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The City State of Bayris
Bayris was founded in blood. And from time to time, ye can't help but step in it. Tis' named by the first pirate ever to sail the seas, and fair game to know that never will his spirit rest knowing pirates are not ruling there here waters. If you want simple trade, go to Calestra. Ye want to shiver right out of your skin, go to Davnor. But if you are looking for excitement, the best ale in Antaron, and a sweet deal, Bayris is your city! -Timor "Greyfox" McAndrews, Quartermaster of the Jolly Ogre
"Bayris? That's as close as I can come to a home on land. In fact, if you exclude my baby here, then Bayris is the only place I call home." -Jael, Captain of the merchant vessel Tetrial
"They say Bayris is all splendor and grandeur; all I see is filth and thievery."-Darien Talmbre, bard
"Money seems to flow so much easier in Bayris. The wealth seems eternal!" -Torvad Gimel, merchant
"You can always tell one's profession in Bayris, if not by his clothing then by his speech pattern." -Hendrix Bluecoat, noted Council member
"I turned down a position as a ranking officer in the Pardinal Riders for this job, and I'd do it again if I could. Hell, I'd take this over the Drannonese crown." -Amiral, Sergeant of the Marteal Guardsman
The northwestern part of Antaron, along the Taskarren Coast, is home to the sprawling port city of Bayris. The city and surrounding lands comprise the largest free city-state in Antaron, providing a bustling metropolis of trade and crafts, despite the relative isolation. Although the city thrives with mercantile trade, farming, and shipbuilding yards, its history and beginning are not so humble.
Deep in the history of the Taskarren Coast, Guldar "Red Dog" Parr, captain of the Shinara's Scowl, built a village as a home for pirates and bandits across Antaron. Out of the way from most major cities and near forests for shipbuilding lumber, they scoured the coast to create hidey-holes and landmarks for steering clear of lawmen, the Vidarak, and other enterprising pirates. After the death of Red Dog Parr, the village dwindled and died with him. Tales and legends still are told of hidden troves of treasures in the city and surrounding coves.
Many years later, in 198 b.E.R., a group of separatists led by one Dail Brerden found the remains of the pirate hold now occupied by a few remaining old men and women too tired to continue pirating. They no longer wished to live their lives under the shadow of the oppressive Drannese Empire and searched for a new place to begin building upon their dream. When they found the remains of Bayris, they knew they found the perfect location for the dream to take root, despite its past. To this day, Drannon views Bayris as something of a rogue state.
The enterprising vision of Dail Brerden continues to this day. Many hundreds of years later, Bayris has grown well beyond the boundaries of its few taverns, buildings, and lone shipbuilding port. The ramshackle village led by a dream of political idealism grew to become a thriving city of legitimate business, albeit hiding a bit of illegal trade. It is an independent nation, and the "center" of the rural northwest.
The city itself is more urban than rural. Standing out along the farmlands and rolling plains of the coastline, Bayris is a bastion of civilization hundreds of miles away from the rest of the world. Bayris is a large trade city, providing shipping for merchants of the local area, Pardinal, the Isles of Tiborn, the Artarian Reach, and many other peoples and islands. Bayris is considered the income capital of western Antaron, providing shipping and trade needed by many people across the land. The business of Bayris lies in its shipbuilding, lumber, and produce needed by the rest of the human nations of Antaron. Many lumberjacks from the nearby Commonwealth of Dorest towns of Jaycern and Rayther view Bayris as their ticket to the rest of the continent. Shipping overland brings far more dangers and takes a longer time than through the regulated and protected lanes over water, and can be costly and extremely slow, especially for lumber. Farmers from the nearby fields and plains often export crops through Bayris rather then face the perils of travel through the forests and unfriendly Sendria that bisect Bayris and the consumers of the continent.
The greatest lure of Bayris is not only the prospect of trade, but the opportunity for any man to truly make his way in the world. Without a monarchy, the people have an influence on contracts, taxes, and public works. The city-state is ruled by the will of its ruler, elected and supported by a council of city elders. The system may not run perfectly or without corruption, but compared to the rule of kings and queens, many find it preferable. And through this system of government and open economy, new corridors open for the peoples beyond the mainland, such as the Artarian Reach, the Tiborn Isles, and various other lands foreign to the human nations.
The closest neighbors to the city are the Commonwealth of Dorest, the people of the Chindari Plains, and the Vidarak of the Artarian Reach. The Council of Commandments rules the city, including the bay and surrounding lands. This council consists of representatives voted in by the populace. Politics in Bayris has become a commodity as much as grain, lumber, and pit fights. Beyond the power of the Council lies two other systems of politics: the military and the First Patriarch (or mayor). The military, ground and naval forces, are under the leadership and control of the Krag, a fierce bloodline of warriors and intelligent tacticians. Some say the Krag line began as pirates on the seas long before the might of the Ventar twisted and turned the entire business of pirating and mercantilism. Although the law is tough, it is fair. And with the constant threat of pirates, the number of naval victories under the Krag flag, and the just proclamations of the Council, few are ready to dispute the Bayrisian authorities.
Yet, not far away, in the waters themselves, lie the greatest attraction and fear of Bayris, the pirates of the Taskarren Coast. Terrifying and greedy, the pirates rove in constant wars with themselves, the port city, and any ships they find for goods, treasures, and adventures. Pirates are not happy singing folk with a love of wine and women, but death dealers who will scuttle a ship before letting it be reclaimed by the Bayrisian navy, who are little better than pirates themselves.
City Information: Bayris has a city layout unlike other. It is a bowl-shaped place with buildings and people spread over the water, along the coast, and in stair steps of cut away limestone and cliffs rising in arcs around the city proper. Over the many years, it has cut deeper and deeper into the coastline. It consists of various tiers of homes, businesses, and other spectacular buildings.
Old Cove - Part of the great city has moved not only onto the shoreline but the bay itself. This section, called the Old Cove, resides nearest to and on the water between the two main ports. Row-upon-row of stilted docs and buildings line the bay, reaching out to create marinas and dock sides for loading ships, accepting the catches of fisherman, and locking in boathouses. Many of the boathouses of Bayris are floating restaurants and taverns that row out into the marina and bay for evening gambling, parties, and the like. The floating establishments do not range too far and carry impressive lists of cutthroats, mercenaries, and city watch as guards in case of pirates. Many peasants and fishing families make their lives here on dingy floating homes, hovels under the piers, and small hut homes. Much of the black market trade begins and ends in this district.
Ports - The largest amount of trade happens in the ports. The Port of Life is the name given to the massive port on the northern border, easily ranking as the largest port in Antaron, with the only possible competition being Portua's ports in Pardinal. Through this port, the city gets its reputation, most of its business, and its life. The port is divided into several smaller docks and piers, numbered for simplicity of schedules and warehouse assignments. The southern port is called Tethry Marina, taking in a vast amount of fishermen and exporting all produce through Bayris. Between these trade centers are a mix of docks and piers that make up the black market trade of Bayris. In the confusing layers of taverns and inns are hidden factions of pirates and thieves. The guards detest ever entering this area, especially at night.
First Tier, The Bazaar and Merchant's Quarter - Another portion resides in the layers of building and rebuilding directly on the coast. This section, called the Merchant's Quarter, includes the shops, markets, and warehouses for trade. Just beyond this section is a half-moon of limestone cut away to form the first stair of the city proper. But outnumbering the merchant home of glamour and the floating gambling halls is the main district of shops and open-air markets. Many patrons and merchants call the entire area a free trade area and merchant's paradise, but over time, it has aptly been named the Bazaar. It is the heart of Bayris, with extensive streets and buildings, some four floors high, all offering colorful signs hanging over doors, windows, and street on ropes. Hawkers call out from their shops and in the streets proclaiming their wares. The area also includes numerous inns and taverns, for it said that nobody can rent a room without being able to turn around and order a drink. One could walk along the big city streets and see to either side of him a huge two-story strip of various stores, each selling a different ware; trying to make sure nobody nearby is cutting their prices.
In the southern area of this district is the famed Arena of Heroes. Seen from any vantage in the district, the massive arena hosts gladiatorial games. The sanded stage of bloodshed and warfare hosts events between noble duels, chariot races, exotic animal fights, and gladiatorial events.
Second Tier, Arbiter's District - On the second tier resides various large buildings of grand architectural scale. Closely linked to the first tier, it includes the political buildings, politicians' homes, schools, and larger temples of Bayris. The central and largest complex is the House of Commandants, meeting place of the Council, Overseer's Office, and public works. Here people of all walks of life may bring their grievances to be heard and ratified. Many deals requiring the investment of lawyers and security also occur here. The district also includes the First Patriarch's manor, housing for most of the council members, schools, lawyer offices, the First Bank of Bayris, and temples. Of these places, most seek the Academy of Law, a school for law and letters; the Academy of Navigators, school for naval tactics and shipbuilding; and the grand temples of Shinara and Alanus.
Third Tier, Marquis District - The next level of cliffs and cut away land includes the brilliant and beautiful homes and larger businesses of merchants, nobles, and schools. Called the Marquis District, merchant kings, nobles, and other wealthy patrons have built immaculate houses of wealth and prestige. Space is a fine commodity in Bayris. These mansions rest close to each other with parks taking up any space not built upon. Although not built on a hill like the fort, the merchants seek to build taller structures to see over the city. Oddly enough, all of the rich families live in the highest floors of these homes, leaving the bottom floors to their hired help, or for storage. When arriving to these homes, grand staircases invite visitors to enter directly at second and third floors, leaving service entrances under these stairs for carriages, supplies, and servants. Each house is built in Taskarren style, with polished stone, sea colors, blown glass, and balconies. The feel of the homes is opulence and an open-air quality to let in the sights, sounds, and smells of the bayside city.
Fourth Tier, Fort Brerden - Overlooking the entirety of Bayris is Fort Brerden, named after Bayris' founder. It rises as a majestic emblem of power and authority. Made of dark wood, timber wide and strong, from deep in the Commonwealth of Dorest, it has three walls and many barracks and watch towers. The first wall surrounds the keep itself, the home of the guardsman general and naval commander. The second wall surrounds the barracks and academy of guardsmen. The third and farthest wall of the keep encompasses the old city and part of the port. Beyond these walls lie the thriving metropolis of merchants, shops, craftsmen, and warehouses. The complex of Fort Brerden resides on the hill northeast of the city.
Southern Bayris - South of the bulk of Bayris are farmlands and ranches harvested by folk seeking the old trade of the earth. Every year, rich harvests leave the land for the ports and markets in Bayris. As rich as the merchants in the city walls, the farmers live well on the land. The sight is deceiving for travelers who come over land, expecting to see a thriving merchant community. Many of the southern residents include farmers seeking new fertile land, ranchers of cows and lambs, retired sailors, simple fishers, and people who just want to live near the coast, without the big city fuss. Scattered throughout these communities are stationed men liveried in the colors of Bayris. They protect the lands and aid the farmers when they can, settling minor disputes while fending off bandits and raiders.
Shopping in the southern sector consists mostly of small business, taverns, small bait and supply fishing stores, a single day rent-a-boat for those too poor to own their own, and a few merchants well known and usually liked by the locals. This is where one would find the general stores and wooden cart merchants peddling their crafts for a reasonable price. Thievery tends to remain within the walls of Bayris, but a few outposts are found from time to time in these communities. Some inns and taverns include lay houses for thieves running from the law. But their stays are always short-lived within the small and tight knit people.
Bay of Irongills - Finally, upon the great Bay of Irongills, float the silent sharks of Bayris' impressive naval brigade. Intimidating ships set in the orange and blue of Bayris, these three-masted galleons keep the peace and justice of the waters off of the Taskarren Coast and Macoran Bay. Outfitted with small catapults and ballista, the ships and their courageous crews patrol the shipping lanes up through to the Kachiri Islands. The ships rove in groups of three, at times employing pirate tactics to keep the bandits of the seas from taking their bounty. As feared as the city guard may be, nothing strikes such terror in the hearts of pirates and bandits than seeing the orange and blue crest of Bayris riding the seas.
Commonwealth of Dorest - Beyond the city of Bayris and the surrounding farmlands, to the east, is the Commonwealth of Dorest. This commonwealth includes the towns and villages of Rathyer, Jaycern, Jesp, Prath, and other spotted throughout the woodlands and forests. For many long years, the Commonweath has protected the interests of lumberjacks, druids, and the forests themselves. The bloodlines of the forests include numerous families of lumberjack and druids who work together to keep the forest at an even size. Never cutting more than is needed, always thanking the powers of Kith-Jora, Miellyah, and Vilathera, the peoples continue their heritage with the land. Though some rumors now say others seek to plunder the land by striping precious resources from the rock and woods. The Commonwealth sends all trade through Bayris to other lands as the travel across the Chindari is dangerous, long, and damaging for the harvested lumber.
Culture and Society: Bayrisians are a diverse people, yet many of them share similar views. They enjoy mercantilism and the ocean. They seek great deals whenever they can and in whatever they do. Above all, they seek freedom. Whether a pirate, thief, craftsman, or banker, each and every Bayrisian wants to protect and enjoy personal and political freedom.
The folk of the farmlands are simple, often just living out their lives in a peaceful yet civilized environment. They rarely watch or seek the hustle and bustle of the big city. Often a southern dweller shrugs off an argument rather than fuel it, and always offers forgiveness to a former enemy should they change their ways. The southern Bayrisians dress in common clothing. Some own small fishing boats, but rarely do they engage in commerce on grand scale.
However, Bayrisians of the city proper seem to take every second of life as a thrill. Many tales and barkeeps say the fastest tongues and hardiest dealmakers are merchants in Bayris. City dwellers come from all walks of life, including merchants, innkeepers, bartenders, brewers, craftsmen, fishermen, and lawyers. Inns and taverns vary in quality, having staterooms for the affluent and cheap accommodations for the poor. And of all cities in the realm, some of the best of law keepers and writers come from the schools and council halls of Bayris. It is said even the Sylvarian ambassadors of Quevin in Coria shiver when a Bayrisian lawyer enters a discussion or negotiation. Politics is an important part of life in Bayris, gaining the interest of nobles, merchants, fishermen, and pirates alike. Another intriguing aspect of the Bayrisians is their absolute love of art. Many homes include homemade or artisan crafted artworks, including sculptures, paintings, carvings, gloss blowing, etchings, and quilting. At times, the commissions of art have closely run against the selling of produce and lumber.
Bayris also has a long history of warcraft and warriors. Guardsmen, gladiators, and mercenaries often find work and pleasure in the city of Bayris. They sign on as guardians to merchants and ships, mercenaries to clear problems around the Commonwealth of Dorest, regulators for the wild lands to the south, and fighters for the arenas. Many young warriors seek their fame and glory by signing on to ships and protecting the wilds before joining the guard.
Beyond artisans, warriors, and merchants are the common folk who work and play hard. These people man the docks, enter the guard, sail the seas, repair and build homes, and much more to keep Bayris running smoothly. They diligently wake, work, and enjoy the fruits of their labors. These people do not only seek the meals on their plates. Even these middle and lower class laborers and scholars participate in politics and elections, seek song and dance, and enjoy the prosperous life of Bayris. Even the pirates consider themselves citizens and take active duty in the protection of the bay and politics if outsiders ever threaten their home, despite the caustic remarks and actions against them by the law.
Trade and Commerce: Obviously, Bayris is the one of the leaders in trade within Antaron. The free city-state provides the central export of lumber, produce, and shipbuilding for the nations. But what draws so much of the commerce remarkably is its location and government. Bayris provides a singular place of neutrality for nations to import, export, and trade goods and services. Warring in this region would cause a significant cut in trade vouchers to Bayris, effectively ending all of their trade using Bayris ships, shipping lanes, and ports. Bayris also offers the only direct commerce with the peoples of the Commonwealth of Dorest, Kachiri Islands, Artarian Reach, and the Tiborn Isles.
One of the greatest exports of Bayris is lumber. The wood in the nearby Commonwealth of Dorest has signed exclusive rights to Bayris for the over-seas shipping of their wares. They also have trade agreements with Drannon for caravan routes. This wood is excellent for shipbuilding, architecture, caravan wagons, and war machines. Lumberjacks from nearby logging towns Jaycern and Rayther, farmers from the southern plains, and the many sales tariffs are what keep the Bayris treasury booming with wealth, often poured into internal improvement and city management.
Bayris provides trade vouchers and tax incentives for all nations and peoples to trade through their ports, and provide various services and goods for the business of trade. Bayris offers exclusive rights to their shipping lanes with package deals including protection through military vessels. If a nation, company, or city needs ships, they offer merchant vessels for rent or sale. Of course, with the need for ships, comes the need for protection. Most of Bayris' fleet consists of smaller ships, sacrificing great size and power for speed and maneuverability. These ships protect the larger merchant vessels on the seas and in ports, flying the orange and blue colors of the city-state. Taxes on imported, stored, and exported goods are fair and just under the Bayrisian Order of Collections. This Order hears and negotiates trade policy for the seas and between parties. Not a day goes by without thousands of transactions made somewhere in the city. Be it the pound of meat bought from the local butchery in the south, a 5 night stay at a central Bayrisian inn, or a 14,000 gold repair made to a ship's mast in the north. Money always changes hands in Bayris.
With the need for commerce in a neutral place, many pirates, mercenaries, and nobles seek Bayris as a home. For every ship that enters harbor, warehouse filed with goods, or nobles visiting for negotiations, strong arms and sharp eyes are needed to protect interests. Many men and women directly enter the guard of Bayris, yet even they will work evenings for a bit more coin. Some pirates have even entered legitimate business for the risks of greater earnings. And with such protection offered, the theft and removal of goods and people makes just as much if not more coin for thieves and assassins. Many guilds try to regulate the business of the underground, black markets, and highways. But not all are successful when personal ventures are wanted for high enough of a price. Even these guilds need their lawyers.
Values and Taboos: The peoples of Bayris city proper and the farmlands have differing views on many ideals and beliefs. It is not surprising that the southern folk have fewer taboos and far more values than the rest of Bayris; however, Bayrisians share some common customs and beliefs.
All Bayrisians consider interrupting a mercantile deal rude, including sales pitches, price haggling, and barters. Interfering with a deal gains the ire of other merchants, the Commerce Guild, and pirates with a bone to pick. Strategic attacks through the law and dark trade can effectively end a merchant's business for a long time.
All Bayrisians celebrate their freedom from monarchy. The power of blood is not as accepted as currency in Bayris as in other human nations. Even a poor man can work his way into the echelons of merchant kings. Throughout the city, the power of the law, the Council, Market Knights, and the Golden Watchers of Wealth empowered by Alanus keep a fair and smooth running city free and happy. Without the power of blood, authority regiments in these factions. Yet, despite the restrictions, the people adore their government. Every 7th day of Ternoth Ore, the Day of Freedom is celebrated.
Another issue many Bayrisians agree on is the problem of bandits and pirates. As in any mercantile society, some folk believe if something can be stolen, then it belongs to them. The people of Bayris gather together constantly to fight this never-ending battle. Thief guilds see bandits not as private entrepreneurs, but as nvaders in their work. Guardsmen and merchants see pirates and bandits as terrible expenses and threats to the people and safe relations of Bayris. The bandits working solo in the city are doomed to failure and capture by the thief guild quicker than by the law; however, with quick contracts drawn and blood oaths made, they soon may see the light and join the guilds. Leniency by the guilds is rare for pirates, more so for bandits. However, they realize pirates bring in the lifeblood of the black market trade and make contracts where they can. Anyone without a contract to a thief guild is on their own, outside of their protection.
A common love of Bayrisians is ale. Bayrisian brewers are said to have a formula unique to the city called Charmer. The special brew is rumored to get a merchant's mind working and tongue loosened within moments. The ale itself is a blend of pre-prepared ales and a secret ingredient. To this day, a Bayrisian brewer has not revealed the formula.
The Central Complex and Politics: If the ports are the life's blood of the city, the Council of Commandants is truly the heart of Bayris. The Council resides in a large hall in the second tier of the city. is a square, surrounded by great stone walls on all four sides. Inside is the mayor's manor, the council house for where the city council meets, and the headquarters of the overseer, commander of the Bayrisian military.
The First Patriarch of Bayris has a surprisingly small role in the city. The position consists of being in the public eye, meeting with dignitaries from other nations, and acting as an ambassador to other kingdoms. The position also holds a vote equal to 5 council members used to break narrow margins in votes. The figurehead's manor is both an office and a house, where they spend most of their political life. Every year the term is put on trial, where the public may choose to reelect or induct a new candidate. Very rarely throughout history has a mayor been voted out of office; instead, the mayor typically steps down after a few years of service, taking a seat in the city council. The one exception is during the dark ages of the city's life. (see history)
The city council is always in session. Being a large city with a hold on lumber rights for the human nations, the Council of Commandants rarely has free time for leisurely activities. They listen to contract issues, conduct investigations into bandits and thievery, preside over large deals between nations, and refine the laws of the city-state. For pressing issues and laws, votes are taken requiring a majority. If the vote does not come to a majority decision, the vote goes to the people.
One may become a council member through a variety of actions. The most common, of course, is through a vote of the people. In dark quarters though, many know that seats can be purchased along with votes. The First Patriarch officially has the power to appoint a council member, but to this day that power has never been exercised. Members of the council include merchants, scholars, priests, warriors, and at times thieves. It is customary for a secret member of a thief guild to hold a seat in the city council.
For issues outside of law, such as the cobblestones of streets, building of piers, or health of harlots, the people turn to the Overseers. The Office of the Overseer, an appointed position and office that maintains the state of the city roads, buildings, and health, handles all public work issues. The Officer then hires people to help in the maintenance of the city proper, rarely interfering with the state of the farmlands and trade routes. All concerns of protection and the outlying areas are the purview of the military branch under Fort Brerden.
The merchant guild headquarters is also located in a building near the Council of Commandants. The merchant guild consists of all merchants who wish to live and work in Bayris. They also have a council of day, night, and port masters who ensure the smooth flow of imports, exports, and commerce.
The Bayrisian economy is quite complex, given that the city itself does not have its own currency. The economy is run off of the rest of Antaron, with more weight added to the currency of Pardinal, due to the large amount of trade between the city and the kingdom. Due to this immense amount of wealth and commerce, followers and priests of Alanus have great sway in the city. His faithful seek to monitor all deals, count all monies, and gain power for the church. At times, his work is foiled because of the interest of Shinara and her faithful.
Bayris once had a firm alliance with the nation of Pardinal, dating farther back before the rise of the Ventar nobles. However, as the power of the human nations rose and fell, new pacts were offered to the city. Seeing the political ploy as one to corner the trade of Bayris, perhaps even sacrificing some freedom for greater riches and trade, Bayris declined their strong alliance with Pardinal. Now they hold trade alliances with all human nations including other nations and peoples.
Holidays and Festivals: Festival of Vilathera's Bounty - The Festival Vilathera's Bounty is held annually every 15th day in the 5th month in the Commonwealth of Dorest. The festival lasts a total of 3 days, and during those three days hunters and fishers hunt for the sport of Vilathera. Never do they hunt for the sake of trophies. Every slain animal and beast is properly skinned and cured for the festival banquet and for sale to the local peoples of Bayris. On the first day of the hunt, a priest or priestess of Vilathera prays over the hunters. They are limited to hunt during the early morning hours. During the afternoon they perform rites of thanks over the kills. And in the evenings, the families give their thanks and tell tales of the hunt while surrounding the cooking fires. The festival is a favored one for blooding young girls and boys new to the hunt.
Day of Freedom - The Day of Freedom is held every 7th day of Ternoth Ore. It represents the founding of Bayris and celebration of personal and governing freedoms. For an entire day, citizens of Bayris can visit and give thanks to council members, guardsmen, lawyers, naval men, and public works for their devotion and care of their city. Awards are given for support and love of their city-state for service beyond the call of duty. Many of the ceremonies and banquets occur at the great council hall. When the day ends, merchants and common folk then lift toasts to the warders of the public freedom.
Carnival of Masks - Beginning the 25th day through the 28th day of Letra Tey, the Carnival of Masks fills the walkways, taverns, and inns of the Bazaar. The carnival marks the beginning of the new trade year. The days and nights include many events that open trade negotiations for the city-state and shipping routes, such as banquets held in honor of merchants and visiting dignitaries and a tour of the ships and piers. Although trade occurs year-round, the carnival is also considered the opportune time for gaining Shinara's grace and luck for business. Shops display new wares from artisans and merchants to the people and visitors of Bayris. Gambling houses open all day and night to patrons. Taverns provide musical shows of traveling minstrels and troubadours. And during the evenings, people who wish to receive the luck of Shinara take to the streets of the Bazaar wearing flamboyant masks. Parties, dances, and celebrations commence to raise goblets and voices to the lady for her blessings. Market Guards watch the revelers ensuring the parties do not range farther than the market. However, revelers fear gaining the ire of Shinara and usually behave themselves during the events.
Founder's Day - More of a political holiday for the council, Founder's Day is a small holiday held in the Arbiter's District. During the morning and afternoon of the 12th day of Olemra, council members and scholars give speeches regarding the founding of the city and its history. The festivities are solemn and reflective, more of a somber remembrance of the past and revisiting of the founders' vision. The day ends with prayers and the burning of candles, symbolizing the goal of Bayris to be the beckon of democratic light in the dark of tyranny.
The Bayrisian Military: Bayris has a very strong military - strong enough to hold its own, should it enter war. The military falls into various groups depending on their focus. These groups provide protection for the markets, piers and ports, sea, and lands of the city and townships beyond the walls.
Market Knights - The Market Knights are a division of the military devoted to purely interior affairs. The Market Knights are sanctioned by the military, but are not an official branch. They are not under the direct control of the overseer, but rather a committee of the city council. They are always within earshot, and always ready to answer the calls of the people. The organization is notoriously neutral, and will mediate every encounter before making a decision. Market Knights are armed typically with short swords, nets, saps, and tower shields.
Market Knights have a very specific code to follow, and very few have ever broken it. Should a Market Knight break his code, he immediately dismissed from service, and restrictions set against him depending on the severity of the action.
A Market Knights code:
· As a Market Knight, you are always representing the Bayrisian military. Act as such.
· Your duty is to ensure the fairness of the merchant transactions. Never allow one to get an unfair deal.
· You are to remain impartial until both sides of an argument are given. Only then after consideration are you to make a judgment.
· Even though you are not under his direct control, always answer to the overseer.
· If in need of violence: trip, disarm, and disable before using lethal force.
· If in doubt bring both parties before the council, do not make a blind judgment.
Bayris Marshals - The Bayris Marshals is another division of the military under the direction of the Office of the Overseer. The Marshals is a group of soldiers trained to keep the peace of the streets, piers, and ports of Bayris. They protect the streets, ports, piers, and homes of the city. Their watchful eyes make sure the people can live in peace. They do not watch for black market trade or the like, only the protection of people and goods. The Bayris Marshals work directly under the Overseer, who receives dictates from the Council.
Marteal Guard - The Marteal Guard maintain a fleet of specially designed ships for speed and durability. These lightly armed galleons travel the bays, coves, and seas to protect merchant trade against piracy. They help merchant ships damaged by storms and keep the routes clear of obstacles. The Guard are well-known for their ability to deploy marine troops quickly and efectively, and their skill at boarding hostile vessels is unmatched. Typically a soldier joins the Marteal Guard after serving time as a Marshal. Members of the navy have trained long and hard, becoming the elite of the guards in Bayris.
Pirates generally avoid coming too close to the city, but sometimes the lure of fighting the Marteal is too great to pass up. The Marteal Guard and pirates of the Taskarren Seas have personal vendettas that always become bloody wars in the open waters. The Marteal Guard works directly at the behest of the Council with input from the House of Krag.
Dark Wolves of Bayris- The Dark Wolves of Bayris are the battle-hardened warriors under the flag of Bayris and the general line of House Krag. The bloodline of Krag is an old one, some say reaching as far back as the first pirates to ever touch the shores. All members of the house have worked hard to hone their battle prowess and skills, never flinching from making hard decisions or leading their units into hopeless situations. The Dark Wolves protect the city from war with other nations as well as range out into the countryside to battle other threats. These threats come from the great forests, plains, and swamps. They have seen much bloodshed over the years, or promise to see it within the ranks. They take anyone willing to devote themselves to the rigors of war. In time, many of the Dark Wolves have eyes as hard and cold as the steel of their swords. In regards to the city government, the Dark Wolves work as a separate entity favorable and honor-bound to the council. However, they take direct dictates only from the bloodline of Krag. The house of Krag has always sworn fealty to the council, keeping any issue of corruption to use the military for ill gains out of the council floor.
Religion: The people of Bayris follow various faiths of the Audalis pantheon. Of these, Bayrisians of the city proper worship Shinara, Cardista, Telamor, and Alanus more than the others, while in the farmlands, Vilathera, Lysora, and Miellyah also have great followings. While these deities have larger followings and temples, worship of virtually all deities can be found, if one knows where to look.
The Starless Tempest: The Starless Tempest confounds most scholars, loremasters, and people of Bayris. Residing about 350 miles due northwest off of the westernmost point of the Taskarren coast peninsula, the tempest pulverizes any ship that enters its wind-whipped edge. The storm rages in a 10-mile sphere of destruction, with heavy clouds, hurricane force winds, and chaotic seas. Any ship that enters it will easily be tossed and turned, obliterating into thousands of bits within minutes. It earned it name as any who have chanced to look into its depths say it is as dark as a night without stars or moon.
There are several theories on the Starless Tempest, but only a few are noteworthy enough to be accepted as possibilities. The first theory states that the storm is a rift to the elemental plane of air, where storms and high winds leak through into the Audalis plane. The second theory is the most popular. It holds that a powerful mage lost control over a spell long ago while out at sea, and the spell to this day has not died out. The final theory is not very well accepted among scholars, but common folk believe it is the work of Anskar, perhaps in anger against Cardista and the pantheon.
Most, however, just pass it off as a mystery and plot their travels around it. Luckily enough the storm usually does not interfere with shipping routes. Every once in a while, it seems to grow for a time, only to shrink. Some fear it will eventually move inland, destroying the city and land.
History: The history of Bayris is a mix of sailor's lore, political asylum, and scholarly studies.
263 b.E.R. - Guldar "Red Dog" Parr, captain of Shinara's Scowl, founds a village called Bayris in a small cove. Considered the greatest haven for pirates of the age, Bayris began as little more than a small village with a few piers and one tavern. Many of the folk who remained in the village tried to make a living off of the stolen fare of the pirates. Any permanent structures suffered from their constant abuse. A few families left the horrid village to seek their way in farming and later in lumber mills along the forest edges further inland.
231 b.E.R. - The great conqueror of Turold Thunderhorn, lord of the Vidarak clan Bulvider, began his campaigns of terror along the Taskarren Coast. Sailing the seas with five warboats, the warlord Turold sacked villages, farms, communities, and pirating parties from far to the north, all the way deep into Marcoan Bay, and close to Pardinal's treasured waterways. In some fantastic battles, Turvold's warboats clashed with the pirate gang called the Red Ravens. They fought their way into the Starless Tempest, never to be seen again.
209 b.E.R. - Jaycern is founded. A group of stragglers escaping the doom of Bayris meet with other local families and found a small village near the forests. They begin a small lumber business, slowly taking their goods to Drannon for selling. Business remains slow until 188 b.E.R.
198 b.E.R. - A group of separatists led by one Dail Brerden found the remains of a pirate village and began a new settlement. These men clear away the old regime of crime and founded a new Bayris. Brerden wanted to create a place of political freedom from the monarchy of the nations. He traveled far from his old homelands of the Drannese Empire. Upon finding the pirate hold, they entered into a few bloody campaigns to end the tyranny of the seas. Soon they found the outlying farmers and lumberjacks of the surrounding lands.
126 b.E.R. - Caravan routes solidify between Jaycern and Bayris. More people arrive to Bayris seeking a new home away from the Drannese empire. More villages and farmlands grow around the forests and growing populace of Bayris. A hardened man called Helis Krag arrives to Bayris. Once a pirate, he tried to leave the old life for a new one, bringing his small group of three heavily fortified merchant galleons to the growing port city. Upon arriving, he purchased a piece of land high on a cliff, away from the city itself. Here he began schooling young men and women into the craft of war. Over the years, the small numbers of ships steadily grew with capable men and women to man them as the Black Wolves.
57 E.R. - Ships from Pardinal arrive flying under the flag of the Merchant Guild of Pardinal. The first large trading deal is made between Bayris and the nation of Pardinal. Both lands begin a long-term relationship on the seas as the two most powerful forces of men on the waters in the business of trade.
101 E.R. - The formal Council of Commandants began their term. After years of trail and error, battles with pirates and nations, the city-state of Bayris commenced the first open election and instatement of officials. Priests of Rydor and Jusarin blessed the new constitution listing the Rights of Man in the city square before the newly built council hall.
235 E.R. - Falke Mariel of Pardinal, a member of the Ventar Lords, purchases a home in Bayris. He begins a series of deals between the city and a number of pirate groups. He helped strengthen the position of the Ventar in Pardinal and ended the peaceable life of Bayris. Pirates had been a constant issue, but not a major problem. With the power and prestige of Pardinal secretly backing them, the pirates banded together calling themselves the Gentlemen of the Gold Coast. Treasures were stolen from far distant lands and the nations of men. Along the coast, they sought out the old and forgotten coves and maps of the Taskarren pirates. Many said the coasts gleamed gold in the morning from the amount of stolen treasures kept there.
247 E.R. - The city council of Bayris established the Marteal Guard. Together with the Dark Wolves and Pardinal's forces, they helped push back and destroy the Ventar and their pirate gangs. A loose peace was reaffirmed in Bayris, bringing back a sense of honor to the city. The council announced the holiday of Founder's Day to remember the vision of Brerden.
261 E.R. - The first Carnival of Masks commences in Bayris.
304 E.R. - Bayris expands in size as the prosperity of the city-state grew. More villages were founded along the forest. The people of the forest came together and marched to Bayris' council hall. Here they demanded better compensation and port rights for their lumber mills. With the help of city leaders, these people became the Commonwealth of Dorest after their leader. Catherine Dorest was an avid follower of Rydor, seeking the honor and righteousness for her people. Upon her death, an oak tree was planted in Jaycern never to be cut down.
312 E.R. - The Academy of Law and Navigators opens its doors to their first students. Grand buildings set in the sprawling city stood ready to house students from across the lands of Antaron. The first class included thirty students. Over the years, this number increased to 150.
345 E.R. - Riders from Chindari arrived in the farmlands of Bayris. The group was bloodied and hurt from a long journey across the plains. They spoke of a threat from the south, an uprising of the Arvox Collyra of the Blood Plains. A terrible set of battles and drought devastated the people of the plains. Bayris and the Commonweath of Dorest aided as they could.
417 E.R. - The Lord Praxis Thorn was assassinated in his home. Lord Thorn resolved and presided over numerous trade negotiations between the human nations, Bayris, the Commonwealth of Dorest, and other peoples. The investigation ranged far and wide, discovering untold levels of corruption. A hunt for corruption overtook the people, bringing the Great Burning of 417. Many merchant homes and warehouses were destroyed in those weeks. As the investigation continued, the Council brought in priests of Rydor, Jusarin, and Lysora to preside over the issues. At conclusion, a guild of thieves calling themselves the Shadow Hands were brought to justice. The guilds, in fear for their livlihood, came together to form the Covenant of Dirks. The Covenant was a council for thieves much like the Council of Commandants. To this day, many do not believe the true culprits were found.
452 E.R. - An uprising of pirate groups threaten the peace of Bayris. The Dark Wolves and Marteal Guards continue their search.
Thanks to Yanamari and Admiral for this contribution!