Bryden’s Ferry, town of new beginnings.
This town has grown from peaceful farm village into one of the most important religious and economic towns in Garresh. Most of that is due to the unlikely appearance of several heroes during the Rift Crisis. These “rifters” have struggled to fit in with the original inhabitants of the town, but have become a magnet for events of all kinds.
Religion in Bryden’s Ferry
Bryden’s Ferry was named a holy town by King Thorn following the Second God War. It has become a favored pilgrimage site for people all over Azkon and it boasts one of the few Churches of All Faiths on the continent. Every god is worshipped in their own way; all religious practices that abide by the laws of Bryden’s Ferry and Garresh are tolerated.
Bryden’s Ferry was the settlement site of the heroes of Silver Hill who helped King Thorn survive the Rift Crisis and Second Dynasty War. In return for their service, he gave them leave to reside and rebuild one of his frontier towns.
Bryden’s Ferry was one of many towns involved in the Second God War, although its inhabitants played a larger role than those of many other towns. It is rumored that every god visited the town in the year 1,017, but those rumors are widely assumed to be exaggerations. What is not an exaggeration is that the citizens of this town participated in what is now known as the Massacre at the Peaks, in which the prophet Cromwell led a mass slaughter in a grange already torn by plague. It was also in Bryden’s Ferry that Cromwell–revealed to be Nelmaros, Lord of the Fae–was defeated by the citizens of the town.
More recently, Bryden’s Ferry has become a town where all houses hold embassies by the leave of the Prefect. There they meet and conduct their business in Garresh.
History of Bryden’s Ferry
The town is named after its hero, Bryden the Earthsmasher, who died during the Lord’s War. In 1,017 the spirit of Bryden came to reside in the biggest tree on the town green. Once a year he can be summoned to the defense of the town.
Bryden’s Ferry was founded nearly 700 years ago and in the centuries following its founding it has prospered, suffered, been destroyed and rebuilt and served as the hub of the Ravenswood Prefecture. It is rich in resources and situated on fertile farmland. It is on the borders of Garresh but still holds to Garreshian tradition.
The town of Bryden’s Ferry sits at a crossing of five major roads. Normally this would lead to a large trade city being established as peoples from all lands come to trade. However, the history of Azkon is that of the Hazon Dynasty, and to them anything south of Maribor was of no real consequence. For others, water was the primary transportation method between lands, and so roads on Azkon were not particularly important.
With the fall of the Hazon Empire, with the collapse of magical teleportation, and the only recently rebuilt canals connecting the major lakes, roads have increased in importance, and so has Bryden’s Ferry.
Economy and People of Bryden’s Ferry
Bryden’s Ferry is primarily a fishing town. It trades in salted and dried fish, pearls from the lake, and in shells. The fertile farmlands often produce a surplus and grains, cereals, and various foodstuffs often find their way to Maribor. There is a type of rose that is the color of blood spilled at midnight that grows in the gardens and on the hill just beyond the borders of town that grows nowhere else in Garresh. It is said to have sprung from droplets of Bryden’s blood. Every year, in late summer, when Bryden died, the roses weep their petals onto the ground and bloom no more until the following spring.
The people of Bryden’s Ferry are wary of kithrix and greenskins. They have long been attacked by their uncivilized neighbors on the Wild Plains. Until recently, they had also fought with barbarians and wood elves, but both have diminshed on the Wild Plains; the barbarians exterminated by the Hazon Empire and the wood elves migrated to the kingdom of Alindariel. One of the favorite jokes told by the people of Bryden’s Ferry involves a Kithrix who loses a fight because he was distracted by the glowing red sands on the lakeshore.
Geography of Bryden’s Ferry
The town is located in the Southwest of Garresh, near the border with Valzenn and the Wild Plains. It is in the Ravenswood Prefecture and the largest town on Blackmire Lake. Five roads meet in Bryden’s Ferry, those being the road to The Library of Arn, the Flodgraeg Mine, Trimond, Bai Tandros, and Hanniwick (from there one could travel to Maribor, Hazon City, or the Pan Fafnir Mountains). In fact, Bryden’s Ferry is one of the few “land hub” towns on Azkon, with the others being Hanniwick and Maribor.
Lake Aes’aelor (Blackmire Lake to the locals), named for the most beautiful and cunning daughter of an ancient wood-elven queen, is the primary source of wealth for Bryden’s Ferry. Legend has it that one of the Prefects of Ravenswood fell in love with Aes’aelor and strung a necklace of the multicolored pearls found in the oysters in the lake as a love token for the elven maiden. Their love was short-lived for they were found murdered on the shore, slain by unknown assailants or wild beasts. The sands on the beach of Lake Aes’aelor glow red at dusk in the waning light of the sun, an eternal reminder of the two lovers who died upon those sands.
The poet Maelon lived in Bryden’s Ferry before being captured and enslaved by the Hazon Empire. His poetry is well-loved by the people of Garresh and Hazon. Below is one of his most famous works:
The bees drone in the dappled sunlight
as the flowers grow and the birds take flight.
Yet the golden rays and delicate petals
Are crude and rough compared to you.
The soft music of the lake lapping at its shore
and the red sands gleam as day is no more.
Neither the moon, nor the stars in the tapestry of the sky
Nor the pearls beneath the waves can compare.
You are the sun, and moon, and stars.
Your smile and delicate laugh are the flowers and music
that bring me joy.
No mask can hide the light in your eyes.
For I am yours and you are mine.
Eternity and time, beloved, thou art mine.