The Night Shade of Greyhawk and the Hallowed Revenant Amphoras
The City of Seltaren is the homeplace of Geralt of the Night Shade's Heroes. About 9,800 people live in or very near the city. They are farmers, craftsmen, and traders. Duke Karll has protected his city from attack by erecting a wall around it. The wall is dotted with 24 towers. His castle is located on a craggy hill that looms over the city. In the city, the Duke keeps 500 soldiers ready for any emergency. The Duke also has an elite troop, the Bar Rampant, who go on special missions and sometimes act as his bodyguard. The entire Elvenguard often patrols the hills to the south.
Just to the south of the city is the private estate of the Duke, managed by a loyal cousin. This land is mostly well-tended woods and gardens. It is surrounded by a low (15') wall. The Duke uses the estate as a summer palace and hunting preserve. Anyone found on the grounds is treated as a poacher.
Poor workers and petty thieves live just outside the city walls. They work outlying farms and the Estate of Marilenev, a holding that surrounds the city.
The city is a crowded, noisy, unsanitary place. The streets are very narrow, twisting, and dark. There is no sewage system, except for trenches in the centers of streets. Pigs, chickens, geese, and goats are not uncommon in the poorer sections of the city. Most buildings stand one or two stories. They are made of dried clay brick or mud and wattle, constructed on a wooden frame. A few buildings are made of stone or fired brick. Most businesses are on the ground floor, the owner living upstairs. Water is drawn from public wells, or from the river when the tide is flowing out. Crime and gangs are not uncommon. The gangs meet near the city walls and in the squalid sections late at night.
The Secret Seven.
Briefly, the Seven stand in some opposition to the Circle of Eight and have thus far avoided detection by Mordenkainen and his cohorts, by intention and by keeping to less traveled paths. The Seven do not have the same structure as the Circle. They lack the infrastructure of a network of informants and great, fixed strongholds. They tend to use individual operatives and rely more on the seven wizards referenced in their name. Like members of the Circle, the Seven are each located in a different part of the Flanaess. Where the Circle has a headquarters or focus in Greyhawk, the Seven are most concentrated in Furyondy/Veluna. The wizards of the Seven are located in Chendl (Furyondy), Willip (Furyondy), Mitrik (Veluna), Seltaren (Duchy of Urnst), Rel Mord (Nyrond), Rel Astra (Aerdi/Great Kingdom) and Niole Dra (Keoland).
Three families are engaged in the struggle for power in Specularum.
At a still-spritely 63 years, Anton Radu controls his family and organization with an iron, but hidden hand. He is assisted by his brother Cartha, his own sons Zweis and Antonito, and their sons Theodosius, Emil, and Pieter. The Radu family has many contacts in the business and market areas of the city. Their strong control over the trade and wall districts of Specularum greatly influences the import/export businesses. The Radu are attempting to gain control of the money-lending institutions and businesses of the city so they may dictate terms to the Duke.
Once a powerful faction controlling the everyday business of the city, the Torenescu Family has been weakened by the death of its leader, Christoph Torenescu. It is currently headed by his son Aleksandar, a youth of 26. Because of Aleksandar's young age and internal squabbling (especially between Aleksandar
and his uncle, Boris), the Torenescu family has lost power and followers. The family wants to return to its former glory. The Torenescu still have a great deal of political influence and discreet control on
"The Hill," the noble district of town. Others siding with Torenescu include Lady Magda, Yaros (one of the Dukes's Privy Councillors), and "Lord" Dimitros (the self-styled prince of beggars).
Considered by the other factions to be an upstart, the Vorloi family has refused to fit the political mold. The faction is openly controlled by Baron Vorloi. Drawing on his resources as a successful merchant prince,
Baron Vorloi maintains a fleet of merchant caravans in defiance of the Radu family. He resists all their attempts to control his business (or the businesses of those who side with him). The Torenescu are no more pleased with the Vorloi, since the Baron refuses to side with them simply because the Torenescu represent nobility. Vorloi prefers that he and those who side with him be left alone. He has been able to maintain privacy through his influence in the military circles around the Duke. He hopes to gain more power and wring important trade concessions from the Duke. To reach this goal, he tries to prevent open strife and silence any bad news that might reach the Duke. Preventing any problems keeps other families from gaining favor from the Duke. Other members of the the Vorloi faction include the Baron's daughter Marianna, Mikel (the Commander of the Guard Phorsis), and Admiral Hyraskos. He also has a son, Grygori. Unfortunately, the boy is simple minded and foolish, much to his father's disgust.
The Festival of Lucor
The procession is a religious celebration honoring a legendary local cleric named Lucor. It winds through the streets of the city to the market, where the statue of Lucor is carried by magic birds to the mountains. Each year a woman of notable rank and importance leads the procession. This year Lady Magda, a member of the Torenescu faction, has this honor. The festival is of great importance.
Date: 27th Harvester – Festival of Lucor
Every 27th of Harvester, the yeoman farmers of the southern and western extents of the Duchy of Urnst meet in Seltaren. Before noon, each must present himself to the duly appointed agent of the Duke and offer up wroth silver, a sum between 1 and 3 silver pieces. Payment of the wroth silver absolves the freemen from having to "watch and ward" the Duke's lands during the year and grants them the right to drive their cattle across his lands and pasture cattle in those lands of the Duke not marked off or otherwise forbidden. After the payment of wroth silver, the assemblage proceeds by tradition to the Inn of the Dun Cow where they are bought lunch by the Duke's man. The first order of business is to drink the Duke's health.
The origin of Wroth Silver dates back to the time of the formation of House Maure. Western and southwestern portions of the Duchy of Urnst have always been cattle country, particularly the famous Maure cattle, notable for their ability to thrive even during extreme heat and drought. Wroth Silver was a tax on the thriving cattle raising of the freemen who settled the area, often without formal permission of the Duke, who is titular landlord of the entirety of the duchy. The amount fixed was kept intentionally low and is more a formality, acknowledging the Duke's sovereignty, than an actual attempt at extracting meaningful revenue. Practically speaking, in the early years of the Duchy when the practice of Wroth Silver was instituted, the Duke could do little to enforce a greater payment and feared losing the freemen to the lands east of Hardby or Greyhawk. Wroth Silver affirmed the Duke's rights but did not discomfit the freemen.
On those occasions when Wroth Silver was not paid, the Duke would look to confiscate the herds of the offender. While more trouble than it was really worth, this show of force made the point. Wroth Silver was a small price to pay to be essentially let alone and one got a free luncheon in the bargain. Today, the Duke's writ is secure throughout the Duchy. Wroth Silver continues as a tradition among the freemen in the west of the Duchy of Urnst, who form the majority of the population and who zealously guard their traditions. Wroth Silver is observed now as before but is usually accompanied with a general market day and cattle auction. Seltaren benefits as Wroth Silver takes on the trappings of a market or trade fair.