As has become my habit, I wrote a brief essay on the local region that Balfrith is entering in order to give some history and depth to the place. This is scene two of chapter nine, though I may end up swapping scenes one and two around. I think I prefer to have the historical
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Castor was named after one of the oldest kings of Sildara, who caused the city to be built during his reign. Its original purpose was to be a walled vanguard against barbarian invasions from the north, and the most northerly outpost of Sildaran influence. It was located on the Hale River, which itself formed the northern border of that nation, although in reality Sildaran influence extended several days’ travel north of the river for most of its length. There was no kingdom or other political entity immediately on the opposite bank of the river, for Danannsidhe’s influence ended some distance further north, leaving a great swath of frontier wilderness between them.
Although Castor started as a military outpost, its location as a port city on the River Hale also made it an ideal resupply point for ships sailing between the southern nations, including those along the Inner Sea, and the northern nations, not to mention the island of Nûmidëa in the west. With so much international trade passing through the port (and often through the city and into the kingdom of Sildara), it was inevitable that Castor would become the central port and trading hub for practically all shipping between the nations along the World Sea.
The vast wealth passing through the city was also a source of difficulty for many travelers passing through, for the cost of living there was higher than in almost any other city in the West. While local wages tended to reflect this, for the traveler who was simply trying to get by with the coin in his purse, any stay in Castor was generally kept as brief as possible. Even Sildara’s capital city of Linden, another port city further south and the seat of the king’s power, was less expensive than Castor.