Audira: History and Rumors
Described by the poetic as the cradle of the coast, Audira is one of the most attractive spots in Sedera. Coming from the desert or ocean, the white adobe buildings with their dark-green cactus window gardens still manage to catch and reflect some light. Once almost blinding in a hot afternoon sun, the city in today's darkened skies projects a warm glow with candles in each window forming a golden haze that beckons to the weary and travel-worn.
There has been a small city on the location where Audira stands since well before the Great Cataclysm. The name of the oldest city is lost, but descriptions of it from tablets found in the temple to Az'atta tell of mud-brick houses and shell walkways that lead in circles. Indeed, Audira is on the foundations of that old town and is built in a semi-circle around the docks, though the paths in town are more or less straight. From all indications, the ancient city was also a trading post, abandoned for unknown reasons but leaving behind some sophisticated secrets.
For most of Audira's history, those secrets were only occasionally revealed as the sands uncovered some ancient magical item, pottery, or statue. In 1388, however, travelers from the lands beyond the desert were enticed to help with a problem in the aqueducts. That Audira even had aqueducts was one of the secrets of the old city and the new, and the method that was being employed to cleanse the water before it ran to the ocean was both an arcane and alchemical puzzle. Tenders to the system use a mineral binding agent and an activating agent to create a mineral ooze that consumes biological components and leaves fresh water and nitrogen gas behind. This was learned through experimentation by some magical specialists called in to assist, and the ratios re-balanced so that Audira could continue to cleanse the water diverted from an underground source as both their drinking water (take upstream) and their waste removal system (downstream). The end result of this was the discovery of the upper portions of the buried ruins of an ancient city in what is now the Wandering Dunes, but for Audira, it meant a return to safe water and green grasses. It's hypothesized that the underground river is the same grand river that ran by Zxar; certainly draining into the ocean makes sense, and this is a widely accepted view.
Those strolling the expanding harbor, shell-strewn walkways, or taking shade under whitewashed buildings might notice that the eastern half of the city, including the docks, is quite visibly newer than the rest of the city with the exception of the Az'attan temple. The attack in 1373 from Blood's general Khain left part of the city magically on fire, and much has had to be replaced. Fortunately, a band of heroes led by a dwarf called Thordan Ironheart were able to warn off the inhabitants when the enemy fleet was first sighted, and no lives were lost.
Audira today has survived the darkened skies in part because of the steady water supply and nitrogen. It's a thriving trading town, rife with varying influences from the port and the omnipresent backbone of the Abt culture. A huge variety of items are for sale, from weapons and armor to foods and exotic cloth. Most merchants are eager to trade or purchase new things as well, so it's a good place to throw down a rug and display your wares. Like many busy port towns, there is a backdrop of noise from unloading ships, the constant murmur of the flow of people in the streets, and an overlying melody of braying, mooing, and clucking from the livestock that sometimes walks unfettered in the streets. Still, most visitors cannot help but feel the undercurrent of relaxation and the gentle vibration of good will the city seems to be misted in.
Audira has two notable shrines to Deliar, a temple to Mist out on the beach, a shrine to Rofirein, and strangely enough, the large temple to Az'atta. That temple, more than anything, defines the feel of Audira. The story is simple enough. Running from the lands beneath the trod of surface feet, Az'atta and her handmaidens broke to the world under the sun and took refuge there. While it is not spoken of often outside the church, the tales of her travel are written; it is known in a general sense where she went, if only by the written reactions of the occupants of those places. And it's known that after many years of travel, Audira became her final stop. It was here that she built her temple, here that she was written to have become enraptured of the ocean sunsets and the peaceful winds. Many think that the old city layout that Audira rests on was a city built around the temple, and certainly the temple is the oldest building in the town. It's possible that the aqueducts and treatments for the water were of dark elf design, and it has been shown that the dark elves have used similar engineering in their cities.