The Island of Hesjing is ruled by the massive city-state of Talara, which takes up a majority of the island's land. The Island is sometimes simply referred to as Talara, and interchangeable in common talk. The small nation also consists of the small Argyle Isle located just off the coast of Hesjing in the mouth of the Atlantean Bay.
History of Talara
Talara was discovered by sailors in the Exploratory years as they traveled along the coast of the great continent of Valgora. It was at first used merely as a stop point to rest, with occasional hunting or fishing. In time, with the advancement of ship-technology, Hesjing's location would become barely a two-hour trip from the nearest points on the mainland, and it nestled roughly between Ghikva and Malsvir's main border. This fact led to it quickly becoming a vast port city, hosting great commerce and the most exotic market in the known world. Hesjing, to this day, has never been deemed as a country in its own right, but has always held home to the reigning City-State rule of its port city Talara. Talara is hundreds of miles across and by the second largest urban area, next to Coilspring, Weinderston, of Valgora. The only other settlements on the island, a farming village, monastary, and a drudic encampment, found no harm in this and have always willingly been under Talaran law.
Government of Talara
Talara is a totalitarian state, though it has always been a pleasant one. The House of Caex has ruled since the official creation of the City-State, and current ruler is Martiver Caex. A small cabal of individual assist in the King in daily politics and decisions.
The northern coast of Hesjing, like all coasts of the island except for Atlantean Bay, is dominated by sudden-drop bluffs. Cave entrances dot the cliffside, though no noticeable entry point to any of them can be seen. It is rumored by some commoners that these caves represent a vast underground tunnel network that the Government uses to easily travel without having to deal with the public, since the caves are all directly underneath the Governmental District.
Atlantean Bay houses the Talaran Docks, and is the only accessible entry point into the island (as this is the only point the island makes beaches, it is extremely tall cliffs at all other areas). The docks are always buzzing with ships coming and going at all hours. The small bay houses the small Argyle Isle, which has the island's defensive keep and safety lighthouse. The Bay also houses a small squadron of Aquatic Humans who are on the Talaran Guard payroll, making sure shipments come and go as they are meant to.
The Zaran Monastary exists independently of Talara, but has never stood in the way of the City-State's claim of rulership of the island. Monks of the commune keep to themselves, and are rarely seen far from their area.
The Druidic Encampent of Qualirian
Much like the Zaran Monks, the Qualirian Druids live amongst the trees in the Talaran Highlands and keep to themselves. They have no problems with Talara, and Talara has strict laws against deforesting the area.
Tomb of the Unknown
The Tomb of the Unknown in the south has been the bane of adventurers for a millenia. None but Velor may enter. The entrance way is unknown, but suspected to be along the cliffs of the south. None know what is inside, but many scholars from the Talaran University have made their hypothesis known. The most widely accepted belief is that it is the final resting place of Velor's ancestors.
Named after a tragic folklore of doomed loved, Gwarn's Overbite is a stretch of land that extends above the rocky shore below its cliffs. The ledge has been used at least three times in documented cases for suicide. It received it's name when Gwarm, a young gnome in love with his peer Frual, believed through a series of unfortunate events that she had perished. Legend says he went to the spot and jumped into the sea, not realizing that Frual was not only in perfect health, but her father had agreed to the dowry and she would be wed to him.
The Dreaded Cliffs of Zoreat
Much like their counterparts to the north, the Cliffs of Zoreat are a perilous place to wander. One wrong step, and an individual can find themselves plummeting towards certain death. As such, few really travel the area, except locals extremely familiar with the terrain.
An oddity unto itself, Thrall's desert exists on the island. Its temperatures are very high in the day and extremely low in the night. Luckily, the Four Horsemen (local name for the four mountains) are located in the center of the desert and can be seen from all its area in the distant, so that any traveler may have some sense of direction.
The largest of the four horsemen and home to the legendary line of Radiant Dragons, Mt. Hurthi is a black mass reaching beyond the clouds.
|“||A small island situated within the Atlantean Bay, Argyle Isle's stout dwarf has guided more ships to safety than will ever be known.||”|
|—Sir TwoTone Trollbane, Tips for Travelers|
Wedged in Atlantean Bay is the small secondary island known as Argyle Isle. Receiving it's name from the white-haired dwarf Caretaker, Argyle Isle is only about a mile across at its longest and a 30 minute boat ride from the docks.
Along the Western Edge of the Isle is the Keep. Built as a "just-in-case insurance policy", the Keep houses the famed '1,000 Canons of Talara.' The keep has mostly fallen into disrepair, with about a third of its canons being useless. As Talara is all cliffs other than the Atlantean Bay, the Argyle Keep is the first (and hopefully only needed) line of defense against any enemy.
Sitting on the north portion of the isle is Argyle Beacon, the tallest lighthouse in the world. Due to it's reclusive caretaker's extreme love, its light stays on in all conditions of low light or less and is maintained to the max. The light helps guide travelers around the isle and into the Bay properly.
|“||The massive island city of Talara is home to all sorts of individuals and misadventures.||”|
|—Sir TwoTone Trollbane, Tips for Travelers|
The largest metropolitian area in all the world, Talara spans more than half the land of the island it sits on. A mass interworking of trade and government forces keep the city going daily, and visitors are always common.
For a comprehensive City Guide, please see Two Tone Trollbane’s Traveler’s Guide to Talara
Grand City Court
On the most northern point of Hesjing, deep within the Governmental District, sits the Grand City Court of Talara. A mass ampitheater built into the very land, the court hears cases of all sorts on a daily basis. The so-called 'Trial of the Century' took place there when Prince Rek Magim of Galvland requested relocating his trial on infidelity (he was discovered to have already had a mistress when he had only been married four days), so that the very-conservative citizens of Galvland weren't bias.
House of Caex
The Royal Palace and Court are beautiful to behold. The royal family lives and works here, and no expense has been sparred at maintaing the grounds. Over 300 employees keep the family's home up. Tours are provided in certain areas and thru certain gardens during weekdays for a small fee.
The groundwork that keeps Talara running happens in the clustered region of government offices. The embassies from Ghikva and Malsvir are located here, not far from the House of Nobles and House of Commons. The Capital Building houses the Talaran Senate.
For every field of love, it is said that there is one place that a person should go. For knowledge, that place is the Royal Talaran University. The school has more students than every other major university in the world. It's massive library is legend for its extensiveness (a sign on the door says "Bigger than Boccob's"). Student life is exciting, run, and challenging.
The Cathedral of Light
It is here that the Order of Vargach meet. These international paladins represent their God in all ways of life, and in all countries. Here they go over plans to destroy evil where it arises, and bring light to the dark.
This pre-history monument has been untouched since the founding of Talara. Coming from Ghikva, it is the first recognizable feature of the island to be seen. A large arch, so tall that it has never been successfully measured (half the governmental district lyes below its two massive legs) stands upon the coast. When dawn comes, the sun is first visible as light shining on the top of the arch and slowly moving down, eventually hitting the island.
Grand Talaran Arena
The hardpacked sand of the Grand Arena has seen much blood and more honor. This non-lethal arena packs the house monthly for its tournaments of strength. When Martiver Caex wishes to speak to his country, he does so at the Arena, in front of over 300,000 of them. Sporadic events and celebrations use the venue.
A beautifully trimmed and maintained recreational area. Within it's bounds are the Qualirian Pool (no fishing allowed). The park serves as a nice place for the big city residents to relax and wind down from the stress of city life.
Talara is first and foremost a market town. The docks of Talara see more travel in one day than Port Denason, Cape Beckon, and Cape Myst do in a month - combined. The market square is always packed, and merchants of all wares can be found.
Numerous long docks span from the Atlantean beach into the bay, perfectly laid out to provide maximum room for ships. Ships are required to unload and reload as soon as possible as there is always another ship waiting to do the same (non-commercial ships have a single docking area in the south of the district where ships can stay longer, for a fee). Workers are everywhere, and so are seedy pirates attempting to gain some capital.
Though done out of cultural habit and not mandate, Talara has three very distinct residential districts. The Upper Class reside not far from the Royal Palace and Governmental District (Noble's Square) while the middle class live in the shadow of the Grand Arena between it and the Highlands (Runtersack). The impoverished, low class, and other poor people's live in the psuedo-Tent City region near the Docks known as the Narrows, known for a high crime and disease rate.
The Village of Aevir
|“||These few farmers call themselves the true residents of the Island of Hesjing, and love to remind individuals that Talara is not alone in it's claim to the island.||”|
|—Sir TwoTone Trollbane, Tips for Travelers|
The Village of Aevir, along with the monastery and the druids, is one of the few non-Talara Hesjing settlements. With a population less than 4,000, Aevir uses its lands for vast farming. Merchants travel back and forth selling the food and putting it into travel at the docks.
|Valgora Campaign Settingv|
|World Reference||History, Ghikva, Malsvir, Talara, Notable Dungeons, Notable Towns & Cities, Notable Spans of Wilderness, Cosmology, Organizations, Deities, Distant Past|