Ashara
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(population: 47,000) Located on a series of grassy bluffs and gentle hills along the eastern shore of the Myrival River, Ashara is Gwynne's capital and largest city.


Ashara is an ancient, magnificent Thannish city, which has always benefited from its position at the junction of the Myrival and Ghastonne rivers.

The Myrival then flows south and empties into the Sea of Orel. For many centuries, Thannish vessels have sailed up and down the river, and made Ashara a thriving seaport.

Ashara is an important road junction as well. Everyday dozens of merchant caravans arrive at the city via the Stoneway, which runs west to the neighboring city of Kholis and east toward the nation of Üthrar.

Many travelers also arrive via the Ansilay Road, which runs south over the Frostcrown Mountains from Drakhara, through the Freehold of Trevalia, and then winds its way southwest to Ashara.

The city is currently governed by Duke Joran Renfro, a powerful and influential nobleman, who rules the city with an iron hand. His deputy, Marshal Cressida Kroft, commands the City Guard, whose 400 Guardsmen police the streets and investigates local crimes.

In the event of an emergency, the garrison of Castle Myrkur, which numbers over 1,000 well-equipped soldiers, can also respond. But those troops answer only to the King, the Crown Prince, and the castle Seneschal.

Sadly, this once-great city is currently plagued with corruption and poverty. For many of its citizens, it is a miserable place to live.

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City Guide


The first thing visitors see when approaching Ashara are its high stone walls and massive battlements; a grim reminder of a long and bloody history of warfare in this region.

On a great hill located in the center of the city, is the massive and imposing fortress of Castle Myrkur; home to the Gwynnish monarchy. This massive castle dominates the city skyline, and is easily the largest structure in Ashara.

The city sprawl fills both a spit of land formed by two sharp turns in the Ghastonne River and Ezrin Isle, with about one-quarter of the city’s population living on the eastern shores of the Ghastonne.

A shallow waterway called “the Narrows” separates Ashara from what is colloquially called “the Old City.” Barely thirty feet wide, both sides of the Narrows are covered in a jumbled mass of rickety buildings, and intersected by more than two dozen flimsy wooden bridges.

Off the riverbank, along the southern end of Citadel Hill, rises Shipwreck Isle; a dangerous outcropping of jagged rocks that jut from the fast-moving waters of the Myrival, and provide a sturdy foundation for the ancient Ashara Lighthouse.

Six massive landmarks give Ashara its distinctive skyline. All six iconic structures have survived for millennia and some trace back all the way to the earliest days of the Third Age, when Ashara was little more than a caravan stop for traders heading for the East.

Ashara's first and largest landmark is Castle Myrkur; which looms large over the city; standing atop a massive hill that rises to a flattened top.

The city's second landmark is the "Pillar Wall;" which stretches across most of the southern end of Citadel Hill, a 75-foot-tall remainder of what was once a magnificent stone fortification; most of which was destroyed in the fall of the city during the horrible War of Annexation.

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Just beyond the western terminus of the Pillar Wall stands the city's third major landmark; “The Foot," a massive carving which was originally part of a gigantic statue of Rhodan Mallistäer, the city’s most cherished hero. The great statue was pulled down in the final, bloody days of the War of Annexation and all that remains today is a single foot.

The city's other three major landmarks, while impressive, do not come close to the size or grandeur of the above.

First is the impressive Rose Academy, Ashara's most prestigious educational institution. Located in the Heights, the Academy is surrounded by a massive curtain wall, and its imposing architecture stands out. This lavish building is the most expensive structure ever built within Ashara's walls.

Second is the massive temple to Myrival; Corwyn's Goddess of the Sea. Located on the riverfront, this massive, star-shaped building is clad entirely in green marble. Its central audience chamber can hold up to 5,000 persons. It is truly a magnificent piece of architecture and one of the largest temples found anywhere on Corwyn.

Ashara's final landmark is the Citadel; an imposing stone fortress located in Westshore. Today this massive castle is home to the City Guard. Besides its impressive landmarks, Ashara’s other famous man-made features include its impressive walls, its beautiful bridges, and its famed Vaults.

These landmarks are a source of city pride, although the lesser-known ones do not attract as much attention of potential visitors and residents.

On a sadder note, Ashara is also infamous for its abject poverty. The most shameful, filth-ridden section of the city is the rooftop, tenement area known as the "Shingles," which serves as a refuge for thieves, homeless, and other undesirables.

Map of the City


For a detailed map of the city, click Here

Gazetteer


Administratively, Ashara is divided into eight Districts: East Shore, Graystone, the Heights, Midland, the Narrows, Old Ashara, South Shore, and West Shore.

East Shore


The only district beyond the channel of the Ghastonne River, East Shore is home to a handful of noble houses closely tied to various Merchant Guilds of Ashara, as well as the struggling Nexus College.

East Shore is also the most diverse of the city administrative districts, and its residents see themselves as somewhat separate from other Asharans who live across the river. Many merchants make their home here because the huge caravan parks are located here, bringing a multitude of trade goods into and out of the city.

Graystone


Unlike all other districts in Ashara, Gray’s residents mostly stay to themselves and are generally well-behaved. Of course, many of Gray’s residents are dead. The district is largely made up of the city graveyard, as well as a few noble houses and a mixture of tenements. Most residents here belong to the Temple of Nerydia.

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The Heights


Standing atop Citadel Hill, the Heights District has a commanding view of the rest of the city, which its residents look down on—both figuratively and literally.

As the city’s wealthiest district, the Heights are home to more than a hundred of the most powerful Gwynnish noble families and twice that many, wealthy merchants.

The cost of land in the ward is more than twice that of other city districts. Violent crimes rarely occur here, although property crimes, especially burglary, do occur with surprising and unfortunate regularity.

Nearly all of Ashara’s powerful and influential citizens reside in the Heights, including the queen herself. This district is home to many of the city's wealthiest families, but most are still considered "new money."

Midland


When most people think of Ashara, they think of the cosmopolitan and friendly district of Midland. Situated on the leeward side of Citadel Hill, Midland stretches from the end of the city wall south to Graystone District and the Pillar Wall. It rises from sea level to climb the eastern slope of Citadel Hill, where it ends just below the summit line.

Midland encompasses the teeming, seedy city harbor. Because of its raucous nature, Midland is seen as the most dangerous in the city, even though crime is higher in the Slums. It is here that most outsiders and city visitors can be found.

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The Narrows ("the Shingles")


Sometimes called "Bridgefront," this district is Ashara’s worst slum. This district occupies a narrow spit of land at the southern base of Ezrin Isle. The Narrows is home to “the Shingles,” a cramped, jumbled mass of rickety wooden buildings which sprawl many blocks along both sides of a small canal called "the Narrows."

Despite its cramped conditions, nearly a tenth of the city’s population lives here, including most of its poorest and most destitute residents.

The Shingles came into being only a few decades ago, when urban renewal projects on Ezrin Isle pushed Old Ashara’s poorest people into its southern edge along the canal. As people flooded into the area, they quickly ran out of room.

Taking a cue from the ancient Ashanti slums, they built upward, with lean-tos and shacks creating impromptu third stories on many of the ward’s buildings. These temporary third stories gave way to more permanent additions, which in turn received tents and shacks atop them.

Over time, this progression of haphazard permanency gave rise to a ramshackle wall of residences reaching as high as five floors in some places. These cramped and irregular roof lines gave homes to some of the city’s poorest and most desperate people.

The children of these impoverished people grew up on the roofs of the Shingles and thought little of traversing the ward by moving above it. Over time, they learned that other sections of the city with equally dense roof lines could also provide hidden and convenient paths.

At first, these young daredevils only used the roofs as highways and called running along the rooftops “shingle dashing.” As the practice became more common and different underworld elements saw potential in its use, permanent and semi-permanent way points, structures, and safe houses appeared on roofs throughout the most crowded parts of the city.

Eventually, these rooftop communities became known collectively as the Shingles. No accurate map of the Shingles exists, as the entire neighborhood and its population are in a constant state of flux.

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When the people of Bridgefront ran out of room to erect more buildings, they started adding makeshift floors to extant structures. Over time, these makeshift floors gained their own rooftop lean-tos. Spaces between buildings became fair game as well, with many ladders and walkways crossing gaps over increasingly narrow roads.

Interspaced between the mass of structures are more than two-dozen rickety wooden bridges, most of which cannot support the weight of either horses or wagons. Some are so narrow, only two or three persons can walk on them abreast. There is only one sturdy bridge, located at the crossing of Mainshore Boulevard. This sturdy, iron and oak drawbridge is part of the city's fortifications, and is always guarded by Gwynnish soldiers.

Old Ashara (the "Old City")


As its name implies, Old Ashara is old. It covers all of Ezrin Isle, which rises from the southern riverbank of the Ghastonne to the northern edge of the Narrows, a small canal which separates it from the remainder of the city. Along the southern edge of the island sits the beehive-like hovels of the Shingles.

The Old Harbor stands on the relatively flat eastern protrusion of the island. Atop Garrison Hill stands the ancient stone walls of the Ashara Keep, completed in the Fifth Age. The imposing Arkhona Manor dominates Old Ashara, while the remains of the original wooden palisade slowly rot near the gate into the ward.

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Southshore


This ward is a mixed residential and commercial district, which serves as home to many Asharan armor and weapon-smiths. These skilled smiths are clustered together in the, so-called, "the Avenue of Arms." Southshore is, by far, the most economically diverse ward in the city. The massive temple to Etahr is located here.

Westshore


The first Thannish encampment on the eastern side of the Myrival River was located on the grounds of modern-day Westshore. Several early battles took place here between the Thannish settlers and the Ashanti to establish control of the land.

Following these conflicts, the Thannish settlers erected a wooden palisade, which was later replaced by a stone wall. Sections of the first stone wall still stand and mark the boundaries of the ward.

City residents still honor the Thannish blood spilled to establish and hold the territory, and dozens of statues and other memorials pepper the ward.

This relatively crowded residential district houses many of the city’s professional class and their underlings. The ward’s most distinguishing characteristic is Jeggaro Circle, in the far northern corner.

City historians frequently debate the origin of the ward’s name, with the two most popular schools of thought arguing that it relates to the number of other wards touching it or to the number of sides the ward has.

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The Great Houses


Ashara is a very old city, and has plenty of old money that goes along with it. The Gwynnish nobility flock here to be close to the Royal Court at Castle Myrkur. The nine most powerful and influential Asharan families are: House Arkhona, House Carowyn, House Jeggaro, House Kalistrad, House Markova, House Mulsanne, House Orsini, House Renfro and House Vendradi

Prominant Citizens


Aureo Carowyn, Blackjack, Marshal Cressida Kroft, Demetrius Davalos, Devargo Barvasi, Gaedren Lamm, King Garik Eridani II, Prince Gerold Eridani, Glorio Arkhona, Hooks Gruller, Queen Ileosa Eridani, Ishani Dhatri, Duke Joran Renfro, Captain Marcus Ezrin, Seneschal Neolandus Dhoru, Ornelos Kalistrad, Roland Markova, Rolf Lamm, Sabrina, Salvatore Scream, Shanks, Sklar, Trinia Sabor, Vencarlo Orsini, Yargin, Zellara, and Zenobia Van Holm

Local History


Ashara has a long and diverse history, stretching back thousands of years to the Third Age.

Origins as Ashanti Trading Post


The city traces its earliest origins back to the middle years of the Third Age, when migrating tribes of Thanns encountered the Ashanti people, who were actually the first settlers of this region. Back then, the location of the present-day city was a small Ashanti settlement called “A'Shorah.” The walled settlement, which numbered only a few hundred people, surrounded a large hill on which sat an Ashanti temple to Lehr; the God of the Earth.

The Ashanti called their sacred temple “Myra-Kur;” and legend has it, the temple contained many exotic magical treasures. The Thanns and the Ashanti became trading partners, and eventually the settlement grew in size and importance. This growth was largely due to the fact that A'Shorah was an easy barge ride across the Myrival River, and was a perfect resting stop for caravans of traders traveling into the East from two different roads: the trail leading north over the Frostcrown Mountains and an eastern route that led to the famous Hakeen cities of Ashkavan and Zocolo.

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Formation of the Barony of Ghastonne


By the later years of the Third Age, the Thannish had migrated into this region in ever greater numbers, and the Ashanti were being driven out. In the year 900/3, an ambitious, Thannish warlord named Gareth Gwynnett openly declared war on the local Ashanti tribes and launched a ruthless military campaign to conquer the region. His soldiers slaughtered thousands of Ashanti and drove many more into the mountains to the north and east. The settlement of A'Shorah, which by this time had become a small Thannish majority city called Ashara, was taken by force and the temple of Myra-kur was destroyed.

At this point, Ashara became the capitol of the newly established Barony of Ghastonne. Soon after the Baron ordered all surviving, so-called "Ashanti Savages," expelled from his lands. From this point on, Ashara was always under exclusive Thannish rule. The Baron also ordered a large castle built upon the ruins of the Ashanti Temple; it was called "Castle Myrkur"

Valden's Great Conquest


For the next 250 years, Ashara continued to grow under the rule of the House of Gwynnett as the capital of the Barony. It grew into a city with a population of nearly 75,000 and was the largest eastern Thannish city at that time. But everything was about to change. A new conqueror was slowly taking over the entire region and uniting all of the Thannish tribes and factions under a single banner. This warlord was Valden Durethë; who hailed from the city of Tekrit and became known to history as "Valden the Conqueror."

Over a period of twenty years, Valden the Conqueror and his armies marched further and further eastward, until they reached the western banks of the Myrival. Legend has it, Baron Gillam Gwynnett; the last ruler of Ghastonne offered little resistance and surrendered the city without a fight. This reason alone is why there are no statues of “Gillam the Kneeler” found anywhere within the city walls. The city of Ashara then became only one city in the fledgling Thannish Kingdom of Valdor, which was ruled over by King Valden Durethë. Valden was able to unite all of the Thannish tribes under one banner, but his legacy was short because of the bitter sibling rivalry of his two sons; Eldan Durethë and Rhodan Mallistäer.

Capital of Rhodara


A brief seventy years after its founding, the kingdom of Valdor splintered into two smaller Thannish kingdoms; Eldara and Rhodara. Ashara then became the capitol of Rhodara, under its first king; Rhodan Mallistäer. Under the Mallistäer Dynasty, Ashara grew in power and wealth over the years, becoming infamous for its decadence and corruption. The Mallistäer Dynasty finally ended in 1279/4, when King Radovan Mallistäer II was slain by the Vilzari at the Battle of Flint Harbor, and dark times came to the city

Rule by the Mad-King


Rhodara and its capitol city then came to be ruled by the Mad-King; Gayorg Gwynnett. For twenty-five years, Gayorg ruled Rhodara as a despot, and the city of Ashara became a frightful place of dread, with daily executions and arrests by the king's secret police. The city was later sacked and burned during the final desperate days of the disastrous War of Annexation. During this awful period of wanton death and destruction, the old city walls were largely breached and the massive statue of Rhodan was torn down.

As Capital of Gwynne


Years later, Ashara was rebuilt under King Gavin Gwynnett and became capital of a new Kingdom called "Gwynne." The city prospered until the Gwynnish Civil War. During this conflict, the city was burned during the Battle of Ashara, and the House of Baldurin was overthrown by Gorion Taraghon.

Battle of Ashara


The bloody siege and sack of the Gwynnish capitol that took place in 263/6, at the end of the Gwynnish Civil War. Rebel forces led by Duke Gorion Taraghon stormed the city and captured Castle Myrkur. During the battle and chaos that followed, King Garrett Baldurin was captured and executed and his dynasty came to an end. Soon after, Gorion crowned himself as the new king of Gwynne. This is sometimes referred to by scholars as the "Second Battle of Ashara," as the city was besieged and sacked earlier, during the War of Annexation.

The Forgotten War


Ashara was re-built and endured for many centuries, until the Forgotten War broke out. In 825/6, the city was besieged and badly damaged by an orcish army. Scholars refer to this event as the "Third Battle of Ashara;" for it was was the third time in its history, that the city was either besieged, sacked, or burned.

Modern Era


After the end of the Forgotten War, Ashara was rebuilt once again, and became much larger, with two sets of walls. Today, the kingdom of Gwynne is ailing, and as a result, this once-grand city is now filled with poverty and decay, and is a shadow of its former glory.