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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times… Spring had reached the Trifork, and the city was in had hardly seen better times. Having been spared the terrors of the Kaliphlin civil war (although battles had been fought only miles across the border); avoided the plague and the infestation of Drow that had plagued Avalonia; and seen no incursion of the strange bringers of winter rumoured to roam the north (although there had been a certain chill in the northern winds); the Trifork was prosperous as never before. However, there was no flurry of spirit, none of the exaltation and celebration one would expect during such an extended period of increasing wealth. No one was starving, to be sure, and businesses were growing, ever investing in new workshops, warehouses, or stores, but something was dampening the free flow of high spirits. Piazzza Municipiale, the center of the Trifork This something was no mystery to anyone in their right minds. While a traveller might take the Trifork for a wealthy city wholly inhabited by melancholic stoics, the locals, high and low, knew the source of this depression: The Trifork was at war, and its alliances seemed to be wavering. The Lord Mayor was away with the cavalry to the west, fighting an incursion of an unknown enemy, and his Second-in-command, Sir William Drake, had brought most of the Infantry south.(The Aestwäld Saga, part 8) It was not that the people felt unsafe, as the remaining forces would hold of anything but a full on assault, by way of the extensive fortifications of the City. But the people and their leaders were weary of war. Everyone, high and low, had a relative, friend, or colleague amongst the troops, and everyone had been reminded by the terrors of war, as the veterans had returned from the Kaliphlin campaigns, carrying their fallen brother. Everyone longed to see their loved ones return, longed to have their leader back. It was not that they disliked the rule of his wife. She was much respected, and she managed everything to the satisfaction of every honest man. It was simply a case of stability and ease-of-mind. There was a want of good news and of peace, of returning to everyday life. And to this came the alarming rumours of alliances falling apart, Avalonia about to collapse, Cedrica to be ruled by the damned bastard dog of Nocturnus, and creatures of winter bringing an ice age with them as they descended from the north. The City Hall, center of the Trifork civil administration Mariana knew all of these rumours, as she was asked about them by all she met on her daily rounds through the city. And while she could put some to ease, she knew far too well that others were horridly true. More than anyone else, she knew the situation. Only the negative stories seemed to be backed by firm evidence, while the good news seemed dreamy and inconclusive. Oh, how she longed for good news. Conclusive good news. Travellers from the north did talk of the Algus being beating back, and some said that Alric and Beorthan had won a victory in Drond's Feelds, but it was all very cloudy. The latest letter from her husband announced that he was to chase down the remaining enemies near the border, but it had been weeks without news. Another source of worries was diplomacy. Around the time of Beorthan's departure, several emissaries had been sent out to reaffirm relations to the Avalonian leadership, the High Council of Kaliphlin, as well as the resistance in Nocturnus. However, none but the last had so far yielded any reply. It was strange rumours that came from Shadowmere. They mentioned the death of one of the Trifork's most powerful allies, the half-vampire lord Vladivus. However, Tauro, who had been sent to there as emissary, had sent back a short note affirming the death, but also the reinstatementof Vladivus as Lord of Shadowmere. It did mention dark arts, but gave no true explanation. At least it was news. Neither the members of the Kaliphlin High Council, nor the Avalonian leadership had made any reply, and none of the emissaries had returned. Had the Trifork's Allies forsaken them? Were the messengers intercepted, or even killed on arrival? Had the Desert King tightened his grip on Kaliphlin? Did not the Avalonian High Lords condone of the Trifork's support of the High Council? It was little wonder that rumours thrived. Market and entertainers on the Piazza Yet through all this, life moved on, and the main square, the Piazza Municipale, of the Trifork was as ever bustling with life. On the square a Kaliphlinite theatrical troupe was giving performance, and several merchants were hawking their wares. Renovating the square This was not market day, and the current renovations of the tiling of the square did limit the space available for market stalls. These works would soon be over, and the square would once more be back to its own polished self and full of traders. The Trifork City Court Apart from the City Hall, the Piazza Municipiale contained some of the most prominent structures of the Trifork, including the City Court, which precided over both civilian and mercantile cases, and ensured fairness and justice for all residents and visitors of the Trifork. Placed on the border between Avalonia, Kaliphlin and the King's Lands of Cedrica, the Court mediated and judged many cases spanning the guilds, and was widely reputed for its fairness and wisdom in ruling. La Fontana de Aqua Another remarkable sight was the Fontana de Aqua, the main water supply of the Trifork. While water was in abundance from the lake, several fresh springs emerged near the Trifork, all to be let through intricate systems of piping to the many fountains found throughout the Trifork, most prominently the Fontana de Aqua. The water from these springs was much cleaner than that of the lake, and many attributed the good health of the Trifork citizens to the access of high quality water. The Trifork Textile Guild Headquarter(Left) and the Bank of the Three Rivers (Right) The more enterprising sides of the Trifork also found representation on the piazza. By many, the sand green headquarter of the Trifork Textile Guild was regarded as the most elegant building of the city. Designed by a famous Varlyrian architect, and the newest building of the square, its intricate facade has impressed many a merchant about to embark on business with the guild. The textile guild is one of the most influential organisations of the Trifork, and controls several manufacturies, warehouses, and shops thoughout the city, and although consisting of several independent businessmen, all major orders are handled through the guild headquarters. With the abundance of water from the lakes and rivers, the Trifork is the perfect place for textile production, and its position as a trade hub ensures access to colourful substances, exotic threads, and rare materials important for the production of exquisite textiles, as well as a large buyer base for its finished products. Colloqually known as the "River Bank" (to much mirth for some) the Bank of the Three Rivers is the main financial institution of the Trifork, protecting your savings, or lending you considerable sums for your next investment. While not particularly large, or well-known, it is one of the oldest institutions of the Trifork, to which it owes its prime location in the square, and a reputation for security and trustworthyness. The Old Moot The central square of the Trifork emerged in an age long past, just by the old oak where the first city moots were held. Although many has offered fortunes to purchase the plot for development, the citizens of the Trifork have never allowed this. It is widely regarded as the origins of the city, as where the first druids met to settle down, and short of murder or rape, damaging the tree or littering the area is one of the most serious crimes one can commit in the Trifork. In fact, no Mayor can be elected before swearing to protect the Old Moot. _______________________________________________________________________ This was my biggest build to date, and I am very happy with the outcome. (Although the pictures, taken in a necessary rush, would do with a proper background) It is meant to wrap up a lot of ongoing storylines, and hopefully propel them further, as well as developing the Trifork towards my plans for the city. Several of these buildings will be entered in task 4, and the Trifork Textile Guild is meant to be my entry into task 6, and something I will hopefully find the time to elaborate on in the future. I have long been absent from the Guilds, and I cannot say when I next have something to post, but I am still here! Beorthan's tales are not over. C&C is more than welcome.