The Burnt World of Athas

The official Dark Sun website

From the archived Ur-Braxa.

Braxland is proud to host The Khan's vision of Urik:

The City State of Urik

North and slightly east of Tyr, Urik sits with its tall buildings and mighty walls hungrily looking down upon the rest of the Table Lands. The free population in this city-state stands at 32,000, with again that many slaves.  The city itself is one and two thirds miles on a side, which with all things being equal, would provide for a population density of one individual per 775 feet.  This alone is testimony of Hamanu's vaulting ambition, and of his inability to live up to it.  The city extends from Destiny's Kingdom, the mighty fortress that houses most of Urik's military, government, and Hamanu's palace.  Around the city proper are another 11 client villages (including Makla) which easily produce at least another 32,000 people and slaves.

Most of Urik is made up of mud-brick buildings, several stories tall.  The wealthy can afford sandstone and wooden homes, and often make use of Obsidian trimmings, monuments, and decorations.  The walls of the city-state are a massive 60' tall and are constructed of sandstone.

Though they are at least 20' thick in all places, on the exterior, the wall juts out in a pattern of projections or abutments, bringing the depth to 30' or 35' at places. Pairs of light beacons are set up atop the city's outer walls, at every 250' feet.  They are known as the King's Eyes/ the Lion's Eyes and they can be seen from 5 miles away from the city.  They are the symbols of the king's never closing eyes...  The interior of the walls is glazed white and display painted scenes of Hamanu's accomplishments and valor.  They have three separate walkways-the lowest, at about 25' above the ground, 15' wide, serves as a common walkway, another at 45' is for templar and city patrols, and the third, at the top of the wall serves as lookout away from the city.  In many places homes are actually built against the city wall to save on building costs.

The main gate of Urik is in the center of the east wall, where it faces the rising sun.  Constructed of sandstone like the surrounding wall, the Lion's Gate resembles just that: the gaping mouth of a lion.  The general public does not frequently use this gate, it is only opened for special occasions like Hamanu's Day of Battle, when the citizens from all the surrounding villages come into the city to watch the parade and games, or when the Urikite army goes to war.  Outside the gates huge, glorious statues of Hamanu line each side of the road for nearly a mile.

There are three other gates in Urik.  The South Gate, in the center of the southern wall, is called the Traveler's Gate, where the majority of the visitors enters and leaves (or used to, depends on what your policy is on Urik's isolation).  Directly opposite the South gate, on the Northern wall is the Caravan Gate, which is wide enough to accommodate a single mekillot wagon (mekillot teams would have to be left in a client village and workers hired to transport the goods in).  Finally also on the northern wall, but near the western corner of the city-state is the Obsidian gate.

This gate links the road to Makla with Urik, and is accessible only by templars and house Shom employees (this gate IS wide enough for mekillot teams).

I suggest five major streets in Urik.  Directly extending from the central gate of Destiny's Kingdom straight to the Lion's Gate is a 30'wide glazed brick road named The Way of the Lion.  As mentioned earlier, the Lion's gate is seldom used, and so too is the Way of the Lion.  Only templars, city guards, and the very powerful walk this road except for the above mentioned special occasions-it is against Hamanu's code to walk more than ten steps to the east or west along this street.

 Two streets run parallel, on either side of Destiny's Kingdom.  The north street (running east-west)is the Way of Obsidian.  It connects Caravan Way in the west (which is the short road connecting The Obsidian Gate to Destiny's Kingdom) and terminates just short of the Pit of Black Death Arena in the northeast corner of the city-state (a short stretch known as the Tunnel, because of the old, tall buildings and narrow passage, runs to the arena).  Ral's Path, a short road that leads to the Caravan Gate, joins the Obsidian Road.  The parallel road in the south is named after whoever is the current Hero of Urik, so in the present it is called Javed's Way.  It disappears and divides into smaller streets as it nears the Western end of the city.  It joins with the Traveler's Gate through a short road called Guthay's Path.

Linking the Obsidian Road and Javed's Way are the two roads east of Destiny's Kingdom, the Way of Patience (closer to Destiny's Kingdom) and the Way of Valor.  Countless other roads exist, but I'm not going to detail them, but rather I'll mention a couple when I go through some of the special sites I've compiled from the books.

Destiny's Kingdom, or just Destiny to any Urikite, joins the western wall of the city-state.  The walls of this fortress are even taller than the rest of the city-about 80 feet tall!  Included in this complex are the military drilling fields, barracks, templar barracks, the temples of office, school of psionics, defiler school and library, the Royal gardens, orphanage, and of course, Hamanu's palace.  Despite the fact that this sounds like a lot of different functions, they are far from enough to cover a square mile.  Instead much of Destiny is open, desert space, another reminder of Hamanu's grand ambition.

There are a number of exits--the main gate in the center of the east wall which is the main gate (huge, 20' wide but seldom opened unless the military is doing a parade or going to war. Instead a smaller, 10'wide gate is used for standard admission.  Just inside the gates is the waiting area, where petitioners are screened.  Passing this, the petitioner finds him/herself in the Royal Gardens, and is screened further and directed either to the Temple of King's law or one of the various administrative offices. The barracks are to the right, and the psionic's school, the Royal Academy, to the left. Towards the rear are the templar barracks, and the defiling school.  The palace encompasses a large portion of the center area, including the huge maybe 80-100'tower upon which it is illegal to gaze, for penalty of immediate death without trial if a templar were to spy someone. The other entrances are smaller gates in the left and right walls, used primarily by the templars and requiring an amulet or accompaniment of an amulet to get through.

A short road connects Destiny to the Obsidian Way, going east-west.  The road continues into Destiny's kingdom through another gate, and enters the eight storehouses of Urik (100' to a side, many levels high).  The road ends at a branch of the Temple of Trade.