Huangjin: History and Rumors

It is assumed one sails into Huangjin, docking first in Gisi. Stepping off the boat, Gisi is hardly the cosmopolitan center that Huangjin has been for centuries. Young palms sway in a warm ocean breeze, the smell of fish is everywhere, and beasts of burden pull cart after cart of goods in a slow march to the east dock where smaller transport ships will sail it to the city. Gisi is covered haphazardly in huts, and the waters around the small island are speckled with fishing boats. Gulls scream overhead as the 1,500 or so that inhabit this slow-living piece of land go about the daily business of fishing, sailing to and from the city, or loading and unloading cargo from ocean ships to the transport ships.

A visitor must then charter a short trip to Huangjin, passing hundreds of crisp white sails snapping in the wind on the way. The city, impressive at a distance, becomes larger and larger until finally, pulling into a slip on the docks, Huangjin shows its full size as the long wall separating the beach from the city is visible. Stepping off the pier to the beach, one is offered a ride to the Chi road in human-drawn carriages. Some horse-drawn carriages exist but this is a throwback to when horses were not rare; the human-pulled version is a recent necessity as horses have become the playthings of the rich. When one gets close enough, the words flanking the gateless entryway are readable. This is the ona-ko-do, the code of the Telish Throne:

Obedience - Loyalty - Honor - Valor - Sacrifice - Conviction

The first four words are clearly old, the wall having eroded them to shallow depressions. The last two appear newer and are deeply carved.

Passing the wall onto the Chi road, the city sprawls untidy and chaotic but alive, full of the calls of vendors and the bickering of goods being haggled over the stalls that line the streets. Tall, boxy wooden buildings are jammed next to the traditional stacking architecture. Buildings line the Chi road and many winding side streets. Children often run while using sticks to keep barrel hoops rolling, laugh and dodge oxen, and everywhere is the clucking of chickens in hanging cages.

Nearing the center of the taun, three things stand out. The first is the seven-story goten, the royal palace of Mido Gunther Telish. It is obviously new and built of a mix of native and imported wood but is engineered in the ancient style with curved, peaked stacking roofs covered in red clay tiles. Each story of the goten is slightly smaller than the one below it, and the top rooms are said to belong to the mido. To the left of the goten is a small courthouse where Sitchu Kenn Scyvau has offices and holds court, and to the right is the Rekishika building where those who research and scribe events work overtime to record the past before it fades from the memories of the few who witnessed it.

The second thing to draw the eye is the citadel of Toran, which is being built in the traditional architecture style. This is a sprawling campus that will include barracks, courtyards, a temple, and administrative buildings. On the oak double doors leading to the temple, are carved ankhs and the ankh motif is repeated in different places around the buildings. Ortheus, the Heart of Toran, and Michaelis Draego, the Champion of Toran, have been seen directing specifics of the temple's construction. It is rumored that the Auscultare is somewhere in the city; although, that has not been verified.

The third item of interest is the clamshell-shaped auditorium of the Transcendent Symphony. Founded by Graham Storwick in 1131 in Huangjin and destroyed completely when Bloodstone finished with Tilmar, the Symphony was dedicated to the idea that artists are inspired by other artists and blossom in an environment that encourages their talents. Singers, composers, musicians, playwrights, poets, actors, artists, and dancers, if one drew on the creative lifeblood of the soul and had talent as well, the Symphony wanted them.

After Bloodstone's army was routed and reconstruction began, an Ilsare worshipping woman from Mistone named Marie Hartley came along to use her special talents with song to aid the rebuilding. She found company quickly enough as several local musicians and dancers joined her to bring joy to their people. From them, she learned of the Symphony's destruction, and as she spent time with the people of the city, she began to feel a need to revive the spirit that had been ground under Bloodstone's heel.

So, she went home to raise funds, holding charity concerts and balls to raise true. Finally, with just enough gold to begin, she returned to commission the hall and the rehearsal, artistic, and living space behind it that have become a must-see to anyone visiting the city. In the shape of a clam's shell, the bottom portion holds tiered seats and the stage, and the top forms a roof to allow presentations in bad weather. Those with mage sight can see the massive amount of magic holding the shell halves apart, and might wonder at the power of the caster who made those magical cables secure indefinitely.

While there is much to catch the eye, such as food, music, and dancing, there is also the rich history of the island, and for that, one must go to the Rekishika. Most all existing records were destroyed by Bloodstone's army, including the extensive library of the city and the previous courthouse.

The Rekishika is staffed by several non-island volunteers as well as eight natives, none of them humans. The spearhead, and also the oldest, is the elf Mana Hen'oz. It is from her that the following is transcribed:

Huangjin was built on the site of an older city. Of course, this would be a popular spot, and it's only logical to build here. Huangjin was first built in 358. Only the wall facing the beach remains from that time, and Aeridin only knows why Bloodstone left it standing. It is on that wall that you saw the ona-ko-do. During that time, it was the province of the keitai family Wazakusae for the first 300 years, and the keitai family Ohoro after that. When our first mido ascended the throne, he became the keitai by definition, and, of course, the keitai don't exist anymore since Gunther was given the pendant. Oh, they've complained in private, but they won't speak out in public against him. You don't know what our mido did for us. How hard he worked. Yes, he has problems, but he is our leader and a good man. I'd strongly suggest not asking those kinds of questions where others can hear you.

Huangjin has an old road leading to the Village of Silence, now unused and overgrown, and a newer clay-brick road that heads south to Valianto and past fumeiyo around to Fort Zakumo. There is one temple in Huangjin, the Citadel to Toran, and shrines to Mist, Shindaleria, Ilsare, Lucinda, Rofirein, and Aragen; although, the shrine to Shindaleria is located offshore of Gisi and the shrine to Mist is west of the city on the beach.

 

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