Moondoor Settlement in Thræsh's Hold | World Anvil


this is a Spooktober stub, to be expanded during WE
Moondoor is the great city of the area surrounding Thræsh's Hold. Its inhabitants have developed a culture of their own, some still clinging onto local traditions, while others race to embrace the novelties of the city.   The city did not get its name out of nowhere: The horizon in the east is dominated by two tall and equally sheer mountains, each with an almost perfectly vertical cliffside that's facing the other, towering over the rest of the eastern mountain range. At least that is how it looks from where the city stands, in reality one of the mountains is larger, and also further away. Nevertheless, the two appear to form an enormous gate against the sky, and exactly at the place where the moon rises above the horizon everyday at dusk and only a little wider. From the old castle on its high seat, the observer may watch the moon pass through the gap between the mountains and rise into the night, like a ship passing through a river and into the sea. Down in the actual town of Moondoor the event is less profound, because the view is partially blocked by the beginnings of the eastern mountain range. Still, many houses in the path of the moonlight have balconies on their western wall from which the residents may watch both the moon and the sun rise, though the latter does not pass through the gap between the two mountains. Curiously, houses in the part of Moondoor from which one can actually see the city's namesake seem to be quite sought-after, especially on the slopes of the western mountain, where your eastern neighbour's next ambitious construction project is less likely to block your own view. Nobody wants to live too high up on the mountain though, since the sheerer cliffs pose the danger of rockslides – and nobody quite dares to stay long, much less build a home, on top of the mountain, where Thræsh's Hold looms over the city.   While the moonlight draws an inconspicious axis through Moondoor, the river is the second, very obvious one. Flowing down from its spring somewhere in the mountains in the north, it provides a reliable and cheap way of transporting goods down south into the lowlands and back. While the mountain roads are regularly treacherous mountain roads at best and deceptively shifting paths into nothingness at worst, the river can at least be expected to follow its course. However, sometimes the river may pose its own dangers: During the twilight hours, a mist rises from the water, one that feels a little too otherworldly to be trusted. Once you can no longer see the other side, it seems like there is an entirely different place across the river, and while the bridges in Moondoor are not officially closed, very few peope ever dare to cross them. Along the river stand the homes of traders and craftspeople, loading wares directly out of the boats into their houses. Some of the richer guildmasters and traders had their houses build across the river, with pulleys that could lift the entire cargo of a boat straigt up and into the building. However, they soon found that no matter how tightly they shut the hatches, no matter how well they closed their windows, the mist would still creep into the rooms and hallways above the water. Now, no one dares to live in these parts of the houses, and they stand empty, as eerie as the mist that still seeps into them from time to time.   The only place that seems to be unaffected by the mist lies all the way upstream, at the edge of Moondoor, overlooking almost the entire city: The great cathedral of the gods of order. Once a humble church, it grew along the wealth of the city, and is now an imposing monument of the clergy's influence, surrounded by a small district under their rule. Here, the water of the river is used in rituals and treatment for the sick, before it flows down through the valley, where it accumulates all the waste that is produced in a city as large as Moondoor. And even though the river passes directly through the cathedral, the strange influence of the mist seems to cover before its mighty walls. The building itself reflects the values of the gods: Order above all. Nothing in its construction was left to chance, every angle was meticulously measured and everything, as well as everyone, inside has its designated place. While the rising of the sun and moon still indicate the time to the people of Moondoor, the days in the cathedral ward are dictated by the precise ringing of the bells inside the great clock tower. Among the inhabitants of the cathedral ward are scholars and priests who tend to and study in the great library. Recently though, through the advent of the printing press, their influence through knowledge over the town has declined, causing the church to try and regain its hold on power.   On the secular side of things, Moondoor is also ruled by a worldly lord. He oversees the city from his residence at the western city wall, as close to Thræsh's Hold and the cliffs below it as people dare to build. While his family has ruled the city for generations, with support from both the church and the high king in the south, he is now facing tensions with the upper class of Moondoor: As new technologies take hold, the wealthy people who control them are trying to gain political power for themselves through their monopolies. Not only are the rich able to influence the public, their generous donations to the church also grant them the support of the clergy, and perhaps even the gods themselves.

Cover image: by Ninodonlord (via Midjourney)


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