My greetings and prayers unto you. I would that this were a happy writing. I have of late received the map of Triskellian which I commossioned from you a fortnight ago. As I gazed upon it I could not help but notice certain inaccuracies and omissions of detail. Your depiction of the Cathedrale of Temoin is almost heretical. By eliminating its majestic dome and replacing it with a single spire, you cheat it of its beauty. Our marvelous aqueduct system has been reduced to a mere trickle. Those reading this map would think us lax indeed, for they could only assume that we throw our offal into the streets. Our grand markets, which are equaled by none, you have reduced to a mere blank space. All who know the truth will surely realize the Great Market is only one of a dozen spread throughout the parishes. To sum up this letter, I will not levy unto you the sum of two aureals for which you originally asked. Either correct your errors or receive no payment.”
5th of Hawthorn Moon, 2nd of Fidelio
Faithful servant of the Light,
Master Merchant Trallius of House Belette
Upon the Bay of Auvrich in the lands of Lykaemon lies the city of Triskellian. Rumors abound that buildings in the older parts of the city are far older than any modern history book. The bulk of affairs take place in the new districts, near the dockyards – where the Guilds hold sway.
The vulpine Rinaldi were the founding family, led by their powerful and wise patriarch Don Jon. He rebuilt Triskellian around its ancient ruins and established his clan there and in the surrounding territory. Triskellian grew to be a port city and, since transport of goods overland was dangerous and expensive, it flourished. The Granvert River and the roads from the north brought the wealth of Calabria to Triskellian’s markets. Here one can find Bisclavret timber, Doloreaux gems and Avoirdupois armor. The Rinaldi’s influence on the other houses is great, for it is in their city where fortunes are made and lost. Here is the place to find a tradesman of the finest skill, a mage of the highest caliber and a thief of great ability.
The Rinaldi are not without their troubles. Of late, they have become more and more consumed with infighting and have let their precious city slip away. Some say it is the recent conversion to S’allumer by the Don and his high court that led to the disappearance of one of the duchesses and her reluctance to come into the Light. But they still rule with an iron fist and an eye for the market. Should trouble ever arise, the Rinaldi are well defended by more than military might. Their city is home to many of the Houses’ highest nobles and their fortunes will not be easily taken.
Today, the Guild Council controls the police, the dockyards, the gates, the libraries – everything within the city save the deed itself. Their power is economic in nature. Triskellian is far too valuable as a free trading port for the Great Houses. Thus its very prosperity is its mightiest shield. What of the Rinaldi? They are far from powerless. Their might is more in the market, the Church, and their cunning than in any army.
Friends and Foes
Triskellian is situated on the inlet of the Granvert River and the Bay of Auvrich. Being the southern-most port it never freezes over and is in an easily-defended position. Should any one army lay siege to the city, it can always be resupplied by its allies, for no one Noble House has the strength to both blockade the city and besiege it simultaneously. Hills and farmland surround it on the north, west, and east sides. A few centuries ago, a wall was built around the city. When the population expanded, new buildings were built outside the “old” wall, eventually a “new” wall was built around the entire town. These two districts are often referred to as “Old Town” and “New Town.”
Landmarks of Triskellian
(These are not necessarily represented in our gameworld yet and some may never be)
Cathedrale de Temoin:
Located on the border of Old Town, this sprawling edifice stands as a monument to the compassion of Helloise. It is the central icon and holy site for the faith of S’allumer. Its giant ivory dome dominates the northeastern skyline of Triskellian. The Cathedrale, besides being a place of reverence, is a site of great learning and contains what may be the largest library in the known world. Penitents make a pilgrimage to it each year, flooding Triskellian with customers and bedeviling the Constabulary.
The Old Tower:
In the middle of Old Town, there stands an unused crumbling watchtower. Today, the tower is too short and the city too large for it to offer a view of anything but the dilapidated inner city. The Old Tower has become a favorite hangout of criminals and other unsavory elements. If you wish trouble for yourself or others, the Old Tower and its surrounding parish are where it is to be found.
The founders of Triskellian designed an intricate system of canals, sewers, tunnels, and channels for transporting water. The Constabulary puts alot of effort into keeping the Aqueducts in good condition. Often, work-gangs of arrested criminals are put to work busting clogs, mortaring stones, and doing alot of the unsavory heavy labor.
The Three Spears Inn:
An expensive, rambling structure at the north gate to the city, the Three Spears Inn is famous for its plushly-furnished rooms, its warm bath and cold baths, and its outrageous prices.
Triskellian is on the southern coast of Calabria, where the summers are pleasant though not extremely hot. Storms come in from the west and pass upward into the plains of the Avoirdupois. The winters are cold, although the bay does not freeze over. The ports are open throughout the year.
Flora and Fauna
Triskellian is a town of brick, stone, and earth which has been worked on by thousands of inhabitants over hundreds of years. Most dwellings are stone, with the streets paved with cobblestone. What little greenery there is exists only in the private walled gardens of the rich Guild Masters, Merchant Captains and Nobles. The only fauna are the drays and similar livestock at the market and the vermin in the sewers and dark corners.
Because Triskellian is a port of call, most trading and economic transactions are done in the currency of the Rinaldi. The denar, as the silver coin is called, is worth a Stevedore’s work for half a day. The only other coin used is the aureal; it is gold and is worth 24 denarii. Those who are too poor to earn denarii trade in barter and are usually paid in the same manner. Barter is not restricted exclusively to the lower classes. Nobles and Guild Masters simply barter in more expensive items and services. A full third of the city’s trade is still done by barter.
The citizenry of Triskellian are very cosmopolitan. All manner of commoner and noble can be found wandering its streets and skulking in its shadows. People arrive from dozens of lands, bringing their own customs. Within the city, people of like culture live together in parishes. Each parish has its own distinct flavor and atmosphere. To find oneself amongst the otters is to be assured of a tasty meal, while to find oneself amongst the rats is to risk larceny, at best.
The citizenry of Triskellian prefer to think of themselves as “free,” without the need for lords and masters. However, the charter of the city still acknowledges the Guild Council and the Mayor to be commoners, and not of noble birth – and as such, the magistrates and constables of Triskellian can only mete out “low justice,” the law of common folk. Nobles of the “blooded” royal families can only be tried by other nobles, not by “low judges.”
High Justice is meted out by the High Court, whose Justices are entirely of noble birth. There is one representative from each of the Great and Minor houses. They are appointed by their sovereigns for a period of not less than five years. Holding a proceeding of the court requires that there must be enough justices present to form a quorum (three-quarters of the total membership). The High Court deals with all the aspects of the law involving nobility save those which are reserved for the monarchy.
The Court of Commoners metes out low justice. These courts are presided over by the Magistrates. The Magistrates in turn report to the High Justices but are accountable only to the local officials. Magistrates hold proceedings most every day of the week and deal with all aspects of the law save those concerning the nobility. A typical session of Court might consist of hearing a murder case, simple larceny and minor trade disputes among commoners.
The commoner police, known as the Constabulary, can only hold gentry in custody, later handing them over to one of the three noble families for trial. Often issues of “legitimacy” crop up. Can an Avoirdupois criminal be tried in a Bisclavret court and expect a fair trial? The constables of Triskillion aren’t always particular to whom they deliver their prisoner…but sometimes bribes or other favors play a role in the decision-making process.
As with customs, religion also varies from parish to parish. However, the city is the home of the Penitents of S’allumer, which is the primary religion of Calabria. The city observes all the high holy days of S’allumer, and every seventh day of the week is the day of Dimache where it is forbidden to exchange money within the city limits, by clerical and secular law. Each year pilgrims from across the land gather in the city to visit the Cathedrale de Temoin.
The Constabulary is composed of about three hundred regulars called “Captains”, and six hundred or so “Deputies”. The Guildsmen pay for their arms, armor, and wages from the excise taxes they collect. Constables are also entitled to shares of loot from arrested criminals. On the whole, the Constables are well paid, have high morale, and are seasoned combatants. They are also the best-equipped force in the known world, having all of the best arms and armor. The Constables drill for both skirmishes and for sieges, usually in plain view of noble house emissaries to “keep them guessing”. The Constabulary of Triskellian claims to remain neutral in the conflict between the Houses of Avoirdupois, Bisclavret, and Doloreaux. The constables tend to err on the side of the High Court in matter of the nobles.
The original tongue of the Rinaldi, and thus Triskellian, was Matriloquentia. Many Rinaldi nobles still speak it with a heavy accent, and some of the older Guild Masters do too, especially those who know the finer points of the law. Some Penitant ceremonies are conducted entirely in this older tongue. Today, the common language of Triskellian and the rest of the island is Calabrese. However, on the dockyards, the better merchants know a handful of languages to deal with their hodgepodge crew and their various customers.
The original Rinaldi have Calabrese names. Some example given names for women include Agata, Bianca, Carlotta, Giulia and Volante; for men, Arnaldo, Davide, Enzo, Fidelio, Paolo, and Salvatorio. The polygot population of the city, coming from a dozen languages and cultures, has a wide variety of names.