A Refuge in the Wilderness
HistoryFirst established between 5907 and 5908 by a group of Tameri fleeing the conflict of the Red Schism, the original town of Keskala was abandoned in 5918 shortly after its settlement. Later in 6150, a group of Timber Elves would inhabit the site- but would likewise desert it in favor of better climates. After the Timber Elves settlement was forsaken, in 6347 an expedition team led by Yen Tae-Hyun would use the site to establish a main base of operations for their many expeditions in the region. But in 6348 the site was deserted once more in favor of Chara'Huyan, and would remain so until 6615- being used only rarely as a temporary outpost for additional expeditions. In 6615 the collapse of a Druuma stronghold in the nearby portion of the Kogria Mountains would drive the surviving members of Clan Skala to the surface. Stumbling across the remnants of the old village, the clan rebuilt, intending to use it as a temporary base while they recovered enough to reclaim their stronghold... Instead of reclaiming their home, however, they grew accustomed to the area. They permanently settled there- building the village into the small pseudo stronghold that it is today, and formally naming it for themselves. Since then the occasional adventurers and expeditioners have been drawn to the village in the wilderness, settling down for a quieter life.
DesignThough many of the buildings have been rebuilt from stone, the main section of Keskala remains a mishmash of various architectural styles- largely being a continuous reconstruction of ruins from the site's many previous lives. Still, most of the buildings have been modified to favor the short and squat architectural style of the Dwarves, and most non-residential buildings in the village carry the crest of Clan Skala above their doors. This does not mean the buildings are designed for Dwarven bodies, however, as even the Dwarves naturally favor large, open spaces- meaning that most buildings can accommodate the majority of their denizens comfortably. Encircling it all is a large stone wall with spiked bastions every so many feet. These bastions provide lookouts for encroaching dangers, while the wall fends off all but the largest threats to the village. It's on these walls that Homesteaders in the area take their turns to patrol in shifts of five, keeping an eye out for any sign of danger; two gates on either side of the village allow people to move freely between the wilds and the protection of the walls. Beneath this main walled section of the village, however, is something more: A series of small vaults that have been carved out from underground. These are considered communal spaces. Of them, one is a series of catacombs in which the village's dead are entombed- while the others exist as village storage areas... A fifth one is rumored to exist, however, which is believed to hold what few treasures Clan Skala managed to save during the collapse of their stronghold. No one knows whether these rumors are true, though, as only Clan Skala is allowed within this mysterious fifth vault.
Did'ja hear? Dimek's got this ambitious little building project he wants to get on with... Says it'll make the village a trading powerhouse... Iunno how he plans to do it, given the expeditions ain't that big. But we'll see if he ever untwists his breeches enough to manage it, I guess.
Most of Keskala's buildings aren't residential. Instead, they often serve some sort of communal function or another- though these are limited in both scope and nature due to the villages small size and population. One such building is the village's post, run by Kod Zuzagar. In addition to running the occasional piece of mail to other villages in the area, he also makes trips twice a year to Chara'Huyan or Agdrimis. Another, though, is the village's only Inn; called the Wanderer's Tale, it is owned and operated by Marlena Bormann- who many in the village look to for guidance and decisions, despite Clan Skala remaining prominent.
Town Notice BoardA notice board sits next to the entrance of the Wanderer's Tale. Residents of the village frequently post notices to the board for a number of reasons- such as when hands are needed for harvest, emergencies occur, items are taken from the vaults, and more. Old notices are not always removed from the board, but at least one new notice tends to appear each week.
You didn't hear if from me, but old Hanza an Gertik- you know, that old codgey Orc couple that live north'a the wall... Well they been fightin fierce lately. Says Gertik lost the Oelots on purpose. Don't believe him that a Kruthik got 'em- and if they did, he's a coward for not bringin the head home for the wall!
Keskala is incredibly small and maintains a permanent residency of only 348 to 350 individuals. The majority of this permanent population consists of Druuma from Clan Skala and Dasmiira from Clan Batrun, as well as Thaila and Tameri. A handful of Orkind, Maerla, and Fereni also call the village home- as does a single Maiskin family. Outside of the small number of permanent residents, the village sees visitors twice yearly... Once when Expeditions enter the southern peninsular in the late rainy season, and again when they return to northern Tolara before the cold season; these expedition teams rarely stay long, but bring much needed supply and news to to village- often also carrying news back with them, to family that residents may have further up the trail. Aside from this, however, Keskala rarely sees other visitors and largely relies on its own production to survive. The vast majority of Keskala's residents were once expeditioners themselves, who decided to settle in the area for one reason or the other. These individuals usually live outside of the village walls on family homesteads, and earn their keep through hunting and minor agriculture. While they frequently only produce enough for their own families to survive, excess is stored in the city's communal vaults for free use by any other families in need. This is further supplemented with fibercrafts and toolmaking- which provides the bulk of the village's trade income with any passers through.
Culture & Tradition
Little Ora Mai was married to that Fereni boy Jiyar last week. Why, I remember when that Genasi babe was no more the size of a Stirge- and so much energy! You wouldn know it with how quiet an thoughtful she be now, but she was always runin around screaming that little blue head of hers off an beggin for a pastry... My, time flies for the lit'luns, doesn't it?Due to the dangers of life in Talaina'Vao, Keskans value community and hospitality above all else. This emphasis on community is unique among those who find themselves settled in Talaina'Vao- who frequently value self sufficiency and survival more. It is perhaps this difference in values, however, that has allowed Keskala to survive as long as it has in such a dangerous area. Excess production of all forms is shared freely among those in need before ever being considered for trade, and families frequently go out of their way to help others. Marriages, funerals, coming of age celebrations, and more, are likewise important to the residents. These are usually celebrated communally- often with all Keskans coming together and pitching in to help with the decoration, planning, entertainment, and supplies. Because so many of the villages residents live outside of the walls to maintain their privacy and space, regular wellness checks are often performed on homesteads as well- typically when the families haven't been heard from in a while... Usually these turn out just fine, but occasionally villagers have found homesteads abandoned or attacked. Over the years this has led to better external warning systems for the village. Now every Homestead in the area has a large bell they can ring in the event of an attack, to signal the other Homesteaders to come to their aid. These elements come together to create a community with strong social bonds, where everyone looks out for one another. Violence tends to be low in the village for that reason- isolated to the occasional marriage tiff, or the odd fight with an Expeditioner passing through the area.