Located on the southern coast of a small island that shares its name, Lazan Bay is a small town in Pelenar Province that is dedicated almost exclusively to one thing and one thing only, whaling. The town’s harbour is a hive of activity, with whaling vessels shuttling back and forth with their grim cargo, and the noxious stench of the refining works always casts its pall over the settlement. Beyond its primary industry, Lazan Bay is notable for two other things: for being a favourite haunt of the Black Waves Smugglers and; for having been completely destroyed in the year 271AIF by a fleet of the Kelrik Pirates under the command of Captain Marmanal in the run up to the Battle of the Bloody Shoals. Though the sacking of the town is long in the past, its affects are still felt in the community, and can be seen in the higgledy-piggledy way that the town has been rebuilt over the years.
Lazan Bay is a predominantly working class town, with around 80% of its residents being defined by the Imperial Bureau as being in the lower income bracket. Most of these people are employed in the whaling industry and its associated trades. The remaining 20% of the population are more affluent and mostly represent the people who own or run the whaling operations. Even so, the richest citizens in Lazan Bay would struggle to be recognised as wealthy elsewhere in the Empire of Turelion.
Like many towns throughout the Empire of Turelion, Lazan Bay is run by an Alderman, who is appointed by the Satrap of the province the town is located in, in this case Pelenar Province. The Alderman serves an unlimited term until they either choose to retire or are replaced by the Satrap. The incumbent of the Alderman’s position hand picks their staff that fill a variety of administrative roles within the town.
Despite its importance as a whaling harbour, Lazan Bay is rather lightly defended, with even the sacking and destruction of the town in 271AIF leading to little improvements in its defences. The town is defended by a small squadron of Small Class Ships from the Imperial Navy; numbering no more than 4 vessels, which periodically patrol the waters around the island the town is based on, and it is also defended by a small garrison of Provincial troops, who are stationed in a squat fortified building, come gaol in the centre of the town. Beyond that, the town has no structural defences and its boundaries, both by land and by sea, are incredibly porous, which makes it an appealing place for operatives from both the Kelrik Pirates and the Black Waves Smugglers to visit and transact business.
Industry & Trade
Whaling is the key industry for Lazan Bay, and it is what drives most of the local economy. Large numbers of the towns residents work on whaling ships that can be away at sea for months at a time, with the whale carcasses they bring in driving the town’s secondary industries of refining the whale blubber into oil; butchering and drying the whale meat, either for export or local consumption and; various crafts based around the use of whale bone. A small percentage of the population do try to scrape a living from farming the land to the north of the town, but as there is not much land available, and little of it is fertile enough to produce a good harvest year on year, agriculture remains a minority occupation in Lazan Bay.
The destruction of the town in 271AIF and the rather less organised rebuilding of the town that took place, means that Lazan Bay is a rabbits warren of poorly paved, twisting sandy streets that snake their way between the buildings. There are no defined sections in the town other than the much more naturally defined port area, and the dwellings of its more affluent residents stand check by jowl with the tenement shacks of Lazan Bay’s. The town has no functioning sewage system, nor do any of the houses have running water, with the needs of the townspeople instead being met by a large number of wells scattered throughout the settlement. A number of the richer households have ensured that they have their own wells excavated on their property so that they do not have to share water with their neighbours. The only are of the town where some semblance of order can be seen is the port and waterfront on the town’s eastern half, which is dominated by an extensive area of jetties and landings, primarily for the use of the whaling vessels based there. Behind the waterfront are a number of large, permanently stinking facilities where the refiners render down the whale blubber into oil.
Guilds and Factions
Naturally, as whaling is the biggest industry in the town, two main factions, who have formed to protect the interests of their members, dominate life in Lazan Bay: the whalers and the refiners. As their names suggests, the whalers represent the crews of the various whaling ships that use Lazan as their home port, whilst the refiners represent those who work in the various refineries in the town that convert the whale blubber into oil. In addition, various crews of the Kelrik Pirates are known to maintain an interest in Lazan Bay, but more influential than they are the Black Waves Smugglers, who exploit the towns lack of defences to no end, having set up numerous safe-houses and caches throughout the town and its island, from which they move their wares back and forth to other places across Kelbonnar. The White Fangs also have a presence in the town, as they run and operate the Kraken tavern, along with its fighting pit.
Few people come to Lazan Bay unless they have a good reason to. Most visitors who come to the town and its island are drawn there by the whaling activity based there, generally because they are looking to either buy from or sell to the whaling crews or the oil refiners. Periodically other ships will dock in the town to resupply or so that their crews can rest, but as the town is not on a highly trafficked sea route for mercantile activities, such visits are much less regular.
Whilst there are groves of coconut palms on the island, have for centuries been protected by a decree of the town’s Alderman, as the coconuts that the trees produce provide a vital supplement to the food supplies of the island. This means that most of the buildings in the town are made from rocks scavenged from the shore line, or from the remains of older buildings; some of which are not even mortared together, but are instead constructed in a dry-stone wall manner, or from pieces of drift wood. When Lazan Bay was first founded, a large amount of building material was purposefully brought to the island, as the Satrap of Pelenar Province at the time of the town’s founding realised that the island held great potential to be used as a whaling port, thanks to its proximity to the identified migratory routes through the Centric Sea. However, the destruction of the town in 271AIF at the hands of Captain Marmanal of the Kelrik Pirates in the run up to the Battle of the Bloody Shoals, meant that the whole settlement had to be rebuilt, and the poorer subsection of the population, who returned to the town first, grabbed the opportunity to get their hands on some high quality building material with both hands. As a result, many buildings throughout the town are a strange construction mishmash of rough sea stones, drift wood, old parts of ships and pieces of well-cut and shaped masonry or brick. Occasionally, when a ship becomes too unstable, old or damaged to be sea worthy anymore, they are dragged into the town, capsized and turned into dwellings. There are quite a few buildings in the town that have been constructed in this way, including the Alderman’s offices and residence, which is made from the hull of an ex-whaling ship. The residences of the town’s more affluent residents are easily recognisable, as they are frequently made from materials, such as neatly cut stone and wood, sourced from beyond Lazan Bay’s shores.
The town is situated on a sweeping, sandy bay, the eastern side of which has deep water, ideal for the mooring of ships stretching right up to the shoreline. The western side of the bay is much shallower, with a barely sunken sandbar stretching most of the way along its length, making it useless for the mooring of all ships bar small fishing boats. The island on which Lazan Bay is situated is so small that the town takes up the majority of the southern portion of the land mass, with the north of the island being occupied by groves of coconut palms, scrubby patches of waste ground and areas that the town’s population have painstaking attempted to convert to agricultural use. The north shore of the island is a mess of rocky outcrops and shoals, making it unsuited to the mooring of boats. Despite this, smugglers frequently use the north shore of the island to land their small craft so that they can trade illicit goods in the town, though every now and again even these expert mariners come a cropper on Lazan Bay’s north coast. Because of the size of the town relative to the size of the island, the whole entity, town and island included are universally referred to as Lazan Bay.