The World Of Khoras - Civilization - Cities

Zesrun - Capital City of Corvenia

"Nice fountain."
- Camric of Malkora, mercenary captain

Zesrun, capital city of Corvenia

Ruler His Enlightened Authority, Speaker for the High Council Lord Querias Taun
Population 63,400
Demographics Human 74%, Grum 10%, Elven 6%, Saurian 6%, Avarian 2%, Ogre 1%, Baenite 1%
Adjectival/Demonym Zesruni/Zesruni
Languages Corven 70%, Northern 25%, Sauric 5%
Nationality Corvenia
National Colors Blue and white
Year Founded 566
Currency Corvenian crystals.
Natural Resources and Manufactured Goods Lumber, herbs, spices, oil, sulfur, tar, hay, cattle, chickens, hogs, fur, freshwater fish, freshwater crab, oysters, yams.
Wealth Above Average
Government Type Polity
Government Stability Stable
Allies Arkalia, Khenshire
Enemies None
Walled No
Crime Level Low
Technology Level Dark Ages
Primary Religion Imarus
Other Religions Barrinor, Vorkayne, Semorjon, Sarreth, Kael, Glavyris, Daramis, Farzak, Drenmoragin, Kolo, Assytia
Climate Temperate
Terrain Forest and swamp

Description

A very large, spread out, unwalled community. Most buildings are stone. Many buildings are crafted of stones that are literally welded together (magically). This makes them heat efficient. Smooth walls which are difficult to climb. This is a relatively low tech community. Most people wear simple wool clothing, eat meals with wooden bowls and wooden spoons. These people view themselves as a community and every citizen is important. There are very few beggars or vagabonds here. The homeless are taken in (usually by a large farm cooperative or craftsmen) and given a place to sleep in exchange for a day’s work.

Festivals and Faires

The Corvenian Festival of Light

A yearly festival held in Zesrun during which the greatest illusionists of the land gather to entertain the audience and compete for prizes and trophies. Explosions of light and color erupt in the sky as each illusionist strives to outdazzle the rest. This festival lasts three days culminating in an awards ceremony in which the top three competitors are recognized.

City Infrastructure

Street Lights

To illuminate the streets at night, Zesrun uses enchanted "glow crystals" mounted on iron brackets at the corners of buildings.

Government and Public Establishments

Council Hall of Zesrun

The Council Hall of Zesrun is the main governmental building. It is one of the more elegant buildings with marble trimmings and pillars, and thanks to Corvenian magic, lights up in a dreamy haze of blues, greens, and purples each night. The Council Hall is also the main military center and houses the officers and administration of the military.

The Crystal Seed

The Crystal Seed is the name of Zesrun's official "mint". Here, the magical currency of Corvenia, the crystal glyphs, are grown, shaped and enchanted. Dunstak, master of the crystals, is a fanatic about security and control of the currency. He does everything he can to prevent counterfeit crystal glyphs. In addition, the Crystal Seed is a money changer station and a gemcutting/jewelry shop.

Community Market

The main city market of Zesrun is a actually located on the very southern edge of town. It is a large open oval field which is usually filled with children playing but once each week is filled with farmers with fresh produce and craftsmen selling their wares. Since many of the citizens are capable of some magic, these market days are particularly dazzling for the visitor. Corvenian magic is used by everyone to make the day a little more enjoyable. With a minor magick, the fruit is a little juicier, the flowers are a little brighter, the crystal is sparkling clean and the weather is perfect. Some of the more skilled magi put on wonderful magic shows.

The City Guard of Zesrun

The city guards of Zesrun patrol the city in groups of three. They use magic and are used to dealing with criminals who also have magic. They are good at seeing through illusions, finding invisible criminals, deciphering magical spells, overcoming magical barriers, etc.

Temples and Shrines

Corvenian mysticism permeates every facet of life. In some ways, the corvenian view of magic, life and energy is very similar to elven mysticism. There is a small glade shrine to Assytia located just outside of Zesrun. Shrines to most of the Elder Gods and Celestials dot the city.

Unique City Features

The Walking Fountain

The Walking Fountain is Zesrun's famous mobile landmark. It is a beautifully constructed three pooled fountain that walks (Thanks to four  magic turtle-like "legs") along the main street of town once per day to signify the noon changing of the city guard. The round trip takes about thirty minutes, and then it returns to its rightful place in front of the Council Hall of Zesrun. The fountain, a symbol of beauty and the Corvenian Gift, shoots water high into the air in beautiful arcs. The stream of water magically animates and takes the shape of ancient glyphs of peace. Townsfolk love showing off the fountain to people traveling through their country. It is considered good luck for newcomers to toss a pebble into the fountain as it passes by. When a pebble hits the shaped water-stream, the stream changes into a different glyph.

Important People of Zesrun

Lord Querias Taun, Speaker for the High Council

Sir Taun is an effete man, gaunt and slightly balding. Somewhat showy, he has an extensive wardrobe and will often change outfits midday. He is one for ceremony and is typically accompanied by at least two well groomed manservants. Despite these character flaws, Taun is genuinely concerned with the well being of his nation and carries out the functions of his office to  the best of his ability. 

Arkris the Elder

Arkris is an ancient man who hobbles along with the aid of a gnarled ironwood stave. Renowned as a very talented wizard and marvelous magic sculptor, it was Arkris who created the Walking Fountain. He has spent many years tutoring talented young men and women in the ways of Corvenian magic and is frequently called upon to  advise the Council on metaphysical matters. It is said that Arkris is on good terms with Shegrotha of the Trackless Mire and will often be gone for weeks at a time visiting her.

Shops and Guilds

Name Description
Ornisem's Academy
Ornisem
Wizard's School - Ornisem is a very old corvenian wizard. He runs a small government sponsored school of wizardry which teaches young corvenians to master their inherent magical gifts. He has a small staff and this faculty teaches all age groups, from very young children to adults. The academy teaches children the basics of corvenian magic and brings all students to a certain minimum level of skill. Advanced classes, taught by Ornisem himself, are available for those who wish to pursue a career in magic. Nowadays, nearly all corvenian children are sent to complete a basic semester here. Ornisem, while happy to teach everyone who is willing to learn, worries that today's children seem more and more likely to take their gift for granted. He fears for the general character of his countrymen.
Boar's Tusk
Zanris
Trading Post - The Boar's Tusk is the major trading post of Zesrun. It serves as a general store and almost anything can be acquired here. Zanris, a strange smelling man in his late forties, has just added a certain feature to his business: He has spent the last year infusing his gift into the very shelves of his store. If a dishonest customer should happen to sneak an item off the shelf and into his pocket while Zanris' back is turned, a high-pitched alarm will sound as soon as the thief tries to make out the door with it. Now, this hasn't happened yet, but he can't wait to see the look on the poor bastard's face when it finally does. So anxious is Zanris to spring this well-laid trap that he has recently taken to making excuses to go into the back room while customers are still browsing through his store, tempting them with the possibility of an easy theft.   
Brogg's Ironcraft
Brogg
Smithy - Brogg is the best blacksmith in Zesrun. He is not a native corvenian and is originally from Arkalia. Therefore, he does not have the inherent corvenian magical skill and he never studied magic. Instead, he uses traditional ironworking skills (a blend of dwarven and human blacksmith methods) to produce true works of metal. Corvenian blacksmiths use magic to gently shape metal, rather than through heat and force. Their crafted items are have a more fluid, organic look and feel, but are often more brittle and prone to breakage.

Serpent's Eye
Amsuka

Inn/Tavern - The Serpent's Eye is a large and successful inn/tavern run by a saurian who left the swamps some time ago to join the Corvenians in "civilized" life. The Corvenians, while normally squemish and very distrustful of the violent saurians, discovered that Amsuka is unlike any other saurian. He is intelligent, well spoken, cultured and charismatic. He is quite the local celebrity in Zesrun.
Thundering Alefall
Brukati
Tavern - The Thundering Alefall (the name is derived from Thunder Falls) is the best tavern in Corvenia. Brukati, a native Corvenian and skilled sorcerer, combines subtle spell weaving with traditional craftsmanship and produces several variations of his own smooth, burgundy colored ale. He brews the concoctions in large copper vats - much larger than one would think necessary - and spices them with herbs which his assistant, Tanig, obtains from the Trackless Mire. The tavern is aptly named because he serves his famous ales in huge tankards about three times larger than a normal tankard.
Bronze Ekril
Lainorre
Inn - This traveler-friendly inn overlooks beautiful Cauldron lake, and is an excellent place to stay. A different troupe of bards play here every night. Stories are told, melodramas are acted out...all with magical lighting, sound effects, and chamber music that seems to come through the very walls. All of this is thanks to Lainorre, an accomplished and frequent user of her Corvenian gift. She spends almost all her free time thinking of new and entertaining ways to embed her establishment with magical extras. Many inns in Zesrun do this, realizing that to a newcomer, their everyday Corvenian magic must seem amazing and wonderful. And whoever can best combine their gift with a good sense of showmanship will usually do the most business. The Bronze Ekril features different music in each room, ales that glow a festive green and purple for the holidays, and mugs that magically refill themselves. (Even Lainorre's employees are stumped as to how she does that trick...) The Bronze Ekril is also one of only six other buildings in Zesrun that washes itself.
Muddy Boots Inn
Senger Jeng
Inn - A small, run down inn with very cheap rooms.
Tavern on the Lake
Tavos Lin
Gambling Hall - Despite the name, this small pub is actually a gambling house with simple, but plentiful, fare. Card games, dice games and chess games continue all day long including one magic-infused game which involves the cards magically and spontaneously changing value as the game progresses. Tavos, a skilled magi, monitors his gaming pub with magic to make sure no patrons are using their corvenian skills to cheat. At his he is extremely good.
The Third Apprentice
Balkoth
Apothecary - This small shop is run by a very old hermit named Balkoth. This wizened old man has wild, unkempt stark white hair, pale blue eyes and an overall zealot appearance. He is a skilled herbalist and alchemist. He shuts up his shop once each month for several days while he ventures out into the local woods to gather herbs, mushrooms and more. He is quite good and concocted healing poultices and such. He uses no magic at all. You see, Balkoth is only half corvenian. Most corvenians of mixed blood have at least a little magical skill, but Balkoth proved to be exceptionally bad at magic. He tried very hard to learn Corvenian magic when he was young but could only manage the most meager of spells. His father, a wealthy man, pulled strings to make sure he achieved an apprentice position, even though he was not qualified. However, due to his lack of skill, Balkoth was relegated to the position of third apprentice - an insulting low ranking position and slap in the face. Rather than endure humiliation or face his father, Balkoth fled the city. He spent many years travelling the realms and living in the woods alone. While out in the world, he learned plant lore. And picked up a bit of an eccentric personality while his bitterness toward Corvenia grew. Eventually though, he returned to his homeland, long after his family was dead. He then set up a small shop as a healer who used no magic. He has achieved some success. His healing herbs do work. He makes a paste which keeps away insects and a juice that cures burns. He has an ointment or powder for just about any ill. Balkoth also distills a potent alcoholic brew, though he usually just makes small batches for himself. He lives alone in his tiny store. Most city folk think of him as a crazy old hermit and, since he can't use magic, not worth taking seriously. However, Balkoth is a good information source and always knows what's going on in the city.
The Little Kettle
Andina
Tavern/Inn - Many years ago, there was a famous tavern named Sargosa, after the owner and proprietor. It was a popular and expensive place that catered to those of civility and was frequented by nobles. Housed in an ancient stone three story building, It was known throughout the city and beyond for exceptional food. The name of Sargosa was famous in Corvenia. In particular, Sargosa's siganture dish was his own unique twist on the traditional Corvenian dish of kijara. When Sargosa's health declined, he decided to retire. Having lost his wife long ago and having no siblings, the business would normally have gone to his son and daughter. However, his two children did not get along and had publicly declared that they would never work together. Patrons of the restaurant were afraid that when Sargosa retired that the business would fail in the hands of the two squabbling sibling. Therefore, Sargosa did the only thing he could do. To his daughter, he left the restaurant itself. To his son, he left the name of Sargosa's along with a sizeable fortune to start his own restaurant and the recipe for the kijara. Therefore, the city of Zesrun now has two establishments that claim the heritage of Sargosa's.

The daughter, Andina, renamed Sargosa's tavern to the Little Kettle (which was Sargosa's pet name for her). Although the building is the same, there have been a number of changes. The name has been changed, the menu has been altered and despite her best efforts, she cannot capture the culinary excellence of her father. Though, Andina and her two chefs do an admirable job. Despite this,  the Little Kettle still does a brisk business with many customers from the old days who feel that they do honor to Sargosa The Little Kettle has 10 large private rooms for rent, a huge central dining area, an enormous kitchen, countless store rooms and a staff of 18, most of whom live with Andina in the upper levels.

As can be imagined, a spectacular rivalry has blossomed between the Little Kettle and the new Sargosa's. The brother and sister's hatred of each other has only grown stronger over the years and they refuse even to speak to one another now nor discuss with anyone what sparked such enmity. These two taverns are constantly trying to outdo one another and steal customers from the other. No ploy is too deceitful. It is likely that Harrick, the brother, plots to one day retake the original building. Likewise, Andina, the sister, no doubt desires to obtain a copy of the legendary kijara recipe. All manner of intrigue and espionage likely occurs between these two innocent looking taverns.

Sargosa's
Harrick
Tavern/Inn - As indicated above, Sargosa's son inherited the name of the restaurant, a small fortune and the legendary recipe to Sargosa's kijara. With these three things, he started his own restaurant and capitalized upon the name. Sargosa's now resides in a broad, brick and timber two story building some three city blocks from the Little Kettle. He has 12 private rooms for rent and employs a staff of nine to help him run the business. His clientele consists of a mixture of new comers who have heard of Sargosa's and wish to sample the kijara and older folks who know the history and would rather follow the kijara than the name and tradition.

This ongoing war between these two establishments has forced both to develop wonderful dishes and services for low prices. In the end, the customers are the ones who benefit.

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