Friday, 1 February 2013

Know Your Place: Caewal

Caewal lies on a peninsula in the southwestern corner of the Isles of Aebron. The distance from its eastern most point to its western-most extremity is nigh on six hundred miles. It is presently ruled over by a conclave of Witch-Queens. Little is known about these powerful magiarchs, save for the fact they enforce their draconian and capricious laws with swift and fearsome magick.


Cae-on-Wal is the capital city of Caewal, situated at the mouth of the river Wal. In ancient times, Cae-on-Wal was the seat of the River King, now his castle is mostly in ruins, and is even something of a tourist spot. Cae-on-Wal's prime location for overseas trade has made it very wealthy. Strict policing keep it clean and pleasant and its citizens, even the poorer folk, are often considered extremely snooty about their city by outsiders.

The city is built in three sections, two on one side of the river and one on the other. The 'Canon Ward' is not home to the military as the name might suggest, but derives from the other definition of canon meaning 'rule' or 'edict'. This is where the River King's castle can be found along with the government buildings and the elaborate houses of Caewal's highest in society.

The 'Anchorage Ward' contains affluent shops, bathhouses, theatres and the homes of the merely rich. Here can be found a beautiful harbour accessible only to those deemed worthy by the city's notorious 'Yachting Club', which is notorious not just for making seafaring recreation ruthlessly exclusive, but also for privately running the third largest navy in the Isles.

The third and largest district is the 'Politan Ward', which houses the remainder of the city's population, the main docks, and more conventional shops and taverns. There are three bridges connecting the two sides of the city, all of which are under constant guard and require permits to cross.
The city is beautified everywhere, even in the 'Politan Ward', with stately trees lining the streets and plenty of parks and flowerbeds. This encourages many who live here to believe it is a civilised and elevated place, and that life here is perfect, but in reality it is run like a police state. There is a nightly curfew (rarely enforced in the richer areas, where balls are common) and the docks are subject to constant patrols, random inspections and treacherous bureaucracy. Of course, this doesn't mean Cae-on-Wal is crime-free. Such diligent and firm law enforcement has instead bred an underworld teeming with particularly ingenious criminals.


Fensea is a town on the northern coast of Caewal. Stretching across several fingers of land in the midst of the Great Fen, the houses stand on stilts and the buildings are connected by an intricate patchwork of board-walks and bridges. The town has a reputation for being friendly to pirates and witches and strange peoples can be found in Fensea that you might not see anywhere else in the Isles. Accordingly, the rest of Caewal looks upon the town with distaste and tries to pretend it does not exist.


Lamphaven sits in the middle of a marsh in the northern forest. The houses are built in the tree branches, far above the turgid and boggy water, with rope and plank walkways connecting buildings. Transit up and down the trees is courtesy spiral staircases hammered into the trunks. As the town rarely sees much daylight thanks to the natural canopy of leaves above, thousands of lamps hang from every available mount, making use of the swamp's copious oil supply. This reliance on light has led to the inhabitants worshipping a god called 'The Devourer of Darkness'. Outside of Lamphaven, this God is simply known as The Devourer and consequently Lamphavians are often accused of being devil worshippers.


Tannam is the most central major settlement in Caewal. It serves as the main centre for trade to and from the fens. Its primary industry is paper, turning thatch and reeds into product suitable for the more refined requirements of Cae-on-Wal. A thriving mage's guild operates here, specialising in weaving spells directly into parchment. The town is named after the Tan family, who own a small ancestral castle close to the town. Along with the other families of 'The Old Money', they run the place, keeping crime down and trying desperately to keep up with the fashions and fads of the capital.


Witchcliff is perched at the top of a three hundred foot cliff on the eastern edge of the Nameless Island. It is accessible only via a rickety rope bridge stretched taut for miles above the raging waters of Cleaver's Channel. No one from Abevorn has ever visited the place and reported back on what was found there. It is rumoured the Witch-Queens of Caewal reside there, but they are also rumoured to live beneath the sea, in the heart of storm clouds and on the wrong side of the daemon planes, so such talk counts for little. All we know for certain is that on a clear day, if you stand upon the beach at Wittle, you can see the curving black spires of Witchcliff in the far distance with indistinct shapes circling above.

Master Karlton Atherton

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