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The city of Zalejk viewed from just off the south bank
The city of Zalejk viewed from just off the south bank
Flag of Zalejk
Coat of arms of Zalejk
Coat of arms
Etymology: zallá-íkku
southern point
Nickname(s): Musocia
our city
Motto: Hachtozvrnješ duha mgovadnju
The diversity of the islands are united in this place
Made capital of Vrnallia1899
 • City142.5 km2 (55.0 sq mi)
 • Urban137 km2 (53 sq mi)
 • Rural5.5 km2 (2.1 sq mi)
Population (2016)
 • City167,255
 • Density1,173.72/km2 (3,039.9/sq mi)
DemonymZlejkhúd(-khudaš), Zalejker(s)
Time zoneWest Asuran Standard Time (UTC-1)
Area code(s)(+18) 201

Zalejk (Vrnallian Zaléjk pronounced /zaˈlɛi̯k/, local dialect [zʌˈl̠ei̯k]) is the capital and second city of the United States of Vrnallia. With a population of approximately 167,000 people it is the largest city in the state of Mlekie though not its capital as well as the second largest city in Vrnallia. It is located in the southwest of the state, on the coast just south of Lake Sutas. The River Bàd runs through the west of the city. Aside from functioning as the political centre of Vrnallia, it is also the main port city for the state of Mlekie, as it contains a larger harbour than Mlekie City owing to its being used as a naval base for the United Kingdom of Lhedwin.

Zalejk was founded as the island of Mlekie's western port in the 1100s, accompanying Mlakamuso (now Mlekie City) to the east. It was founded at the convergence of the River Bàd, which flowed from Lake Sutas, and the River Iciu, near to the coast. Within a few years the settlement had expanded towards the mouth of the Bàd and onto a promontory to the east, which is believed to be the reason for the name of "northern peak". The prosperity of Zalejk led to it growing rapidly, and by the 1600s it almost rivalled Mlakamuso in size. Under the Lhaeraidd occupation the port was greatly developed and a castle built on the promontory, which is now the Vrnallian War Museum. Under the UKL the port of Zalejk was felt to be more valuable than that of Mlakamuso, and development led to Zalejk overtaking that city in size. During the Great War the partisan provisional government operated out of Zalejk, and the city was made Vrnallia's capital after the end of the conflict.

As the national capital Vrnallia is home to Vrnallia's federal political entities including the Chamber and Council. The economy of Zalejk is based on fishing, as with most other Vrnallian coastal settlements, but also media, services and a growing technology sector. More recently the city has also seen a growth in tourism, widely attributed to the country's successes in the 2016 Copa d'Aeia football competition bringing it into an internationally visible position. Domestically, Zalejk is the headquarters for most of the country's media groups including public broadcaster VRT as well as a number of unions including Mgovón, Vrnallia's largest general union. Additionally, the University of Vrnallia has one of its two campuses in Zalejk, specialising in arts subjects.


Zalejk is a Newrickisation of the Vrnallian name of the city. Variant spellings seen in the past include Zallick, Zallake and Zalleik, but a direct transliteration of the Vrnallian name (with or without an acute accent over the "e") is preferred nowadays. The city was also formerly known by the Lhaeraidd-origin Leicu, from Lleicw, but this name has fallen out of use.

The name Zaléjk is first attested as Middle Vrnallian Zallájkh in documents from the thirteenth century. It is presumed to have been founded under a different name, but this is unknown and was clearly later replaced. Zallájkh is widely held to derive from an Old Vrnallian compound zalláhíkky, from zálla "north" and íkky "protrusion, promontory". The "promontory" which the name refers to is believed to be Higejvrni, on which the Lhaeraidd built Caerleicw, the modern Castle Zalejk.


Early History

Zalejk was founded in the twelfth century on the orders of the Jarl of Mlekie, Jaljaguli, who wished for the island to have a second port for trading. Mlakamuso, from where the Jarl ruled, had long served as Mlekie's only trading port, but as Mlekie began to exert more control over Mazej and Vorod islands it was not felt to be adequate. A new harbour settlement in the west of the island would be far more accessible to Mazej and Vorod. This new settlement was founded on the Rivers Bàd and Iciu, which allowed for navigation up to the Lake Sutas from which the former river flows and which was the site of the Jarl's western residence on Mlekie.

Estimates for the date that construction of the first buildings in Zalejk began vary across pretty much all of the latter half of Jaljaguli's jarldom, from 1130 to 1160 (shortly after his death). However, by the start of the thirteenth century it seems that the settlement had expanded to the coast proper as well as east of the rivers to the now-named Higejvrni promontory, evidenced by the spread of the name Zallájkh or similar, meaning "northern promontory". Regular trade with Mazej appears to have commenced almost immediately after the settlement's founding although textual evidence suggests that Vorod traders continued to frequent Mlakamuso until the 1200s. This trade led to Zalejk prospering and growing rapidly over the years. Records from the 1400s indicate a growth in the population of the town from about a thousand people to one and a half thousand in the space of thirty years (1410-1440), although it is unclear if this only counts the permanent population.

Castle Zalejk, now a museum

The occupation of Vrnallia by tir Lhaeraidd led to the further development of Zalejk, which by this point was close in size to Mlakamuso. The government found Zalejk's port more tactically useful than that of Mlakamuso, given its proximity to Vorod and the lay of its land. The Teyrn ordered construction of a castle, Caerleicw "Castle Zalejk" on the Higejvrni promontory, which required the destruction of official residences thereupon. New residences were built along the River Iciu, on an area which had largely been ignored prior to then. Irrigation projects intended to feed the plantations around Zalejk eventually led to the Iciu drying up, with its course becoming Iciu Avenue, a prestigious residential area today.

The Lhaeraidd tended to identify the towns of Zalejk and Mlakamuso simply as Porthorllewin "Westport" and Porthddwyrain "Eastport", and although Zalejk received the greater development and use of its port for economic and naval affairs, the Lhaeraidd continued to use Mlakamuso as the administrative centre of Mlekie island.

Under the United Kingdom of Lhedwin

The UKL continued to make great use of Zalejk's port, though primarily now for the service of the navy rather than for trade. Advancement in naval technologies led to the rapid industrialisation of the Zalejk port area due to the need for local service of the ships docked there, and the local economy grew around this development. Caerleicw, now renamed Zaleiksborg, was initially used by the local garrison before being converted to a munitions factory. In the census of 1830 Zalejk overtook Mlakamuso in population for the first time, with a population of over forty thousand.

In the mid-late nineteenth century dockworkers and dockside factory workers began to unionise en masse as the ideologies of socialism were introduced to Vrnallia. A strongly anti-Lhedwin syndicalism became popular amongst dockworkers in particular, while amongst other workers a nationalistic liberalism was the preferred politic. Both groups faced opposition from the Lhedwin government, and numerous political leaders were arrested.

The outbreak of the Great War in 1895 affected Vrnallia directly as able-bodied men were conscripted by the government to fight for the Concordat. Vrnallians were mostly sent to the eastern front to fight Hergemoth and Tyronova, with only a relative few sent south to fight tir Lhaeraidd. Vrnallians, however, were opposed to this act of conscription and the archipelago broke out into violence. In Zalejk, the unionised dockworkers declared a general strike and political prisoners were released from captivity. Street fighting broke out in early 1887 between Partisans and Loyalists. The Partisans were able to gain almost complete control over the docks and Zaleiksborg, with the Loyalists fleeing upriver to the area around Iciu Avenue and Lake Sutas. Zalejk declared itself a liberated city in May.

The general strike by the dockworkers was not formally ended, but rather than seek naval conflict with the Lhedwinic Navy, dockworkers instead left the ports to work in manufacturing for the Partisan fighters or used the vessels in port for fishing to combat the starvation that had swept through the city when trade was cut off. Meanwhile, the freed political prisoners, union representatives and a select few former government figures joined together to announce a provisional government, intended to ensure stability amongst the liberated regions as well as coördinate action amongst the various Partisan groups. The government was fragmented into three blocs: the liberal bloc, consisting mostly of academics and small businessmen; the syndicalist bloc, consisting mostly of union officials and workers' representatives; and the conservative bloc, consisting mostly of wealthier Vrnallians and former government officials.

By 1893 Zalejk had narrowly overcome its food issues, managing to become self-sufficient by the implementation of a strict system of rationing. The Lhedwinic Navy, however, found that the loss of one of its main manufacturing hubs was leading to serious supply problems at this point. A naval force was mobilised to retake Zalejk, but the UKL vastly underestimated the strength of the Partisans. As the ships approached port, cannons were fired from Zaleiksborg, managing to cause serious damage to one ship, which retreated. Now too close to the city to effectively bombard it, the ships were forced to dock. As the port was abandoned, the sailors disembarked expecting minimal resistance, only to be met with a legion of riflemen on the streets who opened fire. Of the four hundred or so sailors who landed in Zalejk, about sixty were killed and the rest surrendered. The UKL made no further attempts to capture Zalejk, needing to focus on its campaign in the North Sea.


The capitulation of Veleaz in 1899 put pressure on the UKL, and the mobilisation of a joint fleet by the Alliance in December forced the Kingdom to abandon Vrnallia to reinforce the mainland. In Zalejk, the provisional government declared independence and ratified a constitution for the newly-free Vrnallia. This constitution made Zalejk the capital of Vrnallia, now organised as a federation, while Mlakamuso would function as the capital of the State of Mlekie.

As Zalejk was liberated early on in the war, it had remained stable for years before the surrender of Lhedwin. However, the reconstruction process had not been possible until very late in the war due to the lack of safe trade routes. After the war, trade returned to Vrnallia and with the economic help afforded by the O'Callaghan Plan Zalejk was able to restore itself to essentially its pre-war state. The manufacturing industry faced serious difficulty, however, as its demand had fallen dramatically after the end of the war. More and more domestic goods were being imported, leading to the redundancy of many workers. In 1910 Zalejk experienced its first recorded net fall in population, as a significant number of citizens migrated to the Lhedwin successor states seeking work.

The Zalejk industrial sector at first attempted to manufacture locally goods which were particularly expensive to import, but found that the materials cost did not make this profitable. By 1920, therefore, most factories had been shut down, with employers seeking new ventures in agriculture which was strongly incentivised by the government. Urban workers, however, suffered as a result and the late 1920s into the 1930s are commonly referred to as the "Dark Age of Vrnallian Industry".


Zalejk is the capital of the United States of Vrnallia and the seat of its federal government. All of the main government buildings including the Chamber and Council as well as the Supreme Court are found on Independence Square in central Zalejk, which is also the city's most well known tourist area. The state of Mlekie-Vorod has seven parishes within the urban area of Zalejk, with state administrators representing Zalejk Dockside, Bàvan and Mòlaš, Lower Bàd Jarik, Central Zalejk, Iciu, East Zalejk and North Zalejk and Musohariu. In all, Zalejk has three Socialist administrators, three Conservative administrators and one Progressive administrator.

Parish (Kviedij) Administrator Party
Zalejk Dockside Èmi Hozo Socialist Party
Bàvan and Mòlaš Jasphu Lutho Progressive Party
Lower Bàd Jarik Muski Boziég Socialist Party
Central Zalejk Chiogu Khama Conservative Party
Iciu Luhec Skoguzej Conservative Party
East Zalejk Meni Helse Socialist Party
North Zalejk and Musohariu Pidna Hogas Conservative Party