The Marble Gardens

Towering over the imperial capitol of Estril, the marble gardens are a massive 7 story construct of green and blue marble. Each story is recessed from the one below, giving the structure a Ziggurat like appearance. Wide terraces and open gardens surround each of the upper layers, giving way to covered lounges behind elegant archways. The entire facade is carefully draped in impeccably maintained vines and topiarys. The seven layers of the ziggurat each serve different uses and populations. At each of the entrances, both and restricted, each visitor is given a cloth bracelet with a set combination of seven beads of distinct materials indicating where the visitor is allowed access. Weapons are strictly prohibited in the gardens, and visitors carefully searched. The gardens are patrolled by elite guards from the cities garrison.

First Layer (Iron Bead) - The first layer has numerous street access points and is generally open to all, citizens and foreigners alike. However, all guard entrances are guarded and visitors recorded. The first level serves as the public men’s baths for the city of Estril. It is given over to a variety of large pools, baths, hot rooms, and myriad over pools of varying depths and temperatures. All though lacking the splendor of the exclusive baths, the lower baths are still elegant constructions of mutli-colored tiles, with mosaics showing historical and mythical scenes.

Second Layer (Turquoise Bead) - The second layer has the same footprint as the first, and stairs from the public entrances lead directly to the second level. It is largely a mirror of the first level and given over to the public women’s baths, although the aesthetic is more given other to rose and teal pastels and the mosaics show more peaceful scenes.

Third Layer (Copper Bead) - The third layer is the first to be recessed from the lower levels. It is still open to all, but entry comes with a modest fee. This level includes smaller, more exclusive baths for those willing to pay extra to bath away from the crowds. Outside the baths are terrace gardens with benches and lounges to enjoy. This layer also includes a number of outdoor pools that are maintained at their specified temperature year round.

Fourth Layer (Silver Bead) - The third layer to the forth has the largest recess in the ziggurat, leaving the fourth level over to the largest gardens. The fourth layer is officially restricted to citizens in good standing and honored visitors, although in practice these passes are readily available for a reasonable fee. The fourth level houses the cities aviary and a small, though lavishly adorned zoological garden. Elegantly maintained enclosures with silver coated fences hold a number of rare beasts, including a majestic pair of king tigers from the jungles of Tagata. The gardens on this level contains a variety of rare trees, and hedge mazes divide into a meandering sprawl of enclosed alcoves, designed to let the guest forget for a moment that they are in the heart of one of the world’s largest cities. The outside terraces give wonderful sweeping views around the entire city. Although there is no food allowed within the lower levels, as it is officially a bath house, vendors selling wines and exotic fruit juices can be found on this level.

The Fifth Layer (Sapphire Bead) - The fifth layer is officially given over to the cities merchant class. The great trade and guild houses control the passes to this level, although given their nature these can also be had for the right price. Access to this level is usually a key perk whenever someone reaches a leadership position in one of the main merchant companies, banks, or guild houses. Additionally, it is the primary venue Eramii merchants use to dazzle potential customers, investors, or partners. The open terraces on this level are giving over to alcoves set with clusters of lavish couches arranged in a U-shape around a table. Here the pretense of being a bath house gives over to convenience, and the core contains a kitchen run by a master chef and stocked with every conceivable inebriant. Extensive floor heating is built into this level, keeping it pleasant even in the (relatively mild) Estril winter and collapsible pagodas can swiftly be set up by the staff in the case of rain. The alcoves are set among more gardens, and set of outdoor baths built all in marble, hidden among the topiaries.

The Sixth Layer (Ruby Bead) - This layer is given over only to high ranking government officers. Senators, Praefects visiting the city, generals, and other high level ministers. The amenities largely mirror those of the fifth layer, and the sixth layer is serviced by the same kitchen.

The Seventh Layer (Gold Bead) - This level is officially the province of the emperor and any the emperor elects to give access, usually the imperial family and any invited guests. Since the fall of the empire this level has largely fallen into disuse, the cities rulership is content to satisfy themselves with the luxury of the sixth level, and none with to risk the symbolic claim of attempting to use the seventh layer.

Infrastructure Enabling this monument to luxury, there is hidden away withing the bowels of the ziggurat perhaps the worlds most advanced plumbing system. Giant networks of pipes draw water from the river, filter it, and send it into various cisterns where the water is heated or cooled to the desired level, using either giant furnaces or snow and ice shipped in from the mountains. The network of pipes feeding the gardens extend well beyond the footprint of the ziggurat, vertical windmills throughout the harbor supply pumps to generate water pressure. Water is fed into large storage cisterns located in the highest points in the city to maintain water pressure during the low winds.