The city of Ilayson has grown and developed over hundreds of years into a metropolis of two distinct halves.
The old city is the original human settlement, bulit upon, around and within a huge, natural, rocky form that juts out of the valley floor and towers several hundred feet in the air. This part of the city feels old, with innumerable labyrinthine streets widing throughout. No two buildings are the same in the old city and vary from grand, free-standing houses around small squares, to more modest dwellings carved into the rock itself. All the ancestral homes of the Great Families can be found in the old city. Sitting atop this great outcropping, looming over both the old and new city alike, is the Most Holy Abbey of the Seven Sisters. This enormous, black edifice is the beating heart of the Church, housing the ruling hierarchy of this august and powerful institution.
The new city has sprung-up over time as space in the old city became exhausted. This part of Ilayson is a marked contrast to its older sibling. Fourteen Wards comprise the new city, each with its own distinct flavour, ambience and inhabitants. The full range of human life can be found in the sprawling new city; from the dirt-poor and exceedingly dangerous streets and alleys of Lower-East Ward, to the beautifully opulent houses and boulevards of Garden Ward. The new city has recently been completely surrounded by a fortified wall, complete with huge gates to the north and south. The wall was paid for by the Church and is manned by soldiers from the Monasterion in the south-west of the new city.
The only route between the old and new city is by way of a large, stone bridge that spans the river Ilay, at a height of approximately one-hundred feet. Bridge Ward, immediately off the bridge itself, is a place of substantial mercantile wealth, containing many specialist retailers.
The central area of the new city is Market Ward, which houses a massive, permanent array of traders' stalls. Some traders are itinerant, but many have established a permanent presence here. Parts of Market Ward have become covered overtime and there are many alcoves and galleries here.
The entire western side of the new city is taken up by a large necropolis, where the inhabitants of Ilayson have interred thier dead for centuries.