Bikanel is a harsh and sandy land. Bikanel the city is a single vast stone building, a cuboid, within whose enclosure the city lays. This protects them from the tremendous sandstorms that affect the region, but at the cost of cutting itís people off from the sunlight. This city constantly strives to find enough water for itís people, and send parties out into the desert looking for the well-springs that frequently appear. These groups tend to consist of Thieves and Samurai. The city itself is in constant turmoil as several Ďfamiliesí vie for control. Whoever controls the most water entering the city has control of the city. Often they employ Ninjaís to help them obtain dominance, by killing off members of an opposing family or scouting party, whilst alchemists investigate mysterious artefacts found by the raiding parties. The four main families are the Sabin (led by Argo Sabin, a fiece but noble man), the Hyne (the head of this family is always called Hyne, and garbed in the same mysterious costume and mask. Secrecy is one of the Hyneís trademarks), the Minh (Layla Minh is currently in charge of this the family of Thieves) and the Dorpu (led by Tantarus Dorpu this family is under the sway of the Monks of Gaia). The people of Bikanel also frequently raid the nearby ruins for artefacts and weapons of great age and power. The people of Bikanel are constantly at odds with the Cactuar, a race of sentient moving cacti, which also need the water to survive. Many Monks have found a safe haven in Bikanel, and since the Bikanese donít mine and only use metal they find in the desert and ruins they are slowly coming around to the Gaian religion.
Thieves are valued in Bikanel for their skills at finding water. They are swift and generally dressed lightly to help them in the burning sun. Sometimes they are put to use for more nefarious activities, such as stealing from other families.
Samurai are the warriors of Bikanel. They are armoured in wood and leather so that they donít boil in the sun, but are still protected against Catuars. Since neither wood nor leather is particularly abundant in Bikanel these armours are fiercly guarded and looked after, only given to the best warriors. Samurai are masters of the sword, the most powerful amongst them capable of using the power of the metal itself to achieve marvellous feats.
Ninja are the deadly assassins of Bikanel. Typically garbed from head to foot in black cloth, they move unseen through the city in its perpetual night. Incrediably fleet of foot, some even say they donít move but just arrive at their location, they sneak up behind their victims and attack with deadly force. They are also known to be accurate at throwing weapons at their enemies.
The Alchemists are the intellectuals of Bikanel. They are diverse in what they study, but mainly are focussed on two things, the artefacts found in the ruins, and investigation of the healing properties of Phoenix feathers and making potions and items from them to help the sick. They stay out of the politics of Bikanel, working for any family that pays them.
The Monks of Gaia eschew armour and weapons of any type, instead protecting the world with the means Gaia gave them. Their teachings allow them to access the essence of Gaia running through them to augment their blows, and also to disrupt to essence of their foes. Luckily they will only fight to protect the innocent and those in danger.
The desert is a harsh mistress, and contains many dangers for the unwary. The heavily armoured Adamantoise go where they want, for few can harm them. Pyro Flanís seem to defy the deserts heat with their watery bodies, and Bombs fly around with their cousins the Grenades, waiting to ambush the unsuspecting. The large Landworms sometimes emerge from the sands, hoping to feast upon the flesh of anything they find, whilst the Zuís glide overhead seeking the same. Golems are seen roaming around, their rocky exterior disguising them until they are almost upon their victims. Chimeras have also recently appeared, and the Monks of Gaia say they are an abomination unto Gaia, as they do not contain her essence. Many believe that they are being herded in by the residents of Ivalice, Lancire and Loxer, though whether this is intentional or not is undecided.
The mysterious Gilgamesh, the giant four armed figure, seems to rule the land, attacking anything that displeases him, particularly Chimera. While not a friend to the Bikanese, he has been known to help their noble Samurai from time to time, but has also been known to slay those of a less than pure heart. The doglike Ifrit seems to hold sway over the monsters here, leading them to the attack with his fiery prowess, though some say that he only directs attacks against those trying to defile the ruins, the rest of the time it is survival of the fittest. Finally on some nights the mysterious Phoenix has been known to take flight from her rocky perch and spread her feathers far and wide. Some alchemists claim these can be used to resurrect the dead, though generally they just heal the sick and injured.