Cities of Solmorje
Gyvae – ‘gift of the sea’. A bleak and jealous empire of granite and serpentine-rock cliffs guard the settlement of Gyvae, along with its many treasures – golden-white beaches of fine sand in which water-mint streams trickle their way to the ocean; the beautiful ‘Sea Meadows’ – great swathes of shallow waters that are teeming with bottle-green seaweed; narrow, shady lanes where packhorses struggle to pass, their cargo sweeping the pollen from the abundance of bluebells, foxgloves and bell-flowers that grow either side.
Gyvae is both protected and lonely, rejoicing in its long history of aloofness from central rule. As befits its peninsula status, it was the last southern city to acknowledge King Gwythyr’s rule, and it is still regarded as a ‘bolt-hole’ for those seeking a certain kind of tranquillity.
Aeburh – ‘sea fortress’. Ironically, considering its name, Aeburh was once at the heart of the smuggling trade. Pinned at the crux of a ravine, its harbour mouth is both narrow and fiendishly difficult to navigate, and the steep, winding streets that lead down to the waterfront are a veritable rat-run, perfect for illicit activity. Only by appointing one of the most successful smugglers of the time as High Shreve did King Adair of the Fourth House finally break the illegal network, and the city now boasts a thriving fishing trade.
Cornae – ‘horn into the sea’; county town of Solmorje. Hidden in a valley, this surprisingly spread-out township is enclosed by steep, moorland slopes, with ominous granite tors erupting amongst the purple and egg-yolk gorse.
The gateway to Solmorje, the strategically placed city is also the main thoroughfare through which mineral ore is transported up country; as a sign of its commercial importance, it was conferred with a royal mint early on during the reign of the First House.