Vanaheim 5th age
City of Bearclaw
Near the west coast of Athani kingodm, standing watch over the aptly named Death Marshes and the pass of Fort Temple, lies the ancient city of Bearclaw, also known as ‘the citadel’.
Named after the five elderglass shards that protrude from the peak of the mountain whose side it was carved out of, Bearclaw is the kingdom’s ultimate line of defense against enemies from both the marsh and the orkish lands.
Rumors have it that the city itself was carved out of the mountain’s stone by dwarves in an age long past, and that humans merely inherited the place and refurbished it. Whether there’s truth to these rumors, the city itself is a virtually impregnable fortress, layered in levels that climb higher and higher up bearclaw mountain.
The city is composed of four wards, each one level higher than the next. At the lowest level, just through the main walls is the market ward, a place where commerce blossoms, especially in the military aspect. Bearclaw is at the heart of Athani lands, and it needs provide supplies to all major cities north of it as well as all forts south of it. Supplies from Arryn and Westhaven first arrive to Bearclaw before being shipped to any of the other forts, and for this reason one might find all sorts of high quality tools of war here.
The second level of the city, just through the second wall and up a flight of stairs, approximately 300 feet from ground level, is the common ward. It is here the families of those who live and breathe war in the area reside. The citadel bestows temporary ownership of what limited housing is available in the fortress city, with higher-ranking officers getting prime space. If a family fails to provide new soldiers in the army in a set time limit, they are relocated. Likewise, when an officer dies in battle, his family may be relocated to a simpler abode in order to make room for new officers, and so on. With practically no means to expand the city within its walls, those who are stripped of their homes by this selection are forced to move to another city, as it is far too dangerous to live outside the walls of bearclaw. Also, most common homes house far more than one family.
The third level of the city, 300 feet further up the mountainside, is the merchant ward. Here, minor nobles, wealthy merchants and high ranking officers of the army live comfortably in large states with walled-off gardens. This level of the city has been repurposed more than once, and some may still remember when it was the extension of the common ward, sixty years ago. Visually however, every sign of the old rickety buildings has been eliminated, leaving only noble villas.
The fourth and final level is the noble ward. Standing a total of a thousand feet above ground level, the noble houses of bearclaw enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding planes. The walls of the city here do not rise above ground level, and there are no railings so one might easily fall off the side due to a strong wind and end up as a stain on some merchant’s rooftop below. Those noble houses built on the edge usually have cannons and other siege weapons readied, pointed towards the horizon, prepared to fend off the occasional draconic raid, or fire celebratory shots.
At the center of the noble ward and built straight into the mountain’s face is Lord Vaer ard Harcourt’s castle, Lord Commander and Protector of the Citadel. Vaer is the grandson of Bjorn ard Harcourt, a great Sevaar who fought and died in the great war.
It is said that hidden within the castle are ancient passageways leading deep into the mountain, to riches untold and dwarven weapons of immense power, such as the axe Bjorn wielded in his battles against the Empire, but such rumors have so far been just that.