Cities of East Kwiat

Meška's map of Caerlean

Kwiae – ‘sea blossom’. An ancient fortification, formed into a horseshoe around the natural harbour, lies beneath present-day Kwiae. Semi-circular trenches, dug out of the chalk downland, mark the boundary of this settlement, with a forest of beech and hornbeam providing further protection for the prehistoric people who lived here.

Taking advantage of its commanding position, further sea defences were built in the reign of Euwulf, designed to keep out the marauding Marčovȉkians. These included a new citadel surrounded by a twenty-foot high wall and ten harthstone towers. In more peaceful times, Angheorte II converted the entire fortress into a palace fit for his extravagant tastes. The ceiling of the new banquet hall was painted in deepest, most expensive indigo, and decorated with an exact replica of the night sky, the individual stars picked out in gilt rosettes. A splendid series of residential apartments were built (essential considering Angheorte’s fondness for entertaining), as well as a chapel dedicated to Llew, the Sun God. This extraordinary chapel was dripping in gold leaf and gilded decoration; one visiting Aorl remarked that it was as if Angheorte had tried to capture the sun itself within. Sadly, most of the treasure was stripped away during the Battle of the Lions.

The mild and sheltered combes that wind in and out of the coast support a thriving flower industry. These blooms then travel up the Little Itchen to the markets of Fennkwi, where they continue on their way to the capital.

Kwilis – ‘court of flowers’. County town of East Kwiat. Bordered to the west by the Little Itchen and with its eastern fringes surrounded by miles of gently rolling countryside and woodland, Kwilis is a town of great antiquity and beauty. It was already a thriving market town during the early days of the House of Wolves, and although the wool trade has since passed to more prosperous counties such as Ovce and Slanína, Kwilis still retains a fine weaving industry. Conveniently close to the capital, yet distant enough to offer a pleasing respite, Kwilis has provided excellent hunting land for royalty over the years, albeit perhaps not to the standard of more wooded areas such as Stromnoha and Korenina.

As with its counterpart, Fennkwi, over the Little Itchen, Kwilis honours the goddess Olwen, and on the first day of the year, a flower festival is held to herald the beginning of spring and the return of colour to the natural world. Olwen’s gifts of music, song and poetry are celebrated throughout the town, and maidens are crowned with garlands of fresh greenery.

Just outside the town sits the palace built by Adair III for his much-younger and beloved queen, Mairead of Aobridd. Three of their five children were born here, and the stately house swiftly became the unofficial residence of the royal family, in preference to the capital. After the Dowager Queen’s death in 599, the estate passed into the hands of their second son, Angear, Aorl of East Kwiat, and his family.

Śvetáei – ‘white hills’. The city of Śvetáei rests on the edge of the downlands that blanket Ovce and Kwiat. Its name is derived from the chalk knolls that rise in gentle waves amidst the green hills; throughout the pastel-pale landscape, shallow brooks appear, disappear and reappear in a lazy fashion.

Between these waterways, all manner of small, fragile creatures thrive – White Ladies, Marbled Blues and silver-wash butterflies; damselflies and dragonflies, and the tiny chiffchaffs that feed on these insects. In contrast to this bright tranquillity, the road into the city is hemmed by a magnificent, darkly sinister, avenue of yew trees, amongst whose shadows a king was killed.

The Battle of Śvetáei – fought along this main highway – saw the death of Widwulf I, an early king of the House of Wolves, in a clash between royal forces and Marčovȉkian marauders. However, this was not entirely the disaster it could have been. The passing of the incompetent Widwulf left the throne vacant for his younger brother, Gwythyr – one of the greatest kings, if not the greatest, to rule Caerlean.

Blewid – ‘to know colour’. The oldest temple in Caerlean sits on the coast of Blewid, and the town itself stretches back into antiquity. Its temple, dedicated to Dylan, was supposedly built by the first sea-borne settlers of Caerlean, as thanks for their safe passage. A grove of slender omwode trees, sheltered from the worst of the elements by a dense hedge of sea-holly, grow in precarious fashion amongst the ever-shifting banks of shingle. The beach at Blewid is not the most comfortable to walk upon; yet for variety in the shade, shape and composition of its pebbles, it cannot be beaten.

The present-day town revolves mainly around the dockyard, established by Snaid in 230. Many ships were built here under the orders of the second Sea-King, in order to strengthen his rule and increase his dealings with the numerous ports and towns that sit along Caerlean’s coast. Whilst that industry has now somewhat waned, Blewid is still renowned for its sturdy oaken warships, with the timber carried down the Little Itchen from the forests of Stromnoha, and sailed the short distance round the Kwiat coast.