Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Hembek - Alder Rock (Ward) & Bowyer Ward

Alder Rock (Ward)

The Alder Rock (Ward) is the oldest (beyond the ramshackle fishing village that started it all) and wealthiest part of town. High Town is built on Gull Rock, named because of the hundreds of gulls that nest along the cliffsides. Gull Rock would be fairly easy to climb without equipment but would be nearly impossible to climb without a flock of disturbed gulls giving away your presence.  

Nearly thirty years ago the South cliffside of Gull Rock splintered off and collapsed taking the old wall and a number of buildings with it. The south cliffside is fairly easy to climb now but the slope is treacherous with shifting rock and is considered disrespectful of the dead to clamber over the remains of the landslide. 

A1 - Ducal Palace
Built on Alder Rock, a rise in Gull Rock, the Ducal Palace is very fancy and beyond its difficult to access position it is not really designed for defense. The Palace was built with three Baileys with the cliffside bailey containing the Ducal Residence, Center Bailey containing Grand Council buildings, and the outer bailey and gatehouse housing the guards. A tunnel leads from the dungeons beneath the Palace to the Temple of Pallas Reginas and another leads down to Jemb tower in Jembgate Ward.

A2 - The Painted Ship Tavern Inn
The Painted Ship Tavern is owned by an ex Ship Captain who made the mistake of buying a tavern too close to the Church of Pallas. Church members drink, but not excessively. He has hired a top rate chef and makes a bit of coin selling food, and now has the food franchise at the theater. The owner is known to drink at the Long Journey Inn when he wants to get really drunk. 

A3 - Church of Pallas Reginas (One True Goddess!)
The Church is a massive structure on the North Side of High Town. The Headmistress is prim, proper, and obsessed with closing Temple of Lustria which is sin-filled and degrading. The Temple has wood-block printing presses used to print the Holy Book of Pallas Regina and to reprint other books to make them 'tolerable' to the sensibilities of Pallas (censored or meanings outright reversed). For example the reprint of the Lustria Book of Love turned an X-rated Kama Sutra into a G-rated dull text on marriage.

A4 - Theater
Funded by the Merchant's Guild this is an elaborate building with a two-story indoor theater. Traveling musicians and plays are common. The tower has a bell that will ring at lunch-time the day of a performance to let everyone know the theater is open. Those that cannot afford the admission price often crowd along the street at the base of Gull Rock to listen.

A5 - Temple of Wagos  (Old Faith God of Luck and Merchants)
The Temple is very wealthy considering its small staff. The temple has a small stairway that leads to a rather steep incline. The thick double-doors that would normally seal this city entrance are left open since the cliff-side collapsed making it nearly impossible for anyone to use this entrance. In front of the temple is a statue. Merchants deposit donations into the mouth of the statue to get Wagos blessing when their ships leave harbor. Nobody is a strong worshiper of Wagos but nearly all make the donations rather than take the chance.

A6 - Long Journey Inn
A large inn near to the theater and Temple of Wago. The Inn has a dozen rooms and stables in back. The inn has a small brewery attached that provides beer and ale throughout High Town.

  • The inn has a small pub attached. The pub is frequently full of rowdy customers, well as rowdy. The bartender lets guards have a free drink to ensure they are frequently present which keeps things from getting too out of hand.

Bowyer Ward

The Bowyer Ward is the second oldest and wealthiest part of town. Named for a legendary Bowyer when the area was overrun by Crafters. A large portion of Bowyer Ward is new, having been built after terrible fires swept the area. The temples of Kanaris and Lustria, and the Merchant Guildhall date to this time. 

B1 - Sea Gate

The gate opens to thin stairs down the cliff to a set of small docks at the cliff base. The gate is used by Merchants in a rush. The Gatehouse serves as residence for guards. The guards also patrol the walls of around Gull Rock.

B2 - Temple of Lustria (Old Faith Goddess of Love and Motherhood)

A large Temple complex in the North East corner of town. The complex is wealthy and popular. Tiled mosaics and Parthanan-style domes mark the oldest temple in the town. The large domed main room has a pool, adjacent rooms have large hot and cold baths in Roman style. The walled gardens also have an outdoor pool that allows caravan folk to bath before the baths or instead of. the temple is often bustling with activity. Not necessarily Lustria worshipers mind you, but the the Priestess don't mind as long as the non-believers make the donations. 

A few centuries ago the Temple of Cruach (in Eastrade Ward) was burned in a massive fire, the temples library was saved and transported to the basement of the Temple of Lustria in secret. The library exists today although few of the Priestesses can read the old texts. A few years ago the Church of Pallas Regina Scriptorium was gutted by fire. The Church bell was saved by a Lustria worshiper and installed in the Temple of Lustria where it continues to ring hourly. 

The Chapter Mistress is a cold hard fox with a sharp mind and a penchant for politics to get what her girls need. The Temple has private baths and worship rooms where a large enough donation allows for private worship and ritual bathing with one of the nubile Priestess. There is a private entrance used by members of the Grand Council who wish to worship in secret. The Temple has a dorm for just about any woman that needs a roof over her head. The Temple also sells hand illustrated copies of the Lustria Book of Love, the sales of which have helped finance the Chapters hospital and enabled them to open a full Hospital complex in Hotina Ward. The neighboring block has been annexed by the Temple and is used as a Hospital for the population ontop of Gull Rock.

A renown artist has been staying at the Temple for years. He has painted a number of fresco's on the walls and ceilings as well as painted portraits of a number of the Priestesses using the relatively new oil paint. He has provided some assistance the Priestesses tasked with illustrating the Lustria Book of Love and it jokingly referred to as the Holiest Man in the city because of the amount of time he spends in the temple.

B3 - Temple of the Brotherhood of Kanaris (Old Faith God of War)

Temple that is more of a violent Fraternity House. The Templars of the Brotherhood of Kanaris are very fond of the Priestesses of Lustria and anyone harassing them may find themselves facing a dozen Templars in a bloody rage. This fact has done more to keep the peace between the Church of Pallas Regina and the Temple of Lustria.

Previously this was a temple of Hanno but the priests fled or went into hiding after a miscommunication with some Kanaris Templars led to a number of deaths. The Kanaris templers uprooted the statue of Hanno and dumped it over the cliff. The statue was been buried or removed long ago but the Templars often make a point of urinating off of the wall onto its last known position when they have been drinking. The temple itself is rather bland and more of a fortress (fortress fraternity house) than a place of worship. There is a walled garden and stables and barracks for visiting templars. The Templars can be found exercising with weapons, asleep, or recovering from a hangover. The Chapter Grandmaster is an old Veteran with a missing arm (his left) and incredible skill with his sword. The Temple has a dorm for worshipers passing through or hanging out. The Brotherhood has an unwritten deal with the guards that nearly any non-murderous offense will be forgiven after a night in jail.

B4 - Gull Rock Main Gate

The Gatehouse at the top of a massive staircase. The steps are broad enough to accommodate horses. The strong gate allows the top of Gull Rock to stand isolated if necessary. Anyone not a resident or accompanied by a resident of Alder Rock (Ward) or Bowyer Ward, can expect to pay 1d6 coins (more will be demanded of those that look poor or are covered in blood-stained clothes). The guards usually let females heading to the Temple of Lustria pass hoping to build goodwill with the Priestesses. The Gatehouse serves as residence for guards. The Guards also patrol the streets of Gull Rock. There is a bottleneck dungeons in basement, used for short term imprisonment.

B5 - Merchant's Guild Hall

The Merchant's Guild hall is a lavish affair with lots of fine mahogany and leather bound chairs. The Guild has an extensive library of charts and cargo manifests. The Guild has built up good will with the Temple of Kanaris next door by never complaining about the noise and financing a weekly meal and debauch for the Templars. Young Merchant's often consider this some kind of blackmail but the elder Merchants would point out the Guildsmen rarely have trouble with Templars, with Pallas Clerics, or Thieves. Guild policy is strict neutrality between the religious elements but if push came to shove most of them tacitly support the Old Pantheon against the busy-bodies of Pallas Regina.

B6 - Postern Gates

The walls have two small gates. Guards live directly above the gate. The gates were built to allow for sallies against invaders but no invaders ever came and then the cliff-side collapsed leaving a rugged but easy way into High Town. Now the gates are mostly used by romantics seeking a nice view of the city below.

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