Echo Falls’ oldest citizen, Peleps Havara, a physician and rumored deserter living in exile from the Realm, is one of the few mortals comfortable in the northwest quarter of town. He houses the sick here, shielding his neighbors from whatever strange plagues or rots his patients bring back from the jungle. Among the ancient buildings are hot springs, mud baths, and various geomantic sites with poorly understood but potent blessings for the sick. Where Havara goes, so goes his bodyguard and steward, Jheyo, a towering southerner with an easy smile, a booming laugh, and a disconcerting ability to pummel hardened men into senseless heaps.
Crying Jasper, the guardian of whatever civilization preceded Echo Falls’ current inhabitants and their beast-folk predecessors, shuffles around around the edges of town, barely subsisting on scattered prayers and offerings. Sometimes a child or a priest can squeeze a story from him, a tale of the old days when he towered over throngs of prostrated worshipers, of how he wreathed himself in glory and fire. No one knows if any of this is true, but he does bestow power upon a sorcerer or two from time to time, so he must be telling the truth about something.
Not every local god is in decline, however. A few hundred years ago, beast folk gave thanks and prayer to Three Wisdoms Yorvonna for her role in growing the acorns that sustained the forest. Her portfolio has since grown to encompass the mighty oaks themselves and all the trade that passes through town. She too has grown, and the former wisp of a woodland spirite now towers over every man in town, her thick bark and leafy mane growing, curling, and shedding as she strides through the streets. Some fear that she is too ambitious to see the city rival the other great powers of the Direction. However, it’s unlikely anyone would voice these worries – one of her greatest blessings is the massive semi-circular wall of living oaks surrounding the Echo Falls, combining with the cliffs to shelter the city from invaders.
Another source of security is the thousand soldiers of the Swift Swords Mercenary Company, by far the largest and most effective unified fighting force in Echo Falls. While numerous individuals and organizations outfit soldiers or militias, Captain Brown‘s Swift Swords are widely considered the most reliable, despite the periodic embarrassments of her top lieutenant, Tori, the second son of a wildly successful money lender. The Swift Swords were recently granted a monopoly on all guard work inside the city walls and on boats headed down the river.