Khiva - City of Pious Lilies

Some once named Khiva as the holiest city of the South. That may not be true, but the thousands of temples and shrines certainly makes a strong case for it.

There are temples in Khiva to every Southern deity, and many rarer or more distant ones.
The first child from each on the households of wisdom- a wealthy and somewhat inbred stock- becomes a priest, trained in the Sixteen Inkstained Arts that allow for efficient worship. These priests spend their days making a yearly pilgrimage from temple to temple, oracle to alter, worshiping the various deities.
People from all directions come to Khiva for spiritual advice and Khiva, eternally neutral in matters of politics and religion, always provides. Where the eldest sons are to be priests, the youngest sons have a different fate in store. Each family is bound to various guilds of assassins, who are in turn sponsored by the houses of the Water Lords, who fear the day where they might own fewer assassins than their rivals.

In spite of the familial traditions, in Khiva, there is a constant influx of new ideas, as the Garden of Lilies is the diplomatic seat for the entire Pasharates.
Here, countless foreign ambassadors dwell in luxurious embassies, with little to no politics ever occuring here. So, the foreigners spend their days longuing and feasting themselves of the joys offered by Khiva. Many a dignitary have returned to their homeland with tales of the serene majesty of the Khivan gardens and the joyous days they spend there, almost as if they had found a earthly paradise.

And it is almost true. Khiva is situated on the banks of the Ocean of Tears, a inland sea in the middle of the desert, and only such thing in the Pasharates and their neighboring states. The groves here are plenty, the gardens are magnificent and fish are pulled here by the thousands. Hundreds of dhows sail across the sea, to the bazaars of the northern shores, from where merchants buy swords and spears by the thousands.
In this Bazaar of Steel and Iron, entire battalions could be armed and it wouldn’t make a dent in the stocks. To outsiders, that the Water Lords still hold power is a baffling state of affairs. Nonetheless, that is the case in Khiva.

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