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GARGANIN (City-State of)
Location: Continent of Davania, on coast of Sea of Dread. DV
Area: Approx. 550 sq. mi. (1,425 sq. km.).
Population: 21,000 (around 2,300 live in scattered farms outside the city).
Languages: Hulean (Garganin dialect).
Coinage: Lira (gp), kurat (sp), piastre (cp).
Taxes: Citizens have their total worth assessed every year, and are taxed 20% of that amount.
Government Type: Monarchy.
Industries: Agriculture (wheat and vegetables), crafts, fishing, sheep.
Important Figures: Mehmet II (Baron), Kemal (Dock Warden).
Flora and Fauna: The city of Garganin sits upon the fertile Garganin Grasslands, whose rich black soils yield bountiful crops year after year. Along with the typical crops found on the numerous farms scattered about the city, passers-by will notice many varieties of wildflowers and shrubs dotting the great expanses of flatlands. One can also find the occasional stand of oak trees as well, though these are scarce in the immediate area of Garganin. The frequent rainfalls year-round ensure that the flora is almost always luscious.
The animals one is likely to encounter here include all manner of grassland wildlife, such as falcons, field mice, gazelles, gophers, hawks, leopards, salamanders, snakes, and wild horses. Also present in this region are scattered tribes of gnolls, goblins, and orcs, and the occasional griffon, though these tend to be found in the hills farther south, where the terrain is more suitable for nest-building.
Further Reading: Previous almanacs.
Description by Marina Takanitas.
I had the opportunity to venture to Garganin not long after accepting an offer from Joshuan to cover affairs as they transpire on Davania. I am a Kastelian, and Garganin is the closest large settlement to my home. My family routinely does business with the traders of Garganin, so the trade road to this city is not strange to me.
Garganin is blessed with beautiful terrain and rich soils, where there are no sharp angles; every terrain feature seems to gently mix into the next, until the land gradually slopes down to the Sea of Dread. The weather is always fair here, with breezes from the sea constantly blowing in from the north, literally blanketing the city with the salty tang of sea air. The city itself is fairly large considering its population; it is the same size as Kastelios, yet my city has 5,000 more people. Of course, the answer is clear once you enter any of Garganin's three gates-the buildings are low and expansive, with many having tiny vegetable gardens running along their sides and back. Once inside, though, it becomes clear that much of this city is taken up not by residential quarters; there are countless temples, shrines, and public buildings scattered within the city walls. Another thing you will notice is that Garganin is clean; it is forbidden, by order of Baron Mehmet, to leave garbage in the streets in public view. People will regularly come by and sweep the streets themselves with wide brooms, and every piece of litter is gathered up and carted away to be burned.
Never have I met a single people so close-mouthed as those of Garganin! I have been to the city many times, and I have done business with the same people, but they still insist on going through a ritual of coffee-drinking, during which no one may speak. It seems that Garganinese, as the residents call themselves, strongly believe in formality and established traditions. Nothing is acceptable unless it has an established way of being done, and even then the prescribed ways of doing things must be followed. Even the way in which people socialise in the streets has a series of informal rules. Always use your right hand when touching others or eating. Never turn your back to another person. If offered a gift, politely decline and later offer a gift to the giver, when both of you can then exchange gifts properly. It is a good idea for any venturing to this city to learn the customs quickly-otherwise they will risk offending their hosts! Perhaps what is most bizarre about these people is that in many cases, they have long forgotten the original reasons for their customs and traditions; they follow them regardless.
Generally speaking, the Garganinese prefer not to deal with outsiders. This is not because they despise foreigners; the people of Garganin simply do not wish to mix with others. Theirs is a history of freedom and relative isolation, and they are content with this. Visitors to the city will be directed to the Foreign Quarter, a collection of tiny buildings along the docks where all non-Garganinese can sleep and eat. Foreigners are forbidden from leaving the Foreign Quarter after sundown. Those that do so are immediately expelled from the city, and forbidden from returning for 10 years.
The people of Garganin are related to those of far-off Hule, though one would not know this by looking at them! I have been told by sailors from Yavdlom that the Huleans worship an Immortal named Bozdogan, who preaches deceit and conquest. Though I have seen some temples to this Immortal, many more are devoted to Halav, Petra, Zirchev, Protius, and Asterius. I have always found the Garganinese to be scrupulously honest, and interested only in what goes on in their own city.
Garganin was founded circa AC 750 by Hule, in a bid to expand its holdings on Davania, which had been discovered only a century before by this nation. The settlement of Garganin slowly grew from a ramshackle collection of docks into a bustling town, and then into a city. Before this transformation was complete, Hule had lost interest in this colony, as the hoped-for mineral deposits and exotic animals were not present. Also, the colony was costing more to maintain than it paid in taxes, and Hule's rivalries with its neighbours were taxing its navy. Around AC 850, ships stopped sailing to Garganin, and the locals soon forgot about their homeland, and concentrated on surviving frequent humanoid raids, and building a livelihood for themselves.
Over time, the Garganinese began interacting with the Milenian city-states, especially Kastelios. The Immortals worshipped in Kastelios began to attract adherents in Garganin, who were beginning to see that Bozdogan was not looking after them. Today, there are more worshippers of these other Immortals than of Bozdogan, whose following continues to shrink.
By AC 950, Garganin was much like it is today, a city filled with people of Hulean descent, but sharing next to nothing in terms of culture and religion. Many of their customs, such as coffee-sharing, have their origin in Hule, though the reasons for them are long-forgotten.
If you find yourself in Garganin, make your way to Solitude Square, which lies near the Great Market. Tastefully decorated with fountains and mosaics, this square is where musicians play every day for spare coins. The quality of the music is excellent, though it is almost always of a subdued nature. Occasionally people will sing ancient ballads, as well. These are almost always of an introspective nature, and are very thought-provoking if you know the local language well.
Another place to visit is the Great Market, where merchants from Kastelios, Kalavronti, Yavdlom, and occasionally Sind and Minrothad hawk their wares to passers-by. Though the locals do not wish to have extended contact with foreigners, they are not reluctant in the least to obtain foreign goods such as spices, precious and common metals, and wood.
Another place of interest in the baron's palace. In form it greatly resembles the palaces described by travellers who have ventured to Hule, with its graceful towers, domes, and curves. Baron Mehmet himself has opened part of his palace to the public, so that they may gaze upon and admire the rich carpets and adornments found throughout. For those interested in Hulean architecture, Garganin presents a much safer alternative than going to Hule itself.
The one section of Garganin that should be missed at all costs is called the Dark Quarter. This is where the poorest people live, and where murder and theft is rampant. Even Baron Mehmet cannot bring this part of the city under his control fully. Many of the people here think that foreigners are stealing Garganin's wealth and its livelihood, and outsiders who wander the Dark Quarter's narrow alleyways and shadowy squares for too long have been known to disappear. There are rumours that a thieves' guild runs this section of the city.