City Population: 200,000 Government: Count Robart Alere


The city of Bataille is the capital of the Province of Dirkshire, and as such houses an imperial residence where the kings of Thyrnesse sometimes wintered. This necessitates the presence of a large treasury in Bataille and the charging of the cities’ count with the grave responsibility of ensuring the safety of the imperial interests. Bataille is a battleground of the varying factions under the emperor Tamerin, and a much more lenient atmosphere exists here than in Miles.

The city itself is impressive and almost crushingly imposing in a way the rambling Miles is not. But it is also safer, and more cozy behind the massive shield walls than the larger capital of the empire. It strays behind Tourons and Miles in most things, the third largest and third most important city in the entire heartland.

Bataille is surrounded by a massive 50’ thick wall known as the Shield Wall which runs in an oval around the city and the plateau on which it stands. The Shield Wall towers seventy feet up and is studded with embrasures and towers. The city boasts three main gates and four smaller ones, each of which is like a tunnel boring through the rock. It is truly a formidable stronghold.

-Andrau de Bataille, secretarius to the Count of Bataille

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History of the City

The city of Bataille has a long history that stretches back to the beginning of the fourth age. It was founded by the legendary emperor Norandor Blacksword who ended the decades of civil strife after the collapse of the second empire. The greatest battle of that war was fought between the Whitespears and the Goldhook range on the plain where Bataille now stands. Legend says that the low plateau which Bataille encompasses was the very spot where the Blacksword forged the Treaty of the Sword with the warring contenders for empire. The treaty-city, as it was called, was the seat of his administration.

It remained the imperial capital despite the larger size and cultural gravitas of Miles throughout the second empire period. It was the heart of imperial administration until the very final days of the empire when the Emperor Malleor was slain on the field campaigning against the giants of Pernag.

This city has remained important to this day; the kingdom of Avaria, which held lands surrounding the Whitespears, was governed for much of its rule from Bataille. It remains the center of tax distribution for the current imperial government, taking in revenue from the lands to the west and sending it onwards to Miles.

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Wizards of Bataille

The city of Bataille hosts several wizards of moderate power. The most famous (and powerful) is Telendril the Illuminated who has served the Alere family for several generations. However, there are other mages and wizards in the city besides Telendril.

Danaxus the Alchemist is one of the older wizards in the city and he makes a comfortable living concocting potions, philters, and salves for the nobility. His patrons are the wealthiest men in the city. He and Telendril have an understanding and neither competes with the other in their respective fields. Danaxus lives on Merchant’s Row next to the herbalist’s shop known as the Pestle.

Honorious Magnus, a wizard of great girth, is known as a minor enchanter and lives just off the great market above the Grinning Ghast Tavern. He is completely mercenary and has been known to eagerly employ his talents to any end.

There are a coterie of minor wizards in Bataille; Anomander the Hedge-Mage and Tibault Stonesage are the most well known of that minor crew.

Lastly, Salvatus Insanis, a wizard who was once known as Salvatus the Sure, was involved with exploration of necromancy five years ago. He once lived on the great market, but Telendril ferreted out his purchase of several powerful necromantic tomes. The two wizards clashed right in the market square but Salvatus had long been preparing for a confrontation. Salvatus was not slain, but escaped. It is believed that he fled the city for the Whitespear mountains.

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The Bataille Watch

The city watch is composed of a corps of knights in service to the count. They are known as watch-leaders, and each watch platoon is deployed with one knight in command. The watch itself is trained and stocked at the cities major garrisons. Watch members are drawn from the wards of the city by random assessment (though it is notably only commoners who must complete this duty) and those drawn for the watch must serve for one month before being discharged for the remainder of the year when they become eligible to serve again.

Guardsmen are expected to purchase at their own expense a truncheon and leather armor to wear while on patrol. Guard platoons consist of five guardsmen, a knight, and a lamp-lighter. The guard is only ever deployed at night to keep watch in the dark hours. Those men who watch the walls actually belong to the household of the count rather than the watch.

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Blacksword District

The Blacksword district is located on the western side of the great market, encompassing it and the region of the old imperial palace. It is so called for being the original precinct of Bataille. On the spot where Norandor Blacksword drafted the great treaty (or as close to it as historians can determine) a statue of the emperor stands. It depicts Norandor ten times life-size holding aloft his infamous black blade. The statue itself is made of polished marble and the sword is made from hammered black steel crafted by the dwarf-smith Elgr Harnmr.

This district is inhabited by the average freemen of the city. Where the nobles live in the noble and temple districts, and the destitute in the large poor district, the blacksword district houses most of the rest of the city. Additionally, there are several great warehouses in the blacksword district for storing imported goods and disseminating them throughout the city.

The blacksword district is also home to the headquarters of the Dirkshire Merchants Guild and their competition, the Company of Miles. The smaller Riverlin Trading Coaster also has a small building there as does the Seagard House of Trade’s Milean ally, the Shoreline Trading Company.

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The Great Market

The great market stands about a mile to the east of the center of the city in its lowest point. It is a huge market-square studded with a swirling morass of wooden stalls. Some of the stalls are owned by specific merchants and others are owned by the count and rented to whomever purchased it for that day (or week, or month). The great market is one of the least useful of the markets in the city due to the fact that there is no real order or organization to the stalls. While one may seek out Rockwall Alley for stonework or the cloth market for clothes, all this and more may be found in the great market.

However, the great market, as the centermost area of the city, is also the most widely visited and lucrative for mercantile ventures. Most merchants that maintain stalls there also have workshops somewhere else in the city (often nearby so that prospective buyers might see some samples and then be guided to the shop). In the center of the great market stands the statue of Norandor Blacksword that was erected three generations ago by Count Alaman Alere.

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The Old Imperial Palace

The old Imperial palace was the seat of the Second Empire for several millenia; While Norandor Blacksword himself did not rule from it, several of his successors did. It was constructed in the time of the third emperor of the second empire and grew successively during each ruler’s lifetime. Much of the old palace is actually below ground, having been paved over during the many thousands of years that Bataille has been inhabited.

The ruins are generally avoided by the denizens of Blacksword. They play host to a myriad of unpleasant things; creatures up from the sewers and dangerous thieves and muggers who lurk within the fallen rooms. It is said that the old palace was built on a gigantine ruin which had collapsed into the hollow caverns below the plain. Though there is no proof for this, adventurers continue to ply deeper into the sewer-ruins. There are deeper ruins to be reached: there are imperial chambers that collapsed deeper into the sewers, and treasuries (most of which were emptied or plundered).

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Countscross occupies the northern central section of the city, from just outside the great market to the Lamp Gate. The district is named for the central crosscroads that are located at Hangman’s Square. Before the subordination of Bataille to later royal authorities and the granting of it as a county seat, the region was known as Emperor’s Crossing. There are still several small monuments in the region that have inscriptions relating to Emperor’s Crossing, though the term has fallen completely out of usage.

Countscross abuts the Noble District, Blacksword District, and Lowmarket. As such, it serves as a transitionary region between these three districts. Its edges most resemble the territories that they are adjacent to.

Countscross also serves as the stabling center for much of the merchant traffic of the city. While Merchant’s Row has most of the mercantile business from outside Bataille, almost all those who need to stay in the city for any extended period do so somewhere in Countscross. The inns and boardinghouses of the cross are nicer and closer together than the other districts.

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The Gateward Garrison

The Gateward Garrison was once an imperial fortress designed to protect the northward looking gates of Bataille early in the Second Empire. It was, famously, the launching point for Emperor MallĂ«or’s failed war against the fire giants that destroyed the Second Empire for good. It currently houses most of the household knights of the count of the city and a militia composed of those who have drawn Watch duty for the month.

It is a massive building, imposing and terrifying, with five huge round towers and a massive curtain wall. Many scholars believe that it served as an imperial residence during times when the palace was not in use. The front gate faces the Lantern Gate, and it is from here that watch patrols issue to make circuits of Lowmarket and Countscross in the evening.

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Hangman’s Square

Hangman’s Square is the center of Countscross; in the old imperial days, this was a site of the ritual bludgeoning of criminals. However, within the city the count is now empowered to act on imperial high justice. This means he can carry out the death sentence in the name of the emperor, and the Alere family uses the gallows in Hangman’s Square to do so.

It is also the place where the most inns and taverns cluster in all of Bataille. It serves as the heart of Countscross and its main marketplace as well.

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The Lantern Gate

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The Night Market

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Merchant’s Row

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Danaxus’ Workshop
The Full Purse


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The Pestle

The Noble District

This section of the city stands in the northeastern quarter. The entire city is shaped like a shallow bowl with the sections closest to the wall being the highest. Of those, the noble district is the highest still. From this hillock, one can look out over the whole city. The ancient aqueducts and sewers are in the best repair in this district. The household guard of the Count of Bataille regularly patrol the streets and ensure the safety of its denizens.

There are lamp patrols at night in this district as well, which accompany regular sweeps of the count’s household guard. Most of the nobles who live in this portion of the city are in fact barons of Dirkshire or one of the provinces close to the Dirkshire border. Many of them attend the count’s court, as he is considered to be the most influential man in the region.

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The Alere Manor

This is the residence of the Counts of Bataille. It stands behind a high outer wall, an entire estate of somewhat less size than the Metropolitan’s Palace. It is a multi-winged stone manor-house that sits on an acre or so of clear property surrounded by the wall. From the count’s manor it is possible to see every portion of the city and over the Shield Wall to the plains beyond.

The Alere manorhouse is divided into several general sections as determined by its halls. The inner area devoted to the count’s court is focused around the great hall which has a tall ceiling, a chandelier, a large great fireplace and tapestries depicting ancient Milean scenes. Guests are often given residence in the complex around the small hall which is low of ceiling, has a single chandelier, a small fireplace, and is decorated in ancient arms including a reproduction of Norandor’s infamous sword over the hearth. Diplomats and temporary visitors are kept in the large guests hall which is the biggest of the three and most grandiose.

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The House of Illumination

The home of Telendril the Illuminated, the House of Illumination is not far from the count’s manor. The wind elf is known to be a supporter of the current (and previous) count and as such has woven spells all about the Alere manor-house. The house of Illuminations appears to be a noble manor at first glance. A second look will reveal that it is in fact bedecked with elvish touches; the doorway is wrought with carved stone ivy and stone beasts hold up the roof. The architecture is somewhat more delicate than the other nearby houses; Telendril brought an entire retinue of elves with him to build his home and hired many of those living in the city to assist.

Though it has no guards, one should assume the House of Illuminations is well watched. Telendril is no minor wizard, and no thief has ever survived an assault on the manor or even been discovered afterwards to tell of what slew him. Rumor has it that Telendril has forged magical weapons for the family of the count; this may be so, as there appears to be a smithy on the grounds of the manor and it is certainly true that he employs several elf-smiths of no little skill.

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The Temple District

The temple district can be found by following the Shield Wall directly southwards from the noble district. This region of the city also houses many nobles and more refined enterprises such as book binders and goldsmiths. There is a sizable rock-gnomish settlement here as well where work is done on idols and statuary of all kinds for the temples. The district is named for the fact that it hosts both the Metropolitan’s palace and the vast majority of temples within the city walls. It is a cozy district kept safe by the presence of the Metropolitan’s temple-wardens (who are not, in a technical sense, knights though they are called by that name). Those who do not appear to belong are often questioned if they are found there at night, and those without good reason to be there are escorted to some other portion of the city.

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The Metropolitan’s Palace

The palace of the Metropolitan is a stunning edifice that covers nearly a block on its own. It is attached to the great Hierean Temple of Bataille by a long slender wall known as the Savinne Wall. It was constructed in the late ninth age by Metropolitan Arnaut Savinne at the behest of the Lawkeeper in order to ensure that the temple could continue to operate even during a siege of the city. The palace itself is almost a castle, projecting might from its crenelations. It even has a single tower built in the dwarvish style that was incorporated by rock gnomish workers in X477.

The palace is built with imported Umbrinol stone, lapis from Khewed, garnet from Mughar, and other hard-to-find objects. The office of the Metropolitan, Gregoire the Dagger, resides here within the his palace. From there he manages the affairs of all the temples within Dirkshire.

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Temple Square

Temple square is the heart of the temple district. It is a large cobblestone square with a central pavilion providing a shelter for a three-sided shrine; each of the shrine’s sides is devoted to one god. These are Vaela, Heimir, and Fortuna, the gods of travelers and the road. The Metropolitan’s Palace stands several blocks away, but its joined building, a large Temple of Haeron, fronts the square. Across the way stands the Temple of the Dawn, a huge Avaunian temple that servers as a training center for leeches and medici and was once the center of the Avaunian faith.

Every major human faith has a temple on the square; there is even a small temple to Vodei. There are several temples not on the main square as well. The demihuman temples are located scattered throughout the district.

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Temple of the Dawn

The Temple of the Dawn was once the center of the Avaunite faith. It has, in recent centuries, certainly come down a long way since the heyday of Avauna’s triumph. It sits kitty-corner to the Temple of the Golden Law, an impressive structure with a steeply pitched roof plated in golden tiles. The portico is frequently staffed with Healers who stand ready to assist the wounded that come there for aid.

The Temple of the Dawn is also a center for medical training and scholarship, though it has since become less prominent than the Abode of the Daystar.

Mundane healing at the temple is lent out to the leeches and medici that have been trained there. The clerics serve under the Light Avaundra, the chief priest of the temple.

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Temple of the Golden Law

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Temple of Winter’s Heart

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Stonewall Alley

Stonewall alley is located several blocks from the Temple Square. It is a narrow alleyway of stonebuilt buildings which houses at least three hundred rock gnomes in their towering homes. There are several dwarvish families as well, though they are not as prominent in the city. The gnomes of Stonewall Alley are well known for their mason-work and are often hired by the count or the metropolitan to undertake city repairs.

The alley is also the location of Siegvald’s Stone, an inn and tavern to which many of the gnomish and even halfling visitors of the city gravitate. The alley is known as a place where smallfolk from over the city can come to meet and mingle, particularly at Siegvald’s.

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Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius