Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States
Compiling week 1 of the project, comprised of 7 settlements and/or sites of the City-State of Noldrune as shown below.
Jan 1st 2023
Location: North coast of Noldrune
Population (approx.): 20,100
Brief: Belladorn is the capital of the City-State of Noldrune. Originally a small fishing village on a bay settled centuries ago, during the rise of the Ta’arnan Empire, Belladorn became an important trade and naval hub for the Empire. The village grew rapidly from town to city, with substantial fortifications surrounding the center of Belladorn, overseen from a large castle on a rise overlooking the harbor. Through strength of arms and politics, House Noldrune came to control the city and surrounding areas. Currently the rulers of the City-State, House Claid, make their home in Belladorn with relatives living in a number of Manors within the walls and nearby.
Geography: Belladorn is a roughly circular city with the harbor along the coast to the north and Claid Keep to the south, the inner walls stretching from the keep in great arcs to the waterfront enclosing the wealthier neighborhoods, the trading houses and government. A second lesser wall encloses the bulk of the city’s lesser neighborhoods, business, entertainment and industrial wards. Avenues exit the city to become highways heading west and east along the coast and south inland. Belladorn’s economy is centered about trade, fishing and shipbuilding, competing with the City-State of Carasta to the west to win over contracts with the great City-States to the north.
Jan 2nd 2023
Name: Port Lostfort
Location: Northwest Noldrune where the Noldrune River meets Staplefish Bay
Population (approx.): 3,100
Brief: Port Lostfort is the northwesternmost outpost of the City-State of Noldrune, at the border with Carasta where the Noldrune River empties into the Staplefish Bay. Although founded centuries ago, Port Lostfort’s location has changed over the years as prior towns have been either washed away by frequent spring river flooding or demolished by fierce storms boiling onshort from the Bay. The numerous effective disappearances of the town lead to the prior name (now forgotten) changing to “Lostfort.” Aside from serving as a small fishing and trading harbor, the town is also the main border crossing from Noldrune to Carasta, along the coastal highway. Once the border between Carasta and Noldrune was fixed, the Baron at the time built a small keep and a number defensive fortifications along the east bank of the river.
Geography: Port Lostfort sits on a rise just north of where the Noldrune River turns westward toward the bay. The river delta to the west is marshy and frequently floods. Carasta and Noldrune collaborated to reinforced and expand a series of bridges across the Noldrune originally built by the Ta’arnan Empire many years ago. Lostfort Keep sits atop the rise, the driest area around, next to the highway. Walls extend along the edge of the rise, crossing the road via a great gate with adjacent towers, to encompass most of Port Lostfort. The upper city features most of the businesses and residences. Lesser industries, docks and fisherfolk occupy the land along the river below the rise.
Jan 3rd 2023
Location: Westernmost Noldrune where the Noldrune River begins from Lake Loloto Pogisa
Population (approx.): 2,300
Brief: Riverbourne is the westernmost settlement of Noldrune, sitting where the Noldrune river emerges from Lake Loloto Pogisa and flows north and east to Staplefish Bay forming the western border of the City-State. A variety of Kin have lived along the lake and river for centuries, the size and number of settlements ebbing and flowing with time and tide. Riverbourne is currently the largest permanent town, hosting the riverine navy that patrols the waters for the Baron protecting the local fisherfolk and traders who sail barges north and south. The sole defensive fortifications consist of a wall around the outskirts of the town, pierced by several gates, to protect vs. Mounted raiders or creatures from the mountains and plains to the south.
Geography: Riverbourne is spread out across both land and water, the latter via a number of permanent docks and semi-permanent floating platforms connected by wooden walkways. The dryland half of town is a fairly traditional arrangement of homes and businesses surrounding a central hall featuring a large cathedral to lake specific aspect of Vai of the Waters. Outside the walls are a number of caravan fields to support traders headed south to Taodeas and eastward.
Jan 4th 2023
Name: Vaitaus (Lake’s Edge)
Location: Western edge of the Lanu Maug (Hills of Red Rock) overlooking Lake Loloto Pogisa.
Population (approx.): 500-600
Brief: Vaitus is a Dwarven settlement carved into the stone of the ridges extending from the end of the Lanu Maug into the waters of Loloto Pogisa. The site is one of the larger Dwarven holds of the region, ruled by one of 4 Dwarf Lords who control the Lanu Maug. Vaitus has overlooked the lake for centuries, pre-dating the Ta’arnan Empire and perhaps several others. Given its isolated location, the inhabitants are rarely seen except by sharp-eyed travelers on the lake who spot the Dwarves on the numerous balconies carved into the cliff faces.
Geography: Vaitus occupies a several hundred-foot-high spur of red rock extending into the lake. The inside has been hollowed to create numerous interconnected chambers some with windows or balconies peering out over the water. The debris from centuries of excavation forms slopes of talus from cliffside down deep under the surface. The locals think there may be doors at the base, opening on to the lake, because rarely fisherfolk have seen strange boats, apparently made of stone, traversing the water.
Jan 5th 2023
Name: Smuggler’s Way
Location: Southeastern Noldrune along the border with Taodeas
Population (approx.): Not Applicable
Brief: The east slopes of the Tuton Maug (Central Mountains) of Noldrune have long been a wild and rugged land. The population sticks toward the eastern coast, near the border with Ceannar or along the rivers leading to the seas. Thus, there has formed a corridor of badlands where the Baron of Noldrune and his Constables exert little control. Years of traverse by bandits has ground a trail into the earth through narrow mountain passes and across sparse terrain known as Smuggler’s Way. Small insular settlements dot the route filled with hardscrabble folk who ask few questions. Currently Smuggler’s Way is ruled by a gang of criminals known as the Baron’s Bastards as a number of their members haved served and been rejected by royalty in years past.
Geography: Smuggler’s way unofficially begins in the north of Noldune near the source of the Lanumag River on the slopes of the Tuton Maug. It extends over a hundred miles south along the foothills and then winds through mountain passes at the border of Taodeas, just east of the source of the Tauoi River, and ends on the grasslands of Taodeas.
Jan 6th 2023
Name: Haldwen’s Folly
Location: Too many (as it turned out) miles south of the border between Noldrune and Taodeas.
Population (approx.): None known (rumored to be haunted)
Brief: In the fall of the Ta’arnan Empire, a loose collection of various Nobles gathered, plotted, fought and reconciled in efforts to redefine the lands freed from the yoke of the Empire into new City-States. The border between Noldrune and Taodeas was fluid for many years. In 80 FC, Count Haldwen took it upon himself, against the advice of others, to try to define the border for both sides. He took his family, retainers and troops into the pass between Lanu Maug and Tuton Maug, and built a fortified manor house on the eastern slopes of the Lanu Maug. When complete he then began to build a wall and a series of mileforts across the pass. The Taodean Clans looked on with indifference until around 83 FC when Haldwen Troops attempted to collect a toll for crossing the border from a Taodean caravan. Taodeas took notice, and since Noldrune was indifferent to Haldwen’s actions, Taodean cavalry were dispatched, attacked and wiped out most of House Haldwen.
Geography: Four centuries later the only thing that remains of Haldwen’s Folly is the ruins of the original manor house in the foothills of Lanu Maug. The stone and sites of the walls and mileforts have been repurposed, buried or re-occupied and turned into village halls or chapels. The manor house ruins, wooden portions long burned or rotted away, consist of a number of worn stone walls marking various chambers and outbuildings. Some floors open into empty chambers and cellars underneath.
Jan 7th 2023
Name: The Crystalheart Spires
Location: Deep in the Tuton Maug.
Population (approx.): None
Brief: The depths of the Tuton Maug, north of the border with Taodeas, is a ridge of peaks running roughly north to south. Some incident, natural, magical, neither or both, it is not known by those currently living, caused the mountains to shed their rock surfaces to reveal the translucent crystal hearts within. The spires sparkle when the sun shines upon the region. The few nearby inhabitants, Dwarves and Ogato Maug (Mountain Folk), say that the Crystalhearts sing when the strong winter winds blow through the region. The Spires are said by some to be a site sacred to or perhaps the birthplace of MalaLoa, an offspring of Malam (Light) and Pala (Earth).
Geography: The Crystalheart Spires consists of a half dozen peaks ranging from 8,000 to 10,000 feet tall where the top 3 to 4000 feet is exposed crystal surfaces. The flat surfaces and razor-sharp edges are rumored to make for a difficult climb (though an ascent has not been recorded in recent history). Crystals reaching coastal markets via Dwarven traders suggest either mining in the earth under the Spires or scrounging of the scree at the base of the mountains.
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