The capital of The Papal States, Soto La Marina is a city of trade, worship and study. It is also home to a wide variety of vice and sin, some of which with approval. It is a hive of activity, both comercial and political, and very often the two cross in the cafes and parlors here.
|Soto La Marina|
|Location:||The Papal States, Tamaulipas|
|Notable Individuals:||Pope Gelasius II|
|Factions:||La Iglesia Avivada de Nuestro Señor,|
|Notable events:||Founding of la iglesia avivada de nuestro señor|
Founded by Spanish settlers in 1788, Soto La Marina was originally a trading post near the Gulf. It would grow over the centuries, until it had a population over 90,000 at the time of the Great War. The days after the war were the same in the city as they were in most places; fighting, suicides, looting, rape, murder and a general sense of chaos. One of the few places spared was the cathedral, which became a rallying point for the survivors. After the violence had calmed, those still alive began to examine the damage done. They found that most of the city was alright, although several neighborhoods had burned down due to fires. Staying in the church for shelter and organization, they began to scavenge and reclaim what they could from the ruins of their homes.
As time went on, they moved out of the church and into the surrounding buildings, seeing that the radiation was gone. The segment of the population that had been turned into ghouls also showed themselves around this time and were accepted into the new town, having suffered enough. Now numbering just shy of eighty, a party was organized to explore some of the farther areas of town, as well as look for seeds or a steady food supply. On the north side, they found several small gangs, but they posed no threat at the time. Besides that, the party returned with a rough map, several animals and a small amount of food.
By 2113 there was a small town built around the cathedral that mostly scavenged and farmed the surrounding ruins. A traveling priest would take residence in the town one day, named Agusti Agapito, and he had traveled Tamaulipas preaching most of his life. He would move the crowd with his sermons and would be the start of would be The Papal States. Agapito's oratory skills as well as the town's relative security and prosperity would attract dozens of travelers and merchants. These would indirectly fund several businesses in town, and by 2132 boasted ten shops and a partially restored church, owning to it's influence.
Some of the more fanatical townspeople decided the town's good fortune was a direct blessing from god, declared Agapito to be a new pope and Soto La Marina his rome. The priest was initially irate and called the people blasphemers when encountered, but would soon be convienced to ignore it by town leadership. The faithful ate it up, and soon organized into bands that went out and cleared out sections of the ruins. Soto La Marina would grow exponentially from that point, and even the death of Agapito and the choosing of a second Pope couldn't change that. By 2150 Soto La Marina had been transformed into 'a new Rome in the land of old gods' as a traveler would describe it.
Funded by hard work and shrewd dealings, the town would expand exponentially, with new structures added over the demolished remnants of old ones daily. This prosperity would attract the attention of Comancheros in late 2151, who would raid any caravan going in or out of the city. The mayor organized a militia with some mercenaries to assist, and the men pretended to be a caravan. They would kill or capture the Comancheros and free-up the trade route. This security would attract settlers and merchants, eager to live in an wholesome environment. And the town went through a boom as settlers came and the Papacy was formally reestablished.
Soto La Marina would take on the unofficial role of capital of this fledgling realm, as the settlement's mayor was not a signatory of the Papal Charter.
The economy of the city is based mainly the constant stream of pilgrims that come to the city both to pray, and to petition the Pope. The outskirts of the city are filled with with inns and hostels, with lavish hotel for the well of closer to the center of town. The food is usually based around this group, with roadside stands and grills standing on most streets grilling everything under the sun... And a few things that has never seen it.
Underneath this pious veneer lies a very real black market; the groups of pilgrims are great ways of smuggling slaves and contraband into the town without attention; there are roughly a dozen inns, hotels, and tents throughout the city that are operated as safe-houses by various gangs and individuals, selling residence to those on the run with pesos; roadside stands both distribute chems and other items as well as act as drop off points for fences; even several members of the local guard make a nice bonus to their income by selling confiscated items to travelers. More than one member of the Vatican have been excommunicated and banished for such associations.
The culture of Soto La Marina varies from solemn worship and study around the cathedral to drunken displays of machismo around the cantinas, races on the outskirts of town, and strict work ethic in the business district. Visitors often get directions based on these "zona de estado de ánimo" and told if they get lost, just to strike up a conversation with someone to see where they are. The atmosphere around the schools and shrines in one of enlightenment, as knowledge preserved from before the war, is passed down to another generation. Not only are ideas taught but the arts as well, Soto La Marina boasting an impressive collection of art supplies, even hosting a small sculpting workshop. The streets are usually filled with pilgrims, with merchants operating sidewalk stalls here and there intermixed with doorways for more stable shops.
The Outskirts by contrast in almost the complete opposite; rowdy, loud, and often very illegal. Sitting as it does on the intersection of two major cattle trails, as well as an exit of Carretera 101, it sees a lot of vaqueros and caravaners. Originally given only a flimsy bunkhouse, there is now a literal red-light district on the outskirts of the city, the size of which depends on the current pope. Here one can find almost any vice they wish to indulge in, from flesh to food to chems to gambling. To add to the 'entertainment' several of the brothel and cantina owners sponsor weekly races. The resulting noise and fights have lead more than one cardinal to compare it with pagan Rome.
Despite being headquartered in the city, the knights of La Orden de los Caballeros del Escudo de Plata are surprisingly lenient in the figures of the city's underworld, unless they are caught up in a damning sin.
Despite the presence of the Holy Father, Soto La Marina is ruled by an independently elected Mayor, dating back to the days just after the war. The pope does have the ability to veto the people's choice, but this has only been invoked twice. He does, however, have de facto control over the town laws, with his ability to issue bulls and decrees. This is most prominently seen in the outskirts, which shrink and grow according to who holds the chair.