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Old 11-10-2012, 06:00 PM   #1
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Default (02) Guide to Kingsreach

Focus for trade with Trimeris, holds the northern port which is thriving off trade from the acquired towns in Zaksebar, and renewed trade from Asserya. The climate is warm and temperate, and winters are mild. Growers of fruit and olives, this region also hosts the most iron mines and steel from Tal Valorro is becoming known as the best in Sutherland. The ‘Reach tends to be more prosperous and more obsessed with poetry, pomp and chivalry than Westridge or Southshores- some would say those ideals are even more dear to the heart of many northern nobles than The Faith.

The king rules from Tal Volorro, the old capital of the Asseryan governors. His palace there, called Vellesca as it was during Asseryan rule, is extensive as are its surrounding gardens and terraces. It was begun after the Asseryan conquest, and was a marvel of their engineering- an aqueduct brings water to the city and palace, providing enough to the royal residence to sustain fountains, drinking water, sinks and even pressurized for showers (though these are limited to the royal quarters and a handful of chambers used by the Great Families).

During the Zakkish War, the northern ports suffered as trade from Zaksebar and Old Asserya was all but cut off. With the bulk of the men off fighting, harvest was slow and a few early frosts led to food shortages (most noticeably in Volorro and Blacktide) and the city watch was forced to intervene in public disturbances resulting from the difficulty. However, with the war ended and a Edolene family holding Abat-Charn in Zaksebar as well as peace restored to Old Asserya, trade is freer than it has been in many years and the difficulties of the recent past are fading. Returning soldiers have brought not only trade but the spoils of war and tastes for silk and spices that already are influencing the land. Still... the royal treasury is rebuilding as are the treasuries of many noblemen as they struggle to maintain their position while on a limited budget. Worse for those nobleman, the king has begun recouping his monetary losses by the granting of titles to merchants (in consideration of generous gifts those families have given him, of course...).

- The town of Oldcastle was where the Velstayth kings ruled from.
- The port town of Kingsport is so named because the Vellfyre family maintains a summer palace nearby, which serves as the seat for younger sons and a place of refuge in times of plague or unrest in Tal Volorro.

  • Ruling House: Vellfyre
  • Key Cities: Tal Volorro (capital, 51,772), Blacktide (35,946)
  • Notable Towns: Tal Vayth (12,580), Kingsport (8,067), Oldcastle (7,260), Delving(2,939), Copplestone (1,703) ((TOTAL: 32,549))
  • Important Noble Houses: Wolfe of Blacktide, Seyfert of Delving, Vayth of Tal Vayth, Aldarayth-Firuzahn of Kingsport, Sollis of Copplestone
  • Minor Noble Houses: Vikary of Cliffton, Vaughn of Shadowdale, Hayford of Goldfallow, Talventes, Ambrosios of Iron Shore, Vikary of Vimark, Draven of Covington
  • Former Noble Houses: Valentin, Howe of Oldcastle
  • All Noble Families of Kingsreach
  • Important Organizations / Groups: The Royal Court, Royal Guard, etc.
  • Area: 32,386.7 km2 (12,504.5 mi2)
  • Population: 875,315 (70 people per square mile)
  • Draft Pool: 70,000 (8% of pop.) [<7% ideal to keep area from starvation]
  • Professional Soldiers: (not including the Royal Guard) 700 men-at-arms, 200 archers, 100 sailors
  • Navy: six 32-oar galleys, four 48-oar galleys, one 60-oar galleass / 8-10 merchant ships impressable
    • Blacktide: 3 32-oars, 1 48-oars, 1 60-oar
    • Kingsport: 2 48-oar galleys
    • Elsewhere (held by smaller coastal towns): 1 32-oar, 1 48-oar

Outside the Cities:
  • 53 small towns (1,000 or less) - Cliffton, Palbrook, Iron Shore,
  • 209 large villages (pop: 800 or less) - Vimark, Silveroak, Shadowdale, Sevenstreams, Maidensmark, Greenfall, Goldfallow
  • 992 medium villages (pop: 300 or less) - Covington
  • 2,373 small villages (pop: 100 or less) - Dwyven Lodge,

Last edited by The Oracles; 11-10-2012 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:09 PM   #2
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Default Tal Volorro

Pop: 51,772 (including 2000 in Vellesca Palace)

259 noble households reside in the general area (counting the knightly ones), along with 1294 clergy-members and 50 priests.

26 inns, 120 jewelers, 129 taverns/restaurants, 37 spice merchants, 65 bakeries, 60 water carriers, 43 butchers, 40 blacksmiths, 30 physicians, 148 ‘healers’ claiming to be trained physicians, 200 tailors, 18 apothecaries, 8 booksellers. Lots and lots and lots of singers.

Tal Volorro began as a planned city, built and decorated by the slaves and captives of the Asseryan Empire to house and glorify its chief consul and governor of the new province of Aedyllon. Broad avenues, shade trees, fountains and terraces made it a haven among the war-torn ruins that were all that remained of most of the northern cities. Massive aqueducts were erected to bring fresh water to the city and support the legion and inhabitants.

During Kadreth's War, most of the aqueducts in Edolon were destroyed, but the great aqueduct of Tal Volorro was mostly unscathed and repairs were still possible, allowing the great palace of Tor Vellesca remained inhabitable and still maintains running water, sinks, fountains, even showers in some apartments.

Unfortunately, as the capital grew it was impossible to maintain the architecture and systematic standards of the order-obsessed Asseryans and what has resulted are essentially two cities: Old Volorro, still beautiful and home to many of the wealthy and older families; and... the rest of it. The newer areas of the city have grown up pell-mell, added here and there at need, buildings perching on the old city walls or old buildings being divided into many, pieces of the old going to make the new. Most of Tal Volorro today is a winding mess of narrow streets in almost eternal shadow from the buildings on either side, without sewage or running water. Most of the new city's water is from various wells and streams.

Tor Vellesca is played by the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain





Map Key
  • ① Tor Vellesca
  • ② Temple district
  • ③ North Market Square
  • ④ Harrowmont Villa
  • ⑤ Solvitreo Villa
  • █▌Gardens/grounds/courtyard
  • █▌Market squares
  • Stone Walls that can be closed off
  • Major Roads
  • Streets

Last edited by The Oracles; 11-10-2012 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:15 PM   #3
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Regions of Kingsreach as controlled by the major cities:

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Old 03-04-2015, 12:19 AM   #4
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Default Temple District of Tal Volorro

The Temple District
What has come to be called the Temple District of Tal Volorro is a cluster of the most prominent temples in in the northern part of Old Volorro. While older temples occupied the site before the Asseryan governors turned their attention to making Volorro its Edolene capital, very little remains of these more ancient and simple shrines, confined only to foundations and undercrofts and all but invisible at a casual glance.

The district is now thoroughly Asseryan in design, combining artistry with the best of the old empire's engineering feats. Like the royal palace of Tor Vellesca, the temples are connected to a (still functioning) aqueduct and within the walls of the district are several gardens, fountains, and a small grove of olive trees originally planted from a cutting at the great temple of Thorin in Old Asserya. They are considered sacred and are even given their own guard, an armed priest of Thorin - known colloquially as the Gardener.

The Asseryan construction of the district led to its enclosure by the Volorro city walls to the north and separate eastern, southern, and western walls built apart to surround the temples specifically. In contrast to the white marble and limestone that make up many of the district's buildings, the district walls are of short, narrow, red Asseryan brick which is often seen throughout much of Old Volorro. The one exception to this rather uniform red color is the southern gate, which is made of blue-glazed brick and painted to depict the primary gods of the Faith's pantheon. A pair of tall cedar doors stand open throughout most of the day, but are closed at night. The priesthood may travel freely in and out of the district all hours, but laypeople must have permission from the district warden.


The Temple of Thorin

The Temple of Thorin was the first major temple built by the Asseryans following their occupation of Edolon. It is nearly identical in construction to the great temple of Thorin in Old Asserya, but built on a smaller scale due to location and the availability of construction materials at the time. It is a two-storied construction with a flat roof surrounded by crenellations and lead drains, which catch the runoff of rain and deposit the water into a cistern used for the temple's gardens and sacred olive grove.

The cult of the Aquilans has a presence in Volorro, though it is not the epicenter of their activity. An aviary sits at the northeast corner of the temple roof, though it is home only to a single breeding pair of eagles.

Thorin's temple is perhaps not the most objectively beautiful, as it was built to express the sense of authority rather than beauty. Mosaics line the inner walls, depicting the birth of Thorin and his triumphs, but it is otherwise an oddly austere structure, with far fewer statues, decorative pillars, frescoes, and reflecting pools than many of the other temples in the district. A massive gilded statue of Thorin stands in the back of the sanctuary, dominating the enclosed space and reminding all who are permitted into the inner sanctum of the temple of Thorin's prominence and authority among the gods.


The Temple of Edelina
Edelina's temple in Volorro is her primary temple in all of Edolon. As befitting the patron deity of the kingdom, her temple matches Thorin's in size and authority, and like Thorin's it is also not the most lavishly decorated but is regarded as a graceful and impressive structure in its own right. Comprised of a likewise two stories, it lacks the flat roof of Thorin's temple, but instead is roofed by an impressive coffered concrete dome with an oculus in the center to view the sky from inside the rotunda.

It is a popular temple, and as such tends to be full of worshipers during the daytime. The main sanctuary of the temple is an enclosed space featuring statues of the goddess in her various forms: warrior, scholar, and devoted artisan. Each of the three forms has its own separate altar, and those who come to make offerings tend to choose the aspect of the goddess in line either with their requests or their own personal stations in life.

The courtyard of Edelina's temple is a training grounds rather than a place used for gardens or leisure. Volorro is the primary city for the cult of the Mulheros, and many of the priestesses who tend Edelina's temple in the capital are trained for battle. They tend to provide the temple district's primary means of security, operating the southern gate and apprehending any who disturb the district's peace.

Edelina's temple was built on the site of a much older shrine, and as such, the foundations below are of a sturdy but more rustic design. There are several stone-lined vaults converted into a library, which is typically only accessible to others of Edelina's priesthood. Special permission may be granted to others seeking to access the library by the High Priestess on a case-by-case basis.


The Temple of Merrik
Dedicated to the god of the sea and one of the primary gods of the pantheon, Merrik's temple is not the most popular in landlocked Volorro, but remains a lovely and well-tended structure that nevertheless attracts former sailors and is patronized regularly by merchants with overseas ventures. It is also frequently a site where those who are about to embark on a journey with sea travel stop to pray for the god's protection abroad.

The interior of the temple is decorated almost entirely in bricks glazed the colors of the ocean; blue, green, and grey surfaces greet those who enter past the tall columns that surround the temple on all sides. The floors are covered in mosaics of painstakingly categorized species of marine creatures. The central courtyard is primarily occupied by an open-air bathing pool, though in contrast to bathhouses built for the express purpose of cleanliness, the temple bath is typically used for ritual and purification purposes and those who use it often do so at least partially clothed and not for leisure.

Merrik's temple is unique in that it is built directly atop a high point of the underground river running beneath Tal Volorro (which feeds the wells of those not fortunate enough to receive aqueduct water). A deep vault leads to a man-made cavern where one can stand above the river, and many secretive rituals are performed here as well as the most important of blood sacrifices. Near the end of the Asseryan occupation, another tunnel was built leading from the depths below to the library vaults of Edilina's temple nearby, for ease of the priests who often passed between.


The Temple of Hestia

Volorro is not the center of Hestia's worship, which is more centered in the mountains where home and hearth are respected as a matter of life and death in a hostile and unforgiving environment. Although the Hestians are responsible for much charity in Firewell, their temple is a small, humble structure beside the grounds of Thorin's temple. It is a simple one level structure, quiet and peaceful, and the perpetual fire of Hestia is tended by priestesses (in the summer, the fire is relocated to a summer kitchen with better ventilation rather than the main hearth of the central house). Rather than frescoes and statues, the temple is decorated with wood floors and woven tapestries on the walls, and is a warm and welcoming place for those seeking to make offerings in the goddess' name.

Like the temple of Amaris, the primary sanctuary is forbidden to men of all ages, though they are allowed to give their offerings to a priestess or other female who will make it in their name. Conversation and contact between men and the Hestians is discouraged, but tolerated for practical matters. A priestess with children who joins Hestia's order is allowed to keep all daughters with her, but boys must live elsewhere at age ten and older. Usually they remain in the Temple District as acolytes to other gods or goddesses, and are given the choice to join the priesthood at eighteen.


The Temple of Corvus

In contrast to the red and white colors of most of the buildings in the Temple District, Corvus' temple stands out encased in black granite and grey marble. It is an imposing structure with no open courtyard, and at even the brightest point of the day, much of it is lit by candle and torchlight rather than the sun. The priests and priestesses of Corvus' temple value silence and peace, and as such, it is considered an offense to the god of death to raise one's voice inside his temple. Even singing is done quietly, and musical instruments are never played to excessive volume.

The mosaics here are some of the richest and most beautiful of all Volorro's temples, gilded and gem-encrusted, depicting the deaths of many important heroes and their descent into the Underworld. The Memory Wall is etched with over one thousand names, and the privilege of having one's departed family member on the wall means considerable profit to the temple - which does not grant its favor lightly (and asks a considerable fee).

While not all funerals in city are held in Corvus' temple, most funerals are at least conducted by a priest or priestess of Corvus' order. Sometimes this may simply be a short ritual and dedication at the home of the deceased or at the burial grounds. It may also be an elaborate pageant held in the Volorro squares in the case of extremely prominent and popular citizens. Those who are favored by the order and can pay for the privilege may be interred in the catacombs beneath Corvus' temple, which consist of over two hundred years worth of bones and vaults. The two entry points into the catacombs are guarded by priests who are sworn to kill anyone who disturb the dead, and a successful grave robbing has never occurred since the temple was built.


The Temple of Valdis
Mirroring Corvus' temple is that of his wife's, the goddess Valdis, who reigns beside him in the Underworld for half to year. In reference to this dichotomy, her temple is of contrasting light and dark stone. Richly carved and bejeweled pillars are encased by ivy and other climbing varieties of plants and flowers, and the center courtyard of the temple is home to a variety of trees, grasses, and blooming plants left to grow with minimal tending.

Valdis' a temple is a favorite of those who study herb-lore, and most of its priestesses (and a few priests, though men are often by far the minority of Valdis' order) have at least a decent knowledge of the discipline. They tend to take great joy in tutoring those interested, and keep a glasshouse attached to the temple to grow a variety of flowers and herbs out of season.

Owing to Valdis' responsibility as Queen of the Underworld, like Corvus' temple, Valdis' also has catacombs beneath its lower level though on a smaller scale. They are not heavily guarded, but instead rely on secrecy to keep its entrance and exit hidden from sight of those not knowledgeable about their existence. Funerals are occasionally held in Valdis' temple, but only in the fall and winter and only upon special request.


The Temple of Hermes
At first glance, the temple of Hermes seems to be a simple structure, a square building of white limestone and marble pillars flanking its entrance. Once inside, such impression changes drastically: sunlight seems allowed in from every conceivable roof space and no wall is left unpainted. Frescoes stretch the entire length of rooms, and in some cases even the ceilings are painted in similar fashion. Mostly the scenes are devoted to the god himself, but there are a number of lighthearted paintings that seem to have nothing to do with Hermes at all, and are merely present to lift the spirits.

The temple keeps its own stable and dovecote, and many of the priests and priestesses are trained couriers who can cover great distances on horseback very quickly. It is also said that most are instructed in ciphers and sigils, and can memorize very long messages by sight alone.

In addition, part of the temple itself serves as a convalescent home for those who are in the process of recovering from illness or injury and need assistance, but have none to help care for them in their own homes. It is not uncommon to see priests and priestesses helping those recently crippled learn to walk with assistance of crutches or canes, or learning to write and work with an opposite hand.
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