Cities of Pravasese
Caumaoh – ‘the calm valley’. County town of Pravasese. The only major city in its county, Caumaoh is less a township and more a continuation of the gently rolling pastureland that surrounds it. Coming from the south-west is when the shift in countryside is more noticeable. The abrupt hills of Zelénpese and Soncepéja peter out into grassy meadows and cornfields, thick with oxeye daisies, creeping thistle, clover and buttercup. Swarming all over these quietly-coloured fields are clouds of butterflies, adding their own splashes of copper, brown, blue and silver. Ancient hedgerows divide these fields; the shelter and berries they provide are a heady paradise for birds and insects.
Caumaoh itself has a long and prosperous history. The seat of two great temples (one devoted to Aine, Goddess of Love, the other to her daughter Amaethon, Goddess of Agriculture), it has always attracted a mixture of idealistic young types and more solid farming folk. Auwode the Blessed was born here in 196, actually in the temple of Aine. As king, he would go on to spend a great deal of money transforming the still-fairly rural settlement into the beautiful sight it is today.
Its main thoroughfare is called the Sarn Mote, or ‘Path of Light’. At one end stands the temple of Amaethon, the other is where worshippers of Aine flock. Both temples are built out of kingstone, their central chamber open to the elements and ringed with silver birch. Horse and oxen statues, carved from massive blocks of elm, can be found in Amaethon’s temple, whereas her mother’s house is more sensual and exotic. Here, the Arthraigh tend to be fierce young maidens, who ride their famous red horses bareback through the streets of Caumaoh, arrayed in silks of the most vibrant shades.
Before you step foot on the Sarn Mote, situated just outside the temple of Amaethon on the south-western side is where the gatehouse and bell-tower can be found. An arch built of harthstone soars between two round towers, with a carved image of the incumbent king glaring down on any who dare enter the city. These statues are taken down every time the king dies – they are wrapped in his personal ensign and kept in a part of the gatehouse known as the tumuli. Before it is packed away, however, the statute is paraded through Caumaoh as a mark of respect and to let the people know the king is dead.
Once past the imposing gatehouse and beautifully serene temple of Amaethon, a great number of shops and tradesmen work side-by-side. Almost any business can be found in Caumaoh, with the different trades tending to stick together in their own separate spheres. A royal mint sits at the heart of the economic area, abutted by banks, lawyers and other offices of finance.
Surrounding them are butchers, bakers, farriers, grocers of all kinds; then come the townhouses of Caumaoh. White and cream in tone and all subtly different, the terraces, crescents and squares of the residential area harmonise most wonderfully with their valley setting. Whilst other cities may be more important, strategically, commercially or in terms of raw commodities, Caumaoh is perhaps the most beautiful.
Following the start of what might be described optimistically as his ‘troubled’ reign, King Buaidhbas moved his court and government to Caumaoh; as a keen follower of the Goddess of Love, his motives may have been less than pure.