A long time ago I started a project to make a full description of cities in the Eberron Campaign Setting along the lines of Sharn: City of Towers. It quickly ballooned out of control and I burnt out somewhat. Mostly, the limiting factor for these sorts of things is audience feedback and I just didn’t get enough to sustain my massive ego and keep things going.
Cities of Khorvaire (as I like to call it) was put on the back-burner, taken off, put back, and then left to cool for a little bit. I want to pick it back up, though, so here’s some new info to get things going!
You can find much, much more information on Fairhaven here and the rest of the sections that are only half-finished will be completed in upcoming weeks.
The complex bureaucracy of Fairhaven does not run itself and there are many different forces that contribute to its motions, not necessarily all in concert. The city’s government is a multi-faceted machine but foreign powers also influence city policies through indirect means.
Though the city of Fairhaven is an independent political entity from Aundair itself, the city and nation are inextricably linked. The tall, brilliant towers of Fairhold in the city’s center hold the powerful individuals who shape the future of Fairhaven through many different avenues.
The resplendent Queen Aurala is the quintessential monarch, beautiful and poised atop her shining throne in Fairhold. Depending on who you ask, however, Aurala is either a skilled and formidable ruler or a pretty but rather weak one who lets her nobles do as they please. She is an outspoken proponent of the Treaty of Thronehold alongside her distant relative King Kaius, and the inevitable comparisons rarely show Aurala in a fortunate light. Whereas Karrnath backs its wishes for peace with a strong military and solid home rule, Aundair is still deeply scarred from the Last War and many of its rulers keep strong military forces under their own control with the queen’s permission. Behind the scenes, things are much more complex and Aurala has arguably a tighter reign on her nobles with her web of favors and schemes than Kaius has over his warlords with his undead legions. If war was to break out all over again, however, it would be difficult to know who would come out on top.
See Also: More information on Queen Aurala can be found in Five Nations pages 18-19 and 21-23, as well as the Eberron Campaign Guidepage 67.
Lord Governor Aurad ir’Wynarn, cousin of the queen, is the direct ruler of Fairhaven. From his residence in Nealford he takes care of the day-to-day activities of the city, oversees taxation and civic works, and oversees the Fairhaven Watch in their duties. He is a quiet man and easily lost in the bright glow of Aurala‘s court, but Aurad has ambition of his own. Taking after the family business, Aurad is a careful and skilled schemer who maintains his own information nets even though he is fiercely loyal to his queen. He is a patriot and easily provoked to nationalist rhetoric on the topics of either the lost lands of the Eldeen Reaches or occupied Thaliost, but he has not thrown his lot into either of these causes and remains the queen’s man in all matters.
This does not mean he is easily dismissed, however, and his devotion could ultimately prove to be his downfall. Not all of the Lord Governor’s aides are advising him without motive and at least one secretly serves the rakshasa lord Ki’axianol and is attempting to manipulate Aurad by making him believe he is working in the queen’s best interest. The rakshasa has only a shadowy influence in Fairhaven and his hold on the Lord Governor’s office is not nearly as strong as the one he has on Commander Erben Alyea in Northcall, but the Lords of Dust are crafty and think in sideways directions. This indirect avenue to Queen Aurala may prove less detectable and so much more dangerous than the strong allies of other schemers with agents in Fairhold itself. The Lord Governor is no fool but his eagerness to serve his country is a tool that Ki’axianol is well-suited to use.
Other nations have impressive covert operatives who know better than anyone what happens within their borders. Aundair has one which knows what happens all over Khorvaire and beyond. The Royal Eyes are an elite force of spies and operative who see Queen Aurala‘s will done wherever she deems it necessary. During the Last War, the Royal Eyes were rivalled only by House Thuranni and House Phiarlan in terms of secret information and it was probably this which allowed Aundair to keep from being overwhelmed by its enemies even though it faced devastatingly brutal beasts from the Eldeen Reaches and armies of similarly vicious fantatics from Thrane. Today, the organization has been repurposed to a degree as they have moved from wartime to peaceful operations. Royal Eyes agents once spied on battlefield formations and gathered tactical information from their opponents, but now they are chiefly concerned with court politics abroad and at home. Agents report back through the network of Eyes to keep Fairhaven informed of everything happening across the continent, a funnel of information that keeps Queen Aurala and the Royal Eyes’ own Spy Master Thuel Racannoch at the center of every scheme and plot which cuold affect Aundair.
See Also: Information on the Royal Eyes can be found on pages 24-28 of Five Nations and pages 70-72 of the Eberron Campaign Guide.
For this reason, the City Watch frequently hires mercenaries for when it needs sudden influxes of forces. In the early days of conflict they hired Eldeen rangers to assist when propaganda wars were launched on the streets of Fairhaven, but hindsight shows that this was a perfect training ground for the groups that would eventually lead the Eldeen rebellion years later. More recently, mercenary corps from central Fairhaven were hired part-time for defense during some close campaigns in the last years of the war, and during state visits which the Lord Governor felt might create strife in the streets. During a diplomatic visit by Archbishop Telest of Thrane last year, the presence of these corps proved prescient.
Some specialized forces within the Fairhaven Watch are given below.
- Sky Knights: Officially a branch of the Knights Arcane, the First Legion of the Sky Knights garrisoned in Vaucote has a long history of cooperation with the City Watch. Dragonhawk riders from Vaucote often combine their excercises with scouting missions around the perimeter of the city or across the roofs of the ward. Contrary to popular belief, in the tangled streets of a city the street patrols can usually see more than the soaring dragonhawk riders of the Legion but more than once unruly demonstrations have been seen and reported by riders before the Watch could have got word to reinforcements. Besides which, the sight of the mighty dragonhawks has an important impression on the minds of those dissidents living in Fairhaven.
- Hawks of Fairhaven: The Watch’s inquisitive division styles themselves as hunting birds of prey, seeking their quarries and then pouncing without mercy. Though not arcanists like those in the Watching Sigil, the Hawks readily employ magic items and rituals in their pursuit of criminals. Master inquisitives of House Medani are employed to teach the Hawks advanced techniques in reading magical auras and the Hawks of Fairhaven are probably the most knowledgable law enforcement officers in the whole of Khorvaire when it comes to enforcing the Caliastan Code governing the use of magic in the Five Nations.
- Watching Sigil: The arcane corps of the Fairhaven Watch specializes in clairvoyant surveillance, as evidenced by the staring eye of their badge of office. The Sigil-mages are hardly bookworms, though, and a good percentage served as aides-de-camp to Aundair‘s generals during the Last War, assisting the military experts with enchantments to help their tactics, communication, and scouting. Many consider the Watching Sigil as a training ground for such arcanists, in fact, including members of the corps who have mixed feeling about the cessation of hostilities after the Treaty of Thronehold.
Unlike other city watches’ magical divisions, the Watching Sigil is not the only corps within the Watch that knows about magical concerns. The common Watch soldiers receive training on these matters as well and, while they still are not as competent as the Watching Sigil, they can handle magical threats confidently until the specialists arrive. In situations where the Watching Sigil uses common soldiers to help combat magical threats, they often employ the specialized Watching Sigil helm in place of standard issue to protect the common soldier from druidic or Khyber threats to the populace.
- Knights Arcane: While the Sky Knights garrisoned in Fairhaven commonly work with the Fairhaven Watch, other knighthoods in the Knights Arcane remain strictly separate. They see themselves as elite soldiers and have more important things to do than police work in the streets. Still, their garrison in Fairhold cannot help but be concerned with the safety of the city and if Fairhaven were ever truly threatened by an outside force the Knights Arcane would rush to defend it, likely commandeering the forces of the Watch on the way.
As with most major powers in the post-war world, Aundair has a complex relationship with many powers in Khorvaire and beyond. Most of those relationships have direct effects on the city of Fairhaven, whether its citizens are aware of them or not.
Though the elves of Aerenal take great stock in their ancient magical rites, they do not have too much hubris to consider others’ works. The Aereni wizards in Fairhaven style themselves as teachers and mentors of the Aundairian mages here and at Arcanix, but they regularly take interest in innovative new rituals and spells that can be sent back to Aerenal. In this quiet, theatrical relationship the Aereni are frequently at odds with the agents of the Mosaic Commitee which leads the Arcane Congress. Each side needs something from the other but sees a definite and frustrating rival as well.
The other Aereni party interested in Fairhaven is much more sinister. The Skullborn, heretical rebels who seek to overthrow the Undying Court, have begun to send agents into the city to build a power base. In Aundair they see a ready population of allies in the khorovar of that nation and opportunity in the arcane traditions which already exist there. Their necromancers hope to convince the Aundairian half-elves of the opportunity that awaits a new and united Aerenal where both elves and half-elves live forever with the rites of the Transition.
The Brelish ambassador to Aundair is Lord Cornwell ir’Hourn, a gregarious and vocal individual known in Fairhaven primarily for his parties. In the past the Brelish ambassadors had reputations as difficult and stubborn nobles so Lord ir’Hourn is a breath of fresh air to the population and his masked balls are highly sought events among Fairhaven socialites. Unfortunately, he is not the real representative of the Brelish crown in the city. Lord ir’Hourn may bring official statements to Fairhold and receives proposals from Queen Aurala as well but the real political maneuvering happens between Sir Desmon Krantz of the King’s Dark Lanterns and Lord Thuel Racannoch of the Royal Eyes. While Lord ir’Hourn entertains the Aundairian nobles, Sir Krantz trades intelligence reports and clandestine operatives to Lord Racannoch for the same services from the Royal Eyes. The relationship is so fruitful that they have continued cooperating even when relations between Breland and Aundair are frosty.
Though Cyre is gone, her people remain. The old Cyran embassy in Ambassador Court is much-reduced but it still negotiates with Aundair on behalf of Prince Oargev of New Cyre and helps the Cyran refugees of Craelia to establish there new lives here. The Cyran ambassador, Lord Irasta ir’Bensk, has served his country for decades (well before the Day of Mourning) and he has a much broader view of the world than other Cyrans and doesn’t like the tendency for Cyran goals to be subsumed by other nations’. He is especially bitter about the influence that Breland has over New Cyre and the Prince, and Lord ir’Bensk is well-aware of the special relationship between Sir Krantz at the Brelish embassy and Lord Racannochof the Royal Eyes. He’s waiting for the chance to do something about this and embarrass both men without putting Cyran interests in danger.
While many nations are reticent to open active relations with Droaam, Queen Aurala granted an embassy to the Daughters‘ representives without hesitation. In truth, she was ambivalent over the decision but the Commander of the Knights Arcane, Lord Darro ir’Lain, lobbied for their inclusion. Few know the real reason for the lord’s efforts but ir’Lain saw the chance to wrest access of the Droaamite mercenaries, a devastating force during the Last War, from Breland. Like many, Lord ir’Lain is convinced that the Last War will start again soon and he remembers the horrors of the battlefield well from the Crying Fields and other bloodbaths. He would much rather see the gnolls, ogres, and harpies of Droaam fighting alongside Aundairian troops than Brelish and he has cultivated a strong partnership with the Droaamite ambassador, a sadistic shifter named Retharr, in anticipation of this day.
The Eldeen embassy in Ambassador Court is a recent addition and many are uncertain what to think of the nation to the west that was a large portion of Aundair until a few decades ago. The Eldeen people have been few in number and independent of spirit since the earliest days of Aundair but the loss of this territory has been difficult for the nation to bear well. Eldeen folk living in Fairhaven, the majority of which can be found in the Grangehall Ward, are sometimes targeted with violence by nationalistic groups and the Eldeen representative to the crown, Dusklighter, spends much more of his time complaining to the queen’s representatives than he’d like. Dusklighter, an awakened giant owl, spends much of his time in the Wardens’ Glade (as the embassy is known) or flying with a retinue to Fairhold or the Grangehall Ward to meet with officials and constituents. He is a cunning diplomat and sometimes seems frustrated that most of his talents are spent on damage control between his nations rather than negotiating fruitful treaties or alliances.
Aundair and Karrnath would be mortal enemies if the tensions between Karrnath and Thrane didn’t overshadow the eastern nation’s relations with all other lands. The natural border between Aundair and Karrnath is the northern branch of Scions Sound, leading from the heart of Khorvaire to the Bitter Sea, and at one point the White Arch Bridge spanned the waters to join Thaliost and Rekkenmark. Thaliost has been lost to Thrane now in the last stages of the Last War and the eastern reaches of Aundair are made up of the Starpeaks and the wild moors to the northeast of there. Thaliost is a major sticking point between Aundair and Thrane and the Karrnathi ambassador in Fairhaven, Lord Efran ir’Mensk, has been offering his country’s help in securing the return of Thaliost to Aundair. Lord ir’Mensk is an accomplished necromancer and has been trying to win the support of First Warlord Adal who is very focused on Thaliost. The two have long conversations when Lord Adal is in Fairhaven about magical theory and practice but so far the First Warlord has resisted a formal partnership with the Karrn whom he doesn’t fully trust.
The dwarves of the Mror Holds are far from Aundair but their concerns often overlap. Both are nations with wild lands on their doorstep and both ended the Last War with relatively few wounds and great ambitions. The Mror ambassador, Lady Dena Mroranon, is a younger sister to the leader of the powerful Clan Mroranon and she deftly maintains strong relationships between all three members of the Aundair Triumvirate. Lady Dena’s primary focus, however, is kept secret and is limited to herself and the small cadre of Kundarak Ghorad’din loyal to her in the embassy. These agents work for Lady Dena finding and destroying orcish and Dhakaani artifacts before they can be misused by the descendents of the ancient civilizations. The Mroranor hatred of orcs and Dena’s own ties to the Aurum have shown her just how powerful the magics of the Dhakaani and the northern orcish tribes can be. Clashes with theKech Volaar and Kech Motrai have threatened to expose this operation but it also has convinced Lady Dena of its necessity.
Being two northern, coastal nations, the Lhazaar Principalities and Aundair have much to discuss. In a reversal from their relationship during the Last War, Queen Aurala has forged an alliance with High Prince Rygar ir’Wynarn of Regalport to patrol the Bitter Sea and defeat the bands of pirates that prey on Aundairian shipping. The relationship is pragmatic and hasn’t thawed ties between Aundair and the Principalities in general but Rygar sees it as a start and has instructed his nephew Korre ir’Wynarn to represent him in Fairhaven and try to convince Aurala to afford the Principalities more concessions or at least to let him know what other Aundairian nobles might be more amenable if they were to ascend to the throne.
Matters between Thrane and Aundair are very strained. Besides the political arguments over Thaliost, the longest shared border that Aundair has is it’s southern and eastern one with Aundair meaning that the sheer number of people moving back and forth as well as the bandits, wild beasts, and natural disasters that affect both nations demands cooperation. The Thranish ambassador, Lady Netron Elanno, walks a narrow path between taking a firm stance with Aundair and keeping talks open so that the nations can work together when needed. Though a devoted paladin, Lady Netron has had the best success in this regard with the mage-knight Lord Darro ir’Lain who is willing to secure Aundair’s eastern borders in order to focus on retaking the Eldeen Reaches. Lord ir’Lain’s Knights Phantom have been sent on more than one ocassion to the Thranish border, this time with the help of Lady Netron’s paladin allies to defeat bandit lords and prowling packs of gnolls. While these efforts saved many lives, opponents on both sides of the border were quick to label it betrayal.
The concerns of House Cannith are overseen by Jorlanna d’Cannith, as are the house’s efforts throughout western Khorvaire. She is a divisive figure in House Cannith given her checkered past but she has attracted other Cannith heirs who aren’t afraid to push boundaries as well. The Cannith enclave in Dragonhold is full of free thinkers and innovators making new artificed wonders and keeping the energetic spirit of lost Metrol alive. It also attracts heirs who have burned bridges in other Cannith enclaves, however, and have left the traditionalist enclave in Sharn or the strict enclave in Korth to find a more permissive environment in Fairhaven.
The House of Healing has a presence in all of the Five Nations, made a powerful ally during the many bloody years of the Last War. The Aundairian armies had Jorasco healers on the front lines but few battles happened anywhere near Fairhaven. Instead, the Jorasco Citadel in Dragonhold was a safe haven where Jorasco heirs could experiment and research their magic. Collaborating with the famed Aundairian arcanists they made significant advances in magical healing items from wands and protective rings as well as alchemical potions. The Citadel, run by Haneela d’Jorasco, is known as a scholarly site but also as a center of the guilds-fairhaven.
The center of Lyrandar power in Fairhaven is the Airship Tower in Rordan’s Gate and the towermaster Erix Nailo d’Lyrandar is a capable, if embittered, leader. Airships lead regularly to destinations throughout the wester Five Nations including Flamekeep, Sharn, Stormhome, Trolanport, and Wroat as well as larger cities farther away including Taer Valaestas, Krona Peak, and Korth. This hub of activity is also a place of commerce and just as many merchants set up stalls below as airship captains dock above. The mix of ambitious traders, eager travelers, and house rivalries make this a frequent spot for Fairhaven adventurers to head.
Across Chalice Center from the Lyrandar Airship Tower is the Orien lightining rail station. Fairhaven Station is overseen by Sithov d’Orien, a nasty man with few allies among the other Orien heirs in the city but with a fine reputation among house leaders in Passage. Given many Orien agents’ distaste for the Fairhaven stationmaster, other notable heirs have their own smaller spheres of influence in the city, including among the caravan tents of the Feast Sojourn, the warehouses and docks of the Whiteroof Ward, and the rumor-laden inns ofLyresong.
One of the two dragonmarked houses of the Mark of Shadow, House Phiarlan operates as an entertainment and guild of artists. The city of Fairhaven is the headquarters of the Demesne of Memory and the house’s enclave, the Halls of Memory, has a massive library of historical texts but other Phiarlan members work as talented spies for the many organizations in Fairhaven. The Royal Eyes, the Dark Lanterns, the Karrnathi embassy, and even the guilds-fairhaven and guilds-fairhaven have made use of House Phiarlan’s operatives in the past… sometimes against each other.