The Longest Journey
The Nadusa System - Port Haz
Location: Northern polar region, Nadusa. Class: Frontier town/Spaceport.
Population: Roughly 45.000 souls.
Government: Evangelist Francis Monte
Adapta Presence: None of note. Adeptus Ministorum effectively governing the settlement independently.
Port Haz is Nadusa’s secondary port and a major agricultural hub near the planets northern polar region, by the Velwyn Sea. The port itself is situated on a rise some distance from the shoreline, overlooking the small farming and fishing communities for which it acts as both a religious and economic centre. On its little hill the small city forms a rough crescent behind a sturdy wall of stamped clay, several meters high and topped by a rampart. Outside the walls clings a small district of the settlements poorest in simple huts of mud, mainly home to indentured labourers and various outcasts. In particular, those cursed by the stigma of mutation often live out their miserable and brutal lives here. The houses of the citizens proper nestle within the walls, rising up in chaotic randomness as they cling to the side of the Divine Horn, a massive rocky mesa which forms the spine of the settlement. Due to the construction material, as well as the frequent dust and sand storms blowing in from the desert, Port Haz from a distance appears a brown and dreary place. It is a dusty, and for none-natives confusing, city of random turns, labyrinthine stairs and endless passages both through the central rock and layers of stone housing. Though outwardly chaotic the town is in truth a fairly beautiful place though beyond its façade of dust coloured, faintly blue-tinted housing. The many chambers, passages and corridors are covered in carvings, small silvered statues, badges and emblems nearly everywhere, dedicated to the Emperor or one of his many saints. Blue in particular seems a colour beloved upon Nadusa and both squares and passages are oft covered by blue baldachins and similar covers. The authorities have also channelled vast parts of their tithe into arts venerating the God-Emperor. As such most squares in Port Haz sports at least one statue, often accompanied by a fountain, depicting a saint or other appropriately religious motif.
Livelihood and economy:
Despite its strict religious codes and oppressive government the citizens of Port Haz for the most part live ordered and, by imperial standards, tolerable lives. Many earn their living plying minor trades supplying the surrounding agrarian population or the clergy. In particular the carvers of stone or metals are much sought for votive carvings, inscriptions or sculptures. A sizable part of the population also find their livelihood working in the nearby mining operations run by the Winterscale dynasty, and though conditions are harsh the operation is a cornerstone of the local economy.
The people of Port Haz, and Nadusa in general, are by appearance mostly a varied lot, but a few centuries of selection has already given the majority of the population a faintly browned tone and a certain tolerance for heat the envy of most outsiders. The local fashion is also well adapted to the planets extreme climate, consisting mainly of loose, layered garments made from thin, breathing materials. The people of Haz speak a fairly understandable dialect of low-gothic heavily interspaced with religious parlance, imperial proverbs and a surprising amount of high-gothic.
As one would expect from a town upon a forgotten backwater like Nadusa Port Haz’s history is far from illustrious. The region was first explored by bored and adventurous junior officers in service upon the orbiting storage station run by the Winterscale dynasty. The initial exploration centred on the Velwyn Sea, and it was quickly determined that the oasis-like ecosystem would provide an excellent basis for food production. Geological sampling also proved the area rich in platinum deposits, in addition to more mundane metals. Perhaps in an attempt to earn the notice of his Lord, Abdel Haz the local commander commenced several mining operations in the area, the largest of which was centred on what later became the “Divine Horn”. Thus through chance grew Port Haz and its environs, the population thriving on the abundance of the Velwyn Sea and quickly growing beyond the small initial labour force.
Despite the efforts of Abdel Haz however Nadusa never grew prosperous and he lived out his life orbiting the planet, bitter and resentful. Indeed, keeping the Nadusa operation supplied quickly proved a small but steady drain on Winterscale resources, even after the discovery of the scent properties of “Silvered Leaves”. The planet was thus, in 686 M.41, handed over as tithe to the Adeptus Ministorium. This meant the end of Port Haz’s status as planetary capital, for the Ecclesiarchy chose to construct a new port in the desert to the south, near one of the long standing desert monasteries raised by the first missionaries to reach the world. In time this new Port Zeal would far outgrow Port Haz in size, though Port Haz remained a centre of much commercial and especially agricultural activity to this very day.
Locations of note:
The Port – Port Haz’s port, that is to say its spaceport, occupies a large stretch of land immediately to its east atop a vast hillock of its own. It compromises several kilometres of landing space, storage facilities and other essential infrastructure to service the great cargo-lifters hauling the planets bounty into space. A small area to its north is also set aside for ordinary landing crafts. Everything is protected and run by a local mercenary company under the nominal control of the Winterscale dynasty.
The Eugenion Bazar – Located near Port Haz’s city gate this bazar, covering a large square partly overhung by climbing buildings, is the economic heart both of the city and the entire surrounding region. Four massive statues of saint Eugenion looks out across the Bazar from each of the main directions, each depicting the wonderfully robed saint respectively preaching, reading, writing and contemplating the Emperor’s judgement, reminding the hawkers and buyers that any lie uttered will turn to fire in their mouths. From a central platform a lay preacher oversees that this judgement of the Emperor is immediately carried out on anyone found cheating.
The Catacombs – Since the time of its founding as a mining colony the people of Port Haz has buried their dead amongst the cool roots of the Divine Horn. Old, unused mining shafts were converted by skilled hands into mournful corridors decorated with elaborate carvings and platinum statues which worm their way deep underground. Though originally nothing more than stripped skeletons placed in niches, in time a peculiar custom has developed where the skeleton is interred laying on its belly and facing outwards from a small capsule-like niche. The skulls, which is the only part of the body left visible, is then coated in metal, preferably platinum or gold, and the name and deeps of the deceased scrimshawed onto its forehead. It is thus believed that the Emperor will more easily recognize his own, upon the final day.
The Divine Horn – Rising far and high above Port Haz is the giant mesa known as the Divine Horn. Its upper strata have since the time of the settlements founding been home to Port Haz’s rulers, though it has changed much since the time of the Winterscale representatives. Today the upper third of the Divine Horn houses a large monastery and cathedral from which the local Evangelist reign. The cathedral is a beautiful area, saints and cherubs carved into the very rock and columns of basalt supporting a vaulted celling far above. The monastery which lies above is far more austere, home to mostly rough-hewed corridors and warm, bare cells.