Sarai Muziris is a large, predominantly elvish city, located within the northern fringes of the Kerangas Rainforest. Straddling both banks of the broad, slow-moving Periyar River, it serves as the exterior trade capital for the Anjaj Confederacy.
” We have been in the Imperial Mercator of Queensport for less than a tenday when the caravan master announces that we will be postponing the voyage across Queen’s Lake and, instead, be taking a detour upriver into the lands of the mysterious Anjaj elves. In two days’ time, Master Kenworth will have the entire caravan transferred aboard a small flotilla of wide, shallow-draft barges and, with the blessings of the priests of Fharlanghn at our backs, our team of half-giant porters will begin to pole us up the broad, lazy flow of the Vassal River.
While I am certainly excited at the prospect of seeing these fabled lands for myself, I readily admit to harbouring reservations. Though tales of elven champions appearing from nowhere to snatch a doomed venture back from the brink of disaster are common fireside stories throughout the Empire, and the spice merchants and apothacaries speak of fabulous spired cities rising suddenly from the depths of the Kerangas, reputable information on the Anjaj and their civilization is all but nonexistant.”
” Seven days on the Vassal, and the climate has, unbelievably, become even more oppressive. Out on the open water, the midday sun beats down mercilessily and the air stirs only by the wingbeats of the swarms of biting flies that call these lands home. Though given the amount of moisture that hangs in the very air, their movements may in fact be better characterized as swimming. We are but a day and a half into the rainforest proper, and already the Kerangas forms an impentrable green wall to hem us in on all sides.
Master Kenworth says we should reach the elven city by the time the sun is lost behind the trees tomorrow, which would not be a moment too soon. Having experienced this journey first-hand, I can think of very little that would draw anyone else to such a place. I no longer wonder that travel into and out of the Anjaj lands has largely been undertaken only by those seeking wealth and all-but-impossible to find exotic goods – though that has been supplanted with an abiding curiosity as to why the elves choose to stay.”
” Though the traveler’s tales are colored with much exaggeration, Sarai Muziris (which, supposedly, means ‘City of the Star-wing Moth’) is quite a sight to behold. From here in the market town, the gently curved spires of the city proper thrust up through the carefully-tended greensward, resembling nothing so much as the giant termite mounds that dot the grasslands surrounding the Capital. These stone towers stretch many dozens of feet into the sky and every inch appears to be covered with intricate, brightly-painted carvings both figural and geometric. Why they would be decorated so – or even how the Anjaj manage to maintain them – is the subject of much speculation among the trading classes. The elven dwellings themselves are low, sprawling affairs, suspended above the ground on arched supports that frame the common streets and arcades of the city and provide shade to those who walk below.
The market town (it seems to have no proper name), located on the eastern side of the Periyar River (the Vassal) is a much more humble affair. The shops and dwellings are built from a mixture of stone and local hardwoods and seem to incorporate architectural styles from a number of different cultures – likely due to their increased outside contact. As outsiders, we and our goods have been restricted from crossing into Sarai Muziris proper, and have had little contact with the Anjaj who dwell there. But the elves’ of the market seem quite eager to trade with Master Kenworth and will chatter on endlessly regarding their stock, the jungle, and the river. Though it seems no amount of coaxing or bribery can convince any of them to speak of their homeland other than giving name to the structures to be seen on the other side of the river or the names of the other cities to be found deeper within the Kerangas.
The Anjaj people, as the fireside tales tell, look very much like us, tending towards slighter builds and averaging just a few inches shorter. They possess a strange angular cast to their features – with their prominent cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes, and pointed ears – that, frankly, I find a bit off-putting. Perhaps their superficial similarity to my countrymen cause those slight differences to make a much stronger impression. Or it could be the cool disdain with which they seem to regard those of us who abide in the market town – whether outsider or their own kinfolk. Regardless, I find them somewhat unsettling.”
—Excerpts from “Survey of The Western Lands” by Aguilliam