Rising from its sacred plateau above a long-dead sea, Arl stands proud and strong, a bastion of Azlant’s civilized culture amid the barbarism of Akiton’s vast cold deserts— or so the people of Arl believe. The city-state is certainly among Akiton’s largest, boasting a population of around 44,000 men, women, and children within its walls. Just under a hundred-thousand souls bow to Arl’s banner, if one includes all the city’s vast rural holdings and satellite communities.
Arl’s government is a totalitarian communal theocracy, overseen by the clerics who interpret the will of the gods, the thuroks, and Azlant, in that order. Despite the fall of Azlant some ten-thousand Golarion years ago, the common people and even most middle-ranking clerics labor under the impression that the empire yet remains, and their good works as its most far-flung colony are noticed, appreciated, and rewarded. The higher one climbs the social ladder, however, the more of the truth is revealed: that Arl is alone, long cut off from its alien masters, and true rule lies in the hands of the clerics at the top of the pecking order. Most thuroks arise from this hierarchy, selected by their peers based on their obvious favor with the gods (or favor with their fellows in a baser political sense). During the times that a thurok from another world is in power, their decisions are subtly manipulated by these high-priests, and a thurok who takes too many liberties with their reign or attempts to enact wide-reaching reforms can expect retribution ranging from quiet assassination and disposal to public execution in Arl’s Crimson Forum.