|Images of Mzali|
Source: Lost Omens World Guide, pg(s). 84
|Demographics||36,700 humans (31,000 Zenj, 2,000 Bonuwat, 2,000 Bekyar, 1,000 Mauxi, 700 other), 200 non-human|
|Ruler||Walkena, mummified child-god|
|Images of Mzali|
Source: Heart of the Jungle, pg(s). 37
The massive temple-city of Mzali stands on the fertile flood plain of the Pasuango River, one of the tributaries of the Korir River in the Mwangi Expanse. It is south of the Screaming Jungle, and east of the Sargavan city of Kalabuto. It is also the southernmost city in what is considered the Inner Sea region.
Mzali has been built upon the wetlands between the Pasuango River and the encroaching desert. It stands on soft, rich earth and during the rainy seasons, the river rises and the roads flood. The large stone structures like the Temple of the Deathless Child, the High Temple, the Mwanyisa Hall, the Sun Man statue, and others rest on deep foundations, surrounded by slabs of flagstone that poke above the soil. Knotted trees clasp the stonework like monstrous, withered tentacles.
In addition to the Temple of the Deathless Child, which dominates the city skyline, Mzali is filled with ancient shrines dedicated to all kinds of entities, some still actively used and others turned into markets or residences. Mzali also holds dozens of underground tombs with only the capstones visible, which attracts many opportunistic grave robbers who seek to plunder valuable treasures, despite the danger.
Mzali was founded in -308 AR by warrior-monarchs who claimed descent from Chohar, similar to the pharaohs of Ancient Osirion. Dead royals and retainers were mummified so they could continue protecting Mzali after death. The city quickly conquered the surrounding areas. As expansion became more and more difficult, Mzali's royal family became obsessed with blood sports, turning their soldiers into gladiators, demanding children from nearby areas, lavish prizes for victors and food and fabric as incentives to attract audience. In 3967 AR, a group of governors and priests calling themselves the Council of Mwanyisa overthrew the royal family and destroyed their mummies, but missed that of the young prince Walkena. Under their rule, the empire was lost and the city was greatly reduced in size and importance.
A hundred years ago, the Council prophesied the rise of a new Mzali empire. Later, they uncovered the mummified remains of Walkena. Legend has it that in life, Walkena was a mighty magician, able to call down fire from the heavens. This discovery was viewed as an omen, and thousands of Mwangi flocked to the city to view the mummy. This influx of visitors brought much needed wealth to the crumbling city.
The new-found prosperity of Mzali attracted the attention of the Chelaxian overlords of Sargava in nearby Kalabuto. They raised an army and attacked the city, but were miraculously defeated when the mummified remains of Walkena sprang to life and defended the city, raining fiery death upon the invading army. Walkena then claimed Mzali as his own and became its absolute ruler. Although the Mwangi forces then pushed the invading Sargavan force westward toward Kalabuto, they were eventually rebuffed and thrown back to the eastern banks of the River of Lost Tears in 4675 AR under the command of General Taurinus.
Walkena's dreams of military conquest continued after the botched invasion, and his forces conducted guerilla strikes against the defenders of Kalabuto between 4678 AR and 4684 AR. These attacks culminated in the first sacking of Kalabuto in 4684 AR.
War with Kalabuto
Forces from Mzali have sacked Kalabuto three times in recent years. Because of this, General Alban, the commander of Kalabuto's military, now sends regular spying missions to Mzali to keep track of military preparations. So far, except for his initial defence of the city, Walkena has not taken to the field personally.
Today, Mzali is the centre of Mwangi nationalism. Walkena seeks to unite the entire Mwangi Expanse under his rule, and aims to drive out all non-Mwangi from the region. Those who trade with outsiders are considered to be traitors, who plunder the Expanse's precious and irreplaceable resources for personal gain. Despite Walkena's authoritarian government, Mwangi pilgrims still flock to the city. Non-Mwangi wisely avoid Mzali, or generally suffer horribly for their temerity.
Since the colonial government of Sargava was overthrown by its native people without Walkena's aid, many citizens of Mzali have left, enraging Walkena and stirring rumours that he might be planning an invasion of Vidrian. The tension has also been intensified by the Bright Lions, who seek to overthrow Walkena and return the city to the people.
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
- Tim Hitchcock et al. (2010). Heart of the Jungle, p. 37–39. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-247-0
- Rob Lazzaretti. (2011). Inner Sea Poster Map Folio, p. 1. Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Tanya DePass, James Jacobs, Lyz Liddell, et al. (2019). World Guide, p. 88–89. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-172-6
- Laura-Shay Adams et al. (2021). The Mwangi Expanse, p. 18. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-340-9
- Laura-Shay Adams et al. (2021). The Mwangi Expanse, p. 19. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-340-9
- JD Wiker. (2010). Sargava, The Lost Colony, p. 6. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-255-5
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 131. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- JD Wiker. (2010). Sargava, The Lost Colony, p. 4. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-255-5