An Imperfect Circle
Greyfalls is the isolated eastermost foothold of the Realm. The region was established as a Realm protectorate in one of the early treaties between the River Lands and the Realm, and successive Realm satraps have spent generations building it into a profitable center of trade and craft. Under the stuardship of House Nellens for the last century and a half, the satrapy has become one of the most profitable in the Realm. Now, with the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress, the instability of the Realm reaches even to the depths of the Threshold.
The satrapy and the city are an important transshipment hub for Realm trade. While direct trade between the Realm and the Confederation of Rivers is restricted, Greyfalls status as a protectorate allows free trade with both. The last few genearations of satraps have built up infrastructure and encourage manufacturing. Greyfalls has become know for fine paper, glass, and ceramics.
City of Greyfalls
The city of Greyfalls is situated bellow the massive Grey Falls on the Lesser Rock River. While not as large as the great city-states of the Confederation of Rivers, the city has a sizable population of over 55,000. Massive winding city walls with with 65-foot towers protect and enclose 7 square miles of the city proper.
The over 700-foot waterfall fills the city with the constant roar and mist of the falls. With little available stone, most of the buildings are constructed from yellow brick and reach 3-4 stories tall. Shops and workshops dominate the ground floors and homes take up the remaining space. Roofs are tiled red, though the occasional blue tiled roofs add color to the city. Throughout the city, tree-shaded plazaz are overlooked by Immaculate shrines, local temples, and serene teahouses. Wealthy families compete to build ever taller towers and grander domes, granting the city a spectacular skyline against the backdrop of the falls.
[The falls, walls, domes, and blue tiles are missing from this image, but sets a find image of the city and the surrounding countryside. Imagine banners hanging from the towers denoting the controlling families.]
At the base of the waterfall, filled with the cold mist-spray from the waterfall. Working class with slick streets and the perpetual booming of the falls. Everything is covered with moss, lichen, and ivy.
A seedy blue-lantern district and the main river-crossing point with dozens of small ferries. A single arch of the bridge that once crossed the river into the Hundred Kingdoms ramains on the banks of the river. Gambling dens, flophouses, and gin-joints.
The main docks and warehouses down river of the city where the Nellens Canal, which bypasses the falls, meets the Lesser Rock River. Foreign accommodations for merchants, including finer restaurants, brothels, tea houses, shrines, and inns.
Market Plaza holds brightly colors tents that house merchants selling all manner of goods.
Khanzar's specializes in chocolate drinks and delicacies, and is the unofficial headquarters for Guild business, which is officially banned from operating within the city.
A largely middle-class neighborhood of businesses, homes, and Immaculate shrines.
Located up the hill from the falls. The home of wealth merchants and the families of those from the Realm. Restricted access and fancy courtyard gardens.
The miliary quarter overlooks the city, and houses the Imperial Army Garrison and the Satrap's Palace.
The satrapy of Greyfalls is ruled directly by Realm officials and appointees with almost no self-rule.
- Imperial Satrap: Nellens Rombulac continues the House Nellens tradition of building up infrastructure, husbanding trade, and suppressing local culture.
- Scarlet Major-Domo: Bretegani Wild Grove is a dynast who manages the Empress's Palace in the Satrapy, which she has never visited. He is the center of high society in the city.
- Imperial General: Cathak Kitono is a relative newcomer to Greyfalls who seems to be butting heads with the other leaders from the Realm.
- Vartabed: Sister Cloud Hands represents the Immaculate Order in Greyfalls. She is a hero of the Wyld Hunt and idolized by the local people.
Satrapy Domain of Greyfalls
[This map is a fair representation, but the roads are too straight and the rivers are unlabeled.]
The Satrapy of Greyfalls holds dominion over the triangle of land between the Lesser Rock River and Greater Rock River with a total population over half a million. The rolling hills, shallow streams, eastern hardwood forests are dotted with small towns surrounded by farmland. The landscape is ideal for ranching and herding. In the last generation, the deep wells created by the House Nellens satraps have started supporting large scale agriculture of hemp, flax, and cotton.
Immaculate shrines with onion domed minarets dominate the western side of the central plaza in most towns. Most people are devoted to the Immaculate Order and content to lead simple but comfortable lives.
The norther edge of the satrapy is bounded by the foothills of the Mountains of Dawn.
Shadowland: The Frozen Wood
Two hundred and fifty miles east of Greyfalls lies the shadowland called the Frozen Wood. Even in the height of summer, icicles hang from the winter-bare branches of trees standing knee-deep in snow, and the narrow and shallow Boulder River on its eastern flank runs cold year-round. The Frozen Wood runs approximately 100 miles from north to south, but is rarely more than 15 miles wide. It was the site of a large but ultimately futile battle between River Province forces and Realm legionnaires that occurred late in RY 90, just as the peace treaty granting Greyfalls to the Realm was being hammered out.
The population of the Greyfalls satrapry is kept divided by its diversity. The Realm emphasizes the differences between the peoples to keep them from developing a shared identity.
- The Nuri are the most powerful group and are originally from around Greyfalls itself. They often work as merchants, judges, or other officials appointed by the Satrap. They genearllay have curly red-black hair and grey-brown skin and tend to wear silver and amber jewelry and brightly colored clothing. The Nuri were once an enslaved minority in the region. Realm occupation freed them and elevated to the highest ranks of local mortal society.
- The Tanu are the most numerous ethnic group, but are seen almost as second class citizens. Considered dim-witted by the Nuri and Realm administration, they primarily work as farmers and laborers and are the most common slaves in Greyfalls. The are the descendants of a mass refugee migration from the North during the early years of the Satrapy. They have yellow-brown skin and typically have straight yellow-blond hair which they wear in plaits or dreadlocks. They decorate themselves with beaded jewelry and prefer amethyst and citrine when they can afford it.
- The Miruda are Wyld mutants warped by and invasion by the Raksha several centuries ago. They are extremely tall and lanky, with turquoise tinged skin, tightly curled black hair, and six fingers on their left hands. They mainly live in the city of Greyfalls itself. They are skilled artisans but as Wyld mutants, they are barred from public office, locking them in the middle class.
- The Zarnthi descended from a confederation of defeated barbarian tribes. They are now a settled rural working class, but make poor slaves. Their temperament is considered ideal for recruitment to the Imperial Army of the Realm as auxiliaries or even full legionaries. The are squat and wide-mouthed, with brown skill and little body hair.
- Confederates are the diverse mix of immigrants, refugees, and expatriates from the Confederation of Rivers. They are more cultured and worldly than most Greyfallers and are often drivers of social change. They frequently work as merchants, artisans, teachers, entertainers, and advisors.
- Islanders, at the pinnacle of power, are what the locals call citizens of the Realm. Mainly patricians and lesser dynasts, they are the smallest and wealthiest group in Greyfalls. They fill the highest echelons of the Satrapies administration, but leave most of the operations to their local counterparts. Many maintain both townhouse palaces and country estates. They flaunt their wealth, knowing they are far wealthier than the locals.