Life is hard in the border lands of Zarbala. The stink of the nomads and their camels. Stale water and iron rations to eat. Rubbish and dung every where. Beastmen raiding the camp. Mercenaries drunk on the horrible green liquor called "Goblin Water", telling the same stories over and over. Thrassians picking fights out of boredom. Pestilence running rampant. Cadaver men scratching at the palisade after dark, searching for flesh. Slavers snatching the able bodied from their bedrolls. None of that is quite so bad as the sanctimonious rebels seeking a way to destroy the Doge and bring a new age of freedom and equality for all. Replacing his corruption with their own, more likely.
The Doge of Zarbala is purging his city of all perceived threats to his rule. Anyone who has the means is getting out of the city and heading for what ever safe haven they can find outside the Doge's reach. So much gold in the ancient and corrupt city there is for those who can win it! A stable of gladiators, selling slaves in the slave market, wine from the south, lotus from the east and the sword arm of the mercenary are all for sale in the greatest of the ancient cities. When the Doge's lust for the blood of his rivals has been sated, you may return without fear of being caught up in the slaughter. Then! Then there will be wine, pleasure slaves and glory! For now, there may be wealth to be gained here amongst the ruins of the Durian empire.
Long did the Durians rule over these lands. Zabala is the last of their ancient cities. The rest were destroyed by nomads, rivals to the south and the west, internal strife, plague and decadence. Perhaps not all of the treasure of the ancient world were carried away by barbarians and beastmen. It is said that lurking in the ancient ruins are abominations of Chaos, ancient dragons and warlocks seeking the true names of demons. What treasures are they hoarding away! Nearby, caravans from the east bring their rich haul to the Azure Sea. Some do not make it and are slain and pillaged by beastmen. That wealth can be won back with the bite of an axe! Old barrow mounds hold treasures for those who have gone to the afterlife. The dead cannot spend their coins. That wealth could buy many skins of wine while waiting for the passing of the Doge's fury.