Mythandar: Beregond Locations

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The fortress of Beregond's rulers stands upon the highest ground in the city. Among the oldest castles in Anglamar, it is a traditional square keep with four corner towers and a stout outer wall surrounding an inner courtyard, or bailey. Such castles are descended from the walled timber fortresses built by Kothic warlords centuries ago. The city itself has grown around the original fortress, which has grown into the great castle it is today. Lord Berek (the current Baron's ancestor) was one of the last of the old Kothic warlords to resist Thelron the Great, dying in battle at the very gates of his stronghold during its siege. His son, Erek, became the first Baron of Beregond.

The Keep itself is a massive fortress of gray stone, considered impregnable today. Overlooking the city's main gate, its walls and towers command a grand view of the city. The gatehouse encloses a massive timber portal reinforced by two sets of iron porticulli (inner and outer). Crossbowmen patrol the walls and there are never fewer than 100 of the Baron's elite Swords of Beregond manning the defenses. The outer wall is anchored by five round towers; the two adjoining the great city wall on the west mount catapults as does the Keep's gatehouse. Inside the wall are a cobbled court, greenswards and vegetable gardens for the kitchen, as well as a large stable and stockpen for the Baron's horses. Lady Ailith maintains a seperate residence in the tower overlooking the High Common. Folk are rarely granted entrance to the Keep, except on official business or by invitation of the Baron. Even then, access is limited to the main hall and guest quarters, such is Baron Kurth's paranoia. His Chamberlain, Lord Veer, runs the Keep, managing everything from the serving staff to the Baron's appointments. He is often the only one who deals with lower ranking visitors.

Beregond's harbor is small in comparison to those of other port cities, especially Westhaven farther south. The coast here is rocky and steep, requiring the harbor to be built up over time as the city has grown. Large timber docks extend out to accommodate the anchorage of deep water vessels. During trade season (from late Spring to mid-Autumn) heavy merchant cogs, fishing boats, and even the occasional Norlandic longship can be found at port. Here are all of the businesses to service the sea-trade - shipwrights, sail and rope makers, hull-caulkers, carpenters, chain-and-anchorers. There are dockmen to handle cargoes and large warehouses to store them, porters and cartmen to carry goods up into the city. "Flop houses" provide cheap lodging for crewmen wishing to spend their nights ashore. Iron is the primary import, coming by barge down the Winterborne River, and steel the main export. Fishing is an important industry and the waterfront hosts a large fisherman's market which is busy year round. The Docks are a dreary and cluttered place, always foggy, wet or icy, and the crashing of waves and howling of the wind is ever-present. The Baron's soldiers rarely patrol here (some suspect in order not to interfere with smuggling operations, from which the barony profits).

HARBOR GATE is the only access between the Docks and the city, and it is every bit as secure as Beregond's main gate in the south. Catapults and ballistae on the gate's towers command the harbor, making it one of the most secure anchorages on the coast (or the most dangerous if you are considering an attack by sea).

THE LION & ANCHOR is the only large dockside tavern, catering to seafarers and those who might be described as "down on their luck." It is a rough and rowdy place where visitors are advised to go armed and in groups. It is also the city's only brothel. Ownership of the place seems to change hands often, and the staff is always surly and eager bilk its patrons of every copper. Brawls are common and often deadly, and the bouncers are less concerned with maintaining order than with tossing out the coinless, unconscious and dead. Rumor has it that the Shadowguild of Westhaven actually runs the Anchor, using it as a front for smuggling and other illicit concerns.

THE SEATOWER on UMO'S ROCK is a lighthouse operated by the shipping merchants of Beregond. Accessible by a small dock or by a narrow stone bridge, the Sea Arch, from a tower on the city wall. The tower itself holds a romantic place in local lore, accounted to be the location of hidden treasures, deadly traps, ghosts and other secrets. The Sea Arch is infamous as a place of suicide, where the forlorn and hopeless throw themselves into the sea.

SMUGGLER'S DOCK is located at a place in the seawall where a tunnel from the city sewers outlets to the sea. The cave-like exit is closed by a massive rusted portcullis and is only accessible at low tide. Various passages lead up into the city, though the maze of minor tunnels and shafts, infested with rats and other more vile creatures, has never been mapped.

Beregond is an uneven sprawl of clustered buildings and twisting streets, rising in tiers up from the shore to the height of the Baron's Keep. None of the streets are level (one is either going uphill or down) and the buildings stagger above and below each other. The largest level areas are The Market, in the middle of the city, and the High Common, both centers of commerce. Wealth and class divisions are apparent by the size of the buildings and the width, cleanliness (and safety) of the streets. Cart and wagon traffic is heavy most of the time, lessening only in Winter when ice makes the streets unnavigable. In heavy rain, many of the streets and alleys turn into rivers, making pedestrian traffic perilous. Most houses and businesses have lower floors built up above the ground to avoid flooding and make access possible in deep snow.

THE CORNERS is bounded by Broad Street, Horseman's Lane and the streets running south to the High Common. This is working class Beregond, filled with shops and businesses, apartments and clustered houses. The Hook and Stagger Lane are the most used thoroughfares and the folk living along them know each other well. The farmers' market at High Common is a place of neighborhood commerce and social interaction. There is less crime here than elsewhere in the city due as much to the honest nature of the citizenry as the proximity of Garrison Keep.

SOUTHSIDE, as the district is informally known, runs south of Westride Street from the edge of The Warren, across the Gate Way to Muster Court and the High Common. Here are the dwellings, businesses and temples of the wealthy and powerful in Beregond. The streets are relatively clean (though still busy and treacherous in foul weather) and safe due to regular patrols. Private guards keep watch on the homes, most of which are walled and gated. Most notable is the home of the merchant Baelron, who trades in northern iron and southern goods and who owns three merchant ships. His towered manor stands in a private court with a stone wall and iron gate. Baelron is known for his feasts and parties which are considered the only worthy social events in the city. He is also rumored to employ a mage (or mages), and takes great interest in the presence of other mages in the city, as well as the buying and selling of powerful magical artifacts.

THE STORMHAVEN INN is Beregond's only inn of note catering to outsiders - merchants, travelers and adventurers. It is a large and well-run establishment with drink aplenty, good food, and suitable lodging, including a large stable. The staff is large and reasonably hospitable. Disturbances are dealt with competently (though the place lacks the magical protections of the Olde Inn). However, Garrison Keep isn't far away if brawls get out of hand, and several of the city's higher-ranking soldiers frequent the place.

GARRISON KEEP is the headquarters and barracks of the Swords of Beregond, the professional men-at-arms who form the corp of the Baron's army, police the city and man the defenses of Beregond. The keep itself is small but solidly built and well defended, dominating the eastern half of the city below the Baron's Keep itself. Its dungeon, and the torturers and jailers who staff it, are notorious (the dungeons beneath the Baron's Keep are reserved for those who have earned his lordship's special enmity). Muster Court is a large open paved area where the Swords are called to formation and drills.

KORDANE'S IRONWORKS is the largest smithy in Beregond employing the greatest number of workmen, including several dwarven smiths. The weapons and armor produced by Master Smith Kordane are prized throughout the West, considered second in quality only to those from Irongate. Day and night, regardless of the season, the forges are fired and black smoke bellows from Kordane's great slate-roofed smithy, heavy wagons rumble through the streets, carrying ore from the Docks and finished goods to South Gate for transport elsewhere. Kordane supplies the Baron's troops with quality weapons and armor, giving him some leverage and independence.

THE MARKET, in the midst of the city, sprawls along the Westride and up Broad Street toward Harbor Gate, spilling into side streets and the Alleys of The Ward. Among its tent-covered merchant stalls and traders shacks, nearly anything and everything can be found for sale or purchase (legally or not). Though not as extensive or diverse as the Great Market of Westhaven, Beregond's is a thriving concern even in foul weather. Middlewatch Tower, rising at the very center of the city and looming above the Market, was once the heart of the city's defenses. It now serves as headquarters for the wealthiest merchants in Beregond, housing offices, treasuries and barracks for the merchants' private guards (the entire building is rumored to be run by Baelron).

SOUTH GATE is the main portal into the city, a massive double gatehouse large enough to acoomodate at least 200 men. The cavernous passage through it, with great timber and iron doors at either end, can pass an army riding five abreast, and its arched ceiling is pierced by countless murder holes. From its crenelated top, heavy catapults command the approaches to the city along the King's Road and from the Gondish Hills.

THE WARD. Whereas the Corners is the middle-class trades and residential area of Beregond, The Ward is the hardscrabble working class and manufacturing district. Here are the workshops, smithies, tanneries, construction yards, landward warehouses and other large scale business, along with large tenement housing (such as it is). The air is thick with the stink of industry and the streets are more cluttered and less clean than elsewhere. There is street crime and prudent folk go about armed, but merchant guards are numerous (though city patrols are not). The open steel market at Swords Crossing features the trade in blades and armor of Beregond steel for which the city is famous.

THE WARREN encompasses the western end of Beregond, to the north and south of the Storm Gate. It is, as its name implies, a slum of crowded ramshackle buildings inhabited by the poorest in the city. Crime is rampant - thieves and muggers prowl the twisting alleyways, cheap prostitutes and beggars ply their trades, ragged children wander about scrabbling for pennies and food. The Baron and the merchants pay little attention to the Warren or its inhabitants, considering them a source of cheap labor, and the Swords never go there save in pursuit of fugitives.

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