It is always easy to spot someone who's visiting for the first time. They keep their head up for hours, looking at the bridges and platforms. I saw a human bumping into a tree once, stupid furless.
Sylvan-Haven is the capital of the Great Forest
, center of both its politics and commerce. The city is a massive entanglement of houses, trees, bridges, and platforms, built in several layers.
Layout and districts
The largest part of the city is located on the north-eastern side of the "Viana fil ortin"
river's junction. Thanks to the abundance of wood in the area, the Sylvans built many bridges over the two rivers to support the growth of the forest's capital. Over the years, the city stretched around the whole confluent as its population and industry grew.
The Inner Grove
The Inner Grove is the heart of the Great Oaks Forest where the city is located. There thrive the oldest trees of the region and therefore the tallest, measuring up to a hundred meters high and thirty meters wide. Naturally, this is where the elite and the wealthy decided to settle.
I love living in the Grove, such a beautiful district. There, at least, you can breathe AND see the sun everywhere! I don't regret not being in the Garland , the forest is warm and beautiful all year long.
Unlike the rest of the city, the Grove does not have many bridges; each tree is owned by a noble or bourgeois family that built its house around it. The vast majority of the roads in the district are on the floor level and so are the shops.
The transition from the other areas of the city to this one can either be smooth or brutal; the usual entanglement of platforms can suddenly become a manors forest depending on which side you enter the Grove.
The Great Knots
Located just next to the river and the docks, the Great Knots is the embodiment of the city's architecture pushed to its extreme. Haven's merchant district takes its name from the massive amount of bridges and platforms that often cover the sky when you are on the ground floor.
Shops and taverns are chaotically scattered around each floor, swarming with visitors at day and creaking at night.
The wealthiest shops are located on higher floors and on the trees closest to the docks, not only to have more sunlight but also to be closer to the water and the Factory district. Some shops have their workshop on the western side of the river and their boutique on the eastern side, linked together by a bridge. This, however, remain a rare privilege as the connection needs to be high enough to not block boats below.
The Factory district is where most of the workshops of the city are built, on the western and southern shores of the Viana river. Each plot was carefully sold to an artisan according to the needs of their activities.
Tanneries and other textiles workshops are generally in the center, sharing a tree with one or two more artisans. The ground floor is where raw and manufactured goods are stored to be lifted to the workers on the upper floors.
Everything that needs water, such as mills or forges get reserved parcels along the river to facilitate their work. Accordingly, sawmills and everything using wood are located on the outer border of the district.
Being more recent than the other neighborhoods, the Factory has fewer bridges and platforms as it was made to be practical for artisans to move materials around.
My husband likes the city but not me. I'm used to our little village in the forest, where there's not so much... people. Sure, we can find everything we want in the Knots, but I don't know, I guess I just like the tranquility of our home. My great grandmother must have felt the same, 'cause she left Haven when it grew so much.
Oh, but I do like seeing the boats coming and going to the docks. I love how they lift the stuff to the workshops in the Factory, so clever!
Most of the first inhabitants of Haven left the city when it grew to become what it is today. Now, Haven is a huge melting pot made of the original Sylvans and migrants from all over the continent.
Families tend to gather with the neighbors they share their trees with; lots of small platforms were built to host tiny festivities in the residential districts. Yet, only a few actually do so. Sylvans tend to be a lot more individualistic than the rest of their kind over the continent; another reason why the first of them left.
Still, the city's location and role in Menicean commerce make it the perfect home for those who like living in large towns. Despite how unlikely it may seem to Nelandreans
, Sylvans actually have a modern and excellent quality of life.
- Alternative Name(s)
The Great Maze
- Inhabitant Demonym
We didn't really want to go, but we didn't really have a choice either. You see, the Grove was where the first of us Sylvans lived, that's where my old family house was. But as you know we are no rich merchants or nobles, just woodcutters. When the taxes increased and when they started cutting down the old bridges without asking to build their manors, we just couldn't afford to stay.
I asked the governor many times to stop destroying the only accesses to our house, and he told me to buy the rest of the tree and build my own staircase or sell my plot and leave. I watched as our house was demolished, and I'll make sure that none of my children forget what happened. We are on our way to Odelia
, thanks again for your help.
Like most large cities, Haven's government is a council made of local nobles and bourgeois. They collect the crown's taxes, apply the law, and handle all the city's affairs.
When the council was first introduced, its members were particularly violent with the original inhabitants of the Grove. They shamelessly bought the parcels one by one until every low and middle-class family was gone. Out of many Menicean councils, it is one of the most despised by its people.
Industry and trade
I don't care what foreigners say about my city, I love it so much. They just don't know where to look. Sure, if you stay in the Knots you'll likely won't have a good time, you can barely breathe in there.
I like to wander around the Grove, where the common folk lives. We are still Gérouns, so we love it when things look pleasant and festive. You need to see the banners and tinsels floating between each bridge, feast in after work parties, hear the wind whistling and the wood cracking.
Don't listen to what they say, I swear you would enjoy some days here, and I would love to show you around.