Ashara
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(population: 47,000) Ashara is the capitol city of the kingdom of Gwynne, located on a series of hills and stark cliffs along the eastern shore of the Myrival River.


Ashara is large city, plagued with corruption by both the royal court and its petty nobility. This ancient city is protected by high walls and strong stone battlements, for it has been assaulted many times. In the center of the city is massive Gwynnish citadel of Castle Myrkur, that dominates the city skyline. Ashara is accessible via the Stoneway that runs west to Kholis and east to Carthac Keep, and the Ansilay Road, that runs north over the Snowcrown Mountains to Morgoth.

The city of Ashara is currently governed by Duke Joran Renfro, who commands the City Guard of 300 lightly armed militia. In the event of an emergency, the garrison of Castle Myrkur, which numbers almost 1,500 well-equipped soldiers can respond, but these troops answer to the King, the Crown Prince, and the castle Seneschal; not Duke Renfro.

CITY GUIDE


Ashara sits on the eastern banks of the massive Myrival River, at its junction with the smaller Ghastonne River, before heading south and flowing into the into the Sea of Orel. The city fills the spit of land formed by two sharp turns in the Ghastonne River and Endrin Isle (which splits the river at its mouth), with a few outlying areas on the far shore of the Ghastonne. It stands on two hills: Garrison Hill on Endrin Isle and Citadel Hill on the mainland. The Narrows of Saint Alika separate Endrin Isle from the shore. Off the coast of the southern end of Citadel Hill rises Shipwreck Isle, a dangerous outcropping of jagged rocks that jut from the sea and provides a foundation for ??? Lighthouse.

Five massive landmarks give Ashara a distinctive skyline. These landmarks have survived for millennia and trace back to the earliest days of the Third Age, when Ashara was nothing more than a caravan stop for Thannish nomads heading for the East.

Castle Myrkur dominates the skyline; standing atop a massive hill that rises to a flattened top. The Pillar Wall stretches across most of the southern end of Citadel Hill, a 100-foot-tall remainder of what once must have been a magnificent barrier.

Just beyond the western terminus of the Pillar Wall stands the Gatefoot, which obviously originally belonged to a part of the wall and that likely served as part of a gateway of some kind. The other two landmarks, while impressive, do not come close to the size or grandeur of the ruins. Standing at the northernmost point of the Merciless Cliffs, the Great Tower reaches 270 feet in the air and serves several military roles for the city. Directly south of it stands the equally impressive Hall of Summoning, the center of operations for the Acadamae.

Besides its impressive landmarks, Ashara’s other famed man-made features include its impressive walls (ruined and otherwise), its beautiful bridges, and its famed Vaults. These it points to with pride, but not all of its distinctive features attract the attention of potential visitors and residents. Chief among the shameful features is the rooftop area of the city known as the Shingles, which serves as both a highway for bandits and a refuge for monsters, thieves, and other undesirables.

Gazetteer: Ashara is divided into seven districts: EASTSHORE, THE HEIGHTS, GRAYSTONE, MIDLAND, NORTHPOINT, OLD ASHARA, & THE SLUMS

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 the military of the city, as well as the struggling Theumanexus College. East Shore is the smallest of the seven city districts; it has no wards to subdivide it.

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. Nearly all of Ashara’s powerful and influential citizens reside in the Heights, including the queen herself. The Heights District holds three wards: Citadel, Cliffside, and University.

Citadel : Citadel is the wealthiest ward in Ashara, with more than a dozen noble families and twice that many powerful merchants living within. It contains two of the city’s modern landmarks: the Great Tower and the Great Temple of Myrival. The cost of land in the ward more than doubles that of the next-most-expensive ward, Cliffside. Violent crimes rarely occur in the ward, although property crimes, especially burglary, occur with surprising and unfortunate regularity. Alone among all the wards in the city, Citadel

Graystone


Unlike all other districts in Ashara, Gray’s residents mostly stay to themselves and are generally well-behaved. Of course, most of Gray’s residents are dead. Gray District holds four tiny wards (the smallest of the city): Gold ward, Everyman ward, Potter’s ward, and Sepulcher ward. Burial costs range from 1 cp for internment in Potter’s ward to 1,500 gp or more for Gold. The only living creatures who reside in Gray belong to the church of Pharasma and live within the temple.

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 Enderin’s Wall south to Gray 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 wards of High Bridge, Pillar Hill, Slope, and West Dock. As the home district of both the City Guard and the Sable Company, Midland has the fewest gangs and gang battles in the city. Despite that, the thieves’ guild does a brisk trade in the district thanks to the disproportionately high number of merchants, banks, and other commercial and financial concerns.

North Point


North Point, at the northwestern tip of mainland Ashara, was the first section of the mainland settled by the descendants of the city’s Thannsih founders. The district houses many of the city’s oldest non-noble families. North Point covers the entire northern end of the city and includes the following wards Five Corners, Mainshore, Northgate, and Ridgefield. Korvosa’s seat of municipal power stands in North Point, as does the city’s courthouse and the Banking District.

Five Corners: This relatively crowded residential ward houses many of the city’s politicians and their underlings. The ward’s most distinguishing characteristic is Jeggare
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.

Mainshore: The first Chelish encampment on the mainland was in modern-day Mainshore. Sevral battles took place here between the Thannish settlers and Ashanti to establish control of the land. Following the third battle, the garrison erected a wood palisade, which a stone wall later replaced (sections of which still stand and mark the boundaries of the ward). Mainshore remembers the blood spilled to establish and hold it, and dozens of plaques, statues, and memorials pepper the ward. The city’s truly old money still resides in Mainshore, although many buildings not belonging to these wealthy non-noble families show their age.

Northgate: Many visitors from the rest of Gwynne first enter Ashara via Northgate, as it is to this ward that the Longriver Bridge connects. Many of Ashara’s non-noble elites and old-money families live in Northgate, although such moneyed folk slowly relocate onto the slopes and summit of Citadel Hill. As a result, the property values of Northgate are in a slow but steady decline.

Ridgefield: This ward once overlooked the Merciless Cliffs to the south, before the formation of Citadel Crest. Despite losing any connection to the ridge, the ward kept its name. Today, Ridgefield faces the poorest and most crowded ward in the city, and it too is plagued with poverty. Ridgefield serves as home to the Asharan landmarks of the Avenue of Arms and the Posh and Turtle. Regardless of the poverty that hounds it from across the strait, Ridgefield enjoys frequent but stilted economic growth and areas close to Citadel Crest and University are among the nicest in North Point. Ridgefield is, by far, the most economically diverse ward in the city.

Old Ashara (the Old City)


As its name implies, Old Ashara is old. It covers all of Endarin Isle, which rises from sea level along the southern shore on the Narrows of Saint Alika to a 200-foot-high escarpment on the seaward north side. At the foot of Garrison Hill, as this steep incline is called, sits the beehive-like hovel of Bridgefront. Old Dock stands on the relatively f lat eastern protrusion of the island. Atop Garrison Hill stands the stone wall of Fort Ashara, completed in 4438. The imposing black-marble Palace Arkona dominates Old Korvosa, while the remains of the original wooden palisade slowly rot near the gate into the ward.

Bridgefront: 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 ladders and long poles crossing gaps over increasingly narrow roads. Bridgefront occupies a narrow spit of land at the base of Garrison Hill, reaching only three blocks inland from the strait. In those three blocks, though, live more than a tenth of the city’s population, including almost eight-tenths of its poor and destitute.

Fort Korvosa: Less a ward than a moldering citadel, the second incarnation of Fort Korvosa stands atop Garrison Hill and overlooks both Old Korvosa and Conqueror’s Bay. The high granite walls around the fort have received no maintenance since their completion, and have begun to crumble as a result. Thanks to an arrangement made between House Arkona and the city, Palace Arkona, along with its many side buildings, provides the home to the ward’s only permanent residents (the noble family and its servants). On the opposite side of the ward stands the whitewashed buildings of the Endrin Military Academy.

Garrison Hill: Crammed in the narrow confine between the towering walls of Fort Korvosa

The Slums ("Shingles")


The Shingles came into being only a few decades ago, when urban renewal projects on Endrin Isle pushed Old Korvosa’s poorest people into Bridgefront. As people flooded into the area, they quickly ran out of room. Taking a cue from Kaer Maga, 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 Bridgefront 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 almost by definition the neighborhood is in a constant state of flux. Generalizations, of course, can provide a basic overview of the Shingles’ features within a ward, but exact directions to a particular residence or shop defy description. The Shingles do not exist as a continuous layer that blankets the roofs of the city. Rather, large swaths of Korvosa remain free of the phenomenon, with areas under the Shingles being large islands surrounded by clear roofs. Humans don’t live alone on the roofs of their fair city. Instead, an assortment of nasty surprises await unwary fools traversing the Shingles. Everything from imps and stirges to shingle spiders (Medium monstrous spiders) and chokers hunt above the city, ready at any moment to snatch inattentive prey. Parents in the parts of the city under Shingles frequently threaten unruly children with visits “from the chokers that live on the roof.” Much truth exists in this threat, however, as chokers sometimes snatch up their prey from top-floor balconies or by reaching down into chimneys.

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 Endarin, House Jeggaro, House Kalistrad, House Markova, House Mulsanne, House Orsini, House Renfro and House Vendradi

LOCAL NPCs


Blackjack, Cressida Kroft, Demetrius Davalos, Dharvayne Avratos, Garik Eridani II, Gerold Eridani, Glorio Arkhona, Ileosa Eridani, Ishani Dhatri, Marcus Endarin, Neolandus Dhoru, Ornelos Kalistrad, Roland Markova, Sklar, Trinia Sabor, Vencarlo Orsini, Zenobia Van Holm, Zellara

HISTORY OF THE CITY


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

Origins as a 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 peoples, who were actually the first settlers of this region. Back then, the location where the city sits today 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 travelling into the East from two different roads: the trail leading north over the Salakrün Mountains and an eastern route that led to the famous Hakeen cities of Ashkavan and Zocolo.

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 Gwyharë 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 became 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 Thannish rule. The Baron also order a castle 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 Gwyharë as the capitol of the Barony of Ghastonne. 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 Thannish conqueror was slowly taking over the entire region and uniting all of the Thannish tribes and factions under a single banner. This Thannish warlord was Valden Durethë; "Valden the Conqueror," who hailed from the city of Tekrit.

The city of Ashara was at one time only a small city in the fledgling Thannish Kingdom of Valdor, which was founded 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 and Rhodan. 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 famous 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

Rhodara and its capitol city then came to be ruled by the Mad-King; Gayorg Gwyharë. 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. Years later, Ashara was rebuilt under King Grenn Gwyharë and became the new capitol of the new Kingdom of 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 overthrown by Gorion Taraghon.

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Ashara was re-built and endured for many centuries, until the city was besieged and burned by an orcish army in 825/6, during the Forgotten War. But Ashara was rebuilt again, and became much larger, with two sets of walls. the smaller section of the city is known as "Old Ashara." Today, the kingdom of Gwynne is ailing. Thus, the city is now filled with poverty and decay, and is a shadow of its former glory days.