Sunday, August 13, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 32

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 32

Compiling week 32 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a site of interest, the Trave-Inari Highway, in the City-State of Ceannar as shown below:



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #218 

August 7th, 2023 

  • Number: 218 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Along the Trave-Inari Highway - Part 1 

  • Location: Across the plains of Ceannar connecting the towns of Reston and Southport 

  • Population (approx.): Varies 

  • Brief: The bulk of Ceannar is the rolling prairies extending west of the Flattop Hills until one reaches the border with Noldrune. It is crisscrossed by the highways constructed by the builder-magicians of the Trave Peoples. One runs from the Noldrune border south of the hills, passing through the hub at the capital of Trave County, Reston (#154), and continuing to Overlook (#8) in the great pass between the Flattop Hills and finally reaching the sea at East’arbor (#117). The second of the great Trave roads runs from Reston south through Trave and Inari Counties to end at Southport (#154). 

  • Geography: The Trave-Inari Highway runs a bit east of south approximately 140 miles across the great plains of Ceannar. The sites and nearby settlements are scattered to either side of the road, sometimes connected by local arteries, other times by simple footpaths or hunting trails. The roads are patrolled by the outriders of the City-State and maintained by Trave chapters of the Travellers Guild. A settlement, whether as large as a village or as simple as a caravansary, can be found everyone day’s journey on foot (about 15 miles). 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present some of the notable peoples, locations, happenings and plot threads in and about the Trave-Inari Highway. 

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #219 

August 8th, 2023 

  • Number: 219 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Along the Trave-Inari Highway - Part 2 

  • Location: Across the plains of Ceannar connecting the towns of Reston and Southport 

  • Population (approx.): Varies 

  • Brief: The plains of the Houses of Trave and Inari are home to many ranches hosting herds of cattle and riding animals. The pastures and ranges stretch for miles in each direction east and west of the Trave-Inari Highway. Trails and paths spiderweb outward connecting them to the rest of Ceannar. The horse traders are famed for supplying some of the finest steeds in the region to buyers for Ceannar’s outriders, nobles, merchants and discerning riders. 

  • Keljor Springaze, 163, Elf, is a Horse Trader of famous Traven horses. He is short and has red hair with golden highlights from constantly being out in the sun. Keljor wears rugged leather pants and a quilted top. When selling horses, he adds a fancy vest that is made of fine linen and has intricate embroidery all over it. Keljor wears a long sword and is good with a whip.  

  • Keljor's family has trained and traded horses for over a hundred years. They have several herds of wild horses from which they pull young mares and stallions. Keljor has eight brothers and two sisters, and the whole family prepares the horses for sale. He handles the sale of the horse and is careful that each horse goes to an owner who will take good care of the animal. He travels to various markets on the plains and sells his animals to primarily wealthy people. 

  • The Springaze Ranch includes a spring, named The Druid’s Tree for reasons lost to history, on the prairie near the Trave-Inari Highway. This is where the year’s selected horses are held and evaluated for sale. Keljor lives in the huge circular treehouse with his wife, Keykalen, 150, and two daughters, Reydi, 17, and Holatris,4. Keljor is gone for weeks at a time and misses his family. He makes up for this by taking the family for week-long vacations on the prairie, where they go camping and run with the horses. 

  • Geography: West of the Trave-Inari Highway is a singularly tall and ancient tree growing on a small rise above a natural spring. A stream begins at the south side of the pool and travels further south to join other waterways making their way west to Pearl Bay. At the base of the several hundred-foot-tall tree, with its wide and sheltering canopy, the elves of Springaze have built a four-story circular treehouse whose base is about 50 feet above the ground. It can be reached by either climbing the trunk, as favored by the family, or a draft-animal powered lift, preferred by visitors.  


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #220 

August 9th, 2023 

  • Number: 220 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Along the Trave-Inari Highway - Part 3 

  • Location: Across the plains of Ceannar connecting the towns of Reston and Southport 

  • Population (approx.): 12 plus guests 

  • Brief: The route of the Trave-Inari highway is mostly a straight run a bit east of south from Reston to Southport except where interrupted by local geography. One such spot is just south of the northern border of Inari County. A sharp west-east ridge cuts across the path of the highway, the land to the south about 100 to 150 feet above the land to the north. Initially the road detoured 10 miles to the east to skirt around the ridge. The Merchants Guild nudged the Builders Guild for a solution and the “Little Lift” elevator was built to carry wagons up the ridge. (The Dwarven builders have never said where there might be a matching “Big Lift.”) 

  • Katnyl Lightbrow, 172, Dwarf, is an innkeeper near the "Little Lift" on the plains of Inari CountyShe is portly, short, and always has a wink and a smile. She has long chestnut brown hair that she wears curly with ringlets down her back. Her face has a smile, but her eyes seem melancholy. Katnyl wears a long plaid skirt and a puffy blouse. While she cooks, a full-length apron keeps her clothes neat and orderly. She abhors trouble and keeps a cudgel underneath her baking table. 

  • Katnyl owns the Plaited Beard Inn, a comfortable place to stay for anyone having business in this area of the prairie or in need of a snack while waiting for the lift. Katnyl started this business eighty years ago and has kept people returning for her pastries and daily loaves of bread. She loves to cook, but her passion is baking many delicious items. People come to visit and use the inn as a place to do business near the "Little Lift." 

  • Katnyl loves talking to people and greets travelers with a pint of ale and a sample of her bread 'on the house.' Most people stay and have complete meals. Katnyl's two sons, Krumnus, 45, and Benmar, 38. Help manage the rest of the inn. Katnyl is melancholy because her husband of fifty years died six months ago. Katnyl is friendly with other farmers and ranchers in the area and hopes to encourage even more people to stay and perhaps form a settlement of sorts. 

  • Geography: The “Little Lift” is a platform 20 feet square, large enough to raise a half dozen horses, two small carts or a large wagon or carriage. The lifting mechanisms, built into the stone of the ridge, are controlled from two small huts at the top and bottom. The operators, members of the Travellers Guild, now stay at the Plaited Beard Inn just north of the elevator. It takes several minutes for the elevator to ascend and descend the face of the ridge.  


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #221 

August 10th, 2023 

  • Number: 221 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Along the Trave-Inari Highway - Part 4 

  • Location: Across the plains of Ceannar connecting the towns of Reston and Southport 

  • Population (approx.): None (several dozen in nearby farms and the mill) 

  • Brief: The Trave-Inari Highway passes through a variety of Hundreds and Viscounties as it traverses the two Counties. One of these is Pembroke Hundred which sits most east of the highway north of the Inari border. In the north of Pembroke Hundred, where the fields of the Wilmonts, Waterburys and Gentians meet, there sits a rather large outcropping of three brown-gray rocks. Rumored to be slightly magical, they defied all attempts to remove them when the area was first settled. 

  • Years ago, some wag put a scarecrow, clad in old leather armor and holding a rusty scythe, on top of the largest rock. Several years later a small horde of Dire Wolves threatened the farmers. One night the scarecrow vanished. By morning the Wolves had fled, leaving many dead scattered about the mill where the farmers hid. A fortnight later the scarecrow reappeared, the scythe now a dark blood red. 

  • The wise women declared this “reaper” to be a protector of the area and took to leaving offerings, prayers and tithes at the base of the rock. Later a Waterbury carpenter placed benches in a semi-circle about the rock to ease the aching backs and knees of the crones. Ever since creatures or persons of evil intent have given Pembrokeshire a wide berth. 

  • Gil Waterbury, 25, male Human owns the Mill in Pembroke Hundred. He is short but strong and heavily muscled. He has hair the color of cornmeal and jade-green eyes. Gil wears brown trousers and a sky-blue tunic. He knows how to wield a cudgel if necessary. 

  • Gil's family has owned the mill and surrounding farmland for over a century. His grandmother is one of the wise women who declared the reaper to be a protector of the area. Strange things still happen to the crops every few years, and there have been eerie sightings of shadows that disappear when you look for them. Gil suspects that this is all the reaper’s doing and accepts it as usual. 

  • Gill is married to Cady, 23, female Human. They have no children yet, despite being married for six years. Cady blames the reaper and thinks there is a curse involving the reaper and her inability to get pregnant. Cady has issued Gil an ultimatum, either they get pregnant in the next year, or she is leaving him. 

  • Geography: East of the highway a road runs a touch north of east through Pembroke Hundred. Just off the road is a cluster of three large boulders in a row. The armored statue with the bloodied scythe stands upon the largest of the three stones. Offerings are piled about the base of the rock by locals in the hope that the reaper will continue to protect the surrounding land. Four benches, arranged in a semi-circle facing the stones, provide a place for the local elderly to sit and rest. 


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #222 

August 11th, 2023 

  • Number: 222 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Along the Trave-Inari Highway - Part 5 

  • Location: Across the plains of Ceannar connecting the towns of Reston and Southport 

  • Population (approx.): 2 

  • Brief: Stretches of the prairie along the Trave-Inari remain rugged and tumbled, not suitable for farming or grazing. To the north of Pembroke Hundred (#221) a weak Ley Line (loosely connected to The Bubbling Flats (#80)) gives rise to a low ridge of short trees and scrub brush several miles long. Nearby an old cottage stands next to a dirt trail that wanders south and west parallel to the ridge before ending at the highway. 

  • Centuries ago, before Ta’arna fell, a rogue group of mages (the self-named Alliance of Rebel Magicians (ARM)) constructed a hidey-hole over 30 feet under the surface, tapping the Ley Line for protection and warding. After the fall of the Ta’arnan Empire and the establishment of the City-State of Ceannar, ARM disbanded. The Magicians Guild keeps an eye on the site, occasionally posting older members there as caretakers. 

  • Flyntran Whisperrabit, 230, Halfling, is a quite eccentric mage near the end of his career. He is short, thin, and has a knobby nose. His bald head is shiny from a gel he uses daily. Flyntran wears cloth pants and a tight shirt, usually in his favorite color of deep sky blue. He has a birch staff that gives him a magical boost when needed. 

  • Flyntran was assigned as caretaker several years ago and lives in the house near the Ley Line and acts as a deterrent vs. any but those that belong there. He greets all those on the highway and tries to scare them off by creating frogs or changing the wind currents. He also forgets or mixes spells with other spells, and hilarity ensues. The local Magicians Guild chantry in Reston is concerned that Flyntran may accidentally hurt one of the locals, but he is a lovable old coot, so they keep him happy. 

  • Flyntran lives with an old dog, Xabu. They take care of one another. Flyntran's great-grandchildren come by and visit him on the weekends. One grandchild, Marne, 120, brings her daughter, Bremia, 70, and they have picnics and listen to Flyntran's stories. It's a peaceful, if kooky, life for Flyntran, and they wouldn't have it any other way. 

  • Geography: Flyntran’s hut is on a narrow trail about 4 miles a touch north of east from the Trave-Inari Highway. Although designed to look shabby, his small cottage is very well constructed, warded and quite conformable. The previous caretakers in their copious free time created and installed animated constructs to assist with cooking, cleaning, walking Xabu and watching the surrounding land. An emergency feature, triggered by any detected severe illness or injury to Flyntran, causes mechanical legs to activate and lift the entire cottage into the air and then walk it along the highway to Reston. 


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #223 

August 12th, 2023 

  • Number: 223 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Along the Trave-Inari Highway - Part 6 

  • Location: Across the plains of Ceannar connecting the towns of Reston and Southport 

  • Population (approx.): 4 

  • Brief:  The exodus of the Ceannar Peoples brought with it a many and varied population, but perhaps none as unusual as the Half-Orc tribesmen of the Steel Talons. Their origins (in the east) are murky, but they are a potent fighting force and have always served Ceannar well. The Steel Talon People found themselves a home in an area of rough terrain in western Trave County. They surrounded it with wards and warnings to ensure trespassers know that only Talon Law applies, and it is much different.  

  • Meral, 31, female Half-Orc, is a guard who lives on the border between Travi County and the Half-Orc lands. She is tall, beefy, and has long, black hair with a natural wave. Her eyes are black with a touch of purple in them. Meral wears dresses in vibrant prints when she is off duty. While on duty, she is required to wear leather armor. Meral's favorite weapon is a large, two-handed hammer. 

  • Meral uses an old Ranger hut as a guard post and lives there with three other Half-Orcs. There is peace between the half-orcs and other Kin of Ceannar right now, but old enemies die hard, and some are just waiting for something to set them off. Meral likes to think she helps keep the peace along the border by being friendly to everyone, regardless of race. Her roommates don't always agree with her behavior and try to taunt her into fighting. 

  • Meral's parents are both dead from the fighting between the Talons and the surrounding Peoples. Her roommate's names are Senig, 22, Vanotar, 27, and Alimi, 28. Behind their house is an area to practice fighting, and Seniq grows vegetables. Vanotar is the cook, and Alimi keeps the place clean. It's an unusual family, but it mainly works. 

  • Geography: The Steel Talon lands cover several hundred square miles west of the Trave-Inari Highway. Meral’s guard post is on the eastern border on a trail that winds east about 5 miles to the road. Their home is a well-built two-story stone building with a thick tiled roof and shuttered windows. It was designed to be easy to defend and capable of withstanding most mundane attacks. A split rail fence marks the border of Talon lands. Many highly decorated tall wooden totems overlook the fence, carved to resemble both local beasts and past heroes of the Peoples. 


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #224 

August 13th, 2023 

  • Number: 224 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Along the Trave-Inari Highway - Part 7 

  • Location: Across the plains of Ceannar connecting the towns of Reston and Southport 

  • Population (approx.): Varies 

  • Brief:  As the Ceannar Peoples spread westward from the Landing, their travels started the beginning of the City-State's highway system. Prior to the occupation by the Ta’arnan Empire, most of the roads were either simple trails of tamped earth or stretches of cobblestone or gravel roads. After the fall, the leaders of the nascent City-State realized the region needed better roads in order to support trade and military movements. The Trave Peoples, their builder-magicians well versed in construction, stepped up to the task of connecting the City-State. Five centuries later, Ceannar is covered by a network of magicked stone roads crisscrossing the prairies and threading between mountain passes. 

  • Geography: Although Overlook (#8) is the capital of the City-State, the capital of County Trave, Reston, is the hub of the highway network. Notable routes are as follows: 

  • Ceannar Highway – From the border with Noldune at People’s Portal (#8), through Reston and Overlook, ending at East’arbor (#117). 

  • Old Ceannar Highway – A lesser used road along the south edge of the Tuton Maug Spur between Jamsworth Keep (#119) and Taiga (#44) thence to Reston, 

  • Trave-Inari Highway – Main north-south highway technically beginning at Port Voski (#153), heading south through Reston and ending at Southport (#154), 

  • South Coast Highway – Also beginning at People’s Portal (#8), through Pearl City (#8), around Pearl Bay, through Southport and ending at Elfmeet (#116), 

  • Elf Route – From Etalier Campus (#152) south to Elfmeet. 

  • North Coast Highway - A lesser road from the Noldrune border, east to Surecliff (#46) and along the coast past Port Voski and ending where three villages recently disappeared (#13). 

  • The finished highway designs include both turnoffs to allow slow traffic to move out of the way of fast traffic and shelters either enclosed (used for storage, guard posts or as licensed caravansaries) or open (used as shelters versus inclement weather). 


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