Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The City of Trislem

Trislem is the largest, most populous settlement in the Walrus Freehold, where it sits on the eastern shore, to the south of most other towns and cities, on the mouth of the Salmoning River.

Trislem (population 11,200) is a rougher place than Walrus City, but also more cosmopolitan. It is closer to the rest of Toutus and the harbour is less likely to be frozen up, so it gets more passing visitors, not all of whom are polite and good-intentioned. Trislem was attacked several times in the wars between the empires, and there are several quarters in the northern half that are a mixture of abandoned dwellings and new buildings being put up. There are many thieves, beggars and refugees in Trislem, especially around the ruined areas. Although the dock areas in many cities are often the roughest and most dangerous, the docks of Trislem are slightly less dangerous than the abandoned quarters, on the basis that the merchants and craftsmen need to keep the dock areas working and safe to visit both for imports and exports. Nonetheless, some of the sailors who disembark are pirates in all but name, keeping their violent and greedy natures in check as long as the city watch are around.
The southern half is much neater, with stone and slate buildings rather than the timber, thatch and mud-brick of the northern half. Many of the middle-class of the city live in the southern half, and the Citadel with its wooden barracks in the outer court sits overlooking both the sea and the estuary. The Citadel currently holds 430 soldiers and officers, but is undermanned - there should be a full compliment of 720.
The two halves of the city are connected by the Grand Bridge, which carries all sorts of traffic over the Salmoning River. It is a bascule bridge with two halves that can be raised by counterweights to allow tall-mast boats along the river.
The city is ruled by a council with leaders from important aspects of city life, including Commander of the Guard, City Treasurer, Provisioner of Food, City Architect, Harbourmaster, Guildmaster’s Representative and Chief Judge. The city nearly turned into a plutarchy like Walrus City when a cabal of powerful merchants tried to take over the council, but they were brutally put down, with several being executed and others exiled. Since then the ruling council has been wary of any merchant who seems to acquire too much wealth or influence. Some merchants are still angry about this episode.
Nonetheless, Trislem is important for river traffic passing on up towards Challex, Stalim and Hurin Castle, so merchants and the city council still have to deal with each other.
There are no buildings outside the walls - after both the Wars Between the Empires and a number of raids by humanoids and human barbarians, the city leaders don't want to give any aggressors building materials for siege equipment such as rams or ladders or even cover for enemy infantry to get close to the walls. There are some small bands of orc and goblin bandits in the area, so those who camp outside stand a real risk of being attacked.

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