Armada is a floating pirate city that roams the waters of Bas-Lag (usually the Swollen Ocean). It is constructed from a multitude of scavenged, captured, and assimilated ships joined together with chains, planks and bridges. The city's existence has been kept as secret as possible for centuries (perhaps millenia), and survives by way of piracy, scavenging, and some trade with other pirate factions like the Cactacae faction Dreer Samheer. Its vast network of ships (using thaumaturgical compasses to find their way back), raids coastlines and vessels to bring back everything from soil to books to new citizenry. This last group is largely composed of prisoners, slaves, and others who are unlikely to hold loyalty to another power; even so, "press-ganged" citizenry are rarely allowed to venture away from Armada before years of loyal service, and the most unruly of them are sometimes executed.
Culturally and racially, Armada is extremely diverse, and while its collection of scientic and thaumaturgical knowledge grows unpredictably in fits and starts of scavenging, there are many accomplished and brilliant minds among its populace, and Armada approaches the level of more conventional cities in these areas. Politically, Armada is divided into mostly autonomous "ridings", but apart from the haunted quarter, its inhabitants move freely between these miniature polities while (usually) identifying as a citizen of one of them.
Below Armada, cray, menfish, dolphins, and the occasional acquatic or amphibious Remade live and work on the vessels' underside. Suited human divers also work on repairs and construction projects here, but the acquatic races form their own sunken cities and societies. The political and cultural nature of these places remain unclear (part of the ridings above? Additional ridings, or completely autonomous governments?)
While Armada has long traveled at crawling speed and great expense of fuel, the Lovers' have plans to replace the city's ineffectual fleet of tugboats with a more powerful motive force.
Appearance in Bas-Lag NovelsEdit
Neighborhoods (Ridings) Edit
Armada is comprised of smaller sub-states known as "ridings". Each riding has its own ruling class which participates in a council that governs Armada as a whole. It is the chief setting (within Bas-Lag) of the novel The Scar Each riding consists of a number of ships. The ones that are mentioned in the novel are included below.
Note that the layout of Armada is never precisely described. Shaddler - Booktown - Garwater's Basilio docks - Jhour seem to form one edge of the city, while Garwater nestles in the center between all of these and Curhouse. Bask, Shaddler, Dry Fall, Thee-and-Thine, and the haunted riding must make up the other side of the city in some configuration.
Has "uniformed proctors" as police.
- Tailor's Moan, the flagship
Also known as the khepri quarter, or the Clockhouse Spur.
The Pinchermarn, Corrosive Memory and Dancing Wight are some of the vessels that make up the Grand Gears Library.
A democracy ruled by the Democratic Council, which oversees an orderly system of courts.
A "protectorate" ruled by the Brucolac.
The most powerful riding in Armada, ruled by the Lovers.
- Grand Easterly, the flagship
- Cable's Weft
- Glomar's Heart
- Surge Instigant
Ruled by a "solar queendom" with the cactacae woman Braginod on its throne (until her death during the New Crobuzon attack resuls in her brother Dynich taking her place). Airship construction is a large part of its economy. Many cactacae of all social classes live here. Borders Garwater?
- The Custody is the site of the Aeroworks plant, one of the most important airship manufacturers
- The Saskital has one of the five chains holding the harness of the Avanc tethered to its underside.
Home of the scabmettlers. adjacent to Booktown, Thee-and-Thine, Garwater's foremost edge, and the open sea. Ruled by a general, its citizens reportedly have little autonomy. The streets are rather bleak and simple. Pomp's Way is located here, a marketplace busy with visitors from Garwater and Booktown. Elsewhere in the riding, temples and herbariums serve the distinctive needs of the scabmettlers.
- The Therianthropus is Shaddler's flagship, and the site of Barrow Hall.
- Darioch's Concern is a clipper connected to Garwater riding by the Whiskey Bridge. It is a low-class, raucous area.
- Badmark, a barge on the inner side of Darioch's Concern
- The Dearly, a permanently surfaced submersile with a theater inside it, on the outer side of Darioch's Concern
- The Thaladin lies on the edge of Armada, displaying the Shaddler Sculpture Garden by the open ocean
Bordering the haunted quarter and Shaddler, Thee-and-Thine is an unpretentious riding, site of the very popular arena fights, glad' circuses, and bazaars. King Friedrich is the current "violent mercantile" ruler. Juhangirr's Concern is a journal published here reporting on events entirely through crude pictures. In Thee-and-Thine, "everything is for sale" and the government is unconcerned with cleaning up its unkempt raucous streets.
- The Salt Godling is its flagship
- The Yevgeny is a hundred-foot sloop housing a belowdecks pub, The Pashakan
- the oily iron ship Drudgery in a quiet part of town. A big old factory ship next to it houses Armada's asylum.
Not really a riding, but an abandoned and feared area of Armada. A mere dozen or so ships tucked away at the fore-port corner of the city, it borders Thee-and-Thine and Dry Fall. People of Thee-and-Thine tell stories of the ghuls and "tallow ghast" that supposedly live there, but the inhabitants of Dry Fall are more subdued on the subject. Strange sounds are heard at times, birds refuse to land on its masts, and anyone crossing over to investigate returns either pale and silent or not at all. It remains attached to Armada either due to superstition or to supernatural power that reputedly foils attempts to separate it.
- The Wordhoard, largest vessel in the haunted quarter, is attached to the Avanc's harness by one of the five chains tethering the contraption to Armada. Silas Fennec hid in its depths while he was not busy plotting against Armada.
- Shared land - Croom Park lies between Curhouse and Garwater, a few ships filled with exotic plants.
Note: It is unclear where certain areas are located, including Winterstraw Market and the Sculpture Garden. This last one is located next to the Proposal, simply a uniform slab of jade. Needle Street and Blodmead Street are "less savory" areas of Garwater.