The Duchy of Alqualondë
Among the richest and most powerful of Tirgonia’s duchies, Alqualondë lies south of Tirgon, astride the great Greenwood peninsula. Its chief city, also called Alqualondë, sits at the extreme tip of the peninsula, at the back of a narrow bay whose high, rocky walls provide it with much protection from pirates and invaders. The city is the only place along the peninsula for a hundred miles in either direction where the high, jutting cliffs give way to a gradual slope, allowing easy transport of goods from the harbor up to the city.
The rolling fields of the Plain of Forthing form the rich, northern baronies of Alqualondë. Of these, the farming town of Dunhaleth is famous for its fall festival, while the Abbey of the Sleepless Ones at Longinus is well-known for it’s Conorrian architecture and Miletian art.
The Greenwood dominates the southern peninsula of the duchy. It is a dense, old forest still populated by mysterious creatures and crossed by only a few roads. Until half a century ago, it was held in the grip of a powerful evil spirit, which made travel and trade dangerous. Now the Greenwood has a good road cut through it, and is the domain of many rangers and elves, but it retains its primeval feel, and most who travel its ways are content to remain on the road.
Points of Interest
The Greenwood – This forest separates the main area of the duchy from its capital. Though free the evil which once dominated it, some dangerous beasts still make their home in the thousand square miles of dense forest. Lately, manticores have been in the northern part of the wood, and there are rumors of an ancient Conorrian portal somewhere in the western woods.
The Towers – Two mysterious citadels stand within the duchy, on the northern shores of the Bay of Ben-Thael. The first is Black Haven, the brooding fortress of the Eleanturi, the elves known as the Oathtakers. More is said of Black Haven on the Legends page. The other is the Tower of Nur-Halveth, rumored to be the bastion of a powerful cabal of sorcerers who wish no contact with the outside world.
The City of Alqualondë
(Large City – 21,500)
Alqualondë is often called the City of White Towers after the many tall, fluted elven spires which dominate its skyline. It was founded around the year 850 by the legendary elven lord Celimron, and is still host to a small community of elves from the Misty Isles. Though the ships of the western isles now come seldom to the hither shore, it is to Alqualondë that they still most often sail.
There are many other wonders in the White City. The city is built upon series of hills which rise up to the Greenwood plateau, and is divided by the Thendam River, which plunges down from the heights in a series of waterfalls and rapids to meet the sea. The lower reaches of the city’s hills are thronged with many winding streets and narrow alleys, while the higher elevations are home to wooded estates and temples. The twin harbors are divided by a long tongue of land which ends in a broad, tall rock on which sits the Sea Tower, an imposing fortress which guards the sea routes into the city.
A common sight in the skies overhead are the griffon mounts of the Ascalian Knights, an order that traces its origins back to the Miletian Empire, is related to the Church of Thandor and which is dedicated to the defense of civilization. The Duke of Alqualondë himself was once a member of the Ascalian Knights.
The Warlock’s Keep is another famous, if less savory landmark. It is situated near the heart of the city, in a small and verdant park surrounded by a high wall. The park seems to be immune to prevailing conditions of wind and weather. No one dares to enter the park unbidden, for it is said to be inhabited by rare and dangerous beasts. The keep itself is fifty tall and just as wide. It is made of unremarkable local stone, but the walls glow softly at night, similar to phosphorescent lichen. Each of the four turrets atop the keep fly the famous (or infamous) Warlock’s Ensign, a golden banner emblazoned with a storm cloud.
Foresters’ Park is a large, densely-wooded park within the walls of the city. It is dedicated to the goddess Daria. A small group of druids from Nereseä watch over the park and tend it. It is a favorite spot of poets, elves and lovers.
The Titan Shell – The most famous temple to Roldein, the god of the Oceans, in all of the Successor States is situated on a cliff above the harbor of Alqualondë. It is built within an actual gargantuan whorled shell (like a nautilus) which lays half-buried on its side in the cliff. The outermost chamber is where services to the god of the deep are held, and it can hold nearly a thousand people under its colorful roof.
Noted Taverns –
Harper’s Rest – This large, bustling alehouse just inside the north gate is a favorite with merchants and travelers who have come down the Greenwood road. Lively music and heaping plates of roast boar lubricate the atmosphere and help settle many a deal.
Varl’s – A large white building on the lower slopes of the city, near to the harbor, Varl’s was once the villa of a wealthy shipowner. It’s clientele are mostly sailors and dockworkers, but also includes fair number of the city’s less reputable characters. The faded opulence of the multi-room tavern doubles as a temple to the goddess Ilion. The proprietress, a middle-aged woman named Sciana, who herself possesses a certain half-faded beauty, is a priestess of the wild goddess.
Land’s End – Built at the top of the city’s hill in a quiet and out of the way district, this two-story marble and wood building consists of open, windowless galleries which permit superb views both of the ocean and of the Greenwood. It is popular with elves and is named for the fact that for many, Alqualondë is the last sight of the mortal lands they will ever have.
Ardenscar the Mad is Count Khilroën’s personal wizard. He gets his nickname because of his chaotic demeanor. He babbles riddles and rhymes at random moments and dresses in outrageous fashions. Oddly, Ardenscar is only calm when using magic.
Aurilea is the High Priestess of Valkrys in Alqualondë. She is a prodigy, healing the sick and lame with ease. It is widely believed that she actually resurrected Wodron, Captain of the Ascalian Knights, but this is denied by the Church.
Bauchus is the High Priest of Thandor in Alqualondë. He is an old man who has served his church for many decades. He is known to be an expert on elven history and lore.
Cloakshadow is a sorcerer who runs The Crooked Tower, a college of magery in the small town of Zanamir, just outside Alqualondë.
Cylene, Captain of the ship “Heart of the Storm”, Cylene is a heroine of the first order, famed throughout Alqualondë. She and her crew are famous for hunting the Mahadran pirates, having sunk or captured seven vessels so far. Cylene is also a renowned swordswoman and prodigious drunk, whose crew can often be seen carting her back to her ship.
Farionh, Duke of Antiphia, is an old but vigorous man. He can be ruthless with his enemies, and Alqualondë is relatively free of crime only because of his harsh justice.
Khilroën, Count of Forthing, is Farionh’s brother, and his junior by almost two decades. Where Farionh would make any sacrifice for his realm, Khilroën would make any sacrifice for power. Rumor has it that his his nephew met his untimely death for this reason. Khilroën is a schemer, and aided in all he does by his henchman, Ardenscar the Mad.
Varens is Farionh’s son. Educated in far-off Conorria, many whisper that he is not the leader his father would wish him to be, and fear that Varens will heed his uncle’s teachings more than his father’s.
Wodronis the Knight-Commander of the Ascalian Knights. He is a huge tower of a man not given to much talking. He is always found near his beloved griffons, and is usually only seen in the skies.
The Cupbearers – Fifty years ago, the Cupbearers were a famous adventuring group that cleared out the evil spirits haunting the Greenwood and made Alqualondë their home. Led by the elves Beleg, Erol and Manden, as well as the half-elf Tarl Wolfspaw, they were also famous for destroying and scattering the cult of Drauluin and were instrumental in returning the Conorrian emperor to his throne. Most of the Cupbearers disappeared in the year 2747. Two, both with long-lived elven blood, are known to survive. Tarl Wolfspaw went on to be king of Airnim barbarians. Krynn became the controversial baron of Braelin Don, in Estwilde.
Three structures related to the Cupbearers still stand in Alqualondë. The first is a statue to the four original members, commemorating their courageous battle against the dragon Belthazar on the docks. The second is the townhouse once owned by Erol, which is now a sort of public museum to the heroes. The third, and least well known, is the rundown inn known as the House of Peace. This was owned by the wizard Manden and was often the unofficial home of the Cupbearers.