The pictures are not the best, I do not have a good macro lens, but hopefully you all can see much of it.
Al'Derak lies upon one of the few roads to the fabled and gilded Kaliphlin city of Lost Vega. Originally it was a small well on the side of a hill, travelers found the water due to the larger palm trees that sprang from the hill. For centuries the waterhole had been used by travelers along the road. When the great oil boom came to Kaliphlin it was discovered that oil could be found within 15 miles of Al'Derak in almost any direction. For this reason, the Greater Eastgate Articles & Rations Company set up a blacksmith shop at the site of the only fresh water in the vicinity. The smith forged crucial parts for the oil gathering process, and the waterhole continued to provide workers and travelers with much needed sustenance. About 15 years ago something drastically changed, the large palms started to die and this was a sure sign that the water was running out. This brought the region to a standstill in oil production because it was too hard and expensive to bring water from far off oases to the Al'Derak region. About a year later, GEAR Co. Second in command and high mage, Petera MacLean cast a water delving spell on the well and discovered that, indeed, there was still water left deep within the rock. With this knowledge, Dugal MacLean commissioned dwarven tunnelers to delve deep into the sands to find the precious liquid. It took a few weeks but soon the spring was flowing more than ever. GEAR CO bought the land, and introduced a pump system that controlled the flow into a catch pool.
The abundance of water allowed GEAR CO to come up with some other capitalist endeavors along the way. Because Al'Derak is on the way to one of the greatest and richest cities in the whole world, Lost Vega, many travelers would pass by it looking for refreshment. Soon GEAR established a small inn and built a bathhouse to suit the needs of these travelers. GEAR also built a small market to sell food and wares to travelers and the occasional oil worker that made their way into town. Due to fights between oil workers and travelers, there is no tavern in the town proper. However, most oil camps have their own small establishments.
Al'Derak is currently ran by a former high seas officer, Captain Locklind. He serves as magistrate and chief operator of all the establishments. Today, we catch the small town while they are being visited by Petera MacLean.
DSC_0933 by princeofska, on Flickr
One overview pic.
DSC_0903 by princeofska, on Flickr
DSC_0915 by princeofska, on Flickr
A look at the water queue, the well on the hill, and part of the inn. You can see the main road through town makes a 90 degree bend between the well and the Inn.
Water is free to the inhabitants of the town. It is free to those staying at the inn, and to those oil workers in the surrounding parts. However, stockpiling water for travel comes at a price. The queue is open during all daylight hours, and is regulated by a guard. To the right, in front of the Inn we can see an Avalonian merchant wagon taking something down the road - is it water or oil? both are just as precious out here.
DSC_0899 by princeofska, on Flickr
The bathhouse without its roof on. I am extremely limited on white since I have not taken apart my Watchtower yet, so the top portion of the bathhouse has colored glass to let varying light into the pools.
DSC_0935 by princeofska, on Flickr
A look at the Blacksmith complex. One of the smith's teaches his son about the many uses of the hammer. The complex has a shop that sits underneath the magistrates lodging. The Magistrate's patio is actually on top of the smith housing. The shop is an open air shop, and is heavily guarded at night by guards provided by GEAR Co. The Magistrate's quarters are also open air, but are one of the largest permanent living spaces for miles around. He is treated and paid well to make sure the oasis functions.
DSC_0924 by princeofska, on Flickr
Still, there is some disappointment here. Petera MacLean's inspection has revealed that Captain Locklind has been putting too much of the treasure into his own pockets and not into the establishment. Not only is the inn dirty and understaffed, more egregiously, he has skimped on guards for the whole town. Petera, and his bodyguard Cannondale pictured guarding the stairs, have counted only three guards for the whole premises! One at the well, one at the inn, and another mercenary Mountain Mummy (Petera doesn't trust mountain mummies away from their home in the mountains) guarding the watchtower. Locklind has not even bothered to staff the watchtower!
DSC_0904 by princeofska, on Flickr
DSC_0907 by princeofska, on Flickr
Furthermore, Locklind has been lax in his overseeing of the blacksmith's shop here. As seen in this picture as one of the smiths skips work for some personal time with his current fling (boy those muscles from smithing really gets Lucky Lou the ladies!) There are broken drill bits on Kaliphlin rigs that have been out of commission for weeks now, and Locklind can't seem to keep the smiths forging.
DSC_0909 by princeofska, on Flickr
From this angle, you can see that some of the housing and storage in Al'Derak is temporary or tent. This small storage tent owned by a successful Petrea Merchant has a permanent wind breaking wall built out of mud behind it to cause less damage from the harsh Southeast winds. You can also see the open market that GEAR Co built to supply travelers.
DSC_0901 by princeofska, on Flickr
Perhaps more memorable than it's crystal waters, Al'Derak has a distinctive advertisement in the middle of the town. Five years ago, after more and more travel on the road came from oil-seekers rather than pilgrims to Lost Vega, proprietors of that City decided to create an advertising campaign. They began construction large signs pointing the way to Lost Vega from many miles away. To the point where almost every town in Kaliphlin has some sort of advertisement from Lost Vega in it. Some of the more sensible minded Kaliphlins limit these signs to the outsides of their cities, but GEAR CO was happy to take the Lost Vegans' monthly advertisement fees to leave the sign in the middle of the town. (This began as a joke, when my real life brother [Scarst, a member of Mitgardia] was visiting he constructed the original sign and planted it into the middle of the oasis I was building. I thought it was kind of funny, and left it there.)
DSC_0914 by princeofska, on Flickr
The inn, as viewed from underneath the sign. I did not take a straight on picture of the inn, but I wanted to note that those were not all stables underneath. There are actually three open three - walled rooms that travelers wishing to spend only a little amount of money on could bunk with other travelers. (Since not many Kaliphlinians use traditional beds, the term bunk is used loosely, they can share floor space.) For those wishing to avoid snakes and scorpions and spend a little more coin, the upstairs is an open bunking facility that is guarded 24/7 (or at least supposed to be) by a town guard. One can purchase space within that common room for a higher fee.
DSC_0905 by princeofska, on Flickr
The rest of the flickr gallery
So, Petera's visit was successful, he found out why the smiths were not working up to efficiency, and that a change in leadership at Al'Derak was desperately needed. Locklind may have to try his hand on the seas again - Petera would prefer to banish the wasteful and greedy man to the sea of sands and the People of the Flame (TO BE REVEALED LATER) but his brother Dugal is more lenient and appreciates what Locklind has done on the seas over the years (the reason why he had this promotion to begin with...) Only time will tell where Captain Locklind will end up and who will eventually take over this small, yet bustling, town of Al'Derak.
Edited by SkaForHire, 02 January 2012 - 11:12 PM.