Vallaki Settlement in Echoes of Blood | World Anvil
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Vallaki (Va-la-key)

Heavy clouds loom above, casting an oppressive and perpetual pall over Barovia. Amidst the haunting mist that perpetually shrouds the land, rests the foreboding city of Vallaki. Nestled closely to Lake Zarovich, Vallaki stands as a bastion against the encroaching terrors of the Savalich Woods and the vile Scourge that festers within the land like cancerous boils. Weary travelers who traverse the winding path of the Old Savalich Road soon find themselves before a valley guarded by the brooding mountains to the north and south, their jagged peaks piercing the skies above. It is here that the trees reluctantly relinquish their grasp on the old Savalich Road, its suffocating presence loosening enough to catch the sights of imposing silhouettes of a sprawling city enveloped in a formidable iron curtain that circles the city.   A symphony of architectural marvels await all whose gaze peers beyond the fortress-like ramparts; graceful flying buttresses and pointed spires tower high above the ground, encompassing all who reside within the ironclad walls of the city. The bold forms of towers and garbled roofs are set into many houses deep within Vallaki, grouped colonettes and tracery attract the eyes of outlookers, demanding you to stop and admire their details. Majestic arched bridges hang in the air, above the ground and water both, connecting the several districts with each other with a beauty and grace that pays homage to the rich history of artistry and opulence that Vallaki was once known for. Towering gates loom above the heads of those that walk the streets of Vallaki, casting long and enigmatic shadows upon the slick cobblestone streets.   Even within the absence of the moon's ethereal glow, life is still found vibrant within most parts of the city. Countless flickering candles pepper the windows all throughout the winding thoroughfares, their flames casting a kaleidoscope of illumination through the stained-glass windows high above the streets. All the while, countless street lamps illuminate the streets below with muted light that fights to ward off the white tendrils of dense fog that hungrily presses against the barriers of light and the barriers of iron, as if yearning to enter and catch the unsuspecting town in slumber. The ever-present tang smell of coal and smog spews forth from the sprawling mines that sustains the town's industry. It is a pervasive scent that clings to the very essence of Vallaki- a stark reminder of the labor being conducted underneath the depths of its populace, the toiling away at the endless expanse below. Those who manage to ward off the scent of sweat and smog, however, are instead met with a lingering scent of antiquity, a reminder of a bygone era.   At the heart of the labyrinthine city lies the seat of power for the Blood Church, the Grand Cathedral. A colossal monument to the faith, its towering spires seemingly reach for salvation above. An air of reverence hangs heavy, juxtaposed by an unsettling aura that lings within its sacred halls. The pride and joy of the faithful, the Grand Cathedral is by far the most beautiful and remarkable building within all of Vallaki. Surrounding the Grand Cathedral, and spilling northwestward, is the Cathedral Ward, one of the six districts that makes up Vallaki's whole. This is the beating heart of the faithful and their devotion. It is a realm of quiet contemplation where the devout find solace and the doctors of the church congregate to learn and resupply. The hymns seem to harmonize with the time-worn stone, granting the whole district a grandeur and solemn atmosphere that is simultaneously welcoming and off-putting.   Branching out from the Grand Cathedral like petals on a blooming flower are the rest of the districts, each with its own distinct character and chilling tales to tell. Directly to the south would be the Central District, the venerable progenitor of Vallaki. This would be the first of the districts to be seen by those who arrive from the eastern edge of the Savalich Road. Weathered cobblestone streets are flanked by buildings who bear the weight of centuries, reveling in the proud stoicism that derives from being the first district of Vallaki. Their once ornate façade, now worn and cracked, evokes a sense of faded grandeur. Here, the first whisper of the city's secrets echo through the narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards, concealed within the embrace of its archaic architecture     Hidden away in the shadows in the eastern corner of Vallaki lies the ruins of the Bridge District. Once a thriving agricultural heart of Vallaki was put to the torch when it was revealed to be the epicenter of the disease known as The Scourge. The district now hangs in an eerie silence, enveloped in a cloak of ash and soot, its air hanging heavy with the scent of burnt flesh. The gates are locked and no one is permitted entry.   Going southeast from the Grand Cathedral lies the corner of the city known as the Ruby District. It is here that the nobility of Vallaki reside, ensconced within their opulent manors and palatial estates. Imposing iron gates guard the entrance to these grand abodes. Several small and meticulously tended gardens whisper dark secrets to those who care to listen here. The streets bear witness to a perpetual masquerade, where opulence veils the darkness of Barovia, and where the elite can indulge in decadence amidst a society teetering on the precipice- a few shoves away from spiraling into the dark abyss.   To the north stands the Shrouded District, cloaked in its perpetual twilight; a stark contrast to the gleaming opulence of its neighboring districts. It is here that the downtrodden laborers and destitute souls find respite, seeking refuge in the shadowed alleyways and dilapidated tenements. Disease runs rampant most within this district's squalidly streets, a pungent mélange of decay, desperation, and the relentless toil of those burdened by an unforgiving world. The cries of misery echo through every cobblestone, their mournful resonance a haunting backdrop to the lives lived within. The countless souls trapped in these hazy streets seek solace in numerous ways; notably the numbing embrace of illegal drugs and the companionship and entertainment of the willing. The streets teem with the lost, the hopeless, and the damned, as they wander through life, their minds adrift in a sea of altered consciousness. This abuse of substances mired with the toxic cloud of airborne substances, mingled with the rampant diseases that plague the district, weaves a lethal tapestry of decaying flesh. Even holy paladins find themselves challenged in their attempts to cleanse these diseases, their divine power strained against this relentless tide.   The final district within Vallaki is the tragedy of the Harbor District. Once a bustling hub of trade, labor, and networking, this district now lies abandoned and forgotten, a testament to the city's isolation since its imposition of the blockade. Crumbling warehouses and weathered docks stand at melancholic reminders of a bygone era, their decaying frames a stark contrast to the once thriving commerce that flowed through their veins long ago. The air hangs heavy with the scent of salt and decay, whispering tales of faded glory and desolation to any who dare approach.   A maelstrom of emotions stirs within all who walk the haunted streets. Heavy clouds loom above, casting an oppressive pall over the city that mirrors the melancholy that resides within the souls of this place. A place where shadows dance and where the weight of time hangs like a tight noose, waiting to snap the necks of those who dare to hope. A place where the history witnessed by the labyrinthine districts has been etched into the very stones beneath the feet of those who walk these roads. The allure of beauty and the seduction of dread resides here, it is a place where light and darkness converge, leaving indelible marks upon the souls of those who dare to venture within its walls and traverse its ethereal realm. This is Vallaki.
      - Writings from a personal journal found on the dead body of a white-robed Church Doctor strewn across the Savalich Road.

Demographics

Vallaki is home to over 20,000 people and consists mostly of humans with a minority of elves and half-elves. 90% of the population consists of poor workers and soldiers, while 5% make up the Blood Church and Hunters combined, with the remaining 5% making up the Vallaki nobility.

Government

The settlement is ran and policed by the burgomaster, Vargas Vallokovich. His family has been ruling since the inception of Vallaki, and it is he who makes the laws and punishments in the town. However, that is only officially. Recently the Blood Church's popularity has given rise to its power, allowing them to operate as they wish.
 

Rules and Regulations of Vallaki.

1. None shall giveth voice to The Devil's name or carry written documentation with his name upon it.
2. None shall defame or slander the Baron. None shall defame or slander the Festivals. Any documentation that presents either in ill light are frowned upon and will be dealt with accordingly.
3. All must take part in preparing the festivals.
4. All shall attend the festivals.
5. None shall harm or bring to harm fellow Vallakians.
6. None shall steal from fellow Vallakian persons, homes or establishments, whether public or private.
7. None shall deface or despoil public or private property.
  Anyone who breaks these edicts are subject to any of the following, depending on the severity of their crime:   1. Time in the stocks. Time will range from anywhere between a day to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the crime.
2. Seizure of assets. If direct punishment seems insufficient, the Baron and his men have the right to collect a payment for their crimes. This can be something as small as a fine to the complete seizure of the criminal's home, business, and other assets.
3. Imprisonment. Imprisonment at Vallaki's Reformation House until the criminal is purged of their SIN.
4. Personal Reformation conducted by the Baron himself.
5. Public execution by hanging.
  Morale means everything! A Happy Vallaki is a Safe Vallaki!! ALL SHALL BE WELL.
Signed Baron Vargas Vallakovich, Burgomaster of Vallaki

Defences

Vallaki was built over a large running river and its surrounding marshland, which acts as a natural moat. A large iron wall encircles all of Vallaki save for the portions of the river that the wall would intersect. There are several bridges that connect the different districts.

Industry & Trade

Once Vallaki had a thriving network of trade around the materials, laborer's, and cloak and dagger operatives. Now that network has collapsed due to the outbreak of the Scourge. Mining, lumberyards, and fishing make up the major industries and trades within Vallaki.

Infrastructure

In the humble beginnings of Vallaki they relied mostly on woodworking, several lumberyards being produced when the first few buildings were built. However as the population grew, the need for resources did as well. Mining became a huge portion of the town, with a large min being built in the mountains, several furnaces and smithies being built to process and work the material. Large houses and buildings were built with heavy stone and brickwork, massive hip and gabled roofs were constructed; pointed arches, external buttressing and asymmetry became the normal here.    Roads are now sandwiched in on both sides by the numerous buildings with only the occasional courtyard to service as breaks in the booming population. Bridges were built to help connect the varying districts

Districts

Vallaki is roughly a large circular town surrounded by a thick iron wall. The city is unevenly split into six different districts.
  Bridge District: The eastern most district, this district is lost to the flames.   Central District. The first and original district, the Central District houses many of the oldest buildings of Vallaki. This is the first district that you would enter coming in from the east.
  Cathedral Ward. Located in the center of Vallaki is the Grand Cathedral. Surrounding and extending to the northwest is the Cathedral Ward.
  Harbor District. Once the center of trade, this district ha now fallen into ruins since the blockade has been put in place.
  Ruby District. The southeastern portion of the city, the Ruby District is where the nobility of Vallaki reside.
  Shrouded District. One of the poorest districts, mostly consisting of workers and the poorest of Vallaki.

Guilds and Factions

Blood Church. The official religion of not only Vallaki, but all of Barovia. Their power and influence over the land and its people is unrivaled by any other organization.
  Church Hunters. The Church Hunters are a subset of Hunters who are loyal to the Blood Church. Mostly made up of members of the blood church, there are others in the organization who are not of the church, but have pledged loyalty regardless.
  Crime Families: THe five major crime families that make up the mafias of Vallaki. They are constantly vying for both power and money.
  Hunters. While not seen as a favorable faction, the Hunters have a sizable presence within Vallaki. While their power has definitely waned due to the recent disappearance of their leader, Rudolph Van Richten, the Hunters still pose as a useful resource and powerhouse within Vallaki.
  Malach’s Angels. A rumored group of sentient manikin who are tired of their organic rulers and seek rebellion. Whether or not they actually exist is up for debate.
  Vargas Vallokovich. The burgomaster and rightful ruler of Vallaki, Vargas and his government are by far the most notable faction within Vallaki. On the surface they have complete control over every aspect of life within Vallaki, but those who probe underneath the surface will find this to not be exactly as true as Vargas claims it to be.
Theme: 
Type
City
Population
10000
Inhabitant Demonym
Vallakian
Location under
Owner/Ruler
Additional Rulers/Owners
Ruling/Owning Rank
Characters in Location

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Articles under Vallaki


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