scorpions.
Thus, Anemos was reborn out of its ashes to its parents, Koh and Aiolia. The relationship between the two has been strong as steel ever since, though the occasional skirmish between overly eager sailors is not uncommon.
-excerpt from the Aiolian book, Realms Beyond the Sea
Read both parties' comments, and I actually am strongly backing the idea put forth by Ikram. Giving a population a cap, and allowing individuals to disperse that population among their settlements. Allowing the lore minister to make exceptions to those wanting to exceed the cap, with evidence they are making something truly iconic and worthy of exceeding that of other realms.
What is the point of every city having a huge 1million pop? It isn't special then. The only way to keep something unique and incredible is to gatekeep otherwise we'd all have it.
My only comment is that large realms underneath the surface are not inherently dwarven. Not important to the topic, but it's a comment, definitely.