Calbeyn is another city state. The city grew up as a trading post at the limit of navigation on the river Val. The city now derives most of it’s wealth from trade.
The city of Calbeyn lies in a steep-sided gorge, with buildings extending up the sides of the gorge, and in many cases dug into the cliffs themselves, and is physically smaller and more densely-populated than the majority of kandar cities. One smaller city, Goraz, lines on the border of the Empire.
The surrounding lands extend in both directions along the broad and fertile river valley, consist of the usual plantations and farming villages. Although there are still many slave-worked plantations, there are also many independent farms, owned by human and kandar free farmers selling produce to the city. The agricultural zone extends down the valley to the border with the Empire of Vohrleyn. Much trade with the Empire in the south goes by the river, navigable down to the lake of Valgar. Away from the city, roads crossing the empty territory are well maintained, if perhaps not as well patrolled as the rulers and merchants would like them to be. This forces most trade to travel in large caravans, with a sizeable armed escort.
Away from the roads lie a great many vordral and free human settlements, which are generally left alone as long as they don’t pose a threat to the city’s interests. The land was one much more highly populated, and many ruins of ancient kandar and zughru settlements can be found across the whole area.
Recent politics in Calbeyn have been turbulent, to say the least. Things were thrown into turmoil with the murder of Tharn Ralkendol Tyr. Several unimpeachable witnesses claim the murder was his son, Lendor Tyr. Lendor, a powerful and influential psionic, fled the city rather than face justice. Many friends of Lendor continue to proclaim his innocence. Lendor’s present whereabouts is not known, but he’s widely believed to be hiding amongst the free humans. After a bitterly divided clan assembly, Lendor’s half-sister, Lenata Tyr, became the new Tharn. She maintains a diplomatic silence on her half-brother’s guilt or innocence.
The guilds have a lot of power, and Lenata Tyr prefers to rule by consensus rather than by force. She’s popular with the lower classes, even many humans. A lot of the nobility do not trust her, claiming she’s too pro-human, and does not represent kandar interests. Her position is far from secure, and there isn’t a shortage of conservative kandar who want her replaced with someone more to their liking. And while humans have more freedom in Calbeyn than elsewhere, there are humans who agitate for total equality.
Calbeyn is also involved in the mountain war with the zughru, and many of it’s half of the fifth legion is in the war zone. To fill the shortfall, many humans have been conscripted to guard the city, and to patrol the roads.
Humans are far freer in Calbeyn than in any other kandar city. The lack of space means many kandar and humans live in mixed districts, something unheard of just about anywhere else, and it’s possible for humans to rise to a respectable position in some guilds. Calbeyn’s position at a crossroads of trade routes gives it a cosmopolitan flavour, with kandar (and humans) from many parts of Kalyr rubbings shoulders in the narrow streets.
Adventuring in Calbeyn
In some ways, Calbeyn is more of a traditional fantasy city; the racial divide is less stark than elsewhere. A lot of generic fantasy style of adventures can be played out here. Nevertheless, the wider conflicts of Kalyr can still take centre stage. Calbeyn, with it’s greater freedom for humans, could be taken as a model of the Kalyr of the future. But it’s strategic position makes it a very tempting prize for Karmork. A Karmork-sponsored coup will cost humans dear, and turn back the clock a long way. It could just be that Calbeyn will be the pivot on which the whole of Kalyr turns.