THE MANTHRIAN CAPITAL MARCOGG

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - COAT OF ARMS - GOVERNMENT
CLIMATE -
FLORA - FAUNA - RESOURCES - MYTH/LORE - HISTORY

Marcogg is the capital of the Santharian province of Manthria on the continent of Sarvonia with currently about 40.000 inhabitants. It was an important historical town as the capitol of ancient Avennoria, and is now the trade city of the region, controlling the flow of goods and products from above Tyr Donion down to Klinsor. It is a human city but has excellent trade relations with the Mitharim Clan of dwarves who reside in the area to the northeast. Marcogg has been inhabited almost continuously since its founding in 10.350 b.S., and is known for its huge markets and its seven spectacular falls.

Roubins Plaza

View picture in full size Picture description. View on the Avennorian houses of Roubins Plaza in the center of the Manthrian capital Marcogg. Image by Bard Judith.

Description. The spectacular city of Marcogg is centred around the famous seven falls of the Mashdai River, also known as the Vildegg Bend. Vast basaltic ridges fan out from the massive Achare Peak which dominates the horizon, forming the ledges over which the falls tumble, and the steps upon which the city proudly rises.

Many of the stone buildings are constructed from the dark local basalt, or from white clay brick imported from the Gryphon's Marl area. The contrast of black and white, with the sparkle of the river cutting through it, is quite effective from a distance. Elsewhere, the walls are formed from whitish plaster and dark timber, again providing a striking contrast. Here and there the old city walls may still be seen, although almost destroyed by urban expansion, overbuilding, and the thrifty Marcoggian habit of recycling handy bits of cut stone that seem to have no immediate purpose. Luckily the cobbled streets are in almost constant use, so there is little risk of their surfaces being ripped up for building supplies!

The city is shaped by its geographic surroundings, which are certainly worthy of note; a series of seven cascading falls follow seven Steps, or basaltic ridges, for a total of a hundred-and-fifty-ped drop over a length of almost seven hundred peds. The entire series of falls is commonly referred to as “Vildegg Bend”, but each fall has its own name and character.

The first drop is the largest and is given the unimaginative name, "First Fall", and drops about 50 peds. The next four all drop between 9-12 peds and cover about 300 peds. Respectively, they are known as “Sherrine’s Leap” (see the story of that name in Bard Judith’s compendium), “Trili Fall”, “Fresh Ale”, and “Nishe Fall”. The sixth fall is something of a rocky bottleneck, and the water leaps out almost six or seven peds away from the Step before curving downwards into the river again. Although its formal name is “Perryn Fall”, it is locally referred to as “The Widdler”, for obvious reasons. Between the sixth and the last the river flows wide and shallow, over a scattered collection of basalt boulders which create treacherous rapids. The last fall is about 80 peds downstream from the others and splits over a central huge boulder. It drops about 17 peds and is given the name "Foot Falls", probably after some long-forgotten jest.

Buildings and Places of the City can be summarized as follows:

The Manthrian Capital Marcogg

View picture in full size Image description. The High Bridge of Marcogg as seen from one of the northwestern balconies of the Great Nehtorian Temple. Picture by Quellion.

Location. The city of Marcogg is located in eastern Manthria, within the kingdom of Santharia, on the Vildegg Bend of the great Mashdai River which flows down from the coastal Mithral Mountains. To its west are the lovely Auturian Woods, home of the Tethinrhim elves. To the southwest are the fertile grasslands of the Twynor region, while still further on lie the clay wastes of the Tolonian Heath. Marcogg is always in view of mountains; the stark Mithrals to the northeast and east, and the softer blue curves of the Caeytharins to the south and east. Return to the top

View entry on Santharia View complete map of Santharia The Village of Nepris The Province of Manthria
Picture description. The location of the Marcogg, capital of the Santharian province of Manthria, located close to the Adanian Sea and the Mithral Mountains. Maps by Artimidor.

People. Now that peace has settled upon the United Kingdom, Marcogg’s current population runs to almost 40.000 inhabitants, according to Thane Swanhild’s most recent census.

The city is quite cosmopolitan for its size, but its population is mostly represented by humans. The humans of Marcogg are proud of their Avennorian roots and traditions, including their seafaring heritage, but most especially the accumulation of wealth as a mark of cultural status. As one historian notes: “…the King was chosen by wealth, not bloodline. ... Since most kings increased their wealth usually they could pass on that wealth to their son or daughter. There had been some instances where a stranger had come up with more wealth than the King and the King had been deposed." Certainly in Marcoggian society one’s monetary achievements are as well-known as one’s bloodline and pedigree might be in the Santhalan court!

A number of dwarves from the Mithrals have settled in the city (as evidenced by the Dwarven Arms and other Thergerim-run shops) but mostly the Mitharim prefer to do their trading to the north at Grensa Post. Some gnomes and hobbits have homes on the East Side or along the Southern Mithral Trail between the city proper and the Twynor Farmsteadings. The occasional Brownie can be seen, and once in a while an elven ranger will pass through on the outskirts of town. Merfolk have been known to accompany ships up the river as far as the Docks from time to time, although they claim the freshwater makes their skins itch and they cannot ‘breathe’ it for long.

The Tethinrhim elves keep to their settlements in the Auturian Woods to the west of Marcogg, while the Mitharim dwarves range the Mithral Mountains to the east. Northward on the Huiscen Plains, near the paired foothills called the Sentinels, is said to be the mogliar region, where the reclusive mole-like semi-sentients dwell in deep burrows. Reports of mogliar sightings are few and far between, usually told by the cattleherders and drovers who tend their herds on the plains.

In the region of Marcogg are also the small settlements, mostly human, of Nathembly, Chrondra, and Simsy, running from south to north along the Upper Mashdai. They tend to depend on the river and the trade route along it and are mostly composed of small farmers, fresh-fishers, and cattleherders. Generally raw goods go downriver and products come back from Marcogg. Southward the Twynor Farmsteadings stretch for league upon league along the Southern Mithral Trail, with here and there the round doors of hobbitholes or the quaint shapes of gnomedwellings breaking the expanse of golden grainfields and lush orchards. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. Marcogg’s coat of arms shows a silver shield which is divided from top left to bottom right by a waving blue band, representing the Vildegg Bend portion of the Mashdai River. On the top right area is a purple mountain overlaid with a golden coin, standing for Achare Peak and the debt of gratitude owed to the Mitharim in the construction of the city, while on the lower left is a green evoor fish crossed with a red spray of vegetation, showing the city’s source of income and origins as a trade town. Simple but easily identified, this coat of arms is used on banners throughout the town and stamped on produce bags, fish casks, and other trade items from butterpats to local wineries’ labels. Thane Swanhild uses a variation of this coat of arms in the palace which merges the river image with his own crest, the Swan Guarding. Return to the top

Government. Marcogg is governed by a city council under the leadership of the current Thane (ruler of the Manthrian province), Herrgan Johl Swanhild, a descendant of the famous Barek Swanhild. The councilors are drawn equally from the leading nobility of the city and the prosperous burghers/merchant lords, six of each. Their term of service is three years at a time, and near the end of that term they are individually expected to propose several replacements, whom Thane Swanhild can either approve or reject. From this pool of peer candidates, twelve are chosen by vote of the old council.

The Thane's Seal of Manthria

View picture in full size Picture description. A document signed with the Thane's seal of the province of Manthria. Image drawn by Bard Judith.

This system does not allow for a great deal of representation of the less well-to-do in Marcoggian society, but it keeps trade flowing, the nobles prosperous, and jobs for almost everyone. The law codes of Marcogg have been in place for centuries, but new proposals are always being laid before the council and the Thane by new members eager to have their name attached to a fresh piece of legislation, from issues as serious as the death penalty to as simple as the width of new laneways. In the last few years some of the most well-known motions that were accepted have been “Julya’s Fountained Intersection Proposal”, “Merovin the Senior’s Proportional Taxation Appeal”, “Lerous Pratilly’s Appendix to the City Guard Codex of Halodin Swanhild” (another descendant of the famous Barek), and “Gerontious’s Horse Dung Removal System”.

Thane Swanhild has held the governorship of Marcogg for the last twenty years, generally to popular acclaim. He is perceived as being inflexible but just, and while not open to innovation or emotional appeal, is more easily swayed by impeccably presented logic and carefully worked-out engineering plans. Physically he bears out this perception, being a tall dark man with a hawkish profile and deepset, unreadable eyes, invariably well-dressed but with only the Marcogg gold chain of office and the Thane's ring to indicate his rank. He has been wed to Jassitha Erphana Karyestran, an Erpheronian noblewoman from Voldar, in Vardýnn. Her father rose high in the ranks of the White Knights, while her mother, a devotee of the healing deities, was active in charities and helped to set up a hospice for the poor in Voldar. Jassitha herself - or Lady Swanhild as we should call her - despite being active in her children’s upbringing as well-educated and accomplished nobility, has also found time to continue developing trade relations with the Mitharim dwarves and is known as a supporter of the White Nehtorians or Dalorins. It is under her energetic influence that the formerly somewhat dilapidated Thane's Palace is being restored and decorated, and that the Great Temple of Nehtor has found the wherewithal to expand its environs, including the recently-constructed Hospice which serves the medical needs of noble and pauper alike without question of payment other than in kind. Return to the top

Climate. The spray from the river, and the location of the city in the rainshadow of the Mithral Mountains, gives Marcogg a moist climate which is said to be beneficial to the skin. Whether or not this is true, it certainly is good for the local mosses, lichens, and vegetation; the parts of Marcogg that are not black and white are a rich green!

One can expect a light mist about half the time, and actual rain three or four days out of ten, depending on the season of the year. Further away from the city, to the south and west, it is often sunnier, so the major farmlands of Twynor upon which Marcogg depends are located in that area. Return to the top

Flora. Marcogg is green where it is not black and white; mosses and vines thrive in the moist climate, and the mountains to the northeast create a miniature subclimate of warmth which ensures that a number of cultivated flowers and bushes also do well. Yealm reed has been planted and is spreading well in the Mashdai River, helping to filter some of the wastes of the city, and various waterweeds are practically a nuisance, growing so well that they hinder boats’ passage upriver from the coast.

River birch and wolf willow grow long and slender close to the water’s edge, and in the city are kept pollarded so that they create thick globes of green leaves in the spring and summer. During the fall the cobble streets are full of their golden sheddings, and in winter their cut-back silhouettes stand out beautifully against the grey skies. The pruned branches are always much in demand as inexpensive strappings and ties, and can be woven into sturdy baskets and other wicker products.

Tievine, ivy, morningglory and purplebean are all vines that grow luxuriantly with plenty of water, and many of the city walls are covered with their variously herne-hued, grey, green, and pale lavender leaves, softening the contrast of the black basalt and white brick.

Dochnuts, kies, and arv may all be found in the lightly forested flatlands west of Marcogg, before the thicker stands of the Auturian Woods begin. Nathembly farmers are beginning to consider cultivating them rather than merely gathering them wild as they are currently somewhat limited by the distance they must travel and the area to be covered. Return to the top

Fauna. In the city of Marcogg itself the animal population is somewhat limited to the usual urban rats, pigeons, and a small stray dog problem for which one of the City Councilors is currently formulating a motion tentatively entitled “Brunsavan’s Unhomed Canine & Canine Product Removal Proposal”. This does not, of course, take into consideration the many pets safely ensconced in homes throughout the city, such as the popular avenor cats and the clever mimsy. Psittae and other cagebirds have a small following, and can be seen hung out under the eaves of many buildings in the evening to take the air and sing.

Bonehead and evoor are thick in the river north of the city, and can be caught in the Mashdai Reservoir with some patience. Baneg cattle are bred and herded on the Huiscen Plains, in competition with the wild Sarvonian deer that still roam the area freely.

For details on other wild animals of the area, see the Mithral Mountains entry. Return to the top

Resources. Twynor, to the southwest, supplies most of Marcogg’s fresh fruits and vegetables, while beef comes in from Chrondra and Simsy on the northwestern plains, and salt-fish from Parthanul on the coast. Nathembly, a small village to the northwest, sends down freshwater fish and plains deer. Archare Mountain, part of the Mithrals, is technically a dwarven realm but long-standing negotiations with Kor Mithrid allow humans to do surface prospecting and hunting. It is rumoured that Lady Swanhild is currently in discussions with the Mitharim Clan chief to allow for surface mining on Archare as well, but this is as yet unconfirmed.  Return to the top

Myth/Lore. Vildegg Bend is the name given to a curve in the Mashdai River where a series of cascading falls are located. The early Avennorians discovered this bend as they were exploring the Mashdai on one of their perpetual quests for wealth. They set up a city at the foot of these falls and named it Nisheton-on-Vildegg-Bend, or Nisheton for short. Later (see History) the city was renamed Marcogg after the Avennorian explorer and leader Liemolf Marcogg.

Some scholars state that ‘Nishe’ was the old word for ‘nixie’ or ‘river nymph’ and have found scraps of Avennorian folktales and accounts that relate Liemolf Marcogg’s encounter with such a nymph. One old song even claims that Liemolf had a child by the Nishe of the river, and this song has come down to us, in debased form, as a chanty still sung by ‘bollies’, or barge workers, on the Mashdai. A few sample verses are given below, for which we disclaim all responsibility if the reader is offended:

“Oh Lymouth met the nixie there,
(Heave, ye bollies, heave-o!)
Wi’ silver lips and long green hair,
(Heave away, ye bollies!)

She said she’d give ‘im what she would…
She was no better than she should…

At Trili Fall she gave her hand…
And at Fresh Ale she bade him stand..

At Nishe Fall she gave her breast…
At Perryn Fall she gave the rest…

Oh Lymouth left her weeping sound,
(Heave, ye bollies, heave-o!)
Wi’ heavy heart and belly round,
(Heave away, ye bollies!)”
Return to the top

 

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THE ERA OF SUNDERING
(YEARS 11.900 B.S. - 10.000 B.S.)
ca. 10350 b.S. The Mashdai Expedition and the Founding of Nisheton (Marcogg)
Explorers under the leadership of Liemolf Marcogg reach Vildegg Bend on the Mashdai River. They set up a settlement at the base of the falls which they call Nisheton-on-Vildegg-Bend, which would later become Marcogg.
Lumber Wars between the Avennorians and the Tethinrhim Elves
Right after establishing a settlement on the banks of the Mashdai River, Liemolf Marcogg and others start a battle with the elven tribe of the Tethinrhim over lumber and the Auturian Woods. He is badly overmatched by the elves and loses many men.
THE ERA OF SORCERY
(YEARS 10.000 B.S. - 9.500 B.S.)
ca. 10000 b.S. Nisheton Prospers
Nisheton becomes a larger community and begins to attract fishers and farmers as settlers. Various travelers see opportunities in the town and remain to begin businesses.
THE ERA OF CATACLYSM
(YEARS 9.500 B.S. - 8.500 B.S.)
9200 b.S. Nisheton destroyed
During the long years of the War of the Chosen the once proud Avennorian town of Nisheton (the later Marcogg) is pillaged, burnt, sacked repeatedly, slowly destroyed and finally abandoned and the area becomes unsettled.
THE AGE OF AWAKENING
(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
1655 b.S. Reconstruction
The Avennorians under the leadership of Barek Swanhild return to the area and rebuild the town. It is decided for reasons of morale and historical precedent to also rename the town in honour of its original founder, Leimolf Marcogg.
  

1500 b.S. First Trade
The Farmsteadings of Twynor are cleared, cultivated, and orchards planted. Trade with Marcogg begins and grows.

THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
618 b.S. The Strata Economy collapses
Though the outcome of the punitive expedition against Milkengrad is victorious for the alliance, it can be seen as a victory with many losses: Many men and material are lost due to the terrible battles and the economy of Strata collapses. The harbour falls into ruin as it is barely used and crime takes control over the city. The Tristin and his family, last heirs to Drafas' throne leave the city and flee to Marcogg.
  

474 b.S. Offensive of Stratanian patriots against the Thalambathian government
Stratanian patriots attempt to overthrow the Thalambathian government. The rebels are easily defeated and flee to Thaehavos. In the following centuries several groups of patriots demand the restoration of Strata's most important part, the harbour, by acts of protest as well as violent actions. It is thought that the Tristin partially organized the resistance emanating from Marcogg.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF KINGS
(YEARS 172 A.S. - 547 A.S.)
315 Rhano Roubins Thane of Manthria
Count Rhano Roubins is invested as Thane of Manthria, overseer of Marcogg.
  

321 First Trading Relations with the Mitharim dwarves
Thane Roubins designates a sum of money to the small fishing village of Nepris to "promote trading and cultural exchange with the Thergerim (of the Mithral Mountains)", once more citing their "key role in the establishing of interracial relations between the Avennorians and the dwarves of the Mithral".

THE CLERICAL AGE
(YEARS 610 A.S. - 825 A.S.)
ca. 800 Years of Achievement
After partial burning of town once again, and sixty years of war the area settles down. The town slowly becomes a major trading center on the river. As the town grows it expands to cover the left bank both above and below the falls.

THE ERA OF THE SOUTHERN WARS
(YEARS 825 A.S. - 1.062 A.S.)
859 Righen Amarno Swanhild Thane of Manthria
Righen Amarno Swanhild invested as Thane of Marcogg, recodifies council system.
  

911 Bridge Building
Two bridges are built across the Mashdai, one above and one below the falls. The area is now the center of both river and land trade.
  

922
to 938
Construction of the Great Nethorian Temple in Marcogg
The Great Temple of Nehtor is constructed in Marcogg by contracted dwarven masons, creating stronger alliances between the human city of Marcogg and the dwarven cavern-city of Kor Mithrid.

THE TIME OF REUNION
(YEARS 1.540 A.S. - TODAY)
1.643 Herrgan Johl Swanhild Thane of Manthria
Herrgan Johl Swanhild is invested as Thane of Manthria. He begins work on the city’s freshwater system and waste treatment via natural filtration (e.g. yealm reed plantations).
  

1.662 Expansion of the Nehtorian Temple
Duchess Jassitha Erphana Karyestran negotiates for expansion of the Great Temple of Nehtor with dwarven masons overseeing construction.

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