Tertius: The Rise of Magic
The Gate of the East
Haven is the miracle of the new age. Built 700 years ago just after the fall of the empire, it has become a massive city, the hub of commerce in the West, showcasing the ingenuity of a magic-less people. The city was built on the dreams of a small group of landed knights and rich merchants who had been disenfranchised by the bastardized feudalism which had sprung up in place of the empire. Robbed of their ability to defend their rights, as they did not possess a divine mandate to rule, and thus no authority to administer justice to lawbreakers in their lands, the knights sought a way to introduce an earthly law that they could render. They found this in the merchants who plied their trade in their lands – a merchant could set his prices as he wished, refuse to sell or buy with those who had angered him, and even had the right to defend himself, with his own hands or hired ones, unto the death of his assailant if necessary.
The knights traded their granted lands for new territory in the canyon where Haven lies now. Through a series of written agreements, now enshrined in The Lines of Amalgamation, the knights and a group of rich merchants tied themselves together. These agreements effectively declared the entire canyon owned and operated by the merchants and under the protection of the knights. This gave them all the ability to carry out punishments normally reserved for lords to hand down on their subjects. The lords of Foglorn who had traded the bits and pieces of the canyon away grew angry, declaring this an anathema and a tenuous loophole of the laws of the land at best. They began to call all their loyal servants together in order to raise an army, but the Agreegious Seventeen were prepared for this eventuality, and treated with their former lords – in return for protection and a writ of legitimacy, The Haven would do fealty to them, paying a share of every transaction in taxes to them.
Their future secured, the Merchant’s Guild was able to begin the construction of their grand dream. The Guild had secured the easiest passage between the two nations of Tertius, but they needed a way to transport out of their new home without having to pay all the assorted taxes their old lords would charge them for crossing their lands – they needed a river. The mountains contained enough lakes, run-offs, and streams to get boats out to the northern sea, but moving the boats between the various bodies of water seemed impossible. The Guild was undaunted though, and began a massive construction project. First, a lift system, a massive rope and counterweight elevator installed into a vertical shaft dug through the mountain on the north side of the canyon. Adapted from the lifts used to construct buildings, but made out of the finest of materials as it was meant to be a permanent fixture, The Lift allowed goods to reach the waterways of the mountains from the canyon floor.
Some of the Merchants were familiar with Elvin methods of moving water throughout their forest, and began to adapt these techniques on the grandest scale the world had ever seen. Years on, with the Lift nearing completion, the first dam was finished, creating an artificial lake that could filled and empty as needed. Devoting the rest of their good years to the project, the Seventeen eventually built enough of these fake-lakes that they could move a boat from the Northern Sea to the Lift – The Lock and Key of Trade. The city prospered, the Seventeen grew rich, and they thought their task complete – but as the city grew, it began to threaten sprawling out of the canyon, and so the Seventeen, old men now, made one final gift to the world, and designed a way to layer the entire city, creating a structure that could be expanded as needed to keep the city within its traditional boundaries while continuing to grow. It would not be completed until after their deaths, but it is perhaps the greatest of the revolutions bestowed upon the common folk, ensuring their ability to self-govern no matter how popular the notion became.
With all the construction going on, the canyon became the busiest little corner of Tertius for a time, attracting all kinds of new faces, and new peoples. Perhaps the most prolific of these newcomers arrived near the completion of the third layer of Haven – the Dwarves. Laden with gems, ore, jewels, and treasures, an entourage escorted some of the Dwarven Elders to Haven, having dug a tunnel out of their mountain dwellings. The Merchant Lords welcomed them with open arms, having brought an entire races wealth right to their door step. Deals were made, treaties signed, money changed hands, and soon, an addition was added to the third layer – a monstrous bridge, running right into the southern side of the canyon, where the dwarves soon added an entrance to their kingdoms. The dwarves brought with them their considerable skill at stone-craft, and with it have made the layered city that much grander. The bottom two layers, unsalvageable by the dwarves, have unfortunately fallen into depravity, and now the third layer is largely considered the main one.
The city continues today, praised and reviled in equal measure by those who benefit or suffer at its existence. The idea of a guild has been adopted across the land, and Haven has become the capitol of these various groups, governing all aspects of their actions. The taxation rights against the city have passed hands several hands, one more bargaining chip the nobility uses in its constant games, though it is so influential now that it is considered one of the things required to be considered a Warden.