First of all, there's nothing worse than having literally thousands of pictures saved over the course of 5 years, and literally none of them are good enough to use as a location image. Sad day.
The City of Span
Stout walls and squat towers rise up out of river and wood, perched atop the many-storied splendor of the Great Falls. Banners of deep blue barred by purest black declare this the city of Span, though one need only watch the endless parade of wagons coming from the gate to recognize it for what it is: the most vital point for trade throughout the course of the Way.
Built on the very edge of the ridge that forms the Great Falls, Span is a city that guards a vital portage between the Way's upper and lower courses. For hundreds of years, mercenary companies and trader's guilds alike have seen the city as an ideal location to call home. Because so much traffic passes to and from the city year-round, the city is known as a city of transients, and no other place in the Blackwood has so many inns.
Span was founded in the mists of history by traders who couldn't sail directly from Grand Delving to Freeport. They carried their goods overland from the top of the falls to the bottom, and soon they began a permanent settlement. Swords for hire of every stripe came to the area, offering their services to guard the caravans on the dangerous trek through the forest.
Today, Span is a bustling center of trade in its own right. It is infamous for its black market, a natural development when goods trade so many hands in such a small area. For as long as any record shows, one of the main duties of the High Lord of Span has been to safeguard the goods of those traders that pass through the city, though the office has known a fair amount of corruption through the centuries.
Because the city is home to so many mercenary and security companies, Span also has a reputation for bloodsport. The city is home to several fighting pits, though none are so grand as the Arena of the Mists. This arena, arranged in a semi circle, seats 2,000 spectators, and is home to some of the most prestigious duels in the Blackwood. The floor of the arena ends abruptly at the edge of a 150 foot cliff, and the arena commands a stunning view of the Great Falls in the background.
The city is home to seven noble families occupying more than 40 households in the city. Each owes fealty to the High Lord, and each house is involved in the city's politics and defense. These houses are permitted to display their heraldry in their own halls, though in public each is permitted only to adorn themselves with small badges.
Originally Posted by Sample House
Crest: A Blue Tower on a Green Field
Lord: Sir Enderl Immerhoff
House Immerhoff has always had a reputation for patrolling the frontier around Span. Due to an unfortunate string of deaths, they have recently fallen from glory. Though there are several influential family members within House Immerhoff, they do not have the same court influence that they did a decade earlier.
Sir Enderl, a calculating man of middle age, recently came to the office of patriarch for the family after the death of his brother, though he has yet to inherit the title of Lord of House Immerhoff because of an ongoing investigation of reports of infidelity in his household. In an attempt to regain favor, he seeks to construct a signal beacon on the Lone Rock, a small island in the midst of the Way.
The High Lord of Span is in possession of 5 golden pendants, each bearing the crest of Span. These are given to his most trusted advisors, and are a symbol that the speaker speaks with the voice of the High Lord. The first is traditionally held by visiting dignitaries of the Elder Kingdom, and is thus the most often left unused. The second belongs to the Minister of Trade, who oversees the cityís vast shipping network. The Minister of Craft holds the third, and is an influential figure in the guilds of the city. The fourth belongs to the Minister of War, who acts as the commander general of Spanís military--a glorified mercenary company. The fifth belongs to the Captain of the City Watch, a hard-earned office.