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Chapter 2 by gunde gunde

Where to go from here?

Information about Tharros and the wider world

The City
Tharros is located on the southern tip of the rocky Elyria region on the continent of Erodoria, almost precisely in between the capitals of Zoracia and the Jadhi Empire. As Elyria’s southern coast is dominated by rocks and reefs, Tharros is one of the few places where ships can dock safely. With thousands of inhabitants and even more visitors, Tharros covers a wide area, reaching all the way from the seaside to the nearby hills.
Already a large city and trade at the time of the Great Peace, Tharros importance and size grew further as the two empires saw the need of a neutral place in which to carry out their trade. Due to its location and independence, Tharros quickly became just that.
However, as the two empires constantly plot against each other, each seeking to gain dominance over the other, Tharros importance means that both sides are striving to control the Regent, and thereby gain the most from the city’s trade.
Hugo Dacca, the current regent, is an unofficial ally of Jadhi, his faction receiving their support, while the contenders to the throne, led by Gregorius Trelawney, are backed by the Zoracian emperor.

The High Regent
Several generations ago, Tharros last king died. The nobles, unable to seize bickering over who was to form a new dynasty, instead opted to choose a regent, someone to rule over the city in the absence of a king. To be high regent is not a hereditary position, and the each time that the current regent dies, the nobles gather to pick his successor. Naturally, there is a wide web of intrigues around this process, with the two main factions struggling for control of the votes.
The Dacca’s are the dominant noble house in one of the factions, while the Trelawney’s dominate the other.

The Kettle
The most well-known area of the city, at least in as far as the visiting sailors and mercenaries are concerned, is the Kettle. Located in a small valley not far from the waterfront, the Kettle is the pleasure district of Tharros. Its origin stems from a compromise between the puritan mindset of one of kings and the cold, hard facts of economics. While King Stephen VII despised prostitution and drinking, he also realised that Tharros needed a place where such activities could take place. Therefore, he ordered the foundation of the Kettle in what was then a barely inhabited area, outside of the city proper, and building a wall around it to further separate it from the “real” Tharros. As the City Guard thereby had little reason, and even less pressure from above, to monitor the Kettle, the area soon became known as the wildest of all pleasure districts throughout Erodoria.
While the ban on prostitution outside of the Kettle has since been lifted, most such activities still take place within its walls.
Sailors and mercenaries being as they are, prostitution generates a respectable percentage of Tharros incomes and prostitutes, both male and female, is one of Tharros leading exports.

Magic in Tharros
Magic and its users in Tharros are all connected to the Academy of Arcane Arts, and they all pay lip-service to the Regent. However, single wizards have always been allowed to offer their services to important citizens, on an advisory basis. Over the years, this has developed into wizards coming to spend their entire careers in the unofficial employment of one noble or the other. As their masters switch loyalties from Dacca’s to Trelawney’s or vice versa, so do the wizards. Thus, two wizards can be allies one day and mortal enemies the next, all depending on the actions of the nobles which they “advise”.
While the casting of magic by anyone independent of the Academy is forbidden by law, in reality there is no active search for such casters, the Academy only interferes if the independent caster gives the impression of being highly skilled. In such cases, the caster is captured and never heard from again.
The main reason why magic is so rare is that it is so extremely difficult to learn. Even if you do possess an innate talent for it, to perform magic is to interfere with the delicate fabric of time and space, which is always risky if you don't know exactly what you're doing. As a result of this, even the youngest of the fully trained sorceress and sorceresses are in their early thirties. Almost without exception, no one can claim to be a master sorcerer without first spending virtually a lifetime improving their craft and studying the spells of their chosen discipline of magic time and time again in the effort of achieving a deeper understanding of them. As a result, the use of spells that slow down or halt ageing are extremely common amongst sorcerers.

The Inhabitants
Humans make up about 99% of the population, with the rest primarily being of mixed blood. Dwarves make up a small percentage, but there are no Elves living in the city. Half-orcs, Orcs and Goblins don't exist. In fact, as a general rule, no traditionally evil races exist in Erodoria.

What's next?

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