[SIZE="5"]The Town of Westhill[/SIZE]
Welcome to Westhill, gateway to the Northern Reaches! Westhill rests between the great Ostwood Forest, one of the largest forests in the world, and the mighty Redwash River, known far and wide for its slightly reddish colored waters. It was built along two main trade roads, the Sunroad that connects the Northern Reaches to the great city of Suncrest far to the south, and the Dwarf Road, which leads from the the dwarven town of Krag Mor in the Hammerfall Mountains to the coastal towns to the west. Several small farming villages lie in the hills and flat lands next to the town, mostly located within 5 or 6 miles. Inside the town walls, people make their living as artisans, lumberjacks, dock workers and merchants.
Westhill imports finished goods from Suncrest to the south, and ironworks from Krag Mor to the east, and it exports lumber, game, grain and fish. The town also harvests the red stones that are found on the bottom of the Redwash, which give the river its namesake color, and then turns them into jewelery. Though these are now considered a luxury item, a small number of stone carvers and jewelers remain in town, continuing with a long standing town tradition that even today draws in travelers. Recently, a number of alchemists have arrived in town to examine the properties of these same stones, believing that they may put them to new use. The Lord Mayor welcomes them, believing that they could revitalize the town.
Nerath was a mighty human empire that ruled great swaths of land, including, once upon a time, the Waverly Downs. This area was one of the most northern frontiers of the empire, and as such was over run with monsters and humanoid tribes. A knight and hero named Uther Lacewell, seeing a need to protect the trade caravans traveling through the downs from the port city of Suncrest to the Northern Reaches, established the town of Westhill as a trade post. During the next hundred years, Westhill saw lots of traffic, and grew in size and importance to the region. But all good things must come to an end, and Nerath was no different. An invasion of humanoids and demons, followed closely by numerous civil wars, shattered the empire, destroying it for good over 100 years ago. The imperial forces stationed in the town were called away to fight in these wars, leaving the Downs unprotected as tribes of goblins and other monsters moved into the area. With the roads being less protected, and the empire no longer calling for materials and goods from these northern regions, trade into and out of Westhill slowed to a trickle.
About 20 years ago, the town guard was put to the test as a massive force of orcs attacked the town. At first, it started as raids against the outlying villages and farms. But, as more and more refugees poured into town, the Lord Mayor realized this was a more organized effort. He preemptively called in all the outlying settlers and closed up the towns walls. This turned out to be a good move, as the orcs, under the lead of a chief known as Klor, moved through the remaining towns, raiding the empty areas, looking for whatever food and resources they could before laying siege to the town itself. The siege itself lasted three days. Every capable man and woman was drafted into the militia and taught how to guard the walls. Those not actively working in the militia worked in the Garden to make sure the town had food stores in the event the siege became protracted. At the end of the three days, with only the first initial attempts to breach the walls, it became obvious that the orcs were planning on starving the town out.
Eventually, the captain of the guard came up with a plan. He stationed a token force along the walls, enough to keep the orcs at bay should they try anything more than the occasional half-hearted attempts they had been making. Then, he took a large number of guardsmen and a couple hundred volunteers from the militia, and traveled through the old sewer tunnels, outside the town walls, behind the orcs. At sunrise, he attacked, taking advantage not only of surprise, but of the orcs sensitivity to sunlight. Though many good, young people were lost during that battle, the guardsmen and militia won out, surprise outweighing the orcs advantage of numbers. The orcs fled, and with the occasional raid on caravans in the Ostwood, no one has heard from them again. Though all the bodies were searched, none could find Klor, and his ultimate fate remains unknown.
With Battle of Westhill over, and the town victorious, trade began to come back through the town. Now, though still not as busy as it's heyday, the town sees it's fair share of traffic, and the guard does regular patrols of not only the town, but the trade routs for several miles around. Though the Waverly Downs is by no means a safe place, Westhill has secured it's place as a point of light in the darkness.
Westhill is built in a roughly circular pattern, with Lacewell Keep at it's center. When the town was built, there were only two districts, the Inner Ward and the Outer Ward, separated by a secondary wall designed as a second line of defense. In practice the Outer Ward is actually divided into two distinct neighborhoods. The northern part of the Outer Ward is known simply as Northtown. Here are located the three main temples of town, as well as the town cemetery. This is also where most of the towns middle class merchants and artisans live and work, and Northtown is home to many of the more well known craft houses and discerning inns. The southern part of the Outer Ward is where the town laborers and poorer people live, and is referred to as Southtown. Here can be found the town docks and most of the warehouses. The border between the two neighborhoods is the Dwarf Road, running East-West. Along the road, in laying in both neighborhoods is Market Square, where a host of temporary tents and stalls from caravans sell their wares side by side with more permanent structures and local merchants. Market Square is also where two of the towns three Inns are, the Sleepy Dwarf and the Horseman's Inn. Finally, the Inner Ward, which is more commonly known as Keeptown, is where Lacewell Keep is, and is entierly located within the inner wall. Besides the keep, Keeptown also home to most of the towns nobility. The Town Guard have their barracks here, and the towns third inn, the Sunrise Inn, is also here, situated along the Sun Road, the North-South trade route.
Below is a description of the major points of interest in town.
Sunset Gate: This is the northern most gate in town, allowing the Sun Road to continue on it's northward journey to the Northern Reaches. As with all the towns gates, the portcullis is lowered at sunset.
The Temple of Light: The first of the towns three major temples, this house of Pelor is dome shaped, with a magical roof that turns transparent when the sun's rays hit it. Father Eustace holds daily worship at sunrise and again at noon. The temple also houses shrines to Avandra, Bahamut and Melora.
House Kozar: One of the few nobles to live outside Keeptown, the dragonborn of House Kozar run a successful trade business, specializing in art pieces more than textiles. Heskan is the nominal leader of the house, but is scheming daughter, Thava, has been taking a more active role in the running of the house business. Many in town fear the day that greedy Thava gets full control.
The House of the Raven: A temple of the Raven Queen, this is the smallest of the three temples in town. It also oversees the town graveyard, which is situated right next door. Services held here are more often than not funeral services. High Priestess Shara is in charge of the temple, and offers many services to adventurers.
The Horseman's Inn: A large, stately manor that was once probably the home of a noble family, the Horseman's Inn is now the largest inn in town, and the second most popular. Run by Rikard, a retired adventurer, it is comfortable and generally well liked by adventurers and other travelers. Though not a priest himself, Rikad does have a small shrine dedicated to Kord in the inn.
The Sleepy Dwarf: The smallest of the towns three inn's, the Sleepy Dwarf is situated right along the Dwarf Road at the Mountain Gate. Mostly frequented by merchants and travelers moving along the road, it is slightly more roudy than the Horseman's, which suites dwarven proprietor Gunter Stoutale just fine.
Erathis Tower: This three story, tower-like structure is the temple of Erathis, and sits along the Dwarf Road, not far from the Mountain Gate. High Priest Vondal Bronzefist prides in his temples clenliness and order. The Tower also offers shrines to Moradin and Ioun.
Forge's Metalworks: The town's only warforged, Forge came to Westhill without a name or a purpose, but in search of both. Then he met Jon the blacksmith, who offered to teach him smithing skill as his apprentice. Jon named the warforged Forge as a joke, but the two quickly formed a father and son bond. Jon had lost his son during the Battle of Westhill, and though Forge never quite took his place, he did give Jon someone to pass along the family business to. Forge now seeks to honor the man who gave his life purpose by providing the best smithing in the Waverly Downs.
The Dancing Unicorn: A rougher, rowdier alehouse you'll not find in all the Waverly Downs. The Dancing Unicorn, despite it's name, is a house of ill repute in every sense of the word. It is also rumored to be the headquarters to a newly forming thieves guild, though, of course, Ea, the tiefling owner, denies such accusations.
Mountain Gate: The eastern gate to town, connecting the Dwarf Road to Westhill. Like all the town gates, the portcullis is closed at sundown.
The Ward Gate: A large gate that allows traffic from the Inner Ward to the Outer Ward. The portcullis of this gate is only closed in times of attack.
The Docks: Located in Southtown, this is where the few boats that carry the larger and heavier shipments lands. Most of the caravans in town, however, are wagons, and so the docks see little traffic, especially in these dark times.
Sunrise Manor: The third of the towns inn's, and the most expensive, Sunrise Manor offers high class rooms, fine food and wine and other entertainment for a discerning taste. Though not as busy as the other two inn's, Sunrise's owner, Geoffrey, is happy to see to his exclusive clientel on a more personal basis.
Lacewell Keep: An imposing structure built on a hill that overlooks the river, Lacewell Keep is also the home to the Lord Mayor of Westhill, Albrecht Lacewell. The latest in a long line of direct decedents of Uther Lacewell, the town's founder, Albrecht takes his job as protector of Westhill with the greatest seriousness, and often hires adventurers to perform jobs and quests that his town guard cannot.
Guard Baracks: Here is where the majority of the town guard sleep and train. Captain of the Guard Fiona Nimblefoot, a halfling of considerable fighting experience and a skill for command, is often found in her office here, planning the next patrol route or pouring over records of incoming and outgoing caravans. Fiona, though a capable warrior, is not afraid to hire adventurers to supliment her troops, especially if taking care of a problem requires going into the wilds.
Sunrise Gate: The southernmost gate, Sunrise is the other town gate that connects to the Sun Road. Like all the other town gates, the portcullis closes at sundown.
Redwash Bridge: A large wood and metal bridge that spans the Redwash and allows caravans traveling down the Dwarf Road to easily cross it. The bridge always has at least five guardsman stationed on it. Because of the need to protection, the bridge was ingeniouslly designed by dwarven engineers to actually separate in the middle and lift up, creating both a wall and a gap that an invading army could never hope to cross.
Westtown: Though ostensibly part of Keeptown, this is the newer sections of town that lie across the Redwash. Mostly foresters and farmers live in Westtown. Orignally unwalled, the Battle of Westhill changed Lord Albrecht's mind about that, and a newly wall has just been finished around this section of town.
West Gate: The newest of the town gates, West Gate connects the Dwarf Road with the greater Waverly Downs as it continues on it's way to the coast. Like all the town gates, the portcullis closes at sundown.