Jul 3, 2012

Werms - Northern City in the Clouds

Okay, Khomaes is done (for now).  There is (of course) Loads more stuff that can be done, not least of all would be relying on the excellent Midkemia Press product, "Cities" to flesh out lists of businesses etc that populate the city, and maybe do some custom encounter tables.  But perhaps later.

The next city to get the "Valley of the Old Ones" treatment is the second city in the Darkearth Plains region to be discussed - the city of Werms.
Globe Keep - at the center of Werms

Werms is nicknamed the "Northern City in the Clouds".  It is the northernmost Westroner city in the Valley.  The other part of the nickname - "City in the Clouds" - comes from the fact that it is built on an irregular set of stony buttes, coming up out of a deep chasm called the Cambio Delve.  The main part of the city is built around a very old castle called the Globe Keep.  The central part of the castle, which is a keep with a curious rounded brass plated roof, is built over the highest point of the central abutment rising up out of Cambio Delve.

Many centuries past, when the Westroner pilgrimage band under the Baron Olberi Ap Etro were exploring in the region, they came to the curiously attractive plains in the triangle of land between the Great Owl Forest, the eastern edge of the Aghanz Hills, and the Destriel Mountains.  But this area is the heart of Storm King barbarian country, so if the Westroners wished to settle, they would need a location that was quite defensible.  Cambio, a dwarf traveling with Ap Etro's band, found the immense (and seemingly bottomless) pit that was named after him, the Cambio Delve.  It was observed that there were this series of rocky abutments that appeared up out of it, in its northern edges.  These were all large enough to build great structures on, and were also close enough to each other that stone arch bridges could be constructed to connect them one to another.  It was decided that the Etro family would begin work at once on a castle on the central abutment.  That castle grew and grew, and developed a whole urban ecosystem around it - thus forming the core of the city.  The Etro family controlled the castle - now known as Globe Keep - but the Magistrate of the City, a curious sorcerer named Nova Werms, controlled the city.  The city became named for him, first the "City of Werms" then simply Werms, long after Nova died out.

View of Werms, as approached from the surrounding Baronial lands.

The system of having a descendent of the Etro Family (long since abandoned, however successive claimants have tried to prove some link to the ancient bloodline) be master (or mistress) of the Castle, and then to have a Magistrate of the city, has served well.  The surrounding territory became known as the Barony of Etro for many centuries, but eventually became to be called the Barony of Werms (which is it's current name, at least of wide usage).

The curious air currents that form from the cold winds blowing down out of the Destriel Mountains, and the curious effect of the updraft up out of the Delve, form the conditions for nearly constant formation of white clouds around and above the city.  As the city grew in size, over the centuries, to its current population of 18,000 inhabitants, it covered more and more of the stone abutments in the area around the central one of the Globe Keep.  After all of these were covered over, but not wanting to expand outside the area of the defended stone arch bridges to the main land past the border of the Delve, the city began to grow up.  Each stone abutment is covered in buildings, castles, towers, and other structures of the strongest stone (which is mined, by curious practice of the dwarf Cambio's descendents, of building platforms and carved mines, down deep into the Delve, out of the sides of the abutments).  These have gotten higher and higher, until now while the brass roofed Globe Keep is still a brilliant feature at the center of the city, there are other stone towers and ramparts that rise higher still, all around it.

Stone Buildings of Werms - connected by Stone Bridges
One of the curious features of Werms is that it is home to the magical school of conjuration and summoning.  Under the current grand master tutelage of "Yazeed the Traveler", this magical school is in the form of a tall, slender, black castle, with 14 high turreted towers, on its own abutment, some way to the south of the main parts of the city, and not connected to any other abutment or the main land by stone bridge.  It is always surrounded by dark, black clouds, which seem to swirl around, and among, the tall towers.  The school is properly named the "Demesne of Planar Knowledge and Magical Petitioning".

Demesne of Planer Knowledge and Magical Petitioning
 Another feature worth commenting on is that Werms is the location of Cloudhome Cathedral, the center of worship for St. Leiathar, the patron saint of weather and the clouds.  This powerful saint, part of the branch of the Westroner Church dedicated to the goddess Nadene, would seem a natural to be venerated within a city known as the City of Clouds.  Cloudhome is an interesting cathedral, it is built on its own abutment, and consists of tall slender towers, and chambers, all made of metal, and connected to each other with thin spanning flying bridges.  It was once suggested that the structure be finished in gleaming brass, in honor of the legendary city of brass (itself said to be located among the clouds), however in honor of the brass roof of Globe Keep, the outside of Cloudhome was instead covered in electrum.
Cloudhome - Electrum towers of the Cathedral of St. Leithar

 In addition to Cloudhome Cathedral, however, there is also another cathedral in (or above) the city, known as the Sky Cathedral of Frigia Nor.  Frigia Nor is the demigoddess of Winter and Feasting, and the priesthood enjoys a wonderful location, floating high above the city of Werms, in the form of a magical stone block, the top of which is covered in airy towers and chambers - full of feasting halls, musical chambers, and open observation flats to observe the winds and clouds coming down from the Destriel Mountains.  Swirling clouds of ice and snow often blow all around Sky Cathedral, but the feasting halls, and even the open observation flats, remain comfortable to all who visit.  One of the duties of the junior acolytes of the order of Frigia Nor (which is a part of the branch of the church dedicated to the goddess Corrise), is to maintain the herd of hippogriffs that the Cathedral houses, and to use these as transport and courier animals to communicate with the rest of the city.  Feast days in the city the houses the cathedral of the Demigoddess of Feasting are a wonderful occasion, and quite common - which is always greeted with thanks by all members of the city (even the members of the hierarchy of St Leiathar's cathedral).

No comments:

Post a Comment