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Bodea-Lotnikk is the most populous urban area in Grand Duchy Of Kroon, comprised of no less than 86 distinct boroughs, assimilated townships, long-vanished villages, and subsumed hunting grounds. Built around the pungent junction of the Kroon and St. Siblas rivers, the area is named, collectively, for the two largest cities that make up the metropolis1, Bodea and Lotnikk, the former the duchy seat, the latter the mercantile heart2 of the region.
Often referred to collectively as simply "the Cities" Bodea and Lotnikk are in fact independent municipalities with defined borders (not least of which being the Kroon River) and are quite distinct from each other. Bodea, with its broad boulevards and more modern architecture, entirely makes up in bureaucracy what it lacks in redeemable soul; Lotnikk boasts somewhat narrower streets3 laid out more irregularly, clannish neighborhoods, and a vast collection of architecture marking the dying moments of any number of design eras best forgotten. Also of some note is the differing cultural backgrounds of the two cities: the Cities have always had a Dwarf population and are home to several Dwarfish temples as well as Groves for gatherings of the Reluctant Folk. There is also a strong8 Troll community and in 1006, the first Squamish temple opened in the borough of Mud Spring. A recent influx of immigrants from the Fire Islands and the deserts of Western Vijas has brought many more religions (and species) to the area; there are several lizarim Masjids, though none have an official Tent.
Bodea and Lotnikk (and their surrounding villages) have competed since they were founded, resulting in duplication of efforts such as building bigger or more extravagantly. Both cities have a University, and after Lotnikk completed its elaborate4 Cathedral in 915, Bodea quickly followed up with the equally ostentatious Basilica of St. Mersh in 926. In the late 9th and early 10th-centuries the rivalries became so intense that an architect practicing in one city was often refused business in the other5. The infamous "Cities Census" of 890 even led to the two cities arresting and/or kidnapping each other's census takers, in an attempt to keep either city from visibly outgrowing the other.
The rivalry has occasionally erupted into inter-city violence, as happened at a 923 championship game of full-contact nine pins between the Bodean Mudferthings and the Lotnikk Sandmites. Both cities have historically competed for key mercantile concerns, leading (for example) to the building of two different Guild Houses for the Misanthropic Weaver's Union, #213. There was a brief period6 during which the two cities could not agree on a common calendar or clock, resulting in a period of a few weeks where people in Bodea were two and a half days ahead of anyone living across the river in Lotnikk.7
Like much of the muddy, lake-saturated Duchy, the land beneath Bodea-Lotnikk is riddled with natural sandstone and limestone caves which have been expanded into mines in any number of locations and eras. While a few of the caverns are clean, safe places9, most are not9, and rumors about lost city ruins, vast tunnel networks, and the infamous Ducal dungeons are as common as beggars in New Eck. Over the centuries, hundreds if not thousands of individuals have been injured and killed while exploring beneath the city10. A number of these incidents involved asphyxiation and drowning, while one particularly persistent local legend tells a tale of sheep herding gone horribly awry.
1 - One is tempted to refer to the metropolis itself as 'sprawling'. In the interests of completeness, it behooves the author to note that several other adjectives used to describe unconscious drunks are also quite serviceable.
2 - Identical to the hearts of most merchants; unsteady, given to palpitations, fat-laden, and only theoretical in nature.
3 - One is immediately and uncomfortably reminded of the moment of birth.
4 - Again, one is tempted by the word 'sprawling', but in this case comparisons to a scantily-clad and embarrassingly over-rouged madame are more apt.
5 - In hindsight, a boon to Bodea; less so for Lotnikk where 'innovation' and 'vision' have inbred to the point where chins begin to disappear.
6 - Depending on which calendar one references, this disagreement occurred around 960, or "Inne the Yellowe Quartz Samisyear".
7 - Which in turn created the brief, paradoxical non-reign of Duke Ferdigard the Martyr.
8 - One must, at times, be forgiven the double-entendre.
9 - In both cases, the Tram provides excellent examples.
10 - Making it a remarkably safer activity than visiting the city itself.