Caer Arail is one of the cities of the former Kingdom of Cadarn, in a region currently known as the Twelve Kingdoms. Caer Arail is located centrally along the eastern frontier of the old kingdom near the foothills of the Ganlaw Mountains. More of a walled and fortified town than anything approaching the size of a city, Caer Arail’s government is a military autocracy advised by a citizens council. This council is composed of guildmasters and well respected master artisans from the local area. The current Lord Marshall is Daren Amaeth.
Perched atop a lone hill west of the foothills of the Ganlaw Mountains, Caer Arail still maintains a string of watchtowers guarding Craith Pass from invasion by the Maere Empire. Even though the easternmost of these towers is not far from the top of the pass, no living resident of Caer Arail has looked down on the Maere Empire in nearly one hundred and fifty years. This is largely due to the existence of a large gray dragon that haunts the mountain tops and harries the dwarf clans in the area.
Lord Amaeth’s influence extends for several hours ride north, west and south, and to the top of Craith Pass to the east. Though at least one dwarven community exists in the mountains within that sphere, they do not bow to the Lord Marshall of Caer Arail, but instead to their own king. All young adults of Caer Arail are required to spend one year training as a soldier, but are not required to formally join the standing army. In times of trouble many are called up to service to garrison the city or other strategic locations.
The population of Caer Arail is mostly human, but representatives of most civilized races can be found within its walls, and indeed farming the surrounding countryside, which is quite fertile. The region is watered by the Goresgin River and its tributaries. The Goresgin is not much more than a large stream until it nears Caer Arail, but the inflow of several tributaries within a few miles of the city creates a small river. It is largely navigable from that point on, and many halfling houseboats ply the river trading with nearby communities.
The city wall rings the foot of the hill on which the city is built. Gates are located near the east and west sides of the hill, as well as one to the north and are guarded at all hours. Inns, stables and smithies are most often found built near or against the wall. Other businesses and residences along with temples and shrines march up the hillside to the crest. The top of the hill contains mostly government buildings, including the old keep built centuries ago by the Kingdom of Cadarn. This keep now acts at the seat of power in Caer Arail, and the residence of the Lord Marshall. Some higher quality inns and taverns can also be found on the hilltop, along with the army barracks, and their attendant armorer, weaponsmith, and stables. A temple to Aeron, the Hall of Discipline, is also located near the keep.
- Arail Keep
Arail Keep was built approximately 480 years ago by King Eurion I of Cadarn to protect the eastern marches of the kingdom from invasion by the Maere Empire through the only navigable pass through the Ganlaw Mountains. Initially just an outpost with less than a company garrisoned with a handful of scouts, and a stable of fast horses, the mission of its commander was to warn the interior of the kingdom of impending attack.Today the keep is the center of the government of Caer Arail, serving as both the seat of power for the Lord Marshall and his residence. The Citizens Council meets in the great hall of the keep with the Lord Marshall monthly to address disputes, pass judgments, and create or amend laws. Traditionally the council members present concerns to the Lord Marshall and he makes rulings which are posted in the square outside the keep, and carried to the rest of the populace by criers.
The keep is in remarkably good shape for its age. This is largely due to the huge military budget directed towards its repair. During late spring, summer and early fall, work is almost constantly being performed on some part of the keep. Positioned as it is atop Foria Hill, and with several high guard towers, the keep has a commanding, extensive view of the surrounding countryside. A company of soldiers still garrison the keep, and surrounding out-buildings which include a barracks, stable, and forge.
The Lord Marshall has been a hereditary title since the downfall of Cadarn, and Daren Amaeth is the fourth. He is a middle aged man with a head of hair turned silver at a young age. A single man, Lord Amaeth has never married, but lately his lack of an heir has weighed heavy on his mind. He is fair, but not overly compassionate. He believes all that stands between the people of Caer Arail and chaos is his just rulership, and the standing army of the city. While not a very religious man, he does see eye to eye with Patriarch Halpen on a good many issues.
- Hall of Discipline
The largest temple in Caer Arail is the Hall of Discipline, the city’s temple to Aeron. Built across the square from Arail Keep the temple has stood for almost 200 years. Austere and unadorned, the building could easily be mistaken for almost anything but a temple. The clergy of Aeron stress discipline in the face of the chaos that brought down the Kingdom of Cadarn over 150 years ago, and are led by Madoc Halpen. Patriarch Halpen is an old man who often sees doom wherever he looks. He fears that if discipline cannot be maintained in Caer Arail and beyond it could mean the downfall of civilization altogether. Many of the city’s soldiers count Aeron as their patron, and Patriarch Halpen offers blessings upon any soldiers about to be placed in harm’s way. The Patriarch himself does not always preside over these blessings, sending a subordinate in his place if the undertaking is not of great import.
- The Pike and Pennant
The Pike and Pennant is one of the most popular taverns in Caer Arail. Off duty city guard, and soldiers can often be found drinking here. The Pike and Pennant is perhaps the safest tavern in town, and rarely has fights or other rowdy behavior. Arnall Gadarn is the proprietor. A former soldier, Arnall is quick to break up trouble before it starts. He is known to regular patrons as “Nine” due to a missing finger on his right hand. Arnall doesn’t take kindly to strangers, or first time patrons calling him by his nickname. With a look to any of the guards, or soldiers drinking here, he can usually have such an offender removed from the tavern with a minimum of fuss.
- The Wyvern Rampant
“The Wyvern” is the best rest in Caer Arail, and any locals asked will tell visitors so. The innkeeper is Branna Porthmon, a large and good natured middle aged woman. Her stews are filling, her ales are strong, and the beds are clean and comfortable. The Wyvern is located near the crown of Foria Hill and many of the rooms have gorgeous views of the Goresgin, and the surrounding country side.
- Cadogan’s Goods
Cadogan’s Goods is the oldest general store in Caer Arail. Still run by the old man, Talfan Cadogan, the store stocks an impressive array of goods from all over the Twelve Kingdoms. Talfan though old, is still a shrewd businessman and plies all those who enter his establishment with his best sales techniques honed to perfection over the last six decades. Talfan is also arguably the most well connected source in town for rumors and information, though few have the patience to endure his delivery of such information. He delights in imparting information through half hour long tales that often slowly and meanderingly get to the point. For those who do stay and listen, there are often hidden pieces of information in seemingly unimportant parts of his stories.
- The Martyr’s Rest
The Martyr’s Rest is a mid-priced inn near the city’s northern gate. The placard hanging above the lintel depicts a dead cleric in battered plate mail. Inside the inn is plain, but cozy. Run by a family of Ganlaw dwarves, the Stonehearts have been in Caer Arail for decades. The food is good, the prices fair and the place is kept fairly clean. However the real draw to the Martyr is the ale. The Stonehearts brew real, strong dwarven ale. It is easily the best brew in the city and indeed for leagues around. The head of the family is Begor Stoneheart, an ancient dwarf of some 370 years of age. Begor is fond of talking at length to any patrons who show an interest in his stories. He often waxes nostalgic for the days of his youth when the Ganlaw dwarves still lived below ground in the grand dwarf holds that now are lost to foul creatures of the Underearth. The inn (and adjoining brewery) is entirely staffed by Stoneheart dwarves.
- Fane of the Rising Sun
Caer Arail’s temple to Seren, the Fane of the Rising Sun, is located half-way up Foria Hill on the eastern side of the city, near the Goresgin River docks. In contrast to the temple of Aeron, the Fane of the Rising Sun is beautifully constructed from a pink marble that matches the color of the morning sky. The temple’s chief priest is Righteous Brother Brinmor Fichan. He spends most of his time combating the negativity (as he sees it) coming from the Hall of Discipline. Brinmor teaches that a new dawning is coming for the righteous, if only they believe and work diligently for that day to come.
- Garl Family Mansion
The Garl family is a noble house that has been allied with the Amaeth family since before the fall of Cadarn. Their family mansion and private dock are located on the western side of the city. The patriarch of the family is Iestin Garl, a cousin to Lord Amaeth through marriage. The family symbol is a stag.
- Charia Family Mansion
The Charia’s are relative newcomers to Caer Arail. Originally located near the Citadel of Aeron (now the Citadel of the Martyr), the area became too dangerous and Talfren Charia brought the family to Caer Arail. Now nearly 90 years old, Talfren has passed on the patriarchal duties of the family on to his son, Afron who is himself over 60. The family mansion is centrally located in the city, not far from Arail Keep. The family symbol is a bear.
- Desgulf Family Mansion
The Desgulf family mansion is located in central Caer Arail in a park like area. They allied with Amaeth family not long after the fall of Cadarn, and are the Lord Marshall’s strongest allies to this day. The family patriarch is Emrys Desgulf a huge man, and skilled warrior. The family symbol is a tower.
- River Watchtower
The river watchtower is the second oldest building in Caer Arail. Built not long after the keep, it was intended to protect what was then the single dock on the Goresgin River, and prevent attack from river bound craft. It still performs these functions, and is garrisoned by a squad of archers who man the arrow slits, as well as two ballistae atop the roof. A thick, iron bound, oak door protects access to the tower itself, and it is rumored that a passage below the tower runs under the hill to Arail Keep.
- Parade/Tournament Grounds
Outside the western city gate a parade, or tournament ground has been set aside. Originally this was a training and practice area for the city garrison, but with the growth of the city it has taken on additional roles. For most feast days, religious holidays and festivals there is some sort of celebration held here. Jousting tournaments are held here, and parades often either begin or end here. Some do both.
- Open Market
This open square is filled with stalls, carts and tents during the spring, summer and fall months of the year. All kinds of goods from all around the Twelve Kingdoms can be found here. Performers ply the area putting on impromptu shows for spare change, and local cutpurses roam the crowd for easy marks.
- The White Wight
The Wight is a large whitewashed building on the western road towards Bainesfield. Owned by Tat Stoutfoot, a local Halfling businessman, the Wight is the largest and perhaps the safest, cleanest and most reasonably priced inn for miles around. One reason the inn is safe is that it is the main front business for Caer Arail’s Thieves’ Guild. The guildmaster, has decreed that no thieving activities may take place on the grounds of the inn. This has made the Wight a favorite among frequent visitors to Caer Arail. For more on the Thieves’ Guild, and the link with the White Wight, see Adventure Module 3C Assassins of the Deceiver.
- House Glaf
House Glaf is one of the knightly houses of Caer Arail. Founded only a decade ago Sir Neirin Glaf was rewarded a knighthood after slaying the leader of the Cracked Skull bugbear band when they attacked a caravan carrying personal items belonging to Lord Marshall Amaeth. Neirin is still not adept at navigating the city’s politics, but is a loyal and affable gentleman.
- Alhearn Blacksmith
Bryn Alhearn is the owner and main blacksmith in this smithy. His eldest son Ivor works at his side, and Bryn also employs one other smith Nosnari Breakhammer a dwarf of the Ganlaw Mountains. Some of the finest iron work in the entire region comes from this smithy. Alhearn’s prices can be a bit high, but it is often deemed worth the prices considering the fine workmanship.
- Customs House and Lord Marshall’s Warehouse
This large dockside building houses the Caer Arail Custom’s House on the first floor. The second floor is the Lord Marshall’s personal warehouse. The smaller buildings on this street are warehouses owned by mercantile interests within the city.
- House Curwich
House Curwich is the oldest knightly house in Caer Arail. Founded not long after the outpost blossomed into a city, House Curwich has been a player in a great deal of the local history. Now headed by Madam Delyth Curwich, the family has long been envious of House Amaeth. Lately Delyth has made advances on the Lord Marshall in hopes of joining the two houses through marriage. Though quite beautiful and an accomplished warrior in her own right, the Lord Marshall has not appeared interested.
Cartography: Ken Gatzemeyer