What's Left of Fate
The Imperial Capitol, Barfgose is at the confluence of two rivers, the Sudemonts (the main river that runs roughly parallel to the South of the Great Mountains) and the Vermejus (running from the forsaken Redscale clan lands to the N-NW). It’s still only about 25 miles from the sea, with much of the city built on a rocky promontory that spares it the frequent spring floods. It’s thus protected by water barriers on 2.5 sides.
The city is laid out roughly as a square, with a wall separating them so they can be closed by night.
- The Southwestern quarter is called Kuras’ Stand (same as the rocky promontory it occupies) and is dominated by the Royal palace overlooking the confluence of the rivers, with the capitol estates for the provincial houses and the main temples filling out the rest of the area. A wide avenue follows the quarter walls on its northern and eastern sides, ending at the bridge gates of the city.
- The Northwestern quarter of the city is known as The Bloodwash, the slums around the Vermejus river, which may or may not be cursed (superstition played a large part in making that part of the city undesirable. By the time it reaches Barfgose the river looks a reddish hue of muddy brown) but isn’t reliably navigable unlike the river it comes to join there. The Eastern side of the quarter is somewhat less derelict, occupied mostly by workshops, smithies and other common trades. The Western side, technically outside the walls but in practice a continuation of the quarter, is the larges slum of the city where many refugees, day laborers and anyone unable to afford a better, safer place to dwell in reside.
- The Southeastern quarter is The Silkstop. With the Sudemonts docks to the South and both the Pomarj road and the Elvenway leaving on the East it’s the main merchant’s quarter. The docks continue past the city walls but large ships (those incoming from the sea) can only dock on the city ones, with river barges tending to use the outwall docks with their lower fees. All the southern side of the quarter near the docks is rough and tumble, the eastern side both inwall and outwalls is packed with inns and taverns for the road travelers. The richer merchant lords and ladies own gaudy estates in the Northwest side of the quarter, an area locally known as the Yellow Mirror.
- The Northeaster quarter is known as The Guildarters, and is dominated by the “cleaner” guilds. Ateliers, jewelers, alchemists, herbalists, bakers etc. The better weapon and armorsmiths in town (who don’t work directly for the palace) are there. While the nicer part of town for normal people to live, there’s a not often spoken about high level of thief guild activity. Most of the local trade (foodstuffs and other day to day goods) comes through this area’s gates.
As a convenient placement for the river trade and a good staging area for crossing the Great Mountains, the site was occupied well before the Settlement era, mostly by Dwarven merchants. The Dwarves records show several names for the place, which likely mean it changed hands several times between the various Great Mountain clans. References to a “River Fork Town” in old Aquinean Port City archives prove that while Dwarven owned, the settlement had a significant presence of other races, including humans.
The site was pivotal to the foundation of the Kingdom. It was where Kuras Fagos the Bold was sieged by the united Elven Tribes. Vastly outnumbered, his ragtag army took over the easily defended place which had been nearly abandoned as the raging Settlement wars had brought a stop to the river trade. While vastly superior in numbers and magic, the Elves were unused to siege warfare and were unable to overrun the humans in over a year and a half. In the end Kuras was taken by sickness and the Elves razed the place, just in time for Kuras wife and son to arrive with heavy reinforcements and enough allies to in turn defeat the Elven forces at the battle of Saltfields.
The battle marked the end of the war and the settlers proclaimed the deceased Kuras, posthumously, as King Kuras the 1st of Kurant (yup, named after the guy). His son renamed himself as King Kuras the second but spent the next few decades all over the place consolidating the kingdom while his mother, now Queen Bar Fagos decided to settle down in the area. The city was named after her although after a few centuries the pronunciation has gotten all mushed up.
For most of the kingdom’s history Barfgose was a sleepy capitol, a small affair compared to the great merchant ports of Reylon or Andion, or the magic grandiosity of Pomarj. A place of import only when it came to political matters and often not even those. Its economic importance waxed and waned depending on the stability of the relation with the Elves North and the mountain Dwarves’ willingness to maintain the passes and keep their fees low. The last century has seen a change in the dynamic. The Pomarj road has brought a great increase in trade towards the East, and the increased bureaucracy of the newly minted Empire has brought many riches to the area as the provincial lords aim to flaunt their relative wealth and influence the matters of state. Port of Barfgose has also grown to rival its Southern siblings.