The Waterway is a series of islands in Fenstre's central northeast. They were all artificially created and each of the island's bridges can be raised in times of siege or riot. The canal known as the Cincture surrounds the Waterway and to confuse the issue, the main road, which travels the periphery of the Waterway, is also called the Cincture. The Waterway is a reasonably affluent area, the folk here having large, low-built hacienda type homes smothered in various tropical creeper vines such as bougainvillea and various varieties of passion-fruit.
Shrubs and bushes of all descriptions line the narrow streets and byways and their flowers add to the tantalising spice of the area. Most of Waterway's inhabitants are employees of guilds or the Northmer docks. There is a long-standing prohibition of horses or pull-beasts in the Waterway, which means all travel must be done by canal, foot or rickshaw on land. The islands are named: Gerris' Island, Cloyd's Island, Stoich Island, Nhill's Island, Westmer Island, Blyaro Island, Gondolier Island, Bargee Island, Rowan Island, Dithio Island, Pharris' Island, Axwith Island and Warrigal Island. Taverner's Point, which bends north into Waterway, is not considered part of the district and is either classed as Swott or The Middle depending on outlook. Waterway has its eminent and interesting characters.
The Geriarch Krame has his home here, on Pharris Island though duties in the Clathe keep him from being here much. Krame is a D'Arrest by birth. Krame the man is a secretive, beady-eyed old man whose habit is to dissemble and mislead. He does not sanction his family's involvement in the Dyne or Xene. Cloyd, who lives on his eponymous island and is the eight-eighth to bear the name, is a glass-blower of great fame and repute. Not much is known about the man himself, and his family operate the industry in his stead. A guildsman, Alotor, oversees the Carpenter's Guild from his leafy abode on Westmer Island. A short man with flaxen hair and a bristling moustache, he likes to think of himself as well informed. As a guild head, he is accorded the appellation Lord and attends patron convocations.
Also on Westmer Island is the residence of the Geriarch Iddens. More introverted and less public than Krame, Iddens occasionally does live in his home, brewing wines and punches from jungle fruits and giving further devotion to Ydrys. On Blyaro Island there is a small fane to Elesmis. The Militia maintains it and the proceeds folk throw into the well usually go to feeding the indigent hordes of Ipty and Westmer Community.
Swott, or more correctly, Swott Island, lies between Taverner's Point and Southmer. It is a large, rectangular island, pointed at its western end as the canals of Lione and Swott converge to form the natural Hesper Creek and so out onto the Orstrey River. The people here are average Societor, not having the over-powering touch of antiquity like Old Town or the famed and fugitive seedy intrigue of Hired Skull.
They are the same folk nonetheless and are possibly no more accommodating to antemery than anybody else. Taverner's Point is somewhat opulent. It starts off as west as Swott does then curves at right angles, to find itself between the Waterway and The Middle. At this northern extremity are homes of extraordinary construction and wealth; the Tower Houses of Taverner's Point. Essentially inverted cones on top of slender columns, they are one of Fenstre's few features than stand out at a distance. The Tower Houses' upper component are usually employed as lookout towers or vistas to catch a cooling sea breeze. The living areas are generally found around the base of the columns. They are an Attuned Wind structure built for no discernible purpose, probably aesthetic in design. This area's main resident is Lord Chaverno, the Taverner's guild leader, a patron.
He lives in an impressive house midway down the northern bend of the Point. He is small, wiry, ratty looking man with his twirling moustache and flat, lank black hair. He has connections to the Trowheald sept, through his deceased sister Calamanda's relationship with Taunil Trowheald. Like most men in authority in Fenstre he does not tolerate too many breaches of his sense of propriety and usually acts in his own capacity to deal with such matters. As the Taverner's guild head, he usually has his finger on the pulse of current affairs and gossip in Fenstre.
The main feature of Swott is the Hexaquer. The Hexaquer is a large, ornamental pool, approximately two hundred metres across and twelve feet deep inlaid with marble and porphyry. It is another Attuned Wind construction, hexagonal and surrounded by flowering shrubs and temple buildings. It has been walled off for millennia by the Society and has come to be the focus of worship to Ydrys and the Coiga in general.
Admission is prohibited save for those the Geriarchs and their catechumens. These are very few. The water itself is allegedly very clean and pure, kept this way by odylic machinery built into the floor of the pool. It has been said one could sit deep in the water and see the opposite site three hundred or so metres away.
Those who would become Geriarchs study at the nearby seminaries. How such an open wonder such as the Hexaquer came to be associated with a god of canal and complexity is a mystery, lost in millennia of habit. It is guarded and casual eyes never see it and live.
At Swott's western end is the cemetery known as The Spirit Departed. Societors do not ordinarily revere their dead like some other cultures. The Society usually see corpses for what they are and have very little respect for or fear of them. As space is of a premium on Fenstre, most deceased are wrapped in cerements and thrown into canals for the tide and the current to wash out into the Fairge. The Spirit Departed is one of only two cemeteries in Fenstre and the folk interred here are usually antemery or possess unusual sentimentality. The fellow in charge is Klaur, who practices the ancient and weird art of obairism. This is the odylic field of blood. Practitioners of this art can sink their hands into flesh and reset bones or fit them after a dislocation. Other notables in Swott are the Geriarch Sedbie, a reasonable, though cunning man. He rarely bides at his home, preferring the walls of the Clathe to anywhere else. A couple of smiths and armourers dwell here too. Vamel is a large man who operates an ironmonger's up against Lione's Canal.
His wares include everything from pots to horseshoes and he has a score of assistants in his employ. Euphra, who is all of twenty years of age, has inherited a weapon-smithy with a reputation. She knows nothing of the craft yet she has combined common sense and shrewdness to beat off adversaries and crooks who mistook her for a sweet, little girl.
She is pretty, her bright-eyed features giving a misleading of ingenuousness and innocence. Euphra has so far managed to keep her father's business in full swing, dealing as she does with antemery on the whole. Fenstre's militia and army are equipped in this regard by artisans working out of Gaol Island near Ipty or smiths in the Fort. The Geriarchs and their bureaucrats have never trusted freelance smiths for work.
Southmer is much like Northmer insofar as it is concerned with river trade and ships coming in from the Fairge. All of the coastlines along the channel known as the Southstretch have extensive wharves and docks. Larger ships move up the Orstrey to drop anchor in Deepwater. The docks of Fenstre are some of the busiest places on Fels and there is incessant activity, day or night, rain or shine. Southmer, physically, is a group of islands surrounded by small canals. A lot of industry has been set up here to capitalise on the docks and there is a lot of skulduggery and subterfuge to go with it. As most of the folk here are very much accustomed to outlanders and antemery the xenophobia is muted.
The Southmer Scrub ends at the Wall, the palisade of wooden poles that mark urban Fenstre's border. The Port Diales road passes through a series of gates where folk and wagons are subject to searches, tariffs and taxes. The Wall Office oversees official activity in this regard. The Wall itself is redoubtable; strong wooden trunks two deep lashed with strong cord and pitch. They are full thirty feet in height and impossible to scale without rope or the like. The militia maintains eternal vigilance, not so much against invasion, but some scoundrel antemer avoiding a road or excise tax.
The Orstrey River Soldiers maintain their barracks here. They are, in theory, a freelance mercenary party, yet most of the time they are seconded to the militia for training purposes. They also undertake covert work on behalf of the Clathe. One of the more prominent members is Omis, the uncle of the Trowheald Clanmaster Thenson Trowheald, being his mother's brother.
Omis is a suave man of forty who normally can be found at the Ceorl Tavern on Ceorl Island. On the corner of the Wall and the Southstretch is Southmer Lighthouse. The track to Virince passes through the Wall here. The Southstretch here in constantly dredged. Across from Southstretch are the wilds of Volinda Island where Societors sometimes come to escape justice or hunt kateans and bunes.
Along the docks is the home of the Chirda Consul, Ettire. Like most Chirda, he possesses immense gravitas and dignity. His short swarthy form marks him from the lighter brown of the Society. Also like most Chirda he is highly diplomatic, reasonable and cogent in odylicism, usully the Wirra field.
Other islands in Southmer are Charr Island, Inuset Island, Kulio's Square, Donnchadh's Island, Constabulary Island, Vertigo Island, Three Meanings Island and Southmer Wharf Island, which is not to be confused with Southmer Wharf which is further west. Vertigo Island bends tortuously around to the east where it becomes Ecquair Point. Ecquair Point is Fenstre's pre-eminent red light district. Due to the amount of trade and sailors passing through Southmer it was only natural prostitution would come.
It is home to the mother of Thenson Trowheald, Diala. A lot of the women who ply their trade here are immensely wealthy. Ecquair Point sits right between Southmer Wharf and Three Meanings Island. The derivation of that name is lost in antiquity. The Boatman's Guild operates from Southmer Wharf Island (a.k.a. Boatman's Island). All canal and channel traffic comes under their care and they oversee such matters. The family of Donnchadh brew fenny and build barrels on their eponymous island. Donnchadh himself is a portly man with a drooping black moustache whose tendency is to cringe and fawn. He is in direct competition with Zuleina Flamistead. His fenny is more common but considered lower in quality to Zuleina's which is pricier. He exports most of his barrels. There is no longer a constabulary on the island of the same name but the name lingers. Societors, it must be reiterated, are slow and reluctant to change. In short, Southmer is the first taste of Fenstre most outsiders see when they arrive, either from the river or the Fairge, or from the Port Diales road. It is a place of ceaseless bustle, industry both fair and foul, noise, vice and confusion. Ydrys would be proud.
Inmer is the district east of Southmer, south of The Middle and the Clathe and west of Ipty. It. Like Southmer, faces on to the Southstretch and is also a place of incessant dock activity. Inmer only includes three islands in its make-up; Inmer Island itself, Abattoir Island and Fort Island.
Inmer Island holds the Warehouses, a district of utter intrigue and confusion. So intricate are the lanes, by-ways and alleys between the Warehouses it has long been used as a hideout from justice. The Warehouses themselves are run by the Clathe and used by all traders seeking to store and hold goods. Only a select few are authorised to move goods around the Warehouses.
Any antemer found within its precincts is rarely seen again. Several main roads traverse across or follow the periphery of the island and most prudent folk with no business in Inmer Warehouses keep to them. The Clathe occupies the northeastern aspect of the island.
Between Inmer Warehouses and Southmer Wharf Island is a structure known as the Wide Bridge. To facilitate the trans-shipment of cargo and large bales, a three hundred feet wide stone culvert was built over Boatman's Canal. Ships that berth in Southmer or Inmer are generally loaded from here. On the southeastern corner of Inmer Islands is another customs office.
Abattoir Island sits west of Inmer Island near the geographic centre of Fenstre. It is bordered on the north by The Middle and Taverner's Point, to the west by Taverner's Point and Swott and the south, by Southmer Wharf Island. Here lie the industries deemed distasteful and vile-smelling.
For millennia Abattoir Island has been used as a tannery centre as well as an abattoir. Fish cleaning, leather-working, malt roasting and other noxious lines of work occupy the island. The main abattoir is in the centre and the slaughtering of stock is performed here as well as curing and brining. The stench of boiled blood and uncured hides is everywhere and as such, most people who have no reason to be there avoid the island.
Fort Island lies to the east of Inmer Island, south of Trowheald and Cynosure Point and west of Ipty and the Eastmer Scrub. It is a Y shaped island that has distinctive features at each of its ends. The southern part, facing the Southstretch is known as Inmer Wharf Island. Here are Inmer's main wharves and docks. It lies east of Southmer Wharf Island and could be considered a natural extension of it. The island bends northward and splits east and west. The western part is the Fort, covered elsewhere. The eastern diversion is Aloysius Point, the traditional antemery enclave of Fenstre. It is a colourful region, with folk from all over Fels settled here each with their own customs and languages. Societors dwell here as well, usually catering to the “foreigners”. Some of the folk who live here have been here for centuries, particularly Dialesians and Argyrians. Due to the usual xenophobic outlook they are still outlanders even after ten or so generations when their native tongue and customs are long forgotten. Oruri, Inforagers, Thads, Kellems and Ardnesians live in relative harmony.
Even folk from far afield such as Tunqvist, Nelucium, Hyslur-Zemark, Miener Column, or Moloskir have settled. The Geriarchs keep most of these folk under covert observation, in line with native thinking that most strife is external in origin. Another reason is several of the peoples settled here have odylic ability or creeds than run contrary to Fenstre's orthodox thinking.
Aloysius Point sits south of the lunatic asylum of Cynosure Point, east of Gaol Island, west of affluent Lower Ipty and north of Eastmer Scrub and Ipty. The Ipty Road traverses Aloysius Point so it can be an area of high activity.
The dictums of Fenstre normally ascribe all sinister doings to the folk of Aloysius Point whom in turn smile in quiet reservation. There are strong supportive sentiments among many of Aloysius Point's folk toward the Xene, Dyne and Wirra. No person of real note dwells in Inmer, apart from the myriad of bureaucrats of the Fort who consider themselves part of the noblesse.
Please continue to Trowheald Island.