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New Pavis and the River of Cradles

[[Large Map of Prax and the River of Cradles]]

Since before the dawn, the Giants of the mountains of this region have sent their children down the River of Cradles, Zora Fel, to the sea; from there, they sail to the Great Maelstrom and down into the Underworlds to grow up in a place where Time has no meaning. During the Great Darkness, the god Waha taught his secrets to the tribes which became the Praxians and they regarded the cradles as holy and did not interfere with them. But some men tried to rob the cradles and the God Learners, in their arrogance, built the city of Robcradle in order to methodically harvest the cradles.

So the Praxians and Giants teamed up to butcher them. Robcradle was destroyed and cradles passed unmolested to the sea.

Then Pavis came to the River of Cradles, and everything changed.

Out of the Empire of Wyrms' Friends he came in 830 ST, the son of an Aldryami and a Human, a miracle rarely seen. He brought an ancient Dwarven statue to life and Trolls and Dwarves followed him down the River of Cradles, joined by the Pure Horse People, who sought revenge on the Praxians. Pavis defeated Waha and the giants fled back to the mountains. The Paps were nearly sacked and Waha fled again, still injured. But he and Pavis reconciled and Pavis healed his wounds and the Praxians pulled back, letting the city be. Soon it would attract every sort of thinking being to live together. Pavis became a god and retreated into his temple and for a time the city flourished under the Arrowsmith dynasty.

Yet in 890 ST, the man was born who would destroy Old Pavis, Jaldon Goldentooth. He broke Waha's peace in his jealousy of the easy life of the citydwellers and raised an army to reclaim Prax from the Pure Horse People and to wipe out Pavis. From 927 to 940, he besieged the city, finally tearing a hole in the walls with mighty statues that ate the enchanted rock of the walls. For centuries, Pavis became a ruins occupied by a mix of nomads, monsters and pockets of the old inhabitants holding out among the ruins. Jaldon himself eventually died, trying to stage an invasion of Dragon Pass and the nomads fought each other and roamed Prax once more, while the Pure Horse People went into decline. Around 1250 ST, they were crushed in the battle of Alavan Argay and fled into Dragon Pass, somehow evading the ban on humans. They became the Grazelanders.

For many years, trolls ruled Old Pavis, now known as the Big Rubble, but in 1539-44, the Dragonnewts broke in, rebuilt their old temple, mauled the Trolls, and opened the ruins to visitors. In 1550, Dorasor of Sartar arrived with many followers, building New Pavis with Dwarven aid and rebuilding old settlements throughout what is now Pavis Country. However, in 1610, the Lunars conquered the area and have ruled it ever since.

The River of Cradles

Worshipped as a God, Zora Fel is one of the great Rivers and is home to the traveling Rivermen, who dominate water trade. The Dwarves and Giants use it in their own ways to get access to the sea; a single Dwarven ship typically sails down the Dwarf River, jaunts over to Pavis, then heads out to sea. It will return five years later to visit Pavis, then go home. (Four other ships will return before it does.) The return ships are especially valued as they haul goods from Pamaltela, the Southern Continent.

The river is broad and placid in most places once it plunges over Leaping Place Falls; it then wends its broad way through farmland and swamps.

Pavis County

This is an increasingly prosperous land; the Lunars may not be popular but their protection is enabling Pavis County to finally boom. Some 80,000 people dwell here, including the 10,000 inhabitants of New Pavis but not the inhabitants of the Big Rubble, who are largely outside Lunar control. Through irrigation networks, rich yields of various spices, flax, cotton, tea, rice, melons, broccoli, celery, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and squash are possible. Eggplant is an especial favorite in Pavis County; it sometimes referred to jokingly as the 'Spleen of Pavis'. Meat is generally bought from the Sundomers and fish from the Rivermen.

New Pavis and the Big Rubble

New Pavis sits on the west side of the River of Cradles, which runs through the ruins of Old Pavis, the Big Rubble. Cradlesnatch Island sits inside the ruins, in the middle of the river; the great ram built by the God-Learners still sits but without magic, cradles don't strike it.

New Pavis

Divided into many cultural and trade districts, this flourishing city of craftsmen, traders, scholars, and adventurers is hard for the resident Lunars to keep under control. They try to restrict access to the Big Rubble and to require a ten percent tax on all loot, but it's hard to enforce. There is a Temple of the Seven Mothers; amazingly, the Temple of Orlanth still stands under heavy supervision; the weather control power of the priests is key to the prosperity of Pavis County and Pavis County pays a rich revenue into the Imperial coffers. The shrine to Zora Fel is large and ornate and heavily supported by the city as well.

While many regional cuisines can be found here, Pavisites are noted for their devotion to eggplants, rice, pickled vegetables, and tea. This is often combined with fish, unless you can afford meat. Drinking wines from Sartar is a sign of defiance of Lunar authority.

There is a substantial City Library, containing many old texts, which is also the Temple of Lhankor Mhy. It contains many old Malkionist texts; to the frustration of the city's small Malkionist community, it refuses to allow any access to such to non-initiates of the temple. It allowing the city's Kralorelans access to texts from their homeland further aggravates the Malkionists. But Chief Librarian Gustav is adamant. It's rumored he has a collection of Empire of Wyrm Friend documents but if this is true, it's kept very, very secret. If not quite secret enough.

The Temple of Uleria, goddess of love and prostitution, is very popular and charges rates proportional to your wealth. Most people don't bother hiding their patronage; only the Pelorians are embarrassed of it, though individual families may be less accepting; it must be noted the staff is both male and female and has a limited number of Elder Race initiates.

Clan structures tend to be weaker in New Pavis; instead, the neighborhood, a group of people of common origin who live in close proximity takes it place within the city, along with guild memberships.

To the surprise and pleasure of many visitors, there is a Geo's Inn here, the only one outside of Sartar. It was created by cult members who accompanied Dorasor on his expedition to make the New City. It is almost as large as the one in Boldhome and contains facilities for the Elder Races as well, though mostly humans use it. It is known that one of the mysterious Dragonroads of the Dragonnewts has the inn as one of its termini. It is at the heart of the Sartarite district, which also includes the Temple of the Winds (the old Orlanth temple). Sartarites control the weaving industry in the city, except for cotton clothing.

Kralorelans tend to be fairly hard up but work hard, clustering around a set of monastic orders dedicated to various forms of Draconic Mysticism. Their skills at transport, building, laundry, and food processing keep them afloat; some Kralorelans spend as much time as they can in the hills, trying to find precious metals, or panning the River of Cradles. They have unusually good relations with the City Library.

The Malkionist District is small but prosperous, home to wizards, priests, skilled craftsmen and mercenaries. They are torn, however, between the Rokari and Hrestolian churches and find it hard to enforce their caste laws. Gold and silver smithing, redsmithing, barrel making, book making, and other high-skill areas are dominated by them. Unlike the sprawl of most of the city, it forms a coherent grid pattern. Those seeking to study wizardry or sorcery will find teachers here as well.

The Esrolian District is governed by a council of the Grandmothers, subject to Lunar Veto. Its meddling in the rest of the city wins it few friends but their control of cotton clothing production, their skills at construction, and the ease with which you can sucker one of their husbands into a con job has won them some admiration or at least appreciation of their presence. The Esrolian district is a sprawling mess but each individual building is a master piece which may well outlast the rest of New Pavis. The Esrolians keep asking to build a wall around their district and being turned down each year.

The Sundomer Quarter is run on Sundomer principles as much as the city law allows and is actually patrolled by locals and thus has very low crime. It's also an excellent place to buy weapons and armor.

The Noble Ward is home to the richest Pavisites; it has a proper watch also and very low crime and nicely built homes which maybe as many as four stories tall and include lots of marble and glass. The Temple of the Seven Mothers is here and the top Lunar officials live here too. The Great Lunar Court sits at the edge of the District, to the displeasure of its inhabitants, even the Lunars. Who wants criminals next door?

The Adventurer's Quarter is a pit of crime and heavily armed people with little to lose, along with the poor, the ambitious but poor, and hobos. It is home to many flophouses, people camped in alleys and to Gimpy's, run by three former adventurers who will kick your ass if you mention their missing body parts. It has a tunnel to the Big Rubble, watched by the Lunars to collect their tax, mind you. It also is rumored to connect in its underground rooms to secret tunnels under New and Old Pavis. You can rent a room or just drink and gamble and eat the filling if not so healthy cuisine. The more fried, the more better, they say. The notorious swordswoman-adventuress-murderhobo Grizzelda dwells here with her gang, getting into constant trouble and running scams. She is a swordswoman of vast skill, said to be able to take on an entire Lunar squad and usually win. She is known to possess a smattering of sorcery as well, usually involving Darkness or Fire.

Pavis is torn between pro-Lunar and anti-Lunar and just-caring-about-making-money factions which keep politics turbulent; foes of the Lunars must tread lightly or risk arrest and execution; the locals struggle to deal with Lunar style government.

The Big Rubble

It is a mixture of patches of old city ruins, freestanding large ruined complexes, Elven forest, Chaos waste, and vast, sprawling underground tunnels, fenced by huge walls with five vast jagged gaps in them. Parts of it are occupied by Zebra riders and by the Sable Riders of Prax, who betrayed the other Praxians and allied with the Lunars.

West of the River of Cradles, the northwestern corner of the ruins is home to the base of the Zebrariders, who camp in open space just on the other side of the wall between New Pavis and the Big Rubble. From the Wyverngate to the river, ruins occupied by humans during the long night sprawl just south of that. South of that is the Big Grazing, land used by visiting nomads, with several hills that hold ruined complexs, like an old temple of Yelmalio. South of that is the Garden, the huge forested ruins controlled by the Aldryami; they sometimes let visitors in but tend to be isolationist. The Garden has spilled over the walls into the countryside west and south of the southwestern corner of the city.

In the middle is the River of Cradles, and halfway down that is Robcradle Island, home now to ogres and old Malkionist ruins. The old ram still stands but no longer works without magic. Those who enjoy huge dangers delve the ruins for sorcerous secrets and artifacts. Rumors claim the key to the Puzzle Canal lies within the ruins.

The eastern ruins are sparser but include the Temple of Pavis, still occupied by its priests, the Puzzle Canal, several patches of ruins and the troll stronghold in the southeastern corner. Created by an EWF mystic, the Puzzle Canal is the only surviving major work of the EWF; it is an underground canal maze entered from the River of Cradles where the land rises in a high cliff face. Many just get lost and fight monsters or past foes. A few seem to gain power and some go mad. Prophecy says it will somehow play a major role in the Hero Wars.

A bridge links the troll and Aldryami lands here; control sways back and forth. The trolls seem to be slowly dwindling but they're still dangerous and numerous and collected many treasures when they ruled this place.

Sundome County of Prax

In 877, the lords of Pavis appealed to the Dragon Pass Sundome for aid; they were rewarded with land further down the valley and even when Pavis fell, they survived; ironically, this meant they escaped the Dragonkill and the fall of the other Sundomes. They now feel their god Yelmalio has answered their calls for help and rewarded them. Livestock ranching and farmer has enabled them to grow to a sturdy 40,000. Count Solanthos Ironpike, who has a great hatred of Dara Happans, is the current ruler of the County; he is a devotee of Yelmalio, the highest ranking in the county. Despite this, he is friendly to the Lunars because their customs offend the Dara Happans. Mind you, he wouldn't be happy if Sundomer women adopted them...

The Sundomers are militaristic and authoritarian; all young men become part of the militia, organized into sixteen man files. Five files form a fist. Up to five hundred files or one hundred fists could be called out; in practice, one file per district (of which there are twelve) is on duty at any given time and only half the force could be mobilized for anything but last ditch defense. They train with spear and shield.

A more powerful force of eight hundred professional full-time soldiers is positioned to guard the towns, especially the Sundome itself. This force is half horse cavalry with lances, armored for shock, and half a bristling phalanx of longspear, breastplate, helm, and shield. Many are Initiates of Yelmalio and deadly in battle.

The Sundomers pay tribute to the Lunars but there are no troops here.

Lunar Colony of Prax

This settlement is recent; land once run wild is now home to retired Lunar soldiers who have the duty to help guard their new land. Some 25,000 humans and several thousand Newtlings dwell here in fortified villages. A new port city, Corflu, now guards the mouth of the river as well.

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