Barekmahr (pronounced bark-MAWR) is a seaside
town in eastern Manthria, in the
United Kingdom of Santharia. The so-called
“arsehole” of Manthria, its primary industry is the
processing of the flotsam that floats down the Mashdai down to the Adanian Sea.
Every piece of rubbish thrown away by the various towns along the Mashdai finds
its way to Barekmahr, as well as a plume of sewage. Its people too are
human flotsam, and they are the rogues and
scoundrels of Manthria that can find honest work
nowhere else. Yet despite that, the hardscrabble inhabitants of Barekmahr have
managed to find a place where they can survive, if not exactly thrive.
the clear River Mashdai flows down from the mountain slopes, it gets somewhat
less clear as it passes through the cities, particularly
Marcogg. Trash of all kinds gets thrown into the Mashdai, and at certain
times of year, the river begins to resemble a moving dump more than a waterway.
But as the dump enters the sea, the people of Barekmahr are there to intercept
it. Trash barges filter off the top layer of debris and bring it back to the
beach, where the people of the town filter through it with their bare hands.
Every piece of metal is meticulously cleaned and sold to the craftsmen of
Marcogg to be made back into things of value. The
organic matter is buried and used as fertilizer, helping feed the people of
Barekmahr. What remains on the beach is then burned to form a cloud of greasy
and foul-smelling smoke over the town.
The town itself does not look like very much. It is composed of a few hundred
poorly constructed shacks that sit overlooking the sea and the river, made
mostly of the characteristic eastern
whalebone. Most of the houses have gardens, where most of the town's food is
produced. They are well fertilized from the waste of the river. The town's only
real public building is the meeting house, a large building made of
whalebone. There, the town's business and
voting is conducted and town-wide meetings are held. Perhaps more important
than the government of the town is the town's still which is also located in
the meeting house. In that still, the much loved strong spirits of the town are
produced, much to the disdain of the town's "upstanding citizens", as they are.
Farther away, along the sea lies a great flat area of sand, covered in the
concentrated waste of a huge portion of
where many of the working people of Barekmahrers spend most of their waking
hours, searching for things of value in all the mess.
Sitting in a pile of human filth searching for the tiniest glint of a piece of
metal does not seem like much of an escape to the elites of
Marcogg or Ciosa, but for the
people who call Barekmahr home, it is a vital escape from their previous lives.
Only the most desperate call Barekmahr home, and there is a constant flow of
people leaving the town for better work elsewhere. Yet for each upwardly mobile
person parting the town, there is inevitably another down on their luck that
Location. Barekmahr is
located on the south side of the mouth of Mashdai River, the largest river in
It is located approximately 500
strals to the east of Marcogg, the nearest major
city to the town. Very few towns of any noticeable size exist within a few
dozen strals of Barekmahr, largely due to the cloud of fumes that hangs over
the town and its vicinity. The nearest town to Barekmahr lies over the Marshai
to the north, nearly 50 strals away.
Administratively, Barekmahr lies within the fief of
Parthanul, part of the Duchy of Marcogg, though officials claiming to come
from the Thane
rarely are respected in such a den of villainy and trash as Barekmahr. The
respect, or lack thereof, goes both ways, and as long as the goods and taxes
continue to flow, Barekmahrers are generally left to their own business.
People. If you are a
thief or layabout without any productive skills and with the desire to stay away
from the authorities, Barekmahr is the perfect destination. It is isolated and
well away from any prying eyes that might recognize an outcast from their
hometown. Because of that, Barekmahr is truly a melting pot of different
ethnicities and backgrounds. Given the location, most Barekmahrers are
Avennorians, though there are many immigrants down on their luck from elsewhere
in Santharia or from farther away.
Given the base of the population as rogues, escaping from elsewhere, most
Barekmaherers are men. This has led to harmful social dynamics with brutal
competition among men for women, destroying any semblance of social order.
However, in recent years, more and more women are escaping from prostitution and
marriage in Marcogg and the countryside to the
relative freedom of Barekmaher, helping rectify previous social ills.
Barekmahrers might spend all their waking hours sifting through
human waste, but they are free, now and
forever from whatever obligations that they held in a previous life.
Many of those who are born in Barekmahr leave at some point during their lives,
typically leaving to go to a bigger city like Ciosa or
Marcogg. For instance the father of the noted
Manthrian pirate Rekj Snivild was originally from
Barekmahr, though the father later left for Ciosa. From
the constant flow of emigrants and immigrants, Barekmahr is full of transient
people, and it lacks the homogeneity that other towns of a similar size possess.
Despite that, Barekmahrers possess a sense of solidarity unrivalled in the
region, because they realize that a town built on nothing but trash cannot
survive for long divided.
Climate. Other than
what has been created by humans, Barekmahr's climate is similar to all the other
seaside towns that dot the eastern coast of
The temperatures are moderate, but it is frequently rainy. Less moderately,
winter storms can come barreling down from the Adanian Sea, damaging the town.
Due to the cloud of pestilent fumes that hangs over the town and its vicinity,
Barekmahr has no close neighbours. The nearest settlement,
Parthanul, lies over the Mashdai to the North,
nearly 50 strals away.
primary resource of Barekmahr is the same as its greatest curse: the trash. The
trash that is so overpoweringly pungent that gives the town its uncharitable
nickname is the very reason that the town exists at all. Inside the clumps and
crowds of food-waste and sewage lies some valuable products that can be
painstakingly filtered out of the trash and sewage by thousands of
human hands. Every piece of metal and every
shard of pottery can be used for something else, and Barekmahrers transform them
into brand new things to trade.
Another valuable product that the river brings are formerly living materials,
mostly food. That waste, already processed by the flow of the Mashdai and the
natural capacities of yealm marshes is some of the most valuable and accessible
fertilizers in the region and it is used with gusto by farmers nearby. Locals
also use the waste to fertilize their home gardens, used to produce much of the
food that the town consumes.
Frozen Rivers 1675 a.S.
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