By far the most mysterious of all the Great Provinces is the geographically central province of Betik, with its cloudtop fortresses and invisible castles. It is one of the most ancient lands in the Empire, existing long before the Mharoti pact, and by rumour, the very birthplace of the dragonkin race. It is ruled by the huge adult male gold dragon, Parsis the Hidden, Wisest of Lords, Lord of Chains, Master of the Fields and Clouds.

With Harkesh and Mezar to the west, Gizmiri to the south, Hariz to the east and Kalpostan to the north, it is not only an important trade and communications hub between the provinces, but also stands as its most protected. Not only are its borders skirted by Mharoti provinces, but the very capital, Sikkim is a captured flying city that moves above the great plains randomly, affording great protection to the “Mighty Khan”, whose affinity for shapeshifting and disguise have quite rightly earned him the honour of being the most devious and dangerous military leader in all the Empire.

With his Golden Circle serving him from the cities below, and with his close affinity to Kah-Vizier Zeki Hasan Al-Eski, Parsis maintains the Mharoti spy network throughout the provinces much to the consternation of the Dread Sultan. He is also a great lover of education, and the Hidden University housed in the flying city is restricted to dragonkin and dragon-blooded masters and scholars learning the six traditional schools of literature, alchemy, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and theology.

The land has many active leylines branching off from The Scholar’s Path, and the province is widely considered to be the true heart of the Empire. Drakes and dragons fly in and out on a daily basis, carrying messages, conferring, passing secrets and keeping an eye on the ground for any movements of large groups. The spy network in Betik is so strong that it is said Parsis himself often walks below in disguised form from Jambuka to Akinji.

Qiresh, City of Waves: A major trading port on the Ruby Sea, this large city trades with Dao-Klarjeti, Reth-Saal, Kaa’Nesh and other ports on the inland sea. It is famous for its indigo cloth and its boat-building prowess. The Dread Sultan has a major set of new ships under construction here.

Uqmal, The Azure City: This river town just north of Lake Olheddin carries most of the pilgrims, trade and barges from the Mharoti hearthland downriver aong the slow-moving Arandis to Sarkland and Ishadia, where goods are loaded from barges onto ocena ships and sent to Shibai in the East. Uqmal is famous for its fire dancers and war lizards, bred to and exactng standard in coloration, endurance, and viciousness. Its teas are also much favored by the Dragonkin.

Naliath Akar: This ancient city predates the Empire and its ruins stand high in the mountian, on the shore of an emerald green tarn and near several glaciers. Near it is an old iron mine, abandoned by the kobolds and dragonkin but still active. Its current owners are Shadow Fey from the Court of Midnight Teeth, who work by the light of lantern dragonettes, excavating Splitsoul Ore. They have cast several powerful illusions to hide their work from the dragonkin.

Ruins of Nurduran: An ancient Nurian city that once resisted the arrival of the dragons in the first rush of the Mharoti expansion. Charred stones and a few pillars are all that remain.

Ruins of Siyaz: A great experiment by a kobold alchemist named Mektree the Mad went horribly wrong and now the ruin is an empty wasteland of vampiric mists and flesh-rotting vapours with only a few scattered gnoll bands using its empty buildings. The Urmali avoid the place.

Ruins of Xirdalan: Looted and burnt by the Khandirians about a hundred years ago, the ruins of the city contain dragon bones and strange lights, and it is rumoured that strange undead beasts now rule the place and the empty lands around it.

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