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 Forest fauna and flora, wetlands sulfur, tar, clay, cattle, wild hogs, freshwater fauna and flora
Manufactured Goods and Major Exports Lumber, herbs, spices, salted beef, pork products, pottery, freshwater fish and crab, oysters, yams.
Wealth Above Average
Government Type Aristocracy
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

Overview

Zesrun is the capital city of Corvenia. This large, unwalled city sits at the mouth of the Ethereal River on the eastern bank of Cauldron Lake. The river divides the city into two roughly equal halves, each half with its own districts. Several bridges span the river, connecting the two halves. Due to the heights of the bridges and the depth of the river, only small boats and river barges are able to pass through and proceed up river. River traffic is a common sight as trade goods are ferried in both directions. Due to its geographic position, Zesrun is only a minor port city. A few large “lake ships” ferry larger cargos between the various towns on the shores of Cauldron Lake and Zesrun’s harbor district. Due to the magical abilities and the common magic utilized every day, the city is noticeable cleaner and in better condition than most other cities of this size. Buildings are white washed, roofs are tiled in bright red clay tiles and many touches of color adorn the city throughout.

History

When the Sundering occurred and the landquakes shook the world, the northern lands were flooded. It was this flooding of the north that formed the great Captured Sea. In the weeks that followed, subsequent landquakes elevated the south rim and formed both Cauldron Lake and the Thunder Falls. Through all of this geological upheaval, a single outpost of the Irreni League survived. It was one of several minor forts that guarded the southern Irreni border. While the other forts were swept away by the flood waters or destroyed by the quakes, this one fort remained unscathed. It was called Fort Zesrun, the origin of whose name is long lost.

At the time of the Sundering, the lord and commander of Fort Zesrun, Kai Moska, was away and traveling with a company of his advisors and knights. The fort, therefore, found itself under the command of Sol Kai Anorath, a young and inexperienced knight and minor lordling. Cut off from the rest of the league, Sol Kai Anorath found himself in the position of holding the tiny fiefdom together while dealing with the World Storm, roving bandits, hordes of displaced refugees, plague, famine, monsters and more.

Those few first years were the hardest, but eventually the storms and quakes subsided and the world settled down to heal its wounds. With the support of advisors and followers, Sol Kai Anorath promoted himself to full Kai and guided the tiny nation through rebuilding and expansion. This fledgling nation was called the Zesrun Alliance. Kai Anorath’s sons and grandsons continued his work after he was gone. In all, his family line held the throne for seven generations throughout the Age of Chaos and the Great War.

Disagreements over how to handle the escalating war led to a series of confrontations between nobles which culminated in the reigning Kai being usurped in 302 CY. The usurper was Sub Kai Moska, a direct descendent of Kai Moska, who died in the World Storm and flooding. The young Moska felt his family line had been cheated of their right to rule. With the aid of several other noble families, he declared himself King Moska the First and renamed the nation the Kingdom of Zesrun.

The Moska family held the throne for several generations though the Moska bloodline proved to be mired in corruption and incompetence. After eight generations of this, a resistance movement arose and began a civil war which lasted for thirty years. The Moska line was finally overthrown by the resistance movement and the monarchy was replaced by a ruling council in 437 CY. The ruling council held to many of the ideals of the Irenni League and instituted sweeping reform and changes to the law.

Throughout its first four centuries, the region was plagued by witches and warlocks who prowled the land. To battle this threat, the ruling council formed the Witch Hunter’s Guild, a militant organization charged with hunting down and eradicating all witches and warlocks.

Despite the best efforts of the Council and the witch hunters, the problem only became worse. As the years passed, witches and warlocks grew in numbers and strength. They began to form into covens and these covens eventually united into larger and more organized groups. By the turn of the century, witches and warlocks were battling it out with witch hunters in broad daylight and, too often, the witch hunters lost. These frequent clashes gradually began to blend together and the nation soon found itself in a full scale civil war. Witch hunters and militia soldiers clashed with groups of magic wielding warlocks in spectacular battles across the land. In 566 CY, at the battle of Round Hill, a massive group of warlocks that called themselves the “Coven Army” won a decisive victory over the witch hunter army. The scattered fragments of the witch hunters and militia retreated to Zesrun to defend it. The Coven Army laid siege to the city of Zesrun. The siege lasted for thirteen days before the walls were brought down. In a fierce battle that raged through the streets, the witches fought their way to the council hall and within a day took over the entire city. This victory marked the beginning of the modern nation as it is known today. The nation was renamed Covenia after the Coven Army.

The first few decades of this new government were fraught with conflict as the commoners bristled at being ruled over by witches. Some militias and bands of farmers continued to fight. Others simply left. Within a decade, most of the fighting was done and the nation settled into relative peace. As the years unfolded, many witches stepped forward. Many people had hidden their magical ability for fear of being labeled a witch and executed. But now that warlocks held the capital, many of these people came forward. As the decades rolled on, it gradually became clear that there were MANY people in Covenia that had witch-like powers. The warlocks began to establish magic schools to help guide these new witches and help them develop and control their spells.

Shifts in the language led to a subtle shift in the name of the nation and it began to be known as Corvenia.

By 1000 CY, it was estimated that nearly half of the people of Corvenia had at least some rudimentary spell ability. The terms “witch” and “warlock” had fallen out of favor and the gifted of Corvenia referred to themselves as “natural wizards”.

As it grew, Corvenia did its best to maintain peaceful relations with its neighbors. Despite these efforts, there were problems. A growing resentment and uneasiness had been growing within religious communities of nearby nations. Some religious leaders viewed these “natural wizards” as demon worshipers. One particularly aggressive movement was a small faction of the church of Imarus that called themselves the Soldiers of the Hammer. This faction declared the land of Corvenia a “haven of devil worshipers and witches”. In 1482 CY, the Soldiers of the Hammer departed Arkalia amidst much political tension and invaded Corvenia. For several weeks, the Soldiers of the Hammer held Thunder Falls and made it all the way Zesrun. A brief conflict was fought over several days, but the religious zealots, small in number, were defeated. Relations between Arkalia and Corvenia were strained for decades afterward, but eventually were mended.

For centuries, it had been known that this region was saturated with a weak magical field that seemed to be everywhere. In the year 1879 CY, a visiting Carrikosian wizard discovered the source. In a small murky bog a few miles east of the town of Round Hill, a sunder shard was discovered. This was an unusually large sunder shard and it had been irradiating the region for centuries. Scholars and wizards have speculated that this shard had a profound impact on the development of the Corvenian people and is the cause of their “natural magic”. This theory has its critics as well. In any case, this great crystal, which has since become known as the Crystal of the Coven, was declared an artifact of the nation and moved to the Council Hall of Zesrun 1881CY. It now resides at the heart of that government and nation, both physically and spiritually. The Crystal of the Coven is the size of a wine barrel and weighs approximately 500 kilograms. It is, by far, the largest sunder shard ever discovered.

Over the centuries, the percentage of the population with magical abilities has increased. In the modern age, virtually all native born Corvenians have some talent, although this varies by individual somewhat. Corvenian magic is generally weak when compared to wizards from other nations.

With allies on either side, the city of Zesrun and the nation of Corvenia, have enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity.

Government

The city of Zesrun, and the nation of Corvenia, are ruled over by a High Council that consists of thirteen representatives from the thirteen noble families that control most of the wealth and land of Corvenia. Each family is ruled over by a nobleman who holds the title of Kai (an old Irenni noble rank which roughly corresponds to “baron”). Each Kai holds title to lands roughly equal to one thirteenth of all of Corvenia. The towns and farms within each territory pays fealty to their local Kai. The Kai travel to Zesrun in person once a year to hold court and debate decisions. Each Kai has a representative that sits on the council during his absences and handles the day to day affairs. Communication between the Kai and his representative is frequent, often conducted daily, by means of a spell.

Council Hall of Zesrun

The Council Hall of Zesrun is the main governmental building. It is an enormous and elegantly appointed limestone building known for a great central dome and numerous pillars. At the heart of the main chamber beneath the dome resides the Crystal of the Coven. At night, the place is light up by colored fire in floating braziers. 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.

Law and Crime

Corvenian law is far more egalitarian than most kingdoms. The law here treats noblemen and commoners very similarly. The Corvenians use magic to gather evidence, detect lies and generally get at the truth. Due to the prevalence of magic, one might think that a crime (and the truth with it) could easily be hidden or blame cast on an innocent bystander. However, because cooperative magic is common among the people here, it is difficult to use magic to twist or hide the truth. It might be possible to use magic to hide a lie from one person, but far more difficult to hide it from twenty in the same fashion who are all weaving their magic together to get at the truth.

The Corvenian people are a gentle stock who generally shy away from violence and bloodshed. Murders and other violent crimes are far less common here than in other lands. Likewise, the punishments invoked by the corvenians (whom some would call “squeamish”) tend to be fines and hard labor and occasionally imprisonment. The Corvenians do not execute criminals. Murderers and other irredeemable criminals are magically marked (a symbol upon the hand that symbolizes the evil that the hand has done) so that they can be tracked. They are then banished from Corvenia for life. This "Corvenian brand" is impossible to remove except by the strongest magic. Neighboring nations are aware of such exiles and their marked hands and will often imprison them or, at the very least, deny them work or trust and generally treat them as the criminals they are.

Military

The city guards of Zesrun patrol the city in groups of three. They are quite used to dealing with criminals who have magic. A patrol will combine their magical strength to see through illusions, find invisible criminals, decipher magical spells, overcome magical barriers and so forth. When needed, multiple patrols will unite and combine their magical strength for even greater effect.

Religion

Imarus is the most common faith in Zesrun, but all of the elder gods are revered and represented. Beyond the typical shrines and churches, there is a local faith known as Corvenian mysticism which permeates many facet of life here. 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.

Economy

Zesrun sits at the intersection of two roads, a major river and the largest port on Cauldron Lake. It is the central hub of all trade and commerce in the region. The major trade goods of Corvenia are bog iron, peat, lumber, furs and botanicals from the swamp. All five are processed and used in Zesrun. However, the fact that there is a waterfall separating Cauldron Lake from the Captured Sea limits that rate at which goods can be transferred from one body of water to the other, and thus, slowed trade between Zesrun and its neighboring nations. This has had greatly limited Zesrun's position within the larger economic tapestry of northern Ithria.

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.

Guilds and Organizations

The Lake Guild

The Lake Guild is a fiercely proud and independent brotherhood of mariners, sailors, fishermen and boat builders. Their guild house is a stout stone castle that straddles a small rocky isle a few hundred meters out from the city’s harbor. This guild oversees fishing, shipping, ship building, boat repairs and all other nautical matters. The guildsmen consider Cauldron Lake to be their lake and they are quite proud of their body of water, despite it’s small size compared to the Captured Sea.

 

Ornisem's Academy

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.

 

Important People

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 natural wizard and marvelous magic sculptor, it was Arkris who created the Walking Fountain. Arkris is the chief authority on Corvenian magic and is seen, in some ways, as the authority on Corvenian culture as well. He is often invited to speak at the High Council and advise on a number of topics. Arkris is greatly respected and his words carry weight with noble and commoner alike. He spends much of his time tutoring talented young men and women in the ways of Corvenian magic. It is rumored that Arkris is on good terms with Shegrotha of the Trackless Mire. He will sometime be gone for days or weeks at a time and some speculate he is visiting her in the swamp.

Brant Reiger - Lord Magistrate of Zesrun

The Lord Magistrate of Zesrun is an unusual position in that it encompasses both sides of law and justic. The city guards report to him as well as all of the city magistrates. The Lord Magistrate is responsible for public safety and criminal justice throughout the city. The current Lord Magistrate is Brant Reiger, a tall and imposing man with black hair slicked back with oil and a clean shaven face. He has a long face with a prominent nose and piercing black eyes. He has a perpetual dour expression on his face and is known for his stern professionalism. He rarely smiles and has never been known to laugh. He takes his position very seriously and it is perhaps the weight of his responsibilities that affect him so. Lord Reiger speaks only when he has to and chooses his words carefully. His sonorous voice is intimidating. His unblinking stare alone has made criminals confess. Despite his sullen reputation, Lord Reiger strives to be fair and just in matters of the law. He works tirelessly to keep Zesrun a safe and respectable city.

Ash Hollis, City Steward

The city steward is responsible for a variety of duties that keep the city running. This includes ollecting local taxes and coordinating the fealty taxes from the thirteen provinces. It also running the money changes guild, dealing with city infrastructure problems and administrating various fishing rights and land claims. The city steward is the liaison between the city guilds and the High Council. He is not a member of the council but often meets with council members. The current city steward is Ash Hollis, a diminutive man, only 1.5 meters tall which is short even for a Corvenian. He has wiry grey hair pulled back into a ponytail and a bristling grey beard. He is an energetic man who thinks and speaks quickly and never seems to slow down. He talks a great deal, especially when he is annoyed or aggravated, which is often. He dislikes laziness and foolishness and tolerates neither.

 

Culture

The Corvenians are a peaceful folk that delight in nature, magic, philosophy, learning and crafts. In many ways they have inherited the introspective, intellectual nature of their Irreni forefathers. They are also a humble folk, never over reaching in their goals or desires and do not pursue fame or glory. They tend to contend themselves with simple things and do not endlessly strive for wealth or opulence. They prefer to avoid conflict when they can and usually only fight in self defense.

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.

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 Districts

Zesrun is divided into nine city districts: the Harbor, North Bank, the Docks, Green Bank, Blue Barrows, Grouse Moor, East End, Gulltown and the Fifth Quarter. Many of these names are many centuries old and predate the modern city. For instance, Green Bank refers to the south banks of the river which were open and grassy in the cities earliest days. The Docks is the south side of the harbor. Blue Barrows refers to the hills at its center (a "barrow") which were once dominated by blue flowers. It is now the home of the wealthiest individuals in the city. Grouse Moor was once a large tract of land outside of Zesrun which was preserved for hunting grouse. Over the many centuries, it was absorbed by the growing city. And the Fifth Quarter dates to an early period when the city was divided into five sections. East End is a relatively new district named for its position and is home to the poorest. Gulltown is an expansion of the Docks District along the coast and contains numerous fishing folk, docks, boat facilities and warehouses. It is a relatively poor district as well.

Monuments and Public Spaces

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.

 

Architecture and Infrastructure

Street Lights

To illuminate the streets at night, Zesrun uses enchanted "glow crystals" mounted on iron brackets at the corners of buildings. This enchanted crystals absorb daylight all day and then glow all night.

Inns and Taverns

Name Description

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.
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.

Shops

Name Description
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.
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 Veils
Kaldusek

Clothing Shop - A large plaza of mercers, cobblers, furriers and tailors who work cooperatively. They sell clothing, shoes, hats, furs and more. The plaza and the merchants here are known collectively as “the Veils”.

The Lake Plaza
Bearis
Fish Market - The Lake Plaza is a large stone tiled plaza near the harbor’s edge that continually stinks of fish despite daily cleaning. The plaza is owned and run by the Lake guild. Numerous fisherman pay the Lake Guild a small stipend to sell their seafood here. It costs 3 silver per month to rent a small stall. Every kind of fish and shellfish are sold here. Sometimes more exotic fare can be found here including shark steaks, sunfish, dragon eel fillets and razorfin.
Tower of the Sapphire
Harlock
Private Club - This establishment is a private club that caters to the wealthier citizens of Zesrun.

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