Chronicles of Ascension
Qi is the largest city in the Steadfast. It is also the site of the Durkhal, home of the Order of Truth and the Amber Pope himself. More than a half million people live in Qi, a city of spires and fantastically huge helium or hot air balloons and dirigibles. The common saying “Half of Qi is in the sky” is an exaggeration, but it feels accurate when you’re there.
The people of Qi often travel by fashioned balloons and dirigibles, so there are multiple mooring platforms and high metal masts throughout the city. These aerial vehicles take passengers from place to place around Qi, to various outlying areas, and sometimes to ships moored well out into the harbor. They’re rarely used for long-distance travel because— with a few exceptions that employ higher levels of ancient technology— the vehicles aren’t capable of long journeys. Besides, most places outside of Qi don’t offer the ability to moor or replenish what the airships need.
Qi has many large markets, in particular along the docks. The multilevel central market—well away from the water— is thought to offer one of the most expensive and elite shopping opportunities in the Steadfast. Here, all manner of goods can be bought and sold, with no luxury too exotic or fantastic for one of its shops.
Many of Qi’s centralmost sections lie on multiple levels, with decorative bridges and raised walkways connecting the higher levels, and bright glowglobes illuminating the lower so that each level is equally lit and beautiful. Trees and ﬂowering plants grow in well-tended plots and pots even in the most crowded areas of the city, including the sections that are dozens of feet above the ground. Larger parks and walled gardens are common as well. Neighborhoods, particularly in the central city, are often surrounded by walls to enclose the homes and their communal gardens. This practice can create urban rivalries and is quite unwelcoming to outsiders.
The people of Qi believe themselves to be at the center of the Steadfast, and they consider the Steadfast to be the center of the world. This arrogance is so prevalent that it’s practically an assumption, and it stirs hatred for Qi in the hearts of nonresidents.
Although the city is elitist, not everyone in Qi is wealthy. On the contrary, those dwelling in the outer sections are often quite poor. They must contend with the difficult living conditions and high crime rates.