Hammerhal

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The walls of Hammerhal Aqsha

Hammerhal, also known as the Twin-Tailed City, is the greatest and the spirit capital of the Cities of Sigmar, cities built after the end of the Realmgate Wars around the Realmgates claimed by the Stormcast Eternals. It's known as the Twin-tailed City because it's two settlements, Hammerhal Aqsha and Hammerhal Ghyra, ruled as one, one on each side of the Stormrift Realmgate.[1]

History

Age of Sigmar

Before being reclaimed, thirty chambers struck at both sides of the Stormrift Realmgate battling the orruk tribes who worshipped it as the Maw of Mork. Their tribal kingdoms had long fought over the mystic portal, raising sprawling fortifications upon its twinned thresholds and invading one another through its crackling depths. Given common purpose by the Stormcast attack, the Morkmaw tribes unified. Only after long years of fighting - and with the aid of the Hallowed Knights, the Anvils of the Heldenhammer and several other Stormhosts - did Sigmar's warrior at last defeat the orruk scourge. To the Hammers of Sigmar went the honours of raising the first Stormkeeps around the Realmgate.[4a] The city that followed was named after them.[1][12b]

Reaching up from the bedrock on both sides of the Stormrift, Sigmar's warriors discovered rich outcroppings of realmstone. Formed from the concentrated magics of the Mortal Realms, these volatile crystals were a valuable yet dangerous source of arcane power first harnessed by the renowned architect Valius Maliti. The energies that poured from their central lodeshards were crucial in speeding along the construction of Hammerhal, fuelling the efforts of the Ironweld engineers to raise new defences and expand the city's boundaries. It was the engineers who - with the aid of the Lord-Relictors - caged the energies of the realmstone, building elaborate sigmarite machinery around them to harness their volatile sorcerous emanations. In Hammerhal Aqsha, those wrathful energies powers a vast shield of flickering lightning, while Hammerhal Ghyra funnels them into protective wards to confuse and misdirect hostile invaders.[4c]

As one of the new cities reclaimed by order during the Age of Sigmar in the Great Parch it starts to thrive as philosophy, art and fashion begin to develop once again.[1a][1b]

In the Time of Tribulations the two hundred and forty-four Lords of the Heavenhall debated fiercely about what action to take before Morathi the High Oracle of Khaine arrived. She quickly addressed them all and stated that This council must put aside its differences immediately and send every available army to Shyish, or the forces of death will overwhelm us. Despite some initial opposition she convinces them to send the cities armies to join her own in attacking the Realm of Shyish [8]

In the aftermath of the Necroquake the dead arose across the Realms and in Hammerhal Ghyra they clawed their way out of the tombs in the Azyrite necropoli or the blessed soil of the Shadeglens and the defenders of the city were hard pressed to destroy them.[10a] Meanwhile in Hammerhal Aqsha, forgotten armies of deathrattle warriors suddenly stirred themselves and tore free from the boiling mud-flats and marched on the walls.[10b]

At the start of the Arcanum Optimar the Endless Spell known as the Purple Death was unleashed upon the streets of Hammerhal.[11]

Twin-Tailed City

The City of Hammerhal and the Stormrift Gate seen from Hammerhal Aqsha

Hammerhal Aqsha

Hammerhal Aqsha is a bustling metropolis located in the Great Parch in Aqshy. It's a harsh and heavy fortified place with towering bastions and batteries. It's many pendants and banners dance on hot, angry winds. It is protected by lighting shields while mobile forts seek to expand the city boundaries.[1][12a] It is named after the Aqshai River situated in the western end of the city.[20a]

The cities defences are maintained by the genius of the Ironweld Arsenal, which have a strong presence in the city. The surrounding land is purified by the self-flagellating processions of Devoted of Sigmar.[1]

In exchange for a steady supply of foodstuff from Ghyra, Aqsha provides a constant stream of molten rocks.[1]

Hammerhal Ghyra

Hammerhal Ghyra is located in the Jade Kingdom of Verdia in Ghyran is a city of golden domes and celestial spires. The city itself is highly decentralized, sections of it are built in between gigantic mountain terraces wrapped around the fertile mountains of the region.[14b] These immense fields are worked by enormous beetles, dragging massive plows trough the fertile earth, while torrents of water pour down from Mammoth Drift-Isles, each of them kept in place by chains of Ironoaks [14b]. In exchange for food and military support, Hammerhal Aqsha channels rivers of lava trough the Stormrift Realmgate, burning away the rapidly growing flora, threatening to overwhelm the city. Carefully cut trenches form walls of fire that hold back the plants of Ghyran.[1][14b] The air is noted by many visitors as tasting of cinders and smoke and the atmosphere as wet and humid. [3b] It is known as a stronghold of aelf-kind, many Free Peoples[1] and a sizable population of Sylvaneth[14b] with parts of the city given over to vast groves of trees.[3c]

Government

The Grand Conclave of lords, chosen from amongst the best and brightest, govern this city.[3] The Grand Conclave of Hammerhal is comprised of a grand total of two-hundred forty-four seats and has representatives from every other major City of Sigmar.[14a]

Of the one-hundred and twenty-two seats representing Hammerhal Aqsha, half are held by members of the Azyrite nobility of the city. Despite this there are a number of Aqshian dynasties that hold major political positions in the city. Chief amongst these are House Vanx, House Taladin, and House Naffir who have all had members hold office as Master Patriarch or Master Matriarch.[20a]

Society

As the foremost sanctuary for the free peoples of the realms, Hammerhal's population has grown both in size and diversity. Darkling Covens thrive in the grimmer quarters of the city. Wanderers live in nomadic caravans and treetop camps in the gardens of Ghyra. The industrial expertise of the Dispossessed is vital for the constantly expanding cities. Due to the constant expansion regions of the city are swift to rise and fall in prominence, with formerly vital trading posts fading into insignificance. The vast populations of aelves, duardin and humans has also caused a housing crisis and widespread inequality. While the noble quarters such as the gleaming spire-towers of Goldpath or the garden villas of Sanctor Tulis are the envy of the realms, millions more citizens live in crime-ridden slums such as the Cinderfall district and the gloomy warrens of Blackwood Town. While life in these districts may be bleak they breed tough, hard-bitten souls who make for excellent soldiers and are given a path to glory and renown through service in the Freeguild.[13a]

Entertainment

The bawdy houses found within the Twin-Tailed City are especially infamous.[14b]

Economy

By day, thousands of skyvessels, skycutters ,lava-cogs and Sylvaneth winged beetle mounts make their way to dock at the city's trading districts through the immense chasm that runs through the city which forms a natural trading route, and the rift-docks echo to the sounds of sailors and labourers shifting a bewildering array of exotic cargo and livestock from their vessels to the merchants' stalls and the dockside warehouses. Riftsiders tend to be hardy, practical folk, well-muscled and sun-beaten from many years of physical toil undertaken in the blazing heat.[4b][13a]

There is a constant flow of molten rock from Aqsha to Ghyra and in return Ghyra supplies vast shipments of grain, meat and Aqua Ghyranis.[1] Ghyra imports both stone and timber for building as the inhabitants are forbidden from logging in the realm as per the ancient laws of Alarielle, this is strictly enforced by the local Sylvaneth.[3e] Ghyra uses its carefully channelled flow of molten rock to direct broad defensive canals in order to hold back the overwhelming fecundity of the Realm of Life.[4c] There is almost nothing that cannot be found within Hammerhal's sprawling market districts and the vaults of Hammerhal are filled with wonders and treasures from across the realms, claimed through battle or exploration.[13a]

Trade

Goods from Hammerhal Aqsha and Vandium travel northward along the Great Ash Road to the city of Edassa, and from there much needed supplies flow through to the lands and settlements of the Flamescar Plateau. The seemingly cursed city of Anvalor was able to be built thanks to this extensive trade route.[1a]

Thousands of vessels, and the flying beetles of the Sylvaneth bring goods in and out of the Hammerhal Aqsha everyday, many of them aerial craft but some ply the lava rivers of Capilaria to reach the city as well. These vessels carry ingots of mystic metals, gems of every variety, cut, and hue, shards of shadeglass, logs of ivory, ironoak, megalofin teeth, beads of amber, salted meats, fyresteel blades, and many more goods from across every Mortal Realm.[14a]

A network of Realmgates connects Aqsha with Tempest's Eye, Anvilgard, and Hallowheart allowing the four cities to engage in heavy trade. In particular many Hammerhalian weapons are traded for Golvarian minerals and primordial Realmstone from the mines of Hallowheart.[20b]

Ghyra sits at the center of many trade networks, serving as a crucial supplier of foodstuffs to countless other settlements.[26a]

Military

Hammerhalians prize martial ability and stubborn resolve and its standing armies are amongst the largest and best-equipped available to the God-King. The line infantry of the city's Freeguilds are known as the Goldjackets who are famed for their fighting ability and unwillingness to retreat, easily recognizable by their gleaming-breastplates. All of the city's military guilds claim are fiercely proud of their heritage, carrying banners of rare provenance woven from Hyshian suncloth and stitched with the skin and bones of martyrs that are carried into battle to inspire the soldiers, some claim their banners are in fact the battle standards of their progenitor tribes dating back all the way to the flight to the Realm of Heavens after the dawn of the Age of Chaos. In the only instance, of these colours falling into enemy hands, the Griffon Spears Freeguild embarked upon a suicidal cavalry charge against a greenskin horde eight times their number known as the Forlorn Charge. The Twin-tailed City can deploy almost any specialist formation ranging from handgunners and swordsmen backed up by all manner of auxiliary formations, chosen according to the needs of the campaign including Shadow Warriors, fleets of Gyrobombers or the magical war machines of the Collegiate Arcane. [13a][20b][20c]

There are many Freeguilds operating within the Twin-Tailed City, with Hammerhal Aqsha alone boasting seventeen major Freeguilds comprised of over a hundred regiments each. These include the Golden Lions, the Scions of the Comet, the Leaden Bulls, the Heldenhain, the Sun Seekers, the Boldhearts, and the Vandusian Guard.[20c]

An entire district of Hammerhal Aqsha was transformed into the Acadamae Martial, a combined training ground and barracks, complete with mustering fields where officers of the city's armies study and the renowned Dragoon-Generals of Hammerhal are the elite graduates of these schools.[13a]

Chambers of the Hallowed Knights are part of the powerful military forces of Hammerhal and have sworn an oath that Hammerhal Ghyra will not fall while the faithful stand.[3]

Locations

Cityplanning

The city of Hammerhal contains a substantial amount of suburbs and conurbations that are used for agrarian purposes, many of which are packed around the outermost walls of the Twin-Tailed City.[14b]

Locations in Aqsha

Map of the Cinderfall District.[4]
  • Acadamae Martial: An entire district of the city transformed into a combined training ground and barracks with mustering fields where the officers of the city's great armies can study the theoretics of cavalry movement and infantry formations. [13a]
  • Adramar Rift: At the northern edge of Cinderfall District lies the unfortunate by-product of the tectonic trauma caused by the foundation and excavation of Hammerhal Aqsha. The city's rifts have either been filled with duardin mines and engineworks, or left as impressive reminders of the scale of civil engineering within the grand city. The Adramar Rift cuts through several major districts and is the main thoroughfare by which merchant trader airships travel through the city.[16][20a] Bridges are built across the rift to connect districts on either side to one another.[24]
  • Alchemists Guild.[5a]
  • Ash Hand Burrows.[4]
  • Ashbark Tower.[4]
  • Black Dust Alleys.[4]
  • Black Fields.[4]
  • Blackglass Guilds.[4]
  • Blackwood Town.[4]
  • Bloom Gate Terrace.[4]
  • Bones of Kazarig.[4]
  • Brass Mire: The ground of this district is unstable and many areas prone to collapsing into the magma below, such collapses can inevitably become deadly and costly disaster. In this district magma is prone to rising close to the surface, creating a brass-like glow. Communal kitchens, bakeries, and forges are built around heat wells within the district.[4][15]
  • Briar Bridge.[4]
  • Briargate Wood.[4]
  • Bulwark Shanties: Slums that grow outside the protection of the Burning Palisade each time the city expands. This is where the most unfortunate of the city live and are usually the first victims of enemy attacks on the city, which happen quite frequently. [20a]
  • Candle Town.[4]
  • Cathedral Ignis: One of the many churches dedicated to the Sigmarite faith found in Hammerhal.[23a]
  • Charcoal Hill.[4]
  • Cinderfall District: Cinderfall was once a prosperous and highly trafficked trading zone, but the ever-expanding nature of Hammerhal Aqsha meant that eventually the affluent merchant houses and foreign traders moved on to pastures new. In their place rose the Spice Guilds and criminal gangs, tempting a different class of trader to the great rift-docks that border the northern edge of the district. A remnant of he former Grand Bazaar remains in the form of the bustling Riftmarket, but the air of legitimacy is now a front for the trade of illicit goods and a thousand different flavours of vice.[4d] The districts many tall chimneys have over time stained the area with smoke and ash. [16]
    • House Venargo's mansion: Just outside the Riftmarket stands a large mansion built in the Azyrite style that seems strangely out of place amid its ramshackle surroundings. A black iron fence surrounds the complex and guards are stationed at the front gate at all times, wearing fur-collared longcoats over silver breastplates engraved with the sigil of House Venargo (an open palm bearing a radiant diamond) and ceremonial masks they never remove. The family Venargo controls the trade and maybe nearly the entirety of the vice within Cinderfall and its surrounding districts.[4e][5a]
    • Baugren's Bountiful Bazaar: A slightly grimy but impressively large converted warehouse operating under the thinnest facade of respectability, the bazaar is filled with many varied and esoteric items and staffed by a human called Baugren.[5a]
    • Chapel of the Shattered Blade: This is a shabby, run-down church of worship to Sigmar. It venerates Saint Rubeus, a legendary Warrior Priest who led the first consecration of the city and fell in battle against the orruk hordes of the Bloodscalps. The chapel is usually attended to by Brother Bargo Culven.[5a]
    • Guild of Certified Thaumaturgists A ramshackle array of spiral towers and smoke-belching laboratories with a sign that claims this Hammerhal Aqsha's centre of alchemical and metallurgical knowledge. The guild was set up by a group of students thrown out of the city's famed Alchemists Guild for dangerous or unethical experiments, usually both.[5a]
    • Red Yugol's Revelrie: At the southern edge of the market district lies this garishly painted field of tents bedecked with banners, flags and leering masks. Faces painted like beasts of the wild, dressed in colourful rags and brandishing rattles, drums and tambourines, Red Yugol's entertainers prance and caper about, beckoning, cajoling and threatening tourists, drunken sailors and travelling merchants into entering the Revelrie. At the very centre of the grand marquee dwells the enigmatic soothsayer and compere Red Yugol himself.[5b]
    • The Riftmarket: Running parallel to the Adramar Rift at the northern edge of the city is the mass of tents, warehouses, shopfronts and forums that makes up the Riftmarket. Merchants and traders from across the Mortal Realms flock here to sell all manner of ephemera, from exotic creatures to precious magical items. The largest and most extravagant stall belongs to an aelf named Asterion.[5c]
    • Toil's End: Underneath this bar, Olrig runs a free-for-all underground fighting tournament where a number of notable local brawlers compete in bloody, bare-knuckle bouts.[5c]
    • Sky-Docks The Cinderfall Sky-Docks are a collection of six, tall, dark towers, cut from smooth stone. Winding walkways and swaying bridges connect the towers and the different landing platforms with each other.[16]
Map of the western side of Hammerhal Aqsha.[4]
Map of the eastern side of Hammerhal Aqsha.[4]
  • Cinderworm.[4]
  • Cinnabaric Vaults.[4]
  • Cloister of Ashes: A Stormvault built as a subterranean Temple-City.[17a]
  • Cogworks.[4]
  • Crystalarium.[4]
  • Deep Gate Fields.[4]
  • Drudges: A shapeless mass of slums that stretch outwards from the glittering heart of the city to border wall where most of the city's commonfolk live alongside refugees flocking to the city. Houses are built from basalt or guardstone as wood is banned due to posing a fire hazard such during the Great Inferno when raging fire-spirits devoured entire districts causing a massive loss of life.[20a]
  • Emberflats[15]
  • Forest of the Braken Gate.[4]
  • Forest of the Oaken Gate.[4]
  • Forest of the Vine Gate.[4]
  • Fyre Pots.[4]
  • Ghyrous Vents.[4]
  • Gnarled Gate Wood.[4]
  • Goldenpath: A complex of gleaming crystal spires.[4]
  • Green Ash Avenue: A market street in Hammerhal Aqsha.[24]
  • Great Catedral of Sigmar.[4]
  • Halls of Shaping.[4]
  • Heart of Rubeus: One of the city's many districts.[24]
  • Heartfire Promontory.[4]
  • Jadeheart Glades.[4]
  • Kindle Heights.[4]
  • Lavafall District: One of the poor, overcrowded districts of Hammerhal Aqsha. It is home to beings from many species and cultures, as well as a large number of gangs looking to earn a few vials of Aqua Ghyranis.[4][15]
    • Lavafall Crematorium: This is one of many of the temples of the city dedicated to the God-King of Azyr. The holy fires of this house of worship are provided in part thanks to the lava flows of the Adramar Rift. It is here that the bodies of the dead can be interred and cremated in holy fire, in exchange for a donation, to ensure they do not rise as undead servants of Nagash.[15]
  • Longwheeler Place: One of the many streets of Hammerhal Aqsha.[24]
  • The Narrows.[4]
  • Old City: The area immediately surrounding the Stormrift Gate where greatest of the nobility reside in mansions and castles of marble built according to Azyrite architecture.[20a]
    • Great Cathedral of Sigmar: Fortress-citadel and place of worship that acts as the center of Sigmarite faith in Aqsha.[20a]
  • Onyx Shore.[4]
  • Perspicarium: This Stormkeep sits above the Stormrift Realmgate, atop a high pillar of rock. Armies march through this fortress every day.[4][19a]
  • Pillars of Infinity.[4]
  • Pyromancer's Tor.[4]
  • Raven Bridge.[4]
  • Rhuin Peak.[4]
  • Rune Key Tower.[4]
  • Scorched Bone Marshes.[4]
  • Selstone Avenue: A local Scrivener's Guild is located on this street.[24]
  • Soot Cloud Gardens.[4]
  • Storm Horn.[4]
  • Stormfall.[4]
  • Tallow Park: An area of the city that boasts a barracks for the Freeguilds, a clock tower is found at the center of the barracks.[4]
  • Threshing Place: A street in Hammerhal Aqsha that boasts a tenement complex.[24]
  • The Cauldron.[4]
  • The Cleave.[4]
  • Thorn Gate Thicket.[4]
  • Willow Gate Woods.[4]

Locations in Ghyra

  • Aether Dock: A ring of stacked warehouses with a canopy of high altitude quays and berths.[3a] Due to the nature of the realm, these are all plagued by growths of vines, mould and weeds.[3b] Thousands of airships, leaf-boats and sky-cutters arrive and depart the city every day. [3e]
  • Argent Sanctum: Stormkeep of the Hallowed Knights.[21a]
  • Fire-Bastions: Constructed by the Ironweld Arsenal and constantly fed by lava from the realm of fire via immense stone runnels to keep the flora of Ghyran from overwhelming the city. As the flow is redirected, so new tunnels are created and old empty ones are built over, although some express concerns about what can inhabit them.[3d]
  • Grand Academy: A temple of enlightenment located in the garden district of Hammerhal Ghyra.[22a]
  • Grand Asylum of Hammerhal-Ghyra: Mental hospital in the city of Hammerhal-Ghyra.[18a]
  • Ironweld Academy in Hammerhal Ghyra: An academy where students study to become artisans and engine-smiths of the Ironweld Arsenal.[25a]
  • Jade Temple: An immense Stormvault hidden beneath the garden-spires of Hammerhal Ghyra. [17a]
  • Shadeglens: Ancient burial gardens whose caretakers are pledged to Alarielle.[10]

Inhabitants

The city is home to a vast population of Free Peoples.[20a]

Noble Houses

An expansive noble class dominates the politics of Hammerhalian society, with a full half of Hammerhal Aqsha's one-hundred and twenty-two seats of the Grand Conclave held by members of Azyrite noble families. A number of Aqshian dynasties have risen to power in Aqsha's Old City as well.[20a]

  • House Naffir: One of the three most influential and largest Aqshian dynasties.[20a]
  • House Taladin: One of the three most influential and largest Aqshian dynasties.[20a]
  • House Vanx: One of the three most influential and largest Aqshian dynasties.[20a]

Organizations

  • Alchemists Guild: A well-renowned guild of alchemists based in Hammerhal Aqsha.[5a]
  • Boldhearts: One of the seventeen major Freeguilds of Hammerhal Aqsha. They are comprised largely of heavy infantry regiments, with their Greatsword regiments being particularly well-regarded.[20c]
  • Golden Lions: One of the seventeen major Freeguilds of Hammerhal Aqsha. They are the largest Freeguild in the city and boast mostly line infantry regiments.[20c]
  • Guild of Certified Thaumaturgists: A guild established by individuals kicked out of the Alchemists Guild. They operate out of facilities in the Cinderfall District.[5a]
  • Heldenhain: One of the seventeen major Freeguilds of Hammerhal Ghyra. They maintain close ties with the Devoted of Sigmar and are often found defending processions of pilgrims and Flagellants.[20c]
  • Leaden Bulls: One of the seventeen major Freeguild regiments of Hammerhal Aqsha. They are mostly comprised of artillery regiments. They are known to man many of the city's Cogforts and Ironweld-crafted defenses.[20c]
  • Scrivener's College on Selstone Avenue: A guild of scriveners based out of a building on Selstone Avenue.[24]
  • Scions of the Comet: One of the seventeen major Freeguilds of Hammerhal Aqsha. It is well renowned for its elite cavalry, including the widely regarded Hammerhalian Lancers.[20c]
  • Sun Seekers: One of the seventeen major Freeguilds of Hammerhal Aqsha. They form the majority of the city's outrider and scout regiments.[20c]
  • United Companies of Ember and Aqua: A council comprised of the trade guilds that dominate commerce within the Twin-Tailed City.[15]
  • Vandusian Guard: One of the seventeen major Freeguilds of Hammerhal Aqsha. They are best known for providing elite bodyguard retinues and escorts for nobles and civic figures. They are recruited exclusively from among the veterans of other guilds.[20c]

Notable Citizens

Gallery

See Also

Sources

Cities of Sigmar
Fortress Cities ExcelsisHammerhal AqshaHammerhal GhyraLethisMisthåvnSettler's GainVindicarum
Seeds of Hope Greywater FastnessLiving CityPhoenicium
Cities of Flame AnvilgardBrightspearHallowheartTempest's Eye
Free Cities AccarAlshimeAnvalorAnvilheimAnvilspireArbitriumAstronicaBarbed PromiseBlackwallBrighthallCatransaCelestriusColonnadeColostrumConcordiaDarkdelveDesperanceDraconiumDuskhengeEdassaEverquake CityFort DenstFort GardusGaldheartGlimmerheartGlymmsforgeGravewildGreenfireGreyspireHarkraken's BaneHeldenhammer's TriumphHeldeliumHelmgardHoldashHollenwaldHoundsgateIzalendKurnotheaMatarkaLifestoneMhurghstMurmurusNew SadoriaOak's HeartOasis of GazulPilgrim's ReachPort SorrowRavensbachScant HopeSeven WordsSkythaneSundsforTabernaTallowreachTansisThanator's ManseThraeshTor LiminaUliashtaiUmbramoxVandiumVeilgard
Cities of Sigmar
Subfactions
Collegiate ArcaneDarkling CovensDevoted of SigmarDispossessedFreeguildIronweld ArsenalOrder SerpentisPhoenix TempleScourge PrivateersShadowbladesWanderers
Allied Factions Eldritch CouncilDaughters of KhaineFyreslayersKharadron OverlordsLion RangersOrder DraconisStormcast EternalsSwifthawk AgentsSylvaneth
Background Aqua GhyranisAzyritesReclaimedSigmar's EmpireDawnbringer CrusadesGoldjacketsSigmarite Strongpoint
Artwork