Wedged between the flanks of a hilly pass by the glassy and sluggish river Este, the city of Estegarde appears once to have been a circular walled town built for defense in some long-forgotten time, that now seems swollen, bursting out of the seams of its old fortress wall and spilling like a split sack of grain across the valley floor. Whilst its buildings are lower and less grand than the cities further West, they are also less spaced, leading to a crammed effect of winding alleys and haphazard terraces built into the hillside, climbing higher and higher as if to escape the claustrophobic trench of the valley floor.
It's through the heart of this trench that the Sungate Highway, the great east-west road connecting @Valderia to @The Midkingdoms, cleaves its serpentine path, visible as a winding gap between the glittering yellow eyes of beam-crossed buildings sagging beneath their ageing shingled roofs. The road itself, well-maintained as it has been along your journey, starts to squelch underfoot with the muck and mud of a great passage of individuals into and out of this bustling border crossing.
Here lies the easternmost fringe of Valderian authority and culture, the last space within the Kingdom's territory for its jovial peasantry and extravagant aristocracy to stand from which to stretch their toes and dip them into the thrilling soup of dirt and danger that is the Midkingdoms . It is also the first port of call for those wild ruffians and intrepid adventurers east of the border to find rich Valderian food and wine and patrons with expensive tastes to sell their tales, their services, and sometimes themselves to. Not to mention the rollicking trade in items of curiosity and contraband plucked from peril and misfortune in tombs, dungeons, and the occasional rival guildhall...
Here lies a last gasp of civilization and a first taste of the wild lands beyond. Here is a place where a band of enterprising souls such as yourselves might find means to vanish from prying eyes, whether willingly or unwillingly, or might find themselves tangled in still greater adventures. Welcome to Estegarde. Do watch your step.
Guilds and Factions
The Guilds within the city include representatives of the Steel Wolves, Empty Plinth, and the public base location of the Knock Men. Smaller guilds like Striking Gull, Silversong and the Face Wreckas are also present. All are jostling for influence and glory and steadily chipping away at the grip the Old Families once had on the city.
Estegarde is also the base of the Valderian postal service, operated by lay clergy of the Temple of Nuuris, and based in an old auxilliary temple structure now known only as "The Word". It is responsible for gathering, sorting, and delivering all forms of messages, letters and packages from the Eastern kingdoms to the rest of Valderia.
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