The Ersatz Harbour Building / Landmark in Astaeria | World Anvil

The Ersatz Harbour

The Ersatz harbour is an artificial inlet of the Iron River.   As well as providing waterway access to the The Grand City of Malvarron, the structure also functions as a dam by diverting some of the Iron River away from the city’s banks during high tide, significantly reducing the risk of flooding to the capital.  


  The Ersatz Harbour is the main docking point for most merchant vessels, small military ships, and fishing trawlers in The Grand City of Malvarron.   During, high tide water from the Iron River may rush into the harbour, allowing access to the city by water for several hours whilst the river is high. Once the river recedes once more, the dock master will shut the river gate, preventing access to the main canal but ensuring the retention of water. When the next high tide approaches, the dam gate is reopened, allowing water to flow freely again between the river and the harbour.   This happens twice a day and depends on both the four seasons, and the phases of Ethera’s moon Lunaris. It is the responsibility of the Tidemaster’s Office to keep track of tidal events.  




  Due to changes in climate since the time of the Ancient Elvarans, flooding is almost a certainty during periods of heavy rainfall that the city sees during the season of In fact, the Wallows district originally got its name from the water that would overflow from the harbour and onto the streets, causing people to wade through several inches of water if they wanted to get around the area.   Though the people grew wiser and elevated their houses and businesses off the ground as a preventative measure, flooding is becoming more of an issue as the population of Malvarron grows and more buildings are erected closer to the river and canal to compensate for that.  


  The areas surrounding the Harbour are some of the poorest areas in the city, with most of the southern docks being in a state of disrepair because of flooding and erosion.   The warehouses surrounding the harbour are best avoided during the twilight hours due to the suspicious amount of immoral behaviour and criminal enterprise which occurs there.  


  Surrounded by the city’s three most populous districts, the Wallows, Little Ironheim and the Southend, the harbour is in an ideal place to for traders and merchants entering the city to dock.  
The Grand City of Malvarron
  Though some smaller military vessels sometimes choose to dock in the harbour, there is a separate dock for military ships further upstream in the area known colloquially as Riverside, near the Vanguard fortress.  


  The Harbour is believed to be constructed from what some scholars label an ancient form of steel. According to the Bridgeport Guild of Scholars, the canal and dock was built by the ancient Elvarans during the The Great Silence, as a way of balancing the need for river access and the need to minimise the risk of flooding.  
Oh believe me when I say that it is a fascinating piece of technological construction that we at the Guild have grappled to understand for centuries.   In times of old, some of my brothers have argued that the harbour wasn’t a harbour at all, but a water temple to Brigantis. Now we say poppycock! We know little about the ancients, but what we know is that they were a practical bunch with a heavy reliance on unusual technologies.   I believe that the Ersatz Harbour is simply an exemplification of that practicality. By constructing their settlement slightly further from the river and incorporating a sort of dam, the risk of flooding becomes less of an issue. But not only that, the clever folk diverted some of that water river towards the settlement. They literally split the river into two, and it served their interests well!  
Master Quentin Fillapora, Expert in Ancient Elvaran Technology from the Bridgeport Guild of Scholars.
  There is evidence to support the idea that the Ersatz Harbour in the City of Malvarron was not the only Ersatz Harbour built by the Ancient Elvarans. Explorers have found evidence of similar structures in the city of Bridgeport in the south of Elvara, and similar material fragments have been found along both the Iron and the Derwyn Rivers.   However, it is believed to be the only fully functioning and enduring structure of this nature on the continent.   Every so often, maintenance is carried out using lumber and any other durable material to hand in order to repair and maintain the docks. Since the Empire conquered the city though, no official investment has been made for the upkeep of the harbour.
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  Under the rule of Duke Emanuel Tarryn VI, a very specific profession was created to monitor the water levels of the Iron River so that an expert could provide the city with early warnings of potential flooding in the westside of the city, especially in the Wallows.   It is the Tidesmaster’s job to keep an updated and accurate set of predictions concerning high and low tides, providing up-to-date information to the city’s main traders. The Tidesmaster’s Office is on the Western edge of Southend.  

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28 Dec, 2021 08:07

Interesting article. Are ships "trapped" in the harbour between high tides?

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Grandmaster Gillymaya
Gilly-May Hartill
28 Dec, 2021 17:49

They are and reading it back, I now realise that I failed to mention that! Thanks for reading my article friend :)

Gilly Hartill   Fantasy world builder, aspiring author & lover of all things RPG.
28 Dec, 2021 16:36

That's got to be one of the greatest city maps I've ever seen! Did you make it yourself? If so, did you use a special software?

While we patiently wait for winter to return: Summer Camp! Be sure to get some reading done too!
Grandmaster Gillymaya
Gilly-May Hartill
28 Dec, 2021 17:52

Thank you so much! I did, and I used Inkarnate as I'm artistically inept.   Thank you for making my day, it took so long to put together :)

Gilly Hartill   Fantasy world builder, aspiring author & lover of all things RPG.