Thieves & Kings
Seville - City of Greenwalls
Who Rules : Princess Adrianna Warduke
Who Really Rules : The Warduke and Lord Lahr Valliance, the clan mage, Chancellor of the principality, and Chairman of the Citizen’s Council. The Citizen’s Council is the collected council of, local merchants and tradesmen, traditionally twelve in number, who strive to be fair and far-sighted, and otherwise do what is most profitable for town interests.
Population : 3900 (Registered); estimated real average is 4300, rising in summer to a high of 4600 representing all known races.
Major Products : Furniture, textiles, art, pewter, fine ales and wine, small ships (river vessels and light, fast patrol boats known as “Lighters” ), woodcarvings, amber jewellery and stones, and a small trade in magical artifacts wrested from nearby ancient ruins of the Realm of the Stag and the ancient fallen mage-holds of the Ambarin Mages.
Armed Forces : The primary military force defending Seville, is the “Guardia Phorsis” (Ancient Common : “City Watch” ), the largest portion of the 1st Army assigned to the province. These troops (roughly a cohort of 120) are typically veteran soldiers who have received the post as a reward for a lifetime of faithful service. They are armed with studded leather armor, medium round shields, longswords, daggers and light crossbows. Traditionally, the commander is the Warduke clan heir, but since the present Warduke has never declared one, she commands the troops directly, allowing the unit’s leader, Captain Whitetree to take care of their daily needs. The rest of the 1st Army consists of the Warduke’s High and Low Guards, another four companies of infantry who take charge of the citadel of Caer Wardane itself.
Due to the city’s importance, it also has other military units stationed in the city, including the Warduke’s Guard of the 2nd Army, a force of three companies of heavy cavalry (60 troops), all knights of The Order of the Stag; the Griffon-mounted knight-adventurers of the Temple of Shiloh; and a handful of wandering mercenaries and adventurers, who would likely come to the aid of the local city in times of invasion.
Notable Mages : Seville has many mages of middling powers, mostly wandering adventurers who keep a low profile; the Citizen’s Council takes a very dim view upon unrestrained spell-casting within the city limits. A few powerful mages do, however, hold enough authority or acceptance among the council to openly display their powers.
Lathan Dexter, a hedge wizard, member of the Citizen’s Council, and owner/proprietor of the infamous “Mortar and Pestle”, an apothecary known for selling herbs, potions and the odd bit of magical artifact or maps that adventurers trade him for the more exotic components.
Rogue Skyraven, a fiery-tempered veteran adventuress who keeps numerous magical wands and scrolls taken from her excursions into the depths of Mondain’s vast dungeon complex, the “Haunted Halls of Eveningstar”, more commonly known as the “Twisted Hill”.
Artor Silkweaver, the Watch Mage at the Tower Mystic, the barracks of the Guardia Phorsis and its official halls of justice, he is also the noted consort of Auburn Barbelei, matron of the local temple of Shiloh – Lady Luck. He is noted as flamboyant in style and spell-casting, and is a knight of the temple, with his own griffon mount.
Notable Churches : Shrines to Shiloh – Lady Luck, Ohmar – Lord of all Songs, Sarrok – The Gray Slayer, Silvanos – Mistress of the Sky and Torre – Our Lady of Joy can be found in the town, but there are two noteworthy establishments that have common dealings with adventurers.
The Lady’s Hall, temple of Shiloh. High Matriarch of the Lady’s Favour Auburn Barbelei, 24 priests, 336 followers. Since the Time of Troubles and the rise return of dragons to the realm, Lady Auburn has led her local order, claiming to have been spoken to by the Lady herself. Only the “Lady’s Hall” temple in Katarre has acknowledged her as having spoken to the Lady, and treats her as “Pontiff” of the order on Argoth, with all others maintaining neutrality or openly breaking from the order and converting to other deities.
While many had initially scoffed at her actions, hundreds of people have fled to the temple over the years from the four corners of the wold, all claiming to have been led to this shrine by the words of the Lady herself. The temples in Golotha and Corannos both declared themselves beholden to Amora (the Maid of Misfortune), and were promptly destroyed in the wave of dragons and undead that crushed the empire now known as the Shatter. The tiny temple of Shiloh in Katarre has placed itself under the direction of Lady Auburn, and has blossomed in followers and priests that survived the cataclysm in the west.
Her Peaceful Altar, temple to Amalthea – Bringer of Life Renewed; High Priestess Demaria Longvalley; five priests, 14 followers; a relatively new temple, founded with monies donated by the Warduke’s aunt, an noted adventurer herself, that includes a hospital for commoners and an orphanage dedicated to teaching and training healers.
Notable Rogues and Thieves Groups : The Warduke actively wars against any force which seeks to obtain power outside the laws of the realm, which has led to only the most careful and cunning of rogues to establish a guild or other network in the city. There are known to be members ofin the town, but few cultists or Obsidian Order agents. At least three shadowy organizations or guilds are known to exist in the community.
The Veiled Society is an autonomous guild of some few dozen thieves, smugglers and fences that include a handful of lesser mages and priests of Naveh – Lord of Shadows. The group has been infiltrated heavily by the Obsidian Order, the Stone Circle and the Realm, and the groups often butcher each other in back alleys, keeping their numbers low.
The Serpent Society is a sinister organization, dedicated to the slavery of all mages, priests and nobility. It kidnaps any of these three groups it can, and slays them if it cannot. Its members are infamous for striking down visiting members of these groups, and they also provide the group’s primary prey. This organization is believed to have its origins in the Iron Ring, and many of its members count as having once been with the Veiled Society, that have since changed allegiance for improved opportunity, safe lodging, pawning privileges and comradeship. The ranks of the Society include wizards, thieves, priests of various faiths, and a dark male naga; all use code-names based on serpents, and this is also their primary tell. The cellars of the “Brazen Serpent” pawnshop had once proven to be the center of the cult’s activities, but this has since been removed with the destruction of its owners by adventurers.
Leadership of the Society is held almost exclusively by the mysterious Schuul the Bladelord, also known as “Cobra Commander” to his contacts. His shrewd leadership directs the membership of the Society in acquiring magic and treasure from all local sources, aimed at enriching their own hordes for other sinister activities.
The Realm is a vast intelligence network of spies, informants, and other streetwise individuals who accumulate every scrap of information they can that enters their network. Occasionally the network activates to eliminate a perceived threat, but this is rare as most of its activities are quick and subtle in their execution. Its leader and paymaster is unknown, but believed to be closely allied to the Warduke and her clan.
Important Characters : “Many important folk reside in Seville, and many more live there who think themselves important…” as visiting Iberian merchants have often been found to remark. It is held that the population of the Grandwood is very quiet and nowhere near as pompous as. There are, however, a few truely important individuals associated with the community.
Grand-Duchess Olivia Promethean Greenhaven, the mother of the present Warduke and head of the social elite in the realm. A private woman who has faded into the background as her daughter has risen, she spends much of her time in Mornhaven, but travels back to Seville every few seasons to keep in touch with the local social scene.
Lady Shiandrah “Silverfox” Warduke, the Warduke’s aunt, and leading socialite of the city. She is quick-tempered, easily soothed, selfish of attention, but generous with her wealth and extremely adept at political and social manipulation. A former adventurer, she is a noted bard, with an unearthly singing voice and spends time with the elven ambassador.
Bryth Ironstar is the dwarven ambassador of the western realm of Greysmere. Notably quiet and taciturn, he is the primary expert on mining and dwarven craftsmanship in the city, and has resided here for years. He has some degree of influence in the Mangai and among the Merchant’s Guild and various craft guilds.
Vanar Truthseeker is the ambassador to Imladris, the elven realm found west of Freestead. An adventurous elven nobleman, he has dealings with adventurers on a regular basis, often hiring them for courier runs and to retrieve lost bits of elven artifacts that he hears rumors of.
Divain Shearwater is a wealthy merchant and former clerk of the local Mangai whose personal investments led to the founding of the “Three Stones Trade Coster”. He is very wealthy and his caravans are vital to trade in the realm, dominating the trade between Mornhaven and Katarre.
Hleve Moonstar is head of the Moonstar clan, and owner of the “Moonstar Trade Coster”, another caravan organizer that uses his wealth and influence to control trade both east into Seareach Castle and into the dwarven and elven colonies to the west.
Torshelm Flameruin is the leader of the “Windriders”, a part-time mercenary force, part-time messenger company that has a reputation for swiftness and dependability.
Important Features in Town : Although Seville is a busy trade town and boasts shops and taverns of some repute, its crowning glory is indisputably Caer Wardane – simply known as “The Rock” by the town population. It occupies the dominant ground within the city walls, overlooking all of the local valley from its position on a massive stone outcropping. The great stone edifice dates to the founding of the town, though its cellars and at least one tower come from a former fortification on the same site, and its masonry comes mostly from the various ruins which dot the nearby region.
The Rock, circa TR 1000
From its first conception, the castle and its extensive fortifications have provided the Warduke clan with a secure, central holding needed to control their growing dynasty within the rugged heart of the Grandwood. Its looming walls are massive in their construction, and despite the grime usually associated with urban fortifications, remains sparkling grey in the sunlight. The impressive fortifications contain a vast collection of flowering gardens, the armory and barracks of the Duke’s Guard, and the massive Redoubt of the central fortress itself. The entire area of The Rock is choked with thick, thorny creepers that maintain their vibrant green color despite heavy snows and freezing temperatures. As these thorny growths have spread across the outer walls of the city itself, it has given the town its name of “Greenwalls” to most visitors.
Other notable buildings in Seville include:
The Lady’s Hall, the center of Shiloh’s aspect change during the Time of Troubles, it is a massive construction of black marble and a solid bronze roof worthy of a goddess of trade and prosperity.
The Tower Mystic, a massive stone keep, built to service the Citizen’s Council, the Civic Courts and the barracks for the Guardia Phorsis.
Caer Royale, the barracks and fortification south of the town that acts as a shrine of Larani and the barracks for a chapter-house of the Order of the Checkered Shield. It also provides barracks for the knights of the realm who are in the Duke’s Guard.
The Lady’s College, a herald’s college funded by the largess of the Lady Silverfox Warduke, and drawing many great instructors and students from among the local population who have all been adventurers at one time or another.
The Juggler’s Theater, is a noted thespian’s hall which bears the distinction of being among the largest single-room buildings in Argoth. It hosts many concerts, plays and general activities that are unusually cheap enough to attract all ranks of society.
The central market of Seville is a maze of gentle awnings, with ample space to move through and conduct business. Dominated by a central fountain of white marble, it depicts a hippocampus bearing a trident-wielding mermaid, that bears an uncanny likeness of the Matron Greenhaven. “The SInging Maiden” is known to dispense more than water; she occasionally sings ancient ballads, gives clues to local crimes, and will sometimes berate passersby of wrong-doings or lead others to hidden wealth. None know the exact origins of this wonder, though many claim it contains the trapped soul of a sea-elf princess trying to find the correct person to free her.
Seville is otherwise a notably gray-stone and common appearing community without colorful landmarks. Buildings tend to be tall and narrow, with slit windows located high up and covered with oak shutters to block winter winds. Window boxes support trailing vines and flowers of all sorts. Strolling minstrels, consisting mainly of a singer playing a lute supported by a flutist, provides another splash of color. The wide, cobbled streets and market courts have kept the city cleaner than most urban sprawls, which suffer from the morass of muddy packed-clay avenues. Combined, it is a unique city of clean streets, colorful courts and musical echos, marking it as the capital of the Principality of Shem.
The town of Seville was founded in TR 992. The Warduke had eradicated a large tribe of bugbears nearby, and was surveying up the River Ambarin, when he stumbled upon the site of a series of over-grown ruins in a sharp bend of the north-western bank. He set about excavating the site to determine its origins, and met a woodsman named Sev Krystar, who invited the Warduke to his “villa” on the hill, an ancient tower that was still in remarkable shape. After a short discussion and shared provisions, the Warduke offered to purchase Krystar’s interests in the area, and he readily agreed, provided any future settlement be named after him as a legacy. Thus was “Sev’s Villa”, or Seville born.
The tower and its ruins provided the start to the Warduke’s clanhold, named Caer Wardane, and within four years, the strong fortification had been constructed and surrounded by a growing community of merchants and craftsmen. In TR 998, the Warduke quickly added the provinces of Grimstone and Waterthorn to his banner, followed by Citadel in TR 999. He aided the Mangai in founding the Forest Walk, a cobble-paved highway stretching south to Mornhaven and also north through Citadel into the Iberian City-States. Seville has grown over the last couple of generations as a gleaming jewel in the crown of the Wardukes and the center of its trade and power.
This important trade town rests on the north-western bank of the River Ambarin, the cool, clear river that flows south from the mysterious heart of the Grandwood. The casual traveller through Ambarin province will only see lush farmlands with thick woodlots, paved drainage ditches and ponds, well-kept barns with stone-and-timber fences, and pastoral tranquility. At corners where roads and tracks meet outside town, stand old and cracked stone pillars surmounted by solid stone spheres. Close examination of these pillars will reveal the remnants of beautiful sculpting, often with odd serpentine runes and the repeated symbol of a stag’s horns.
According to legend, these pillars are only the outward sign that the town of Seville has been built upon the once-mighty capital of the ancient human magocracy, known today as the “Realm of the Stag”. Folk digging cellars in the area of the town, often dig up old cobbles and stone walls. Inadvertently, freed gargoyles are fearsome, recurring dangers, but sometimes magical artifacts and lost treasure hoards are unearthed as well. Rumors persist that many buildings in Seville have false cellar walls and sliding stone doors in their cellars leading into a vast maze of underground galleries and passages, their exact extents unknown. Some of the mages of “The Realm”, legend says, were buried here with rich treasuries.
The Twisted Hill
Of the numerous old ruins in the nearby valleys, the legendary “Twisted Hill” is likely the one that attracts the most adventurers and fortune-seekers. Although located in a very pleasant valley by the standards of humanity, the lands around this prominence were long shunned by the Elder peoples. The hill itself is a steep, but natural mound of stone that erupts as a tortured outcropping of naked black granite leaning impossibly far over the western face. Perched upon this dark hill is an ornate stone tower, which stands above the ruins of a fortified town in the hill’s shadow. Once the magehold of Mondain Blackcloak, a renegade Phaedran mage, he delved a vast dungeon complex beneath his tower, and after equipping it with countless traps, monsters and great magical treasures, vanished into its depths. The sheer size and complexity of these dungeons have swallowed whole adventuring companies, but those who successfully return bring back great wealth and speak of illithids, drow and worse in the lower levels. It is not the place for either the timid of heart or mind.
Despite the constant wars that the Warduke clan have waged upon the secret societies within his realm, several such groups persist. Smuggling, theft and murder are dimly viewed by both the courts and the nobility, but it is well known that with the right contacts and enough coin, anything can be purchased.