A Kind of Homecoming
Formerly known as Heliogabalus, Helgabal was founded around 1060 DR by Feldrin Bloodfeathers, first king of Damara. It has been the traditional seat of power of Damaran kings from the kingdom’s founding. At one time it enjoyed the stature of being its own province, but was annexed by the Barony of Morov by Baron Dimian Ree when Damara was emerging from the rule of the witch king, Zhengyi. When King Yarin Frostmantle took power about 20 years ago, he quickly sought to rewrite Damaran history and, as a part of these efforts, changed the name of the city from Heliogabalus to Helgabal and took for himself the title of Grand Duke of Morov and King of Damara.
The past two decades of Frostmantle’s rule have not been kind to the newly renamed city. Merchant guilds whose personal militias were forced to disband by order of King Gareth Dragonsbane, have taken control of the city with their reformed militias. A bloody trade war has been roiling just under the city’s surface for years, and it frequently bursts out onto the streets. The harried paladins of Ilmater, who were tasked with maintaining law and order in the city under the Dragonsbanes, are no longer able to keep a lid on the violence as their royal patronage has ended and their resources are stretched past the breaking point. Gang violence is common, as are the bodies floating in the waters of Lake Mogador. Unfortunately for Helgabal’s residents, King Frostmantle almost seems to be indifferent or even encouraging to the conflict between the merchant houses. And so the bloodshed continues.
Still, despite the hard times, Helgabal remains a beautiful city. Sitting astride the Goliad River where it empties into Lake Mogador, it is a city of bridges and islands. The great Royal Bridge, with its seven arches and wide, shop lined avenue forms the center of commerce in the city as it cross the Goliad. Many of the small islands that reach out into Lake Mogador are completely built over with manor houses and estates for the wealthy merchant lords and King Frostmantle’s favorites. The quarters of the city that burned during the riots that followed King Frostmantle’s ascention to the throne have recovered somewhat, though most have returned as slums and shantytowns for the unfortunates of Helgabal. These areas have received no assistance from the royal coffers and so the poor struggle on as best they can.
Perhaps a better time lies ahead for Helgabal, but for now the city’s residents struggle on as best they can through the violence and neglect hoping that the next day will be better than the last.