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  • Writer's pictureFreeDwarf

A Den of intrigue and Iniquity - The Free City of Tyrsis

Updated: Apr 16

‘Gwel Kann puffed and panted as he walked the last few yards to the crest of the ridge, then bent and put his hands on his knees to catch his breath. He took off his broad brimmed travelling hat and fanned his perspiring face then looked ahead.

His panting breath ceased, the wafting hat stilled and he slowly straighten up, a look of awe on his face.

In the distance was his destination, a sight he had not seen until now and it had fairly stolen his breath away.

Rising up above the emerald green of the grass lands was an enormous wall, grey and forbidding but topped with brightly coloured banners along its length, the tiny figures of guards pacing along the walkways on the top of the wall edged with a crenelated parapet on both sides. Beyond the wall he could see the roofs of a multitude of houses, towers and Temples and beyond those, A Second wall arose, white stone, flawlessly smooth and clean, towering above the buildings and first wall and beyond that a shimmering spire topped with a giant shimmering light.

Gwel had never seen such a thing before, his life as a Tinker had only been a short one so far, but this city made the trading towns of the East look like shanties and Gwel imagined this was what the shining cities of the Elves must look like, it was wonderful! He turned as he heard the rest of the Halfling Tinkers coming up behind him.

“look “he said to the Gaffer, pointing with a shaking hand towards the gleaming vision.

“Tyrsis” Spat the older Halfling “Take some good breaths of clean air before we get there Lads, there’s precious little in there”

Gwel gaped as the rest of the Tinkers strode past him grumbling about “what a cesspool” “only a Human would live there” and “Sooner we’re in the sooner we can out”

Gwel shook his head in bewilderment, there was obviously a lot to learn in the world.’

The Free City of Tyrsis.

A trading port that has sprung up on the shores of the High Sea of Bari, originally founded by the Dwarfs to allow the speedy distribution of goods from the Far East that arrive from the overland route on the ancient Chainway Trail across the Plains of Estacarr.

The city, although founded by the Dwarfs, was long abandoned by them and they moved their naval operations north to the Tower of Blackmere. From there Dwarf Ironclads and Dreadnaughts patrol the Sea of Bari.

The Tyrsis of today is nominally a Human city, run by a Merchant Council and affiliated with no major Kingdom, although Humans rub shoulders with Dwarfs, Halflings, Ogres and the occasional Elves that are either passing through, have settled to conduct lucrative trade or have even been employed to protect the City itself.

Tyrsis retains its Dwarf Built outer fortifications although the city itself has expanded beyond the original Dwarf port area and a second, larger line of Human built Stone walls surrounds the new City with its Merchant Quarters, Markets and Artisan areas. The older city houses the dwellings of the Richer or older merchant Families who nominally form the ruling council of the City and from who’s ranks the Doge of the City are chosen, which results in Machiavellian manipulations of power within the Walls of the old City as each Great Family strive to control the Lucrative businesses and trade of the Free City.

The City and its immediate environs are protected by the largely Mercenary forces of the Doge’s Guard although there is a Militia system levied upon the various Merchants and Artizan Guilds of the city the vast bulk of the Guard is formed of hired soldiers, paid for by the trade taxes that Tyrsis collects on all transactions that take place within its walls. This policy results in an Army that has an eclectic mix of troop types and even races within the same regiments, it is not unusual to see Humans, rubbing shoulders with Ogres, Dwarfs and Halflings in the Polearm regiments of the Doge’s Guard although the Council also hire complete units of Mercenaries into the Guard when the opportunity arises or conflict is inevitable. Although the Doge’s Guard is diverse it is a capable and well-equipped force of veteran troops who are well versed in the art of warfare, thus creating a formidable obstacle to any would be raider or conqueror attracted by the riches of the Free City.

There are also the representatives of several other Kingdoms at Tyrsis. Both the Imperial and Free Dwarfs have Ambassadors there and there are smaller conclaves from Basilea and some of the successor Kingdoms within the New City. Each of these vying to obtain the best trading concessions and revenues from the Doge of the City and this results in their interfering with the already complicated political landscape within the ancient stone walls of Tyrsis.

The influence of the City extends a short way into the surrounding Countryside of Estacarr, with the Farmsteads that help to supply the City with food and the rich Villas and estates of the wealthy Merchant Families spreading out from the city following the main trade routes North, East and South. Each of the Merchant estates has its own Mercenary force to protect it and the farmlands that surround it, although the presence of so many Private armies can lead to small conflicts when the political machinations or ambitions of one or more families become too much for others to take. Also the Assassins Guild of Tyrsis are renowned for their ingenuity and their reputation for satisfaction is second to none.

The City of Tyrsis retains a cordial relationship with the Basilean colony of Priest Town and the Port is often visited by Warships of the Basilean Fleet as well as those of the Free And Imperial Dwarf Navies, the presence of these warships keeps the Merchants happy that the sea lanes are amply protected and the position of Tyrsis as a gateway to the Eastern Trade routes ensures that the ships keep visiting.

The Forces of Tyrsis and its Merchant Lords will be sure to feature in some more of the Narrative Campaign coming soon to this esteemed BlogSpot !



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