City of Greed
Local Areas and History
Harrast is the city of greed, the only neutral trade city to really prosper. It lies between the Suri and Ardela rivers on an island which ended up being named for the city. Humans settled near the cliffs overlooking the bay on the outlet of the Suri river, just over a thousand years ago. The Harrast Keep was originally built to protect the settlers from the dragon which lived in the so named Dragon Marsh to the east. Despite the dragon, Suri Bay became a prosperous port of harbor. Many a merchant has made his or her fortune trading to and from the western and eastern empires. Not long after the actual city was founded, the walls erected; the dwarves from Mount Miernan, or more accurately, the outcast surface dwarves from the underground city of Kor Baraz, negotiated trading rights within the city, as well as mining rights in the cliffs beneath the keep. Over the centuries, the dwarven mining tunnels became a vast network beneath the city, some even becoming a sewer system as the city grew, and the dwarves abandoned the tunnels. The sewers drain into the marsh, and are home to some of the more unsavory merchants and trades in the city. Around five hundred years ago, the mages from the west decided to establish a permanent presence in the city, constructing a massive tower in the center of the city. The merchants were suspicious at first, mages being unpredictable at best, however since their arrival, the Suri Bay was free of all but the mightiest of storms. They are also believed responsible for stopping the dragon from attacking. The arrival of the mages also brought the church from the east, who view magic as a curse. Within the last century, elves from within the Karradas Forest began migrating into the city, living underneath the large tree they grew there when the city was founded. They never explained the migration, beyond “it was time.” Now, the city of Harrast is home to nearly sixteen thousand people. Most are humans, with a sizable population of dwarves, and ajust over a thousand elves. It is still the main hub for commerce between the two warring empires, but is also a center of learning and holds the greatest population of mages outside the western empire. The city also has the largest city guard in the world, and the most well trained. The city guard has to be able to stop any outbreak of the war within the walls of Harrast.
The Dragon Marsh was once home to an ancient dragon which hasn’t been seen since the mages from the west came to the city. The mages are largely thought to be responsible for driving off the dragon, and the mages are content to leave it like that. The marsh is said to be a place of corruption, home to evils, aside from the dragon of yore. Some farmers from the areas around the marsh say they hear strange noises from within.
The Karradas Forest is an ancient forest, older than human history, and home to many fantaastic creatures. It is also a place of ancient, natural magics. It is also home to a mysterious city of tree-dwelling elves. They have no written language, yet possess knowledge of times before man. As a civilization, the elves are at one with nature, forgoing most forms of industry and embracing a minimalist lifestyle.
Mount Miernan is home to the dwarven stronghold of Kor Baraz. A now extinct volcano, the mountain is rich in valuable minerals, which attracted the ancient dwarves. Kor Baraz was excavated millenia ago, before even the elves arrived on the island, and grew to one of the largest dwarven metropoli, second only to the great dwarven capitol. Kor Baraz sinks deep into the earth, with it’s deepest levels very near to the adamantine barrier between the material world and the underworld. Like all dwarven cities, Kor Baraz is connected to a vast network of subterranean tunnels, through which they travel via steam trains. Steam technology is their most closely guarded secret, even to their outcasts. They will sell the technology, but dwarven perfectionism and solidarity prevents most from attempting to recreate the technology.