Remnants of Ice
Qi’an is the ancient capital of the Empire of Hangzhao. It was originally a fortress built into the cliffs on the east bank of the Zhao river, but after the Empire was founded it has rapidly grown to become one of the largest cities in the world. The original fortress remains, though – much expanded but still as impregnable as it was thousands of years ago. The Imperial Palace and the military headquarters of Hangzhao can both be found within it walls, with the main bureaucratic centres of the Empire located more centrally in the main city.
These days, Qi’an is a sprawling metropolis of almost 2 million people on both sides of the river, although the east bank remains the wealthier and is where most of the important administrative functions lie. Due to the immense wealth and power of the Empire, there is very little poverty within the city, and even the poorest citizens own houses and have easy access to food and water.
Displaying an impressive degree of long-sightedness, the ancient leaders of the Empire surrounded the far limits of the city with two layers of walls – leaving plenty of space for expansion, but also for the creation of parks and wide city streets. Unlike many other cities of this size, Qi’an isn’t overcrowded, and has yet to spill out from inside its defenses. After the events of Khronas’ Slumber, it seems unlikely it will ever do so.
A massive quadrant on the east bank of the city, a mile or so north of the Imperial Palace, is contained within another set of walls – this region houses the Imperial Court and the administrative centres of the Empire. It is here that pupils who pass the initial Imperial Examinations are sent to study, and where any of them posted to the capital work. The upper echelons of the Court both live and work within these walls inside the Grand Chambers, the largest structure in the city. It is from this building that the Empire of Hangzhao is run.