Haven: Port of the Gray ElvesEdit
Haven is a beautiful city which lies in the cauldera of an extinct ocean-side volcano. It is enveloped on three sides by dramatically rising mountains and sits and a lush coastal basin, beset by white, powdery beaches. It is the furtherest major port south on the Jadess coast. It is also in a subtropical zone. It is the last remnants of a mighty Gray Elven trading kindom, ruled over by the legendary Ciridan the Shipwright. It still has a formidible navy and two trade convoys, but it over the last century it has lost a series of dynastic rebellions which have left it largely ham-strung and subservient to the Blue Elven seapower of Lume. There are three great sets of docks in Haven. The first is where haven's trading fleet is assembled with all of its inventory. The other, across the bay, is where Haven's convoy fleet lays at anchor, it typically accompanies the convoy to protect it against pirates, and Lumerian, Lorican privateers. The third houses the might Flight of Swans, which is the elite squadron of Haven's navy. This third set of docks also contains Ciridan's vast shipyards, which nowadays have largely been set to work building war galleons for Lume.
Estimated Population (after destruction of Mithlond): 80,000
Ciridan the ShipwrightEdit
Ciridan is the legendary Lord of Haven. He is one of the oldest known elves in Aetherea. He was one of the Fatherless, wakening in Culuvien even before Orme's summons to the Blessed Realm. He is considered the father of the Gray Elves, though this is unlikely. The association probably comes from the fact that his sujects are largely Gray Elves. He is tall and slender for an Elf in build. He also has stark gray hair and a sparse beard. He is world-renowned for his shipbuilding capabilties. He is also known to be the guardian of the legendary artifact,Vilya (Ring of Air). It is said that this is what he uses to imbue his ships with magical wind propulsion. This ring has long been claimed by the Blue Elves of Lume, as it was once in the possession of their legendary proginiator, Gil-Galad. Ciridan actively promotes this myth, claiming that was personally bequethed to him on the battlefield by the dying warrior king. Though, the fact that his legendary spear, resides in Lume strongly argues against this. It is unquestionable that Ciridan was one of his closest lieutenants. This is born out by most scholars. When Ciridan was made to pay homage to the Ocean Throne, however, the Blue Elves were unable to part him from it.
In an age past, Ciridan also possesed another ring of power, Narya, the Ring of Fire. It was with this great artifact that his Swans ruled the waves, each warship able to magically spew dragonfire from it's prow. This ring, however, was lost along with Haven's sister port, Mithlond , when the great volcano Mount Ephas blew its top.
Ciridan has a long history of playing second fiddle to the most power figures of each age. It is probably in this that he survived so long with the power he still maintains.
Ciridan is the Lord of Haven. His power was not substantially weakened when he was forced pay homage and swear fealty to the Blue Elven King. For a yearly tribute and a pledge to open up his shipyard, he has been largely left alone.
There is a small garrison of Lumerian soldiers in Haven. Most of the militart consists of Lord Ciridan's personal shipwrights and sailors. He has also has a large staff of merchant marines that work his seasonal convoys. Lastly, he also has the Flight of Swans, which are his elite seamen, which fight in his leathal Swans, self-propelled ships with white lustery metal upon them.
Ciridan's symbol is a white swan in a blue diamond.
Sites to See:Edit
- The Flight of Swans: This is Ciridan's luminous, graceful, and lethal fleet of warships. They are sailed by Ciridan's most elite and veteran sailors and marines referred to as the "Swans." These ships are also referred to as the "Swans" for their graceful appearance. However, they are actually more closely resemble the immenent danger of a crouching jaguar. They are plated with a vibrant metal of white luster (rumored to be Mirthril). They use no sails and are rumoured to be propelled by magic and able to spew dragonfire from their prows. To add to their legendary mystery, all of the Swans have had their tongues removed, so that they are mute. Furthermore, the Filght of Swans never seems to leave the port of Haven, except under cover of darkness. These ships can only be seen from a distance, for they reside within the carefully restricted Shipyard. Yet, they remain a major tourist attraction.
- The Shipyard: This is massive shipyard, full of drydocks, ship platforms, locks, and births. This is where the industrial life of Haven resides. It is also the place where most of its Gray Elf citizens are employed. Access to and employement at the Shipyards is carefully restricted to trusted families of Gray Elves who are residents of the city and sworn subjects of Ciridan. The Lumerians covet access to this secretive industrial complex, but lack the military muscle to force Ciridan to open it. Access is still often granted, under carefull supervision. Often, tours are lead by Swans themselves. The Shipyards have become the hub of Haven's economic life and vitality under Lumerian rule. Whereas, before Ciridan's trading convoy was the lifeblood of the Haven Gray Elfs. This happened for two reasons. First, the Ocean Throne has turned toward Ciridan to supply the bulk of it's ships for its might navy. So, ironically, the fiercely independent Gray Elves have become reliant on the business of their oppressor. Second, the Ocean Throne was able to compel Ciridan to open up Haven to Lumerian trade guilds. Over time, the merchant ships within Haven's merchant convoy were bought out or replaced by Lumerian merchant vessels. The convoy is still a major aspect of Haven's livelihood, however, the traditional houses of Gray Elven merchants have declined and the wealth formerly brought into Haven by them now flows toward Lume.
- The Convoy Quay: This is the large set of docks across the bay from the Shipyards where the merchant convoy is assembled three times a year. It sails under the protection of Haven's Gray Fleet, in order to escape Lorican and Rosen League Pirates. The fleet is mainly merchant marine, and is composed of different ships every time the convoy sailes. In fact, any trading ship may seek the protection of the Gray Fleet Convoy, and many often do when they seek to trade in jealously guarded waters along the Northern Jadess Coast. The Gray Fleet has special trading rights in all Rosen League, Lorican, and Lumerian ports. Since the Gray Fleet Convoy only sails three times a year, for most of the year, these docks are a bustiing bizaar. The merchant captains and merchant guilds sell wares straight off the decks of their vessels, in some cases totally bypassing the warehouses on the shore. The amount of volume that moves through this makeshift bizaar is mind-numbing, probably tripling that of any other port on the Jadess Coast, including the warehouses of Lorica-Waerd. However, because of such a great glut of wares, Haven serves more as a waypoint to other more lucrative ports of the Jadess Coast.
- The Fleet Yard: The Fleet Yard as become a strange part of Haven. This is where the Gray Fleet rests when not on convoy. The Gray Fleet consists of several hundred warships, mainly war galleys. If not employed by the Shipyards, most Gray Elven families work within the Gray Fleet--,mainy spending their entire lives aboard their warships and not even possessing a home on the mainland. Warships tend to be staffed by kin and commanded by clan-structure. Mainy consider this the last remaining vestige of "Gray Elvenness" among the Gray Elves of Haven. Therefore, unlike the Flight of Swan, which are manned distinctly by sailors and mariines, the crews of the Gray Fleet more closely resemble a war band of Vikings, plying their own oars, fighting their own battles, commanding their own ships. Therefore, the Fleet Yard, during the months that the convoys are in funcions as a drifting shanty town, where the poor, the rough, and the salty, Gray Elven common reside. Many ships convert to house boats of spartan barracks. The wharfs between the quays become bustling streets in which poor Gray Elven merchants reduced to pauperhood by their exclusion from the Lumerian merchant guilds hawk their wares and trinkets from carts and floating flatboats.
- The Blue Marina: The Blue Marina is an enclosed marina and fortress which controls access of the Gray Fleet to the harbor. It is a complex of breakwaters, riprap, breastworks, and Stockades which contains the Fleet Yard and protects it from storms. However, at the mouth of these protective works is a fortresslike marina which controls access to the various part of the harbor and also protects the Lumerian garrison of war galleons and Lumerian marines. This is also where the Lord of Customs holds residence. His residence is built on a small volcanic island in the middle of the cauldera-bay, encased with thick brick and stone casement. In theory, the Lord of Customes is simply the chief customes agent appointed by the Ocean Throne to collect the customary duties from ships leaving and entering the port. However, by conceding these fortressworks which formerly protected his harbor, Ciridan has left himself at the mercy of Lume. The Lord of Customes now functions more as a quasi-governor of Lume, because he controls the chokepoint to enter all three ports within Haven's harbor. The Lord of Customes, however must govern carefully behind a facade of civil cooperation with Lord Ciridan, because his is vastly outnumbered by the restless Gray Elves. Ciridan is an eager collaborator, because he desires peace and profit. But Ciridan is also not trusted becasue he has the well-earned reputation of a wiley schemer. The Lord of Customes commands a small, but elite squadron of Lumerian warships (most of which were built in Haven's Shipyard. The jewel of this fleet are the war galleons, possessing incredible firepower and mostly wind-driven. Along with what is perhaps the most crack detail of Lumerian marines and sailors, the Ocean Thone has garrisoned the Blue Marina with a detail of Lumerian Roc Riders from the Break and Blue Knights from Lume, herself.
- City of Haven: The city of Haven lies along white, glimmering beachers in a coastal basin hacked out of the jungle. It is surrouned on three sides by large, looming mountains. The city of Haven, itself is a very graceful city, bearing all of the hallmarks of a major Elven stronghold. Life is conducted in the open air, with many pavilians, and multi-level colonades, and arcadiums. The jungle grows throughout the city in craftly cultivated public gardens. Fresh waterways flow through a city far removed from the filth and squalor of the Fleet Yards. Many houses and complexes are also built into the large sentinel trees the form the canopy of the jungle further-inland. Canals connect the coastal lowlands with the swampy interior, which is given to rice farming and aquaculture. The main mode of transport through the city is gondola by canal or by foot over gracefully laid bridges and walkways. For these reasons the city of Haven, itself is a monstrous, sprawling urban complete that is deeply and intimately tied to the local landscape in a way that only Elves can manage. Although most buildings are only a few stories tall, and often spacious-to-sprawling in their layout, the city does gain some altitude as it ascends inland into the canopy of deep stands of ancient sentinel trees. This is the financial heart of the city. Witin the canopy of these trees is a miniture city of wooden walkways and swinging brideges all its own. This is where most of the cities formal artizans, craftsman, merchants, and guilds are located--far from the messy, intrustive, offensive confusion of the Gray Elven poor of the city. This where the elite, aristocrats, skilled tradesmen, inteligentsia, and beaucrats of the city abide. Rarely do they make it to the coast, but often to the lower reaches of the city, where they hobnob among the beautiful public gardens and waterparks. Most of these elves are Gray Elven, but they are not the "bastard grays" or "Ciridan's grays" of refugees and ne're-do-wells that Ciridan as acreted over the centuries and reforged into his loyal, if simple, subjects. These are the pure-bred Gray Elves, which have occupied the city over the centuries upon Ciridans promise of assylum, trading privileges, and other incentives. They form an upper stratus of Haven's society that is almost as foreign an even more entrenched than the new Lumerian guildsman to the peaseantry of the city. The "bastard grays" of the city speak a dilalect so divergent from "High Gray" spoken by the Grays of the city, that sometimes they are loathe to understand one another in conversation. However, the High Grays are an essential spoke in Ciridan's control over his realm. They are a small segment of Haven society that possess a virtual monopoly on the privilge, power, wealth, and respect within Haven society. They are also a caste that is fiercely loyal to his rule, because they are dependant upon his patronage for their status and influence. Ciridan's extensive beaucracy is dominated by the High Grays. His military commands, his civil authories, the top positions within Haven guilds (appoint by Ciridan), etc. The Lumerians have taken up residence among the High Grays, but unlike in most Lumerian vassal states, the Lumerians have taken a pretenious liking to the highbrow culture of the High Grays. Most Haven Lumerians have adopted High Gray customes and dress and actively seek acceptance into their social circles. The Haven Lumerians, though possesing a wealth far in excess of the High Grays, still elect to live in sumptuous open-air villas in the the style of the High Gray friends, rather than living in an exclave as they do in most vassal states. The Ciridan grays also live in shanty towns which cling precipitously to the sides of the steep mountains that surround Haven. These are the lowest caste in Haven society, lacking any tie to the ocean or to the High Grays. They work in the underbelly of the city, doing most of the undesireable jobs which keep the city of Haven so pristine. These are sometimes called the Invisible Grays, because their jobs are mainly at night and they are strongly discouraged from wandering into the city or into the ports during the day.
- Ciridan's Open-air Palace: The grandest of the open-air villas, is of course, the palace of Lord Ciridian, himself. It is more of a grand palazzo ringed with garded colonades and pillared arcadiums of artificial arborariums. Witin his palace, its often challenging to determine when one is among nature or within the palace itself. It is famous for being over-run by delicatley arranged wildflowers and wildberrries. It is teaming with wild game and other outdoor luxuries. Ciridan is world-renounded for is grandoise lifestyle. Perhaps the most famous element within his palace is the company he keeps. He often found in the company of witty satyrs, or elegant nymphs, and other jovial spirits of nature. It is said that his palace is constructed out sleeping spirits of nature. A famous joke among the High Grays is that every room has a dormant genius which animates it, even the latrine. Ciridan constantly entertains dignitaries from across the world with his legendary hospitality. It is said that he has over 10,000 courtiers, as mainy retainers and foreign dignitaries in permanent residence. He is also renowned as a foster, raising and tutoring as many as 500 foreign princes and chieftains at a time. It is also said that as many as 30,000 Invisible Grays see to the needs of his massive retinue.
- Mt. Ephas: Haven lays in the shadow of the long-dormant, massive volcano, Mt. Ephas. This mountain protects the rear of the city. Within it, Ciridan has established a prosperous mining colony of Ciridan Elves. It is rumored that it is witin this mountain that he acquires the Mithril for his Flight of Swans. Major exclaves of Silver Dwarves and Lockrian Elves have also taken up residence within the mountain at his invitation, over the centuries proving to be fiercely loyal subjects. Both exclaves bled profusesly for Ciridan in his dynastic wars with Lume. Mt. Ephas is now considered its own semi-independent realm, governed in the name of Ciridan by a viceroy appointed yearly from among the High Grays. This is one of the most coveted patronage positions among Ciridan's massive beauracracy. Mt. Ephas also contains the only remaining passable pathways through the moutains to the ruined sister port of Haven, Mythlond.
- Ruined City of Mithlond: In the last age, Lord Ciridan was not just known as Lord of Haven but as Lord of the Gray Havens. He was much stronger in that time, owing allegiance to know lord. He ruled over the beautiful twin shipbuilding ports of Gray and Haven, known together as the Gray Havens or by its Gray Elven name Mithlond. Mithlond was almost identical in description and layout to Haven, even down to Ciridan's palace at its center. However, Mithlond was built in a small rift valley which rose up out of the ocean, instead of in an extinct cauldera. This rift valley has steep basaltic cliffs on three sides and beauiful, glistening beaches. It also possessed a tropic lowland-basin and the three-fold harbor with carefully constructed marinas and access points. It was much more compact than Haven, although it had a similar population. It's Gray Elves were more apt to build up because of the limited space within the rift-valley. So many more lived within the canopies of sentinel trees, and within the trees themselves. Also, more lived within convoy fleet within the harbor. A pure, glistening river flowed through the center over the rift valley, originating at Mt. Ephas. Mt. Ephas separated these two great cities by land. So most traffic was on the coastal waterway between them. However, one fateful day Mt. Ephas blew its top. The winds blew the massive pyroclastic flow into the rift valley virtually burying the rift valley and silting in the harbor. Haven was greatly damaged, but was up wind of the explosion. Gray was literally wiped out. Ciridan, despite massive efforts to relieve its population, was unable to relieve the city and abandoned it to ruin. He was able to relocate most of Mithlond's surviving population to Haven. Many of the refugees being impressed into the clan structure of the Gray Fleet. The ruins of this once jewel of the Jadess coast still remain. Within, all of the treasure lost, including Ciridan's legendary Ring of Fire Nerya.