Dragons of the Sun
Just East of the Summer mountains, on the trade road that runs between Ember and Kamthahar, there is a small Guild resupply town called Featherdown Hill. Whether it was first a market town for the half-dozen small villages in the area, or started as a guild hub that the local villages latched on to, no one cares to remember. What matters now is that it is both. Named for the hill behind the town that is home to the largest colony of Laughing Doves – a small, rusty orange bird with an almost flame-like yellow orange crest and a call reminiscent of a child’s laugh – in the south, Featherdown Hill today exists almost exclusively to support the Guild and the three “down plantations” that compete for the hill’s primary resource – the down feathers shed by the Laughing doves, which provide exceptionally warm insulation.
Featherdown Hill is governed by a mayor and city council consisting of the heads of the various guild lodges in the town. The head of the largest down plantation also sits on the council, and is traditionally elected mayor – giving his position on the council to his heir. Currently, the mayor is Parast Eko, who has taken the unusual step of giving his council position to his younger child and daughter Parast Anara, while still making it clear that his elder child and son Parast Dian is the heir apparent to the plantation. The masters of the other two plantations – Stam Ildur and Azat Fira – are pleased to have the interests of the plantations as a whole represented so well, but are less pleased to have Eko and his daughter Anara as their primary voices, knowing that they will favor the Parast plantation over the other two.
Outside of the down plantations and the pleasure houses, there is little market for slaves in Featherdown Hill, and most slave traders do not even bother to set up market when visiting the town. Occasionally, if the year’s harvests have been poor, a family might persuade a slaver to purchase a few members of the family if they can’t be sold to the pleasure houses, facilitated by Shada Yiam, a grizzled old man who is notably stronger than he looks. Yiam has a place on the council, but never attends, giving his proxy to Anara, and before her Eko. Light drugs (marijuana, qat) are easily obtainable from several sources, and heavier drugs can be purchased from the town’s physician Duq Vakha, a maternal looking woman with a disarming manner and a very shrewd business sense.
On the Eastern edge of the town is arguably the most notable inn – and pleasure house – of the town. Called the House of Seven Treasures, it was originally home to a down-and-out farmer with seven daughters, and later rebuilt specifically to service the mercenary guardsmen the guild housed in a garrison that used to stand on the other side of the trade road. That garrison burned down about a hundred years ago, sabotaged by a band of outlaws trying to make Featherdown Hill and its caravans an easier mark. When the bandits came back the next night to attack the House of Seven Treasures, they discovered that the inn – and by extension the town – was still defended by the ghosts of the soldiers who died in the blaze. The garrison had become a shadowland. Over the years, the shadowland has shrunk considerably, but even today, should the House of Seven Treasures come under attack, the ghosts of those soldiers that have not transitioned on to lethe will come to the house’s defense. And each year during Calibration, the House of Seven Treasures closes to all customers but those ghosts. The current manager of the House of Seven Treasures is a ghost-blooded woman by the name of Shanoor, the result of the ghostly garrison’s continued patronage.
All of this takes place under the watchful eye of Zarikorah, Lady of the Laughing Doves. For what the Laughing Doves see and hear, so does she, giving her substantial knowledge of the southeast in general, and Featherdown Hill especially. While the Immaculate Order, represented by the Immaculate monk Fire Pine, restricts her ability to trade that knowledge with the common folk, she will, on occasion, return the favor of inadvertent direct prayers with signs and hints delivered through her laughing doves. At least once a week she meets with Fire Pine, the lone Dragonblooded Immaculate monk in the area, for a game of Gateway and to gossip with the monk on the comings and goings in the Southeast