Port Rynvale

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Geography

The face of Rynvale Island, the port city which takes the same name is, for the most part, a haven of civility and nobility from the primal surroundings of the Fog Forest and the Dragonlands that flank it to the north and west. Built upon the flat lowlands of the southern coastline, the hardy soil was well suited as a foundation upon which the lavish homes and buildings of the High Elves could be constructed. Not only this, but it allowed for excavation to create an intricate network of sewer tunnels beneath in later years of its existence. The western edge of the area of Port Rynvale is a stark contrast to the peaceful waters of the harbor. Waves constantly crash and mold the coastal cliffs and stones to form a forest of coves and caves. Rumors have it that many men and women of ill repute inhabit these natural dwellings.

Climate

The port city of Rynvale benefits greatly from a mediterranean climate that has pleasantly warm summers and mild winters. For this reason, the traditional garb amongst most of the populace, namely High Elves, are loose and flowing robes. On occasion, heavy, but short-lived, storms frequent the late spring and early summer seasons. The sudden downpours, however, prompt some of the most fragrant flowers in all of Hollow to blossom and fill the streets with a beautiful scent.

History

The history of Port Rynvale is tied to the history of the High Elf race itself. Arriving on the island around 25000 years ago as refugees of the Crown wars, the first High Elven settlers of the island found its northern regions already occupied by the powerful remnants of the Sylvan Empire, and so chose to establish their living and trading communities around the naturally formed harbor that was to be found on the southern most tip of the island. For generations, the rapidly growing port town would reflect the rather embittered personality and beliefs of the race. Outsiders of any other race were rarely welcome, and most contact with the world outside their community limited to robust trade conducted by the noble and seafaring peoples as they sailed out to the mainland. The town had grown to a robust and thriving small city by the time of the Dark Age, which was to leave an indelible mark on the nature and character of the port city in the long term.

The Ogre servants of the Dark immortals destroyed the fleet of the High Elven navy, and many of their trade and merchant vessels as well, as they fought their way through the port city towards the north of the island to engage with the Sylvan. Deprived of their ability to sail, and thereby trade extensively, and in desperate need of outside reinforcement for their efforts to restore war damaged infrastructure, the inhabitants of the Port city opened its doors finally to immigrants from the mainland. They came in droves, mostly humans from the nearby coastal city of Cenril, followed by smaller clusters of trades people of various races from further inland. Inns and boarding houses, taverns and taprooms were built to accommodate the transient population, many of whom chose to stay.

Over time, the character of Port Rynvale changed as High Elves of noble lineage chose less and less to be involved in the supervision of the labor deemed worthy of the lower class of their kin and the younger races. Many retreated into reclusive social circles on the outskirts of the city, almost entirely unaware, or careless of the gradual erosion in the quality of life at its heart, and along the southern shores. While many of the sea faring and working class High Elves retained honest work in the shipbuilding and Harbor facilities, the once welcomed immigrants, especially within the human population, chose instead to pursue the more profitable, and illegal, route of smuggling and piracy to make their daily living. Petty crime and prostitution spiked unchecked and the only law on the southern shores was the law laid down by the criminals themselves. Unofficial Bosses would rise and fall within Port Rynvale’s underbelly, recognized only by those who chose to submit to their authority.

Until the present day, through multiple conquests and liberations, the character of Port Rynvale remains much the same. Within the city’s suburbs, the civility of its more affluent and law abiding citizens is clearly evident, whilst the dingy depths of the southern shores remain soundly in the grip of its latest ‘Boss,’ the lycan pirate and smuggler known to most simply as ‘the Cap’n,’ and to those in the know, as Leoxander. The two worlds have been content to live side by side, a tale of two cities, but there is some indication that with the most recent restoration of leadership to High Elven control, the arm of the law may finally reach into that dark world in attempt to restore some of the balance lost. Such an effort, it might be imagined, could possibly result in a civil upheaval the likes of which the port city has never seen.


Inhabitants

Port Rynvale continues to be inhabited primarily by High Elves, a full two thirds of the city’s occupants being of that race. Within this racial grouping however, there exists a clear stratification into the upper class nobility, the merchant middle class, and largely seafaring working class communities. The remaining third of the city’s population is split fairly evenly between its human population, the Halfling progeny that evolved from unions between the two races over time, and the smattering of merchant traders and sailors of various races who came to settle in the port either in transit, or permanently. This element of the island’s population has trended over time into partaking in the shadier aspects of work and trade in the port, often resorting to piracy, smuggling and petty crime as a means of making a living. What was once the bastion homeland for a race that valued the purity and superiority of its members, has become of Hollow’s greatest melting pots.

Traveler's Guide

There is not much about Port Rynvale to welcome a visitor to its shores, unless one is inclined to adventure or hard labor, but there is more that calls for caution.

This is a working city, with little evidence or provision of leisure. Jobs a plenty are to be had working in the port itself, or in the ship builder’s yards or at the trading company. Those less inclined to legitimate work are almost certain to find a means to gain entry into the more sordid elements of this community with time spent in their favorite haunt, the rather dilapidated Broken Barrel Inn.

The Shopping district is as good a place to find one’s gold pilfered by a pickpocket, as it is to find the most basic of supplies in weapons, armament, clothing and accessories. Travelers should be aware however, that this is no commercial zone in which to find high end or luxury products.

It is rumored that the worst of Port Rynvale’s brigands lay claim to and operate out of the coves and caves that litter the rugged terrain on the western boundary of the city. Visitors are advised to remain on the low lying beachfront, or chance going into that territory unprotected at your own risk.