A Burnished Throne
Pop. ~ 2000
The town of Altaruk sits atop an important juncture along the Balic-Tyr trade route. Other routes branching from Altaruk extend toward the northern city-states and into the eastern Tablelands. Altaruk lies near the head of the Estuary of the Forked Tongue, a silt channel dotted with small islands that pours into the great Sea of Silt.
Powerful Balican merchant houses (including Wavir, Rees, and Tomblador) sponsor the heavily fortified town. A 15-foot wall encircles Altaruk, and a well-trained mercenary army drives off raiders. The army’s frequent patrols flush out bandits and predatory creatures within a half-day’s ride. Only a sizable offensive might crack the mercenaries’ defenses. Lately, the army’s commanders have been casting a wary eye toward the Estuary as rumors swirl that the giants are planning to again move against the town.
Arisphistaneles, a Balican noble, governs the town. He is well known as a pragmatic man who holds citizens and traders equally accountable to Altaruk’s laws.
1 -Solid Granite Fortress Walls. The 10 foot thick, 15 foot high fortress walls are made of solid granite. The walls are capped with parapets to enable the guards to have some cover during battle. A six foot wide catwalk enables the guards to walk a complete circuit around the fort, simply staying on the walls. Guards constantly patrol the walls, keeping watch in every direction. Pyracantha thorn bushes grow at the base of the walls.
2 -Towers. The two-story towers are 25 feet high. There is a ballista mounted on each roof. Each tower roof is watched over by a pair of sentries.
3 -Main Gates. These 20 foot wide gates are fashioned of granite and metal. They open at dawn, and close when darkness falls. People who wish access during the closed hours better have influence with the leader of Altaruk, or at the very least, connections with the guards.
The Four Bits (Inn)
A stone tablet fastened next to the door shows a rendition of four bits of a ceramic piece, grouped together in a semi-circular arc. The two-story inn is run by Gelrade Osnabryk, a female human. Due to the plentiful city guard, no bouncers are needed.
Gelrade knows her prices are high, but she doesn’t care; she has the only inn in Altaruk, and she knows it. Besides, her inn is of the finest quality; the customer definitely gets what he or she pays for. The upstairs rooms have secure locks on the doors. Each room has two real beds made of wood, a lamp and oil, a basin and a gallon pottery pitcher filled with fresh water, and a dresser to store clothes and gear. The dressers all have mirrors. The drinking room/common area is always bustling with off-duty guards, visiting caravan members, or citizens of Altaruk.
This is the name given to the avenue of booths and small shops run by the natives of Altaruk. Due to the frequency of caravans from all over Athas, the selection and quality of goods is impressive and worth the money.