Xanthar The Brave
In a rocky inlet on the edge of the Sea of Drifting Ice lies Haskar, Gateway to the North.
This small city of close-packed wooden houses is hemmed in by high hills and dark forests; few travel by road in these lands, blanketed as they are with snow for much of the year. But the deep waters of the sound are navigable, and Haskar makes a living from the sea – and what meager trade reaches the uttermost North.
The buildings of Haskar hug the shore, leaving the fringe of open ground between sea, forests and mountains free for small pastures and fields. The shoreline itself s crowded with boats hauled up on beach and shingle, and a tight network of jetties of wood and rope. A rocky islet sits a short distance out in the waters of the bay, connected to the mainland by a single, narrow wooden bridge. On the steep slopes of the isle rise wooden palisades, an ancient stone beacon-tower, a small keep of wood and earth, and the tall roof of the Jarl’s Great Hall. Smaller structures cluster about the hall, the residences of the Jarl and his household.
The people of Haskar make their livings chiefly by the sea or by trade; a handful of herders, trappers and hunters also make their homes here. The sea brings fish, meat and blubber, but it’s a hard and dangerous life in the freezing waters of the Sea of Drifting Ice. Traders make a better living – there is silver in the mines of the North, brought to Haskar when the passes are clear during the summer. Ivory, furs and amber fetch a fair price in the markets of the South. Game abounds in the forests, and there is no shortage of work for the trappers and the hunters – but there are dangers in the woods. Bears, wolves and ceoloth (a sort of woolly rhinoceros, huge, powerful and bad-tempered, found in the forests of the North) offer earthly peril, but stranger things flit between the shadows beneath the trees.