City of Ghosts
Ah, Corvis. “City of Ghosts,” they call it. Merchants that plied the Black River and Dragon’s Tongue founded the city almost nine hundred years ago, right at the edge of a natural harbor where the rivers meet. These pioneers believed that trade from the rivers could drive the growth of a city, and they were right. They had a rough time of it at first, but soon the city was growing faster than a swamp rat pup. Today about 100,000 souls call it home, and more arrive every day. Corvis is an island of civilization in the roughest part of Greater Cygnar. The next closest major city is Point Bourne, over two hundred leagues to the west. Farther still downstream is the infamous Five Fingers.
Most of the folk in Corvis are human, but ye do see some elvenkind and dwarves passing through. If ye need a smith’s services there’ll be some fine dwarven shops in the armorers ‘bourg. If ye need to find some muscle, there’ll be thugs for hire at the waterfront. There’ll be trouble there for ye too if ye aren’t careful — the river folk are a tough lot. Keep to the merchant’s ’bourg at night, where the Watch is always close at hand. Corvis has seen folk tougher than you floating in the harbor.
Being built in a swamp and such, space is precious, and the folks of Corvis tend to build up rather than across. Down at street level, lost in the mists, are the rough stone structures of Old Corvis. Build on top of them are the elegant spires of New Corvis — home to the merchant elite. In between are shops and homes of the regular folk, and it’s all connected by a maze of ramps, bridges, canals, and tunnels that would drive even a dwarven engineer mad!
The wonders of Corvis, like so much else in the Iron Kingdoms, wouldn’t have been possible without the advent of the steamjacks. The first of the metal giants were brought to the city about 300 years ago, where they worked the quarries, cutting stone for new buildings. They also carved roads and worked the docks — without them, we’d be a second-rate town like Five Fingers, I tell ye. If ye be curious about the Iron Kingdom’s famous steamjacks, ye need only visit the docks. There are always some there, hauling cargo about.
Ye may wish to hire a guide friend, for you’ll soon find yourself lost without one. Corvis is a maze, and that’s just what you’ll find above ground. The original city, laid nine centuries ago, has long since been swallowed by the swamp. It’s now a maze of catacombs, and is home to naught but hooligans… and worse, I hear. If ye have a brain in that knobby head of yours, stay out of the Undercity.
So, are ye wondering why they call Corvis the “City of Ghosts?” They say that Old Corvis is haunted by the ghosts of the first settlers, many of whom died in the early days. Many folk believe that anyone who drowns in the canals or the harbor is doomed to walk the city for eternity. The dead are also said to walk about openly in the Undercity, which is one more reason to stay out, if ye ask me. Any way you look at it, there’s nary a soul in Corvis who hasn’t seen a shade at one time or another — or so they claim. Stay here long enough and I wager you’ll see one too.
In fact, the Longest Night is fast approaching, lad. As ye know, once every year or so an eclipse blackens the skies all over the Iron Kingdoms. Well, here in Corvis, the eclipse always ushered in our largest festival, a grand all-night party the likes of which you’ve never seen. The streets will be full of revelers, and spirits too if ye believe the locals.
There it is, lad, a bit of Corvis lore for ye. I hope it serves ye well. Keep your wits about ye, and stay away from the waterfront at night if ye want to avoid seeing yer own guts!