Sherbourg is the capital of the colony of Aradie. Originally founded in 1523, Sherbourg was abandoned twice. The first settlement failed the year it was founded due to inclement weather and the specter of starvation, which forced the settlers to return to Saronne. Repeated attacks by natives forced the second abandonment of the city in 1539. When settlers next arrived in 1598, the hostile natives had abandoned the region, allowing the colony to take root without threat of attack.
The city has thrived in the past century as the gateway to the colony of Aradie. The city's population is roughly 5,800 people but swells to nearly twice that on market days, at week's end, and when ships come to port. It exports timber, furs, precious metals (mostly copper ore), and syrup and imports manufactured items and clothing from Saronne.
As the seat of the colonial government of Aradie, Sherbourg is the residence of the Governor General and the High Marshal. The Lord Mayor manages the daily rule of the city and is responsible for maintaining the harbor, regulating the markets, collecting taxes, authorizing guilds, and keeping the peace.
The city rests on a steep bluff that overlooks the narrowing of the Grande Vire River. The rock face of the bluff divides the city into two distinct sections - the Lower City, which consists of the Riverside and Longshore districts, and the Upper City, which consists of the Heights, Overlook, and Templetown districts.
Sometimes called The Heavens, The Heights is the wealthiest district in Sherbourg. It boasts the Governor General's palace, the Lord Mayor's Mansion, and most of the civic buildings. Most of the wealthy guilders live in this district, and it is the location of the Sherbourg Fundament Exchange. It is the home of the Grande Theatre of Sherbourg, and the heart of the respectable social scene with its many members-only clubs.
Part of the Lower City, Longshore stretches along the narrow spit of land between the eastern base of the bluff and the estuary of the small, winding Ch&138;ran River. It is inhabited mostly by fishermen who live in small shacks that are easily replaced after the all-too-common floods. The shoreline here is too shallow for larger vessels and the fishermen pull their boats up on the sandy beach. Longshore is the site of the Fish Market, the best place for fresh fish in the city. Oyster peddlers begin their day here, and their wares are best first in the morning.
The Overlook consists of the eastern part of the Upper City on the bluff above Longshore. It is the oldest part of the city atop the bluff and is mostly settled by artisans and guilders. It includes the Haymarket and Market Hall in addition to many small shops. Many of the guilds have their offices in the Overlook.
The oldest district of Sherbourg, Riverside stretches the length of the city at the base of the bluff along the Grande Vire River. Riverside is the largest and most populous district in the Lower City. It includes the harbor, the shipyard, and the bustling Tramontane Square. The district is the site of the infamous Iniquity Row - several blocks of businesses that cater to every vice imaginable, including spirits, women, song, and dice.
Located in the Upper City above Riverside, Templetown is the smallest district in Sherbourg, consisting exclusively of ecclesiastical buildings and their gardens. The entire district includes the Temple to Giavere, the Oracle's Mansion, the University of Sherbourg, the temple's seminary, the temple library, and the hospital. The entrances to the district are gated. While left open during the day, they are locked and guarded at night.
Saronne founded Ville-Marcelet on a large island in the Grande Vire River in 1567 to counter raids by the Liranequois to the south. It originally consisted of only a fort to protect the Saronnan-aligned Elakanois village of Tutonaguy, but a trading post was added the following year to accommodate trade with the friendly natives. Ville-Marcelet quickly became the center of the fur trade in Aradie because of its excellent location. The island provided a measure of protection against raids while being large enough to support the town with food. In 1642, walls were added around the town to bolster the town's defenses. Riverboats can reach the town from Sherbourg, but can progress no further up the Grande Vire because of the sizable Chinalle rapids just upstream that turns the river into a frothing mass for a three mile stretch.
Ville-Marcelet is a rough-and-tumble town on the very edge of the frontier. Most of the population is involved in the fur trade in some fashion. Voyageurs and licensed traders walk its muddy streets, as do coureur des bois and other scallywags. Because of the huge transient population, the number of saloons and taverns in the town outnumber the homes. Drinking, gambling, fighting, and doxies are commonplace. The local garrison doubles as the gendarmerie, but they can barely keep a lid on the roiling chaos of the town.
The presence of Tutonaguy on the opposite side of the island from Ville-Marcelet ensures a large native population in the town. The local Elakanois act as traders with members of their tribe who live further west in the Lakelands. A large, flat granite boulder outside of town, called Council Rock, acts as the official meeting point between the chieftains and the Governor General of Aradie. It was here in 1669 that representatives of all the major tribes in northeastern Everique as well as Saronne signed the Grande Entente, ending the Pelt Wars which had lasted for nearly 100 years.« Return to the Almanac Index