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3/26/2006 4:25:38 PM
The Trade City of Freecoven
The residents of Freecoven are mostly human, but sizeable populations of demi-human races also occupy the city. With the addition of all the merchants, sailors and wanderers passing through at any given time, members of nearly every race can be found here.
At A Glance:
The city is known for its large, airy wooden buildings; even most dwarven residents bow to local custom, living in spacious homes with many rooms and wide open windows. The vast port and trade district is the city’s most striking feature, comprising almost half the city, and assaulting the senses with it’s sheer variety of sights, smells and sounds.
A council of fifteen elders elected by the city’s landowners to a life-long term of office rule Freecoven. They are elected singly, chosen from any educated individual who wishes to run for the office. Currently, there are 2 elves, 1 half-elf, 1 halfling and 11 humans serving on the council. It should be noted that demi-humans are rarely elected to the council, however their longer life spans make it seem like they are elected more often.
Of the councilor’s, the elf known as Werlen holds by far the most power, and is the de-facto head of the council. He has been on the council for nearly two centuries and has guided the city-state from a peaceful bayside village to one of the richest places in the world. Until the council can convene to come to any permanent decision, his word stands as the initial law on any subject. Fortunately, his main concern appears to be ensuring the city’s continued independence and well being.
Freecoven holds one of the busiest markets in the world, acting as a hub of merchant traffic, funneling goods inland from ports all along the Greenwater Sea.
Freecoven exports shiploads of lumber culled from the nearby Eldrose Forest, and chests of gems such as emeralds, bloodstones, and lapis lazuli taken from the mountains to the north. Textiles, silver, and even gold leave the port year round.
Imports to Freecoven include exotic luxuries and oddities not available for hundreds of miles. Strange animals, rare spell components, foreign spices, and powerful perfumes arrive regularly on foreign ships.
Freecoven’s military force of 200 infantry garrisons the city, enforces law, and dispatches patrols to range along the coast, protecting the farmsteads that feed the city’s populace and defending against bandits attracted by the nearly continuous train of merchants entering and leaving the city.
A cavalry contingent of 50 veteran mounted soldiers augments the city’s fighting force. Previously used solely to patrol the northern outskirts, local unrest has caused the council to divert half the cavalry to the local garrison. This division of the city-state’s formerly tight-knit group of cavalry weakens the mounted raids against the small bands of humanoids that regularly migrate from the north. As a result, some of the bands have been able to settle themselves and the outlying farmers worry that they may join together into larger, bolder groups.
The Freecoven navy of two dozen ships and 200 marines keeps about half of its force at sea at any one time. Six ships typically patrol the nearby waters, while two groups of three ships range far along the coast.
The newest of Freecoven’s ships is captained by Liamar Whitewake, a fierce warrior and natural seaman, and the head of Freecoven’s navy. Liamar’s galley, the Dragon’s Crest, is of a new design; its forecastle holds a monstrous ballista, capable of firing man-sized bolts that can split a coracle in half or doom a galley to a new dock at the bottom of the sea.
Because of the large number of visitors from around the world, shrines of all faith exist somewhere in the city, though no particular church is widespread. The council, seeing them as potential rivals for power, have enacted an edict which curb the ability of priests to preach the word of their deity, making it difficult for any church to amass a sizeable congregation. This unpopular edict has been the cause of some unrest in the city.
Freecoven has a thriving underworld, feeding off of the constant influx of new goods and marks.
Stolen goods from around the world are likely to end up in Freecoven, where they might have changed hands a dozen times. Smuggling is a fact of life in Freecoven, despite recent attempts to curb it. The punishment for selling smuggled goods is confiscation of the property and fines of up to three times its value on the supposition that the seller has bought smuggled items before. The steep punishment has put merchants out of business more than once, though there always seem to be more willing to take the risk.
Because foreigners are commonplace in the city, Freecoven is an ideal place to hide from unwanted attention. Refugees from across the human lands flock to the city to hide among its ever-changing masses. They might be hiding from assassins or fleeing the law, but anyone seeking anonymity can find it here.
The market is a festive, busy place where anything can be found, if you have the means to pay for it. Even minor magical items appear in the market, along with observant guards. Thieves caught in the marketplace are not assured of being turned in to the authorities; the merchants and their guards have been known to beat thieves bloody, or even sell them to the slave traders. As a result, pickpockets and swindlers are far more likely to target buyers than vendors.
The city changed its name and its character 50 years ago, after it was discovered that three of the city’s council members were in fact a trio of hags who had taken on human form. This evil triumvirate had taken control of the majority of the council with their magic and used their high position to conceal their terrible deeds. They were finally revealed and destroyed by a party of adventurers in the ensuing attack upon their manor house.
People of Note:
The city of Freecoven is home to Lady Arika, a Luminous* knight who hails from a land across the ocean. She worships foreign gods and wields strange powers and despite her strange appearance she is well liked and respected for her noble bearing, bravery, and generosity.
Werlen, the head of the council of Freecoven, is an elven mage of modest power but great wisdom. It was his insight that led to the discovery of the coven of hags controlling the council, and to their eventual destruction. Scrupulously honest and uncompromising, he has made a number of enemies on the council and among the merchant guilds (mostly those who seek to line their pockets) in his pursuit of order.
*Luminous are from Legends & Lairs: Mythic Races
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