Fort First Light
Fort First Light was built in 1301 by the Saxum kingdom at the headwaters of the River Animus. It existed as a city/fortress for forty-three years until a plague decimated the city’s population, leaving few survivors. After the plague, Saxum largely abandoned Fort First Light, though a small garrison of soldiers has always been maintained throughout its existence. It is because of this support that Fort First Light remained one of the safest areas in the Territories, and after the plague the city was soon repopulated with natives and merchants seeking to capitalize on travelers to the Territories. The city currently has over 5,000 “permanent” residents, and maintains a constant population of travelers passing through, making the average number of inhabitants around 8,000.
It is often heard that “The only reason anyone comes to the Territories is to get away from something else,” and this idea has some merit. The instability and danger inherent in the Territories’ environment naturally discourages casual adventurers or bounty hunters. As a result, many know that the Territories are where one can go to not be found. This has resulted in a diverse population in Fort First Light, consisting of all races, creeds, and professions. Many are former beggars or sell swords, seeking opportunities for coin. Others are criminals or deserters, hiding out from the laws of their former countries. Others still come only for the challenge or surviving all the dangers hidden in the Territories.
When the plague years ended in 1346, the first to return the all but empty city were adventurers, hoping to use the city as a base of operations while they conducted excursions into the surrounding areas. Soon, merchants arrived to supply those adventurers. And, while Saxum still technically claimed Fort First Light as their own, there were few who bothered to carry on the practices of the Saxum legal system, and instead, the new residents learned to govern themselves. This system has continued to modern times, and while none would call the economy of Fort First Light “thriving” it remains a respectable merchant hub for the area.
The only way the population of Fort First Light could be sustained is by steady and reliable farming. The Western farmlands, controlled by natives, frequently trades their crops in exchange for the goods sold by the merchants at Fort First Light. A series of canals built along the branches of the River Animus is used as the main method of transporting these crops.
Landmarks & Architecture
Much of the original architecture of Fort First Light has since been co-opted by its residents. The former Council Hall now exists as a popular tavern, The Broken Barrel. Several of the grand staircases of the city are now littered with the tents of traveling adventurers, and the former courtyard gardens are now covered with the carts of merchants, selling their wares. Still, visitors from Saxum will recognize the familiar style of stone columns, and will find they can identify what few statues remain. Despite the fact that Fort First Light now exists as a walled “tent city,” there are still several notable landmarks.
Active temples include a temple to Waukeen in the western market and a temple to Tymora in the residential district. A temple to Torm now stands largely defunct behind the Old Fort.