1 The Plaza Of Gold

The Plaza of Gold is the centerpiece of Freeport, an open space within the Merchant District in which the wealthy meet or simply strut about to be seen. During the day, the place is a bustle of activity as people rush back and forth on one sort of business or another. It’s rare to watch for long without seeing some aristocrat or merchant sweeping along Wave Street with a retinue of underlings and bodyguards. On fine evenings, the plaza is filled with the same sorts of people, now engaged not in business but pleasure. They flit back and forth between lavish private dinner parties and events at the Freeport Opera House, or frequent one of the many gourmet restaurants or exclusive clubs.

Temporary stalls—little more than wheeled merchandise carts—are scattered throughout the Plaza, selling imported food and luxury goods to the district’s residents. Unlike the other markets in Freeport, selling items in the Plaza of Gold requires a permit from the city, and these are handed out only to those who can establish their bonafides (and pay the exorbitant cost).

The Plaza of Gold is one of the oldest areas in Freeport, outside of the Old City itself. It’s the hub around which the Merchant District was built, back in the era of the fourth Sea Lord. Actually, the Fountain of Fortune came first; the Plaza formed around the fountain, the Merchant District formed around the Plaza, and Freeport’s fortunes formed around the Merchant District. This is the moneyed heart of the city—beautiful, wealthy, and for the most part empty. No one lives in the Plaza; they only pass through it.

The Plaza of Gold is a wide, cobbled space on a broad hill, the highest place in the city—and yes, the wealthy do look down on the rest of the city from here. Many avenues and lanes lead off from the Plaza, along which can be found expensive stores and luxurious cafes.

The most notable feature is the Fountain of Fortune—carved from marble, thirty feet wide, surrounded by a circular seating area. The fountain’s marble sculpture depicts Twil standing on the crow’s nest of a ship’s rigging that stabs out from the center of the fountain’s base. Merfolk surrounding the rigging hold gilded pitchers, from which waters stream in the four cardinal directions. Twil holds aloft a marble staff, out of which a continuous spray jets up and then cascades down into the fountain’s base. Local legend has it that the fountain is enchanted, and that anyone who throws a coin into it may be granted a stroke of good fortune at some point in the day.

Prominent NPCs
Emma Butley: A charming and loquacious fifteen-year-old girl, Emma sells fruit, especially grapes and apricots, from a mobile pushcart around the Plaza. Most of the fruit she sells is imported from the Mark or Torf, and she has to charge high enough prices to cover those charged by the agents who buy from the importers in the Docks. However, she has a winning sales patter, and never seems to have any difficulty in selling her cartloads to the wealthy locals.

Kyrga Stonefoot: A former messenger in her dwarven homeland, Stonefoot was run out after she let slip a jest that nearly started a war. She found herself in Freeport, and despised the place immediately. Still it was the best she could hope for, so she looked for a way to market her skills. Since she was a dwarf, few people would hire her to do what she did in her former home, so she turned to pulling a rickshaw to make ends meet. It turned out she was good at the job, being fluent in seven languages and faster than one might think thanks to a pair of enchanted boots. After many years of this, her employer went out of business. Kyrga had enough influence to start her own endeavor: The Stonefoot Rickshaw Company. Competition remains fierce, but her rivals have begun to see her and her people as a serious threat to their own livelihood.

Eudokia Kasovar: Not all of Freeport’s hidden cults are bent on the annihilation of the city or the world. Founded by Eudokia Kasovar nearly a decade ago, the Cult of the Dragon’s Blood’s tenets are simple. They believe dragons were the first sentient race, and when humanity awoke from their primitive origins, the dragons came forward and blessed a few, infusing their blood with that of their own. Over the eons, the bloodlines have run pure, passed down from generation to generation. Eudokia believes, after a particularly strong revelation, these select few mortals chosen were the inheritors of the future and that it is her role to gather the elect for some grand occasion. While uncertain of what this future is or what it means to be the inheritor of it, her frequent visions guide her in selecting those touched by the dragons, which has led to the slow and constant growth of her cult in the Old City.

Eudokia has managed to build a small following of loyal cultists. They meet in the cellar belonging to the first cultist she converted, a smallish man named Jozan Feg. In every case, before meeting the high priestess, these members had no idea about their ability to work magic. The surprise and delight becomes a heavy sense of responsibility and a willingness to believe whatever Eudokia says.

The Cult of the Dragon’s Blood has made some effort to lure members of the Wizards’ Guild but to no effect. They must be cautious, for those who rebuff their advances have reported to the guild, and there are suspicions that Eudokia is either mad or is the plaything of some darker power. Now that Tarmon is on the Captains’ Council, Eudokia has advised her fellow cultists to lay low for now.

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