Setting

Echo Falls, a medium-sized city about a third of the way from Nexus to Sijan, overlooks a sheer cliff on a fertile delta of the Shining River. Twin waterfalls flank the southern end of town, ensuring that all river traffic on its way to the Yanaze must pass through a series of canals and be lowered hundreds of feet by an ancient but sturdy network of cranes.

Across the northwest quarter of the city stretches a massive complex of ruins. Two hundred years ago, Realm legions drove out a huge force of beast folk who had made this a base from which to raid caravans and merchant barges. But the legions were soon withdrawn, and settlers flooded in. Few make use of the ruins, however, preferring the comfort of newer constructions.

The northwest quarter of the city, dominated by ruins, is sparsely inhabited. A few desperate souls ignore the strange tales and dare to live or set up shop on the edge of the ruins. And some of the supernatural inhabitants of the city have adapted these ancient remnants to their own purposes.

In the southwest quarter of the city, prominent merchants, moneylenders, and craftsmen dwell in comfortable estates overlooking the town. The canals here are quite wide, bridges are few, and many of the wealthy in effect live on their own private, well-guarded little islands. Only loyal servants, armed mercenaries, and daring thieves find their way onto the manors of the wealthy.

Across the canals, the southeast district hosts key commercial concerns. The busiest docks are here, along with storehouses, mills, refineries, smithies, and more.

In the northeast live the majority of Echo Falls’ 150,000 inhabitants, most of them in crowded, two-story tenements or tiny single-family homes. Landlords and homeowners are granted a certain number of yellow sashes which allow the wearer to seek work within the city walls. Skilled workers and property owners don’t themselves need sashes, but they know they face a harsh punishment if they hire anyone who doesn’t wear one.

Thus all of Echo Falls’ citizens count themselves far luckier than the inhabitants of the Brambles, a collection of barely-standing shacks outside the safety of the city walls.

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