Skopentzana was once a great city in the Empire of Videssos, almost a rival for Videssos the city. At one point it was in the Videssian province of Bratzista but now it lies in ruins within Thatagush, a Khamorth nation.
Skopentzana in "The Decoy Duck"
During the reign of Avtokrator Stavrakios, Skopentzana was home to Zoïlos, a merchant who purchased a Haloga slave named Kveldulf. When Kveldulf became a pious follower of Phos and desired to enter the priesthood, Zoilos manumitted him so he could fulfil his dreams.
Skopentzana in Bridge of the Separator
Skopentzana was as old as Videssos the city and as beautiful in its own way. It lay to the far northeast on the south side of the Anazarbos River below the headwaters and thus accessible from the sea. It was wealthy and its inhabitants looked down on those from the City as provincials since they did not know of events in nearby Halogaland or among the Khamorth.
The buildings were constructed of the local yellow sandstone and timbers with steeply pitched roofs to keep off the deep winter snow. The city square had the chief temple of Phos on one side and the city eparch's residence on the other. While many provincial cities' temples had copied the High Temple of the City with its vast central dome, Skopentzana used its own native style. To a visitor from the City, it looked like a vast ship's hull had been inverted and used as the roof. This was close to the truth since its design was inspired by a Haloga longhouse which commonly used a hull of a ship too decrepit to sail as its roof.
The square itself was filled with statues of locally famous Videssians constructed of marble, bronze, or local sandstone. However, it was dominated by a larger than life bronze of the Avtokrator Stavrakios. The other statues seemed to look to him for permission to stand there.
This was the city that Rhavas came to to be the Prelate early in the rule of Maleinos II. It was in the civil war between Maleinos and Stylianos that the Khamorth invaded the western Videssian provinces and sacked the city. As Rhavas fled the sack he cursed both the plainsmen and the city causing a masive earthquake that levelled the city's walls.
The Khamorth soon settled the lands they invaded but never rebuilt the ruins of the cities they captured, including Skopentzana.
Skopentzana in the Videssos Cycle
When Avshar revealed his cadaverous face to Marcus Scaurus, Wulghash and his court, he claimed he had learned true power in ancient Skopentzana some eight centuries earlier including how to survive that long. Later, after Scaurus escaped from the Yezda and rejoined the Videssian army, he was interviewed by the Patriarch Balsamon and mentioned this comment to him. From this and his research into old records of past synods, Balsamon concluded that Avshar had once been a Videssian priest of Phos who lost his faith and turned to Skotos.
The city of Skopentzana is based on the city of Rome. Both have seven hills and rival their respective imperial capitals, i.e. Constantinople and Videssos the city. The analogy is not complete, however, as Rome has never gone defunct as a city, and is the capital of modern Italy. Furthermore, Rome was the former imperial capital, which does not seem to be the case with Skopentzana.
- Videssos Cycle: Volume Two, pg. 662.
- Ibid, pgs. 730-732.