Tohl Arodunh

Tohl Arodunh is the second city of the province of Caldare, after the mighty City of Coin. On the banks southern stretch of the Gulf of Cald, the harbour might warrant more favour than that of the City of Coin to the north, save that it lies leagues south of the Great Northern Highway, a veritable fountain of bounty wherever it runs. The city occupies a roughly crescent-shaped region around the north of the bay, a league or so from where the coastline turns eastward. Dependant almost exclusively on the passage of the goods between Donnaigh and Tohl Caldare, the city seldom strays far from the water, and so what from the sea appears a vast metropolis is merely a long, narrow seaside stretch. Still, the population here dwarfs most northern tohls, and revenues from both the countless stone docks that jut like the limbs of a tree into the water, and gate taxes on goods leaving overland on the Caldaran Tradeway give the place a sense of newness and cleanliness that can only come from wealth. Low stone walls with frequent lookout towers run the length of the docks, breaking the harbour from the city proper, with only warehouses, inns and lodgings for labourers in this area. The rest of the city is similarly walled, and surrounded by fenced fields of corn, wheat and barley on all landward sides. A road deviates from the highway to the south of the city, leading perhaps a hundred yards off course and running through the east gate, through the city itself, into the Cracked Bell Market and out the Arch Gate to meet with the highway again as it passes the city walls. Three more small gates lead out of the city, but they are only appropriate for single riders, two are under guard, and only opened by request, and the third lies in the grounds of Renreth Tor, where the highway passes under its battlements.

Region: Caldare, Ralstaa
Total Population: 42,200 approx.
Demographics: 79% Shaeish, 19% Lleweith, 2% Mixed Others
Government:
Wealth:
Tech. Level: 6
Major Industry:
Major Religions:

Once in the southern gates the city is broken into five different neighbourhoods, largely divided by wealth more than industry. Around the southern gates is the poor district. Traders in Tohl Arodunh usually have little interest in goods coming from Tohl Caldare, and so trade is focused on the Arch Gate, meaning that the least valuable land is that around the southern gate. Here the buildings are mostly a mix of stone and timber, usually only a single level, and in relatively poor repair. To the east, along the shore of the loch is the sizable craftsmens districts, where all of the professionals and their shops can be found. Homes here are often two levels high, sometimes three in places where elevation affords a pleasing view of the loch's misty, mirrored surface. Homes usually abut directly onto the back of workshops, and all manner of goods and services can be acquired here. To the north from the narrow eccentric lane known as the Crags down to the rear of the Cracked Bell Square is the scholars district, where the priests, scribes, scholars and libraries of the city are housed. Many craftsmen who have done particularly well, as well as minor nobles, also keep homes here, because the district is pleasant and has a number of small public gardens, as well as the Temple to Rallah, and the monuments and plazas that sit on cannonate land. Around the main street, from the poor district up to the Arch Hate, centered on the Broken Bell Market is the market district. This region of warehouses, merchant homes, fine craftsmen and specialist shops, as well as the temporary stalls of the market, is geared almost entirely to servicing the merchant caravans that pass through the city, and as a result the mix is the haves and the have nots, of workshops and opulent townhouses, is eclectic and the contrast often dramatic. The last district is the laws district, built around Renreth Tor, the city garrison, gaols, courts of law and similar are all clustered around a broad square opposite the Broken Bell Market.

Locations of Interest


Renreth Tor
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Caer Arrodh
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City Garrison
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Gaol
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The Three Spires
Three Spires House, named rather literally for the three great spires that rise from its facade, is the home of the ruling family of House Eoin when they stay in Tohl Arodunh. Currently the house is the full-time residence of Valent 'Houndhunt' Uth-Eoin, but when his father Daffyd ventures into the city on business the Thane's whole household can be found in this sprawling, warren-like stone manor.

Cracked Bell Market
The main market square of Tohl Arodunh in Caldare takes its name from the enormous bell at its center. The immense alarm bell that once warned its citizens of the approach of an enemy was too much for its timber housing and crashed to the cobbles, cracking the side, several decades ago. No one has ever mustered the manpower required to move it, and ever since it has acted as a landmark guiding traders to the Cracked Bell Market.

The Crags
The Crags is the name given to a narrow street that runs along the southern extent of the city of Tohl Arodunh, in Caldare, where the banks of Loch Cael rise up into a rocky overhang. This rugged cliffside is home to the houses of alchemists and chirurgeons who dump potentially dangerous materials straight out into the lake rather than polluting the street-side drains with them. It is also home to a cluster of eccentric sages and poorer scribes who offer their services to those of the merchant class. Often rare books, or unusual reagents and substances find their way down the Great Northern Highway into the private collections here, and so the place has a reputation for being a home to all manner of oddities and curiosities. Every few years the houses have to be braced and buttressed against the spring rockslides, and every decade or so part of one of the ancient stone structures sloughs away into the lake below - leading the houses to encroach more and more onto the narrow lane in front of them as repairs and extensions press away from the inevitably receding cliffs.

Wode Hall
Sitting on the outskirts of the city of Tohl Arodunh, amongst verdant orchards and struggling vineyards, the ancient and historic Wode Hall was the original longhouse built in the village that predated Tohl Arodunh, and even the coming of Arrodh. Today, heavily extended and twice fire-ravaged, the old timber hall is home to Thane Eiron 'Twotrees' Ur-Lleydra and the seat of House Lleydra.

Archgate Stables
Often simply referred to as the "Great Stables", the Archgate Stables, in Tohl Arodunh in Caldare, take their name from the Arch Gate - an enormous stone arch housing the city's northern gate. The great stables are proud to be amongst the largest and finest in all of Ralstaa, known for employing a contingent of goblyns brought all the way from the isle of Ahlonia, where the creatures are evidently born to the saddle. While their skills are celebrated, the creatures are nearly universally shunned and mistrusted however.

Sign of the Broken Wheel
The Sign of the Broken Wheel is the preeminent coaching inn to be found within the walls of Tohl Arodunh. Being in Caldare, there is no necessity for the great fortified inns that characterize the rest of Ralstaa, not the broken wheel represents all the scale and wealth of these establishments without the armed guards and battlements. Of course, unlike other wayside inns, the broken wheel is also somewhat relieved of the burden of keeping a hearty tavern, and so the rowdier aspects of most inn common rooms are scattered to the drinking establishments of the city, making it a popular place for merchants and noblemen to meet and do business, or for caravaneers to recruit the drivers, hostlers and guards they need for their ventures.

Fithel Ur-Bellaghy, Fine Jewellers
Said to be the finest jeweller to be found anywhere in western Ralstaa, and an alchemist and diviner of no mean skill to boot, trinkets purchased - usually at great expense - from the shop of Fithel Gemcutter Ur-Bellaghy are much prized amongst the moneyed citizens and villeins of Caldare. Fithel Ur-Bellaghy, Fine Jewellers is a suitably grand building located at the rear of the Cracked Bell Market in Tohl Arodunh, amongst the tailors, cobblers, leather workers and smiths whose services are favoured by the Prince himself!

Sign of the Grey Griffon
The Sign of the Grey Griffon is a famous, and much celebrated, if somewhat rough, mead hall in the city of Tohl Arodunh. Of course, like all modern Ralstaan mead halls, the hall itself is a great common area, build on top of a subterranean brewery, with outbuildings housing the proprietor and staff opening directly onto the front courtyard. What makes the Grey Griffon distinctive is its present owner, the once-famous adventurer, mercenary and sometime bandit Owen Redshield.

Mussel Farm
While Loch Cael is not widely used by the folk of Tohl Arodunh in Caldare for transport, there is a small fishery industry based around the lake's bounty, and of this nothing is as bountiful as the Mussel Farm. Freshwater mussels are abundant in the shallows of the loch, and so an ingenious citizen some years ago sunk a fishing vessel in the shallows near the base of the cliffs that rise up to the part of the city known as the Crags. This created a sort of artificial reef where the mussels thrived, and since several fishermen have followed suit when their boats become too old or battered to maintain. The resulting mass of rotting timber and trapped sand has both prevented Tohl Arodunh from ever aspiring to any kind of wharf, but is also rich with mussels, which are gathered en-mass once a year and pickled in brine, providing one of the mainstays of the local diet.

Notable Groups and Individuals


Ragnal Uth-Ren
Ragnal Uth-Ren is Prince of Tohl Arodunh, and patriarch of the ruling house of Renreth, and rules all the lands for a day's ride around. A man who has realized the potential of mercantile organizations, he sponsors many of the greatest caravans that travel as far as Aulorn's Gate, and he hopes to extend his range beyond to the very extent of the Great Northern Highway. His three daughters, Sinead, Kaitling and Ashling are his only heirs at present, and all remain neither wed nor promised. It has been suggested that he desires a marriage between Ashling, his youngest, and the House of Caldare. The Prince is served by four capable and wealthy Thanes, each of whom control a large block of land to the west and south of the city: Eiron of House Lleydra, Daffyd of House Eoin, Hale of House Morghan and Hallie of House Arrodh. Of these only Daffyd and Eiron maintain a presence within the walls of the city. Daffyd's son Valent has become popular for his reputation as a card player and carouser - earning his house sneers from the nobility, but quiet admiration from the merchant class.

Allan Sunsword Uth-Arrodh
The Temple here is run by Cannon Allan Sunsword Uth-Arrodh, and the guard is captained by the former knight and chief magistrate Halvale Morghan. Fithel Ur-Bellaghy the jeweler and Lysagh the Stablemaster are both notable businessmen in the city, and both draw customers from beyond the walls of the city.