Physical Information
Large Along the coast of the Taagi Baara Steppes near the Steppes Portal Stone
  • Erdeniin Ordon, Jewelled Palace
  • Ayuultai Khonkh, Warning Bell
  • Dald'Mod, Lonely Tree
  • Zavgüi Zürkh, Busy Heart
Societal Information
Humans, Orcs, Minotaurs Monarchy Uytani
Economic & Military Information
Tall, imposing gates with aerial defences, three walls getting further into the city with large stretches in between, large straight roads through the centre designed for armies to be able to be deployed easily. Fur, precious gems, livestock, meats and animal products Wine, silks, spices
OOC Info

Dornoch, The Capital City of The Erdeniin Dynasty

Dornoch was a city that was built out of necessity during the Blood Years but then was transformed into the crowning jewel of a new Dynasty as a monument to the defeat of the Great Hoard. Since then, Dornoch has dug itself into the very fabric of the Steppes and established itself as its largest trading city. With its enviable position not only on the coast but within a half days travel from the lands portal stone, it is often impossible to avoid travelling through or near it. It has become the go to destination for most traders if they wish to get the best prices on the Steppe's famous livestock, furs, natural goods and precious stones. In a nod to the alliance of old, those who pay tribute to the Dynast enjoy waved taxes and duties put on their goods, making them the cheapest traders but also the richest.

Despite its new face as a thriving merchant city, Dornoch is still a city designed and more than ready for war. Its chequered history of battles can still be seen on the very fabric city today from its design to literal scars on the grand walls. It is not unusual to see units patrolling the streets nor to see them practising outside the city walls. Its large size requires a strict no tolerance policy and those flouting the laws are dealt with quickly and severely. Despite its perhaps harsh nature, many cultures call the city their home and live side by side in peace. Women in particular favour the city as, due to the matriarchal nature of the Dynasty, they are offered a higher status than men.



Dornoch was created in haste during the Bloody Wars as an emergency port city in order to bring in weapons and supplies for war behind friendly lines. The amalgamation of cities who helped form the alliance meant that even from its creation it was diverse in terms of the races that called it a home. Its founders were a mix of humans, orcs, trolls and centaurs, though humans made up the largest segment of the group due to their preference to live behind stone walls and not travel. Dornoch likes to believe itself welcoming of all and no race will feel out of place within their walls as long as they abide by the cities laws.

There is a surprising mix of rich and poor within the city too. The inner walls which divide the city do not segregate people based on class and there is a mix of the tall, tiered houses and single, larger dwelling houses in every section of society. Citizens tend to buy properties - or make them by adding another layer onto a tower - in the vicinity of their work or designated market. Mixed in with the diverse range of races, it is hard to tell a persons wealth even from the way they dress.


Dornoch is an incredibly large sprawling city. Travellers often complain it takes a single day to make it to the Inner Wall, let alone back out the other side. It is also the Seat of the Erdeniin Dynasty and the place where Bursars from her outer states come bi-annually to pay their tribute in goods or money in return for her protection.

The people of the Erdeniin Dynasty will make at least one visit here throughout the year, often more, to get the latest news but also to trade. Often principalities will also leave members of their homes within the city as a representative and they will live in Dornoch permanently acting as an ambassador of sorts for its other citizens who visit or reside in the city. It will be these ambassadors who represent their citizens in the court if they break one of the laws.






After Dornoch served its purpose as an emergency port and army barrack base, the alliance decided to turn the city into a monument of the Great Hordes defeat by turning it into a jewelled city. Originally the designers made the ambitious aim to make enough houses that the whole population of the alliance could live within the walls should the need ever arise again to defend themselves from a great threat. Thus, from this desire, was born the tall series of houses that were built one on top of the other in great towers. Some homes, for those who wanted to make Dornoch their permanent residence, larger houses were built over a single or double story home. These types of houses live side by side with the tower homes.

Today a visitor will still be able to see the militaristic origins of the city. From each of the three gates to the very heart of the inner wall are large, straight roads designed to make it easy for a large army and units of cavalry to manoeuvre. There are also three large walls that break up the city. Between the Outer Wall (tsagaan khana) and the Second Wall (Khudaldaany khana) sprawls the main population of the city with its different markets. Each market has a set zone of the city to keep it clean and stop livestock cross contaminating with fresh produce etc. These markets are held in huge squares.

In between the squares are peoples houses. Unlike the rest of the structured nature of the Main Road and Markets, the housing areas are a warren of alleyways and pathways, occasionally broken up with large watch towers that soar above the rooftops and are manned regularly with a large pyre ready to burn should danger approach. Round every corner of these little alleys though are odd delights; botanical gardens, tiny zen orchids, ponds, and plains of grass for relaxing - all speaking of the cities love of the open Steppes still.

From the Second Wall to the Inner Wall (Ariun Khana), is where the political and educational side of the city operates. Here are the Embassies, tax halls, courts and more. The gates between the Outer and Second Wall are only ever closed if there is a threat approaching the city, though it is still manned by guards. Here the layout is much the same as before with the hodgepodge houses, wide open markets that cater towards the businesses here, and again the large single brutish road towards the middle.

At the centre, inside the Inner Wall, sits the Barracks and the Palace. Even so, the gates once again remain open though guarded, and people regularly come to the palace to petition the Dynast and her Handmaids.

Points of Interest

Erdeniin Ordon, Jewelled Palace

The Erdeniin Ordon, or the Jewelled Palace as it translates to in the Common Tongue, lives up to its name. At the very heart of the city, surrounded by its own private walled garden and sharing the inner city only with the stationed army, this is a tranquil spot in the usually busy city. The gardens are all perfectly sculptured and the palace itself is carved out of precious stone and marble then trimmed with gold. This is the royal household of the Dynast and her Heirs.

The palace is open to visitors at set times throughout the week where members of the public can take tours of the palace and gardens, or petition the Dynast.


Ayuultai Khonkh, Warning Bell

The Warning Bell is one of the few pieces of architecture that still exists from the Age of Wonders when the Blood Years took place. The bell was installed to sound of incoming Hoards that meant to attack the port and allowed for citizens and soldiers alike to prepare for battle. The bell still resides in the city on the Eastern Gate, which faces the vast expanse of the Steppe Plains.

It is believed that the bell is in fact magical in some way for there are mystical runes carved into the metal. However, what it was once used for is now lost to time.

The bell is rung for only for warning and permeates even the thickest of stone walls.

Lonely Tree

The Lonely Tree is found in one of the largest temples of Dornoch. Many people of the Steppes take a pilgrimage to come and visit this very spot where it is said the first Dynast is buried, though her grave is officially unknown. It was she who led the alliance in the Blood Years and ensured their victory,.

There is a famous story of how in one of the last battles she rode at the head of the column whilst seven months pregnant, fully armoured, and refused to leave the field of battle until the Hoard was turned away.

She was buried in an unmarked grave at her own orders so that her tomb did not become a place of worship in order for the people to move on from these trying times. It was some years later that the blossom tree, which stays in bloom all year round, sprouted in the cellar of the Dynast's favoured Temple. After that rumours appeared that that must have been where her body was laid to rest.

Zavgüi Zürkh, Busy Heart

The Markets of Dornoch are famous for their wide variety but if your time is limited and you want to prioritise one, visit the Zavgüi Zürkh - the Busy Heart. Unlike other markets, this one you can find almost everything alongside brilliant street performers, artists and more. It is also said this is the Dynast's favourite market and sometimes her sedan can be seen touring the large market place.

Special Events

The Spring and Harvest Tributes: Bi-annually the city welcomes Bursars from the different cities under the Dynasty's protection. They bring large caravans full of offerings in the form of livestock, gold, jewels, and more as well as the top performers from their cities who delight and dazzle the crowds gathered in the city. This happens with both the thawing of snow in the spring, when the Great Roads are open and easy to travel by, and once again in the Harvest before it is too unsafe to travel once more.

During this time the city is full of colour, music and great cheer. You will struggle to find room at the inn on these days if you have not booked ahead, and the prices tend to be steeper at this time of year. The Tributes themselves can last for a month with all the celebrating and revealing.



Dornoch was built out of necessity. In the Age of Wonders the Steppes were harassed by the Great Horde. United under one Khal, the nomadic warriors went from village to town to city, conscripting men and women into their ranks and destroying any settlements that did not bend the knee. They caused such havoc and destruction that an alliance formed out of the remaining free states that banded together under Dynast Saran. She led the forces through a series of blood battles that stretched over ten years, which are now referred to as the Blood Years.

During these years, Dornoch was formed as a hasty port city that was far beyond the allied front lines and so were protected. They imported weapons and goods from Alliria and Oban in order to secure their land.

Once the Blood Years were over Dornoch seemed a natural city to turn into a monument to all of their dead and to start their new allied Dynasty under Saran's rule. It is still her line that sits on the throne today passed from the first born daughter to daughter.

As the city grew its enemies became more varied. One of their largest rivals became Oban, another trading city across the Straight. With their Griffins and Sea Wall that implemented taxes upon their ships, it was only a matter of time before the two cities came to blows. The wars between this Kingdom and Dynasty are numerous and tend to flare up every now and then over this owed tax or other.


Dornoch is the Capital City of the Erdeniin Dynasty and as such is run by a Dynast. In Dornoch, and throughout the Erdeniin Dynasty, positions of power are passed through the female line. Women make up the mass of ranks in the armies and certainly occupy most of the higher ranks, they tend to covet the political positions and the richest merchants are also women.

As the Dynasty is spread out and separated by large swathes of land, each city under Her control is ruled by a Bursar. The Bursar is the Dynast's voice and fist in every city or village and ensures Her laws are carried out across the land.


"The Pegasi, the Dynast's personal, royal guard, were formed by Dynast Dayan. Dayan was a great lover of horses, much like her ancestors before and her descendants after her, though it was said within her stables held the best selection of horses from across the Steppes. But her obsession grew further and she set out on an expedition to discover whether the rumours were true of the unique winged horses that populated a secluded and harsh bit of the Northern Steppes.

With a band of her closest Handmaids, or Warriors as the Common Tongue users call them, Dayan embarked on this journey which ended up lasting her over two years. During this time there was much worry in the city for nobody knew whether she lived or was yet dead. With her Daughter at home the line was secure but even she grew restless at not knowing.

When Dayan finally returned it was with a horse of great marvel; a Pegasus. She and all of her Handmaids had one of these stunning creatures and when she landed amidst the celebrations and awe of her people, Dayan proclaimed that all of her Personal Guard would be issued with one of these horses to ride proudly into battle."

- On the Formation of the Pegasi, by Ooyo-Rinchen



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