Taranor or Telemenx
|Realm:||Surrounded by Kahlahra, Rashnad, Lonrath and Rondis|
|Predominate Races:||Khalars, Rashnaditz, Akmans, Limbris, Thons, Arangothians|
Taranor is the name of a city just south of Rashnad, the end-point of a long road through the desert. It is a very ancient city and has long controlled the entrance to the road.
What does this mean? It means that the merchants of Taranor have been able to monopolize all trade on this route. Anything that is to travel either out towards the eastern lands or in towards Arangoth has to be sold first to these merchants, who mark up the prices by about 50% in order to assure themselves of a good profit.
Origins & History
This trade city on the edge of the desert is so ancient that nobody knows when it was originally founded or by whom. The Rondissians claim that they founded it long ago in the days when Rondis was the center of a mighty empire, but the locals say that the Rondissians only conquered the city, which had been there long before. The inhabitants of the city believe that the Gate of Gadrihar was the first thing Menxvan crafted after finishing the earth itself, a belief supported by the fact that nobody has any inkling what "Gadrihar" ever meant. This legend has become something of a nuisance recently; the gate no longer leads to anything and gets in the way of traffic, but of course as a Divine Work it can't very well be torn down or even nudged a little bit out of the way.
There is no real "government" of the city, but only unofficial gatherings of the main merchants, who pretty much own the place and look out for their collective interests. The city buys all food from Arangoth and would starve otherwise. Telemence is currently neither part of Arangoth nor part of Rashnad, but is instead a small, Independent City-State in between the two. Its population is roughly the same mix as that found in Arangoth. The merchants are of course very, very wealthy; on the other hand, the workers in the warehouses and the "carriers" are very, very poor. The merchants protect themselves against would-be thieves or assassins by hiring well-paid bodyguards, magicians, psions, etc.--not that this always works, of course.
As one might expect, a city where the only laws are wealth and might, it wouldn't be Telemence without a murder now and then. If the pace of homicides ever falls too low, the city's inhabitants grow uneasy, as folks elsewhere react to "eerie silence." That much is common knowledge, along with the fact that students of Drache's Royal University often head to Telemence for cheap holiday thrills during the spring break from classes; some never return.
Layout & Architecture
Taranor lies near the headwaters of the Nie River. This river flows southwestwards to Antara-Ethcabar, but passes through the spooky and untamed Elgar Forest on the way. This route is considered too dangerous to be used by all but the very bravest travelers. Instead, there is a road overland which crosses after about twenty miles into the fertile farmland of Arangoth, the border checkpoint in the village of Serxalfri.
Laws & Customs
Smugglers, the bane of the merchant class, are treated very harshly. The standard punishment for smuggling something around Taranor (and most other offenses deemed serious enough) is to be thrown from a height onto an upwards-pointing curved metal spike, itself about seven feet off the ground. There is no court of appeal, only the whim of the merchants and their bodyguards. Bets are commonly taken on how a particular unfortunate will end up skewered on the spike. This is not to say that there aren't smugglers; there are probably lots. They just have a bad time of it if they're stupid enough to get caught! A person falsely accused of smuggling might try to have a representative of the Crown of Arangoth attempt a diplomatic intercession, but there's no guarantee that even this would work.
The city has as many names as there are peoples who speak of it. Arangothians know it as Telemenx, but it is "Telemence" in the local dialect, straddling the fence between Arangothek and its close linguistic relative, Limbri. Telemence translates to Tele-Whole, a collective name for several "tele" or market-centers perched precariously upon the desert frontier, grown together over the years through expansion. The Akmans know the place as "Tara-nor," the Great Tele; and other races have other names for it, some of which are not at all flattering. The roads and marketplaces are always full of people and carts and pack-mules. Street-vendors are famous for singing out the prices of their wares in melodic fashion, enticing people to part with their money through clever verse. Many things that are illegal in Arangoth flourish here with a vengeance, such as a bustling slave trade and an assassins' guild.