Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 51

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 51

Compiling week 51 of the project, comprised of an additional 5 posts (truncated by the Holidays), this week's subject being a deep dive into people of interest - the vendors and competitors of the games and contests at the TriCounty Fairgrounds in the City-State of Noldrune:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #351 

December 18th, 2023 

  • Number: 351 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of a Site and Persons Therein of of Interest: TriCounty Fairgrounds – Part 1 

  • Location: Corner of Counties Berian, Claid and Ulste in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 275 (Fair staff), 511 (Village of Fairwell) 

  • Brief: The passage of time as Aenwyld orbits the Sun and the weather and seasons change, is marked differently across the globe. The Houses of Noldrune brought with them the calendar of the northern realms as they moved south. The year is divided into parts marked by four days of celebration; the first being “First Bud” when plants return to life and spring begins; the second being “First Haze” when the sun grows hot in the skies and summer begins; the third being “First Harvest” when crops are culled, and fall begins and lastly; “First Frost” when ice encrusts the land and winter begins. The people hold festivals to celebrate each event in the cycle of seasons. In the City-State of Noldrune, the largest permanent festival site is the TriCounty Fairgrounds. As well as the four festivals, the fairgrounds host all manner of major events (sporting, crafting, entertainment and religious), minor celebrations and year-round vendors, food stalls, games of change and displays of interest. 

  • Geography: About 450 years ago, as the City-State of Noldrune forged itself from the shattered pieces of the Ta’arnan Empire, representative of three Houses, Berian, Claid and Ulste, met in a large open stretch of land to set the borders between the three notional Counties. The tents used for negotiations remained at the site to be used for celebrations of Statehood. Then for religious ceremonies. As the next festival came about, the site was essentially a permanent hub for events and became known as the TriCounty Fairgrounds. The fair sits on a spur of the main north-south highway (from Claid Castle (#142) to the border with Taodeas) that leads westward to Berian Manor (#145) and beyond to Lake Loloto Pogisa. It includes permanent structures (the great event tent, the vendor booths, food stalls and competition fields) and temporary constructions (for camping, parking, and minor event tents). Along the highway a small town, Fairwell, has grown to support the site. 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present some of the notable people that one might encounter when attending the events and festivals at the Fairgrounds. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #352 

December 19th, 2023 

  • Number: 352 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of a Site and Persons Therein of of Interest: TriCounty Fairgrounds – Part 2 

  • Location: Corner of Counties Berian, Claid and Ulste in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 275 (Fair staff), 511 (Village of Fairwell) 

  • Brief: As the years of the Fairgrounds passed, the number of entertainers interested in performing and the number of events to be hosted grew and grew. The main stage, under the Great Canopy, became the first permanent installation, soon followed by the Spring Canopy and the Fall Canopy stages hosting lesser acts and smaller events. The Summer Canopy is used specifically for judging events and award ceremonies for the various competitions held throughout the year. The Spring Canopy is well known for hosting regular all-ages shows specifically catering to families and children. The Fairgrounds is significant enough that acts will develop and premiere material for the venue and then take their acts on the local circuit returning to the Fairgrounds throughout the year. 

  • Cole Brightbrew, 48, male Human is a puppeteer and illusionist. He is lanky and has a winning smile. His fawn brown eyes are bright and eager, and his straw brown hair is straight. Cole wears loose-fitting clothing and an apron that has pockets for tools. He has special outfits for performing that help him blend into the background. Cole carries a pair of daggers that he knows how to use. 

  • Cole is a traveling puppeteer. On festival days, he has a slot reserved under the Spring Canopy for his all-ages puppet show. He has a cart that carries the box for the show. It also has all his tools and fabric for creating puppets. Cole's usual routine is to create one show per festival season. His debut starts at the First Bud spring festival. He then performs that show at various towns along the circuit. After the festival, he works on the next show and carves whatever new puppets he needs for the new show. His wife, Susana, 43, female Human, sews all the puppets' clothing. She has a side business of creating clothing for little dolls.  

  • Cole and Susana live on the road and don't have a permanent residence. During the festivals, they treat themselves to staying at a moderately priced inn in Fairwell. They don't have any children and never wanted any. They do have a dog, Kiri, who is friendly to everyone unless they move to attack Cole or Susana. 

  • Geography: The TriCounty Fairgrounds sits north of Fairwell. The settlement hugs the highway that leads westward to Berian Manor (#145) and beyond to Lake Loloto Pogisa. The Fairgrounds are built around the Great Canopy in the center. It is divided into 4 quadrants matching the seasons. To the south is the main entrance, the Winter Gate, along with parking, ticket booths, offices and dormitories for staff and some entertainers. The Grand Avenue, lined with rows of booths for vendors of all sorts, connects the Gate to the Great Canopy. To the west is the Spring Canopy and outdoor stages and seating for events. Beyond the Summer Canopy to the north are the competition fields, tents and stalls for all manner of athletic and crafting events. And to the east is the Fall Canopy and additional stages and seating. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #353 

December 20th, 2023 

  • Number: 353 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of a Site and Persons Therein of of Interest: TriCounty Fairgrounds – Part 3 

  • Location: Corner of Counties Berian, Claid and Ulste in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 275 (Fair staff), 511 (Village of Fairwell) 

  • Brief: As the years of the Fairgrounds passed, the number of athletes interested in competing and the number of sports to be hosted grew and grew. In the north, the Houses of Noldrune competed equally in both Summer and Winter sports. Here, however the winter is warm, so snow-based outdoor sports have fallen by the wayside, but indoor sports, a mix of games of skill and games of chance, continue to flourish. Unlike the entertainment venues, where the worst issues are about schedules, egos and affairs, the behind-the-scenes drama of the games is quite extensive ranging from House politics to all manner of gambling both above board and under the table. The Houses, small and large, are quite competitive bringing teams of all sizes to the games of the Summer and Winter. The former includes all manner of individual and team competitions. The City-State of Noldrune hosts official yearly games and in recent years teams representing the neighboring City-States have joined the contests. Equal parts fame and fortune might be won by the competing athletes. 

  • Prielor (Prie), 40, female Half-Elf, is a Courier for The Mad Pony (location 2 in Fairwell), a delivery service. She is short and spare, and her ink-black hair cascades down her back. Her sapphire blue eyes sparkle when a new challenge presents itself. Prie has an official uniform for her position as a Guilded Courier. As a runner in the Summer Games, she practices in some old clothes. She carries a dagger with her during running practice. As a courier, she keeps a spear handy and knows how to use a short sword. 

  • Prie grew up with the joy of running and quickly became a courier in her early teens. She has always worked for The Mad Pony, specializing in riding horses and running. Prie loves to ride and helps in the stables in her free time. As a Summer games athlete, she has won several medals for the short sprints. She also participates in one long and one short-distance riding event.  

  • Prie lives near the stables in Fairwell with her husband, Lork, 46, male Half-Elf. They have two children: Falkas, 7, and Darona, 5. Lork owns The Blue Stars Tavern (location 3 in Fairwell), which is in Fairwell. He takes care of the children so Prie can travel freely. Prie's best friend is Meadow Widowsong, 40, female Human. They meet for brunch on Saturday morning and catch up on the gossip in town. 

  • Geography: The outdoor games hosted by the TriCounty Fairgrounds use the pitches, ranges, fields and tracks created over the years by the Fairground staff north of the Summer Canopy. Water-based sports take place a short distance away at a nearby lake. Cross-country and forestry-oriented events, popular with House Berien, take place within the outskirts of the Lolot Forest to the west. Indoor events fill the Summer Canopy, and temporary tents as required, with popular finals (varying from year to year) and opening, closing & medal ceremonies taking place on the great stage of the Grand Canopy. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #354 

December 22nd, 2023 

  • Number: 354 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of a Site and Persons Therein of of Interest: TriCounty Fairgrounds – Part 4 

  • Location: Corner of Counties Berian, Claid and Ulste in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 275 (Fair staff), 511 (Village of Farewell) 

  • Brief: As the years of the Fairgrounds passed, the number of crafters interested in selling their wares and entering the hosted competitions grew and grew. Contests for created items (carvings, pottery, paintings, metalwork etc.) are held throughout the year, but the First Cull festival and the season of autumn is the time for food-centric competitions. While the great Houses of Noldrune focus on athletic and team competitions, the people of the small towns and minor Houses from across the City-State love to compete in baking, candy-making, barbequing, brewing and grand battles between master chefs to create banquets centered about the most unusual local ingredients. The scale of the behind-the-scenes drama during events may be an order of magnitude smaller than that of the Summer athletic games, it can be as intense for those involved. Careers and reputations rise and fall with the bread and souffles. Many of the competitors own or work for businesses either in Fairwell or with a booth (temporary or permanent) in the Fairgrounds or both. 

  • Sylsatra (Syl) Blueshard, 173, female Wood Elf, is a pastry chef for the Chunky Boar Inn. She is of average height and slender. She wears her silver hair in a bob and skillfully uses makeup to cover a long scar on her cheek. Syl's dove-gray eyes are short-sighted, and she wears blue glasses to complete her look. Her outfit for the festival is a long green skirt and a long-sleeved acorn brown blouse. A sharp knife is her only weapon. 

  • Syl loves to bake and has turned out various pastries over the years. She used to have her own pastry shop but wanted to avoid managing the business end of things. When Syl met her partner, Valstina (Val) Firstale, 168, female Elf, their love of food brought them together. Syl and Val got jobs working together at the Chunky Boar Inn. Val works as a chef, and Syl creates magnificent pastries. Syl's specialty is using mushrooms to create special handheld pies.  

  • Syl and Val have a cottage near the fairgrounds. They have several children and many grandchildren. They have a special booth at the fair to sell mushroom pastries. The mouth-watering pastries quickly sell out, and Syl resorts to making sweet pastries. Syl loves to read and has started a Thursday night book club. The book club helps out local charities and provides Syl and Val with many friends. 

  • Geography: The Chunky Boar Inn (location 1 see below) can be found facing the main highway in Fairview. Syl and Val live in a small house midway between Fairwell and the gates to the Fairgrounds. Syl’s Fairgrounds booth, being one of relatively long-standing, has a prime location on the left side of the main avenue between the gates and the Grand Canopy. 

  • Key to Fairwell: 

  1. 1. Chunky Boar Inn (#354) 

  2. 2. Mad Pony Stables and Courier (#353) 

  3. 3. Blue Stars Tavern (#353) 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #355 

December 23rd, 2023 

  • Number: 355 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of a Site and Persons Therein of of Interest: TriCounty Fairgrounds – Part 5 

  • Location: Corner of Counties Berian, Claid and Ulste in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 275 (Fair staff), 511 (Village of Fairwell) 

  • Brief: In the ancient history of the Houses of the North, First Frost announced the arrival of the fierce winds and snows of winter. Harvests were complete, hunting and foraging difficult so folk retreated to their storm cellars and survived on foods preserved, dried and brewed during autumn. Dark quiet nights playing games of skill and chance, reading or listening to the tales and songs of skalds and bards. The Winter Games of the north, in the present day, have shed most of the outdoor aspects due to the warmer climate of the City-States and are now focused on both indoor games and cooking contests for brewing, baking and preserving traditional winter delights. Many of the competitors in the Fall Games, especially the crafting-oriented events, also participate through the winter. The Spring and Fall Canopies host these usually smaller contests while the Grand Canopy hosts traditional and somewhat more popular winter festival entertainment of plays, musicals and concerts. 

  • Tydam (Ty) Trollboot, 125, male Dwarf, is a brewer of fine ales. He is short and plump. He wears his long dark hair in a bun and braids his beard for neatness. Ty has charcoal-gray eyes and a charming smile. He thinks carefully before he speaks. Ty wears leather pants and a loose-fitting top. Over this outfit, he wears a large apron while he brews his ales.  

  • Ty's father was a master brewer and taught him the tricks of their trade. Both father and son have made beer and ale, but once they discovered the candy root herb, the business focused solely on it. The herb only grows in the fall and needs to go through several steps to process it once harvested. The candy root herb provides their winter ale with a special kick that most people like. Ty and his father have a booth at the Fourth Bud festival that sells out quickly. They also sell their traditional ales at the Inns and Taverns of Fairwell. 

  • Ty lives with his brother, Dalnar, 115, Dwarf, the mayor's aide for Fairwell town. They live in a lovely house near the middle of town. Ty brews with his father in the back half of the house. The two brothers love Syl Blueshard's meat pies and have them twice a week at the Chunky Boar Inn or the Fairgrounds. Ty loves to go fishing and takes one week a year off to take his father to a nice local pond where the fish are biting. 

  • Geography: Ty and Dalnar’s home and brewery Trolboot Ales and Stouts (location 4 see below) and be found in the center of Fairwell near one of their main customers, the Blue Stars Tavern (location 3). Being fans of Syl’s meat pieces, Ty has wheeled and dealt to slowly move his Fairgrounds booth to its current location across the main avenue from Syl’s booth. 

  • Key to Fairwell: 

  • 1. Chunky Boar Inn (#354) 

  • 2. Mad Pony Stables and Courier (#353) 

  • 3. Blue Stars Tavern (#353) 

  • 4. Trolboot Ales and Stouts (#355) 


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