Tallon is the campaign city for the Savage Earth. It is situated at the mouth of the Sabre River, where it enters the Theron Inlet. It has an excellent and protected deep water harbor.
The city is nearly three hundred years old and has known at least nine Archons. The population is high for the Merrikian league. Over seventy thousand people make their home within its walls, with perhaps three times that number living in the adjoining Farmlands.
The city's primary sources of food are fishing in bountiful Uzon Bay and a well-developed series of terraced farms. The farms are fed by a series of artesian wells and short aqueducts. The system is maintained by both human and beaver engineers. The central farmlands are for the most part bounded on the east by the Saber River and on the west by the waters of the Inlet, which is only slightly saline and reaches far inland. They are protected along their southern border by a high, ditched picket.
Immediately to the south of the farmlands are deep jungles. Were it not for the vigilance of rugged farmers, the jungle would quickly reclaim the farmlands.
Tallon has many industries, but is well known for its shipyards, manufacturing, skilled artisans and crafters. Its primary exports are Textiles, artwork, ships, herbs and spices.
The city is built upon two hills (really either side of a fjord), as well as a small island at the river's mouth. The western arm of the fjord curves slightly at the end. Many years ago, this was built up and shaped with ship ballast and rubble to form a protective spit, an excellent breakwater for Tallon Harbor. The city is squarish, about 6 kilometers to a side. The harbor takes up much of this area, and there are extensive gardens, giving an average population density of medieval Paris.
Two Gates give access to the city. The eastern one is called the Uzon Gate and the road from here leads out to Karkul, Orodon and the wide world. The western gate leads to the Farmlands, the sprawling farms that feed Tallon. The road from this gate does not lead more than fifteen kilometers from the city. To reach the other cities of the Merrikian League, it is necessary to take the Theron Ferry to the settlement of Trailhead, on the far side of the inlet. Here the Lizard Road leads to Adala and theoretically to Mingatok, though trade with that city is rare. The rest of the League is reached by ship. It is possible to reach most of these places by other means, but the roads and ships are the safest.
The buildings of Tallon are constructed in two major styles. Larger and more permanent buildings are built of marble in a neoclassical style. Walls are thick to keep in cool air. Basements are common on the upper slopes of the hills. This style is more common on the Promethean Hill.
The second style is the bamboo style. A basic structure is erected out of tied bamboo poles. The walls are woven mats that are attached to the posts and beams. Some sturdier structures may have bamboo slats or mud between two layers of matting. Floors are usually planks or stone or tightly lashed narrow bamboo. Dirt floors are uncommon due to the amount of rain. Crawlspaces are often found under the floors to allow air to cool the interior. Roofs are made of thatch, split and lacquered bamboo, or clay tiles. Tiles are usually laid California mission-style.
Over a hundred years ago, there was a disastrous flood that triggered a mudslide that buried many buildings. Most of the damage was to the western hill. Some of these buildings form underground vaults that are used to this day as cellars or cisterns. To prevent such damage from occurring again, the Archon (Turik the Builder) ordered an extensive system of storm drains be built to guide and control the terrific rainfall. Thus under the city are large drains and sewers, lost rooms and even whole buildings. To those who are familiar with all the underground ways, whole sections of the city can be traversed without ever seeing daylight. This form of travel is not without danger, however. Flash floods can quickly fill a dry tunnel and some of the larger vaults are actually inhabited by people and things that do not like to be disturbed.
Tallon Harbor is home to a wide variety of naval traffic. Barges, sailboats, private yachts, houseboats, fishing trawlers and ships of war all make their home here.
Most Merrikian ships would be classified as Galeasses. That is, they are some combination of Galleon and oared long ship. The equatorial seas of Merikia are frequently beset by storms, so sail power is not always desirable.
The most common type of vessel is the barge, however. There are hundreds of these, all carrying produce from the farmlands. Only the closer and more inland farms cart their produce into the city. Most carry it down to the nearest waterway to load on these large rafts. On any given day, the Saber River, the Theron Inlet or one of the smaller rivers is busy with barges bringing produce to market. The air echoes with rivermen calling out greetings or warnings. The rivermen are a generally friendly sort, but rugged individualists.
The biggest and best ships are Spirit Ships. These are always commanded by an adept, hopefully a master. Spirit ships are driven by paddlewheels connected to great motors of anima. Their morphia is enhanced to make them impervious to most weapons. Even their sails (which are used to save wear on moving parts) are morphically enhanced. A spirit ship war vessel is the terror of the seas. Tallon has four such vessels. (The Riverboat of Master Crockett is not considered robust enough to be a war vessel, though it is certainly no slouch in a fight.) The flagship of the Tallonite Navy is the Waverider, commanded by Admiral Phoenix. The spirit workhorse of the Navy is the AT Boat (Armored Transport). This is a small, spirit propelled pontoon boat with armored sides and roof. It can hold up to 20 people and is mostly used to transport squads quickly and safely.
There are two entrances to the harbor. Both are patrolled by the Harbor Authority, though the Navy usually has a ship stationed by the north passage. Each entrance has a chain that can be pulled across in order to seal it from entry by ship or reaver. The chains are enhanced of course, and operated by spirit motors. In addition, Navy adepts and otters patrol both the entrances and the harbor itself. No gator attack can come by water.
All vessels entering the harbor are watched by adepts. In general, the adepts are looking for something obvious, like large bodies of concealed armed men. Small amounts of contraband materials are fairly easy to conceal for those with knowledge. Smuggling is generally handled by layering compartments with alternating material types, confusing spirit sight. For this reason, all ships are inspected by the harbor authority upon docking. Cargoes for trade are subject to a tariff. Farm produce and fish are the cheapest items. Delicacies and foreign trade items are the highest. In no case does a fee exceed ten percent of a cargo's estimated value. Harbor inspectors are usually fairly hard-nosed and scrupulous. There are enough greedy ones to allow for bribes and smuggling to occur.
Most of the waterfront is below the level of the city by anywhere from 10 to 40 feet. Access is granted by steps that lead from the surface streets down to the broad masonry waterfront. Cargo that is unloaded from the ships is usually hoisted into the city by any of six spirit cranes, or is ported up by hand or pack animal. At any given time, there are at least two city constables from the Harbor Precinct at the foot of every stair.
In general, most vessels tend to dock along specific areas of waterfront, each dedicated to a particular function
Green Docks The Green Docks are one of the primary destinations of produce from the Farmlands. Produce in the adjoining Newmarket here is fresher than that sold in Market Circle, since it does not have to be carried overland as far. Some enterprising individuals even sell directly off the barge.
Fishdocks The Fishdocks house the fishing fleet of Tallon. They are busy throughout the daylight hours, packing, cleaning unloading and outfitting ships. The Fishdocks are on the northwestern side of Tallon Harbor and are considered the smelliest and least desirable area of town. They are also a favorite haunt of disreputable types, since the city watch tends to avoid them. Strangers and unskilled laborers can always find work at the Fishdocks.
Fish is unloaded here primarily because of the pattern of currents in the harbor. The pull of the water here as before passes through the mouth of the harbor is quite strong. Even though there are laws about dumping waste here, a large amount of fish bits invariable foul the water. Doing all the gutting and cleaning here keeps the rest of the harbor clean. Fisherman refer to this phenomenon as the "Offal Current".
The Spit The Archon Turik the Builder ordered the Spit constructed over a hundred years ago. It was built primarily from Ship Ballast and rubble. It keeps the waters of the Harbor very calm and produces the Offal Current. Building the Spit made it possible to walk to the Lighthouse, which until then had stood upon a small island. The paved waterfront does not extend out to the Spit. Instead, rubble and rough stonework slope down to the water in a tumbled and tricky mess.
There is a small buried sanctuary along the spit. It has been used as an underground lair at various times. Its existence is not known to the general public.
Lighthouse Colossus The Lighthouse stands upon the end of the Spit. It is a large tower shaped like a warrior bearing a shield and holding aloft a stylized great bird of prey. The head of the bird traverses a 200º arc, sweeping back and forth across the waters of Theron Inlet and marking its location for ships returning from the Uzon Bay after dusk or during heavy rain. The light itself is powered by an immense Lumina Crystal, the Eye of Bozton, which is the name of the ruins from which it was recovered. To ensure its constant operation, a novice adept at least is always present during the hours of night or in bad weather. This is considered an undesirable duty.
Shipyards The Shipyards lie upon the Northeastern side of the harbor. Tallon builds good sturdy if unbeautiful ships. Tallon has recently begun to out produce Coralia, the former undisputed shipbuilders of the Merrikian League. The best shipbuilders of Tallon tend to be of Coralian origin.
The Shipyards are also home to the Tallonite Navy. The docks here are in good repair and contain a number of ship- and boathouses. The shipyards also handle most cargos of raw timber, delivering it to the nearby mills.
Promethean Docks are adjacent to the Shipyards. This is where merchant vessels load and unload, bearing cargo and passengers from throughout Merikia. Trade outside of the league is rare and sporadic, but some merchants are beginning to realize that there may be a vast untapped market out there. Most of the traffic on the Promethean Docks is produce barges from the Farmlands. Fish are not unloaded here, but ferried over from the Fishdocks in processed form.
Ferry Landings There are two ferries that are municipally owned and operated. Theoretically, anyone with a boat can charge money for passage across the harbor, but the ferries are large, safe and comfortable.
The Harbor Ferry travels between the last dock north of the Mausoleum and the Harbor Master's dock directly between the Fishdocks and Greendocks at the north end of Newmarket. The fee is a copper penny for pedestrians, or a dollar for small vehicles. Some ferry masters (They are all adepts, since the ferries are spirit-powered) frown on joy riders, others are ambivalent. There are three operators of the ferry, working in shifts. The ferry leaves on the hour from the Promethean Hill and the half hour from West Hill.
The Trailhead Ferry travels from the Promethean docks to the settlement of Trailhead on the far side of the Inlet. Most of the traffic on this line is goods bound for or coming from the Lizard Road, or goods traded from the various Hill Tribes. Price here is a dollar for pedestrians and five dollars for a cart. Larger vehicles may be subject to greater fees. All incoming cargo is of course, inspected by the Harbor Authority.
Columbia Dock This is the private Dock used by Master Crockett and his riverboat Columbia. Here is where passengers and merchants may buy passage or portage to the Lizard Road and hence to the southern cities without risking the dangers of the open sea. The cost is ten dollars for pedestrians, and a negotiated percentage of all cargo. Master Crockett also offers the option of insurance on all cargo he carries. It's a dangerous route.
Anchorage The is nothing more than a collection of houseboats and yachts that people live on. At one time, the number of boats was so thick that it threatened to clog the mouth of the Saber. It was not so jokingly said that you could cross the mouth without getting your feet wet. The Harbor authority responded by raising the fee for anchorage rights. Now, only the wealthy can afford to live on the water, and some of their homes are practically floating palaces. This is where the reputed vice lord Harker makes his home.
Harbor Master The port authority for Tallon has offices all along the waterfront, but the main office is between the Fishdocks and Green Docks. Since the harbor Master is also responsible for payroll for much of the Fishdocks, there is more administrative work to be done here. In practice, though, the Harbor Master can be found on either side of the water.
The Harbor Master's main job is to police the docks and collect a percentage of all commerce, of course. Inspectors are posted at intervals all along the waterfront. For actual enforcement, the Harbor Master relies upon the Navy. The Harbor Master is one of the few individuals who can close the harbor (i.e. draw the chains across the mouths). The others are the Archon, the General and the Admiral. Any Grandmaster could probably close the harbor on command, but they would be held accountable for the consequences.
Last Tower This is the tower directly opposite the Lighthouse. It contains winches for operating the great chain that can lock the harbor. The Colossus has a winch as well; the two operate in tandem or take up for the other if it is damaged or the line has been dropped.
This is also where the naval garrison of otters is housed. At any time, there are ten to twenty otters patrolling the waters in and around Tallon. This is a vital defense link in a world where enemies like gators can come up from the deep.
Soldiers who have lost comrades in battle often fire a volley of flaming arrows into the open inlet to honor the fallen.
The Eastern hill houses the richer half of the city. The highest point inside the walls is surmounted by the Archon's Palace and the Dancers of Dawn, Tallon's Standing Stones. Other major points of interest in the East Side include the Savak Arena, a place of largely non-lethal exhibitions and spectacles, several theaters and the Old Circle. The Old Circle has the highest concentration of golems and motor-driven machinery. Also found here is the Market, a fairly reputable collection of permanent and temporary establishments for buying and selling of goods. Although the market never truly closes, Market Day, held once a week, is always a vibrant and busy affair.
Uzon Gate Uzon Gate is the main gate of the city. It is so named because it leads to the coastal road that follows the edge of Uzon Bay to Karkul. In the past it has been called the Karkul Gate, but since the war with Karkul, many find that a distasteful name. The gate is a massive barbican with portcullises that can be operated by anima motors. Uzon Gate usually stands open during daylight hours. There are normally twenty guards in the immediate vicinity, including no less than three adepts. A large number can be summoned quickly from the nearby barracks.
Uzon Gate is the favorite haunt of one of the city's most popular animates, Brassman. The animate was a gatekeeper in life and likes to pass the time of day with travellers and people going about their daily routine. When the gate is closed for the night, he will instead be found wandering ("patrolling") the city.
Not everyone who lives here is a merchant, but they are almost uniformly wealthy. Besides merchants, high ranking military officers, less-powerful adepts, relatives of adepts, retired gladiators and adventurers own homes in this quarter. This area of the city is almost entirely residential. The only businesses are the few services that cater almost exclusively to the rich.
Most of the houses here are small estates, second only to the Master's estates in the Old Circle. Parks and fountains are numerous and the great tree-lined Broadway is a beautiful sight. Disreputable-looking people can expect to be harassed here.
Broadway This is called the most beautiful street in Tallon. Outside of the Old Circle, this is definitely true. The street is indeed very broad, about fifty feet. Huge old trees line either side, and beautifully gardened and tree-filled medians are common. Fountains may be seen at nearly every intersection. Each house has an exterior garden, meant to be seen and enjoyed by passers-by. Some are very welcoming, with shade and benches; others are clearly designed as buffers, meant to be seen and not touched. Nearly all estates are walled, to prevent thievery. Most families employ private guards in addition to the very attentive Merchants' Quarter constabulary. Behind their walls, the estates are models of luxury and privilege. Noted inhabitants include: Silk Merchants Hamilton and Vance, Guildmaster Builder Elias. Gem Merchant Yon and his wife Kaza (parents of the vampire victim Gamina), used to live here until the vampire ruined them.
Silver Dollar This is an upscale restaurant at the end of Broadway. The meals served here are some of the finest that may be had without a personal chef. Note that this is a true restaurant. There are waiters, a menu and musical entertainment. The restaurant features indoor dining and a large shaded garden for al fresco eating.
Tonda Gardens This is a park created by Archon Tonda the Farmer. It is a fun place to gather and relax. The local constabules take a very dim view of improper behavior and are quick to eject troublemakers. Sometimes "troublemakers" are people the guards just decide "aren't the right sort." The park has a large open grass field for picnicking and kite flying. The borders are tree-ringed and planted with elaborate flower gardens.
Temple of the Word This is a rather nice temple with marble columns, a large open worship area with a beautiful open-topped dome. The altar is decorated with lavish amounts of gold. Behind the Priest is a panoramic mosaic of the Dancers of the Dawn, Tallon's Standing Stones. The head Priest is Father Eymor, a tall fat man who despite his obvious penchant for clerical finery, is nonetheless regarded as pious and learned.
Plaza of the Virtues This grand circle is surrounded by statues of Virtues: Faith, Love, Charity, Love-of-Art, Determination and so forth. Each statue is life-sized and sits within a small attendant garden. At the center of the circle is a large fountain, depicting a number of beautiful maidens drawing and pouring water. Each of the Virtues is said to be sculpted in the likeness of someone reknowned for their beauty in the period of its construction, the reign of Turik the Builder. It is the most elegant circle in all of Tallon, though not as busy or popular as many others.
Hillview Baths This is a membership-only bathhouse, catering to the Merchant's Quarter. It is very expensive and exclusive. It has a reputation of being very Purist. There are no beast or mutant members. The services available here are similar to those found in the Florian Baths, but of a higher order. The Baths also have a garden as well as a caterer serving light refreshments. As the name implies, the baths have an excellent view of the Promethean Hills as well as the hills beyond the walls.
The Ivy Rose This is a club for wealthy citizens. It is mostly a restaurant end entertainment facility. The food is said to be spectacular. Chef Bartan is a master morphist and for an extrememly generous fee, he will enhance the flavor and nutrition of the food. This is a technique he has developed himself and is unique in Tallon. It is rumored he learned it in Melvil, but those who have tasted actual Melvillish cooking disagree. He guards the devotion secretly, and there are many people willing to pay him exhorbitant amounts to pass it on. So far he has resisted all offers.
Eagle Circle is a neighborhood popular with adepts who are wealthy, yet are not Masters, and who have not elected to join the priesthood. The homes here are nice, and often fitted with spirit enhancements. The residents of course, pay to have doors animated and such, and hold the lines themselves. There is a fountain in the center of the circle depicting the Virtues of Piety, Thrift and Charity.
This is the narrow strip of city that runs between the Old Circle and eastern wall. The Narrows are an odd place, seemingly made up of all the things and people that didn't fit in anywhere. If there's an odd shop selling Old World curios, if there's a small neighborhood of ever-so-slightly riven folk, if there's a one-of-a kind beast such as a tiger or an armadillo, if there's a temperamental artist who makes towers out of wine bottles, you can bet they would be found here.
Oddly enough, the Narrows is a quiet neighborhood that receives little attention. People tend to think of it as that long stretch of city you have to travel through to get somewhere. The local residents prefer it this way.
Nevertheless, there are a few notable sites.
Old Temple As its name implies, Old Temple is one of the oldest temples in the city. It still bears the outer wall from when it was a sanctuary, though now this is given over to a few flocks of geese or a number of goats. These animals provide milk and eggs and occasional meat for many of the poor of the city. The Priestess, Mother Arya is fairly dedicated to helping these folk. Some say she is a soft touch, but it is often surprising to rowdy folk in the neighborhood just how much respect she commands. Too many of the locals owe her favors; some even owe their lives, for Mother Arya is a capable healer, specializing in difficulties in childbirth. Even wealthy citizens will seek out her midwifery skills. She never demands payment, no matter the solvency of her client. However, she makes it clear that donations to the poor, or a returned favor would be highly smiled upon by the Lawgiver.
Promethean Cemetery (the Crypts) This is where the wealthier citizens and Masters are buried. Some are sealed in elaborate tombs, while others rest in simple crypts. Archons and their Paladins are of course buried in the mausoleum. All of the interments in the Promethean Cemetery must pay a yearly upkeep fee. Some wealthy people manage to set up a perpetuating fund for this purpose, while some are granted eternal repose by Archonial decree. Most are interred here only so long as their descendants can manage to make payments. Once a crypt is no longer supported, the remains are removed and place in any of a number of underground common vaults, in a marked urn. These vaults are collectively called the Catacombs. They are not open to the public.
It is rumored that there are secret passages under the cemetery, accessible to the Night Folk. Some smugglers use this route, but it is by no means common knowledge.
The Promethean Cemetery is open to the public so long as they keep a sense of decorum. Adept grounds keepers may be found here in abundance.
There are two other cemeteries in the city, both on West hill. Paupers are "buried" in the Inlet or cremated.
Archon's Zoo The Archon's Zoo is located along the east wall of the Old Circle. The zoo animals range from the mundane (non-intelligent indigenous animals, to the exotic (tigers, llamas, antelope) to the chimerical (most of which are unique). The animals are held in cages or in special habitats. A few have been tamed by the Master Zookeeper, an adept named Loris who has specialized in animal psyches.
The Zoo is well-gardened, with quiet paths, tables and benches, and a number of contemplative spots. Admission to the zoo is freely available only certain days of the year. For the rest of the year, one must either pay a fee of two dollars per person, or purchase a yearly membership.
Caddiver's This is the studio of the city's premiere taxidermist. For a goodly sum, he will stuff and mount just about anything. Many adventurers have taken carcasses slain in the wild to be turned into trophies. Caddiver is not an adept, though he employs a number of them to aid in his work. His creations are said to be so lifelike that they are frequently mistaken for real. Several years back, on eof the city's playwrights created a play called "Murder in the Narrows", where the killer was revealed to be a spiritually enhanced taxidermist's display. This was wildly popular and did nothing but enhance Caddiver's mystique. Many people stop in just to see the latest displays, for Caddiver insists on holding every creation in his showroom for one week.
This are of the city, like Crafter's Apron to the south is a wide, gentle and even slope from the old circle down to the harbor. Nearly all of the houses and buildings in the neighborhood feature brightly tiled and patterned roofs. This gives the are its name, for from the harbor, the effect is of a huge mosaic of many colors.
The name could just as well refer to the variety of inhabitants. Besides residences, here is where much of the industry of the city takes place. Sawmills, massive looms, refineries and such can be found mixed with eateries, shops and private homes. Sailors also make up a large percentage of the locals, and there are many nautically-themed buildings. The neighborhood has a vibrant character where rich rub shoulders with the working class. It also has a strong musical tradition and street musicians are common. During the day, the neighborhood is noisy with machinery (spirit and otherwise) and manufacturing. City ordinances require all such places to cease operation no later than one hour after sundown. Then the streets come alive. Street fairs are common in the mosaic, and it seems that the residents look for any excuse to cut loose and party. Mosaic is patrolled by the Crafthall Constabulary, and they have long since learned to look the other way when presented with excess debauchery or public drunkenness.
Watercandle Temple This temple has a very nautical congregation and theme. There is a large reflecting pool where parishioners may purchase and light floating candles to commemorate lives lost at sea. When there has been a particularly grievous loss, the Priestess, Mother Cerulia will charter or ask the donation of a boat to take down to the mouth of the inlet, where a larger floating pyre may be set adrift to be carried to the open sea. This apparently has no relation to the custom soldiers have of firing a flaming arrow from the Last Tower opposite the Lighthouse Colossus.
Rolling Deep This is a tavern popular with sailors and captains. The interior is decorated with numerous ship parts and ship paintings. In fact, the layout is roughly ship-like. The dining room is called the galley, the roof (which is more expensive, but al fresco) is the top deck, a private dining room atop a large shaft of wood is called the crow's nest. Access is gained by a spiral staircase that runs up the shaft. The view of the harbor from either top deck or crow's nest is splendid. Fare is simple, but the variety of ales and other spirits is impressive.
Although during the day it is fairly quiet, nights at the Rolling Deep can be fairly wild and raucous. Fights are not that uncommon.
Skerrit Circle Named for the legendary Paladin who retrieved Annihlator from the Ice Palace of the Wendigo, Skerrit Circle is the cultural heart of Mosaic. This is where the best street musicians play, the best artists display their works and the best food may be bought. It is also the place where drunken and debauched festivals are at their worst (or best, depending on one's tastes).
Sailor's Roost This is also a tavern frequented by sailors, although it has half a dozen rooms that are rented long-term by retired seamen. Here are grizzled old captains and explorers, re-living tales of their adventures around a comforting table or two. They spend much of their day dicing and talking. Doubtless much of what they say are tall tales if not outright lies. Yet they are indeed highly experienced. Surely some of their tales must be true. Someone who has the patience to listen and the coin to buy food and drink could learn a few things from these old men.
The Bunks This neighborhood is filled with cheap housing for sailors. Most of the small apartments are single room rentals for sailors. Renters can opt for a year-long lease, or can rent by the month. Some establishments allow sailors to put down a deposit to pay a reduced rental for when they are actually away at sea. In this case, the establishment merely makes sure that when the sailor returns, there is a room available, not necessarily the same room.
Sailors are not the only ones to rent here. Anyone who plans to stay in the city for a length of time but may need to leave occasionally for extended periods can rent here. For this reason, the area is popular with scouts, poorer merchants, and adventurers.
Mausoleum Built upon a small rocky islet on the eastern side of the harbor, the mausoleum holds the preserved bodies of past Archons of the city, along with their Paladins. Archons here go back to Samuel the Brave who was re-interred here after the building was commissioned and built by Carlo the Great.
The bodies herein are fairly intact and kept from decomposition by the arts of an adept embalmer. Traditionally, only the Archon may visit the Mausoleum. The bodies are prepared before interment and delivered and received by golems. The caretaker of the Mausoleum is the city's oldest animate, Peter Shroud. Peter lives a life of quiet contemplation and study in the small living area set for him. He rarely leaves the island.
Peter is said to have walked and talked with the great Sympath Shannon while both were still living men. Though few know it, Shannon was the one who convinced Carlo to build the great tomb. Sympaths can read the spirits of past Archons; the mausoleum is a storehouse of great potential knowledge.
Although it is death for the uninvited to enter the tomb, Peter maintains that he was given the ability to waive that penalty and to grant sanctuary when he accepted his commission. This latter claim may have been forgotten by the authorities and has yet to be tested.
Like Mosaic to the north Crafters Apron is built upon a broad even slope. Unlike Mosaic, it does not have a harbor view. Instead, it faces the thickly wooded Shannon's Island. The Harbor Stair is generally considered the dividing line.
Crafters Apron is industry on a smaller scale than Mosaic. Here are the individual craftsmen, the cobblers, carpenters, leather workers, blacksmiths and weaponsmiths, glassblowers, custom tailors, weavers and so on ad infinitum. Although there are many residences in the Apron, most of them are above or surround workshops. Most of these workshops are not storefronts, but areas where artificers of every kind create the goods they intend for market.
In many cases, many craftsmen of similar intent will form a Crafthall. This is a communal work area surrounded by residences of the individual craftsmen. A set of smiths may pool their resources to set up a common forge. A single person, usually the senior, is chosen as "chiefcobbler" or "topsmith". The Crafthall is then run as a business partnership of all members, the more experienced and skilled generally having precedent over their juniors. It is similar in structure to a modern law firm. Each Senior craftsman is either his crafthall's representative to the Guild (if such exists), or appoints someone from the hall.
Besides pooling their resources, the crafthall also benefits from division of labor. Sons who have no aptitude for their father's craft can serve the hall as a buyer or seller, advocate, representative, carter or the like.
Because of this system, some of the larger or more established crafthalls can almost assume the status of a modern-day brand name. If someone buys a Chelden Hall sword, for instance, they know they are getting a quality product, backed by a group of smiths upholding a long tradition.
This is not to say there are not individual crafters. Far from it. The majority are independent operators. They tend to have less say in Merchant Hall matters, but they are more able to handle custom work or to produce items with a distinctive nature. No crafthall could turn out the swords that Swordsmith Dnall produces on a regular basis. They are each works of art with his unique style. Dnall is far more likely to have one of his swords spiritually enhanced than Chelden Hall.
Swordsmith Dnall Dnall is the city's premire crafter of Spirit Blades. He is the rare combination of an Master Morphist who also masters the craft of weaponsmithing. His two talents mesh perfectly. His spirit swords are beautiful, functional and deadly. Dnall is a fairly friendly fellow, who is perfectly willing to throw the odd line-holding jobs to a hungry student at the Hall of Art. Although he is a fan of spectator fights, he has no love of the bloody, artless glory-less sort of things that go on in the fight pits and death pits of Tallon. He seems to have some bad blood with Harker, the lord of vice in Tallon, but has never spoken of why. Dnall is a respectable businessman. If someone has a spirit sword in Tallon, it is likely to be the work of Dnall.
Chelden Armory Chelden is the largest, though not the best weapon foundry in the city. Most of the weapons an adventurer buys will likely be from Chelden. They can custom-make weapons of fine quality if the buyer has the right price. In general though, they sell their wares wholesale and let traders and merchants vend them at a mark-up. Chelden Armory provides the weapons used by the Tallonite Army.
Museum of Antiquities and the Museum of Tallon border a small park. They are open to the public. The Museum of Antiquities is a showcase of relics of the Ancients. It has many odd items in its collection: small silver discs with writing on them, glass bulbs with metal bases, oddly shaped drinking bottles, a few scraps of written materials, funny shoes and bits of unidentifiable machinery. In short the trash of the ancients. The Museum director is an old non-adept named Parsee. Parsee is a fairly wealthy eccentric, who will pay for rare and unusual items of the time of the ancients. In fact, much of the display is based on his private collection. He is probably the city's foremost expert on the time before the Demon-Kings.
The Museum of Tallon is also under Parsee's jurisdiction, but he pays it little mind. It is generally run by a low adept named Caligari. This museum tells the history of the city and has several dioramas telling of the heroic (and largely fictional) founding of the city by the first Archon, Thelon.
Both of the buildings are recent constructions, less than twenty years old. They were commissioned by Archon Ningan the Scholar, who felt that public education could only lead to better citizens.
Temple of the Virtues This temple is renowned for its exquisite sculpture. Colonnades abound with beautiful statuary dedicated to the virtues. It is said that no man has ever counted them all, and indeed, people who have attended the temple all their lives are still surprised to find one they hadn't noticed before. The bulk of them are from the master sculptress Aranda, who was born in the time of Turik the Builder, but died early in the reign of Kanukka. Legend has it that she was preserved in one of her many statues as an animate, but no one has ever her. Stories abound that some of the statues occasionally move, imbued with anima, but these are just stories, aren't they?
This is the neighborhood directly south of Crafter's Apron (and High Bridge) and north of Eastfork. It fronts upon the eastern fork of the Saber river and is dominated by a view of the Iron Tower. Southbridge is a mixture of residences and warehouses. Unlike the great warehouses of the aptly-named Warehouse District, Southbridge tends to hold things used by the Market circle as well as many finished goods stored by the crafthalls to the north. Here are buildings which hold silks, finished furniture, tools and utensils, plates and goblets and so on. Only the eastern side of Southbridge is actually built upon, though. The downslope side is too marsh and boggy to support adequate foundations. This area is rank with weeds and looks rather dismal compared to the lushness of Shannon's Island.
This is the area of the city where adepts dwell in greatest concentration. Only the richest non-adepts have dwellings here, and even then they must have a city appointment or position normally held by an adept. For example, during the time of Archon Turik the Builder, the position of Harbormaster was held by Solon, a non-adept. He dwelt in the estate reserved for the Harbormaster.
Old Circle is divided up into numerous estates. Some are true private holdings, such as that of Grandmistresses Novya or Dakota. Most are dwellings and grounds reserved for those of high office. Much as a modern mayor might get to live in a mansion while in office, people such as the General, the City Architect or a Justice receive lavish compounds to live in while in office. Sometimes, a particularly powerful Master might manage to purchase and reassign an estate. Thus, Hannon might purchase a different estate and sell off the estate of the General. The new estate would become that of the next General.
Most estates are walled and beautifully landscaped. Old Circle was built upon the foundations of the old city center of Tallon. Over 200 years ago, a great fire consumed much of the city center. The Archon at the time, Carlo the Great, ordered a wall to be built past the original confines of the city. It would contain the sprawl that had spilled over the old wall. Within that wall, all the remaining buildings were razed. A new Hall of Art was commissioned and several public buildings were constructed.
Although the Old Circle is theoretically open to all, in practice, most people are limited to the Grand Promenade. This is the road that leads from the Uzon Gate to the Standing Stones. It is very crowded on Highday. The Public way has very few buildings that open onto it. Old Circle contains numerous guard posts. No weapons are allowed within the circle unless the bearer is sponsored by a resident. Usually this means only Paladins, Adepts, the Constabulary, the Military or personal agents and guards of Masters are armed here. This rule is difficult to enforce on Highday. During such occasions, all weapons are peace-bonded. Weapons must still be checked in other locations within the circle beyond the Grand Promenade and the Dancers of the Dawn.
Beasts of burden are not allowed within the Circle. In fact even talking beasts are grudgingly permitted. In the time of Kanukka, they were actually forbidden from entering. All transportation is either foot traffic or spirit coaches.
The Circle contains the Hall of Art, the Serenity Gardens and the Dancers of Dawn.
Click for Enlargements
Instruction for adepts is expensive (and in a way, mandatory). All Masters who live in the city must be formally recognized in order to practice in the city and to reap the benefits of an Master's status. If the adept in training cannot pay the exorbitant tuition, they must indenture themselves to a patron for a certain amount of time. Most adepts are indentured for about ten years. The Hall generally has 30-50 adept students at any given time. There are usually 10-20 times as many non-adepts, who receive education in other fields. These students are mostly the sons and daughters of wealthy merchants, craftsmen, or military officers.
The schedule for students at the hall is as gruelling as the student wants to make it. The fee for instruction is $1000 dollars per semester. This is usually paid per three-month semester. If a student has only partial time to spend in study, they can take a lightened class load, but they will pay longer. If they have enough aptitude and drive, they can get through more quickly and cheaply.
An academic year is 3 three-month semesters, with a one-month break between each. A full weekly schedule is fairly grueling. All days are instruction days with the exception of Highday. Marketday is mostly labs and study. Most students opt for a less grinding load if they can afford it.
The actual duration of an education at the Hall depends on many things. In general, harder courses of study take more time. An officer training course usually take two years. A civil service position might be as little as a single semester. The most variable duration is for the training of Masters. Here it is all about aptitude. Although the academics can be learned in as little as two years, the awarding of a Master's status can take anywhere from 2 to 10 years, sometimes even longer. Some people just have a knack, while others never progress beyond the stage of simply being sighted.
Some people may elect to continue a course of study at the Hall far beyond what they could normally pay. In such a case, they either indenture themselves permanently to the hall, or exchange their services as educators in return for access to the resources the hall has to offer. In either case, all such appointments are at the sole discretion of the Headmaster (or -Mistress).
The Hall of Art is usually closed to the general public, although the main cross-shaped central hall is large enough to hold a substantial number of the city's populace. Actual enforcement of access to the Hall has varied much over the years. In the later years of Kanukka, only adepts and military officers were allowed within the hall. At the height of Ningan's influence, even beasts, barbarians and in special cases, riven, have been granted entrance. In general, the amount of security on the Hall varies directly with the political climate.
In many cases, students pay for their education with a significant indenture. Their patron may require that they be sequestered at the hall in order to protect their investment. Such people live at the hall and are allowed only the briefest or most controlled outings. Parents training offspring often choose this route.
Layout. The Hall of Art is laid out in a rough cross. At the intersection is a vast and lofty chamber, topped by a dome of exquisite stained glass. Naturally, morphic enhancement is required to maintain the weight of the dome. The dome is topped by a tall spire, affixed with six lamps of lumina. These lamps are used to mark time at night, for they can be seen from most of the city.
Framing the cross is a two-story square of galleries. These galleries contain the cells of those who live and in some cases, work in the Hall. Room and Board is subsumed by the extravagant cost of tuition. At each corner of this square is a tall tower, six stories in height, topped by a dome.
The four towers are:
Hall of Healing Here adepts who have aptitude in healing human (or beast) morphia are trained and practice their arts. Treatment here is expensive; in practice, only the wealthy can afford spirit healing. Healers from the House of Healing take turns doing free healings at the Dancers of Dawn every Highday.
Poor people can also take advantage of the many doctors who practice in Tallon. Going to a doctor is a risky proposition. Unlike Healers, who are adepts, doctors are learned in herb-lore and natural remedies. They are not as effective as healers, though they are exceptionally cheaper. Quacks and incompetents are common. Generally, the better the area of town, the more expensive and more effective care is available.
The Tower of the Way. Here is where the art of spirit manipulation is practiced. The upper floors are generally off-limits to non-adepts. This tower contains workshops, classrooms, training facilities and laboratories all dedicated to honing the art of spirit manipulation. The two lowest floors are dedicated to the arts of healing. This is the so-called Hall of Healing where the best medical care in the city can be found. There is some elementary religious instruction taught here, but most priest and clergy are taught at the Temple of High Faith in the Serenity Gardens.
The Tower of the Word. This is where civics and philosophy are taught. Civil servants and people who manage other people are trained here. Architects, lawyers, guildmasters, clerks and merchants train here. This is where the foundations of a Promethean society are laid and maintained. By requiring all people in a position to implement policy to go through a rigorous course designed to craft that policy, social structures are controlled an maintained. For example, to hold the position of Guildmaster, one must be certified by the Hall of Art. Since the Hall of Art decides what is required to become a Guildmaster, they indirectly control the shape of the Guilds.
The Tower of Might. This is the tower dedicated to the military. It has an officer training program, and handles athletic competition as well. The athletics in question are all of a martial nature: fencing, spear throwing, wrestling and so forth. The upper floors are again closed to all but select personnel (usually adepts) and are used to train military adepts, experiment with combat golems, and test secret techniques of warfare. More advanced techniques and equipment are tested at Fort Shadow, in a remote part of the Farmlands.
Tower of Knowledge. This is the tower dedicated to general knowledge, artistic training, research and the sciences, such as they are. Music, painting, dance, AND drama are taught alongside classes in history, architecture, agriculture and astronomy. Naturally, the subjects taught are so diverse, that many of them spill over into the other halls. Effort is made to keep these courses in towers appropriate to their subject matter. Thus a history classroom might be found in the Tower of the Word, while the fine arts would more likely be found in the Tower of the Way. Architecture might be taught in the Towers of the Word or of Might, depending on whether the application is civil or military. Additionally, some classes in economics and merchant practices may be taught at the Merchant Hall.
Each of the towers has a number of sub-basements. Access to these is generally restricted to appropriate personnel.
Serenity Gardens This is a thoroughly landscaped common area in the heart of the Old Circle. These are adjacent to the Hall of Art. They are It is open to all residents of the Circle. Occasionally fairs or social events for the upper classes may be held here. There are many small structures given over to sport or leisure activities: archery ranges, picnic areas, flat open fields for ball games, fencing circles, contemplation groves, swimming lakes and much more. Here and there may be found ruined foundations and columns of the original city that stood here before the fire of M'Shaggan the Mad. The Gardens are regularly patrolled by low-profile guards. It is a cultivated garden area, with . It is like a country club. It is the social center for adepts.
Bordering or contained by the Serenity Gardens are the Archon's Palace, the Hall of Art, the Bishop's Palace, The Dancers of Dawn, the Temple of High Faith and the Carlo Baths. Some of the city's most important Masters also have residences that border the Gardens.
Archon's Palace The Palace is the oldest building in Talon. It was heavily renovated after the fire of two centuries ago from the old fortress that used to be the main settlement of Tallon. Although the visible building is serene, regular and well-designed the hill upon which it is built is a huge rambling affair of chambers and passages. Indeed, the old fortress was built like a maze to begin with, and there has been so much rebuilding over the decades that it is now riddled with disused chambers, forgotten passages and secret stairs. It is said that only Iron John knows all of the ways of the Palace. The current Archon has little need for that much room and has closed most of it off.
The palace is surrounded by a huge walled circular garden. The garden rings a steep hill, upon which the main hall stands. The buildings of the main hall and its attendant high garden are accessible only by a long arched stair that reaches from the outer wall to the wide balcony that rings the structure. This stair runs directly through a gate house. The grounds and the walls are patrolled by the Paladins of the Archon, and the High Guard, his personal guard force.
Dancers of Dawn These are the Standing Stones of Talon. Although technically all citizens have the right to visit them whenever they wish, access is difficult except on Highdays, unless you are wealthy or an adept. The reason for this is that they are deep within the Old Circle. The city guard tends to be suspicious of poor or disreputable people wandering this area of town.
The Stones stand in the center of a carefully cultivated shallow bowl-shaped garden. They are on a low hill surrounded by a narrow moat. The garden is surrounded by a low stone wall banked by rose bushes. There is a wrought iron gate on the south side for public access. The gate is animated to open for any Tallonites who approach and ask for entrance, though an honor guard is always stationed there. This is the Terminus of the Grand Promenade that runs from the Uzon Gate through the center of the city. There is a smaller gate on the north side for the use of adepts. There is a small causeway that runs from this gate to the center hill. Adepts stand to the west of the causeway on a wedge-shaped rise. There is a tastefully-designed paved area outside the gardens that can handle overflow from particularly large crowds.
The Stones themselves are tall and graceful affairs, covered with a myriad of runic markings. They clearly were designed to inspire awe. It is permitted to touch them, but guards may eject or imprison anyone they feel to be treating them disrespectfully.
On Highday, the Bishop or a High Priest will deliver a sermon from the Book of Standing Stones. He will stand on a temporary altar in the center of the stone ring, surrounded by the faithful. The populace tend to arrange themselves in groupings separated by social position - i.e. adepts with adepts, craftsmen with craftsmen, beasts with beasts. More on religious practice may be found within the Book of Standing Stones.
Temple of High Faith This is a temple primarily used to train the clergy. Although the great rotunda is tall, it still has a feeling of seclusion, separated from the rest of the gardens with carefully managed foliage and landscaping. Here the brothers and sisters who serve Tallon are taught the great mysteries of the Church. Here also is where the Bishop holds office. It is an architectural and symbolic counterpoint to the Archon's Palace on the other side of the Hall of Art.
Carlo Baths These are the most luxurious baths in the city. They are open only to adepts, and again, only those who can meet the high yearly fee. Until recently, they were maintained by the Archony. However, Archon Ningan the Scholar franchised them to Grandmistress Novya. She can run the baths and enjoy the revenues so long as she meets a delivers a certain percentage of profits to the Archon's coffers.
Here one can bathe in scented pools, purchase spirit-alterations (morphic makeovers), dine on rare delicacies, listen to the finest musicians, and many other hedonistic luxuries.
All Masters who hold high public office are expected (required) to maintain a membership.
The Gates There are five official gates to the Old Circle (and one unofficial one). Starting at the south end and working clockwise reveals:
Stone Gate. This is the largest and most heavily used gate. The Grand promenade runs through this magnificent archway. It is normally sealed by a pair of enormous iron gates, operated by anima, but does have a pair of stone doors as well. The stone doors have not been closed in living memory. The arch is topped by a great Eagle in the center, and flanked by numerous Virtues. Weather has worn many of these figures to unrecognizability. There is a constant battle between factions in the city who want to either replace and restore the figures, or leave them in their natural aged state. Stone Gate never has less than eight guards in attendance. On High Day, when commoners are allowed access to the Standing Stones for services, the number of guards can equal a hundred. These are primarily constables, though often bolstered by soldiers if available. There are three small constabularies along the relatively short route from the Gate to the Stones.
Steep Gate. This sits atop the head of the stairs that run through Crafter's Apron up from Low Bridge. Steep gate handles most of the material needs of the Old Circle. It is not usually used for normal traffic. A special permit or proof of residency is required for admission. It is a simple affair: Two high square pillars, each with a finial, flanking an iron gate. Four guards are normally stationed here.
Sea Gate. This gate opens onto the Mosaic and has best access to the Promethean Docks. Similar in structure to Steep Gate, it is instead topped by two Virtues: Commerce and Prosperity. Those Masters who are also sea captains and merchants tend to live within this neighborhood of the Old Circle. Sea Gate is manned by four guards.
Golden Gate. This is an exquisite gate, used primarily by the wealthy non-Masters of the city who need access to the Old Circle. It is terraced, built with huge stone blocks that also serve as planters and fountains. The upper decorations (domes and finials) are sheathed in beaten gold. Although it is magnificent to behold, it is probably the worst gate at keeping out intruders. It is easily climbed. For this reason, there are usually eight guards on duty.
Back Gate. Back Gate is a strictly utilitarian gate. Although it is guarded, it is often closed at odd hours. The gate is if anything, less impressive than Steep Gate, lacking the other's dramatic positioning. Normally four guards are stationed here.
Novice Gate. This is not really a gate, but an area of the wall where the ground has been eroded away by rain and time (with perhaps a little help from bored students). Shielded from prying eyes by heavy undergrowth, the Novice Gate is used by those who wish to sneak in and out of the Old Circle unseen. Legend has it that the passage was originally used by sequestered Hall of Art students and training clergy to sneak an occasional night on the town. What young people tend to forget is that their elders were once young as well, and certainly used this same time-honored passage. It is highly unlikely that the "gate" is unmonitored. But it seems to be in everyone's interest to allow it to remain a secret.
All of the official gates have guards on duty. These guards are drawn from the constabulary beholden to the Old Circle Judge. Frequently, soldiers may also be posted to the gates, particularly in times of trouble. At various times in its history, the city of Tallon has also used agents of the Spirit Guard in this capacity as well.
At least one guard will be Sighted at each gate.
This is the heart of the public city, the part not reserved for adepts and their followers. Here can be found the centers of civil government, trade, entertainment and justice. The Civic Center lies between Market and the Old Circle, on the crest of the Promethean Hill. It is bisected by the Grand Promenade.
Grand Arch This is the monument built by Archon Turik the Builder. It is to commemorate the great works of the Archon, who built Tallon CIrcle and gave the common folk a city heart. The arch is magnificent, standing over 180 feet in height, though the top 30 feet is a single spire. The inside is hollow, and on special occasions, people are allowed to climb the stairs and stand upon the top. The arch marks the start of the Civic Center.
Tallon Circle This broad, brightly-cobbled plaza is a place of spirited public debate, entertainment and cultural activity. In fact, it is so central to the workings of the Civic center that natives often use the two names interchangeably.
Above the center of the circle is a massive statue of Carlo the Great. In his upraised hand is a lantern of Lumina. This lantern is functional and illuminates the plaza at night. At his side is a likeness of Annihilator, the sword that is a symbol of Tallon's might. The pedestal of the statue stands upon a series of raised benches and sunken pools. Children play here often.
The Circle used to be home to a great number of cart and wagon accidents. Eventually, Archon Ningan the Scholar forbade vehicle traffic during daylight hours. This includes the line of Spirit Coaches. Litters are not forbidden and so they may be seen here and there, carrying the wealthy and indolent.
The Circle is flanked by four massive structures: Merchant Hall, The Theater, The Palace of Justice and Savok Arena.
Savok Arena The Arena is one of the most popular sites in the city. Twice monthly, great games are held here. Combats are rarely lethal, though often bloody. Quarter is given automatically, if the Archon of the city does not impose his judgement, something Ningan has never done. In the days of Kanukka the Red, the Arena sands were often stained red and most games were simply spectacles of mass murder. Nowadays, many battles are scripted bearing as much resemblance to real combat as stage fencing does to warfare. Although most people agree that the modern way is better, the Arena is no longer the major source of revenue it once was. For those seeking the old-fashioned sort of entertainment, the Death Pits fulfill this need admirably.
Savok Arena possesses roughly the layout of the Roman Colosseum, but is about one-half the capacity. There are pits, chambers and machinery for chimeras, wild animals, slaves, gladiators and special effects. It can be flooded for mock sea battles, but these occasions are very rare.
When games are not being held, the arena can be rented, either in its entirety, which is an expensive proposition indeed, or individuals can purchase "sand time". This refers to the practice of buying hours of instructions from one of the three surviving gladiatorial schools.
Harker's School is probably ironically the most honest of the three. Although perhaps a better word might be sincere. The fighters of Harker are true fighters, often people with murder on their hands. Sometimes they are even slaves or criminals. When Harker's men fight, the public is sure of seeing real technique, real blood and even "accidental" deaths.
Merikian School is a School modeled after classic Merikian combat. The Merikian School stage historical re-enactments and does its best to arm its fighters with authentic weapons and armor and to train them in appropriate fighting techniques. The Merikian school is probably more popular with the city's intelligentsia.
Grand Warrior School is the least serious of the lot. Grand Warrior goes in for spectacle and performance. Their shows are rife with staged vendettas, amazing stunts and choreographed fights. They put on "fun" shows, though most true fighters consider them clowns.
All three schools are in the near vicinity of the Arena. All three offer private instruction.
Palace of Justice The Palace of Justice is the center of the judicial system of Merrikia. Here is where the High Justice sits. Besides being the prime constabulary for the Civic Center, the Palace of justice serves as the second highest court of appeals. It is the last step before a case may be brought before the Archon.
The Palace is a very intimidating and official-looking building. The image of the Virtue of Justice that stands before the main steps is a woman holding a sword and a key.
Within the Palace are courtrooms, holding chambers, conference rooms, a law library, and interrogation rooms.
Merrikia is divided into nine judicial provinces, each with its own Judge and police force. The police are charged with enforcing the laws as set by the Archon and the Book. They concern themselves primarily with criminal law. Contract law is handled within the Guilds for the most part, though a Judge may be called upon to arbitrate.
The Judicial Precincts do not necessarily follow the boundaries of the city sections. The Harbor Judge for instance rules over both the Shipyards and the Fishdocks, on opposite shores. The precincts are as follows:The Old Circle
Constabularies Each Precinct has an attendant Constabulary. This building serves as a headquarters, law court and prison. A constabulary is always a well-guarded stone building. The judge will have an office here. He will preside over cases in a large circular court, usually ringed by seating which may or may not be filled depending on the nature of the trial. If a case is to have psychic evidence presented, such readings are always done privately in a side chamber.
Each constabulary has an armory, barracks, training field, store rooms, a kitchen and mess, in short everything needed to house the police force for that precinct. A small constabulary has perhaps twenty men, a large one over a hundred.
The prison is generally a lock-up. Constabularies do not hold people long term. All people sentenced to jail time serve in the Iron Tower. A Tallonite cells is typically a deep pit with a grate on top, through which food and water can be lowered. Many of these pits are not even locked, just held with a bar so heavy that no one in the pit could hope to move, given their position. In addition to constabularies, larger and better-maintained precincts may have guard posts. These are generally small buildings which serve as handy lock-ups and local offices.
The police in Tallon are not generally as well-armed or trained as the military. They have a reputation of avoiding trouble as often as stopping it.
More information on Merikian justice can be found here.
Merchant Hall The Merchant Hall is a large building with eight slender towers and one large central tower. It is the busiest building in the city, being the center for commerce in Tallon. Here disputes between craftguilds are settled, and prices for goods and services are debated. Most guilds lease headquarters space from the Hall. Exceptions are either the largest guilds (weavers, shipbuilders) who have their own facilities, or the smallest (candlemakers, cobblers) who cannot afford the lease.
Admission is not available without appointment to the general public.
Theater Posessing no more distinctive name, the Theater is a large, open air theatre built upon the ancient Greek model. It can be covered in case of rain, and can arrange for night shows with lumina lamps. The theater is primarily used for musical concerts and dance programs, but often produces drama as well. Admission varies from a dollar for the poor seats, five for good seats, and twenty for boxes. Some well-heeled citizens keep permanent boxes. The boxes are actually poor seats, designed more to allow the patrons to be seen rather than to enjoy the play. There are several types of plays that are popular at the Theater. They are detailed here.
Beyond Tallon Circle, other imposing buildings play important roles in the life and culture of the city.
Calgar Field Calgar Field is adjacent to the Savok Arena. It is a structure similar to the Circus of Maxentius of Ancient Rome, though like the Arena, not on such a grand scale. The stands can hold 20,000 people, and often do. Here are held races of everything from dogs, to chariots to Chimeras. Chariot races are very popular, both animal drawn and spirit coaches. A popular driver is actually higher status than a popular gladiator. In fact, more wagering is done at the fields than at the arena, with people cheering on favorite teams. Admission is cheap, ranging from 1 penny to 1 dollar for the common seats.
Horse-drawn chariot teams are divided by color. They are usually owned by wealthy merchants or Masters. There are about ten teams at any given time, the most popular traditionally are the Green and the Blue.
Spirit Coaches are a recent addition, due to innovations in design developed by Grandmistress Dakota. Highly specialized vehicles have reached speeds of over 40 miles per hour.
Florian Baths These are the largest baths in the city, though not the most luxurious. Entry is 1 copper, though many luxuries can be purchased separately, (massage, scraping, private pools or tubs, all manner of grooming, prostitution). They are a social center for the city and all classes may be found here. Though the Old Circle and the Merchants quarter have more luxurious baths, the most popular by far are the Florian.
The building is very large, and dominated by the vast and lofty main chamber, whose vaulted roof contains mosaics of Merikian history, legend and drama. Statuary and frescoes abound, as do musicians and other performers. Private individuals charging for any service within the baths is in violations of general guild laws. Thus, anyone found performing music for tips, soliciting for prostitution or other services will find themselves prosecuted. The baths get a cut of all transactions within the premises. This does not apply to the broad Florian steps in front, where all of these activities and more are hawked.
The Baths are named for the wealthy and generous deceased Grandmaster Flora, from early in the reign of Archon Kanukka the Red.
City of Diamond This restaurant was built after the successful return of the Columbia from her voyage of exploration into the Lantic Ocean and the Sanlorenz River. Named for Halfax, the City of Diamond, it features some of the most exotic cuisine in Tallon. Many Halfaxian spices and herbs were transported from the far off city. The proprietors are Master Farallon the Healer and a number of silent partners.
Temple of the Wall Most people believe this temple to be so named because of its proximity to the wall that encloses the Old Circle. This is only partly true. The Temple of the Wall was built from stone salvaged from the Old Circle wall after the destruction of the original city center by fire at the end of the reign of M'Shaggan the Mad. Legend has it that a section of the wall fell and shielded a young adept named Shannon from being consumed by fire. Shannon of course eventually went on to become a Sympath and to pen the Book of Standing Stones that guides Tallon in all matters. The story may be apocryphal. But many people come to be blessed by the Shield Stone that supposedly saved the young prophet. Praying over it is said to confer good fortune so long as one leads a life in accordance with the Word and the Way.
The Priest is Father Steen, a fire-and-brimstone style preacher whose sermons are widely regarded as both entertaining and terrifying. He is a controversial figure, being a fairly open Purist who has an incredible grasp of lore and reason that makes him difficult to refute.
Attika's School One of the few schools of note in Tallon. Attika is an old scholar who makes his living teaching a basic education to people too poor to afford the Hall of Art. His curriculum is limited by Archonial decree, of course. Attika has been known to slip in a few restricted subjects from time to time, and has been fined for it. Nevertheless, he has enough contacts that he has managed to stay in business. A basic education at Attika's will run about $100 (roughly one tenth of the cost of a single semester at the Hall of art) in it's entirety, but he has been known to slide his scale for particularly needy or deserving students. Attika is not an adept.
Market Circle The Market is held every day but is particularly busy upon Marketday. The other days of the week, only registered permanent shopkeepers may sell here. Upon Market Day, anyone is allowed to set up a tent for the purpose of trade. At that time, it is nearly impossible to travel through this area at more than a snail's pace.
Farmers take their wares across Market Bridge in an almost steady stream; peddlers set up carts and tents, while craftsmen and merchants from near and far sell their wares. Haggling is the rule of the day here and many spirited arguments fill the air. The Market Circle is a great open space surrounded by several concentric streets. At the center of the Circle stands a statue dedicated to Warlord Orin, the General who served Carlo the Great in the Boothia Campaign. Although most citizens could name the statue, few could tell you who he was.
Brass Bell Temple This is a large temple that serves the population of the Market Area. It is dedicate to Chthon, the Morphist Disciple. The temple is built Sanctuary Style. It is built on the ruins of the sanctuary that stood there before M'Shaggan's Fire of 87.
The Plaza The Plaza is the largest eating establishment in Tallon. Technically, it is a collection of restaurants and stalls that all share a common outdoor eating area. Each of the businesses pays a share to contribute to the general upkeep and to secure a permanent stall or building. The Plaza is extremely crowded on Market Day, making it a popular place for pickpockets. Young people in particular like to hang out at the Plaza.
Open Baths These baths get their name from the fact that they are easily seen and accessible from the street. The Open baths are behind a short brick wall atopped with wrought iron. The fence is easily hopped, but the baths are free to the public, so no one bothers. The baths were built by Archon Tonda the Farmer in 129, the year after her vestiture. People joke that she was just tired of seeing filthy grubby farmers in the Market Circle and decided to give them a free bath. At any rate, the baths are popular, but there are no amenities. See the Florian Baths for the full litany of services that a Merikian bathhouse can provide.
Market Stables These stables house animals of burden of various types, ranging from horses to oxen to the great deezels. Primarily they hold animals during the day and can fill up on Market Day, requiring a laborious trek back across the Market Bridge to the Theron Stables in the case of horses, or outside the Uzon Gate to any of a number of smaller stables for other animals.
The Market stables are generally for day-holding only. Longer stabling is common, but animal trade is rare. The Stockyards, the Deezel Yards and the Therion Stables handle most of that business.
This island lies in the mouth of the Sabre River where it joins the harbor. It is reached by two bridges on the east and two on the west. It is the legendary place where Shannon lived when not communing with the Dancers of Dawn. For some reason he was a bit of a recluse and at that time, the island was swampy and uninhabited. The city was primarily located on the Promethean hill, and few but goatherds lived on the western hill. Although flood control from Beaverdam has reduced the sogginess of the island, it is still in a fairly wild and natural state. Huge trees grow upon the island, and wild animals live upon it, protected from hunters by the Archon's Law. The main roads that run along it are raised and stone-paved, but the smaller roads are boardwalks or even dirt paths. There is a fine to leave the path, but in general it is only levied against repeat or grievous offenders: poachers, vagrants or vandals. Most traffic across the island is foot-traffic. Single-animal drawn carriages and Spirit Coaches are allowed at certain times of day, but at other times and for larger vehicles, Market Bridge is the only way from one hill to the other. Despite these restrictions, the island is home to a few of the city's most important locations.
Temple of the Disciples This is a stately Rotunda, open to the air and supported on long slender columns in the form of atlantids and caryatids. The interior is decorated with morphically-preserved frescoes detailing the story of Prometheus. There are also statues here to Gaia, Chthon and Patha. It is second only to the Standing Stones as a place of worship within the city. It is far more accessible, since the viewing area at the stones is limited. The Temple of the Disciples has a huge open plaza to the southeast where many can watch and hear. During services, through traffic from West Hill to the Promethean is diverted to Green Bridge to the south. People passing through the plaza at this time are deeply frowned upon. This temple is also where many marriages and formal ceremonies are performed. The Standing Stones are suitable for paladin vestitures, Hall of Art Commencements, appointments of Warlords, or successions of Archons, but would be demeaned by lesser ceremonies.
More information on religious practice may be found within the Book of Standing Stones.
Avenue of the Paladins This is the main road along the island from Lowbridge to the Temple of the Disciples. It is flanked by large statues of famous Paladins who have given their lives in the service of the city or who have died in an heroic manner for their Grandmasters. The latest statue to be commissioned is that of Bec, Paladin of Hannon, who fell in an assault upon the Celestial City.
Iron Tower This is the prison of Tallon. Although there are numerous lock-ups in the city (one at least for each judicial precinct), this is where criminals are sent for long terms, usually for life. Debtors may languish here until their debts are paid, political prisoners may be kept in the highest vaults, simple prisoners may just be thrown into cells and largely ignored. The prison is reached by a boat from Shannon's Island. The boat actually travels into the bottom floor of the tower, under a grim portcullissed arch.
Although it is called the Iron Tower, it is actually made of dark grey iron-colored stone. The massive front doors are made of iron, however. It does have windows, but none of them are for the cells. The tower is many layered, to prevent spirit sight intrusion without actualy being enhanced. All of the guard and service corridors wrap around the outside. The cells form the central core. The tower gets its name both from the iron-colored slate that it is fronted with, and from the layers of iron plate inside, also to foil spirit sight. The Tower was vastly enlarged and rebuilt late in the reign of Archon Kanukka, when her paranoia had reached an apex. It is lightly occupied at the present.
Shannon's Tomb Rarely visited, this is the final resting place of the Sympath Shannon, who penned Tallon's Book of Standing Stones. It lies at the far south end of the island, too near to the Iron Tower to make the trip comfortable for many. The tomb is elevated, approached by a flight of steps, and topped by an obelisk.
Low Bridge is deceptively named. It is no lower than any of the city's other bridges, it is merely lower down the Saber River from Eagle Bridge. It is the oldest bridge in Tallon and was originally a wooden construction. It has less traffic than Eagle Bridge since its main approach is a set of stairs coming down from Steep Gate in the Old Circle. Clearance at the highest point is forty feet at low tide.
Eagle Bridge is the most impressive bridge in the city, artistically speaking. Though Market Bridge is easily the more fortified and wider, Eagle Bridge has soaring and lofty lines. Each arch post is topped by a great marble eagle ten feet tall. Clearance at the highest point is forty-five feet at low tide.
Marble Bridge is the shortest of Tallon's four bridges, but is beautifully designed to complement the Temple of the Disciples. It is otherwise unremarkable. Clearance at the highest point is fifteen feet at low tide.
Green Bridge is the newest of the bridges on the island. It was built to relieve the congestion caused by the construction of the Temple of the Disciples. It has planting beds lining both sides, large enough to hold wide-canopied shade trees. The trees give the bridge its name; it is actually grey. Clearance at the highest point is twenty-two feet at low tide.
The Western hill is traditionally called Goat Hill. In the days before the Western hill was incorporated by the city walls, goatherds grazed their flocks there. Now the goats are long gone, but the name remains, if unofficially.
The West Hill is home to many interesting if less glamorous sites. The fishdocks are located here, Home to the great Tallonite fishing fleet. (Merchant and passenger vessels use the Promethean Docks on the East Side.) At the far side of the top of Goat Hill can be found the Shambles, the most disreputable area of town. Here are the taverns, brothels gambling and fighting pits that entertain the less discerning citizens and visitors. (In truth, many of the cities wealthy and elite frequent the Shambles in disguise)
Farmer's Gate This is the gate used by the terrace farmers to take their produce to market. It is not as massive or well-defended as the main Uzon Gate, but the road that leads to it would be treacherous and winding for an invading army. They would also have to either cross the Sabre River or move through trackless jungle and the Farmlands (which have many fortifications) to get even that far. Farmer's Gate usually stands open during daylight hours. There are normally twenty guards on duty in the immediate vicinity, and many more can be summoned from the nearby barracks.
Death Pits Not shown on the map are the Death Pits. These are privately run combat arenas. They are held in a constantly-changing number of underground rooms, never the same location twice. Here much wagering is done on the outcome of lethal combat. Humans, Beasts and animals fight in any combination. The death pits are run by Harker, the lord of vice in Tallon. He is an old ex-gladiator, who dates from the Reign of Kanukka.
Technically, the Death Pits are illegal, but they are too popular to shut down. Being a fighter in the Pits has no rewards whatsoever. They are not dashing or romantic figures like gladiators, nor heroes like charioteers. They are slaves, prisoners, criminals or the desperate poor fighting for survival or meager earnings.
The Warehouse District is exactly what its name implies. Here are storehouses for grain and other foodstuffs, manufactured goods including textiles, pottery, tools, building materials, lumber and ship parts, rope, and everything else the city produces, imports or exports. There are a few residences in this area, but it is primarily for large buildings. This regions saw intense rebuilding after the great flood in the reign of Turik the Builder. Many older, smaller buildings were razed or buried to make room for the great storage houses. Some areas still contain many ruined lost chambers. In most cases, these are simply used for more storage, but some of the chambers are lairs for thieves, murderers, riven or worse.
As one gets closer to the waterfront, flophouses , eateries and drinking houses begin to show up. They are nearly all of them of seedy character.
Salty Dog This is a rough and tumble tavern, popular with fishermen and dockworkers alike. The sign features a scruffy smiling dog hoisting a dripping flagon of ale. The owner, a man named Karl, actually employs a dog as a bouncer. This dog does not smile, and dislike being called "Salty" since his given name is Ripper.
The Bones This is a gambling house that serves ale as well. It's one of the most well-known establishments owned by Harker, the lord of vice in Tallon. Though ostensibly dedicated to running games of chance, one can always find prostitutes, various drugs and criminal contacts aplenty. It is not a place for the squeamish. Nude cage dancing is considered high art here.
The person who runs the establishment on a day-to-day basis is a man named Beef, a close crony of Harker since the days of gladiatorial combats. There are fight pits below the Bones, but combat here is rarely lethal that is reserved for the Death Pits, held in secrecy in varying locations.
The Rill is the ridge that runs from the top of Goat Hill in the Shambles, down to the Warehouse district. It is the dividing line that once crossed, hides one from the sight of the Promethean Hill. The Rill is a mishmash of neighborhoods, the transition point between the vileness of the Shambles, the exoticness of the Beast Quarter, the freshness of Newmarket, the roughness of Blindside, and the utilitarian nature of the Fishdocks and the Warehouse District. In truth it has a little of all these things. The Rill is made up mostly, however, of people who like their privacy. The streets here are extremely steep and there are many hidden alleys and blind courtyards.
Tallon Memorial Gardens This is one of the three cemeteries in Tallon. It was originally created after the disastrous flood ca. 173 as a mass grave for victims. Since then, it has been a city tradition that whenever more than one hundred lives are lost to a single cause (not counting persons of note), they are buried in the Memorial Gardens and a monument is erected. Besides the Flood Mound, there are memorials to the Night of Small Fires, Victims of the Hill Tribe raids of the early reign of Kanukka, and a gator attack of the early reign of Ningan. Besides the aforementioned grave monuments, there are a number of monuments not coordinated with a grave, but still commemorating a death. These include ships lost at sea, large military campaigns, and other notable deaths (such as the eleven people killed in a building collapse when a tunnel slug undermined its foundations.
Finally, there is a section set aside for military funerals. Soldiers whose families cannot afford a crypt in the Promethean Cemetery are buried here with a simple marker, a small stone soldier of white, about a foot in height. They stand eternally at attention and in formation so that locals call them the "Army of the Dead.
Golden Moon Temple This is the largest and nicest temple on the West Hill. It is responsible for maintaining the Memorial Gardens above, as well as serving the religious needs of most of the Rill, New Market, Waterside and The Trades. It is the largest construction on the West Hill (not including the Lighthouse), and as a matter of pride, its white marble is kept scrupulously clean.
The head Priest is Father Willum, a serious, austere man of advanced years. Although he seems gruff, he is a deeply caring and egalitarian person. No one, beast, mutant or riven would be turned away from his services. He is however, very conservative on matters of religion and formality, and expects worshippers to conduct themselves in deep accordance with the Word.
There are a number of younger priests of two mind sets. One is of purist attitude, while the other seems bent on exploiting their position to further their careers and/or pursue worldly pleasures. Both of these factions are corrupt in one way or another, and Father Willum knows that despite his years, he dare not retire lest the temple descend into squalid mediocrity.
The Ideal This is a tavern with a decidely Purist clientele. It serves pure humans only, not even chromatics. The owner is a small man by the name of Ronnit. He is unceasingly polite, no matter the situation. If a beast or mutant enters the establishment, he will politely ask them to leave. If they refuse, he will politely ask his bouncer, Kraan, to beat the tar out of them and throw them out into the alley. It is definitely a place non-humans should avoid, especially at night.
Blindside is the area of the city to the west of the Rill. It is completely out of sight of the Promethean Hill. This is a particularly nasty area of town. It is also fairly odiferous. Much of the sewage of Goat Hill passes into the Kabluna Marshes and quite a bit of it exits near the south end of Blindside. In truth, the resdients don't particularly mind. They are quite used to the smell, and on a hot day they can be fairly well assured that no strangers are likely to come around and mess with them. The north end is not nearly so pungeant, but the character is no better.
Blindside can be very dangerous to travellers, since the police almost never enter it.
Three Black Swords Casino Lying at the northernmost end of Blindisde, near the edge of the Warehouse District where the air is cleaner, the Three Black Swords is the liveliest gambling house in Tallon. It is of course, owned by Harker, the lord of vice in the city. It is a rough place, where the scum of the city may rub elbows with the most wealthy in one big den of sin and debauchery. Loud, wild music plays continously, gaming tables are always crowded, nude cage dancers gyrate to the applause of raucous patrons and a willing partner is never more than a money pouch away. But the biggest draw is the Fight Pits.
The Fight pits are exactly what they sound like: pits in the floor where people battle for the sport and wagering of the crowd. The fights are supposed to be non-lethal, but every now and then accidents happen. Whenever a contestant actually kills his opponent, he is technically in violation of the law. The current Archon has forbidden lethal bloodsports. He will need to leave town immediately. Of course, Harker offers to give the offender a chance to evade capture and will even set him up handsomely in the Farmlands or even another city. All he has to do is survive a certain number of fights in the Death Pits.
The name of the establishment comes from a legendary trio of gladiators, said to be undefeatable in the arena. They were called the Three Black Swords, and their likenesses are to be found in many establishments throughout the city. The reportedly died undertaking some secret mission for then-Archon Kanukka, but nothing is known of their eventual fate.
Waterside is probably the nicest neighborhood on the West Hill. Here live property owners, shipowners, businessmen and west side adepts. Waterside is regularly patrolled by a local police force. Technically they are individually hired and paid bodyguards, but about ten years ago local residents became fed up with what they regarded as being under served by the thinly-stretched constabulary of the area. They organized and pooled their resources, each property owner either contributing a guard or an amount of money towards hiring one, according to their ability. The problem is, not everyone in the neighborhood agreed to the plan or can afford to pay into it. Those who have not been pressured into contributing have suffered from minor inconveniences like vandalism to mysterious unexplained fires. Nothing can be proven, but hardship tends to strike those who don't support the guards (called Bluebands, due to their distinctive blue headbands).
The situation does not seem to bother the local constabulary. Whether this is because this frees the Shambles constabulary to focus on areas where it is more needed or that the Judge is receiving kickbacks is unknown. In any case, the number of Bluebands is now quite large, almost their own precinct, and they answer to no true civil authority.
Newmarket is not really a neighborhood in the sense that people live there. It is the west side's answer to the east side's Market Circle. It is the second largest market area in the city. The fish here is fresher, and often delivered straight from the ships. Fish that is sold across the harbor is already cleaned and cut. Here one can buy live eels and crayfish and other fresh bounty from the sea. The incidence of pickpockets is a bit higher though, so those who want truly fresh seafood must assume a slightly higher risk.
The north end of Newmarket is devoted to seafood and the south end to produce. The produce is much the same quality of the east side, if not the variety. There are a number of alehouses restaurants in the vicinity of Newmarket, though they tend to have a somewhat seedier character than those near Market Circle.
The Shambles grew up out of the old paths used by goatherds. The streets are narrow and rambling, with the buildings overhanging to such a degree as to often give the feeling of walking though a series of tunnels. The Shambles are a place where anyone can buy anything, often with no questions asked. It is one of the seedier areas of town, but for some reason, favored by adventurers. The slope of the hill on the shambles is so great that buildings on the next street up are often built overlapping the buildings downslope. Often these buildings are connected. Acrobatic characters can often take advantage of this architecture to avoid patrols or unwanted attention. Roofdancing is what the locals call it.
The Kraken's Head This is the most popular and reputable inn on the West side. It is also one of the largest. The innkeeper, Koda is a retired adventurer who goes to great lengths to make sure that the Kraken is an island of safety in an otherwise deadly cesspool. It has a common room that can easily hold 60people, and rooms that at maximum occupancy can house 3 dozen. There are nearly always empty rooms though, and many people speculate that Koda has a secret source of income to make ends meet. Some say he has harbored riven and half-breeds.
The lower floor is stone to about waist-height and then bamboo-style above that. The roof is well-tiled, and there are several small cellars. The wine is so-so, but Koda gets a special deal from a friend in the brewer's guild and often has a wide variety of very decent beers and ales. The inn is popular with soldiers, adventurers, travellers, traders and a few sailors.
Zilka's This is a brothel, pure and simple. It may not be the fanciest in the city, or the cleanest, but it would seem to be the largest and the busiest. Zilka is an ex-professional who banded together with several like-minded working girls and "retired" their former "manager". Zilka has hired several Hill Tribe women to provide security. In addition, anyone who did harm to the girls at Zilka's would find themselves on the receiving end of a lot of disapproval (read: messy death) from some of the more prominent clients. This includes many adventurers. Zilka's also serves alcohol in moderate amounts.
Five Goats This tavern is recognizable by the surprisingly lifelike painting of five goats that hangs over the door. The Five Goats is probably the second most well-known inn in the shambles. It does not have the seating or bed capacity of the Kraken, but it does have regular entertainment and a continuous gambling room which has said never to have been empty for the last fourteen years. The Five Gotas also has prostitution and a reputation of being able to provide several controlled substances such as nipgin (which is particularly effective on felines) or blackcaps (an hallucinagenic mushroom). The owner is said to be a Harker's Man, and for some reason, police never investigate any tales of criminal activity that take place there. The Five Goats is a good place to hire mercenaries.
Doctor Cormorant The doctor is not actually a cormorant; that's just his name. He is very human and provides medical services to many of the residents of the Shambles. Cormorant is not an adept. He does not possess the healing devotion. All of his services require herbs, poultices, stitches and splints. Still, he does a surprising amount of work, since he asks no questions and turns no one away who can pay his admittedly inflated prices. He has no humanitarian nature; he is strictly in the business for the money and the sense of power. He is a classic "street surgeon".
Riven Academy (Wyvern's Roost) * The Riven academy was built upon the ruins of a disreputable inn called the Wyvern's Roost. The Roost catered to the most despicable clientele in the city, and was a favored contact point for launching crimes or contracting various vices. It was destroyed in the Firebombing of the Celestial City campaign.
The Riven Academy was created by Grandmistress Novya, who was attempting to corner the market on employable riven. After the program to verify and mark non-hostile riven, there arose a great demand for the oddities due to their unique ability to perceive the invisible wraiths employed by the Celestial City. Novya constructed the new building to use as a training ground for riven, where they could be taught the skills necessary to make them into effective guards. Riven who have agreed to have their indentures bought by Novya and undergo the course are eligible for preferred positions of employment, and receive medical care when necessary. It is intended that the Academy continue to be a brokering house and employment agency for riven even after they have worked off their indentures.
The Academy is a walled compound (necessary in an area of town rich with Purists). It has living cells, kitchen, classrooms and a practice yard.
The Black Eye this is a tough bar. It is not an inn, nor an eatery. This place sells booze to people who want to get drunk. It is fairly popular with the locals and a good source for contacts. It is also the site of frequent bar fights. By tacit agreement, these fights are seldom lethal. Mistakes happen though.
The bartender is named Myk the Claw. He got this name by his claim that he was attacked by a reaver a dozen years ago and developed a huge crab claw instead of a left hand. According to Myk, he chopped off the offensive appendage rather than go through life as a riven. Few people are willing to mess with a man that tough, so when he says a fight is over, it's over.
The Wayward Wench this is an unusually subdued tavern for the Shambles. It is a place where quiet deals are made, and a room can be let for the month or the hour. The barmaids are also prostitutes. There is a gated patio area in the front that is locked after the 4th lamp of evening (10pm).
Rokko's Rokko's is a flophouse, pure and simple. You need a place to crash, no questions asked? This is it. Rokko is never seen. The establishment is run by a shifty-eyed weasel named Sly Stickbones. Patrons may leave valuables at the house, but there is no gurantee of their safety. In fact, if you desperately need to get rid of something, Rokko's is a good place to leave it.
The Burn * This is the area of the Shambles destroyed by fire in the extortive firebombing campaign launched by the Celestial City. This is an area of twisted wreckage and collapsed buildings. It is rapidly becoming a favored hideout for criminals and a play area for street urchins. High Street runs right through the center of the burn and is the only road regularly patrolled by the local constabulary. Stay on the road to stay safe.
Hillside Temple This is a small temple to serve so large an area. The folk in this area of town are not regular "church folk" despite the best efforts of Father Paris, a young idealistic priest who believes he can turn the character of the neighborhood around. Indeed, he may some day even be successful. He is very popular with the local street gangs, who have made the area around the temple a no-man's land. He is also fairly charismatic, and any number of families wouldn't mind marrying a daughter to him.
Scribbs This is a private school. The instruction here is mediocre at best, but it is the cheapest place in town where people may learn to read and do simple math. The school is supported by donations from Hillside Temple. Technically the school is available for beasts, but an impromptu gang of locals keeps the area "clear of riff-raff".
The Beast Quarter is located on the far side of Goat Hill. Although not all of the city's beast population dwells here, the percentage is high enough to give the area its name. This part of the city was burned twenty years ago as part of an abortive purge by Kanukka. It has never been properly rebuilt and natural vegetation has grown over many of the remaining buildings. The unintentional effect is actually quite pleasing and natural-looking. A great number of the beasts prefer it this way and would resist any attempt to urbanize it.
In any case, the Beast Quarter is still the one of the poorest sections of the city. Non-beasts are advised to be cautious when travelling here after dark.
The Singing Turtle This is one of the most popular taverns in the Quarter. It gets its name from the large candle-holding chandelier that dominates the main room. It is shaped in the likeness of a singing sea turtle, forever jolly. The bartender is a badger by the unlikely name of Wentworth. Wentworth is an older beast, but still more than capable of running his business. It is rumored however, that he seeks an apprentice or junior partner, since he has no family to leave the profitable business to. The Singing Turtle makes a very acceptable berry ale, a drink favored by raccoons and beavers.
Temple on the Green This is the temple that serves the Beast Quarter and its environs. The priest is human of course (one must be an adept to be a priest), but he is well- liked by the older crowd of beasts. Father Horn has a difficult time with some of the younger beasts, who have grown up in an era relatively free from the persecutions of Kanukka. Their elders try to explain to them that they "don't know how good they have it" and that Father Horn does not represent an oppressive regime, but the young urbanites who are growing up in the Quarter see the temple as a symbol of the status quo. The temple is decorated with as much of a beast motif as the Church will allow. Some of the early heroes of the church had beast companions, and these are well-represented.
Silky's Bathhouse This is a bathhouse run by a female otter named Silky (of course). The bath serves the beasts of the quarter and is fairly popular, but there are rumors of shady dealings and unsavory practices going on behind the scenes. Silky is rumored to be involved in many illegal activities, and to be the beastly equivalent of the vice lord Harker. She may even have some kind of an arrangement with him, since Harker seems to have few businesses in the Quarter.
Harlequin's Harlequin is a dog of fairly advanced learning. How he came by his knowledge is a mystery, since he speaks very little of his past. He is fairly well-liked in the Quarter, since he gives generously to various charities. Where he came by his money is yet another unexplained aspect of his past. His house is not large, but there are decent-sized grounds about it, sufficient for him to run a school. Here he teaches all that is allowed by law, namely reading, and mathematics, as well as some history and literature. He is responsible for most of the beasts in the quarter who are literate. Some of his former students have gone out into the farmlands to spread the teaching he has given them. Harlequin is a slight dalmation of undetermined age.
Fang and Claw The Fang and Claw is a much rougher establishment than the Singing Turtle. Carnivores are more popular at this place: dogs, foxes, weasels, etc. It has two small rooms to let which are often available. The proprietor is a half-dog/half-wolf named Hannibal. He is more than capable of keeping the clientele in line. He is unbelievably skilled at thrown weapons. Although he keeps a brace of daggers within reach at all times, he is far more likely to bean a rowdy customer with a bottle. Dead customers don't pay.
This area of town is the functional equivalent of Crafters Apron on the East side. The main difference here is that the quality of the goods and services is not as high, and the tradesmen here are far more likely to work individually than as a Guild or Crafthall. Here also are numerous small private residences. This is probably the best housing on West Hill, but it is still not as nice as the neighborhoods of the Promethean Hill.
The Soak This is probably the most egalitarian bathhouse in the city. It requires no membership, and allows both human and beasts to use the same facilities. Unlike the nearby Red Tubs, which has the same general policy, the Soak has permanent pools and offers some bathhouse services such as laundering or massage.
Breakneck Stair This is the longest series of step in Tallon. In sporadic stretches it ascends from the waterfront to the top of the hill. The stairs take their name from the fact that they are uneven. At the time they were built, uniformity in riser height and tread width was considered unimportant. As a result the steps vary greatly in size, leading to numerous stumbles and missteps.
These are two areas of town that bracket the point where the Saber River splits to go around Shannon's Island. They are a primarily industrial are of town, given to livestock selling, storing and butchering, as well as grain storage, milling and processing. Goods that are brought in by the Farmer's Gate are processed or stored here.
Market Bridge The most fortified bridge in the city, Market Bridge is actually part of the city wall. It has guard towers at the foundations and crenellations and other military architectural features. The bridge is supported by three arches, each of which can be closed by a huge portcullis. Market Bridge sees a lot of traffic, being the main route between the Farmlands and the Market Circle. Beggars, street performers and pickpockets are common encounters along this route. There are also numerous stalls and carts selling wares to travellers. During certain parts of the day, lanes may be marked off on the bridge with wooden stanchions for the driving of sheep or goats.
A good deal of boat and barge traffic goes under this bridge. All craft are required to submit to inspection by a Harbormaster agent stationed at the base of the east tower.
The bridge is 40 feet wide and the center arche has a 30-foot clearance at low tide. The arch actually stands higher, but the clearance is determined by the bottom of the raised portcullis.
Therion Stables (West Fork) The Therion Stables are probably the finest horse dealers and trainers in the city. Tallon does not have a strong equestrian tradition, but there is enough to support a decent number of well-trained and -bred horses. The nominal keeper of the Stables is a young man named Darrow. The stables are nominally owned by his father Brodly, but the old man seems to have a problem with alcohol, and Darrow is more often in charge. Darrow has an odd... appreciation of female beasts and is likely to grant them special consideration. Despite this, he is a nice and likeable fellow.
The Therion stables should not be confused with the Market Stables. The former is a full service operation, while the latter is little more than glorified holding stalls.
Livestock Pens These are located in both East- and Westfork. Here are slaughtered the goats, pigs and sheep that form the major part of the non-fish source of animal protein in the Tallonite diet. Cattle are somewhat less common but they do exist. Keep in mind that only hoofed animals may be safely eaten. In the case of things like chickens, geese and ducks, many people prefer to avoid eating them, just tin case any Talkers slip by the mandatory "kosher" inspectors. These adepts are charged with examining all animals due for slaughter to make sure they are not intelligent. Eating a sentient beast is as repellent to the Tallonites as cannibalism. Not even the most diligent Purist would eat a Talker.
Red Tubs These baths fill pretty much the same function as the Open Baths near the Market Circle. That is, they allow farmers and herders coming in from the Farmlands a chance to get cleaned up on the way to market. In this case, the market is Newmarket on the west side. Red Tubs is pretty much what the name implies: a series of wooden tubs, all stained a distinctive red. There are a few large communal tubs, but the vast majority of them are segregated. There are human-only and beast-only tubs, as well as a few for men or women only.
Little Tallon is the name given to the numerous small shops and homes that have built up outside the walls. Two hundred years ago the Archon Carlo the Great ordered the walls to be extended to their present reach. It was thought that this would be plenty of living space. Now the city is spilling beyond those bounds and the people of Little Tallon are lobbying for a new wall. City planners argue that the geography is not right and that such a wall would be indefensible during a siege. Most importantly however, the wall would need to be enhanced like the existing city walls. The City architect is concerned that adding that many ley lines would be taxing. There has recently been a plan for building a ditch and dike to serve for the time being.
Little Tallon was occupied and much of it was destroyed during the final siege of the Karkulite War, the "Night of Small Fires".
Sanctuary of Patha This is a small, old sanctuary at the edge of Little Tallon, built near a steep hill. The Sanctuary, led by Father Dundy and Sister Winnipeg, has a long history of helping the unfortunate avoid oppression. It harbored beasts escaping the Kanukkist purges, and harbored riven outcasts until recently. None of this is publicly known, of course. The Sanctuary is built further back into the hillside than one would guess from the outside. Back behind a morphically-enhanced "cellar" door are a series of small rooms. Here is where refugees are harbored.
Five Corners This is the most popular inn in Little Tallon. It gets its name both from its situation at the intersection of three streets, and from its odd pentagonal shape. The proprietor is a man named Logan, half Hill Tribe by birth. All manner of folk may be found here, as the atmosphere is very open. Beasts, humans barbarians, Karkulites, mutants all rub shoulders here. For some reason, there is almost never any fighting or arguing. As such, it is a good place for traders and merchants to do a little informal business.
Sidewinder This is a river that cuts through Little Tallon and acts as a natural barrier for the city. The Sidewinder meanders through a steeply-banked gully before emptying into the Saber. It is crossed by bridges at two points. Fishing is a popular activity for the sidewinder, and the water is fresher and clearer than the Saber, since it doesn't have acres of upstream farmland and habitation.
The Farmlands are what provide most of the staple food of the city, at least that which is not taken from the sea. The farms are an organic design, having slowly and chaotically grown over the years. The current Master Farmer, Toshi, has tried to bring a sense of order to it all, but it is a difficult task. Most of the farming is done by humans, but there is a high percentage of beasts out here as well, usually doing the more menial labor. The farms near the city are well-protected and highly productive. As one gets further from the city, the farms have more of a wild character. The farms within the are defined by the Saber River and the Theron Inlet are primarily owned by the city. As one gets further away, there are independently owned and operated farms. The farmers of these lands make more profit and earn a better living, but do so at the cost of assuming greater risk from the dangers of the Wilds.
The people who live in the farms are primarily human, but there is a high percentage of beasts as well. Rabbits are common, as are dogs, mice, squirrels, and badgers. Each area of the Farms is associated with a given fortress. Farm folk will run to this fortress when the alarm bell rings. Most forts will have a Sanctuary. The sanctuaries will fill quickly in the event of a reaver attack. Farther away from the cities, there might only be a small sanctuary, protection from reavers, but of no use against riven, barbarians or gators.
Buildings in the farmlands are clustered into little groups. Each grouping is called a farm or a grange. They are not quite as large as a village, though the larger ones might have a public house or other common buildings. Farms typically end in "-fam" or "-gren" or "aker", though they may take their name from geographical features. Some of the more well-known are: Horseshoe Hill, Fern Dock, Greenfam, Longaker, The Burrows and Banton's Creek. None of them has a population greater than a few hundred. However, there are many farms and the total population of the farmlands exceed the city by several times.
Deezel Yards These are the pens and stables used to hold the city's population of deezels, the elephantine bisons that serve as heavy labor for the city. Deezels can be owned outright, but the regulations are so stiff that most farmers hire a deezel and driver when needed. The city prefers it this way since they can also control the training a deezel receives. A poorly trained deezel can be an aggressive menace. A well trained one is a useful tool. The city deezels are under the auspices of the Farmmaster.
Farmmaster's compound This is the small fortress sued by Farmmaster Toshi. Besides housing the farmmaster, it has a sanctuary, facilities for building and repairing and vesting farm machinery and other tools, granaries and silos.
Raccoon Lake This is a large settlement of semi-independent raccoons. They like to think of themselves as autonomous, but in fact they depend heavily on trade from the city to survive. Also, they partake of the nearby sanctuary both for reaver protection and religious services. The actual settlement is on a fortified island in a loop of the Saber River.
There are numerous forts outside the city. Most have a sanctuary associated with them. They are used to protect the people and produce of the farmlands, to curtail invasion from barbarians or gators and to launch scout parties to locate and destroy harmful chimeras.
Trailhead This is a settlement of a few thousand humans and beasts upon the far side of the Theron Inlet. It began as a simple trading post and naval port and has grown into a thriving little community.
The Trailhead docks harbor at least three naval vessels of various size and capability at any given time, usually more. There are also emergency stores and an army barracks here. The permanent naval facilities date back nearly forty years, when Kanukka had them fortified at the recommendation of General Hannon, who feared a blockade from Karkul. A lot of the city's food move along the Inlet and to cut it off for even a couple of days might starve the city into submission.
The trading post was originally used to outfit merchant parties heading along the Lizard Road. When the road was expanded during the Karkulite campaign, the trading post boomed. Although usage of the Road has declined somewhat since then, Trailhead still does good business with the various nearby Hill Tribes, who lack the ability to make high quality steel tools and weapons. The Hill tribers pay for goods mostly with barter: wild game and jungle fruits being common. Hill Tribe native art is becoming fashionably collectible lately as well.
The settlement is also popular as a trading spot for foreign merchants who wish to avoid the tariff on trade goods in the city proper. Often they arrange a buyer at Trailhead and let him deal with all the paperwork and finding of markets. Some smugglers operate out of trailhead as well, receiving contraband goods from afar and using various means to sneak them into the city or just floating them up the Inlet and selling them at any of the various unregulated Farmlands markets.
Fort Lizard This is the farthest permanent military base operated by the City of Tallon. Originally constructed to keep the road clear between Tallon and Adala, it was greatly enlarged during the Karkulite Campaign. It was crucial at this time for Tallon to keep supply lines open to Adala, for the farmlands were often razed and burned by Karkulite soldiers. Since that time it has fallen into a bit of disrepair. Once again, it maintains a garrison of soldiers who keep the road open, but it is undermanned and underfunded. Since it requires much spiritual enhancement to remain viable, it is always commanded by a Master. In her paranoia, Kanukka arranged it so this Master is appointed by the Archon, instead of the army.
Since the fort also serves as a trading post, there is a substantial if small civilian settlement within the walls as well. The local inn is called the Gatorhead, run by Innkeeper Jame and served by the irrepressible Kori. The Fort Commander is a gruff but likeable fellow by the name of Commander Mako.
The fort got its name because it was built in territory formerly held by gators.
Fort Grisham An hour's travel out from the Uzon Gate, Fort Grisham does not technically lie in the farmlands. It is a training facility and staging area used by the army. Most of the forts in the farmlands serve a more defensive purpose; not so Fort Grisham. This is where rangers and scouts are trained and where war games are conducted. In times of need, it can also stand as a secondary command center. The single public road to the fort is well patrolled.
Beaverdam This is a fort built at the great dam that controls the floodwaters that used to occasionally plague the city. With the construction of the dam, the level and flow can be controlled. It is a heavily fortified stronghold, being fairly critical to the city's well-being. If the dam were to be breached, chances are the devastation would not be great. At most times, the dam is merely used to control flow. During long stretches of very intense rain though, enough water can build up behind the dam that a breach would be devastating. For this reason, it is a current ongoing project to build a number of emergency diversions along the Saber.
Fort Shadow This fort is not marked on any map. It is a hidden fort whose location is known to only a select few in the army. It is known that it is underground, presumably in an old tunnel slug nest. It is where the army keeps its most important prisoners, where the Warlord conducts strategy from in times of a war of espionage, and perhaps where the Spirit Guard is trained. Truth to be told, no one outside the inner circle knows exactly what goes on there or if it is anything more than a myth.
Tallon and it's farmlands are fed from a number of rivers and streams, all associated with the Saber River. Before the Saber enters the waters of the Theron Inlet, it branches into four main waterways. From west to east they are:
The Lower Saber This is the longest stretch of the river, but not as large in volume as the Sabre proper. It is the last river used by the farmlands to take produce to the inlet. Farms to the Southeast take their produce overland directly down to the Inlet. The Lower Saber is traditionally considered the boundary between the Inner Farmlands and the Outer Farmlands.
The Sog This short stretch of river is not particularly navigable by barge. A number of crayfish hunters and farmers use this river.
The Saber This is the main river, and the one that cleaves Tallon in twain. Upriver lie the habitations of Raccoon Lake and Beaverdam. The former is semi-autonomous, the latter is actually a Tallonite fort associated with a beaver settlement. The Saber is navigable all the way up to Beaverdam.
The Deception This is a truly treacherous river that no one in their right minds would travel upon. The land in this area is rich in old tunnel slug nests and the river is filled with sudden whirlpools and odd currents. Stretches of it can suddenly dive underground, and then reappear hundreds of yards downstream at tremendous pressure.
Thelon was the one who discovered the Dancers of Dawn. The calendar date for this is traditionally the year Zero, but this is regarded by scholars as a conjectural date. Thelon left few records, and since his name is similar to the Theron Inlet, it is surmised that the most ancient records may refer to colonists being led to the stones by following the inlet. It is also possible that the city was simply named for him. During this time that the original fortress was built. It is believed that there were Prometheans walking the earth in these days.
Tradition holds that Thelon ruled for a score of years, gathering refugees from the wilds and colonists from the older cities such as Adala or Haven. There may have been multiple Archons during this time. After this time, the first Archon for which there are records is Samuel. Samuel ruled for quite some time and built the first Palace. Of this building only the underpits and central tower façade remain. Samuel commenced building the wall which defines the present day boundaries of the eastern half of the city. This work was sporadically continued during the reign of his successor.
Samuel is also the first Archon preserved in the Mausoleum, which was begun during his reign. No records explain why he was called the Brave.
Original city fortified by wall
M'Shaggan ruled for 32 years. He must have started out relatively sane, but over the years succumbed to the lure of power. He was ruthless in crushing opposition, and had spies throughout all walks of life. Legend has it that he assassinated Archon Samuel. Once secure in the Archony, he used his psychic mastery to project his will onto others. This was undoubtedly the darkest time for Tallon. The Arena was built during this time and the frescos preserved in the underpits suggest cruelties beyond those during the time of Kanukka. Legend states that M'Shaggan claimed to aspire to the standing of a Demon King and believed such could be achieved only through blood and pain and a great deal of sacrifice.
His reign ended in fire. It is believed he was attempting an apotheosis.Present-day Eastern City Wall commenced
The first part of Carlo's reign was taken up with rebuilding. Carlo is the Archon to which one can attribute the city plan for Tallon. He finished the wall and immediately commissioned a wall to enclose Goat Hill, across the harbor. He moved the fish docks to that hill and built the breakwater. He commissioned the Hall of Art, though it was unfinished during his lifetime. The middle part of his reign was interrupted by a five year war with Boothia. This was the period of Warlord Orin, the strongest military leader in Tallon's history.Old Circle made into elite inner city
Tonda was called the Farmer for it was in her time that the city began to truly prosper. The standard of living was high and Tallon was at relative peace. She supervised the planning of the terrace farms and surveyed the land between the Saber River and the Theron inlet. The system of farms and forts that she set up stands to this day.Farmlands systematically expanded
Baron was the Archon who first set up trade with other cities. Up until then the other cities of the area were little more than rumor to most citizens. It was during the time of Baron that the Merikian League came into being. He seemed otherwise complacent and did little innovation of his own, content to follow the patterns and programs set up by his predecessors.Intercity trade becomes possible
The first seven years of Turik's reign were fairly uneventful. In 173, there was the greatest series of storms ever recorded to that point. The eastern city had a decent drainage system, but Goat Hill had been poorly planned. Whole blocks of buildings disappeared into the mud. Some report that a earthquake had started the devastation. In any case, the western side was in ruins and the eastern side had much damage. This was the impetus that can create great leaders, and Turik rose to the occasion.
Much of West Hill was dug up and sewers aqueducts and cisterns were laid. Goat Hill had always been smaller and steeper than the Promethean Hill , and Turik wanted to control building on the hill until a decent foundation was set. Unfortunately, so many projects were begun at this time that west side construction kept getting more and more delayed. By the time of Turik's death, there had been so many stops and starts of construction, changes of plans and planners that the hill became a maze of mismatched construction, forgotten sewer lines and sub-basements and buried ruins that it has never been decently rebuilt.
Nevertheless, Turik's reign was one of great achievement. Tallon Circle dates from his reign, with its great civic buildings. Turik gave a heart to the city that was not centered on adepts. He built the Merchant Hall, Calgar Fields, the Palace of Justice and the Florian Baths. He improved the Archon's Zoological gardens and opened them to the public. Though the Great Lighthouse at the mouth of the harbor was begun by Baron, he finished it and added the Eye of Bozton.
More than any other Archon, Turik left his imprint upon the city.West Hill collapses in Great Flood
Kanukka has many superlatives. She was the youngest Archon in history, being appointed at the age of 33. She was the strongest militarily, in that she managed to maintain unquestioned supremacy even during war time. The Warlord is usually a more powerful position than Archon. She was very popular at the beginning of her reign.
Kanukka was also an idealist. She had deep personal convictions and cast them upon her city. If Turik left his mark upon the city, Kanukka left it upon her people. She knew how to motivate and manipulate people and had no hesitation about doing so. She had a force of personality that had to be experienced to be appreciated.
Unfortunately, her personal agenda was a fairly totalitarian one. She gained power by taking away liberties and replacing them with valueless distractions. She motivated people more by hate and fear than love and hope. During her reign, the military and police forces were trebled. She vastly increased the legal powers of the judges. She blamed many of the city's problems on beasts, the riven and foreigners. She created a philosophy of Pure Humanism that lasts to this day. Under her reign, riven were killed on sight, beasts were unable to hold property or conduct business, and the longest and bloodiest war in the Tallon's history was waged.
The Karkulite campaign, or Twenty Years War began with an assassination. The Chief Justice was apparently killed by a Karkulite ambassador. Chief Justice Yonathon was beloved by the people and a staunch political enemy of the Archon. The accused ambassador never got a trial; he was dragged from the Iron Tower and hanged by an angry mob.
Her reign ended during the so-called 'Night of Small Fires'. The city was besieged by General Trask of Karkul. Flaming shot fell all over the city. It was this night that the Beast Quarter burned, some say due to Kanukka's will. She died when a catapult load impacted and collapsed part of the Palace.
Kanukka was called the red, not because of her hair, but because of the blood she spilled.Naval Fleet enlarged and improved. Sea trade improves as a side effect.
Ningan is called the Scholar and rightfully so. For forty years he was headmaster of the Hall of Art, and before that he traveled the league studying abroad. He is without doubt the most educated and cosmopolitan Archon Tallon has had. He might also be remembered as Ningan the Reformer; an Archon's sobriquet is not permanent until after they die. He has spent much of the last two decades undoing the work of the Red Archon.
If Ningan has one fault, it is age. He is over one hundred and twenty and cannot last much longer. There are some who say he is stronger than he appears, but regardless, he is old and slow. He also lacks the ruthless edge necessary to get things done. In his quest to gentle the city's condition, he is unwilling to use brutality. Ningan tends to be secretive and reclusive, which does not help his popularity.
Nevertheless, he has achieved much of his goal. Beasts may wander freely in Tallon, the mildly riven are tolerated and the severely riven are exiled instead of executed. He is working on the idea of a Riven Colony, where they may farm and support themselves. They would be far outside the city walls, but protected by her military might. Ningan has outlawed blood sports at the Savok Arena. He has reformed the Beast control laws of Kanukka. He has increased the size of the merchant fleet and encourages trade.
Whether he will be able to accomplish much more in the time left to him remains to be seen.Humanitarian values introduced