At the mouth of Raven River is
the large trading center of Kolbruk owned by the Altnaus family. It started out
as just a couple of buildings in the early 13th century but the founder had a
vision and it expanded and prospered. It was just the trading post until a
bridge was constructed there. The dwarves
that built it got to calling the bridge "Kolbruk" (Thergerim:
which means "Kolna’s Bridge" in
Thergerim the dwarven
language. The name caught on and has been called that ever since. The
trading center has anywhere from 200 to 400 people, depending on the time of
Description. Kolbruk is mainly the trading center, but it has become a representation of all the disjointed buildings of the area, that is to say they are all connected in some way, with Kolbruk as the focal point. The trading post is on the south side of Raven River and is sturdily built, constructed mostly of stone. Dwarven craftsmanship can be seen in most of the construction so the buildings are efficient if not very picturesque. Most of the post is centered on a large two story warehouse, ninety-five peds long by forty-one peds wide. The area is cobbled extending twenty peds out form the warehouse in all directions. This leaves plenty of room for wagons to be maneuvered while they are being loaded or unloaded.
Along the warehouse and at the outside of the cobbled area are found many hitching posts and a few water troughs. There are two huge doors on either side of the building making access easy. The building is used to store goods and other products of the many trading families. It has become a staging area and many sections of the building are leased out for this purpose.
At the southeastern end of this cobbled square is a long single story building that is considered the headquarters. It is here the paperwork for all transactions, caravan routes coming and going and formal requests are handled. It is made of a red stone to set it off from the overall gray or brown stone the rest of the buildings are constructed of. There are several large and barred windows to let in plenty of light. They circle the building except in the northern end, which is against another building. Here again the many trading enterprises usually have space set aside for their use and purposes. It also has a set place along the southern wall where two copyists work and all can and often do use them.
At the southeast corner of the building is a broad stone quay extending out in to the Adanian Sea. When sea traffic became more common here this quay was constructed to make the handling of the cargo from the ships easier. It is not unusual to see ships pulled up along side of the quay from the Kingdom of Dorania, or maybe bearing the flags from Denilou or even the Isles of Quios. Occasionally a ship may arrive form one of the city states on the continent of Aeruillin. Even a ship or two have found their way here from the far off continents of Nybelmar and Yamalquain.
Along the northern side of the cobbled square is a two story building, forty peds long by eighteen peds wide, built of brown and grayish white stone. The building is called the “Mansion” and has the headquarters building butting up against its southern end. It is not known how it became the Mansion, most likely a derogatory term, but it is the commonly used. It has small windows regularly spaced along the second floor and represents the barracks for the guards and a sleeping area for all of the employees and caravan workers of the Altnaus Trading House. The southern third is for the guards with a wall and the rest of the northern part for the varying workers throughout the year. It has a section of this area that is left unoccupied so workers of visiting caravans to have space to sleep. On the first floor of the building at the southern end are many small rooms, used by the officers of the guard and the caravan wagon masters.
Moving north is found an armory for the guards and then the vault. The vault itself has no windows and is closed by a banded iron door and then a metal gate. Next to the vault is a small room used as a makeshift hospital. Here is where any worker is brought when there may have been a bad accident. Next to it is the kitchen and dining area for the workers. At the back of this building in the middle is a walled off twenty ped by twenty ped practice yard for the guards. There is usually a guard captain and seven or eight guards on duty at all time. There are also two groups of five guards that patrol the Kaelimi Flats. These groups will shuffle every few weeks to keep tedium at a minimum.
Several peds north of the Mansion is a stone tower three stories high and used as a look out area. The top has a waist high wall with four posts in the corners holding up a triangular roof. The rest is open on all sides for a good view in all directions. This way a guard can see what is coming and any trouble that may occur. A little behind this tower is a square building with no windows and just a small door to it. This is the boarding area for any dwarves that may have come to do some trading. They usually come in groups three or four times a summer. Although a few may show up at times if they are after something specific.
Along the southern side of the cobbled area are several buildings of varying sizes and shapes. The first building at the northern end is the "Two Barrows Inn". This is a large square two story building built mostly of wood and sits several peds back for the cobbled area as though not part of the trading post, which in fact it isn’t. It has a small barn area in the back that it uses to put up the horses of single travelers. There have been many kuerus trees planted around the inn giving it a lot of shady area.
Several peds south of the inn along the cobbled square is a fifteen by fifteen gray stoned two story building. This is the blacksmith area and much of the stone has taken on a darker tint due to all the soot from the fires. The first floor of the building is where all the work is done and instruments stored. Over this is the living area of the blacksmith and his family.
The next building is a small, nine peds long by four peds wide, one story structure that is used as the repair area. It is built of a light brown stone and is open on one side when the doors are swung open. It is were all the materials are needed for repairing tack, wagons or other items that are broken.
Finally comes the second three story tower at the southwest corner. It is identical to the other and used sometimes as a lighthouse when a particularly foggy or bad weather spell hits.
Along the northern edge of the square, which the locals consider the front, is a hard packed road leading to a bridge over the Raven River. This road is know as the Mithral Route and has been used off and on for centuries. The bridge across the river is what has given the trading post its name. The trading post’s founder commissioned it when trade started picking up in the area again as the old bridge was ready to fall down. The dwarves that built it got to calling the bridge "Kolbruk" (Thergerim: KolBruk), which means "Kolna’s Bridge" in Thergerim the dwarven language. The bridge itself is a simple, flat stone bridge, slightly raised in the middle. It is wide enough in the middle for two wagons to just get by each other if they are careful.
On the other side of the road across form the trading post are several corrals and barns. This is where the livestock is housed when a caravan is at the trading post. It is also where replacements are kept in case an animal becomes lame or too sick to work. The barn area is where the inhabitants can put horses in their own stalls when needed and where all the supplies and feed is kept for the livestock. There is also a guardhouse on the northern side of these corrals and it is made of wood like the rest. This guardhouse is mostly occupied by the eight to ten people running the corrals and seldom really used by guards. Only when things become tense or too many raids occur is an armed guard necessary.
Since this trading post has grown in importance and size over the years there was a need to expand into other things that would benefit the trading post. The first were several farms to grow and harvest the feed needed for the animals used by the trading caravans. So these farms were set up in the large Kaelimi Flats area west of the trading post. Since most are owned by the Altnaus family they have grown to cover several perrys each. These farms mostly are used to grow grains, like wheat and bredden, and grasses that are cut twice a summer and bailed. The second was to provide a source of meat other than fish that was being traded from Nepris coming down the Mithral Route and Parthanul coming up the Mithral Route. So a small herd of baneg cattle was started which has grown into several hundred head. They are grazed up along the foothills of the Mithral Mountains near the Buccrom Woods.
There are also a few small free holder farms in the Flats. Most of these grow vegetables, have poultry, and a few milk cows. There is even one farm that has an orchard of malus trees. So Kolbruk trades or buys what is needed for the kitchens from them.
Because of this ever growing area other things became apparent, such as the need for a smaller store or market where little things could be bought or traded. Since Kolbruk is mainly a trading area that deals in major trades or in bulk it could not manage small transactions well. So a small market was set up a few peds on the other side of the bridge from Kolbruk. It is a low sprawling wood structure, which deals in all needs for daily life or other knickknacks that could be desired. The owners seem to change often and it is technically not part of Kolbruk, but is under their protection. It should be known that shady deals or the buying and selling of stolen items have been known to happen on a regular basis. This activity is mostly overlooked if it doesn’t interfere with overall running of the area.
Since the grain farms grew larger than was need they started producing too much excess grain. To take advantage of this and to stop much of it rotting away, a small mill was set up on the south bank of Raven River. It is located a few hundred peds up river from the bridge and has a small water wheel that runs the grindstone. It is here all the grain is brought to be bagged for storage, trade or be ground into flour. The flour has become a good trade item for the many ships that weigh anchor here. There was an increase of rats at the mill because of all the grain that started to pile up so barn and avenor cats were brought in to reduce their numbers. Now they can be seen running around the mill, corrals and warehouse areas.
Next to the mill is a small triangular shrine about the height of a man. It is an off yellow with a deep bowl set in the middle of the southern side. The shrine is dedicated to Jeyriall, the Goddess of the Harvest. The local farmers use it to bring their offerings in the spring for a good crop and in the fall to thank her for a bountiful harvest.
When the baneg herd started getting too large for local needs, it was realized that this could be another source of trade. So a butcher and tanner were set up about half a stral down the coast from the post. It consists of two long rectagular buildings joined together forming an “L” shape. They are made of wood the butcher building paralleling the Mithral Route and the tanner building pointing towards the sea. On the south side of the tanner’s building are several huge vats used in the tanning of hides. Needless to say the unique aroma is the reason for its isolation from the rest.
Location. Kolbruk is located in the Santharian province of Manthria on the eastern side of the Mithral Mountains. It is also at the southern end of these mountains, in an area known as Kaelimi Flats, at the mouth of Raven River where it empties into the Adanian Sea.
Picture description. The location of the trading center of Kolbruk close to the Adanian Sea at the east coast of the Santharian Kingdom. Kolbruk lies near the Mithral Mountains to the west, the domain of the Mitharim dwarves. Maps drawn by Artimidor.
Coat of Arms/Sign.
As per mandate in the city of Marcogg, all trading
families or those wishing to deal in large trading enterprises in the city, must
have a symbol or other recognizable representation denoting their merchandize or
trading status. This was initiated in an effort to curtail theft and a way to
gather taxes. The former works only marginally and the latter all too well to
the trader’s satisfaction. Since one of these trading families out of
Marcogg owns Kolbruk, they have one and it can readily
be seen in a stylized flag flying over Kolbruk. The Altnaus have chosen the
colors of blue and yellow to represent them as well. Their flag is a yellow
square with the blue head of a horse in the
middle over three blue wavy lines. The horse
head and lines are burned into the wooden crates or barrels used in carting many
of their trade items.
History. In 1217 a.S. Kolna Altnaus set up a trading post at the mouth of the Raven River in hopes of attracting the dwarves of Tyr Ethran to trade with him. He was hoping, through trades with the dwarves, to use any gold he acquired to help his small trading family grow and prosper. He soon found his efforts were not futile and he grew to understand the dwarves somewhat. This helped him to know which items to bring for trade and thus Altnaus started to slowly trade with other areas. Because of this, trade along the old Mithral Route increased slowly after years of neglect. Ever since Crazy Woman Pass was discovered up north, the trade along this route dwindled to almost nothing since it was shorter and quicker through this pass. It also helped when traders knew they could do some trading for gold. To keep this trade alive and help strengthen it, Kolna Altnaus bargained with the dwarves for a new bridge over the Raven River to replace a badly dilapidated one. The dwarves wanting to know how serious he was about keeping this trading post working, required him to help with the building during winter when the usual terrible storms that wracked the shores came roaring out of the Adanian Sea. He gladly accepted and didn’t stint on any work required of him. Altnaus saw a potential here and did not want to lose it. Since he had wanted the bridge built and because he helped with the building, the dwarves started calling the trading post Kolbruk, which caught on and the place became known by this name.
Kolbruk slowly prospered and more buildings were added. Of course there were increased problems with bandits because of the lure of gold to be had. This eventually caused Kolbruk to be burned to the ground by bandits who thought gold was being stored there. Luckily it had been moved to Marcogg a week prior to the attack. When Kolbruk was being rebuilt they moved it closer to the shore and the mouth of Raven River on a slightly higher and better location. With the threat of future attacks on the trading post it was thought best to build out of stone so the buildings were built first of wood and slowly replaced by stone. The re-construction also brought more hiring of guards to protect the trading post. Over time it became known that gold could be traded for goods and initially this lure brought ships from the Kingdom of Dorania. With time it was seen that a wider range of goods could be traded and Doranian ships came more for trade and less for the gold. It wasn’t long until ships from the Stormcloak Shipping Guild of the Isles of Quios began trading here and even ships from Denilou to the far east eventually began arriving for trade. Although, the Denilou ships would often trade first and sometimes only with the Mithral Dwarves for goods. It was soon discovered that the Mitharim dwarves from the three enclaves of Tyr Ethran, Kor Mithrid and Tyr Donion made regular pilgrimages to the shrine of their legendary hero, Brok Strongarm. Again, Altnaus saw an opportunity to further strengthen ties with the dwarves, so he set up a regular schedule for a ship to go to Denilou where this shrine was located. All this prompted the building of a strong useable quay for easy loading and unloading of goods and a strong place for a ship to dock.
It wasn’t long until others started noticing the profits and the expanding influence Kolbruk enjoyed. These caused envy in many quarters and eventually resulted in a concerted effort by one, or even several of the trading families in Marcogg to seize control of Kolbruk. It was even rumored that trading houses out of New-Santhala may have lent some support to this attempt. The first attack was nearly successful but the defenders were just able to hold on to the post and the attackers withdrew. It was common knowledge who was behind this attack, but no definite proof pointed to anyone. The dead attackers gave no clues either, as they were known as independent mercenaries for hire. When no reprisals came down from the government in New-Santhala, it was taken as tacit acceptance and another attack was planned. It is not sure if the same group of trading houses or a different group were involved in the second attack (although the sloppy attack and bungled attempts at concealment lead to the latter). The group believed that this was their best chance to take the weakened trading post. The attempt would have been successful if not for the timely arrival of an Altnaus caravan. It turned the tide in the favor of Kolbruk and they were able to repel the attackers. In so doing several attackers were captured and so the ringleaders could be identified. This time the government knew who was responsible and reacted strongly. They wanted to send a clear message that this would not be tolerated. So they confiscated all goods, disbanded the offending trading houses and carted off the ringleaders in chains. To stop attacks from happening again the Altnaus family hired soldiers as guards and started their own little militia, then let everyone know about them. The militia was initially set up to guard Kolbruk, but over time the surrounding area was included in this protection.
As Kolbruk grew, more and more workers were needed to help run the place. With their arrival it became apparent a need to expand into other areas to keep the trading post functioning properly. A place to house and feed the workers was constructed. Also more and more caravans and shipping were arriving so the Altnaus family expanded the corrals and added replacement animals for those who would need them. To bring costs down for the feed and upkeep of both men and animal farms were set up close by. This meant a need to expand again so eventually a flourmill was built, a small market, a bigger repair area and a butcher and a tanner were accommodated as well. Of course this brought small freeholder farms to the area and fishermen. Oddly enough, the fishermen have never stayed long. Maybe it is the trade of fish between Nepris and Parthanul. Or maybe the fishing is not good in this section of the Adanian Sea.
Information provided by Thuja