Sunday, October 22, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 42

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 42

Compiling week 42 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a location of interest - the Harroe Peoples Palace of the City-State of Ceannar:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #288 

October 16th, 2023 

  • Number: 288 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest:  Harroe Peoples Palace – Part 1 

  • Location: Capital of County Harroe on the slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur in northeastern Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief: When Ceannar was defeated by the Ta’arnan Legions, the Harroe Peoples, a lesser group of Cean, went all in and became of the Empire in every aspect but bloodline. They welcomed and celebrated the conquest, built churches to honor the dozen Ta’arnan masks of the Six and brought Ta’arnan blood into their families by marriage whenever possible. The Harroe flourished for a time, then the revolution came and succeeded and again, five centuries ago, the Harroe found themselves on the outside looking in. Their lands shrank, lost to rising Peoples like the Penin to the south and others to the east. Harroe County became a region of misfits, reprobates and some who long for a Ta’arnan reconquest that will never occur. Others would like to see Harroe rejoin the greater Peoples of Ceannar in good standing, whether by deeds or perhaps marriage. Furthermore, the churches of the region seek to reclaim their standing, which was diminished due to the schism that destroyed the Empire. 

  • The County seat, the “Peoples’ Palace,” like Surecliff (#46) to the west, retains the style of the Empire draped about lesser shoulders. The Eldest, Count Ingar Harroe, and his Elder Circle, plot openly and scheme quietly, cultivating relationships with nearby criminal elements such as the pirates of Buccaneer’s Arc (#12) or those found in the back alleys of Surecliff. The Harroe hope to someday reclaim their “ancestral lands” to the south especially the mineral and material wealth of Orchard Hills (#14) and the mines near Firewalker Ridge (#47). 

  • Geography: The County seat, the Harroe Peoples Palace, sprawls over a hill on the north slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur with a view of Staplefish Bay on a clear day. The palace was built in the Ta’arnan style at the height of the conquest, featuring six spires dedicated to each of the Gods about a central keep. A courtyard encircles the keep and towers, with outbuildings for guests, servants, stables, barracks, and workshopsIt has fallen into disrepair as fast as Harroe’s fortunes declined. A small town huddles against the outer walls of the palace, the inhabitants aligned to any number of the factions within. 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present some of the notable people, happenings and plot threads of the Harroe Peoples Palace in County Harroe. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #289 

October 17th, 2023 

  • Number: 289 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest:  Harroe Peoples Palace – Part 2 

  • Location: Capital of County Harroe on the slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur in northeastern Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief: At dawn of time, when Kin appeared in ancient Cean lands, the people had no names. As society developed, related groups (families, extended families or simply friends and companions) gathered enough power (financial, mystical or physical) to declare themselves a People with Name. Centuries ago, the Cean Peoples crossed the ocean to settle this land that they named (the City-State of) Ceannar. The Cean Peoples are composed of a dynamic mix of Peoples of varying numbers and temporal power. Ingar Harroe, Count and Eldest of the Harroe People, is the latest in a long line of rulers of this region. He differs from his father and grandmother for he has not accepted Harroe’s reduced status (since the founding of Ceannar) and works constantly to rebuild his People’s power whether that be via wealth, influence, military power or religious might. At his side, Harroe’s new Steward, Azure of the Genasi, brings a new dynamic to the table, rumored to be unique magical skills or given his looks, some sort of physical connection to the God of Air Lagi (whose Church in the Palace has seen increased interest from certain quarters). 

  • Azure, 54, Air Genasi, is the Steward of Count Ingar Harroe. He has sky-blue skin and striking wavy dark blue hair. His turquoise eyes are sometimes calculating; otherwise, they seem open and friendly. Azure wears a formal outfit of leather pants and embroidered tops every day. He wears a silver pin of the Count's crest on his shirt. Azure loves daggers and poison and always has both on him. 

  • Azure has worked for the Count for a few years. The Count appointed him to boost his political and financial position, and Azure has done just that. Azure has big plans for the Count and aims to guide him to be the prominent local person of note. Azure is not above slowly poisoning the Count's adversaries and has already done so a few times. 

  • Azure's father, Akeef, was a malicious genie who impregnated Violet Pia, female Human, and left to do other things. Bitter for being rejected, Violet raised Azure to be cunning and manipulative. After Violet died, Azure wormed his way into the Count's inner Circle and eliminated the former Steward. Azure lives in a lovely room a level below the Count and has a separate office where he does most of the County's work. 

  • Geography: The central keep of the Harroe Peoples Palace (location 1 see below) is a large circular stone structure surrounded by the spires to the Six Gods. The six gates of the palace, between the temples, lead to the great hall in the center of the main level. Below are several levels of servant quarters, workshops, storage and the dungeons in the depths. Above the great hall is a level of various minor halls and meeting rooms. Next are the living quarters of Eldest of the Harroe, Ingar’s closest and/or most trusted relatives, guests and retainers (Azure among them)At the top, encircled by a wide balcony with walkways to the temple spires, are the chambers of the Count himself, his wife and mistresses, and his personal guard.  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #290 

October 18th, 2023 

  • Number: 290 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest:  Harroe Peoples Palace – Part 3 

  • Location: Capital of County Harroe on the slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur in northeastern Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief: For the Noldrune Scouting Services (NSS) having two fading noble families, House Noldrune (#141) and the Harroe Peoples (#151), adjacent to each other, created a region ripe with intrigue and littered with potential threats to both City-StatesThe area of interest encircles Lapit Bay, includes the Buccaneer Arc (#183) and shares the border between Ceannar and Noldrune. As intelligence indicated Count Ingar Harroe was more actively courting various factions of the area (possibly including Count Noldrune), the NSS decided to carefully establish a Blind in the Harroe Peoples Palace complex, supported by the Blind in Lapit Cove (#109) to the west. The front is a popular laundry within the palace walls with connections to the local Ambassador of the City-State of Noldrune and at least one agent in the palace itself. 

  • Tia Wolfheart, female 22, Human is a maid for Count Harroe and a spy for the City-State of Noldrune. She has long golden hair that she always wears in braids. Her cornflower blue eyes miss nothing, and she always looks for information. Her beauty rivals that of anyone working for the Count. Tia favors long skirts and blouses with flower prints on them. She is skilled with several weapons but enjoys using daggers. She has several pieces of clothing which have hidden compartments for daggers sewn in. 

  • Tia's parents worked for the government in Noldrune. On her sixteenth birthday, the NSS recruited her. She is very apt with her skills and is not above using her beauty to advance her cause. Tia indirectly reports to Ambassador Grer Nukog, male 45, Human via the laundry Blind. 

  • Tia lives in the servant's quarters in the People's Palace. She is friendly with all the other women and flirts outrageously with all the men. Tia has had a couple of affairs with minor nobles and one marriage offer but has no wish to marry someone from Ceannar. In the small amount of free time, she allows herself, Tia visits the Count's library, which he has generously opened to all who live and work in the Palace. 

  • Geography: The space along the inside of the walls of the Harroe Peoples Palace hosts the bulk of the businesses, along with a small number of residences, that comprises the “town” of Harroe. All typical artisans and services are available including Lavender’s Laundy (location 2 see below) which cleans clothes and other gear and provides a small amount of quick turn “fix and stitch” tailoring (they recommend the town’s tailor for clothes made from scratch or that require significant alteration). Racks of tagged and bagged clean clothes hang from the ceilings. The tags are made to conceal messages within, revealed when Tia or her handler steams open the cardboard. Most of the clothes are cleaned in the back of the shop, but big loads or larger pieces (sheets, rugs or curtains) may be done at a local stream. The trips to and from the palace allow the spies of the Blind to pass intelligence to scouts who transport it west to the Lapit Cove Blind and from there to the government of Noldrune. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #291 

October 19th, 2023 

  • Number: 291 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest:  Harroe Peoples Palace – Part 4 

  • Location: Capital of County Harroe on the slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur in northeastern Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief: The three City-States (Ceannar, Noldrune and Taodeas) with somewhat traditional structures of royalty usually have a surfeit of unlanded nobles (second children, cousins, unmarried relatives and the like) with too much time on their hands. In Noldrune, there has been some success in convincing young nobles, with few prospects, to join the Noldrune Diplomatic Corps (NDC) and serve as ambassadors to the courts of the surrounding City-States (matching the ambassador to the court as befits their title). In exchange for keeping out of trouble and their relative’s hair, they might earn some experience, fame, perhaps a bit of fortune and in some cases receive a landed title after years of exemplary service to the NDC and the Baron. Being the Court of a Count, Noldrune has dispatched a series of senior Ambassadors to reside at the Harroe Peoples Palace and serve as the voice of (the current) Baron Claid in all matters concerning the two City-States. 

  • Grer Nukog, Viscount Bellicost of House Berian, 45, male Human, is the current ambassador from the City-State of Noldrune to the court of Count Harroe. He is tall, thin, and holds himself ramrod straight. His hair is graying at the temples. He has light brown eyes and loves to laugh. Grer has a scar on his neck from a battle he fought in his youth. He also walks with a bit of a limp. Grer enjoys dressing up for formal events, but much prefers casual dress. His favorite weapon is a rapier, given to him by his father on his eighteenth birthday. 

  • Grer has been an ambassador to Harroe for many years. He enjoys the work and has many contacts in Harroe and Noldrune. He is an expert trade negotiator but handles everything from border patrols to wooden toys. Grer indirectly works with Tia Wolfheart, 22, a Human, a maid, and a spy for the NSS. The two gathers as much intel as possible during the week and then independently report to their handler.  

  • Grer lives in a two-floor guest residence in the Tower of Water adjacent to the embassy in Harroe Peoples Palace. His wife, Che, 42, Human, works as his secretary. They have two children, Beni, 20, and Ivana, 15. Beni and Ivana love to party and have gotten into trouble with the authorities. Grer loves to carve small wooden toys and hands these out to people he likes. He made a whole ship with animals that he gave to Count Harroe as a gift. 

  • Geography: The central citadel of the Harroe Peoples Palace, in ancient Ta’arnan fashion, is surrounded by six spires, each dedicated to one of the six Gods. The northernmost is the tower of Day, followed, clockwise, by the towers of Fire, Earth, Night, Water and Air. Each features a chapel to the applicable deity on the entry level. The levels above have rooms for the clerics and staff of the chapels. Above that are several luxury apartments (single or multi-floor) connected to the citadel by walkways. The very top is the apartments and private chapel of the head priest of Church of that element. Ambassador Nukog resides near the top of the Tower of Water (location 3 see below) as befits his royal station. If he leans out his window, Grer can see Lavender’s Laundy (location 2) and thus signal them (or be signaled) in a dire emergency.  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #292 

October 20th, 2023 

  • Number: 292 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest:  Harroe Peoples Palace – Part 5 

  • Location: Capital of County Harroe on the slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur in northeastern Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief: Once Ingar Harroe was recognized as Count upon the death of his father, he was determined to do something different or at least be different than those that ruled before him. He summoned the Elders and other notables of the Harroe Peoples to the palace so that he might meet them in the light of his new position and gauge their desires with respect to his dreams. The Count found his relative, Aldemar Harroe, Lord Mayor of Surecliff (#46), had a very similar method and temperament when it came to schemes and plans for future. They corresponded privately and determined they needed a third party, separate from the intelligence services of Ceannar and not corrupted by the NSS of Noldrune, to assist in upcoming endeavours. Aldemar recommended Zinmae, Mistress of Thieves, and having met and been impressed by her, Ingar agreed. 

  • Zinmae, 34, female Half-Elf, is the leader of the Thieves Guild in Surecliff. She is comely and sprite-like. Her hair is so frequently different colors that no one knows the base color. Her eyes are jade-colored and have a twinkle in them. Zinmae walks with a bit of a limp from a fall off a roof many years ago. She wears whatever clothing is appropriate for the task at hand. When dealing with Count Harroe, she dresses in her finest attire. Zinmae uses throwing stars and a short sword as weapons. 

  • In her youth, Zinmae was a cat burglar known for her heists. Now, she deals in politics and lets the members of the Guild do the stealing. She hopes to further the Guild's standing by providing information and assistance to Count Harroe. She also provides some funding for his use. In exchange, the Count and his co-conspirator the Lord Mayor of Surecliff look in the other direction with respect to her smuggling operations. 

  • Zinmae never married and has no interest in doing so. She considers the members of the Thieves Guild to be her family. She is not sentimental and will dock pay or physically punish those who don't meet quotas. Despite this, she is well-liked; some call her Momma Zin behind her back. 

  • Geography: Now several years into their relationship, Zinmae recently bought a controlling interest in an upscale cocktail and wine bar, the Vintner’s Best, inside the outer wall of the Peoples Palace (location 4 see below). The business, now with several of her trusted agents on staff, can be used to pass information to and from the Count. Also, she has brought in a Dwarven sapper to explore the basement underneath with respect to connections to the sewers and any ancient catacombs, dungeons or passageways beneath the citadel. 

  • In addition, soon after meeting Count Harroe, Zinmae scaled the walls of the palace, discovered a secret entrance on the roof of the citadel (location 5 see below) and surprised Ingar in his chambers one evening. Neither speak of the encounter but it served to foster a mutual respect.  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #293 

October 21st, 2023 

  • Number: 293 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest:  Harroe Peoples Palace – Part 6 

  • Location: Capital of County Harroe on the slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur in northeastern Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief: Several months ago, as part of his continued exploration of potential allies and resources, Count Harroe undertook a secret trip, facilitated by Zinmae, to the Buccaneer’s Arc (#12 and #183). She brought him to a beach east of Surecliff (#46) where he and his Steward Azure boarded the Night Doubloon, a fast pirate schooner captained by Spirin Abbaen. The Count travelled to Rumport (#189) and, in likely an extraordinary first for a Noble of Ceannar, met with the Council of Captains. Little is known of that meeting except to those present, but on the journey, Count Harroe was captivated by Captain Abbaen’s hospitality and the skills of his ship’s cook, Sendor VrinnUpon their return to Ceannar, the Count insisted that the cook return with him to the Palace, “if but for a little while.” Captain Abbaen, curious and cautious, accompanied his friend. 

  • Sendor Vrinn, 63, male Drow (Night Elf) is the ship's cook aboard the Night Doubloon, a pirate ship in Buccaneer's Arc. He is shorter than an average Elf. His dark skin brings out the purple in his violet eyes. Sendor's black hair has a buzz cut mostly to keep fleas out of it. His favorite clothes are forest green leggings and dark tops that don't show stains. He constantly wears an apron that starts fresh each voyage and gets dirtier as the days pass. Sendor is excellent with many knives and uses them as weapons and chef tools.  

  • Sendor learned how to cook from the chef on his voyage to sea when he was eight. His parents abandoned him on market day, and Larona Ivis, 97, female Elf, found him and brought him aboard the ship she was working on. That was five ships ago, and Sendor has learned many skills and tricks to create exquisite dishes with exotic ingredients.  

  • Sendor has no family, so he has made his own. His best friend is the current captain of the Night Doubloon, Spirin Abbaen, 130, female Drow. The two of them will often have a pint of ale at the end of a day at sea. They also fight over the same women when they are at a port. Sendor also enjoys playing cards with Gunar Zanon, 23, male Human, and Gilkis Sendsong, 78, female Halfling. Sendor suspects that Gilkis is cheating at cards but doesn't want to cause arguments aboard. 

  • Geography: Although the Harroe Peoples Palace has a large kitchen in the lower levels just below the main dining hall, Count Harroe has installed Sendor in his private kitchen (location 7 see below) on the level just below his own quarters at the top of the citadel. In the dead of night, when no one is awake, Sendor, Spirin and Zinmae (when in town) have been known to meet in the quiet kitchen and share a drink.  

  • For the duration of their stay, Spirin and Sendor share an apartment in the Spire of Fire (location 6 see below) deliberately directly opposite of the apartments of the Ambassador from Noldrune. As far as the servants and bulk of the staff know, the two Night Elves are visitors from afar with potential business interests in Ceannar 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #294 

October 22nd, 2023 

  • Number: 294 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest:  Harroe Peoples Palace – Part 7 

  • Location: Capital of County Harroe on the slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur in northeastern Ceannar 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief: As well as regional power, Count Harroe considered his needs for magical or spiritual allies and support. The Arcane Guild remained troublesomely neutral but the local Churches, despite being diminished in the aftermath of the fall of the Ta’arnan Empire, still held sway over the local populace. The Count and his Steward met with the head priests of each of the six chapels, individually and as a group. The clerics were pre-disposed to support the Count’s ambitions but sought something in return. During the fall, a relic, the Orb of the Masks, was stolen from the Palace. Recent auguries suggest that it made its way to Firewalker Ridge (#47) to the south. This news suited Count Harroe for one of his next projects was to determine how to deal with the troublesome Dwarves of the Canton and their lack of interest in returning to the fold. He bade Azure mount an expedition to the Tuton Maug in search of the Orb. 

  • Nalva Evenstone, 130, female Dwarf, is a Grand Depths Mining Corporation miner. She is tall and quite agile. Her dark brown hair is long and worn in a braid down her back. Her hazel eyes sparkle when she spies gems. Nalva wears linen clothes in bright colors. Her boots are sturdy and made of rugged leather. Nalva is skilled with her pickaxe, but her weapon is a large hammer.  

  • Nalva has been working in these mines for many years. She could be a supervisor if she wanted but prefers the act of mining. She loves finding gems and seems to be particularly lucky at finding them. Nalva has recently uncovered a unique Kin-made item, a dodecahedron the size of a melon with twelve differently colored facets, that was not buried but perhaps lost or dropped in the depths of the mines. Her boss, Lassris Stoutbraid, 155, male Dwarf, asked her to keep the item secret. Nalva is concerned, as nothing like this has been discovered before. 

  • Nalva is engaged to Katmore Gutglert, 136, male Dwarf, a fellow miner. Together, they adopted Dalrigg, seven months, Dwarf. The three of them live in a comfortable cottage near the mines. Nalva has an extensive family, and someone is forever visiting. Katmore loves this as she is an only child and loves talking to people. Nalva and Katmore love walking around Firewalker Ridge and are quite friendly with many shopkeepers. 

  • Geography: The great hall of the Harroe Peoples Palace (location 8 see below) features a grand mosaic covering most of the floor. A central circular decoration, representing the facets of the six Gods, is connected to the surrounding spires by decorative paths across floor of the hall to the base of each tower. Ancient writings of the churches, assembled by the head priests, suggest that during ceremonies of great important, the Orb of the Masks was placed in the center of the hall. Great magic manifested, connecting the Orb to the upper and lower chapels of the six spires. If priests were present in all 12 locations, linked by faith to the applicable facets of the dodecahedron, they could produce wondrous blessings for worshipers or wreak terrible curses upon enemies. 


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