Landfall And Harkfal

The first landing by men on the Isle was said to be at the high, broad plateau called Landfall, which overlooks the western sea. Further back from the coast the soil is rich and almost completely black, bust despite the rich soils little can grow in the relentless winds and torrential rains that blow in over landfall from the sea in the west, and the land is barren except for crops of low plants like pumpkin and sweet-potato. On the seaward edge of Landfall is built the city of Harkfal, capital of the Earldom of Forthest and seat of Earl Martel’s court. The city of Harkfal is squat and ugly and constructed entirely of heavy, rain pitted granite quarried from a cliffside several miles down the coast, their roofs are slate and tar or else simply rounded off stone blocks. The entire city is built to endure the brutal storms that blow in off the western sea, and since many of the buildings in the inner city date back to the very first settlement that stood here, then simply called the Landfall, it has done it’s job amply. The entire city fans out around Castle Harkfal, a low, sprawling fortress beyond any real defensibility. The castle forms the blueprint for the entire city: small, less sturdy buildings shelter around it’s walls, then, once it’s shelter is exhausted, larger buildings rise up, and in turn smaller buildings shelter after these. The entire city is ring after ring of large, sturdy structures sheltering smaller ones. Unlike the other major cities of Ahlonia Harkfal has no structure in wards or districts, but rather is haphazardly cobbled together. Even the roads are skewed, and prone to stopping suddenly. Harkfal was never planned, it simply grows of it’s own accord, and space that is not being used is quickly occupied. Doge Alen Boern makes no real effort to administer the growth of the city. He tries to keep a low wall to denote the city limits for the purpose of administering the Earl’s taxes, but otherwise he is light handed in his awarding of construction contracts or leases. His tiny police force, barely enough to man Castle Harkfal should the time ever come that it is needful, are equally light handed, letting the people get on with their lives and for the most part keeping their presence unfelt.

Region: Ahlonia, The Earldoms, Earldom of Forthest
Total Population: 8,900 approx.
Tech. Level: 6
Major Industry:
Major Religions:

The people of Harkfal are as hardy as their city, one of the poorest capitals per head of population, the city has one outlet for most major services, a single smithy, a single large inn, only two major taverns, few professionals flock to Harkfal, instead it is populated by coastal fishermen and sealers, potato farmers and loggers who leave the city for three months of the year to travel to the forests in the north, then return to mill them. The people tend to dress in heavy clothing, and are seldom seen without hooded coats or some other weatherproofing. Hooded men and women in greys and browns shuffle round the city in billowing coats and capes, heads down saying little, all doors are shut and all windows shuttered and the buildings are grey and rough like the cliffs only a couple of miles out. The overall effect can be quite imposing for the traveller, and few men have reason to come here. Even merchant caravans tend to make stops in Harkfal rather then specifically journeying there.

The court of the Earl of Forthest however, is a relatively healthy one, and this is probably what is responsible for keeping the city active. The Earls of Forthest have long had a reputation for fostering learning, and in the absence of much in the way of education outside of Southaven’s monistic orders many steaders send their younger sons here, because the court is known to be the chosen home of some of the great scholars and writers of all Reddown. The Earl himself has built up quite a library. Martel’s father, Earl Gregory, spent much of his income on collecting codices and manuscripts from all over the isle, and Martel is happy to make his library available to his court. Banquets in Castle Harkfal are often entertained by structured debates rather then music or dance, and the wealth of many of these young steaders sons is what keeps Harkfal from being impoverished.

At the heart of the old township sits the monastary of the scintillating hand, built in the grounds of the old Great Basilica. The largest monastery in Reddown, the Monastery of the Scintillating Hand is devoted to the order of the garden, and is split into two facilities, one for men and one for women. The huge, ornate stone basilica was dismantled when the center of the faith was relocated, but the stones were reused to construct the curtain wall of each of the two monasteries, and the scriptorium and public ceremony chamber have both been re-purposed to make a huge open area where priests give consultations, study and interpret scripture, philosophize and mix with any members of the public who care to come and join them and engage them in discussion or ask for their guidance. Often Earl Martel himself can be found here speaking with the priests and pouring through the ancient texts and histories. The monastery is administered directly from Daultin, and is the foremost dissident bastion anywhere. The monastery is the center of the twice-yearly dissident festivals of Koroth and Aliel respectively when thousands of pilgrims in masks flood the streets of Harkfal, offering mass prayers and singing songs of worship. Most priests are accepted into the faith at these festivals too, and the ceremonies can last for weeks either side. Many noble houses also relocate to residences in Harkfal for the week.

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