Sangreal is an ancient city, it’s thick stone walls date back well over a millenia and it is a testament to the architectural wisdom of it’s builders. Most of the city has been hewn out of native white limestone, and the walls and major buildings have been faced with imported granite, marble, and sandstone. Most expect the Holiest of Cities to be stark white, bedecked with gold and jewels. Instead it is a riot of muted colors, splashes of earthy brown and orange sandstone counterpointed by glossy and almost organically swirled white and green marble.
The Outreme Quarter really constitutes over 2/3rds of the city, and lies entirely outside of the Haven Wall. This part of the city is the youngest, though some of the buildings here date back more than 500 years. The smaller structures are rebuilt on average one every century or two. Broad avenues piece Outreme and lead to the four major gates of the Haven wall. Shops, taverns, and inns line these avenues, hoping for the wealthy patroniage of the nobles and lords who make the pilgrimage, others cater to the less wealthy. There is a bed for every soul who makes their way to the city, even if it is in a flophouse six blocks from the nearest avenue sleeping on a used mat of horsereed.
Saint’s Bones is a sub-section of Outreme and is considered the ‘bad side’ of town. Here, relic dealers sell their wares, peddling animal bones as saint’s bones as well as living among the poorest and most destitute of the city. This area is run down, and the avenues that lead too close to it are heavily patroled by the Order of St. Ogier, a martial order of holy warriors who pledged to defend the city from all who would despoil it.
The Haven Wall was raised some 900 to 1000 years ago. At the base it is nearly forty feet thick and rises to a height of some 30 feet. The outer casing of the wall is approximately 8 to 10 feet thick and the interior of the wall is thickly piled rubble mixed with lime and pulverized sand, creating a loose and fast sort of concrete. This has not been replicated in any building under 450 years old. The wall was built during the rising power of Sangreal, when it was frequently at odds with it’s pagan neighbors. Decades of war scarred the thick stone, but despite several bloody sieges, the city never fell, and gave some sense of credence to the claim that the city was favored by the god of Logan, Mancel, and Duncan.
Divine assistance or not, the wall is well built, and the military tacts of St. Mancel the Wise are still followed today. The Arms Militant of the Trinistine Faith remain potent, despite a waning in the number of new recruits and income of funds. According to some records, at the height of their power, the Arms Militant, under the command of Pontiff-King Mancel XXIII numbered in excess of 15,000 able bodied men-at-arms, and knights. Each of these was bestowed with the honorific title Paladin.
Within the Haven Wall is the Old City. Most of the buildings here are over 500 years old, and many use the innovations of vaulted ceilings, flying butresses, and poured concrete. Unfortunately, these wonders of construction have been ‘lost’ as none of the modern builders have access to the architectural wisdom contained within some of the archives of the Faith. While not banned, or considered heresy, few if any of the building companies in the city have time to idle away reading books on ancient construction. In contrast to the heavy lines and solid construction of Outreme, the Old City is a place of soaring ceilings, and stonework that borders on delicate as opposed to the oppressive. Most of the structures here were built during the golden age of Sangreal when tens of thousands of pilgrims visited the city every year. There are basilicas raised in honor of various saints, as well as the great chapterhouses of the Arms Militant, the Motherhouses of the Mendicant Orders, as well as all sorts of centers for theology and the training of new clerics in the service to the Trinitine Faith.
Reaping the Harvest
Surrounded by plains on three sides and amply watered by the Agares watershed Sangreal is the breadbasket of Falhath. For centuries the soil has produced large crops of wheat and other cereal grains. The clerics claim the blessings of the Trinity while more geologically minded folk claim the annual flooding of the Agares river. During the height of the faith two centuries ago, the demand for grain was so high that new communities such as Buzzard’s Bay were chartered to help ease the burden on the Sangrealian farmers. Now, with demand falling off, more of the fields are beig left fallow.
The city has fallen on lean times. The common people still pay lip service to the Faith, but the prominence of the Holiest of holies has fallen in favor of the local cathedrals and churches. There has also been a resurgence in the worship of the Old Faiths, and the naturalistic ways of the Elves. Some pilgrims still come, enough to keep the wheels turning, along with the religious equipment produced, and other industries of metalworking and glassblowing, the city stays ahead of it’s debts.
There is a quiet desperation in the air. The demons are gone, and the orcs no longer beat upon the door, and the wolves have all wandered away. The people have drifted away from the large bureaucratic faith that held strong through the dark times, but seems frivolous in these cosmopolitan modern days. Sorcery is in vogue, and the mercenary hero has replaced the Champion of the Faith. The city that could not be defeated by 100 armies, is slowly being bled to death, one soul at a time.
Recruiting Drive - Trying to improve it’s image, some more progressive Priests have hatched an idea to bring some of the modern mercenary heroes (IE adventurers) into the fold by offering them incentives to adopt the faith, or display it more prominently. Throw in promises of treasure, holy relics, the works. Now the PCs are ‘employed’ by the church to do it’s work, be it good or bully.