The city of Kaldarien is a major port on the Isle of Wildenmeer, often called the isle of the twin duchies, and is the capital of the southernmost duchy; Wildengreeve. It is from this city that the aging duke Valefinazzio rules. His benevolent government is a boon, a blessing even considering the grim years under the Dark Prince’s rule. Fortunately those days were ended by the tip of Valefinazzio’s sword some 35 years ago.
Today Kaldarien is a bustling port, ships around the world often display the dark green and orange banner of Wildengreeve and its sailors can be found in most dockside taverns anywhere on the globe.
Originally the city was a pirate’s shanty town built upon the five small isles that lie close to the southern coastline of Wildenmeer. Due to the fact that it is an ideal natural port, besides lying at the mouth of important waterway river Laro, it boomed into a prospering town and a nexus of several important trade routes. Eventually the pirates were driven away, its importance could no longer be denied, and Prince Leothon the Torch declared it the capital of the Principality of Wildenmeer. Eventually the town grew into a city, and houses were built upon the shallow water as there was no more room on the islands.
When approaching the port city by sea, one would find the northern horizon dominated by thousands of dots of light at night. At daytime most first time visitors marvel at the fact that almost all of the houses are built upon brick or wooden pillars in the water.
Most of the important buildings are located on the five small islands. The largest island, Citadel Isle, is where the highest ground can be found, mere 100 feet above the waterline. Here the Citadel is located. Formerly it was renowned for the Prince’s dark dungeons, but nowadays the orange and green banner of Valefinazzio is proudly displayed all the way from the barbican and up to the very gates, a comforting reminder for the elderly that the days of darkness are long gone.
The citadel houses the city watch and the Duke’s own guard, the Orange Pikemen. During the days of the Dark Prince, the Orange Pikemen was the band of renegades that fought alongside Duke Valefinazzio against the oppressor and their deeds are legendary. Most often they are confined to citadel duty, but when they enter the streets on the winter and summer solstice masquerades, the population cheers and howls. Old men and women begin crying, remembering lost ones and honouring the deeds of the Orange Pikemen, and young women run up the handsome guardsmen offering roses as a token of romantic interest. Indeed it is a mark of accomplishment for a family to get their young sons into the Duke’s Guard and retired Guardsmen are awarded an honourable treatment and discounts in the city.
On Temple Isle, the main temples of worship circle the Temple Plaza. Here the pious gather to worship on the quarterly mass when all the Arch-Bishops and Patriarchs gather in the entryway of their respective temples. The religious leaders of every deity then collectively sing the Hymn of Divinity, a solemn praise to the Gods and their creation. At the end of the song the crowd joins in on the praise and the song can be heard all the way up to the Citadel where the Duke can be seen listening on his balcony.
Noble Isle is the place where old money and established nobility has built impressing mansions of marble and brick. Angelic statues and fabulous fountains is commonplace while the nobility here actually have small gardens surrounded by walls and fences. In a city where space is extremely limited, such luxury is rare.
The city surrounding Noble Isle has in later years become a fashionable place to live. The nouveau riche and younger members of nobility make their homes here and the hottest location is Adel Canal, where exquisite mansions front the waterway. Here several outstanding establishments have appeared, catering to the rich and noble. It has become custom for the Gondolas filled with masked nobility to end their summer and winter solstice procession through Adel Canal at the fashionable festhall “Lady Caroussa’s Winehouse”, a huge mansion partially surrounding a small square. On the western side, the square fronts the canal and here the Gondolas are emptied of the partying young nobles wearing masques.
Another landmark is the Sunken Quarter. This is a Quarter commissioned by the Facchini brothers and built with extravagance hitherto unparalleled. Unfortunately the decor and huge buildings proved to heavy for the supporting pillars and the entire Quarter crumbled and collapsed into the sea, taking a couple of bordering buildings along. Today this is called the Sunken Quarters and rumours tell of the Sea Hags curse. Beneath the Sunken Quarters dwell a hag it is said and she will not tolerate men nesting above her submerged lair. While the rumour was ridiculed at first, a number of strange incidents have happened and willing investors can no longer be found, leaving the Sunken Quarter to remain as it is. This is most fortunate for a local band of smugglers who has taken to using the uppermost levels of the ruins as their base of operations.
The black crematory is an edifice soaring above the northernmost exit of Merchant Canal. Resting upon massive pillars, this building is administrated by the clergy of Aahr. Here the black robed acolytes and priests labour all day long, cremating the deceased citizens of Kaldarien. Two specially designed narrow canals, called the Canals of the Dead, run straight beneath the building and Black Burial Gondolas are pushed and prodded down the Canal and subsequently hoisted into the Black Crematory. While the rich gets beautiful ornamental Burial Gondolas filled with flowers, the poor are gathered and sent into the Crematory in plain black Gondolas 20 corpses at a time.
The Great Nunnery is a landmark that gets a lot of visitors. Erected near the docks, this convent is surrounded by a huge garden filled with bushes, trees and flowers of every imaginable kind. The Nuns of Ghaunar, the God of Earth and Fertility, carefully attend the Garden and the brown robed women can always be found tending the plants, even at night. It is a favoured spot for the first dates and young couples can be found on the benches, staring at the canals, the moon and the lantern carrying nuns of Ghaunar.
There are several more landmarks of note. The teeming Merchant Canal is the centre of local trade. The docks are where the huge merchant fleet has its base of operations and the Glassblowers Isle is where the important Glass Industry is centred. The Duke’s Armoury produces some of the best swords to be found and the River Quarter is where the River Guild has its headquarters.