The City of New Twain
The Empire pushes ever West. This is the story of New Twain, an imperial city on the western edge of the Empire's expansion. New Twain is not a new construction; rather, it is a palimpsest of colonial ambitions built atop a prior metropolis whose denizens and former foes have now been forcibly assimilated into subservient roles by the diabolic alchemy of the Lord Doctor who governs the city in the Empire's name.
The human colonists of the Empire brought the peaceful dakon with them to New Twain. Dakon serve their human masters as menial labor; dakon sweep the streets, perform construction work, and are employed in domestic service. If the dakons' natural abhorrence of violence could be overcome, they could aid an uprising that would topple New Twain.
Dire Corbies. Before the arrival of the Empire, the dire corbies were golden creatures who basked in the sunlight and soared the skies at liberty on tremendous feathered wings. The city that became New Twain was their glorious home. After their city was annexed by the Empire's forces, they were experimented upon by the Lord Doctor; the dire corbies were stripped of their wings and transformed into base creatures who cannot stand the sun's touch upon their skin. The dire corbies are allowed to shelter in the subterranean depths below New Twain, but in return they must mine precious gold from the undercity to pay the "rent" on their squalid quarters beneath a city that was once their sole dominion.
In the early days of its colonial occupation, New Twain suffered continual raids from the packs of tribal gnolls who had been the dire corbies' rivals in the west. Gnolls, being creatures of demonic savagery, could not be placated or brought to reasonable treaty. They could, however, be captured and transmuted. The Lord Doctor's cruel alchemy changes gnoll captives into flinds: stronger, but more civilized, creatures still capable of boundless violence. The flinds now act as elite soldiers in service to New Twain and the Empire; they are often used as counters to gnoll attacks, as gnolls regard them with fear and awe. Flinds are not allowed any employment in New Twain save for military service.
The river that runs through New Twain is infested with spiny dragonfish. The presence of dragonfish renders the river difficult to traverse without a stout-hulled boat.
Eye of Fear and Flame. The colonists who die in New Train are interred in the ancient burial catacombs beneath New Twain. However, there is a curse upon those vaults that ensures that anyone who is not a dire corby who is buried within them is reanimated as an undead creature. Colonists always return as eyes of fear and flame. These creatures steal forth from the tombs under the cover at night to cause havoc; they use their command abilities to cause stray imperial citizens to engage in acts of sabotage and sedition.
Screaming Devilkin. Screaming devilkin are vicious pests who descend from the sky in swarms. Some believe that they are bestial spies acting on behalf of a sorcerous folk living further in the west who have yet to face the Empire's westward expansion.