by Max Barry

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by The Hooshy Snack Manufacturers of The Celestial Shurayu Republic. . 10 reads.

Kitum Bitr

URRTAR

The capital-moon of the Shurayu is the sacred moon of urrtar, largest of the seventy-and-one moons of the gas-giant Ur-Ḫamn, spanning over fifty-thousand miles around and the only one conducive to life. It is a world of vermillion deserts and forests of trees taller than mountains, of seas of brilliant violet and massive karsts, of continent-spanning chasms and vast verdant plains. It is the home of five-billion Shurayu and many more animals, a vivacious world blanketed with heavy clouds that hang low above the ground during the day, softly obfuscating the scarlet radiance of the three suns and giving the entire moon a foggy aspect, while at night the clouds disperse and the sky is filled with the prismatic oscillations of the surrounding nebula and the glowing countenances of urrtars brother-moons and their cerulean parent, Ur-Ḫamn, a sight famed across the nation for its beauty.

urrtar is sparsely populated apart from the Capital, its inhabitants confined to cities and homesteads with vast swathes of the moon forbidden to the people so that the wilds may stay beautiful and healthy, standing as the ultimate garden of a race of gardeners. Tomb-cities of the savage Erṣetim dot nearly every continent, the ruins silent and overgrown, and the scars of their countless wars mar the landscape alongside those made by the accursed Ḫallulya, and the vast ruqitam from which the Akaltumyu were birthed centuries previously have long since petrified into forests of stone where no life dares to intrude.

Despite the spaciousness of urrtar and the reverence its treated with, its relatively low population can be owed to its prohibitive cost of living, ensuring the the rate of immigration and emigration remain about equal, to the frustration of much of the nation, all in the interest of keeping Shurayu moving towards the astral frontier in order to expand the dominion of the nation rather than flock to their peoples immaculate cradle, a desire that is instinctive for most Shurayu.

L-BLTI-RYA

There is no city in the known universe which comes close to the majesty of l-Blti-rya, rather, it would be more apt to say there are cities and there is The City, for it dwarfs and outclasses every other city in every aspect, the gap so vast comparing any city to the Capital is akin to comparing a grain of sand to a mountain.

l-Blti-rya is the culmination of ten-thousand years of painstaking effort and the sole territory of the Shurayu for most of their history, and that history can tangibly be felt through the ancient stones and warm air. To a Shurayu, visiting the Capital is a religious experience, it is a pilgrimage to the house of the ancestors of the nation where one can not only see the fruits of their ancestors Sacred Toil but tangibly feel the ethereal traces of their labor on a spiritual level like the billion echoes of countless generations past.

Every minute aspect of the city, from the wide avenues and terraced gardens lush with plantlife from all around the known galaxy to the grand monuments and statues dedicated to great philosophers, engineers, and other learned figures are designed to awe the senses of their beholders and exalt the power and beauty of the Shurayu race and the wisdom of the Atrahasian philosophy which guides it. Ziggurats, towers, stadiums, and prestigious houses of learning float effortlessly above the cityscape for no reason other than to amplify their grandiosity, statues hold up grand bridges while tunnels and even humble street-curbs are carved with intricate hand-drawn reliefs, each one unique to itself.

The City is an island about two-hundred-thirty-thousand square miles in area with over five-hundred-million inhabitants located in urrtars southern hemisphere. It is a seemly endless and constantly expanding cityscape of affluent bazaars, vast industrial complexes, grand apartments, the towers of mages, and ziggurats of countless sizes and serving all manner of purpose, from housing, to business, and even agriculture, the pristine urban sprawl occasionally coalescing into grand complexes sometimes reaching the height and breadth of mountains, all crowned and terraced with lush gardens and braziers of many-colored fire and with walls from which water spills out in cool clear streams that fill canals and ponds. The city is divided into countless small partially-self sufficient districts divided by gardens and artificial lakes, all connected through an intricate network of high-speed rail lines and teleportation nexi.

Standing in l-Blti-rya does not feel like standing in a city, for it goes beyond what a city is in all ways, its colorful buildings are tall and proud, but not so tall as to choke out the majestic urrtar sky, greenery prospers in nearly every nook and cranny, and grand parks and man-made lakes dot the city, free for all to enjoy. The sound of music from the buskers of the various musicians guilds and the savory smell of street-food fill the avenues while impassive Atrahasian scholars debate eachother before the packed audiences of their neighborhood amphitheaters on cool afternoons. l-Blti-rya is more than the nations capital or largest city, it is the physical manifestation of its soul and a project in which such tremendous care and love has been placed over such an unimaginable span of time it seems more of a pocket-dimension than a part of any world.

While the Capital is the greatest city of the Shurayu, it is not without its difficulties. The corruption pervading the nation began in the capitals highest government offices and gradually spread down to the lowest offices of the city and spread into the nations cosmic holdings due to the agency of a government unused to the administration of land beyond the capital and the treacherous opportunism of corporations. Organized crime and the prevalence of bribes are a serious concern and black mark on the citys name, though this problem is quickly and dramatically being brought to heel thanks to the edicts and speeches of ar Kinzir ensuring that what corrupt individuals the authorities dont manage to apprehend, angry mobs will, and the revocation of many of the rights and privileges granted to the corporate world by their government lackeys over the recent centuries, all of this in an effort to return Shurayu society to as it was before the weakening of Atrahasian morality as a result of the Shurayu diffusion into space.

Crime has been on an upward climb for decades, especially in the poorer communities where about twelve-percent of the citys population eke out relatively meager livings, these Shurayu are almost always being recent immigrants to the city, and after two generations families tend to find their footing, such a timeframe being a trifle to a long-lived Shurayu. Despite these people tasting the bitterness of poverty, their neighborhoods could never be called slums, for in the Capital, even the homes of the downtrodden are constructed with great care and bear a modicum of beauty compulsively maintained by their inhabitants.

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