Under the Steel Web
Li Halan Quarter
The Li Halan live athwart the Holy District, and this is by long choice. For centuries they were the most decadent and wicked of the noble houses, but in the last lifetime or more, they have become the most faithful, such that they are the mainstays of the church. As a result, their district in Arad was always just beside the church’s, and now the two form the most solid alliance in all of the isolated city’s politics. At present, it is certain that the Church leads the Li Halan, but there is motion, now that the Archbishop has grown very aged, toward reversing their positions.
Meanwhile, the Li Halan district is much like the church’s but with less fanaticism. There is order and civility, there is cleanliness and thoughtful rulership, but there is less fear of punishment. The uncertain border between the two areas seems slowly but constantly to shift toward the Li Halan, suggesting also the shift in Church leadership which the nobles propose.
One thing held much in common is distrust of technology, though for the Li Halan the main reason is that they suspect the al Malik of being behind any and all technological advances. Only reluctantly do they allow the Engineers to maintain electricity in their area, and in general innovation and change are discouraged. But so gentle is their rule otherwise that they are much loved by their clients.
Bishop Allia Li Halan is the second ranking member of the church in all Arad, holding the rank just beneath the Archbishop, though only by chance is she present in Arad. She was visiting her brother, the Baron, when the Steel Web dropped, and it is assumed that her episcopal seat of Dariatur, across the seas and thousands of miles away, has likely been reassigned. But without proof, her rank remains intact. She is being pushed for the succession by the Li Halan, loyal children of the Church whose opinions must be considered; certainly she is a wonderful administrator, and has been assisting the Church as a liaison to the nobility, which is a needed and favored role.
Udian Ur Obun is known as the Ender of Wonders, for he is in charge, under the Baron, of disposing of technology thought unprofitable. No one is seriously punished for possession of the same, though they must attend counseling with the alien, who strives to convince all people to abandon modern technology.
Shova Hill is a heretic, or rather, a heathen, who holds to an old faith that grew up on the outskirts of the Second Republic, and does not worship the Pancreator, but rather the stars of the sky. She and her followers, who number in the hundreds and who spill over into the Flooded City, call constantly on the stars to show themselves by breaking the dome. If they are no more effective than the Church, they are no less. Missionaries from the Li Halan branch of the church seek to convert her, but will not allow the higher authorities to destroy them, at least, not yet.