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The Districts of Fenstre, Trowheald Island - The Middle
Trowheald Island is its own administrative district. It is a largish island in the south-central part of Fenstre, north of the Fort, east of Gaol Island, west of Inmer Island and south of Mill Island. There are four bridges only to the island, each at a cardinal point. They are covered bridges, usually of colourful canvas and can be closed when the need arises by means of heavy iron gates on the end of the bridge.
It is bisected neatly by the Ipty Road. North of here lies the residential and small business part of Trowheald Island. It is a relatively affluent area patrolled regularly by the Trowheald's own soldiers. The region is somewhat genteel and the folk here, while Societors to the core, are generally considered to be better informed and more tolerant. A lot of this is due partly to the wealth of the area and partly to complacency to having a powerful and eminent family to the south.
South of the Ipty Road lies the edifice of Trowheald Castle. A wall divides the remainder of the island off and in the exact centre, north of the Castle gate is the Trowheald Monument, a router-bit shaped sculpture in basalt. It is the stuff of legends but, as it has been explained earlier, it is simply an Attuned Wind statement to the joy of building.
The Attuned Wind also built the Castle. It is more of a giant house than a true castle, yet it is built of basalt three feet thick, and like the Fort and the Clathe, was built to withstand invasion and the effects of time and weather. The Castle is roughly four hundred metres long north south and three hundred metres east west, however it is not a true rectangle. It has eight stories and several parapets and towers. In addition it has two floors underground, a cellar and a crypt. The crypt, oddly enough, can only be accessed by going to the first floor.
The Castle lies in the southeastern corner of the island. Across from it lie the barracks and parade areas of the Castle's employees and soldiery. There are also small wharves to the west and south. The soldiery of Trowheald Island is known as the Equitant Men, so called as the officers usually operate on horseback.
The horses themselves are stabled near the barracks and no expense is spared as to their care. The Equitant Men are the de facto private army of the Trowheald family and are employed to patrol the island and keep the peace. As the island is considered a private domain the militia do not operate here.
The island is named after Fenstre's pre-eminent sept, the Trowhealds. They were the first of the five septs to arrive from Bozlin and Orur and have remained the most important. The Castle and the island itself have been their property for nine millennia. All homes and businesses on Trowheald Island actually rent from the family.
The family, or Clan as they are officially known as, has never been numerous. Today they number only five. The present Clanmaster is Thenson Trowheald, an eager and enterprising man in his mid twenties. Traditionally, the second-born son assumes the mantle of Clanmaster and is in charge of all affairs military and security. The elder son is the Basilon Taunil Trowheald, an astute and quiet man in his early forties. With a practised hand he administrates the affairs of the family while Thenson issues the orders and edicts. The differences between Basilon and Clanmaster are subtle, but in essence the Basilon rules the background, while the Clanmaster is more active and to the front.
Thenson and Taunil
Both men are the sons of Diomedes Trowheald from different mothers, Thenson's mother is an Ecquair Point meretrix (whore) while Taunil's was the sister of Lord Chaverno, the Taverner's Guildmaster. The youngest member of this generation is Olanelli Trowheald who shares the same parentage as Thenson. She does not live with them, opting to live in Tweenport partnered to Yone De Florio, a publican. The Geriarch Krame kept the details of her existence from the Trowhealds until comparatively recent times. Her birthright and lineage were confirmed upon exhuming the crypt of Diomedes Trowheald. Despite this, she remains in Tweenport and has remained aloof from Trowheald affairs, though some suspect this has more to do with the influence of her De Florio partner. Ophea Trowheald is a bright young girl of ten.
She is the daughter of Taunil by his marriage to Calamanda. She died giving birth to Ophea and Taunil is very protective of her and she lives, for the most part, high in the towers of the Castle with her tutors and toys.
Nuala Trowheald is a woman in her late thirties. She is the only issue of former Basilon Royment Trowheald, who was Diomedes' elder brother. Nuala is a herbalist by trade and has little contact with the Clan and rarely acknowledges her kin. She lives in Old Town, near the Infrey. She is a tall, handsome woman, with fine light brown hair and keen, lucid green eyes. Most people who deal with her do not know her for a Trowheald. Thenson and Olanelli do not have children.
The Trowhealds own large parts of Fenstre. Apart from the Island itself, they also own Tweenport, a settlement wedged between Lake Village and Eastmer. They hold title to a fair deal of farming land north of Fenstre as well as a number of the deltaic islands. The income they derive from rent and trade is considerable.
The wages they pay in return and the tax levied upon them by the Clathe is also formidable. A lot of the wealth of the Trowhealds is “old money” and due to their name as well. The Trowhealds lack the gangland reputation of the Flamsteeds, or the mystical connotations of the D'Arrests. In fact, there is a lot of mystery about them to the average Societor and their faces aren't well known.
Unlike a lot of the other septs, they don't dicker in the politics of Fenstre and no Trowheald has ever been a Geriarch. They have had tyrants and megalomaniacs among their numbers, the latest being Diomedes, who wanted all of Fenstre under his rule. They will use bully and subversive tactics to achieve their means if needs be and many a body has floated out into the Fairge due to malfeasances. They are true and loyal Societors, and are expected to be the paragons of such a style, even though at times members of the Clan have felt little or no affinity with the city. Taunil disavows Society thinking and is cynical about many of its practices, whereas Thenson can be the embodiment of a Societor.
Both men, while markedly different in most cases, generally live in amity with each other. Taunil doesn't always trust Thenson with tact or diplomacy and Thenson considers Taunil overly bookish and reclusive, his mind full of abstruse facts. Thenson spent most of his life in or around Three Meanings Island in Southmer as a hawker and has a certain street savvy the austere Taunil lacks. It was the decree of Diomedes that Thenson remain with his mother, Diala until his twentieth birthday when he'd assume Clanmastery, to teach him street-savvy and practical common sense.
Thenson, like Olanelli, had no true inkling of his origins and Diala had been sworn to silence. Fortunately for Thenson, he never recalled Diomedes while he was very young. Diomedes at that stage was in the final throws of lunacy and Royment had deserted the Castle to raise Nuala some years before, who'd been the subject of incestuous leers and more, from her uncle.
Diala had been a young girl of fifteen when Diomedes took a fancy to her. She dwelt with him for a number of years, enduring horrific abuse and she mothered two children. Diomedes gave Olanelli over to Krame for safekeeping during a rare lucid moment, fearing he'd do vile things to the infant. He died before writing down conditions for her and he'd banished Diala and the toddler Thenson to Ecquair Point.
Taunil at this time, kept to himself, although he maintained a secret liaison with the lush Diala. Diala found a rare gentleness and comfort in the arms of Taunil who also gave her the moral streak, which rubbed off onto her child, Thenson.
Diomedes was a perfect specimen of a man in great power and position given the ability and means to act as he saw fit. Trowheald law prevails upon the island, over that of the Geriarchs, save in times of war, and the Clan are like gods in their own demesne.
Thenson is a superlative swordsman, having been in the tutelage of Omis, Diala's older brother, for several years. He also has a friend among the Hallilan, particularly Lothmire, who has been a friend since early childhood. Thenson brings an earthy, basic understanding to the often stuffy and ossified traditions of Trowheald Castle and the combined knowledge of the two male Trowhealds gives them a great deal of advantage in their dealings with the gentry of Fenstre.
Other folk to dwell in Trowheald Island are Catt, who is the Trowheald chamberlain, a large and flustered man, though eternally loyal, Pirriel, who is the guard captain of the Equitant Men. In the residential district lives Gladei Townmure, the last adherent and priestess of a cult known as Darklove.
They worshipped a goddess known as Lhusk and were from Merhulneo and Isume originally. Little else is known about their beliefs although part of the Warrens is dedicated to Lhusk, a fact not even the Geriarchs are aware of.
Gladei is a slender and seductive woman in her early thirties with long ash brown hair. She is a singer and a dancer and plies these trades around Fenstre. She is attended by Yuill Drivandad and Sponnand Townmure. Sponnand is her brother and Yuill is his workmate. Both men work in the Warehouses but are members of the Darklove cult and assist Gladei in her rituals. Yuill is a minor member of the Drivandad sept and has little to do with them. Most of his kin live in Port Ofrey. Gladei is currently Thenson's lover.
Gladei is an accomplished mesmerist, the field of shadow, and occasionally uses this to stave off trouble or to ensnare the attention of someone she requires.
Nobody is sure why minuscule and unassuming Mill Island has been accorded district status. Most people are totally ignorant of the fact or don't care either way. Mill Island is due north of Trowheald Island, west of The Middle and Gaol Island, east of Inmer Island and south of Knebber Point.
It is unremarkable in every way and is usually only a place between an origin and a destination. It is Fenstre's grain mill. Flour is made here from wheat, rice, barley, sorghum and other grains. It is stored in the Warehouses nowadays, previously, the flour was held in silos built in the canal to the west. They stand like empty sentinels now, only notorious for a dumping ground for the Hallilan's victims. There are minimal residences here with most dwelling in the south near the bridge to Trowheald Island.
The Middle, as its name implies, is the geographic centre of Fenstre. There are no canals here but everywhere is a jumble of vegetation, wood, bunting, canvas, smells, sounds and chaos. The Middle lies north of Inmer and Mill Island, south of Northmer, southwest of Hired Skull, east of the Waterway and west of the Hired Skull Scrub and Lake Village.
The Middle is Fenstre's market and bazaar district. The Middle includes Knebber Point, Cynosure Point and Gaol Island in its purlieu. The happening place in The Middle is Otulio's Tavern. Located just off The Long Road of the Rubber in the south-western corner, it is the largest inn in Fenstre. Tavern is a misnomer, as Otulio keeps a large number of rooms he makes available to wayfarers both antemery and local. The local guests usually are lovers enacting some tryst away from the eyes of those unfavourable.
Otulio, as the first son of his family has been named for years, is a large and quiet man intolerable of any disturbance beyond ordinary revelry. He is staunch member of the Taverner's Guild and employs strongarms to carry out his will. He favours the fenny of Zuleina over that of Donnchadh's.
Further to the east, around the bend of Geriarch's Canal, lives Portiscu the Sly, the only man public who represents the Hallilan. He is a shrewd, wizened man in his sixties who has made immense wealth from clandestine and questionable deeds. Nowadays, he is considered a colourful scoundrel by the gentry of nearby Knebber Point. He can be found at Otulio's Tavern or if one asks the right questions, at his home off The Marchway. He will be invisible to all but genuine enquirers nonetheless.
Knebber Point is just west of Portiscu's home, a protuberance out of The Middle, analogous to The Clathe which lies due north of it. Knebber Point is the swank district of Fenstre. Strictly Societor but those with airs and vapours to spare. The houses here are lush and airy, camouflaged by exotic vegetation imported from Chird or Luwedne and guarded by well paid lackeys armed with swords and shackled bunes and tigers. Knebber Point is divided off The Marchway by a large fence which adds further to the humorous derision most Societors have for the inhabitants. Long and expensive are the functions and social interactions of the elite here. Like most of Fenstre's wealth, it is old money passed down from one generation to the next. None of the five septs of Fenstre are represented here.
The other nobles and elite look upon Knebber Point with wry faces and sly smiles. In the middle of Knebber Point lies the Emporium, the swish shop of Fenstre. Here can be purchased bibelots, clothing, food and articles, all imported and all at ridiculous prices.
A suave and snooty man known as Uzzian is its proprietor and considers himself very much a life member of the epicurean club.
The Middle is home to Fenstre Bazaar. The Bazaar sits close on the “border” with Hired Skull although the distinction is lost in general. All Societors would tell an antemer that the Bazaar in fact is in The Middle. The Bazaar is approached from Inmer and Swott by the Longroad of the Rubber, from Knebber Point and south by The Marchway, and from the north by The Hired Skull Path. The Bazaar is surrounded by an antique fence of withes, wattles and mouldy canvas and canvas covers the diverse stalls from the weather. The Bazaar sells items of every description except food which is sold elsewhere. One comes to the Bazaar to buy ornaments, clothing and information. The various guilds of Fenstre have enforced a prohibition on the sale of gold, silver, fruit and vegetables and alcoholic beverages. The Bazaar is open strictly from dawn to dusk. All other times it is open only to the traders, their servants and the militia who patrol it.
The Bazaar Tavern sits across from the Bazaar on the Longroad of the Rubber and does a wholesome business. To the east of the Bazaar, close up on the Hired Skull Path is the Costermongery, the official wholesale place for fruit and vegetables. These are the markets the mainland growers sell their wares as well as more exotic rainforest produce and imports from Chird, Port Diales and elsewhere.
The Costermongery actually occupies a huge, airy wooden structure replete with the usual Societor traits of camouflaged entrances, concealed watch-points and a private canal running through the centre. Like the Bazaar it is open only in daylight, all other times for re-stocking, loading or other, less licit activities. The Bazaar is officially controlled by a bureau of the Fort whereas the Costermongery is the purlieu of Syge, the Costermonger's guildmaster.
Syge is an elderly though stout man placid and calm who operates the near-riot that is the Costermongery with a sure and able hand. The Attuned Wind water-pumping device known as Upump sits here, tended by lackeys of the Fort. Just west of Otulio's is In The Middle Glassworks, the official shopfront of the Glassblower's Guild who are located here.
This Guild does nearly all of its business abroad which makes many of its members worldly and less apt to the peculiarities of the average Societor. Smail owns and operates a respected smithy just west of the Guild. Most of his wares are exported too. The Bargee, a pirogue, dugout and canoe builder, have their yards up against Cincture Canal across from Waterway.
Most of Fenstre's canal and estuarine craft were made here. The shipwrights of Fenstre are situated on the river channels to accommodate deeper draughts.
Cynosure Point is the south-eastern point of The Middle and is the residence of folk committed as insane by the law of Fenstre. It could be argued that there are many who bide time in Cynosure Point who have done no wrong but find dissent with the ways of the Geriarchs yet weren't important enough to be executed. Cynosure Point is walled off from The Middle by a strong stone wall bolstered by iron spikes and the canal-sides likewise. It sits across from Aloysius Point and is peninsular in shape. Cynosure Point comes under the governance of the Fort.
Gaol Island is the large island due east of Trowheald Island and is possibly not a true geographical part of The Middle, yet is always counted as such. It is split neatly in half by the Ipty Road and The Marchway joins it here to head north to Hired Skull and Old Town. The island serves as the militia's main marshalling and training yards.
There is a gaol here but most prisoners are kept in the Fort or Cynosure Point if they aren't executed outright. Apart from the Ipty Road and The Marchway there is no other public access to the island. Like Trowheald Castle, the Clathe and other structures it is an Attuned Wind building and as such stands out from the constructs of the Society. It is home to nearly 7000 militiamen.
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