Sunday, January 22, 2012

Places of Interest - Deepfall

There is a city called Deepfall on the Vineland River, in the eastern regions of Sildara. At that place, the River flows over a great fall of fifty fathoms (300 feet), and its roar is like unto the sea crashing against cliffs during a great tempest. The city grew up around these falls, both on the lower end and the upper, and the people therein built wide and winding roads on either side of the river for traffic to move up and down.

Much trade is done in Deepfall, for river boats bring their goods up from as far away as the Wyrmsea and distant lands. They off-load their cargo at the base of the falls where large quays stand in the lake on both the north and south shores. From there, wagons drawn by great beasts of burden (oxen?) take them up the winding roads to the high city, and the lake which stands at the head of the falls. More ships sit at anchor there, to take on these goods and carry them thence upstream to the free city of Amyntas, and the cities of the Vales. Likewise, river craft coming down from the Vales offload their cargoes at the upper lake, whence they go in the same wagons down the roads to the lower lake, and on to the cities of western Sildara and elsewhere.

The men who control the traffic going up and down from high to low and back, form a guild that does a large volume of business. They are also an occasional choke-point for that traffic, for they do not suffer outside competition, and have enough influence in Deepfall that laws have been passed granting them the right to sell licenses for such business. And they keep a tight control on the number of licenses issued, so that all may prosper (all who are members of the guild, that is).

There is also a gray (some might say “black”) market of small couriers (or “smugglers”), who transport goods up and down without such licenses but do brisk trade in cash only. They cannot move large volumes, but if one has something small and of great worth, one may in fact prefer to use these resources rather than the licensed movers who pack many shipments together in their wagons for maximum load, but provide little security and only minimal guarantee against theft of items in those shipments.