226. The bleak city

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Shornhelm, capital of Rivenspire; the morning sun shines scornfully upon a city divided.  Even the sharp breath of High Rock cannot clear the sombre clouds that weigh oppressively upon the fretful streets below.  Her street-lamps burn futilely on into the day, unable to penetrate the baleful gloom which slowly suffocates and benumbs the senses; yet the people of Shornhelm endure, just as they have always done.

There is a misconception about cities that suffer prolonged periods of upheaval and unrest, that travellers are somehow discouraged, unwelcome, or even shunned.  But even here, where the locals intensely scrutinize each new visitor’s eyes and complexion before offering greeting, strangers are met with warmth and congeniality.  For their arrival heartens the people that they have not yet been forgotten by the world outside their high walls and that the Shornhelm guard keeps the roads open still.  They arrive with fresh news and tales of the world without, coins to spend, goods to trade and, perhaps most importantly, hope that help might soon arrive to finally bring peace and ballast to Rivenspire, so they might know optimism and ambition once more.

Shornhelm is indeed a bleak city; yet the people believe that if the sun could only break through the billowing gloom and shine freely upon her, she might just be a most glorious city.

S.K

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