Tourons

“City of Towers and gilded gold/ city where mages ponder tongues of old/ city of glimmering night-time lights/ Oh! City of earthly and endless delights!”

Ballad of Tourons, Ahben ibn-Farouk an-ghazi, X497
Size: 110,000 Government: Ruled by the Prince of Westreth and Lomere Militia: Prince Balduen’s house forces

Introduction

Tourons is one of the four great imperial cities that lie within the heartland of the unified empire. She is proud and old, the former capitol of the Galoen kingdom of Westreth. Ruled by the cadet branch of the house that now governs the empire entire, it also serves as the lone port from whence ships may sail to reach Oronë. This gives it a revered status amongst imperial wizards, who flock to the city to inhabit and build towers up and down its steep hills in the hopes that they will be chosen to sail to the secret lorehouses of the silver elves.

Physically, Tourons lies upon a steep slope along the notoriously sheer cliff-faces of the Westrethan countryside. It is girdled by walls of white granite that are both high and thick, and pierced with a number of gates. The city itself is circular, though a bite has been taken out of its lower quarter where the sheltered deepwater harbor lies.

The city is easily divided into three sections. The more-or-less flat harbor or Lower City where the great trading houses, quays, and the dwellings of the poor and destitute are found. The Lower City lacks proper governance in many places, and has no pavement upon the streets.

The Middle City is the steepest part of the hill, encompassing a great swathe of the actual buildings of Tourons. Here there are wattle and daub structures mixed with ancient Milean Towerhouses and tall towers of newer design. Domes, garrets, terracotta, slate, and ivy are all common sights within the Middle City.

The Upper City contains the Watchkeep, the Field Market, and the Metropolitan’s Temple. It is on the somewhat level ground and the Field Gate is indeed flush with the high floor of Westreth, above the rocky seas.

Any direction will reveal towers, domes, and filigreed stonework. The cities’ population is awash with dwarves, silver elves, wind elves, and gnomes. There are a disproportionate number of wizards relative to the general population. It is, in a sense, the magical center of the Empire.

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History

The city of Tourons was originally the Second Empire outpost known as the Watchkeep. This single massive tower of pinkish granite is still to be found at the heart of the modern Watchkeep of the Galoen. In ancient days it guarded the passes from the heartland to the west, straddling the Pillar Road as a major depot for trade and soldiers. A harbor was subsidized by imperial coin to provide shipping for the Milean armies to anywhere in the West by means of the Black River and other tributaries. This led to the development of a rather large support community around the military installations. The town that grew up there was called Vigilchastel.

With the imperial collapse, the Watchkeep became a source of local power. Magnates that ruled small kingdoms in what is now Westreth and Lomere did so from the seat of the old imperial commanders. In time, the keep was expanded into an entire fortress. The little village was under the protection of the remaining military might of the Empire at the edge of the heartland, which coalesced at the Watchkeep. Some rods to the east, Bataille was experiencing a similar rise in local power.

By the Sixth Age, Tourons (Vigilchastel) had become the center of a small but fairly stable kingdom known as Voltain. This kingdom lasted through several dynastic crisis and helped evacuate the Oronnai from Sylvasil during the Second Elf-Dragon War, which is what led to its establishment as a treaty-port of the silver elves. This prompted a surge of settlement by magi and scholars, who built many towers along the Tourainian hills. This led to the adoption of a new name: Tourons, the City of Towers.

The breakup of Voltain in the Eighth Age precipitated the formation of Westreth in the Ninth, when the Galoen Watchmasters inherited the keep. They made use of the magical resources at their fingertips to gain control of all the land east to Dirkshire and west deep into what is now Byrne. This was the combined principality of Westreth and Lomere, and was constantly struggling with New Avaria and Thyrnesse.

Once the three kingdoms were united by the ascension of a Galoen to the throne of Thyrnesse (arranged by the Grand Conclave), Tourons became one of many cities within the Thyrnessan yolk.

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The Towers of Tourons

The design of towers in Tourons varies more than in any other single city of men. From the ancient squat and mighty barrel-shaped Towerhouses of the Late Empire and early Voltain kingdom to the slender elvish-looking towers of pale granite, they run the gamut completely from one end to the other. From a distance the city is all towers and walls, spires of many sizes and shapes projecting against the sky. But there is one thing that the towers have in common: they house wizards.

The Most Potent Mages

Ward the Wise of Wardtower

One of the city’s elder wizards, Ward actually dwells in Lomere, deep within the swamps. He often frequents the Prince’s court, however. It is said that he himself tricked the dark magician Eadric the Grasper into killing himself with an ancient artifact in the Watchkeep, but the truth of this legend is hotly debated. That was long ago, near on 80 or 90 years, and Ward shows no sign of being over 95 himself. He’s still spry, and wise, and strong in magic.

Tollaren the Lord of Shadow

An illusionist and experimenter in many magical arts, Tollaren is one of the city’s more reclusive magicians. His estate in the Middle City is surrounded by juniper trees and is said to be haunted by moving shadows (though this could just be the standard anti-wizard talk that goes around). He is known to have an open policy for teaching students, though his prices can be steep.

Coroven the Shipman

One of Pandar’s Procurements’ main agents, Coroven has a black reputation on the docks for driving out competition and shutting down the warehouses of his enemies by the use of force. It’s rumored that he summoned the irritating devil Panglor who is bound by his terms of service not to leave Pandar’s Procurements.

Tirolindalen of Oronia

A wizardess of the silver isles, Tirolindalen does not accept students, visitors, or pupils but often finds herself serving the Prince’s court as an advisor. It is rumored that there is a relationship between Ward of the Wardtower and Tirolindalen, though what this beautiful ageless elfess might see in the old man no one is quite sure.

Talmora the Sorceress

A woman deeply involved in ancient history and scholarly research, there are those who say that Talmora visited the silver isles when she was young, learned her fill of magic, and now uses it only to study history. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, but she is a scholar and sage of many fields and gladly does services for adventurers and the Prince when asked (and payed).

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The Prince’s Court

Balduin the Fair, Prens of Westreth and Lomere, cousin to the emperor himself, rules these two great principalities from the Watchkeep in Tourons. This is the heart of his court, and thus the nexus of political life in the region. The nobility of Westreth and Lomere send their representatives or appear as is their due to serve the prince in his keep, though the court sometimes moves out of the city and into the countryside.

High Steward of Westreth and Lomere: Avus Letour (manor: Letour)
Harbormaster: Caelin of the Water (stipend)
Master at Arms: Sieur Varance Pilier (manor: Ville Pilier)
Court Lawkeeper: Metropolitan Caedmus
Chamberlain: Lady Avelice Persalle (manors: Persalle, Coter, Vaire, Totham)
Imperial Vaultmaster: Lorenzenius of Miles
Purser: John le Falons (manors: Falons, Laroc)
Doorward: Garth le Falons
Court Master of the Hunt: Sieur Bryan Chenec (manor: Chenec)
Standard Bearer of Tourons: Sieur Procles of Tourons

The court is also attended by a small flock of imeperial oculi and guarantors. The oculi report to the emperor on the affairs of the city, while the guarantors serve as witnesses to urban contracts, particularly those made in the court of the Metropolitan.

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The Temples of Tourons

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The Great Guilds

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Tourons

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius