Teras is located on the western side of the mouth of the Galanus River in Rakore. The area has had an on-and-off history going back centuries, but only recently expanded to the size of a city. Teras acts as a commercial exchange hub, and has active fishing, farming, ranching, and logging industries. The city is the third-largest in Rakore (after Kashin and Chasadan, respectively), and ruled by a duke. At any given moment, there are over three dozen ships docked in Teras, loading and off-loading cargo, going through customs inspections, or preparing for refits. The city accommodates deep-draft vessels on the gulf-side docks, and shallow-draft vessels along its river-walk. Truly deep-draft vessels can moor well off the gulf-side docks, and have their cargoes unloaded onto sloops.
For many newcomers to Rakore, Teras is their first stop in a strange land ruled by a dwarven king whose laws treat everyone equally.
The city is constructed of granite and heavy timbers, and is well-designed with sub-surface sewers and anti-siege fortifications. An extremely well-fortified 'inner keep' that houses the barracks and the duke's keep serves as the military focal point, but the duke's and the count's manors are in the more easily accessed heart of the city.
Classification: Large City
Population: 14,800 (52% Slate, 10% Sholin, 10% tomanths, 8% orcs, 5% desert elves, 5% hill dwarves, 3% Amarans, 3% Toomarans, 3% mountain dwarves, less than 1% kobolds and drow)
Spending Limitations: 300,000 silver maximum
Rulership: Teras is governed by a conventional feudal ruler – a sylvan elf by the name of Duke Therinol Navaillo, formerly a guardian of now-fallen Terrace. He convenes his hall for the first three days of the week, and reserves the other four for discussions with the counts and barons that serve him. Once a month – usually in the last week of the month – he meets with the King and the Circle of Priests.
Duke Therinol Navaillo: He tends to wear a light gray tabard with an anchor and arrows retort over his studded leather, and keeps an intense expression of study across his features. A ranger veteran of the War of the Undead, the Battle of Thayer's Rock, the Nabrolian Expedition of 1322, and the War of the Four Winds, Therinol is a formidable warrior of some two-hundred years. He assumed the title of Duke in 1325, and has since proven himself as an able leader of considerable initiative. His is short for a sylvan elf, at 4'8“, and lean as a whip cord. His favored weapons are a composite elfbow and a saber, and he tends to wear enchanted studded leathers at all times. He speaks Common, Elven, Dwarven, Sholin, Toomaran, Amaran, Ogran, Kobold, and the Sylvan tongues, and understands the Tomanth tongue.
Alignment: Chaotic Good. The wildly mixed population of all races, coupled with the sailors and the history of Teras, has made for a tough city. Duke Therinol's guard do a commendable job maintaining general order – particularly in the merchant and housing districts – but the locals have their own rules that they tend to enforce with a fist for outsiders. Racial intolerances usually do not last past the first fight, and the few laws that the duke has had to create truly apply only to the merchants, the general defense of the city, and to keep the peace.
Defense: Teras has about 400 full-time soldiers and reeves, in addition to a militia of nearly 3,000. The guard is led by Count Kaleus Stonegrudge, and has several barons in both the regular guard and the militia. One arm of the guard is an orc company of highly disciplined individuals; these 100 orcs are often called upon to deal with the most dangerous situations – and they volunteer for such operations, often and without prejudice. Another arm of the guard is a company of various dwarves; these 125 dwarves are often called upon to deal with the most discrete or delicate of situations, for they have all sworn an oath of silence out of respect for their fallen kinsmen in the Stonehelm Clan.
Count Kaleus Stonegrudge: A nephew of Father Bryan, the High Priest of Galgiran in Rakore. Kaleus was the former ruler of Teras, until it was expanded into a duchy, and does not envy Therinol in the least. He thinks humans are a fidgety bunch, and has no compunctions about letting people know where they stand in his eyes. Count Kaleus maintains some control of Teras, and can ably administer the city in the duke's absence. Kaleus also has no compunction about butting in and butting some heads. At 4'11”, Kaleus keeps his chainmail on even when he sleeps. He also tends to keep a battle-worn battle-axe, a shield, and a composite shortbow close at hand. He speaks the Common tongue, as well as Dwarven and a smattering of Sholin.
The city was little more than a fishing village for a few hundred humans for most of its history, emulating the elven city of Terrace perhaps a day's northeast of them. Twice a year, the great whaling ships of the Chandrals and the Morthians would converge on Teras for supplies and re-outfitting. Teras' population would swell in the days and weeks before the whalers arrived, and then the city would shrink again after they left. The native inhabitants of the Rakoran Forests were farmers and rangers for the most part, but all knew of Teras, and the goods to be found there during the seasons.
With the War of the Undead and the subsequent founding of Rakore, Teras' strategic importance was capitalized upon by both private citizens and the feudal lords. Teras was refounded as a ship-building city, and a fortress to prevent unwanted ships from harassing the vital shipping line of the Galanus River. Dwarven craftsmen labored alongside the native slate humans, who also worked in concert with refugee desert elves, sylvan elves from the burned out remnants of Terrace, and even Sholin from the gulf. Teras was built on and hollowed out, to make way for modern sewers, ship-building yards, warehouses, barracks, housing, and all the necessities of a civilian army.
During the War of the Four Winds, Teras was one of the few parts of Rakore that was never over-run by ograns. The city was, however, over-run by Kur Maens, but only briefly – the Kur Maen forces defected over to Rakore, placing themselves under the command of the city's duke before the fighting could become too serious. Thereafter, the city held against ogran and even Nabrolian besieging forces. When the war ended, Teras proved itself invaluable to all of Rakore.
In the late winter of 1331, Count Stonegrudge went missing. Within a short span of time, the Duke turned over much of the workings of the Guard to a thug known as Amreth the Gaunt. The city soon became a cess pit of corruption and vice, as Amreth and his lieutenants put the city in a stranglehold of order. No crime took place without Amreth's authorization, and anyone that crossed him soon found themselves dead or missing. Despite outside interventions, Duke Therinol maintained his own grip on the city, and argued that any intervention in how he ran his city was a violation of the Rakoran Code of Law. In mid-Trilan of 1332, the Baron-and-the-Bishop of Rilan made a second assault on Teras after receiving word that Amreth the Gaunt and his goons were werewolves. Investigations by a Meridian Explorations team determined that not only were werewolves involved, but the curse of lycanthropy was demonic in origin, and many of the children of important characters throughout Teras – including the duke's own children – were being held hostage by Amreth the Gaunt and a demon lord named Rathaya. The demon lord was exorcised at the Singing Gnoll by the congregation of the temple, but several lesser demons escaped in the battle between Lord Rilan and the werewolves. The whereabouts of Count Kaleus are still unknown, but the city quickly returned to the duke's control. The purging of the werewolves surreptitiously cleaned out nearly all the crime in Teras. It turned out that the duke's children were held captive by the werewolves, and so the duke has a bad attitude towards lycanthropes and demons.
It was during the city's werewolf days that the orcs proved themselves valuable members of the community. After the War of the Four Winds, the orcs sought work in Teras doing backbreaking or menial labor. They were treated as second class citizens, and often tricked out of pay or into more work. During the final days of the werewolf occupation, many of the orcs proved trustworthy and loyal, saving citizens regardless of race or occupation against the demons. The orcs eventually helped make up an elite portion of the city's guard. Not to be outdone, a number of dwarves banded together to make another elite portion of the city's guard.
Well-built altars to a number of the other gods are scattered through the city, and are maintained by the Chaplain of the Guard. Altars to Barith, Galanus, and Arpelos are easy to find throughout the city. On the outskirts of Teras, are several communities with their own small churches, both to Barith, and to Galanus.
Located on the west side of the city is a park-like hill with a number of thick, stained-glass windows in it. The temple of Habrem in the city is completely covered by beautiful gardens, flowers, and ivies in the summer. Inside, the hewn stone of the small temple has perfect acoustics, and room for perhaps two-hundred and fifty people. Located in back are special rooms for training and living quarters, for the one priestess and two accolytes. The Singing Gnoll provide musical training for all the bards and minstrels of the city, as well as personal aid to the large numbers of whores and 'ladies of the evening'. Soft lighting and an atmosphere thick in incense provides a welcome backdrop on holy days for the local choir.
Mother Evale Contrain: She is a strikingly handsome woman in her late forties, who tends to wear the classic gold and red colors of Habrem. At 5'4“, she is a lean woman who seems to burn with an inner light. A bracelet on her wrist is magical, and when called upon can create a gauntlet of gold and reddened steel that she uses when necessary. Mother Evale is also familiar with the arcane, and although not a practitioner, knows much about it. She speaks the Common tongue, as well as Sholin and Toomaran.
Also known as the 'Shelongelae' in the Sholin tongue.
Nearly every sailor alive gives at least lip service to Olorin, Goddess of the Seas. As such, she has a large temple made of solid stone near the wharves, and near the sea. The open walls of the temple allow the sites and smells of the ocean, and none of the smells of the city. Many sailors go to the Silver Anchor before sailing, and many of the implements of sailing – sextants, maps, and more – are blessed by the lone priestess there. The temple can house close to four-hundred people on holy days, and is physically maintained by whole crews of ships that may have to wait for a cargo or for the tide.
Priestess Mella: A beautiful Sholin woman with delicate features, Mella's age is difficult to guess, for her hair is snow-white, but her face might only be in her twenties. With eyes the color of the stormy sea, Priestess Mella has broken many sailors' hearts in her time. Her rough voice can out-shout any sailor, but her prayers are as soft as the calmest seas. She wears robes of blue and green, with her hair tied back in a blue-green ribbon.
The majority of the city's regular occupants take services at the Barinthar, named for both Barith and Elinthar. The large church is run by twin brothers who regularly switch roles as priests of Elinthar or Barith, and the locals of Teras take bets as to which is which, for neither will reveal it until the end of their weekly sermons. The Barinthar takes care of most hurts and ills, for humanoids and mounts alike, as well as working with the locals to ensure bountiful harvests, investigate blights, and more. Several accolytes in training inhabit the large barn-like temple, and the grounds sport bushes naturally grown into the shape of animals.
The Twins: Thurhist and Veldont are both average men, with dark hair and dark eyes. Identical twins, the only difference between them is the color of the robes they often wear. They are well-trained in the services of both Barith and Elinthar, and often switch roles. They are quiet men, listening first, and speaking afterwards with great wisdom born from experience. Both men are recent immigrants to Teras, having arrived with the Kur Maen invaders during the War of the Four Winds – and they found a calling in the people of Teras, and elected to stay, for them.
Built on the bones of an abandoned residence, the Searing Light is a smaller temple in the residential district, dedicated to the power of Arpelos. The modest building is an open-air rotunda of white marble, on well-kept grounds green even in winter. The rotunda seems always filled with light, no matter the time of day or night. Additional rooms are located at winding stairways that go down into the old basements, expanded and decorated with luxurious white paneling. Worshippers have curved bench seats that focus their attention to one side of the rotunda, where a statue to Arpelos has been erected – half in the rotunda, and half out.
The temple is tended to by Vicar Johannes Whermak and a kobold deacon by the name of Skiratis. The temple is maintained by kobolds loyal to the vicar and to the Church of Arpelos.
Founded after the War of the Four Winds, the Hospice of Strength was set up as a monastery to the God of Compassion, Whalin. Richer patrons often leave their children at the hospice for training in letters, mathematics, and nobler trades, sometimes for years at a time. Visitors are welcome to stay at the hospice for hefty sums, even overnight, where the best physicians and healers in the land can restore lost limbs, repair eyesight, remove scars, or – as some believe – harry the gods to restore lost loved ones to life. Their fees are often far out of the reach of the common man, but their services are well worth it.
Abbess Maria: A petite woman of 5'1”, the abbess is a shrewd businesswoman, healer, and tactical bomb. The other monks and nuns of the monastery can attest that she alone handled a Nabrolian hill giant with just her smallest finger. Abbess Maria is a compassionate woman with a heart seemingly made of stone; she believes, and perhaps rightly so, that hard love is the best love. The abbess is always attended by another nun, often rotated out from among the other nuns for a period of a month or so.
Teras boasts several non-descript inns, but is more well-known for its taverns. One of the most famous taverns in all Rakore is found in this port city.
The largest, most popular bar in all Rakore is the Red Flagon. Named by the patrons for the man that runs it, the Red Flagon boasts seating capacity for a hundred men on the first floor, with balconies that can seat another hundred on its second and third floors. Built out of an old barn and refinished a number of times, Tol Red runs a first-rate bar with fast service at all hours. Security is maintained by a half-dozen bouncers that are retired warriors of one kind or another – with additional forces in the tomanths that visit from the marshes across the river. Found a block in from the docks, the bar caters to both the locals and the transient sailors, with live performances most evenings. The bar sports six different home-brewed beers, as well as the popular Barb's Brew, elven wines, dwarven rotguts – and Lead Gut for anyone that can stand it. Of particular note, the patrons of the Red Flagon created, honed, and popularized the game of Seige. The servant girls of the Red Flagon have a large dormitory room to themselves on the 3rd floor, and the bouncers have a large dormitory room to themselves on the 2nd floor. The same area on the 1st floor is reserved for the kitchens and the brewery; one can find good food, as well as good drinks, at the Red Flagon.
Tol Red: A tall, aging man of 6'1“, Tol Red got his name from his fiery red hair and beard, which is still as thick as when he was young, save for some white in his beard. Tol speaks the Common tongue and Dwarven well enough, and has a smattering of Sholin, as well. He prefers to let his bouncers earn their pay, but can easily turn to a club he keeps on his belt. Tol is a fairly intelligent and charismatic man, as well as wise enough to know when to keep his mouth shut. Perhaps the most striking thing about the man, so the stories go, is that he can deflect anything thrown at him – including arrows.
The bar for sailors, tough-guys, and under-handed pick-pockets is the Black Rock. Run by a retired mercenary, the tavern serves enormous quantities of home-brewed ale. Ship captains familiar with Teras often forbid their sailors from going to the Black Rock, because their sailors rarely return in the morning sober enough to perform any duties, without any money, and even owing the prostitutes and the owner of the Black Rock money. A considerable amount of underground gambling goes on in the Black Rock, as well.
Roscoe: A medium-sized Amaran man, Roscoe saw his fair share of combat during the War of the Undead. He keeps his longsword hanging up above the bar on his side of the serving line, out of sight of most of his patrons. Though getting on in age, Roscoe has considerable strength – enough to bend a horseshoe or crack open a man's skull. The Amaran has a vicious reputation, and isn't above cheating or stealing if he has the might to do so to his more drunken patrons. Despite this – or perhaps out territorialism, Roscoe helped beat back the werewolves and demons in 1332 – earning himself an odd tolerance from the establishment.
Cartographers: The two cartographers in Teras are married to one another; both are from the Alekdan Principalities. Rogue is 6'3” and built like a smith, and his wife Eva is 5'2“ and a former gladiatorial combatant. He likes using a maul-hammer, and she likes using a trident, when they spar with one another or work out. Their fingers are both ink-stained with their true passion, though – maps. They pay handsomely for them, and charge a high price for good quality maps of various areas. Woe be unto the fool that gives them a false map, though.
General Store: An elderly man by the name of Shennin runs the Teras Shoppe, a sprawling one-story building wherein most anything that can be bought, often is. Shennin caters mainly to the locals, though he knows how to deal with sailors well enough. Shennin sells weapons and basic armor at reasonable prices, as well, and even has horses, carts, and other odds and ends. Helping him run the establishment are three of his sons, all in fair shape, each with an eye towards inheriting the Teras Shoppe by out-doing the others in terms of profits and ripping off patrons. Shennin ensures that none of the locals are ripped off, though outsiders can expect prices, on average, 10% higher than elsewhere.
Herbalist: A small shoppe not too far from the open-air market contains rare herbs, hard-to-find small animals, and other curios from far and near. The shoppe is run by two sisters – one Chillean and one Sholin. The Chillean, Himamoto Hotaru is the more knowledgeable of the two sisters in regards to rare plants and toxins. The Sholin, Himamoto Aliunii, is the one to usually go out and find the objects within the shoppe, and is the more knowledgeable of the two sisters in regards to animals.
Magic Store: In an effort to improve arcane relations (and resupply mages who have been away too long), Lok Magius established the Arcane Shield – a store that caters to mages and the general public in Teras. The Arcane Shield carries only minor items and spells, but is none-the-less open to the public. Several shield guardians protect the wall-enclosed shop that was once a small inn before the War of the Four Winds. The shoppe is run by a middle-aged slate woman with gray in her dark hair. Though not a mage, Madelyne understands magic quite well, and is an expert at controlling the guardians, spotting Inquisitors, and more. The two-story shoppe receives shipments once a month from Lok Magius, via the River Galanus. Prices generally run up 5,000 silver, but the Arcane Shield carries little else of higher value.
Open Air Market: There is an open-air market at the intersections of five roads, with a variable array of merchants. Some stay, some go, and about the only ones that are dependable are the farmers selling groceries. There is a one-in-ten chance, most days, that there would be a merchant in the market that 'has what you need', if a customer can't get it elsewhere. The guards regularly patrol the market, shutting down illicit trade where possible, but sometimes they're well paid to look the other way, for a moment or two. Quite a bit of fenced goods are also sold in the market, especially after the sailors the goods belonged to have left port.
In addition, Teras has…