The port town of Last Stand is spread out over a group of eleven islands, four major and seven minor, each filling a unique role in the survival of the town. Due to the terrain’s layout, each of the islands sits roughly 400 feet above sea level, which is the same height of the mainland area from which the land masses split from. The split was caused by Kihan’s sacrifice.
The island grouping has a number of special properties which stem from the magical energies that separated them from the coastline 60 years ago. Studies indicate that a massive sphere encompasses the islands, stretching a half mile past their borders. Within this sphere, the waters are calmer, the winds gentler, and any storms that pass through the area are lessened considerably. To the west of the islands, a large, turbulent mass of perpetual storm clouds rage, throwing strong winds, heavy rains and the occasional hurricane at the coast. None of this bad weather affects the islands with its full force. Hurricanes produce strong winds and rain, which can cause superficial damage to housing structures, but the severity never reaches critical points. Storm Wardens have gone on record stating that hurricane strength is cut down by more than half of its potential upon passing the protective sphere, and lessens even more as it nears the town itself.
YOUR REPRESENTATIVES, HARD AT WORK.
Last Stand is governed by a council made up of five members, each hailing from a prominent family within the city.
Three of the council members come from noble families, one comes from a military family, and the last comes from a prominent merchant family. Each of these members sever all ties to their families, and are expected to represent the needs of the town, not their Houses’ individual agenda.
Wyler Blackwater is the representative from House Blackwater, the oldest noble family in the city. He has held the post for 10 years, taking the job shortly after the mysterious death of his older brother, Wayland.
May’leah Ishail is the council member for the newest ‘noble’ family of Last Stand, House Ishail. May’leah is the youngest of the council members, being 26 years old. Still young and idealistic, she brings many innovative ideas to the table, but lacks the support to make them protocol. She is also a cleric of Jiris, and presides over many of the last rites of the townsfolk who do not have a particular denomination.
Markle Faer’Lath, only son of the Faer’Lath family, is the last noble representative on the council. Markle is the only gnome on the council, and one of the two demihumans. Markle takes his job very seriously, even though many don’t take him as such.
Miles Kilnier, former Master Craftsman and Royal Armorer for Clan Darkcave, is the dwarven representative, and represents the merchant class. Surprisingly, the merchant’s guild voted unanimous when voting in Kilnier, and to this day, no one opposes his appointment. Kilnier has been on the council for 20 years, having been voted in for 3 additional terms. Kilnier represents the city and all its denizens, fairly. Kilnier is the only person on the council to have fought in the Black War, and is the voice in the darkness that keeps the townsfolk from getting too complacent in their safety.
Miles is also the head of the recently formed Clan Kilnier.
Esmeralda Ramatha, youngest of the Ramatha family, is the daughter of Admiral Stelent “Stiletto” Ramatha, the commanding officer of the military base in Last Stand. Esmeralda, who served 10 years in the Imperial Army’s mounted division, moved to Last Stand after her early retirement, due to a crippling injury while in battle. She is a gruff, imposing woman who can be seen walking through out the city with a cane. She has a soft spot for children, speaking up vehemently against growing child labor laws, and always has sweets hidden in a pocket for any child she comes across.
CRIME, PUNISHMENT, JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS
While the city’s comings and goings is ruled by the council, the laws and regulations are enforced by the Justicars. They are the presiding police force, enforcing laws and curfews, investigating crimes and settling conflicts. A new Justicar is sworn in during a private ceremony, and swear oaths to put justice and fairness above all other needs. For the most part, they are noble and able to keep personal business out of their jobs.
A main responsibility for the Justicar is to preside over The Arena. Any citizen of Last Stand with a valid claim of unfairness, can take their issue before the court. During the court meeting, they are given the choice to have the issue handled with lawyers, or to settle the issue with a duel. The dueling arena is a magically sheltered place that allows the two involved parties to fight it out while being carefully monitored by Justicars and watched over by healers. The winner of the duel is considered to be the correct party, and the verdict will be enforced by the courts.
While the idea of dueling may seem barbaric and out of place in this day and age, there are a couple of factors that keep this practice popular. First, there are no deaths due to dueling. The clerics make sure that the damage done is not lethal. The parties usually receive bumps and bruises, but never lose life or limb. Second, there are no court costs, lawyers’ fees, meeting room rentals, etc. The duels are usually scheduled within 48 to 72 hours after being submitted, whereas the court hearings, if the involved parties are lucky, are scheduled about a month or more away from the initial report.
There are four main islands, and seven minor islands that make up the city of Last Stand. The islands are connected by a series of bridges that act as a road system from place to place. These bridges are fortified magically to sustain weight without falling, and to remain stable in strong winds.
1)Military Prison- to the southwest of the military base, there is a fort that doubles as a military prison. War criminals, pirates, and serious offenders are sent here. There are criminals from all across the continent locked up here. The colony is totally self sufficient, needing the occasional supply run from the mainland. Some of the prison guards are permanently stationed there, while others are assigned three month shifts on the rock. The prison is located deep in the perpetual Stormfront, making escaping from there very dangerous. Any supply runs are accompanied by top level Storm Wardens, the only guarantee a ship will make it safely to and from the island.
2)“Stormcliffs” – The Imperial Navy houses a large fleet on this island, to protect the trading route that runs through Last Stand. The traders using the currents have little choice but to pass through the port. Attempting to pass around the port puts the ships at risk of the Stormfront to the north, or the certainty of running aground the reefs to the south. The port taxes and fees keeps the city well funded. Because of the security granted the merchants, and the high prices they can place on their goods, Last Stand sits high on the hog when it comes to trade benefits. Between the Base island and the Fields, is a massive channel gate that acts as a tollway for ships, protection from storms or attack, and as a bridge from the base to the fields. A smaller bridge goes from the base to the orchards. Connecting the Base to the Marketplace is a series of aerial coaches, powered by spell engines.
3)Fishland- Sitting at the northernmost spot in Last Stand waters, this island brings in hundreds of barrels of fish daily. Lush spawning pools, clear water and calm waves make this the ideal spot for fisherfolk. In addition to mass quantities of meat, Fishland also brings the byproducts of fish to market. Fish oil, shark teeth and whalebone jewelry, pearls, and other rare finds that draw the interest of wizards in the area. The rich folk of the East have developed a taste for caviar, which can sell for an astronomical amount for a tiny bit.
4)The Orchards- Nestled between the Base and the Township, the orchard island is a large area of cultivated trees, bushes and vines. The unusual properties of the islands allow many types of fruits to grow, unusual in such close proximity of salt water air. In addition to supplementing the food supply, a couple of wineries are based here, producing kegs of fine red wine.
5)The Main- The actual town proper of Last Stand, this island houses the majority of the population. The island is honeycombed with chambers and tunnels, stairways and elevators, all connecting the surface to the part of the town that lives below ground. The more prominent families live above ground, and as you go deeper into the interior of the island, the less wealthy the families are. At various levels, there are a number of aerial trollies that bridge the gap between this island and the marketplace.
At the lowest part of the Township, there is a stone chamber that sits above a lava vent. Due to the increased paranoia of randomly rising dead, this room takes care of all cremations of the deceased. the remains are taken to the Meditation Gardens, where the urns are placed in the original cove that housed the refugees of the war, before the town was born.
the cove is a sacred place, and each set of remains is interred in a niche in the walls, with a name plate signifying the deceased. the priests who take care of the cove have a secret way of bonding the urn to the walls, granting that no one’s remains will be tampered with, or disturbed in any way.
6)Golden Isle-The northernmost island is where the rich families dwell. This island is only reachable teleportation site, which requires proper identification and a talisman to access. This island has its own private security force.
7)Fields- In hot debate as the largest of the islands, the Fields benefit the most from the magical nature of the area. A number of bulk crops fruitfully grow here. Corn, wheat and a number of other vegetables have their own fields here. Tended feverently by a local order of druids, these fields produce a large amount of crops each year, staple provisions for the town’s survival, and an excess for trade. Beneath the surface, the Island hosts an enormous cavern, open aired on one side, that houses numerous livestock pens. Chickens, cows, pigs and sheep are all raised here. With a slaughterhouse built into the bedrock of the island, transporting large herds of live animals is a burden that Last Stand never has to worry about.
8) The Market- While one of the smallest islands, The Market is always teeming with people. Shops of every variety stand shoulder to shoulder with inns, bars, restaurants and even more shops. The Market has an open square that plays host to a number of carts and tents for travelling merchants. On special occasions, it is used for ceremonies and festivals.
The Market has taken root beneath the island’s surface as well. Large freight elevators are scattered throughout, leading to the multiple levels of smaller specialty shops, and on the lowest level, to the docks.