Wrath of the Righteous
The city of Kenabres overlooks the Worldwound from its perch on the eastern bluffs above the West Sellen river. It’s the gathering place for crusaders headed into the Worldwound, and home to a resolute if occasionally overzealous—group of defenders.
Before the Worldwound opened, spilling demonic hordes into doomed Sarkoris, Kenabres was a small and industrious town on the border. The people of old Kenabres traded up and down the river, and they drew their water from it via a cunning system of pumps and pipes. After the coming of the Worldwound, the town was overrun with refuges. The citizens of Kenabres at first took them in graciously. This initial hospitality was checked when a demonic infiltrator disguised as a refugee, slaughtered 62 citizens in early 4607 ar. Subsequent immigrants were subjected to close scrutiny and suspicion, and were forced to undergo continual invasive tests to prove their humanity.
Despite the growing difficulty of being accepted into Kenabres, refugees continued to pour in from Sarkoris. A century after the opening of the Worldwound, the town has grown into a small city. A series of walls were erected as Kenabres grew, creating several physically separate districts. Today, the more than 12,000 inhabitants live almost entirely within the fortifications, while gathering crusaders make camp outside the walls to the north of the city.
After the Second Crusade, the church of Iomedae built a stone keep to house Kenabres’s wardstone. One of a series set along the border with the Worldwound, the wardstone keeps demonic forces from crossing the line between it and its neighbors, as long as its attendant priests maintain its power with prayer and ritual. Between the wardstone and the fortifications, Kenabres has been a relatively secure stronghold against the demons—but it has been less secure from corrupting forces within the walls. Starting with misplaced zeal in the First Crusade, there has been a tradition of witch hunting in Kenabres. The “witches” that have been burned at the stake in the intervening years were mostly just people who were different in faith or just physical appearance. Operating ostensibly under the aegis of the church of Iomedae, the witch hunters have often been a law unto themselves, taking whatever measures they deem necessary to keep Kenabres free of demonic corruption and possession. The prevalence of the witch hunters has waned somewhat in the years since the Fourth Crusade, but they remain at the ready to respond to any demonic threats that may arise—whether real or imagined.
Characters that were raised in Kenabres have for all their lives known the preparation for war and the threat of attack. Even the youngest adventurers from the city have seen the town grow and change in their lifetimes, and have witnessed an ever-changing collection of crusaders passing through. Living in the shadow of a demonic threat is different than living in a normal war-torn land: the looming enemy can’t easily be understood or related to, nor can the demons’ motivations be analyzed and exploited. Growing up with such a threat always present is sure to color the worldview of a young adventurer.
Gazetteer of Districts
Kenabres sprawls across a series of graduated tiers that rise from the plains in the east to a cliff ’s edge in the west. At the base of the cliff, the West Sellen River roars past. The central and westernmost districts of Kenabres are the oldest, and those radiating out and to the east are the newest, built only in the last hundred years. These entries are in order form the oldest, highest district out to the newer and lower ones.
Old Kenabres: The original town of Kenabres perched on the edge of the cliff, looking down over the West Sellen. Many of those buildings now form the historic central district. The houses here are well constructed from heavy stone, with angled tile roofs and arched windows characteristic of architectural fashions popular hundreds of years ago.
Houses and official administrative buildings—including the courthouse, city hall, and the garrison—make up Old Kenabres. The houses aren’t the largest in the city and not always home to the wealthiest citizens, but the oldest families, who can trace their lineage back hundreds of years, live in Old Kenabres. Hulrun Shappok lives here in the Prelate’s Manor.
Ring District: The second tier of the city, circling Old Kenabres, was also a part of the original town of Kenabres. More homes and administrative buildings, including the hall of records and the maintenance building for monitoring the water pumps, make up the Ring District. At the district’s eastern edge, a steep switchback road makes the transition between the higher-elevation Ring District and the lower-elevation districts of New Kenabres and the Gate District. The switchback is called Davon’s Ramp after the architect and philanthropist who designed and paid for the structure as the town grew to a city. Heavy iron gates safeguard the top and bottom of the switchback. For security, these gates are locked an hour after sunset, and a guard is posted at each. Persons wishing to use the switchback must make their case to the guards and hope their business is deemed important enough. Some citizens have special, expensive passes that allow them to move back and forth without question, and some say that the Wallers have their own methods of moving beyond the Ring District after curfew.
New Kenabres: New Kenabres was built during the initial flood of refugees after the opening of the Worldwound. Buildings in this mostly residential district are stone, but the walls are thinner than in the older districts, and the houses are built in a more modern style, with flat roofs and square windows. New Kenabres also houses most of the city’s warehouses.
The eastern and southeastern sides of New Kenabres hold many of the largest manors in the city. During the construction of New Kenabres, many moneyed families chose to build new homes in the new district, as it offered just as much safety as the old city but without the claustrophobic density.
Gate District: A decade after New Kenabres rose, the Gate District followed. City officials realized that the new housing units wouldn’t be enough to support the city’s growth, and in response constructed the Gate District— the largest district in Kenabres. The Gate District includes a mix of residential and commercial buildings, as well as wealthy family homes. Temples to Abadar, Sarenrae, Shelyn, and Torag sit alongside smithies, stoneworks, and woodshops. The city’s two gates, Northgate and Southgate, lead into this district.
Truestone Quarry: Truestone Quarry lies approximately 10 miles to the east. Caravans arrive weekly to supply Southgate with stone for constructing additional buildings and reinforcing the city defenses. Guards are always in high demand to protect these caravans from coordinated demon attacks, and to ensure the deliveries keep stone flowing into the city.
Gazetteer of Locations
Kenabres’s locations are famous to crusaders and citizens.
1. Alodae Amphitheater: Bradra Alodae helped defend Kenabres a century ago when the Worldwound opened. After an injury left her unfit to battle demons, she served as a city adviser. Alodae wrote a half-dozen songs about the Worldwound and the demonic invasion before she died, and the Alodae Amphitheater was named for her upon its construction. Her grandson, Nestrin Alodae, serves as the current high priest of the local church of Iomedae and the Order of Saint Clydwell.
Alodae Amphitheater stands in Truestone Park. Plays and recitals take place in the amphitheater monthly, if not more often. The citizens of Kenabres, in desperate need of entertainment and distraction, nevertheless prefer to see somber tales of sacrifice and duty. Endings where good triumphs over evil, even at great cost, are always well received. The Chelish playwright Hatherelm Arir is widely admired by the citizens of Kenabres for his work Dawn of the Crusades.
2. Cathedral of Saint Clydwell: In the heart of the central tier stands the Cathedral of Saint Clydwell. Also called the Grand Temple, the cathedral honors Saint Clydwell, a champion of Iomedae who sacrificed himself to seal a horde of demons within an inescapable prison. The cathedral is a great stone building with a green copper steeple and stained-glass windows portraying the imprisonment of various horrific demons. Wounded warriors are taken to the cathedral to be healed, and the priests of the cathedral perform blessings on crusaders about to venture forth. Although the Temple of Iomedae serves the everyday needs of the people, the cathedral is used for important services and gatherings.
Though Nestrin Alodae is technically head of both the cathedral and the Temple of Iomedae, demon hunter and priest Eterrius Sunnestier takes on most of the leadership duties at the cathedral. Sunnestier is a more experienced warrior than Alodae and understands firsthand the horrific experience of battling demons. Adventurers looking to pledge their blades to Iomedae’s service choose this cathedral over the temple, as do adventurers wishing to purchase healing items or pay for resurrections.
3.Clydwell Plaza: This open plaza just west of the cathedral served as the town’s traditional festival grounds. Now, other areas in the city cater to the common folk, and this plaza primarily serves those living in Old Kenabres. In the city’s current dark days, festivals are rare.
4. Crusader Camps: The constant influx of crusaders waiting for a chance to slay demons has created logistical issues in Kenabres. For a time, new inns opened daily to cope with the number of crusaders clamoring for rooms, but many of these “inns” were merely flophouses renting space on the floor for exorbitant amounts. Local law officers had their hands full examining and regulating these inns, and the close proximity of so many crusaders ready to do battle caused fights and disturbances every night. Eventually, the city declared that all crusaders were required to maintain their own camps outside the city walls, and designated an area against the city wall by Northgate for these camps. The area is now cramped with dozens of tents, small campfires, refuse pits, and horse pens.
Though one would expect crusaders to be able to regulate their own behavior and get along well with their neighbors, the unfortunate truth is that violence and petty crime aren’t uncommon. Kenabres guards regularly patrol the camp and encourage the crusaders to settle small disputes before they swell into real problems. Captain Chun Dawei, a Tian soldier who moved to Kenabres more than a decade ago, supervises guard patrols in the crusader camps and handles any major matters personally.
5. Defender’s Heart: The largest inn in Kenabres, this business caters to mercenary companies and crusaders coming to the city. Inside this squat stone structure are dozens of rooms for rent, hearty food, and a wide selection of refreshments shipped in from across the Inner Sea. It’s owner, Kimroth Otai was a mercenary fighting against the Worldwound until he lost his right arm in a clash with demons. Now he spends his time overseeing his staff and talking wistfully with other, more able-bodied soldiers who spend time in his establishment when back from the front.
6. Hall of Heroes: The people of Kenabres cling to stories of heroism and nobility to give them strength in the darkest of times. The Hall of Heroes immortalizes the most revered champions of Kenabres. Stone statues of laureled heroes line a central hallway. Behind the statues, plaques engraved with names of the dead cover the walls. The families of fallen crusaders often pay the city to display their loved ones’ plaques more prominently, and cynical types doubt whether every name in the Hall of Heroes is truly one of a hero.
7. The Kite: An engraved stone kite shield 18 feet long hangs from the end of the centermost artery protruding from the water pump, its curved surface directing the sigil of Kenabres toward the Worldwound. At the city end of the artery, a two-story stone keep houses the wardstone that helps keep demons from overrunning the Worldwound’s borders. The keep is heavily guarded at all times, with at least one crusader and one priest of Iomedae marshaling the forces within. Locals refer to both the stone shield and the keep as “the Kite.”
8. Librarium of the Broken Black Wing: Thirty-six years ago, a caravan returning to the city from Truestone Quarry was set upon by a gang of vrocks. The caravan might have been outmatched if not for one of the recently hired guards, a wizard named Quednys Orlun. Orlun had spent years studying demons, and his spellcasting turned the tide of battle in favor of the caravan. After serving as a guardsman for another few years, Orlun founded the Librarium of the Broken Black Wing, pinning one of the preserved vrock wings above the entrance.
The Librarium, often called “Blackwing” by locals, has since become the premier library for demonology and planar travel research in Mendev. In addition to being a library, Blackwing is a museum of demon skulls, talons, and other grotesque trophies. An aged Orlun still oversees the collection of tomes and scrolls and is always keen to acquire new research material for the stacks.
9. Northgate: The northern city gate leads into a residential district dotted with small shops and temples, including the temples to Sarenrae and Shelyn. A large market district known as Northgate Market sits not far past the gates. Vendors hawking textiles, jewelry, housewares, art objects, fresh produce, and handmade furniture gather there. Like all entrances to the city, Northgate is heavily guarded at all times. Visitors to the city can expect to be thoroughly questioned and potentially searched.
10. Southgate: The southern city gate opens out into a residential district that’s less prosperous than Northgate. Temples to Abadar and Torag border the main thoroughfare leading from the gate to Southgate Market. Armorers, weaponsmiths, animal trainers, sellers of enchantments, pennant designers, and scribes congregate at Southgate Market. A number of smithies dot Southgate, and the tang of iron and a haze of forge-smoke hang perpetually in the air. Caelda Halse holds the reputation as the best swordsmith in the city. Rumor tells that she drips an angelic tear into the molten metal of each blade, imbuing it with special powers against demonic foes.
11. Temple of Iomedae: The Temple of Iomedae is the largest temple in Kenabres except for the Cathedral of Saint Clydwell. Nestrin Alodae oversees the services at the temple, which include blessings, wedding ceremonies, and funeral services for those who pass from natural causes, accidents, or other reasons not related to the crusades. Twice-weekly services call the citizens of Kenabres to prayer.
12. Tower of Estrod: Two decades ago, a historian and researcher named Niuna Estrod came to Kenabres to write a history of the crusades. Estrod constructed a tower of pale gray stone to hold the volumes of history he wrote, as well as other tomes and scrolls acquired from traders and returning crusaders. Ever since Estrod’s death from food poisoning 2 years ago, researchers and wizards have occupied the Tower of Estrod for short periods of time, using it as a temporary library or laboratory. These temporary residents pay a small fee to the city in order to make use of the tower.
13. Truestone Park: The original Truestone Quarry once stood just south of the town of Kenabres, but after less than a year of operation, masons realized it was too close to the cliff ’s edge. A new quarry site was struck well outside the town, to the east. As Kenabres grew into a city, the old quarry site was transformed into an artificial lake. A local druid known only as Crocris keeps the greenery, flowerbeds, and trees surrounding the lake healthy and flourishing.
Truestone Park is a favorite destination for crusaders who return from the front, looking for a place of peace where they can forget the horrors of war with the demons. A monument of granite and rose quartz stands in the park in honor of the victims of the Red Morning Massacre.
14. Waller Slum: A temporary district just outside the original city walls housed the first refugees to arrive in Kenabres. Over the years, a second wall was built to defend this district and the expanding spread of the city. Remnants of the original refugee camp still remain as a narrow slum between the central district and the outer wall of the city, overlooking the river. This slum houses the poorest and most desperate of the citizenry, those who have no option but to live on the edge of the cliff between Kenabres and the Worldwound. Individuals unlucky enough to make their homes in this district are called “Wallers” with a mix of derision and pity.
15. Warehouse Square: Kenabres’ location is strategically defensible, but makes it difficult to bring cargo into the city via the river—not to mention the fact that it takes a brave group of sailors to wind their way up a river that borders the Worldwound. A massive, winched crane stands in southwestern Kenabres at the end of Warehouse Street, and is used to lift cargo over the city walls. The largest warehouses fill up this yard, leaving plenty of open space to maneuver goods between them. Smaller warehouses sit on the sliver of land between the city walls and the docks, where they hold goods temporarily until they can be lifted up into the city.
Kenabres has access to plenty of fish, fresh water, stone, and some agricultural crops and cattle, but must import lumber, ore, and textiles. The crane is therefore one of the most important structures in the city, and soldiers continually patrol the area. Julania Nalti, a former caravan guard, fought in the crusades for several years before winning an appointment to oversee the defense of the crane and warehouses.
16. Water Pumps: Three spiraling contraptions of steel and wood rise from the riverbed up the side of the Kenabres cliffs. Each of the three pumps draws water to a different reservoir: one in Old Kenabres, one under Truestone Park, and one in the north Ring District. Though it costs more to maintain three reservoirs, it also ensures the safety of the city’s water supply if one reservoir becomes compromised.
Each pump is sheathed in a stone column that buttresses a city wall, but can be accessed through cleverly concealed hatches. The hatches are secured with heavy locks and magical wards. Wide stone avenues extend out to each column, buttressed by a series of smaller stone supports. These avenues, called “arteries” by the locals, allow access to the pump mechanism and hold lookout posts.