DescriptionIf you’re looking for a place to rest and relax, Maidenville might be one of the best places in Delvaroth for that. Sure, most locals revere the Lake Maiden, a supernatural entity living in the lake Mermaid’s Rest. But as a motherly figure deeply caring about mortals, that can’t be a bad thing, right? Maidenville is a flourishing city that doesn’t have any monster problems, no history of evil wizards or other villains emerging from town, and people here really care about each other. Or, as the Maideners would say: They are family. It might be a little strange that the only known temple to the Man of Sorrows in Delvaroth exists here. But most people doubt that the local cleric, a Half-Elf called Ivinia Erethuza, has any real connection to the god of dark omens. The temple owns a bell, made in the image of the deity’s black bell, just with different ornaments. Every couple years, Ivinia is seen walking through the city and chiming the bell. But not a single time was there anything bad happening afterwards. Well, at least, nothing that became public knowledge. It is so important to the people of Maidenville that everything appears perfect that darkness and evil doesn’t have a place in their lives. Which does not mean that these things do not exist in the city, but that no one wants to see them. And when it becomes impossible to ignore something, residents react with shame or indignation. And they will do everything to hide the dark secrets of the city from the public gaze. But as long as you don’t stumble over anything you shouldn’t see, Maidenville has a lot to offer. It’s a beautiful city at a scenic lake, clean and lively, with roads and buildings in almost perfect condition. If someone’s home needs to be repaired, or just the common white paint on the walls needs to be refreshed, it’s just a matter of days until it gets done. Of course, if someone can’t afford that, they might have to take on debts, and this might lead to further personal problems down the road. But these problems are personal, and not publicly visible. And it’s not anybody else’s fault if someone can’t handle their finances… At night, the water close to the shores glows with thousands of beautiful lights in all the colors of the rainbow. It’s a spectacular sight, and lovers enjoy sitting arm in arm by the lake in the evening enjoying the view. Nobody really knows what the lights are, but they are moving in beautiful patterns, slowly getting closer to the shores for hours before they are suddenly pulled down into the watery depths at dawn. Well, it might not be right that nobody knows. Ivinia, the alleged cleric of the Man of Sorrows, claims that these are souls of people who lived in Maidenville. Souls of those who have learned so well to serve and appear perfect that they read their loved ones' every wish from their lips. Those who could never say no, who gave up their own desires and goals for others. Those who some would call the perfect servants. Their souls captured by the Lake Maiden, they now must serve her every day. And every night they try to escape, but whatever keeps them in the lake is too strong. When the Maiden awakens at dawn, she pulls them all back, so that they serve her again. Of course, that’s just a scary tale told by a half-elf with a bad reputation. The wild imagination of a single woman is no reason not to enjoy such a beautiful natural spectacle, right?
ResidentsThe people of Maidenville are friendly and welcoming, and the city is famous for its hospitality. Everyone seems to lead a good life, and have a wonderful family and friends. If you ask someone about current events, they always tell positive stories: A new building was finished, someone married or had children, or a business endeavor was successful. Even those whose faces show sorrow and pain will tell you that “everything’s fine”. If you don’t let go of a subject, they’ll either get scared or angry - either way, they probably won’t talk to you again. One thing you really shouldn’t do here is to criticize the Lake Maiden. People react to it as if you insulted their own mother. And if you insist on poking your nose where it shouldn’t be, that’s a surefire way to get banned from town.
Important charactersAgathaea Irvani, the “Grand Mother”, is the equivalent of Maidenville’s mayor. It’s a title granted for life by the Lake Maiden, and considered one of the greatest honors you can receive in the city. The Human woman Agathaea takes care of whatever the city needs, and speaks to the Lake Maiden in her dreams every night. She was never married and didn’t have any children, saying “the people of Maidenville are her children” ever since she was chosen as Grand Mother at the age of 25. She’s a bit over sixty now, and rumours are she’s suffering from a deadly disease - but if asked about it, she only says “she’s fine”. Caevar Karuggan, a burly Gnome, owns the Golden Shoppe, a chain of stores with subsidiaries all over Delvaroth. He’s the wealthiest resident of Maidenville, and people often call him the Golden Boy, referring both to his success and the name of his business. He sells everything from groceries to adventuring equipment, and some of his stores even employ spellcasters to offer their services to clients. The gnome regularly gives to charities, and takes part in sports competitions he also sponsors - often ending up as one of the winners. Caevar always has a smile on his face, and takes pride in treating his employees well. Rumours are that his staff doesn’t always agree, talking under the table about extreme pressure at work. Some of his competitors at sports events claimed they lost against him because they were sabotaged or bullied. His fellow citizens consider these to be nothing but outrageous lies, of course. Ivinia Erethuza is the half-elven cleric of the Man of Sorrows, running the temple all on her own. She’s not known to cast any spells or try to gain new followers for her deity, making many people doubt she truly is a cleric. Ivinia was born in the city thirty years ago, and began worshiping the mysterious god after her twenty-first birthday. Her family has cut all ties with her, considering her the black sheep, and she’s got almost no friends in town - but many enemies. Despite this, she’s not backing down, and the few people in Maidenville who look behind the mask of perfection consider her the voice of truth. But considering nobody really knows the intentions of the Man of Sorrows, it’s hard to say whether Ivinia has some hidden objectives herself. It’s certainly what those worshiping the Lake Maiden want to make everyone believe. Travyzze Saladar is a hermaphrodite Halfling sage studying the lights that come up at the shores every night. They’re fascinated by the phenomenon, claiming the lights are neither from animals nor from plants. The halfling originally comes from Firesight, and ended up here after fleeing from the forces of (and losing their entire family to the Ravager Elves). Agathaea has been trying for years to get them fascinated by other topics, even officially hiring them to research other things, but Travyzze keeps getting back to the mysterious lights. They have recently had an accident on the lake, almost drowning due to a hidden damage in the boat, but the halfling has recovered well from it.
The Community GardenLocated in the center of the city is a beautiful garden, its flowers blooming and flourishing even during winter times. An ancient cathedral is the only building here, constructed thousands of years ago before the city was even founded. It’s forgotten which god was worshiped here, and after countless renovations, little of the original building remains. Today, it’s the seat of the Grand Mother - basically the equivalent of the mayor’s office. She’s often seen talking with visitors while strolling through the garden, but sometimes disappears in her office in the old cathedral’s ground level. Rumours are there is access to a basement level here, the only original part of the cathedral - and it’s said it holds ancient secrets. Agathaea only laughs about such claims, saying the rumours are complete nonsense. In the rare case that the whole town has to be informed about something, people gather in the community garden (or in the cathedral during bad weather). Of course, the place is not big enough for the entire population of Maidenville, so every street has a chosen representative: People favored by the Lake Maiden and on good terms with Agathaea. They have the task to inform their neighbors of whatever the Grand Mother speaks about during such gatherings.
Statue of the Lake MaidenAt the edge of the city, right at the border to the sandy beaches, there’s a massive statue of the Lake Maiden. Crafted from white marble, it rises thirty feet high. The masterpiece was created by the Dwarf Tengron Lakewharf over five hundred years ago, and is considered one of the most beautiful and detailed statues in all of Delvaroth. The statue depicts the motherly figure wearing a beautiful gown, holding her hand over the city as if protecting it. The statue makes her look human, her hair flowing like waves down to her bare feet. Her real appearance is that of a translucent being of pure light, which the artisan tried to depict by giving the statue a halo behind her head. Sometimes, people say they heard a faint whisper in their mind when they were close to the statue. Those were either people with a great respect for the Lake Maiden, who were told about someone in need. Or they were people with a critical view on her - who usually left the city quickly after.
Lover’s ShoreBeautiful sandy beaches stretch across the entire shore at Maidenville, but no place is as picturesque as the Lover’s Shore. Trees and flowers grow at its border to the city, with only a small path leading from the city to the beach. Every few years, a giant conch shell gets washed ashore, and the locals transform them into beach chairs. Offering enough room for two people, the beach has about twenty such shells, and almost every night, most of them are occupied by lovers from the city. They offer the perfect view of the nightly lights in the lake, and many marriage proposals were made here. Six years ago, a druid called Elvana Wildhunt came here and was shocked to see the shells. She claimed the living conches are sentient and are usually alive for many centuries. So seeing so many shells at once could be a sign that something actively kills them. But before she found out more, she suddenly disappeared. Some witnesses claim they saw her leaving the city, and the locals say she probably found out she was wrong, and left out of shame after her baseless claims.
The AmphitheaterAt the northern edge of the city is a big amphitheater, built about a hundred years ago. Every seven days, on the Day of the Ocean, there’s some kind of show here: A theater play, an opera or some famous bard visiting the city. Every couple months, the city organized a sports competition here - sometimes open for the public, sometimes only allowing professional athletes. Before the amphitheater was built, the place was home to a whole neighborhood. A tragic fire burnt it down completely, allegedly started by a pyromaniac from outside of the city. Caevar Karuggan’s father Merioth was the person who noticed the fire, and he helped save many people that night. It’s why some people call this place the Karuggan Theater, something Caevar is highly proud of.
ServicesMaidenville offers a broad range of mundane items and services. Adventurers can buy things like climbing equipment, weapons, armor or regular mounts easily, and they come at a good price. Unusual or even arcane items are rare, but not impossible to acquire. You don't find everything here, but it's worth a shot asking the locals. Trying to buy or sell illegal goods or services is a surefire way to get banned from the city. If there is any kind of black market here, it's extremely well hidden. The amphitheater offers wonderful shows on a regular basis, and is always happy to include bards and other artists that pass through Maidenville. It's a good way to earn some coin in front of a very appreciative audience.
Local rumours and news
- Ivinia Erethuza recently had a visitor from out of town. He was dressed in dark robes and never showed his face, making people very suspicious about him. When he left a few days later, Ivinia tried to hire the local craftsmen to build a belltower for the temple. But so far, nobody wants to work with her, and now she’s looking for help outside of the city.
- Caevar Karuggan is organizing what he calls an exploration mission: He wants to hire people to journey to the ruins of Floodfort, looking for some specific items. As the ruins are known to be dangerous, he’s looking for people capable to defend themselves.
- A young halfling man called Vyderoy Brothmaker has drunkenly slept under the statue of the Lake Maiden recently. The next morning he claimed the maiden talked to him all night long, and that soon, a few dozen chosen people will see her in their dreams. A great danger is coming for the city, and the chosen ones are meant to become defenders of Maidenville.
- The Ashfolk merchant Ilithanielle recently moved to Maidenville from Blackbed. She’s hoping to establish a new chain of stores here, creating a direct competition for Caevar’s Golden Shoppe. Officially, she’s welcome in town, but few people visit her business, claiming the quality of her goods just isn’t comparable to what Caevar offers. Ilithanielle claims that exactly the opposite is true.
- Zavriel Zelanis, a human Branded Tribute, came to Maidenville a couple days ago. He’s seeking help to get away from the demonic creature that wants to claim his soul. A wizard in the city, Benoral Arryn, decided to help him, but died from a heart attack the very next day. Now Zavriel is desperate for someone else to help him, but most of the locals push him to leave the city as fast as possible.
- Human: 40%
- Elves: 25%
- Gnomes: 10%
- Halflings: 10%
- Dwarves: 5%
- Ashfolk: 5%
- Other races: 5%
The city is ruled by the Grand Mother, a role equivalent to a mayor. When one Grand Mother dies, the Lake Maiden sends dreams to several important people in the city, showing her choice for the next Grand Mother. The chosen woman - and it is always a woman - learns about the Maiden's wishes and hopes, and why she was chosen. The title comes with a deep respect from everyone in the city. The locals don't only come to her with problems regarding the city itself, but also with personal topics. Seeing the city as her "big family", the Grand Mother takes care of all these things - in whatever way she deems fitting.
It's lost to time who founded the city over 2.000 years ago, but it is known that it was a worshipper of the Lake Maiden. The city has a rich history, including the participation in several wars. Whatever happened, Maidenville has always benefited from the events. For the locals, it's a clear sign of the protection of the Maiden. When the forces of Va'Laeth marched into Delvaroth, the Maiden told the townsfolk she would protect them. As the armies came closer, Ivinia Erethuza went out on the streets chiming her bell every single day. And despite her reputation, it made people nervous. It was maybe the first time people began to have doubts about the Maiden. When that happened, the Grand Mother had a dream vision, telling her that the townsfolk should evacuate the city. The Maiden explained she waited until now so people could live their lives without worrying too early. The Maideners fled the city just in time, taking most valuables with them. When the legions of Va'Laeth arrived, they made the city a military base. Only when the forces of Delvaroth finally returned, and the tides of war turned against the Laethians, a great flood from the lake forced the Ravager Elves to flee. The Maiden claims to have defeated them to prepare the city for the return of the villagers, but most probably, the soldiers would have left soon, anyway.
Unknown (at least 2.000 years old)