Friday, July 26, 2013

Northwest Fenlock: Stuff everybody knows

North-West Fenlock: Barns, the commons, the silkworks, several large and medium houses.

1. Lower (southern) edge of the Rhovamben family complex, a peach orchard that is heavily patrolled by trained animals and the traps and alarms of low-level mages and clerics. The family keeps three watch platforms that can be seen from town. The complex is larger than the town itself, with at least ten such platforms.
2.   The Dry-Moat. 100 feet wide, with barbed wire and gates, the dry moat is planted and managed grass which is grazed during the day by the city’s sheep, goats and cows. These animals are driven out in the early morning from the city barns, and driven back in as soon as the sun begins to set. A complex set of arrangements by the city’s official herdsman organizes which herds go where on each day, keeping the grass very short but not dead. During drought, the dry moat is ‘watered’ (more like splashed on) by a pumping system that diverts water from the lock to the outer wall. This water trickles down the wall itself, keeping the wall damp and helping maintain its fireproofing. The herds are kept out of each field for three days in a row, when that field is ‘dry,’ professional dung collectors do their duty and collect the materials used for various industries and for fuel at the smithy. The city common and the ‘goat common’ are part of the system of fields, and the city’s sheep are also grazed on the lawns and parks of the city on a constant rotation. The city charter states that in addition to the mandatory emergency housing for all people who pay taxes to it within a 100 mile wide circle, the city is responsible for sheltering the herd animals and horses of the farms within the first twenty miles, and as a result the barns and commons actually can hold about three times the number of animals currently maintained for at least three months. Dried fodder for feeding such a flock for three months is maintained in the catacombs beneath the northern section of the city. The most recent ‘use’ of these facilities were the floods of 986-987, when several hundred cattle were kept on the common from nearby dairy farms. Local herds of eland, elk, deer and water buffalo have been ‘sheltered’ by druids on the dry moat and the corn fields surrounding the city in severe weather, flocks of geese use the dry moat during migrations, and cattlemen and horse buyers driving large herds have used the dry moat during the dry season when stopping in Fenlock. During the wet season, nothing uses the dry moat at night, as they would quickly become food for the muck creatures and bog wights. In the event of an attack, the dry moat offers no cover to attackers, allowing archers on the walls and druids on the city’s towers to rain down arrows and lightning. Trained cavalry can ride down the dry moat with deadly efficiency. A man-sized monster standing in the dry moat versus an armored knight on a heavy horse armed with a lance is pretty much toast. A common autumn event involves a horse race twice around the dry moat, with barges parked at the crossing. When the thane was a young man, he was said to have ridden a warhorse that could jump the 25ft of the canal with room to spare, but not landing all four of the horse’s feet on the barge is a disqualifying error during this race (which is called ‘The Fenlock Laps.’)   The dry moat is raised 20ft at the minimum around the surrounding lands, but sits below the city itself. The edges of the dry moat are planted with low growing thorny brush, including roses and citrus. 
3. The Goat Gate. 10ft wide,20ft long and only 6ft high, the goat gate (more of a goat tunnel, really) is a dark murder-hole bearing passage through the wall specifically designed to discourage its use by wagons and horsemen. The gates on the end are designed to be swung into the dry moat, making it impossible for the livestock to escape (in theory.) The road from here continues to the Rhovamben place, where it ends.
4. The Narrow Tower. An irregular stone tower set at the curved edge of the wall, the narrow tower (so called because it is narrower than the others) is technically a grain silo with a crank-driven ‘elevator’ that deposits bushels of grain into the tower from the top down, a large winding stair at the outside provides easy access to the flat stone roof, which is 4ft below the level of the wall. This platform provides an excellent vista of the Rhovamben complex, and historically has been used to defend the wall. There is often a rope (or two) strung between the top of the wall and one of the Rhovamben complex’s watchtowers (about 80 feet), and it is used to hang banners, flags and, occasionally, used for tightrope exhibitions.
5. The goat common. Strangely, goats are not common guests of this fenced in area. In general, it is restricted to anything that is not a cow. It is planted with tough, thorny brush on the edges, and has thicker and higher fence than the city common and is used to keep animals that are more aggressive and agitated from cows and horses that might spook. It is also used to isolate animals that may be ill. Escaped mules, lost horses and angry rams are common guests of the goat common, and it is sometimes called ‘Horse Jail.’
6. City livestock barns. Designed to hold thrice the city’s own herds, these barns are made of very solid stone, with slate roofs and concrete floors. Upper stories hold fodder, rushes and minimal housing for 12-24 individuals (who are charged with keeping the barns safe.) A pump system delivers a large quantity of water from the northern half of the canal in the evening, and this is used to wash the muck of the floors of the barns into the Muckhouse (near the tannery) where it is separated into liquids and solids or pumped down into the main sewage line and out into Black Fen.
7. The City Common. Any person in or visiting the city has the right to graze an animal on The City Common, but the city’s official herdsman directs where, when, and how. More importantly, if your animal is doing damage or eating ‘more than its share,’ he assesses fines and sends runners to complain. The common is also a frequent ‘campground’ during festivals and fairs. There are swinging gates every 30 feet or so, and these are locked at night. The fence (as in many places in the city) is planted thickly with thorny and fragrant roses, and these roses can get out of control on the ‘outside’ of the fence. People needing rose petals for spells or other personal uses are encouraged to come down and lop off sections of plant. Overnight camping is permitted on the Common, but no fires are allowed. The common’s fence is easily leapt by most horses, although startling a flock grazing there carries a very hefty fine.
8. City Herdmaster’s office and home [Roger Bellegarde].
9. Jeweler’s Residence and Shop [Mírdan the Jewelsmith].
10. Single family house, two stories.. [Babineaux family.]
11. Single family house, one and a half story. Owned by a ship’s captain [Cpt. Willett], his wife and young kids, as well as his grandfather, are present. It is a huge house for such a small family, with a lot of art and souvenirs available. Some of the rumors are that the captain is a pirate and that his house contains large amounts of gold. There is a large guard dog.
12. Single family house, two stories.
13. House and shop of Leather workers. [Norman family] Three story, slate roof. Workers in small leather. Good place to buy harnesses, belts, woven straps, or order custom work. Most of their stuff is actually made for local stores.
14. Single family house, two stories 
15. Single family house, two stories
16. Single family house and attached stable, horse trainers
17. Danton’s Feed Store and Saddlers. [Danton Family]; Small fortified manor house, 3 stories, flat roof, bottom story is converted into a shop, storage in basements and subbasements. While they regularly have saddles, bridles, bits and harnesses in stock, their primary business is in arranging grain deliveries. Most of the grain in the store itself (while available for sale) is in less than 50lb bags, for display of type and  quality.
18. Fenlock Hostel. Bunk, board and indoor plumbing for 1sp/week. Three stories, flat roof, often used by crews of barges in repair or traveling groups. 
19. The Goat’s Head, an inn. Although the bar on the first floor is one of the city’s filthiest dives, the Goat’s Head is actually famous for its quiet, large and clean rooms. 
20. Fortified Manor House of Robert Bellegarde, major land owner of agricultural land.
21. Fortified manor house, 2 story. Owned by the owner of the Silken Pillow.
22. Mulberry Forest. These trees form a tight forest of tall, deeply shaped trees, with a rope-bridge grid separating them and running between them. The blandly flavored white berries are primarily used for animal feeds, but the trees were planted for their leaves, which feed an army of silkworms. The sericulture operation was established by a grey elf named Lhédor.
23. Lhédor’s house.
24. Fenlock Silkworks
25. Fenlock Clinic and Shrine to Rantilar.
26. Fenlock Silk emporium. Run by the Coury family, this place is a great place to purchase fabric, thread, silk rope, etc. The family lives in a small apartment above the shop.
27. The Silken Pillow, a brothel. Appointment only.
 28. Greengrocer.  Pavilion, where fresh produce as well as hot and cold daily meals are served.
29. Hot spring. This sulfurous pool, with multicolored slimy rocks, is hotter than boiling. The north end of it has a regularly ‘firing’ geyser.
30. The new forest.  The section of mulberry trees are more recently planted, and denser. They have red berries, which are sweeter, and the weeping branches are espaliered into tight lines. Lhédor uses these trees for a special, larger variety of silkworms.

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