Sunday, October 15, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 41

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 41

Compiling week 41 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a location of interest - the citadel of Tolfastun in the Tuton Maug of the City-State of Noldrune:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #281 

October 9th, 2023 

  • Number: 281 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Tolfastun – Part 1 

  • Location: Northwest Tuton Maug of Noldrune, southeast of Anum Taag 

  • Population (approx.): Varies per section 

  • Brief: Along the border of Anum Taag a lone hill sits in a clearing surrounded by the forest-covered hills of the Tuton Maug. Millenia ago someone, perhaps immediate descendants or early servant-Kin of the First Ones, constructed a grand complex about, above and below the hill. The three sections of the great building, named Tolfastun in a tongue lost to the passage of history, were designed to host Kin of the skies, of the ground and of the underground. Presently those three areas are home to Elves and Faeries of Anum Taag, Dwarves and other underground dwellers of Tuton Maug, and the rare Kin capable of flight in the skies over Noldrune. 

  • Geography: Tolfastun can be found on the southeastern border of Anum Taag (#37) in the depths of the Tuton Maug. The structure is composed of three sections, two of which can be seen from the surface. The topmost is a great citadel, of three spires, rising on top of the hill. Most of the walls feature wide openings serving as balconies for residents or landing pads for flight-capable travelers. Some of the passages connect to a great vertical chamber extending down through the other two sections. Residences fill the spaces between the outer and inner walls.   

  • The middle section is the hill which has been completely hollowed and rebuilt into a great structure of interconnected halls, chambers, malls many decorated with arrays of local flora and fauna. Flocks of birds regularly launch from inner atriums to the skies via the central chimney. The outer surface of the hill features rows of residences, their many windows looking out onto the forest. 

  • Below the surface, the lower section is an array of vaulted chambers and smaller caverns connected by tunnels and bridges that arch over the great central opening. Passageways radiate out through the underdark, connecting to distant caverns, natural or Kin-made. The central opening disappears into the depths, the chimney lit by the faint red glow of magma in the far far distance. 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present some of the notable people, happenings and plot threads of Tolfastun. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #282 

October 10th, 2023 

  • Number: 282 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Tolfastun – Part 2 

  • Location: Northwest Tuton Maug of Noldrune, southeast of Anum Taag 

  • Population (approx.): 431 (Sky Guardians Aerie) 

  • Brief: Over time, Tolfastun’s purpose has changed from a place of creation to a home for those who would protect the region of the twin continents from threats above and beyond the typical petty quarrels of Lords and Ladies, Clans, Tribes or Peoples, City-States and Guilds. A council of representatives of each resident Kin meet frequently to receive reports from allies, scouts, seers and spies both local and remote, weighing carefully actions they might take in response. There are Keepers in residence, but their names and numbers are unknown to the council. At the top of shortest of the three spires of upper Tolfastun is a Wayfinders Guildhouse and waypoint. The tallest spire is home to the Aerie of Tolfastun’s Sky Guardians, a large community of the short-lived Aarakocra. The winged Kin are dedicated to the council’s mission, undertaking lengthy search, scouting or spying missions which might consume the bulk of an Aarakocra’s adult life. The large community of fliers is divided into Bands, designated by a color, given a specific charter and purpose by the council at the time the Band is formed. 

  • Zikeed, 7, Aarakocra, is a Sky Guardian on Tolfastun. He is tall and has colorful plumage in reds and greens. His face resembles an eagle with piercing black eyes and a vicious-looking beak. Zikeed has a nasty scar on his left temple. He wears a leather loincloth for protection. His favorite weapon is a spear that magically adds to his strength. 

  • Zikeed is part of the Azure Band of Sky Guardians who live in Tolfastun. Their sole purpose is to find, locate, and preserve the Inscriptions of Light, a series of artifacts said to provide guidance on how to prevent the end of the world. Zikeed's job in the tribe is to protect the Azure Band when they venture to an area, they think conceals some Inscriptions. He is an accomplished fighter but adores soaring through the world. 

  • Zikeed's best friend is Rou, 6, Aarakocra, another Guardian. They share the same duties and enjoy spending time together having an ale after a long day. Zikeed's family died when he was 2, killed by nearby bugbears in the hills. He has vowed vengeance when he can convince enough of the tribe to go after the bugbears. Zikeed is an uncle to two chicks, Yid, 2, Aarakocra, and Yac, 1. He rarely sees them as he doesn't get along with his sister, Klua. 

  • Geography: The upper section of Tolfastun is the citadel (location 1 see below), divided at the top into 3 spires of differing design, height and purpose. The Aerie (location 4 see below) occupies the tallest spire, resembling a stack of disks, being level a combination of floor, courtyard, gardens and landing pad open to the skies, separated by groups of homes each housing an individual nest of the Aarakocra. The fliers can be found all about the citadel circling the spires, diving down the central shaft and then drifting upward on the hot updrafts from the underdark. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #283 

October 11th, 2023 

  • Number: 283 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Tolfastun – Part 3 

  • Location: Northwest Tuton Maug of Noldrune, southeast of Anum Taag 

  • Population (approx.): 214 (Faerie Community) 

  • Brief: As the pages of history were written, the importance and hence occupancy of Tolfastun rose and fell. Prior to the rise of the Ta’arnan Empire, Tolfastun was mostly empty (but certainly not forgotten). During the Empire’s occupancy of the region, the citadel became home to groups of refugees fleeing Ta’arnan persecution. As Ta’arna burned and the four City-States rose from its ashes, elders, of the Kin of Anum Taag, sensed the darker forces behind the cataclysmic battles between the once cooperative six faiths of the Empire. Tolfastun was “reactivated,” the citadel council reformed as various groups of the Kin were called to make the site their home. Tolfastun is now a self-sustaining community with all manner of artisans and shopkeepers having opened workshops and stores on the main levels of the central citadel. A steady traffic of traders brings goods between Tolfastun and Anum Taag and beyond. 

  • Valrie, 33, female Fairy is a talented seamstress who owns Tolfastun Trendy Clothes. She is very short and has yellow wings. She chatters and gets annoyed if anyone needs help to keep up. Valrie has blue skin and long eyelashes. She keeps her hair short and wears a gold necklace her father gave her. Valrie is a pacifist and refuses to have any weapons around. 

  • Valrie and her team of seamstresses make clothes for both fairies and elves. Her specialty is formal wear for both races, and she designs most of it herself. The local government officials wear her clothing to formal banquets, and she has become quite wealthy. Valrie is always looking for new materials to make her clothing from. She has hired a group of fairies to scour the local countryside for fibrous plants and engaged a "tray” of brownies to scrounge the many levels of the citadel for unusual remnants. 

  • Valrie is happily married to Aed,31, male Fairy, and they have no children. They live in the outer half of the central levels of Tolfastun. They share this area with the Elves; both sides live and work together seamlessly. Valrie's best friend is Bryphine 'Bry' Dulti, female Elf, 76. Valrie and Bry met when she designed a ball gown for Bry, which was very successful. The two of them meet once a week to do something fun. 

  • Geography: Most of the businesses and workshops of Tolfastun can be found in a ring about the upper level of lower halls and lower level of the central citadel (location 5 see below). The former is favored by Dwarves and other Kin of the underdark or for crafts or business best conducted either in darkness or underground. The latter is favored by the Elves and Faeries with many of the shops featuring wide windows or openings looking out onto the Tuton Maug to bring in the light and outside air. The bulk of those Kin live in residences on the upper shop level or above the stores against the outer walls (location 6 see below)The Dwarves and their fellows live throughout the lower citadel levels. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #284 

October 12th, 2023 

  • Number: 284 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Tolfastun – Part 4 

  • Location: Northwest Tuton Maug of Noldrune, southeast of Anum Taag 

  • Population (approx.): 113 (Damiara, School of the Arcane) 

  • Brief:  Tolfastun has attracted all manner of users of magic over the ages for two distinct and very different reasons. Initially it was simply the nature of the citadel itself, being from the dawn of time and of uncertain but unusual provenance. Magicians, usually with attendant companions and warrior guards, arrived to look in all the nooks and crannies, from highest spire to the lowest levels of the underdark, seeking things known only to them with the usual ranges of success. Later, as Tolfastun became the center for those who would protect the region, the Arcane Guild established a Chantry in the “lowest” spire (in height of the three) including, at some point, a Wayfinders Guildhouse and waypoint. The Guild supports the citadel council with magicians supporting the guardians and other defenders of Tolfastun, and enchanters enhancing the protections of the citadel and those within. In parallel there are resident seers and scholars who investigate both the distant past of Tolfastun and artifacts and remnants of more recent historical events, notably relics from the Wastelands to the south.  

  •  Zorfis, male Eladrin, 147, is an Enchanter of magic items for Damiara, School of the Arcane at Tolfastun. He is of middling height and has one pointed right ear with a notch. His hair is silver, and he takes pains to perm it curly to differentiate himself from the other Eladrin. Zorfis is very concerned about his appearance and wears formal clothes whenever he leaves home. He may also seem churlish. Zorfis studied martial arts and now teaches classes in his spare time. 

  • Zorfis's job is to embed magic spells into various weapons and armor. He uses a selection of spells, and the school advertises this service. Occasionally, Zorfis takes a special request for more powerful spells and jumps at the chance to fulfill these opportunities. Zorfis would like to go on an adventure sometime soon as he gets bored with his work. 

  • Zorfis is divorced from Olxis, female Eladrin, 140. They have two children together and several grandchildren. Zorfis lives in a room at the school. He furnished it himself, and it looks outlandish to most people. He has five friends, and they party most of the weekend. Zorfis wants to find someone new to date but is shy around women. 

  • Geography: The Arcane Guild occupies the shortest of the three spires of Tolfastun. The Wayfinder waypoint can be found at the very top of the lower spire (location 7 see below). Below that is the great hall of the Chantry, where students are taught, and meetings are held. Further down are three libraries, dedicated to people, places and things, laboratories and workshops, then the living quarters of the residents from luxurious penthouses of ancient wizards to the packed dormitories of apprentices and Grogs (the warrior bodyguards serving the Guild). With the help of the folk of the underdark, the Guild created and watches over a number of special vaults in the depths under Tolfastun. Here items of a special (usually dark or evil) nature are locked away or in recent cases of Ta’arnan artifacts, examined for the causes of the Empire’s collapse. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #285 

October 13th, 2023 

  • Number: 285 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Tolfastun – Part 5 

  • Location: Northwest Tuton Maug of Noldrune, southeast of Anum Taag 

  • Population (approx.): 511 (Elven Enclave) 

  • Brief: Business conducted within the walls of Tolfastun reflects the dual nature of the citadel. The merchant’s circle, about the main level, reflects the typical artisan and service establishments found in any town or city. Traditional shops feature wares common to the area brought in by local farmers, foragers, hunters and trappers. Bakers, brewers and chefs buy from the shops to serve visitors and locals with no desire or time to cook for themselves. Crafters build anew or repair the old across the spectrum of needs. But there is a small group of “venture” merchants who specialize in the rare and unique, most of which do not have a storefront but interact with clients behind the closed doors of their apartments or the private rooms of taverns and inns. These merchants trade in clues, stories or rumors, provided through interactions with the scholars and seers of the guilds and via examination of relics found in the hidden or unexplored levels by scroungers and workers in the underdark. Information in hand, the merchants mount ventures to the far corners of Aenwyld in search of riches and artifacts. They depart in all fashion, whether by foot or horse out the gates, via airship from a landing pad atop the Sky Guardians Aerie or in rare cases, via Wayfinder at the waypoint. 

  • Reyxina (Xina) Eylesh, 101, female High Elf, is a bodyguard for a wealthy merchant, Crajeon Oakenbreeze, 175, male High Elf. She is tall and lithe with a thin waist but muscular upper body. She has long lavender hair that cascades down her back. Her silver eyes size people up when she first meets them. Xina wears leather armor pants and a heavily enchanted chain shirt. She is skilled in various weapons but favors broadaxe and ninja throwing stars. Her temperament is gruff and abrupt until she knows what you want, and then she is open and friendly. 

  • Xina enjoys working for Crajeon but has recently been getting death threats. He sells various items, and most of them are pretty expensive. He also will take commissions to locate particular items. Xina has discovered that some items are obtained through less than honorable means. She is okay with that, but it does make her job more difficult. To better deal with the newer threats, Xina has enrolled in some martial arts classes in the evenings and is enjoying those. 

  • Xina lives with Crajeon in a large residence in the Elven enclave of Tolfastun. She has a small room near her employer to get to him quickly if he needs help. On her days off, she spends time with her father, Valar, male High Elf, 230. The two of them enjoy playing trivia games at the local tavern. Xina also gets together once a week with her friend, Vallee Quieri, High Elf, 98. They enjoy crocheting together and talking about the goings on in Tolfastun. 

  • Geography: Traditional merchants, as previously described, occupied the circle about the main levels of the citadel (location 5 see below). Specialty venture merchants, such as Crajeon Oakenbreeze, own apartments on the upper levels of the Elven and Faeries residences (location 8 see below) with prime views of either the central chamber or the exterior (as Crajeon prefers). Some also, like the Arcane Guild, maintain their own secret vaults in the depths of the underdark (working with the deep folk to ensure privacy and safety). Crajeon, and his fellows, are some years of negotiation, have access to a landing platform atop the Sky Guardians Aerie (location 4) for departure via airship or diskcraft 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #286 

October 14th, 2023 

  • Number: 286 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Tolfastun – Part 6 

  • Location: Northwest Tuton Maug of Noldrune, southeast of Anum Taag 

  • Population (approx.): 711 (Dwarven Canton of Under Tolfastun) 

  • Brief: It is said, and some maps appear to confirm the saying, that the ancients delved below Tolfastun as far as they raised the citadel’s spires into the skies. As the populations of above ground races rose and fell as the years passed, so did the populations of the Dwarves, Gnomes and other Kin of the underdark who inhabit the lower chambers and levels of Tolfastun. The somewhat official Dwarven “Canton” of Under Tolfastun is the self-chosen name for the self-governing doughty folk who live in the topmost levels of the underworks. The Dwarves can be found throughout the citadel whether running a business, providing warriors to the council to guard the main and minor entrances and exits, repairing the infrastructure above and below ground, or undertaking ventures into sections of the underworks not mapped in recent memory. 

  •  Benmin (Min) Everdelver, 125, male Dwarf, is a bard who sings at the Jazzy Ale Inn. He is slightly taller than a normal Dwarf and has open, honest hazel eyes. He wears his golden hair in a bun and keeps his beard trim. Min was born with a voice that makes people weep. He also has the gift of gab and can turn anything into a story. He wears loose hose and colorful jerkins. Min plays the lute quite well but also excels with a fiddle. He can use throwing daggers when tavern dwellers take objection to his songs. 

  • Min has been singing at the Jazzy Ale Inn for five years. He has accumulated a following and keeps the Inn full most evenings. Min was an adventurer for most of his life. He decided to retire when bandits wiped out his adventuring group. Now, he sings for the sheer joy of it and sometimes drinks too much to forget what happened. 

  • Min lives in a small room in the Inn. He spends his days practicing his instruments and his nights entertaining customers. He has been dating Redvia Cardfin, 120, female Dwarf, for a few years but seems in no hurry to get married. Min's best friend is the innkeeper, Hulkum Steelflight,110, male Dwarf. They go out fishing, both above and underground, whenever they have a quiet morning. 

  • Geography: The bulk of the Dwarves of the Canton live in the levels adjacent to and just below the merchant circle (location 9 see below). Others, at their own risk, live further below ground in adjacent caves and chambers. The Dwarves share the merchants' circle (location 5) with their fellow kin, providing a variety of crafts and services to the population. Squads of guards (mostly Dwarves supported by other Kin) patrol the main passageways regularly and the outer tunnels on an irregular basis. Work parties supporting the council, working with magicians or as part of a merchant’s venture can be encountered in the depths of the central chamber and the outskirts of the underworks. The ancient and unusual nature of Tolfastun has attracted the unwanted attention of monstrous entities in the past, usually appearing on the outskirts of the citadel. Alarms ring out and heavily armored Dwarves and others lead the charge into the darkness. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #287 

October 15th, 2023 

  • Number: 287 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Tolfastun – Part 7 

  • Location: Northwest Tuton Maug of Noldrune, southeast of Anum Taag 

  • Population (approx.): 546 (Gnome Garages) 

  • Brief: There are many clues to the what and when of Tolfastun but few as to why it was built on the outskirts of Anum Taag. Scholars, assisted by miners and spelunkers, theorize there was a source of essence, perhaps a ley line or magical spring or pool, in the depths. The first to map the citadel, once rediscovered after the fall of the First Ones, found at a depth equal to the height of the spires, a great spherical chamber of unknown but definitively magical purpose. Exploration, maintenance and enhancement of the tunnels and chambers below the surface is handled by the resident Dwarven miners and Gnomish engineers. The miners were typically interested in the geology, rock formations and potential sources of ore and gems. But the engineers liked to poke about the remnants of ancient machines found in the dark corners of abandoned storerooms and workshops. Rumor suggests that some Gnomes have left their home garages to disappear into the lower levels, drawn by some ancient calling that none have heard or let alone understand. 

  • Elxi Boldrock, 73, female Gnome, is an engineer in the tunnels below Tolfastun. She is of average height and has a round face and long black hair. Her left arm was amputated when a tunnel collapsed on her. Elxi is strong and very smart. She wears leather armor, a chain shirt, and a pink hard hat. Her employees consider her 'one of the boys.' Her favorite weapon is a large warhammer. 

  • Elxi's job is to maintain the current tunnels underneath Tolfastun. She also looks to add branches to the existing tunnels to help with the population growth of the Dwarves, Gnomes and other Kin of the underdark. The job can be hazardous, but Elxi enjoys the challenge. She hopes to be promoted to a supervisor position within the next month. 

  • Elxi lives in one of the tunnels with her husband, Loxtor, 78, male Gnome. They have three children, Traji, 15, Elbys, 12, and Rondri, 9. Loxtor is on the local council of Gnomes but takes care of the children most days. The family stays mainly in the tunnels but ventures outside Tolfastun once a month to visit friends and enjoy the fresh air. Once a week, Elxi visits her two girlfriends, Trissa Bellowtop,71, Gnome, and Yola Sesiro, 70, Gnome. They look for people experiencing poverty and provide food for those who need it. 

  • Geography: Gnomes typically prefer to live in communal family residences and workshops called garages. Most of the garages of Tolfastun can be found around the central chamber a level or two below the Dwarven Canton (location 10 see below). They work throughout the citadel wherever repairs and rework are required. But in the depths, there is one garage, unknown to all, living in rooms about the spherical chamber at the bottom of Tolfastun. These gnomes have discovered that this construction was built about a single point source of essence (like two-dimensional ley lines and three-dimensional pools) long since depleted. Devices about the inner surface of the chamber channeled the magic to the levels above (notably to mechanisms as the tops of the spires). They work in secret thinking there may still be power they can tap and use (though some fear, rightly so, that it may simply Corrupt them). 


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