Haven is the royal capital of the Kingdom of the Great Basin and home to the castle of King Dieron I. The largest city of the Basin with 415,000 registered, Haven is in every way the centre of Basanic power and unchallenged by other cities of this nation in wealth, beauty or importance.
The Seat of Power
Haven is home to his most Royal Highness Dieron I, King of the Royal Basin, Duke of the Golden Lands and Hero of the Codex War. The King dwells in a fortified castle that is separated from the rest of the city by Lake Draygal; an artificial moat kept flowing with diverted water from the Scourge. The castle has only been constructed for a handful of years and features the latest in architectural designs and defences both physical and magical. Some of the finest architectural minds in Vaklam are said to have come together to design and build it and it is indeed the jewel in the crown of Haven.
Haven sees a great deal of activity from the nobles of the land; many come and go from its walls each day seeking favour from the court of the King. Most of the noble families have a keep, tower or residence within the walls and usually there is at least one member of a family present in Haven at any one time. Some of the noble families actually date back to the time of the first Kings, having had their bloodline carefully monitored and preserved over the years. There are many rumours about these families and their true connections to the throne, more then a few believe that a syndicate of sorts truly sits in power behind the throne preserving the old ways over all else. Some of the noble families hold huge estates around the basin and reap great wealth from this, however many more still are poor and dependant upon the Crown to upkeep a castle or other residence.
The noble houses Ataxis, Steelheart, Lionsgold, Winter and Draygal are the Royal house; they have the oldest and closest blood ties to the Crown and have the largest estates within the city. Other noble families that are often seen at Court are Hertisan, Dasmamacas, Natheron, Darkspur, Torakaylin, Silverlight and Shadowmane. Over the course of many years Quinn Shadowreaver, head of the College of Controlling Power also gained a sizeable role at court and played a major role in keeping both Dieron’s and his predecessor Joshua’s rule stable and smooth.
Throughout the Royal basin there are a number of very powerful merchant guilds; The Nine Stars, The Eagles Wing Trading Coster, Scourge Bourne Trading, Nightstar Trading and the trading families of Phyphor, Sung, Garalanis, Fat and Dumor. The companies dominate Basanic commerce and their holdings stretch not only through the basin but into other lands as well. The companies form the backbone of the Basins economy and therefore the practical power of the nobility and the guilds. Without the co-operation of the merchant guilds and houses, the Crown is unable to collect taxes. However, the Crown’s base for rulership is its nobility and its guilds, the merchants respect these two aspects and yield to the Crown. Also of course the Crowns army and the powers of the Guilds protects the interests of the merchants.
The most prominent items of commerce outside of the essentials differ from class to class; the commoner folk have often been breeders of animals; cats, dogs and horses for the richer folk. Such trade is enjoyed heavily along the Scourge as creatures bought in from different exotic locales excite the populace. The adventuring community is still strongly tipped in the favour of more exotic potions and such always hoping for a touch of Tiger Balm from the Orient or Black Milk from the Desert. Still fine art and jade objects are extremely popular and many of the finer merchant houses will curry an abundant line of such stock.
The common folk of Haven support themselves through trade and the many bazaars that commonly infest the streets. The central hub of haven is a veritable trader’s Fayre with representatives of most houses including more then a few independents on show. The Eastern spokes of the city are the dock areas; work here is mainly manual labour though many warehouses are available for hire. If you need passage or to hire a vessel then the Eastern spokes are the place to go, all manner of ships from the Rice Empire not to mention the Basin itself pass this way on their way down to the Diamond Lake. The Northern Spoke of the city is the place of armourers, artisans and weapon smiths; if you need it made this is the place to go although costs in the capital are slightly higher then elsewhere this is compensated by the fact that the better quality craftsmen can be found here.
The Western spoke of the city contains the majority of the guildhouse and is truly a sight to behold; great training fields and the magical practise is an often awesome display. Finally the Southern spoke of the city contains the arts and entertainments; the great libraries, theatres, public parks and so forth are all to be found here.
The main currency of Haven, indeed of all of the basin is the Royal Coinage, minted on the previous King; Patryck’s coronation. 80 Tin Blades are worth 1 Bronze Shield, 160 Bronze shields are worth 1 Gold Helm.
Haven’s security force consists of a garrison of 9,000 Silver Saints commanded by General Kryst who is commander of the city. Abefire Sphering of the Church of Ekimelahw is Lord Magistrate of the city whilst the Mayor is Brenon Shadowmane whose herald is May Kilkanon. May Kilkanon is one of the most known faces in Haven and it is believed that she has a hand in more or less everything that happens within the city walls. On top of the Silver Saints the city has a 2,000 strong militia under the leadership of Commander Roupe which has in turn twenty priests in turn of both Ekimelahw and Tiberius at its constant disposal. Added to that the city is home to every guild’s, Churches and College’s headquarters which also adds significant protection.
Two types of society exist within the borders of Haven; that of the Kings court; the Golden Table, governed over by King Dieron and the city itself which is run by Brenon Shadowmane. They are completely separate but complement each other extremely well. The city is a bustling melting pot of cultures, races and social classes all mixing together upon the streets of Haven, touching each others lives and passing on. The Castle is a self contained unit, all facilities that the King could need are kept within its walls, meanwhile the streets of Haven are a mishmash of inns, theatres and other such delights.
The most popular taverns throughout the city are: The Three Mice; a tavern renowned across the land for its excellent food, buxom wenches and Kings Best, a local brew sold exclusively at The Three Mice. The Soaring Sun; a locals tavern famed for its foot thumping shindigs, well priced, good tasting beer and hospitality no matter where you’re from. The Last Watch; an inn boasting fine quality rooms, excellent poetry and plays and bards of the finest calibre, each year at The Last Watch the garden is home to the telling; a Bardic competition of legend. Beyond those there are plenty of other high class bars to frequent, or low class if you so prefer.
Outside of the bars and inns the city teems with other forms of entertainment and points of social interest. Heroes Stare is one of the most popular parks in the city; based around the statue of the band of heroes who saved the city from destruction during its infancy it is now a huge park containing shrines to Naed and Tiberius as well as a running track around which many members of the various guilds train. One of the largest competitive stadiums in Vaklam is also built into the city although this resides in the grounds of the castle and is used not only for tournaments and festivals but occasionally for the competitive games that place every three years between the Great Nations. Whilst the Basin is not always the location of the games it has traditionally been St Mundensberg of Great Strabain that have held the games but times change.
College of Controlling Power: This sprawling edifice is the home of Sourcerous magic throughout the basin. None can truly define the boundaries of its buildings as they are rumoured to travel deep below the surface of the land and indeed travel to other dimensions. The main buildings are the places of Archmages for meeting, research and dangerous summoning; surrounding these are the five colleges of power standing sentry around their more powerful Lord. The College is home to some of the most powerful Archmages that have ever lived including Quinn Shadowreaver, head of the Colleges and advisor to the King. Approaching the Colleges is not recommended unless you have business there and an invitation.
The Clergy Buildings: Located opposite the College of Controlling Power the Clergy buildings are a stark contrast from the College. Whilst they are no-where near as large as the College they seem somehow grander and with more purpose. No shortage of iconography and power seems to have been crafted into the three wing Clergy buildings and despite the Wing of Shadow Chapels remains unused there seems to be a constant stream of life and ebb and flow of faith. The Clergy meet regularly to discuss religious matters and all legal faiths are welcomed. Visiting dignitaries are often cared for by the Clergy, especially those with deific needs. Whilst the College is surrounded by its various subsidiaries the Clergy is not; the Churches that owe their fealty to the Clergy are spread far and wide across not only the City but Vaklam itself, the seats of Tiberiusite and Bethylakian power can be found in the Golden Lands and the Bitter Vale respectively.
The Great Key of Naed: The Great Key of Naed was the seat of Naeds power and existed in the City of Great Strabain. However that edifice was destroyed by agents of Orbolom during the Codex Wars. In order to rebuild Naeds Power a section of Land was placed to one side and now the Great Key of Naed dominates the other buildings around it, thronged as it is by followers, the poor and those seeking hope alike.
The Halls of Law: The seat of Ekimelahwian Power is to be found on the central crossroads more or less in the centre of Haven. The Halls of Law are truly and impressive building consisting of a five spired cathedral, the central spire of which towers far higher then any other structure in Haven. This central tower is called the Solitude; it is the personal chambers of the Head of the Halls, Abefire Spherring. The Halls are always a bustling mass of movement and contains its own Massport Chamber and beacons. They are also said to boast the most secure facilities for law breakers both mundane and magical. Finally it is worth noting that the Halls of Law are the only Ekimelahwian facility that still carries Cardinal Birds; the legend indicating that a cardinal bird will deliver a message (sentence) over any distance.
The Holy Order of Tranquillity: The largest centre of Yarrianite activity in the Basin the holy order of Tranquillity is in essence nothing more then an extensive hospice. The Order is dedicated not only to the worship of Yarrianne but also to the furtherment of mundane medical practices and the eradication of poverty and disease on a more wide scale level. The Holy Order is rumoured to contain a large number of Holy Relics; not only to Yarrianne but also to Kalarin before her and this rumour is given a lot of validation by the sheer number of pilgrims that pass through the city each month, the Holy Order of Tranquillity their destination.
Halls of Commerce: The centre of commercial power are the small and unimposing Halls of Commerce. Here the clutch of merchants, comprising the notable merchant families and heads of the various guilds sit in council and organise the control of the trade throughout the basin.
Notable Folk of Haven
King Dieron the Blessed I: Dieron the Blessed was named many years ago by the Father of an order of monks dedicated to the worship of the old Goddess of good: Kalarin. According to the legend Dieron was abandoned on the doorstep of the monastery and taken in to be raised by the order. Dieron was trained by the monks in the aspect of Kalarin that they followed: that of war. He showed great prowess at an early age and it became clear to the monks that he needed correct training in the path of the Paladin. Dieron was instrumental in the Pantheonic wars, carrying the very essence of Kalarin against the Dark One and ensuring the death of all three of the old Gods. When Tiberius was reborn as a God he converted his worship to that of the old Paladins ways and set of a new and colourful history as a Paladin of Tiberius.
Amongst other things Dieron has become famous throughout the land for many deeds of heroism and danger. He and his companion Duke Tobias of the Forest are responsible for saving the world on many occasions; It was they who stood against the Daemon Lord Orbolom as he attempted to wrest control of the Source Comet, they who killed the last of an ancient race known as the Chronovores, they who as leaders of the Dragon led a desperate mission to destroy the farm of Hunting Horrors deep within the heart of Dreff wood. Together with Duke Dazak, Dieron also led the final assault that saw the toppling of Gabrak’s forces Twenty years ago, winning the Empire the war that almost saw them destroyed. Most recently Dieron stood alongside the rest of the Dragon in putting to rest an ancient daemon that threatened to sunder the veil between our world and the world of Daemons.
Lady Catheryn Hamerinsire: Lady Catheryn was born into a low class family but has had a calling for the church since she was a small child. She excelled in the field of Focus Magic and by the time she was 10 had mastered the art of full casting and was the youngest ever Priestess to become a Servant Sister. At the tender age of 19 she is also the youngest High Priestess on record and within the clergy today. She is so young in fact that she was born PPW (Post Pantheonic Wars) and does not remember the old Gods. Catheryn was made a Lady after her service during the Gabrak wars when she was 16 years of age; she stayed by her post on the battlefield, healing the injured as the war raged around her. After the war she gained fame and notoriety travelling to the most diseased areas of the land with her faithful healing those afflicted and giving sermons and lectures on the grace of Yarrianne. Originally an Armoured Priest during the War Lady Catheryn has been admitted to the rank of High Priestess as a Pure Priest and head of the Clergy of Yarrianne.
Abefire Sphering Abefire Sphering is a Granite Heart Dwarf in his late 220’s and he has been in the service of Ekimelahw since his Uncle, the famed Dwarven Cavalier; Henghist Souleye passed on not only from this life but also his blessed axe to the then young Dwarf. Our Lord Sphering was born, sadly, with but one eye, his left arm is slightly deformed and his hand nothing more then a ruin, yet he is and has been a most able follower of Ekimelahw. Whilst unable to use his uncle’s axe he has carried it for almost 200 years, strapped to his back and waiting to pass it onto a successor who has yet been un-named.
Abefire entered the service of Ekimelahw as a Peace Keeper, but his skills with weaponry were somewhat lacking, however he performed ably and many believed that he may one day go on to serve as a district Judge, a great honour. Serving with Adam Grace, who went on to hold the position of High Inquisitor, he garnered an excellent reputation for perception, information gathering and most importantly an unwavering ability to hold and stick to the law of the land and of Ekimelahw. Indeed during only his 10th year of service he was awarded the honouree rank of Eye of Ekimelahw according to his work with uncovering the three “Slave Lord” barons of what is now the Bitter Vale.
After that Adam Grace made Abefire an Inquisitor, personally backing him through the training, despite the voices of many who said that he was not capable. Abefire flew through the trials of the Inquisitor to become one of the most renowned in three centuries. His deeds are legend, his name feared by all but the most foolish of the Criminal elements. It was no surprise that upon the death of his mentor Abefire was asked to fill the role of High Inquisitor, a role which he accepted as though he had been born to it. Ever since the Church of Ekimelahw has been in safer and wiser hands then it has ever known.
Mayor Brenon Shadowmane: Brenon Shadowmane is the son of Othar Shadowmane whose cousin Maik Shadowmane is in the process of courting the Lady Lyria Draygal. Whilst the man is a fearless warrior and excellent friend it is the considered position of many of the common folk that his ability to run the city is similar to the ability of a dead cats to chase mice. However, blustering and oft confused though he is, Brenon is a fair if uncomplicated man. Although the common folk regard him as somewhat of a dullard they would most decidedly stand by him at election.
May Kilkanon: An upcoming young lady and daughter of the unlanded Knight Jorus Kilkanon, the Kilkanons only enetered the nobility stakes two years ago after heroic deeds upon the field of battle. May has been sent to the assistance of Brenon Shadowmane firstly because of her incredible ability to organise and control matters and secondly because, as everyone knows, her father is drunkard who spends most of the money they earn in the nearest tavern. At first pitied and now feared May is fast become a creature of legend amongst the merchants halls, guilds and churches to which she frequently travels. Her knowledge and acumen make her fearsome adversary in the day to day running of the city of Haven.
Commander Treganan Roupe: The slightly worn commander of the watch Roupe no longer cuts the imposing figure he once did. At almost sixty years of age and the veteran of a hundred thousand street fights Roupe is almost near to retirement. Despite his age and extremely jaded outlook Roupe still runs an organised and incorrupt watch, with 4 watch buildings spread across the growing face of the city. He has two captains and a number of lieutenants serving under him all of whom have a very high level of respect and loyalty to the man they call The Watch.
Lukas Kyss: Of the hall of Commerce, once was an independent merchant who challenged the power of a number of the established houses. He was swiftly offered a job and now represents the face of the unified houses under the Hall of Commerce. Whilst this organisation is only a loose banding together certain standards have to be maintained and Lukas is the man to oversee them.
All legalised religions are represented in Haven and shrines to most deities outside of the basin exist.
With the fall of Maryat as the capital city a replacement was needed and with the coming of a new King it was decided that an entirely new city should be constructed as a testament to a new era. So Haven was begun.
During its early formation the city was attacked by various agents of a number of enemies in an effort to halt its construction, destroy it entirely or kill various dignitaries that happened to be in the area. The most notable group in the defence of the city were led by a Ranger of Dreff Wood called Cruniac; his companions included Bronwyn of Naed, Reyn of Tiberius, Brannigan Bakerton, Cannis Devris and Dregos Freeblade.
Since its inception some five years ago the city has come to fruition and rapidly taken over the role of heart of the basin. Despite its short lifespan it has already endured one siege under the command of Arthurian, one of the nine challengers.