Wars of the Black Alliance
Current leader: Sheikh Harun Qadib
The many-domed palace of the Malik is a wondrous example of Shemid architecture. With its beautiful gardens and fine art it is well worth a visit. Other notable locations includes the grand temple to Alima (whom we call Alatana) and of course the Bazaar (market). If you misbehave in any of these locations, you are likely to get a chance to visit the interesting dungeons of the Huda (legal service), where you can find many examples of wondrously imaginative torture devices.
The city has many beautiful domed buildings with gilded roofs. Prayer towers extend from many temples dotted across the city. The roads in the city are broad palm tree-lined boulevards. Down by the docks you can find a labyrinthine network of dusty, dark and smelly alleyways, like in most cities.
The climate of al-Hammâm is warm and dusty, and occasionally very hot during the height of summer. The sea breeze helps cool the city. Winter storms are short but tremendously powerful.
The city is independent and ruled by the Shemid Sheikh (chieftain) Harun of the powerful Qadib clan. Harun has ruled the city since its last ruler, a childless emir (king) died in an unfortunate camel-related accident.
While al-Hammâm is not among the most powerful of the Shemid city-states, it is nonetheless one of the most beautiful. Founded long ago, it has only recently grown to become a city.
The port of al-Hammâm services dozens of ships every day, and is (allegedly) home to Corsairs, dangerous Shemid privateers, who raid foreign coast for slaves.
The city trades many exotic items, amongst them spices, incense, cloth, ivory, wine, and beer, but its chief export is slaves. You can find people from all over the Empire in the main slave market, many as commodities, but indeed also quite a few as sellers or buyers.
Al-Hammâm is also home to a sizeable community of Imperials, mostly Alerians, and most of those being slave- or spice merchants.
A century-long trade dispute with the Imperial city of Green Arbour on the opposite coast, have made the port authorities alert for strangers and smugglers on the docks, so if you plan to visit, make sure your shipping documents are in order.
The crime rate in the city is generally lower than in many Imperial cities, but you can occasionally find small gangs of knife-wielding criminals and pirates in the dark alleyways near the dock. These alleyways are patrolled by the watchful men and women of the Shurta (police militia for the Huda) during the day, and visitors at the docks are generally recommended to keep an eye out at night.
A dark rumor of strange night-time abductions have persisted in the city for some time. However the Huda council calls such allegations baseless. Al-Hammâm is a very safe city, they say. Who am I to call them liars?
Under the city you can find a vast network of tunnels, part of an ancient irrigation system the city now uses as a sewer. A visit there is not recommended. Yuck.