Cities of West Kwiat
Rokwine – ‘secret of the flowers’. The birthplace of the kings of Caerlean, Rokwine is believed to have been the landing site of the ancestors of Eublad, founder of the House of Wolves, when those foreign men first sailed along the southern coast, seeking a new home. They chose Rokwine, not because of any military advantage or strategic importance, but on account of the lush, verdant valleys that lie within the Longmynd Hills, and the flowers that carpet the land. The subsoil of this particular stretch of coast is riddled with iron, lending colour and vitality to the hedgerows draped with wild rose, honeysuckle and fruit blossom of every variety. Wood sorrel creeps amongst the now-crumbling butterstone walls, indicating the ancient forest that once stood here.
Much of this woodland has since been cut down, the resulting charcoal used to smelt the iron ore that lies beneath the surface. Foundries, small and large, sprang up to forge armour and weapons, while the larger oaks became the backbone of Gwythyr’s first navy. Although relatively small, this ancient town has therefore proved of vital importance in the history of Caerlean and its rulers.
Kwimere – ‘lake of flowers’. Kwimere is comprised of a collection of seven lake-villages – or hlaews – that lay sprawled within the rich basin between the Great and Little Itchen. The hlaews are connected by a series of wooden bridges, and each village is marked with a standing stone in its centre. These stones have stood guard since prehistoric times, with no-one quite sure how or why they were erected. They are of a curious bluish-grey shade, the sort of which cannot be found anywhere else in the country, leading to speculation they are remnants from when Caerlean was part of a much larger landmass.
People come to Kwimere more for its visual pleasantries, rather than any commercial purposes. Flowers of all varieties grow in abundance on the lakeshores and about the small hills that rise up out of the water, with the Kwimere Rose a rare and thus-valuable example. This bloom, with its delicate pale pink petals gilded around the edges, is known as the ‘Queen of Flowers’, after Mairead of Aobridd, consort of Adair III, wore a trailing garland as part of her coronation robes.
Fennkwi – ‘star blossom’. County town of West Kwiat. The history of this beautiful city, and that of its inhabitants, revolves around the river that borders it, the Little Itchen, and the flowers that flourish in its rich soilscape.
Kwiat’s main industry of flowers and exotic blooms has brought great wealth to the city, thanks to its convenient transportation links to the capital via the Itchen. Floating flower markets stretch across the waterway, seemingly endless in colour and variety, overlooked by the gleaming white townhouses of the merchants, seated in their lofty position on the riverbank.
Angwyn III ordered the construction of a river-side castle in Fennkwi as a wedding present for Queen Armorel. The beautiful estate (which is still owned by the crown today) includes rose-and-honeysuckle mazes, meadows of sweet herbs, as well as an orangery and botanical gardens filled with delicate orchids and rare plant species; unsurprisingly, the castle remains a royal favourite.
Traditionally, the Little Itchen marks the border between West and East Kwiat. An ancient stone bridge traverses the river – facing one another across this span are the county towns of Fennkwi and Kwilis in Eastern Kwiat. An interesting feature of the bridge are the domed buildings at each end. These are the ‘lock-ups’, where miscreants are held while awaiting trial and punishment; originally, they were small chapels dedicated to Olwen. The Floral Goddess is still considered the patron guardian of the town.