Pelonastra is the nominal capital of the Mill Lands is built on two islands in the mouth of the River Shay as it flows into the Kouric Sea. It is a city in gradual decline since its glory days under King Sam and contains several districts that are dominated by the Mill Land's poor. The north isle (Olinast) and the south isle (Yulinast) are fundamentally different. On the north Isle the Castle Ward, High Gardens, Kings District, Bonders District (banking) and upper guilds reside, the White Temple is also here, now a relic of the days before the sundering. The Yulinast is made up of Preachertown, a district where traditionally religious radicals, heretics and impoverished writers and intellectuals reside, the ship market where sailors find ship work, traders import and export and deals (legit and otherwise are done), the tanning district, the slaughter houses, the spire (the prison for common criminals along with stocks and gallows) poor houses. Those that are too poor for Yulinast live in what is referred to as 'filthtown' (a play on the Swithick word 'Filddtown or 'floating town), an large and interconnected network of boats, floating platforms and gangways that has grown from the docks and wharfs of Yulinast. Bridges connect the two islands with dry land and the city's cemeteries are on dry land outside the city walls. It is here that some of the street children of Pelonastra reside, including the Black Cat Gang (about whom, more, later)
Districts of OlinastEdit
At the centre of Olinast the Carrick stands, a large keep, reinforced by three perimeter walls. It is an imposing white fortress with green bronze sloping roofs and watch towers. It is the home of the provisional government of the city The Lords Elect of the Council. This body has sat since the last of the De Hauer line died out
The high gardens fall within the next series of walls that stretch out beyond the Carrick and are strictly reserved for Pelonastran gentry.
The Kings District lies to the south of the island and is populated by the largest, wealthiest houses in the city. A Pelonastran that lives in the 'Kings' is normally rich from trade or banking. Unfortunately for the rich, they have not been able to socially cleanse the Kings of workshops, tanners brewers, boatwrights, fishermen and others who live cheek by jowell in the district.
A faceless marble banking district, familiar to all of usEdit
Upper guilds Edit
The master craftsmen to the wealthy have their guild halls in this pristine and soulless part of town.
Modelled on the White Temple of Arc yet nowhere near as grand, it sits in long grasses behind the Carrick, populated by a few old priests and monks, but largely ignored by the population of the city.
The wealthy part of Pelonastra, Olinast, contains some of the oldest schools in the Mill Lands. The children of Mill Landish gentry are sent here at an early age to be educated (though often because there is nothing else to do with them and it's a good way of getting them out of the way) The educational institutions range from monastic houses and religious orders to - at the lowest level - the cramped chambers of scholars, where students are expected to help out with arcane research tasks and hopefully learn something as a result. The life for many children sent away to the city is miserable and lonely, some come to enjoy their 'education' but others try to return home or drift around the city for days on end, sometimes crossing over to Yulinast. The Lords Justiciar are supposed to keep an eye on the city's young wealthy guests but are largely unconcerned with their well being.
When the regime of Samuel II collapsed, much of the official prohibition on 'doctrines, claims and pronouncements' was allowed to lapse, as was a highly effective tax on printing. The result was the development, in Yulinast, of a district by the waterfront (where rents for poor scholars were low enough to afford) and close to the old Ephandrine library (in global terms, a minor source of texts, but in Mill Land terms the biggest). Over the course of the century and a half after the fall of King Sam, the scholars were gradually joined by all manner of religious radicals who began to take issue with the authority of the one church (they essentially believed in the same god but argued that the means by which he was worshipped was all wrong). These various sectaries would preach from the street corners and spend their days writing obscure religious treatises. After the sundering, Preachertown became a magnet for new cults, religions and sects and instead of being a minor district in a peripheral capital, it became a district known throughout Aestis for religious freedoms and a centre of 'estoteric learnings'. It is also suspected that Preachertown scholars are secret hoarders of magicked understandings and demonologies.
One of the most significant Aruhvian cults in Preachertown are the Machenites. The Church of the Burning Messenger, to give them their official title have established themselves in Pelonastra in the past two decades, in the back rooms of taverns, chapels and on street corners, preaching a firebrand version of Aruhvianism to the poor, as dictated by the long dead scholar Machus.
Ragtown is the tanning, leather and wool working district of Yulinast. Strictly speaking, there should be no industry at all in Ragtown as no charter has been proclaimed allowing any guild to establish itself or licence for any work to take place. Rag town is another district of Yulinast that the Lords Elect of the Council have long since given up on policing however and to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of garment workers would doubtless provoke a riot. Many of the small tanneries and looms operate from the cramped houses of Ragtown, along with a plethora of brewers (Ragtown Ale is well regarded up and down the Shay Valley), bakers and small metal workers. The Machenites predictably loath Ragtown, seeing it as a chaotic and deceitful place full of swindlers and idlers. The Church of the Burning Messenger are obsessed by ideas of 'order' and believe that the government should enforce laws fully and brutally if necessary. Storm Lane, a winding street that leads to the Lonely Wharf had several well known hostelries that provide food and ale for travelling merchants and sailors. The Mule, The Shaver's House and Dhorican's Hollow are all well regarded and often a useful place to recruit hired hands.
Gangs of YulinastEdit
1) The Master's Eyes: 30 or so strong and working directly for the Parchment Prince.
2) Ragtown boys: Pickpockets, thieves and petty enforcers in the garment district east of Preacher Town (known as Rag Town)
3) The Black Cat Gang: The newest, smallest and weakest gang, living outside the city walls it the graveyards on the mainland, for fear of a kicking
4) The Bridge tickers: occupying Rother Street on which the five bridges between Yulinast and Olinast can be found they beg known as 'ticking' and steal
5) Mud rats: A generally derogatory term, applied to the poorest street children that wade for coins through the mud of the Shay at low tide.
Yulinast Docks Edit
The docks of Yulinast are policed in part by the Lords Justiciar, but they try to avoid the area. They don't like to have to deal with dock types and Filth-towners, petty crime and smuggling (which everyone accepts keeps the city's economy going). Instead the Yeomen of the Spire (glorified prison warders) wind up doing more and more of the policing. In addition to this the various guilds of dockmen and storers have their own militias (dock men with clubs looking for thieves).
Notable Pelonastrans Edit
The Parchment Prince Edit
The prince is not a prince at all, but a money lender in Filthtown. He is referred to as the Parchment Prince because of his obsessive habit of writing down all debts, details, nuggets of information and will transcribe verbatim anything that is said to him, knowing that he can hold others to account later with it. The Prince resembles an old, balding man with long straggly grey hair and thinning robes, he is quite, shuffles around and often seems distracted, but is feared by the street children and the poor of Pelonastra. He likes collecting eyes and often will extract them if the debtor cannot pay up. The prince seems to have been in Pelonastra for centuries and in fact emerged in the city during the sundering. He is a fallen Grace and has found himself trapped in this current reality, where he is bored and frustrated. Graces are not meant to become 'of the world' and the Parchment Prince's obsessive collection of knowledge and debts has made him far too connected with that which is temporal and material. This has corrupted him, but he still has uses, his purpose as a Grace was always to keep a celestial balance and keep demons at bay. The Prince is aware of a demon called The Idiot in Pelonastra, which has been drawn to a powerful magic presence in the dungeons of the Spire. The Prince's most hated opponent is a bandit warrior and fallen Fury who resides in the Eastern Karse known only as The Eye.
Chancellor is a man in late middle age, his large growing white-grey beard is yellowed from tobacco smoke and he is rather overweight for his 5'6" height. He is often mistaken for a bar room bore, but in Yulinast he is well respected by the various merchants guilds and gangs. His role is as an honest broker, he keeps the peace between rival factions in the city and for this he receives finances from wealthier merchants (though to some extent this can be seen as his extortion racket). He is also a spymaster for the fallen De Hauer family and their allies the Rever family. The De Hauers, descendents of King Samuel II live as 'aristocrats without title' in the city. They theoretically have a claim to the throne, but as no throne exists any more and the public are for the most part apathetic about them, it is unlikely they can reclaim their rightful place. 'Prince' Bard of the De Hauers employs Chancellor directly to solve his problems (which are various) and Chancellor employs street kids like the Black Cat Gang to do his bidding, using blackmail and bribes wherever they work. He is utterly cynical and will think nothing of risking the lives of others to achieve his ends. He is wary of the Parchment Prince and has an idea that he is not of this world.
Ostris Virayo of Arc Edit
Virayo is a minor nobleman from Arc who runs 'Whispering Vault', an office of the Virayo family bank in the Ledger District of Pelonastra. He is hugely influential and the threat of closing the Vault and returning to Arc has put paid to many a plan by the Lords Elect.Edit
Pelonastra and the rest of the Mill Lands are governed by the Lords Elect of the Council