Faroth: The Mansion

The town of Faroth climbs up the foothills between Dowarblad and the Wur Peaks. If you follow the road from the pier you climb a brief slope and curve along the remains of wrecked boat hulls coated with barnacles. Old anchors and over-sized net stones line the edge of the road. As the rounded stones of the rocky shore give way to bald granite slopes, the buildings of the town curve up the road as it begins a switchback path up a near cliff to the steppe where the town’s market square is set before the mansion. To the northwest, the few green fields in sight are the fenced acres of Drafter’s ranch. The tallest trees for miles encircle the market square and a giant mansion that overlooks the bay to the south.oxfordhb-9780199336005-graphic216-full

Faroth’s town council lives in the mansion. Once, it was mostly a large one-story building with tall windows and doors that the stone giant would have helped build for himself. The lowest 12 feet of the building are enormous foundation blocks only a giant would have had the strength to set. The first generation of Forge Dwarves drilled holes in them as wide as they were tall and twice their height for timbers made of whole fir trees.

When our refugees arrive, hundreds of years after the fire giant sacked the original city of Faroth, they saw a different mansion built opon the same granite stones. Among the charcoal colored fir posts of the mansion that framed huge arching windows,. the brittle tips of the timbers have been hacked to an even height and angular peaks framed brick and small granite walls holding windows much too small for a giant but adequate for Elves and Humans. Two floors and roof dormers are clearly visible. Instead of crimson bark half-redwood planks as a roof, gray slate tiles form a shallower roof.

Instead of the large above-ground parlor with a reflecting pool and imported mammoth bone chair that supported the giant, many thinner walls divide the space into offices and hallways. Thick, splintery timbers, gray and barnacled were used as the posts and joists from ancient freighters left after the giant’s battle. Every piece of wood that could be reshaped, re-joined, or re-purposed was made into the plainly functional furniture of the town mansion. In fact, so precious is wood on this island, that candles are discouraged and torches forbidden in the mansion. Sconces and lamps with magical glowing cave fungus or enchanted seaweed are mostly used to light the building.

Up a flight of polished granite stairs to the second floor, the quality of the wood is more of a relief to the eyes: oils and waxes have been been worked into the trim and the floor and the walls are stuccoed with mortar of ground seashells and pink feldspar picked from the granite fields. Door handles are made from crab claws ornately wound with green copper wire to iron latches. Maps stretched on wooden frames are placed regularly along the walls. Entering the council chambers, lightly veined gray limestone tiles lead to the preserved rudderless transom of a once-proud galleon, painted in slowly splitting black stain, with ornaments along the taffrail painted in gold and with brass tacked along the top. Upon it sits the mayor’s chair, besides half of an amber shellacked steering wheel. Just a foot over the standing height of a man, the bowsprit of the boat faces backwards, reaching out along the underside of the ridge beam of the roof: a wooden horse in front and a merman’s tail behind. A bell held from the wooden teeth is connected by a thin rope to a cleat on the brass taffrail.

On the chamber floor, which gets light from four windows on the walls, are seats for the town council. Even though there is a mayor’s seat above in the transom, the steep rungs of a ladder are not inviting to the series of aging mayors, who have sat for years at the floor for daily duties. Were you presented with the council today, you would meet:

  • Lord Lane Archanar, Mayor of Faroth, a thin human with short gray hair, who wares a deep red vest over a white billowy shirt but always clutches a gray cloak around his shoulders,
  • Dane Aurumfist, Treasurer, a constantly frowning dwarf with a curly brown beard streaked with sliver in contrast to his bald pate, who always has a rattling set of gem scopes around his neck that bounce of a dragonscale breast plate over a gray tunic,
  • Binova Lotrimur, Captain of the Guard, a thick chinned blond man starting to gray at the temples and growing worry lines around his dour lips,
  • Saichel Fenwood, Town Surgeon, a clear faced, sharp eyed forest elf in a plain green linen jacket with a velvet sash, who is quite pleasant in contrast to
  • Ranora Waveguide, Harbor-master of Faroth, a tanned, and wrinkled sea elf with a clipped ear and scar at the left rear of his chin, who has a glossy black mane tied back in a long braid that brushes his hips, swinging near to a pair differently sized daggers in cracked leather sheathes on a cracked wide-leather belt tooled with patterns of stars, holding in a paint stained shirt underneath a pale leather vest pinned with hooks, pliers pockets and a small brass telescope.

They look like they would never agree on anything, and they discussions they have are always strained, but never break out in shouting or threats. In town, they are only seen walking the street to the pier, or the Snooty Royal for drinks after session. Locals have seen them as a fixture of modest economic success for almost 20 years, yet no town events have ever been held: no celebrations of Elhonna or harvest festivals. The only real change in 20 years has been the slowly growing number of gnomes that visit near midnight and the growing smoke and bustle from the iron mines just southeast. Sloth Breakerbar has been the only openly happy member of this town, in fact.

 

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