THE CITY OF UDERZA
One of the few towns of the desert tribe of the
Shendar in the
southernmost Santharian province of
Truban, the region of the former
Uderza is located on an
important trade route for the
Stratanian population, which still predominates in this
region. Besides that supplier of Vhin, a most wanted tobacco and a rare kind
of pottery. Harbours a secret pottery industry somewhere
near the Oasis of Nirmenith.
Hot-bed of many local quarrels because of all the different parties located in
the same town.
Location. Uderza is located northeast of the Oasis of Nirmenith in the northwestern part of the southernmost Santharian province of Truban. Together with Varcopas, which lies at the extreme north of the Truban province, near the Aetryam Sea, Uderza is one of the most important towns of northern Truban.
History. Uderza was founded as only regular settlement of the Shendar about 2000 b.S. The town quickly became of major importance when the Stratanians for several reasons became interested in the location. The city lies exactly halfway of Varcopas, Bardavos and Thalambath and has a large oasis nearby, a perfect place for supplyposts for trade caravans. Soon the Shendar also discovered the rare kind of weed (the Vhin) growing near the oasis and started to make tobacco from it. Finally the people of Uderza are also well known for their high quality pottery, which mainly has its reason in the unique mixture of clay and sand used to produce items, called "Ouán". Thus a lot of industry developped in the course of time. The local ah Waeyrón agreed upon a constant Stratanian presence in the town, but they were closely watched. So the Shendar found out that the Stratanians tried to discover the secrets of the pottery. Upon this discovery the workshops were closed and some even burned down to leave no trace of the construction and the production sites were moved to a secret location, still remaining of the best hidden secrets of Santharia. It is still unknown to foreigners how exactly the pottery is created and where it is made, though it seems pretty obvious that it's still made somewhere near the Oasis of Nirmenith and Uderza.
Population. The population is divided in a few parts: The higher class consists of rich traders and representatives of the 'hrul Zhaeón, in the second class you can find the common merchants and Shendar artisans, and the lower class consists of guides, guards and thugs. This exotic mixture of classes and people results in a rare balance of power between the different parties, each with its own interests and needs. Uderza is important for the traders for rare goods and supplies and it is one of the few connections of the Shendar with the outside world. It's therefore a town full of adventure and intrigues in which one can get lost in agreements and promises never to be fulfilled; treacherous traitors and cunning swindlers roam the darker parts of the town. Thus Uderza seems to be the right place for adventurous persons - on the other hand such adventures might result in lethal situations when the balance within the town is ready to burst...
Economy/Trade. Though the relationship between the Shendar and the Stratanians was a bit tense after these incidents a mutual understanding slowly developed from both sides and trade thrived to what it is today. The Stratanians offered their goods to the Shendar in exchange for passage through the desert and supplies for their caravans including goods like the mentioned rare pottery or the Vhin tobacco.
Housing. Uderza has grown to a place where storagehouses, merchant plazas and traditional tents stand side by side in the town. Uderza is also the only Shendar town where the Shendar live in houses instead of tents.
These buildings are made of the less valuable clay found near Uderza, one of the secret ingredients the precious and unique pottery Uderza is famous for. The houses in general resemble Shendar tents made out of clay. They have the same form, the big halfsphere with attached small halfspheres, just a few things are varying according to the different needs of the inhabitants, e.g. the small buildings have tiny windows as well in contrary to the small tents which have no external light source.
Image description: Famous export tiles of Uderza. Picture by Bard Judith.
The material of the ground structure is as in some
the Chamshin plant, providing a stable underconstruction
for the layers of clay which cover the houses. The interior
has a layer of finer clay compared to the outside. Both are coloured white, but
while the interior is only whitened with pure chalc, the outside is covered with
a special clay mixture to prevent decaying in the very
scarce event of a light rain. Near the top part of the buildings round openings
are added with windows consisting of
translucent material which is made in the potteries as well like
the pots and mugs. But how this material is made is an
even better guarded secret than that of the pottery. In
its ground tone it is white, translucent, but sometimes you can find coloured
pieces as well. The windows are alway divided in three parts and the most
valuable coloured windows - only found in the richest families
of course - have three different colour:, blue,
green and yellow. In Uderza a sign of wealth is not how
big the openings are (as in the tents), but how many you have and how many
coloured ones you can afford.
Another sign of wealth are the tiles which cover the floors and part of the walls. Every house has a tiled floor, but the poorer households have simple tiles, the richer ones ornamented ones. The main colour used here is this magnificent undescribable blue the pottery of Uderza is famous for, with mainly white patterns, but only very few other colours are used. An important place where you can find the tiles is outside around the door passage. To have more space where you can put tiles some wealthy houseowners build a straight wall surrounding the entrance (though the door still has a round upper part).
All attempts of building rectangular buildings of any kind by the Stratanian and other people with interests in Uderza tended to decay out of mysterious reasons. So Uderza resembles in form and arrangement very much Rahmat, the moving tent town, just that the material is different.