The city state of Rhodea – located on the island of the same name, at the lower north-west quadrant of the City States Peninsula – is known for its masterful craftmanship and extensive industrial prowess. The massive harbour city endlessly reverberates with the droning of countless shipyards and the metallic clamouring of workshops and forges.
So impressive is the port of Rhodea – nestled within the oceanic passage known as the Gilded Horn – that it has been acknowledged throughout Eä as a peerless mechanical wonder. Such is the complexity of the port’s combined constructs, that inventors, engineers, and craftsmen across the world travel to Rhodea en masse – seeking to gain knowledge through their educational pilgrimage.
Most of the major mechanical curiosities that populate the port are the product of a single, ingenious mind – that of the legendary Rhodean inventor, Ypatia. A key member of the Rhodea Scholae during her life – governing the city’s ever powerful engineering guild – Ypatia forged the island city into the harbour bastion it is today, designing a slew of devastating defensive measures to protect her patron city.
The two most prominent of these inventions are the Great Chain of the Gilded Horn and the Colossus of Rhodea – both being the city state’s premier safeguarding instruments against potential enemies.
The Great Chain occupies the entrance to the Gilded Horn and consists of two statues – one at each side of the Horn’s entrance. The statues are carved in the likeness of Rhodea’s twin gods – Isthmina, the goddess of invention, and Isthmios, the god of crafting – with each cradling immense heaps of coiled chain atop their raised arms. The main chain is made of an impossibly strong alloy and individual links are the size of a fully grown war-horse – from each central link hangs a descending mesh of smaller chains, creating a gargantuan metal partition when fully spread out.
Most of the time, the Great Chain remains dormant at the bottom of the ocean – dipping downwards from each enormous figure and lying atop a bed of tangled seaweed, sand, and salt-bitten shipwrecks. Yet, when the horns of war sound across Rhodea, the chain bulwark is raised – hoisted by complex gear-driven mechanisms, housed within each statue, that tug and pull at the metallic shackles, erecting the entire structure.
To sail through the iron veil of the Great Chain is to invite death: larger vessels are unable to pass entirely, while smaller ships risk getting flayed by the lesser chain appendages.
The Colossus of Rhodea – perhaps the most famous of Ypatia’s menagerie of inventions – is the city state’s final and most effective deterrent towards an invasion. With a full height akin to a minor mountain, the golden giant is the main fixture of Rhodea’s skyline. Atop its two outstretched hands is a device known as the Panoptes: a spherical assortment of hefty, finely tuned lenses that can harness sunlight – when the weather allows for as much – and redirect it as a beam of concentrated heat. The solar ray can singe away most material – being known to even melt metal at certain angles.
Such is the might of Rhodea’s combined machine arsenal, that few dare to attack the port city directly. For those that do, their hubris continues to litter the murky expanses within the bowels of the sea.