Safeharbour

Capital of the Free Isles

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What Everybody Knows

Safeharbour is a large town or a small city depending on whether you have ever visited one of the cities on the mainland. It is situated at the mouth of the Dragon River. Two large islands guard the harbour and upon them are the Holy Temple of Solarios and the Royal Palace, the former partially abandoned the latter now home to the First. A high wall protects the city from attacks from both the seaward and landward sides.

Places Of Worship

As befits a place of such importance there are temples to many of the popular deities, some are easier to find than others however. Followers of Koryis are the luckiest as most districts will have at least a small shrine. Temples to Calitha are concentrated in the waterside districts while Yamuga has temples in the outlying and poorer areas of the city. The large number of mages in the city has meant that temples to Pflarr are common, particularly in the richer areas. The newest temples belong to Mealiden Starwatcher, as most of the older ones were destroyed by the riots that followed the great plague. The largest temple in the city is unused, that is the one dedicated to Solarios on Holy Island, only the few Bormarians that remained after the war of independence follow the Sun God. The hardest to find are temples to Asterius, god of thieves but those that need to know will be able to find one. Shrines and secret temples dedicated to Thanatos are shut down and cleansed as soon as they can be found but no doubt some exist in the shadier parts of the city.

The Powers

There are seven power groups in the city, alliances and tensions between these groups provide much of the gossip and rumours that keep the tavern keepers in business.

The official government comprises The First, the mage Lord Kesryk, High Priest Ramos, Trader Masrin Tahl and General Montella. They want peace and prosperity for The Free Isles and to this end they are on good terms with the various trade guilds, the Ambassadors and the clerics of the good aligned Immortals. The Thieves Guild and the Slavers Guild (also known as The Golden Chain) are outlawed and are hunted down with vigour by the city militia.
The Trade Guilds, led by the Seaman's Guild and the Merchant Union, weild a lot of power in the city. It was at their insistence that the Thieves Guild was outlawed. The Seaman's Guild is interested in safety and security for its members and lower landing taxes. On this latter point the Merchant Union is agreed.

The Mage Council is made up of five members. Lord Kesryk is the leader of the council, the others are the chancellor of Poppleton University Magnus Sturgeon, the wandering mage Angus d'Thai, the reclusive Orlando Costa and the newly elected Sylvania Grey.

Led by High Priest Ramos the Clerics of the Order of Koryis have a powerful voice in government circles. Their great wealth brings them great power.

The Ambassadors of Bormaris and Doralin overshadow the representatives of the other nations in the Western Realms. the others tend to go along with whatever Duke Christof and Brother Eustace suggest. Of course there is no representative from Coranos.

Despite being outlawed the Thieves Guild and the Golden Chain do wield power among the people of the city, a power based on fear and greed. No matter how hard the official powers try, these two groups seem to survive, going further and further underground to avoid detection.

Hot Rumours

A number of rumours are spreading throughout the city. Like all rumours they may be based on nothing but the drunken accusations of a sailor thrown out of a tavern, but here they are anyway.

  • Fear grows that the plague may be about to return after half true rumours from Avondale surface that orcs had been planning to poison the water supply with plague spores.
  • People are being taken as slaves from the southern half of the city and shipped to the slave markets of Doralin and Bormaris.
  • The ambassador of Bormaris is currently planning on kidnapping the First's wife, taking her to Bormaris and holding her to ransom.
  • The Doralinian ambassador is liasing with an orc tribe and wants them to attack the city hoping to cause discontent within the populace so that his army can be called in to rescue them.
  • The First has vanished, sucked into a strange magical tome given to him by an evil wizard.
  • A female vampire is stalking the streets of Safeharbour killing young men in the night.
  • After many years the Sea Dragons have been spotted off of the coast. Sea Dragon meat and hide is a delicacy and high prices are paid for such meat and skin.
  • The Great Race is a horse race through the lands north and northwest of the city. The prize is a gold cup and 200 crowns for the winner. It is rumoured that the First is going to award an extra prize to the winner this year, a parcel of land and a title.

Comments Overheard …

Wylanateriel an Elven Street Vender

"Of course it is busy and smelly and crowded but the city is a good place to sell things. Since the First came to power and allowed elves to live openly in the city things have got better for us. I would love to return to the forests of my childhood but some people in the country are less civilised than those here in the city. As long as you know the places to avoid then you shouldn't have any trouble. Keep away from 'The Stink', a real nest of vipers, more dangerous than a wounded boar. The militia can't control the streets, when ever they try they lose more men so they post warnings around the edge and leave it at that."

Soignar a Dwarven Trader

"It is not a patch on Dal Skyr of course! The streets are narrow and wind like a maiden's braid. The people are friendly though and know the value of good dwarven wares which makes my job easier. The ale here is thin and watery in most of the taverns, if you wan't a good drink seek out one of the dwarven taverns near the market."

Aki a Half-Orc Fishermen

"We are despised, ignored and hated in equal measure by those within the walls. Until they wan't something done that is. The First is having a feast, we need more fish, a boat has run aground we need it towed off, the sea-dragons are spawning tell us where we can find them. Then we are useful. The complain about the stink, about the mess. What do they expect we are bringing in hundreds of baskets of fish a day, where do they expect the waste to go. The tides in Traitor's Reach are sluggish, not all gets washed out quick enough."

Places Of Note

Royal Island (6)

Formally the residence of King Karaz when he was visiting the islands. The palace is smaller and lacking in some of the ostentation shown by the palaces on the mainland it is still a fine building.
It is now the residence of the First, his family and his most trusted advisers. It can be reached by sea or by foot along the city walls. The former Royal Barge was destroyed in the War Of Independence and the first tends to use one of the ferry boats or a small fishing boat to travel from the mainland to the boathouse on the island.

Holy Island (1)

The Temple Of Solarios, the Sun Prince dominates the island. It is said that each king of Bormaris is descended in direct line from Solarios. Since independence the temple has been little used, the Helios (high priest) left with the last of the soldiers taking what gold and silver he could with him. The greatest treasure, the Sun Stone, could not be taken away. This huge chunk of iron, said to have fallen to the ground from the sun ridden by Solarios, is the altar at the centre of the Temple. The fires that used to burn in the tall Tower of the Sun have not been kindled since that day. The doors remain locked and barred to prevent looters, the First does not want the Bormarian ruler to have any excuse to invade. A few years ago a small group of Hospitilars of Solarios moved inand have proceeded to treat the sick and injured on the island.
Small stone huts, occupied by hermits and sages, are scattered along the southern shore. They are a motley bunch of various denominations. Each has built their own hut and has little to do with each other.

The Scales

This area beyond the city walls is home to orcish fisherfolk. They are skilled sailors and bring in a fine haul of silver mackerel, fat cod, speckled flounder as well as lobster and crab. The smell of the smokehouses competes with the noisome effulgence of The Stink when the wind is from the south but the produce is well worth it. They keep themselves to themselves for the most part but fights between a drunken sailor and an angry fisherman is well worth seeing.

Horsemarket Fields

General livestock as well as horses are sold on the large flat fields outside Kingsgate. Two large stables, one for the militaries exclusive use, stand against the north wall of the city. Most of the better inns will have a small stable but these are the best and the most expensive.

The Seagate

This is one of the best examples of dwarven engineering in the isles. The wood and stone structure is cleverly counter balanced to allow it to be swung open with the aid of chains and pulleys so that the largest sailing ships can enter the harbour. When shut portcullises can be dropped to stop smaller vessels from getting in.

The Grand Market

This large open space surrounded by shops and workshops is one of the wonders of the Isles. The buildings around the market are three stories tall and it is possible to walk the complete perimeter of the market on one of the two elevated walkways. Shops that face the square can charge much higher places than elsewhere in the city.
On market days the square is filled with gaily coloured tents and stalls selling all sorts of produce, both made within the city and brought from outside. Fish, horses and other livestock are traded elsewhere but almost anything else can be bought or sold here.
In the past slave sales were held monthly but since Independence slavery has been abolished, though rumours suggest that slaves may still be bought and sold in The Stink often smuggled abroad to fight in the Slave Pits.

The Blocks

This is an area of tall tenement blocks often separated by narrow chasm like streets. Some of these grey stone buildings are seven or eight stories high. Sanitation is poor with narrow gullies in the middle of the street to carry waste to the over stretched sewage system. Small shops and bars occupy the ground floors of the blocks. There are one or two wider straight streets but most wind sinuously between the overhanging upper stories.

The Stink

This is the name given to the huge mudflat between Holy Island and the mainland as well as the closely packed buildings on shore. The mudflats have built up because the arches of the defensive wall are too narrow to allow a fast flow of water southwards out of the harbour. At low tide the marshes provide a grazing area for sheep. Waterfowl are abundant and many are hunted for their feathers and meat. Anyone offered cheap shellfish should steer clear however as it is likely to have come from here and many gullible visitors have been struck low by eating a 'bargain.'
The closely packed tenement blocks of The Stink are home to the lowest ranks of citizens. They do the dirtiest and least liked jobs in Safeharbour. Half-bloods are common as are criminals and those that prey on the weak and the unfortunate. Strange cults and rumours sweep through the Stink like wildfire as does disease and fire. Despite their ramshackle appearance the buildings are relatively new because of the fires that rip through the area most summers. The owners of the properties outside the Stink employ watchers during the hot dry summer months to warn of fires and does any sparks that might cross the roads into more gentile surroundings.

The city guard rarely makes forays into the Stink, the people look after their own in there and any visitor's that enter do so at their own risk.

The Manors

Before Independence all these large buildings were diplomatic premises where visiting delegations from the various nations of the Western Realms and beyond stayed while on the islands. Today only three remain as embassies. Wealthy families or guilds now own the others, bar one. The one exception is the ruins of the Coranos embassy which lie north of the river. Trees grow throw the shattered roofs and vines have colonised the fallen walls. This was destroyed before the War of Independence but no one has dared to claim the land. Tales of strange lights and ghostly shapes walking amongst the ruins have been reported. On a more practical note, the Coranos Spy Guild were know to use poison and some of this may still remain amongst the ruins.

The Newbridge (7)

This bridge runs from the top of one riverside tower to the other. It takes a brave man, or woman to cross it in a storm as it sways alarmingly high above the river. It is only used by the miltary and from there they can control the river.There are rumours that tunnels exist below the river but none have ever been found.

The South Point

This dock deals with passengers and bulk cargo. This area fades gradually into the area known as The Stink and it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. Some residents have been saying that The Stink has been growing northward and the area is not what it was. The militia patrols the streets but is a little less assiduous then they are north of the river.

The North Dock

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This dock deals with passengers and high value cargo. There is a guard house for the city militia in the heart of the Dock Quarter here and the streets and alleys are well patrolled.
Recently large public gatherings have been noticed at the end of Quietshore Lane (2). So far the authorities have ignored them.
The Hospitilar Order of Solarios have taken over an older temple in North Dock for use as a hospital (4)as getting to and from Holy Island can be tricky.

Sandford's baths (5) backs onto the river as it uses a lot of water each day though it is said that it does use water from a hot spring deep below the surface as well. Over the road stands the Swan one of the best inns in this part of the city. The local division of the watch under the command of Lucian backs onto the city wall (7).

Merchant Quarter

Large stone built buildings, often constructed around an inner courtyard are the standard residence for affluent merchants who are not yet rich or powerful enough to claim one of the few properties in Northshore or The Manors. Some of the buildings are home to more than one family of merchants, but they tend to be joined by trade if not blood.

Wallshadow

This is a narrow, roughly diamond shaped area of shops, workshops and housing. It is a better place to live than The Blocks and far safer than The Stink. The streets are relatively safe as many can be seen from the top of the city walls. The street between Wallshadow and the Merchant quarter is the most sought after in the area as it leads directly to Northgate, the major entry point into the city from the landward side.

Kingstower Gate

This is one of the more important gates in the city wall as it is the nearest to the Seagate and Royal Island. It has a permenant garrison led by Sir Rupert O'Tower. The thick walls of the tower house guard rooms, stores and the workshop of the Questioner Arbet Garch.

Northshore

This is an area of large mansions set behind high walls. They are home to the richest merchants and other well-to-do members of Safeharbour society. As well as patrols from the city militia the merchants each have their own guards patrolling within the walls. The merchants were displeased with independence as it has disrupted their trade relations with the mainland.
The sprawling temple of Koryis (3) stands proudly on a low hill in the northern edge of Northshore. The guilded hand atop the central dome can be seen from many parts of the city.

City Walls

The city walls run for almost a mile and are thirty feet thick by forty feet high. There are eleven large guard towers and two smaller towers (on the Seagate) in which guardsmen are posted at all times. A walkway along the top gives access to other towers and offers a defensive position from which to attack shipping or armies attacking from the landward side. Arches allow the river and sea to flow but those by the stink are too narrow which has caused that area to silt up.

Traitor's Reach

This area of shifting sandbars and treacherous tideH2is littered with the wrecks of numerous ships. The fishermen of The Scales know the waters better than most but even they run aground occasionally. Only a foolish or desperate captain would bring his ship up this channel.

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