The Northmarch was as far from the civilized world as one could hope to wander. Though the lords of Valador had long claimed it as a territory under the Kingdom, Northmarchers bent the knee to no one save the local counts and barons. The Dukes of Teres have maintained that distant relationship with the Crown during even the most centralized periods of the Kingdom’s power, historically speaking, and have been content to rule in relative isolation. As a result, the Northmarch is a wild land, undeveloped, untainted, a font of natural beauty at the roughest edges of the world. And at the roughest edges of the world, there is adventure.
Northmarch has long been a popular destination for mercenaries, adventurers, pilgrims, and merchants, all hoping to strike gold in the ruins of long dead empires or in the queer avenues of trade of these northern reaches. Ancient towers nestled in the depths of the Great Forest, the bones of the fallen Vieric Empire of millennia past, hold great treasure, and great danger. Under the Forgewall Mountains, the dwarves delve deeper and deeper towards the roots of the world, hoping to unearth the lost city of Thandkarakh. Men and women, paladins and priests of the One God, Gyaal, travel from the far corners of the world to pray for the blessing of the Lady of Lac Myr. Entrepreneurial types, trappers and hunters, come north to Pinewater Lake and beyond to break into a swiftly growing fur industry.
Whether you come for gold, or glory, or in the service of a god, you first come to Teres, the Old City and the northernmost port on the continent.
Artimeres Briyazh swept his hat from his head and took a deep bow, reveling in the applause of his adoring audience. The dark elf was arrogant, and knew it, but his performance had been exceptional, and the applause was as well earned as the coin he collected in his hat as he made his way through the crowd. He went from table to table, giving thanks for the gold, silver, and copper pieces as he went. He poured them into his coin purse as he reached the exit, and stepped out into the cool spring night and onto the streets of Teres.
It was a beautiful city, in its own way, centuries-old white stone architecture illuminated by the light of the moon and the hanging lamps. Teres was home to over twenty thousand souls, making it a large city, though not nearly the largest across the Kingdom of Valador. It was certainly the largest settlement in the Northmarch, however, and by some measure; Stoneport, the second largest, had a population of no more than eight thousand, if that.
Artimeres, drunk off gold and liquor, smiled, and struck out into the night, leaving the Tavern behind.
The Tavern had no other name. There were other taverns in Teres—quite a few, in fact—but none were confused with the Tavern. The Tavern, instantly recognizable by its mononym, its size, its simple, stout construction, was the largest drinking establishment in the city, as well as the oldest. The owners claimed that their ancestors had built the tavern over thirteen hundred years ago, and that it had operated under the family for that entire period of time. Though newcomers might doubt the truth in their claims, no Teresian contested this history.
The Tavern was the first place many newcomers visited when arriving at Teres. It was located right near the docks and had a more welcoming atmosphere than the dockyard taverns like the Oarsman and the Groghouse. An eclectic mix of drinkers could always be found within, no matter the time of day, as well as a host of entertainers, lutists, poets, and singers alike. Among these ordinary tavern goers is the opportunity for adventure.
A City Watch bounty board promises rewards for such things as goblin thumbs, bugbear teeth, and the capture (or the heads) of wanted criminals. Prospectors, eager to find riches in the depths of the dangerous wilds, look for armed guards to escort them. Herbalists seek adventurers to find rare mosses and flowers under the enchanted eaves of the Caegwenn Forest. A student at the Teresian College of Wizardry pours over the notes of his research while a barmaid pours him a mug of ale.
A good place to start for a new party of adventurers, perhaps.