one's way about in the Iron City is both easy and hard, if ye take my
meaning: hard because street signs are unknown, so many towers look very
much like other towers, and civic landmarks are largely lacking -- and
easy because the three gates of the city are linked within the walls by
a triangle of streets that are thrice as broad as all others. Market stalls
are banned in Khôltar, by the way, though vending wagons are not (so long
as they move along whenever directed to by garthraun street patrols),
so these wide streets may be crowded by wagons loading, unloading, and
moving along to their next pickup or delivery, but they're seldom impassable.
ye can hover for a moment, and see through smoke, and do so for some gods-odd
reason straight above the Iron City. Looking down upon it, ye'll see right
away that the walls are irregular, jutting out in several prows, here
and there, and having no clear south, west, or any other compass-directed
too, what I meant about these large, landmark roads. Just inside the southern
gate (called Farrgaunlar after its builder) that allowed us entry along
the Traders' Way up from Delzimmer, the road leading from the gate splits
into a northerly route and a westerly one.
way is called . . . ye guessed it: North Way. It runs through the city
to another waymoot just inside the north gate. That gate's called Handrornlar
after an early human smith and warleader who defended the nascent Khôltar
against Shaaryan attacks, long ago, and it lets the Dunsel Trail (the
trade route that runs on to meet the Golden Road at Shaarmid) into and
out of the city.
street running from Farrgaunlar goes to the west city gate and another
waymoot, of course. That gate's called Dubrinlar after the last dwarven
Shieldlord (governor sent by the Deep Realm to rule the city) to hold
sway in Khôltar. It links to the main caravan whelming grounds and to
the ring road that circles the walls, and is the gate that Khôltans encourage
their own, resident caravan drovers to use when entering the city (to
lessen the crowding and delays at Farrgaunlar). The westerly street linking
Farrgaunlar and Dubrinlar is called Hael Way after a Kholtan who built
the first heavy wagons (in great numbers) and overnight made the Iron
City something more than a cluster of tents full of crafters.
road of this triangle, linking the moot within Dubrinlar and the moot
inside Handrornlar, is called Orntathtar Way, after the first Belarkh
of the city, who elected himself by force, ye might say, to stop ongoing
swords-in-the-streets strife among the Onsruur, but set all the governing
rules in place that the city now follows.
ye're lost in the city, just head away from the nearest city wall until
yet strike a very wide street, and ye're somewhere on the triangle. Ye
can tell just where at each gate, since their inside-facing carvings are
quite distinctive, and landmark inns or civic buildings stand at each.
the city's lit by dozens of forge fires and street braziers on high wall
brackets. Traffic never stops, and garthraun patrols are generally helpful
in giving directions, though ye may find yourself trading question for
question if ye seem to be dressed as outlanders or up to something not
concerned with work, work, work or selling and buying wares.
a ring route circles the outside of the city walls for the convenience
of local haulers and travelers desiring to bypass the city or reach another
columns we'll poke our noses inside some of the most interesting and useful
local buildings, but let's begin by touring about until we know where
some of them are. Then ye can choose an inn for the night or -- who knows?
-- just a place to duck into when the garthraun come looking for ye.
at the south gate, so let's hover just inside and well above it (standing
there on foot would get us run over by half a dozen carters in the space
of a breath) and look about. Hard on our left, in the southerly angle
where Hael Way heads away west from the waymoot, is the ornate bulk of
Harth Trithketh's House of Welcome, a palatial inn catering to wealthy
visitors who expect the best surroundings and beauteous escorts to share
I can't resist! Enough of waiting for later. Let's look in!
the eight floors of this statue-girt stone palace are two each dedicated
exclusively in scale (ceiling heights and the like) and furnishings to
dwarves, to halflings, and to gnomes. Trithketh is a merry little rogue
and illusionist with the sharpest nose I've ever seen on a gnome, glistening
black eyes, and a truly villainous expression. When not scuttling about
spying on his guests, he's usually to be found relaxing with four or five
of his escorts. If ye have the coins, mind, he serves an astonishing collection
of drinkables, and even pours baths full of thy favorite quaff, if ye
pay up front and have the ah, stomach for such diversions.
watch me, but I do run on! One building glanced at, and already
'tis time to leave ye and attend to a dozen pressing little matters, and
continue our tour together next time.
the previous Elminster Speaks
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